Aug 18, 2009

Free Internet Resources Part 2

Hopefully the previous post gave you a bit of an appetite for more. If you haven't seen it I recommend you check out the first page of this piece. This installment is going show you a little bit more. Without further ado on with the show!

Public domain

Public domain is anything that is owned by everyone. This can be a very tricky minefield to navigate as you can find yourself using something you found to be public domain only to have the owner say "Hey you're stealing!". Anyone can put something they own into the public domain but, once it is there you can't take it back. For many reasons software doesn't tend to end up in public domain, instead this is where you find books, music, movies, television and images, at least for the most part.

Project Gutenberg. This is a public domain text repository. They have many great literary works of art available here for free download. With over 100,000 titles you could spend hours just going through the books available. This is a public domain image site that hosts member submitted images. While this is a small site it has quite a few high quality images available for free usage in any project you have. As a bonus I created the banner for the site.

Musopen. This is one of the few places where you can find public domain music recordings. While songs may be in the public domain recordings of that music are almost without exception NOT public domain. This is a site that aims to change that. Classical music.

Gimp Savvy. This is a sort of add on site for the gimp, but it documents public domain images form the US government. The archive is publicly moderated so don't look for this site to be accurate in it's descriptions.

NASA Image Exchange. This site has a ton of cool copyright free images, especially if you are a nerd like me. It is also interesting to note that any NASA website is public domain. The only restriction on any usage of NASA is the emblem, which you must have permission to use, for the reason of preventing people from saying a product is sanctioned by NASA when it isn't.

Open Clipart Library. A very cool place. Many high quality vector images that will resize nicely. I can spend a few hours on here easily just browsing the new additions.

Creative Commons

Creative commons licenses are available in a wide variety, sometimes overlapping GNU or public domain and sometimes being very restrictive you can get more in depth at

CCmixter. This is music and sound that is available to take and mix up, kind of like a worldwide collaboration. There are some great pieces of music that come from here.

Jamendo. If any of you know me personally you know I have been raving about this site since I found it. It is a fantastic free music download site. All of this site is available to download and listen to for free, while there are no big name artist, the music does not suck, in fact much of it is really very good. With global participation you get music of all different styles from home and around the world, plus if you really like an artist you can donate to them so they can continue making great music.

Paint.Net. Ever wish MS Paint could do more? Well this is what you were looking for. It has a bunch of bells and whistles that paint should have. It's definitely worth a look if you like to use paint.

GNU Public License

This one can actually be wrapped in a Creative Commons license so I am sort of combining this with the category above. Gnu Licenses can also have different stipulations, however most of the software under GNU license is free for any or free for personal use. Also the source code is usually available as well to allow you to compile it yourself or spread it.

7-zip. This is an archive creation and opening program. It supports many major formats. Use this to replace Winzip or Winrar.
(Available for most platforms)

VideoLAN - VLC Media Player. This is a media player that players a lot of different formats, it's skinnable, which means you can change how it looks. It is short and sweet in resource usage and provides everyhting you would expect out of a media player.
(Available for most platforms)

Filezilla. This is an FTP solution allowing you to upload and download from anywhere that FTP access is allowed, like school, website or FTP sites.
(Available for most platforms)

Audacity. Audacity is a free sound editor. You can use this for music, ghost hunting, voice recording or anything that you would need to use a sound editor for. Don't let the spartan appearance fool you this is a really full featured tool.
(Available for most platforms)

Notepad++. This is a really cool text editor, like notepad but better. It has tabs for open documents so you can have a bunch open in one window, syntax highlighting for code editing and you can collapse nested tags. Plus it has a few other nifty features anyone who needs an advanced text editor would need.
(MS Only)

PidginIM. Another chat tool that I would highly recommend. This one can talk on just about any chat service you can imagine...seriously. AIM, ICQ, Jabber/XMPP, MSN Messenger, Yahoo!, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, IRC, Novell GroupWise Messenger, QQ, Lotus Sametime, SILC, SIMPLE, MySpaceIM, and Zephyr are all supported across different operating systems.
(Available for most platforms)

Linux. You can't do an introduction to free software without talking about Linux. Seriously, it would be like ignoring Neil Armstrong or Yuri Gagarin when talking about human space flight. Linux isn't just a program it's a kernel which allows people to build whole operating systems. The operating systems built on the Linux kernel are called distros and there are many many versions of them for just about any specialized or general use you can think of. Running off of Linux is stable and far more secure than Windows. In years past you had to be kind of a guru to use Linux, but now there are versions that anyone can use such as Freespire/Linspire, Ark Linux or Ubuntu(This and Freespire are some of the easiest). They even have Linux distros that can run the whole operating system from a cd, just pop in the cd and your computer will run Linux.


Well, this is not the end of the free software on the web, actually it is just a start as people are always creating new software for the betterment of each other. I highly recommend supporting these coders and artists who do this so that they will be encouraged to do more. If there is anything that was unclear or something else specifically you were looking for let me know.

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