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Meet the free software gang

by Matt Lee Contributions Published on Jul 08, 2010 01:03 PM
Meet the pieces of free software working together to build a complete free software system.

There are thousands of pieces of free software, many of which are listed in our directory of free software, but of these projects, a few dozen are extremely common — we call these the free software gang.


  • Blender — make 3d animations and edit video
  • GIMP — touch up and crop photos from your digital camera and the Web
  • Inkscape — make flyers, postcards and printed materials

Group chat

  • The FSF uses IRC, which remains an enduring way to have a text-based chat in real-time, and as evidenced by Web clients like The Lounge, or desktop clients like Pidgin, it can be as stripped down or feature-rich as you like.
  • Mattermost — Mattermost is a flexible, free software messaging platform that enables secure team collaboration.
  • Rocket Chat — Rocket.Chat is scalable free software, replace email and improve your digital workflow.
  • Wire — Wire’s source code is available on GitHub with a GPLv3 licence. A self-hosted server option is available upon request.


  • Amarok — listen to CDs, downloaded music, streaming radio and podcasts
  • VLC — watch DVDs, videos from YouTube and other downloads

Office and database

Operating system and friends

  • Gecko — the same powerful code that powers Firefox and Icecat, in your own software
  • GNOME — the graphical desktop for many of the GNU/Linux systems
  • GNU — the fully free operating system
  • KDE — another popular graphical desktop, favored by many for its powerful features
  • Linux — together with GNU, Linux powers the GNU/Linux operating system
  • Nautilus — the GNOME file manager

Programming languages

  • Java — used in everything from your cellphone to your bank
  • Perl — the system administrator's swiss army knife
  • PHP — powers Wikipedia and the White House Web site
  • Python — popular with Google and NASA, also runs this Web site!
  • Ruby — used by many of the Web 2.0 sites

Web and email

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