Resources for Authors

You do not need to pay for great software. Selections herein are compatible with industry standards and author needs. Many are cross-platform and multilingual; nearly all are free, though we favor FOSS the most.

FOSS: Free Open Source Software

As with “free” software, you should not pay for such, including with personal information. Donate to projects that benefit you, or they may not continue. Watch for the to spot the ones we favor most.

Disclaimers

  1. NDAS does not financially gain from or take responsibility for your use of any software.

  2. Should you need assistance, see the application's “help” and/­or developer documentation and online support communities.

Share the Freedom

If you know of other resources for authors (FOSS or free) that fit one of these categories, then please inform us. Qualified staff will review all suggestions for potential inclusion herein.

Office Suites/Applications

Never succumb to rent/lease paradigms or online connection requirements. Your files or versions stored online may be subject to theft or abuse. There are better ways to protect your assets. [See “Backup” and “Security”.]

ATTENTION: The widely claimed necessity of Microsoft products for publishing industry compatibility is false. Office suites herein are used by NDAS staff authors working with professional publishers. The publishers never knew the difference until told.

Work without invasive restrictions and risks. Do so for free in knowing you can create, save to/as, convert, and open any office file format needed, including DOC, DOCX, RTF, WPS, etc. and the growing international standard: ODF (Open Document Format).

Suites

[ALL NDAS STAFF USE ONE OF THESE SUITES.]

Apache OpenOffice

Apache OpenOffice

FOSS

Word-processor, Spreadsheet, Presentation, Drawing, Database, Formula; Can open, create, edit, convert, and save all Microsoft formats except for MS Access; includes PDF print/export. The native ODF (Open Document Format) of its file structures are 200% more up-to-date and versatile than Microsoft applications. Learn more at Open­Office­.org.

LibreOffice

LibreOffice

FOSS

Word-processor, Spreadsheet, Presentation, Drawing, Database, Formula, Chart; compatible with most world-wide file / document formats. A derivative of Open­Office. Learn more at Libre­Office­.org.

Notes / PIMs

CherryTree

CherryTree

(via source compile) FOSS

Import/export from/to an extensive range of other note-taking or file formats. Tree-structured navigation with WYSIWYG edit/view. While a bit dated in appearance, it is easy to use from the first launch. Its other features and capabilities are too many to mention. Learn more at Giuspen­.com.

Aseman Papyrus

Aseman Papyrus

(iOS soon?) [Free]

Minimal (no WYSIWYG) for those who prefer simple text content. It uses separate “documents” for records to which you can apply multiple “labels” (keywords) for searching all notes. It's other features and capabilities are too many to mention here. Learn more at Aseman­.com.

Internet Applications

Each personal computer comes with pre-installed internet applications. These may not serve you as much as the company that made/installed them. Be doubly suspicious of default search engines as well.

You, your activities and personal information are the prime commodities (and currency) of today's online global marketplace. The following focus on your privacy and security, though you should enhance them. [See “Extensions” herein.]

Search Engines

IxQuick.com

IxQuick.eu

There is no more powerful and privacy secure (meta)search engine. IxQuick aggregates results from multiple search engines across the planet for true global results. [All NDAS STAFF USE THIS.] Learn more at eu­.IxQuick­.eu/­eng/­aboutixquick/.

ATTENTION: IxQuick.COM has merged with StartPage.com for branding; using "Ixquick.COM" now gives you Startpage.com results, which pander heavily to Google results. To get true global results, use the "EU.ixquick.EU" subdomain as displayed here.

NOTE: Read “Advanced” and “Settings“ to increase security.

StartPage.com

StartPage.com

Run by IxQuick; if you want predominantly Google search results while maintaining security/privacy, then this is the engine for you. Learn more at StartPage­.com/­eng/­aboutstartpage/.

NOTE: Read “Advanced” and “Settings“ to increase security.

Web Browser

WARNING: NDAS does not recommend the use of any browser that came pre-installed with a commercial operating system. This includes Safari, Internet Explorer, or any Android (Google) or iOS (Apple) default internet browser.

