Let’s face it, having a Mac is cool but it will cost you. There is a lot of cool software out there but they are not free. It seems like there is more free software on Linux than on Macs.

Does it mean we are stuck paying for software if we are on Macs? No, it doesn’t mean that.

There are bags of gold out there (i.e., free Mac software). They are available for you to download but you just have to know where to look.

Instead of looking around for a needle in a haystack, I am here to help you out. I have listed the software that I think you will like or should use on your Mac. They are free to download and use.

I have avoided free trial software. The trial software expires or doesn’t offer the same feature as the paid ones. I stick with free or open source whenever I can.

Web Browsing

  • Mozilla Firefox – Open source web browser.
  • Opera – Multi-platform web browser.
  • Google Chrome – Open source web browser, currently in beta. Works only with Mac OS X 10.5 or later, Intel only.

IM – Instant Messaging

  • Adium – It can connect to multiple IM accounts such as AIM, MSN, Jabber, and Yahoo.

IRC – Internet Relay Chat

DVD Ripping

  • Burn – allows you to burn files to CD or DVD.
  • Handbrake – Multi-platform, multi-threaded video transcoder.
  • MacTheRipper – DVD ripper (extractor). It can back up copy-protected DVDs.

Word Processing / Office Suites

  • OpenOffice – Full-featured, office suite with capabilities similar to Micrososft Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

Graphics / Photo Publishing

  • GIMP on OS X – Photo editing software with capabilities similar to Adobe Photoshop.
  • Inkscape – Vector graphics editor with capabilities similar to Illustrator, Freehand, CorelDraw, or Xara X.

Image Viewer / Organizer

  •  XnView – cross-platform media browser, viewer and converter.


  • Audacity – Audio editor and recorder.
  • Cfxr – Allows you to create basic sound effects for games.

Remote Control

HTML / Text Editor

  • Nvu – WYSIWYG HTML editor with capabilities similar to Dreamweaver.

Video Converter

  • Miro Video Converter – Convert almost any video to MP4, Ogg Theora or a specific phone or iPod.
  • FFmpeg – cross-platform solution to record, convert and stream audio and video.

Multimedia Player

  • VLC – Multimedia player that supports most audio and video formats (H.264, Ogg, DivX, MKV, TS, MPEG-2, mp3, MPEG-4, aac, etc.) from files, physical media (DVDs, VCD, Audio-CD), TV capture cards and many network streaming protocols.

Peer-to-peer File Sharing

  • Bittorrent – It is the global standard for delivering high-quality files over the Internet.
  • Vuze / Azureus – P2P file sharing client using the bittorrent protocol.

Archiver / Unarchiver

  • The Unarchiver – Support file formats including Zip, Tar-GZip, Tar-BZip2, RAR, 7-zip, LhA, StuffIt, and many more.
  • Ez7z – Expand and shrink files into 7z, zip, gz, tar, and bzip2 formats.
  • RAR Expander – Extracts files in RAR archives.


  • VirtualBox – Virtualization software that supports guest operating system such as Windows, Linux, Solaris, OpenSolaris, and OpenBSD.

Screen Capturing

  • InstantShot! – Screenshots software with various functionality.

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