Finding good, reliable software is hard sometimes, especially after being spoiled by programs like Photoshop or Coda. But spending precious money on software is not the smartest thing to do when you can find equally good (and sometimes better) programs for free. Almost all of the programs on my computer were free, with the exception of Illustrator, Photoshop and Coda.
Software for Starving Students is a great resource for both Mac and PC users. (Again, sorry Linux) Their collection of freeware is geared toward students, although anyone could find most of the programs useful. They have a version for both Mac and PC. There is a good number of programs (30+ in both packages) and I have most of them. Unfortunately, you have to download the file and burn it to a CD that will install everything. If you don’t want to do that, they have a list of all the included software and you can pick and choose which to install.
Two other great websites are Open Source Windows and its Mac equivalent, Open Source Mac. They list the essential types of software, including browsers, word processors, graphic programs, and instant messengers.
For Mac users, FreeMacWare is a great resource for free software. They have almost every free program that’s available. If you’re looking for programs not offered at the above websites or just want to clutter up your Applications folder, this website will help you.