FireFox

FireFox

FOSS

The most well-known open source browser, many derivatives are built upon its source code, such as the maximum security Tor Browser Bundle (also used at NDAS). There is no discounting its popularity, though some of its features are hidden by default. Add ProfileSwitcher (see “Extensions”) to regain convenient access to some features. [All NDAS staff use this.] Learn more at Mozilla­.org.

ATTENTION: Check all settings to turn off auto-updating that may override your personal customization, especially search engines.

Chromium

Chromium

(?) FOSS

All of Chrome's features without Google's injections. Most people do not know that Chrome is built upon stable releases of Chromium; the same is now true for Opera (for Android) and many others that are more privacy secure than Chrome.

Available for direct install from many Linux repositories or through Synaptic. Builds for other platforms are not readily available through the Chromium project site. [Some NDAS staff use this but never “Chrome!”] Learn more at Chromium­.Woolyss­.com.

WARNING: Chromium does not use a master password like Firefox to secure stored login information. This among other reasons is why it was downgraded to 2nd position at NDAS in favor of Firefox.

Email

Thunderbird

Thunderbird

FOSS

Email, RSS, Newsgroups, Messaging, Tasks, Calender, etc. A communications center and personal organizer (after installing some extensions from the Mozilla online repository) rolled into one application with web-enabled functionality. A bit old-school in its layout, it is the most versatile free email application available. [All NDAS use this with additional extensions.] Learn more at Mozilla­.org­/Thunderbird.

ATTENTION: Check all settings to turn off auto-updating that may override your personal customization.

Extensions/Plugins

The following may be installable in other web-enabled applications. Browse to this page in the application and select the “Learn more… ” links. If the site identifies supported browser code in your application, then you can install the extension. In this case, you may need to use the web installer presented. The extensions below have been (re)ordered for what we consider the best choices.

WARNING: If your web-enabled application is not recognized for these or equal security measures, then do not use it to directly browse the internet.

 

HTTPS Everywhere

HTTPS Everywhere

Chromium, Chrome, Firefox, Opera 15+, etc. FOSS

The two main web connections are HTTP and HTTPS; only the latter is secured and encrypted. This extension forces use of HTTPS when a site's server offers it and is more aggressive about doing so than your browser. Created by the Electronic Frontier Foundation [EFF], “Defending Your Rights in the Digital World,” do not use any browser that does not support this security enhancement. [ALL NDAS STAFF USE THIS.] Learn more at EFF­.org­/HTTPS-Everywhere.

Privacy Badger

Privacy Badger

Chromium, Chrome, Firefox, Firefox for (?), Opera 15+(?) FOSS

Brought to you by the EFF, makers of HTTPS Everywhere; according to their site:

“…stops advertisers and others from secretly tracking where you go and what you do on the web. If an advertiser seems to be tracking you across multiple websites without your permission, Privacy Badger automatically blocks that advertiser from loading any more content in your browser. To the advertiser, it's like you suddenly disappeared.”

Unlike other security extensions, PB does not use external subscriptions or lists. It analyzes tracker code injections in sites you visit. Do not use any web browser that cannot install this extension. [ALL NDAS STAFF USE THIS.] Learn more at EFF­.org­/Privacy­Badger.

uBlock Origin

uBlock Origin

Chrome, Chromium, Edge (Beta), Firefox, Opera, Safari (Beta). Free

This is now NDAS's third-tier privacy / security recommendation behind other EFF plugins listed above. We have discontinued all other previous ad/tracking plugins. It is not a set-and-forget plugin, but at the same time, it does not pander to the growing list of plugin developers taking money from corporations or receiving finance for using an "acceptable ads" list. It is capable of using external blocking subscriptions and lists as well, if you wish. [All NDAS staff use this.] Learn more at en.­wikipedia.org/­wiki/­UBlock_Origin or check your browser's addons repository.

