Useful Software

Useful Open Source, Free or Low-cost Software

This is a list of software packages that members of the group have found useful in their work.

Scilab – free alternative to Matlab – very good.
Octave – free alternative to Matlab on Linux.
openvpn – Open source VPN works on Windows or Linux.
Microsoft Visual Studio Express versions of C++ and C# – main restriction is that you cannot have both C++ and C# projects in the same workspace and there is no version control integration.
GEDA gschem schematic capture and GEDA pcb layout – Linux programs, but I have managed to find good Windows versions. Obviously not as good as the professional tools, but is very flexible (all data files are text, so can be edited by hand) and the price is right. Main disadvantage is lack of available symbols and footprints.
VSPE – Virtual Serial Ports Emulator
OpenOffice – Free alternative to Microsoft Office. Can read MS Office files and can write PDF files.
GIMP – Good editor for graphics files
Filezilla – FTP client with Windows GUI – good for copying files to a server over the internet
Subversion – Open source software version control system
TortoiseSVN – Windows GUI for SVN – integrates with the Windows explorer
Wireshark – Network protocol analyser. Very good for moniting ethernet comms.
Undertands all IP protocols. Can also monitor USB with a bit of effort.

Sysinternals – A range of useful Windows tools. Most usefil I
find is portmon which monitors serial port communications on your PC and is
useful for debugging serial comms to other devices.
Password Safe – Program for storing all your passwords (encrypted) on your
PC. Great for keeping track of all those damn websites that insist on you

Txline – PCB stripline transmission line design tool

AppCAD – Very useful electronics design tool for a variety of tasks http://www.agilent/com/view/appcad

Sonnet Lite – Useful tool for analysing magnetic fields in free space

4NEC2 – Great tool for antenna design and analysis http://home/ict/nl/~arivoors/

QUCS – A free alternative to SPICE, not as comprehensive but a growing development

Maxima – Great system for doing analytical Algebra

Winmail opener – Allows you to open those annoying email formats that you get from MAC users

KeepassX – Great utility to store all kinds of sensitive info like passwords etc. that can be accessed with only one password

Visual GPS – Free utility for displaying GPS NMEA data strings giving useful GPS information

MutirowBookmarksToolbar – Firefox browser addon that allows simple visual access to your most used bookmarks

SortPlaces – Firefox browser addon that sorts your bookmarks any way you want

Syncplaces – Firefox browser addon that allows you to store & retrieve your bookmarks and passwords in a central place (file server) so that they can be accessed from multiple machines

Hypersnap 6 – Low cost utility for taking screens shots, graphic file format conversions and graphic editing US$40

PDF Factory – Low cost, small fast PDF file generator, installs as a printer driver US$60


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