ProfileSwitcher

ProfileSwitcher

FireFox [Free]

Like Chromium, FireFox can create/use mutliple profiles for differing users or setups of one user. Unlike Chromium, this feature is an external utility hidden upon install. Profile­Switcher (plus a few changes in FireFox) will solve this. After install, do the following to access profile management from within Firefox.

  1. Click the Menu button at the window's top-right (the triple bars).
  2. Click the “Show/Hide Toolbars” dropdown menu.
  3. Select “Menubar.”
  4. Click the green “Exit Customization” button.

You can now create/switch profiles under “File >> Open Profile Manager.” [ALL NDAS STAFF USE THIS with Firefox.] Learn more at the Mozilla Repository.

Finance / Accounting Applications

For authors, professional and personal finance become complex, and a checking registry is not enough. Should you establish yourself as a professional by vocation based on income from authorship, then you will need to track and document income and expenses for tax purposes. Doing so should not cost you as well, and you can do even more with some of these.


Grisbi

Grisbi

(?) FOSS

Home/Office Finance Management, Checking/Savings, etc. Straight-forward approach that can replace most home accounting programs. One of the top three of its kind in the open source community. Learn more at Grisbi­.org.

GnuCash

GnuCash

FOSS

Home/Office/Small Business Finance, Accounting, Checking/Savings, etc. More robust than Grisbi, it may be too much for some but has a very friendly layout. If you have stocks or a retirement fund, then that is another reason to look at GnuCash. One of the top three of its kind in the open source community. Learn more at Gnu­Cash­.org.

Money Manager EX

Money Manager EX

(?) FOSS

Aimed primarily at home and personal finance, if you are not yet ready for the other two. Its simpler layout may appeal to those who have never before used financial software. Learn more at Code­Lather­.com­/MMEX.

HomeBank

HomeBank

FOSS

Personal Finance, Accounts, Transactions, Analysis, Budget, Categories and Payees; multi-lingual. Can import from (and export to) Quicken and MS Money as well as other applications supporting the QIF, OFX, QFX, and CSV data file formats. Stores its own data in the international XML format for easy export/import to more applications. Learn more at Home­Bank­.Free­.fr.

KMyMoney

KMyMoney

FOSS

Personal Finance, Accounts, Transactions, Analysis, Budget, Categories and Payees; multi-lingual; Double-Entry Accounting. Can import from (and export to) Quicken. Built on KDE support files, it is still installable in all Linux distributions and may be found in many Linux software repositories. Learn more at KMy­Money.org and then see its Plugins as well.

Security Applications

Protect your system effectively for free. Your OS's default security will not adequately do so in all cases. Do not learn this truth the hard way.

While our “Resources” section focuses on free and/­or open source software, NDAS personnel with an IT background recommend Symantec (with Sophos a close second) for commercial security applications.

Access

KeePassX

KeePassX (Passwords, Other)

[Free]

Assistance in securely storing login and other critical information used across the internet. It does not integrate with other applications, which is a security risk unto itself. Not as convenient and automated, but your information is thereby more secure within its high AES encryption. You can quickly create multiple databases for differing needs. [Some NDAS staff use this.] Learn more at Kee­PassX­.org

AntiVirus

Sophos Free Tools

Sophos (Antivirus, Other)

Other [Free]

What Sophos can offer depends on your OS. For OS X users, it has the best free full-time antivirus application. Barb, J.C., and other staff have used this in the past on OS X based machines.

Some NDAS staff with a background in IT and network security, including live virus HSK (hunt-seek-kill), have deployed this for Mac-based firms. Sophos serves corporate clients around the world with live AV updates; you will get those too. If you use another OS, it is still worth a visit to see what they offer in security utilities; some may only be available in the USA. Learn more at Sophos­.com

Comodo AV

Comodo (Antivirus)

[Free]

Lesser known but robust, some NDAS staff during IT careers deployed this for non-profit, public service organizations. Pay attention during install to disable [too many] unneeded trial applications; that should not stop you from trying it. There is little out there that compares in free AV for Windows; Microsoft's default malware utilities do not cover all security needs. Learn more at Comodo­.com

ClamAV

ClamAV (Antivirus)

Other FOSS

While Linux is the most robustly defensable OS—bar none—statements about its invulnerability are false. Though not the best AV, ClamAV is long-standing and continuously improves in function. In Linux, install the ClamTK GUI for convenient control vs. the command line. Both are available through most Linux software repositories or Synaptic.

ATTENTION: Repositories are often out-of-date for the latest version of this software. Get the latest release at Clam­AV­.net. For important options and increased functionality regardless of OS, see GUI+ClamAV.

After installing in Linux, open a terminal and enter: sudo apt-get upgrade. This will update both applications. Then launch “ClamTK” and select in the main menu Advanced > Scheduler; this is where you can set the daily time for a full scan and a virus definitions update.

See Also:
  • Clam­Win­.com [Windows]
  • Clam­Xav­.com [OS X]
  • Network

    Angry IP Scanner

    Angry IP Scanner (Wireless Monitor)

    Other FOSS

    You need to know if someone is using up bandwidth for which you pay. While AIS will not stop them, it will inform you of the need to do so on your wireless network and/­or internet connection. You can then take steps to shut out parasites, or at least find the IP and Port holes you need to plug. [Some NDAS staff use this.] Learn more at Angry­IP­.org.

    Backup Applications

    Protecting your system is a must; protecting past, present, and future projects is critical. Manual file/folder copies to a USB stick or CD/DVD is the least that should be done. In a system failure or human error, you will still lose on-going work, so take further steps.

    Files/Folders

    Syncthing

    Syncthing

    Other FOSS

    Backup, sync, and/­or mirror between storage on machines that only you control; your files will never be stored in accessible format on any other machine, especially a “cloud” server. All transfers are via the Torrent network, the toughest encryption on the planet, though it will also seek local network connections avialable for faster transfers. You will never be without an automated external backup anywhere you go with an internet connection. And yes, it does file versioning as well.

    Unlike BitTorrent Sync (see below), it does not use a corporate controlled Torrent subnet. [ALL NDAS WORKSTATIONS USE THIS—GLOBALLY.] Learn more at Sync­Thing­.net.

    ATENTION: Syncthing is complicated and not for beginners, though it is being improved continuously in usability. Give it a try if you can.

    BitTorrent Sync

    BitTorrent Sync

    Other [Free]

    Backup, sync, and/­or mirror between storage on machines that only you control; your files will never be stored in accessible format on any other machine, especially a “cloud” server. All transfers are via the Torrent network, the toughest encryption on the planet, though it will also seek local network connections for faster transfers. You will never be without an automated external backup anywhere you go with an internet connection. And yes, it does file versioning as well. It can also do one-time encrypted file sharing to anyone.

    Simpler to use versus Syncthing (see above), there are compromises; this is not FOSS software and corporately owned. Learn more at Bit­Torrent­.com­/Sync.

    FreeFileSync

    FreeFileSync

    Other FOSS

    Your OS may already have the most versatile backup / sync utility called “rsync.” It is command line only and intimidating for the averager user. This GUI interface gives you convenient access to rsync's most potent features.

    Some commerical backup applications actually use rsync without telling you, so why pay them for this? Learn more at FreeFileSync­.SourceForge­.net and find a download for your OS at FOSS­Hub­.com/­Free­File­Sync.

    OS/System

    SystemBack

    SystemBack

    FOSS

    A very popular method to backup a whole system and more. Systemback makes it easy to create backups of your system and user configuration files. In case of problems, you can easily restore the previous state of your system. There are extra features like system copying, system installation and “Live” system creation. PPA install available at Launchpad; for direct download and install, see the Source­forge­.net repository.

    TimeShift

    TimeShift

    FOSS

    Some distributions of Linux come with (limited) capability for full system backup. For those that do not, TimeShift is what you need; we consider it better and more convenient than default applications in some forms of Linux.

    In comparison—and granting that Linux takes less space (and memory) than Windows or OS X—you will find that TimeShift incrementals also take up less. You might need a back-up space no bigger than 3x times the used (not total) space on your bootable drive. Now if only it were available for Windows and OS X! Learn more at Tee­Jee­Tech­.in.

    ATTENTION: Sync capability varies by format, OS, and targeted device.

    Utilities

    Most file managers now come with extensive features. Sometimes you may need something extra. These freely available utilities are more convenient and/­or more powerful than the defaults that came with your operating system.

    File Packaging (Archives)

    PeaZip

    PeaZip (Extracter, Compressor, Converter)

    Other FOSS

    A free (semi-)cross-platform portable GUI for many Open Source technologies like 7-Zip, FreeArc, PAQ, UPX. It can create 7Z, ARC, BZ2, GZ, *PAQ, PEA, UAD/BALZ, TAR, UPX, WIM, XZ, ZIP archves. It can extract nearly 150 others as well. Learn more at PeaZip­.Source­Forge­.net.

    Optical Disk Drives

    ImgBurn

    ImgBurn (Read, Copy, Build, Burn, Verify)

    Windows

    Learn more at Img­Burn­.com/.

    Burn

    Burn (Read, Copy, Build, Burn, Verify)

    FOSS

    Learn more at Burn-OSX­.Source­Forge­.net/.

    Burn

    XfBurn (Read, Copy, Build, Burn, Verify)

    FOSS

    [NDAS Linux environments use this.] Find it in your software repository or through Synaptic.

    Burn

    Basero (Read, Copy, Build, Burn, Verify)

    FOSS

    Find it in your software repository or through Synaptic, and learn more at Wiki­.Gnome­.org/­Apps/­Brasero.

    Audio/Video

    Here are options for taking a break. Descriptions are minimal; even so, we had to filter the list. Unlike applications you know, these do not invade your privacy and/­or force you into proprietary modes.

    All are (1) FOSS [Free Open Sourced Software], (2) reasonably easy to download / install / try and (3) available for Linux, OS X, and Windows as a minimum qualification for cross-platform. Entertain yourself for free!

    Media Center

    Kodi

    Kodi (Video / Audio / Image / Stream / Organize)

    iOS Other FOSS

    Kodi® (formerly known as XBMC™) is an award-winning free and open source (GPL) software media center for playing videos, music, pictures, games, and more. Featuring a 10-foot user interface for use with televisions and remote controls as well as computing devices. It allows users to play and view most videos, music, podcasts, and other digital media files from local and network storage media and the internet. [Most NDAS staff use this at home during off hours.] Learn more at Kodi­.tv.

    Audio

    Amarok

    Amarok (Play / Organize / Rip / Stream)

    Other FOSS

    Learn more at Amarok­.KDE­.org.

    Clementine

    Clementine (Play / Organize / Rip / Stream)

    FOSS

    Learn more at Clementine-­Player­.org.

    Nightingale

    Nightingale (Play / Organize / Rip / Stream)

    FOSS

    [Some NDAS staff use this] Learn more at Get­Nightin­gale­.com.

    Video (and Audio with most)

    VLC

    VLC Media Player (Play / Organize / Rip / Stream)

    Other FOSS

    Handles more media formats than almost any other like application on the planet. And yes, it can be used as a full media center if you take time to learn how. [ALL NDAS STAFF USE THIS as well as others] Learn more at Video­lan­.org­/VLC.

    JuceVLC

    JuceVLC (Play / Organize / Rip / Stream)

    Other FOSS

    A wireless mouse enabled media-center integrated with VLC Media Player. [Some NDAS staff use this] Learn more at JuceVLC­.Source­Forger­.net.

    Banshee

    Banshee (Play / Organize / Rip / Stream)

    Other FOSS

    Learn more at Banshe­.fm.

    UMPlayer

    UMPlayer (Play / Stream)

    Other FOSS

    For those who like minimal. [Some NDAS staff use this] Learn more at UM­Player­.com.