The Best Free Software of 2019
Your phone is full of apps, but don’t neglect the desktop. These free programs can make your life better on the PC, browser, and beyond.
Desktop operating systems like Windows and macOS don’t get all the attention anymore. It’s a mobile world, but we have not fully abandoned the desktop. The real work (and a lot of the play) of computing requires a full personal computer system. To get the most out of that, you need software.
Software can be expensive if you’re not smart about it. Free programs have been a mainstay of the desktop experience for decades, and the offerings only get more powerful and fascinating. As PCs compete with smartphones, it gets even better. Software developers can adopt an ad-based model, donation-ware to keep things afloat, or a shareware/freemium model that charges for extra features.
Something to always watch for crapware installers. To make ends meet, many creators of otherwise great free software, or the services that offer the programs for download, bundle in things you don’t want. Worse, the installation routine obfuscates the steps, so you provide the unwanted program tacit permission to be installed.
One tip that helps prevent the extra crapware onslaught: only download desktop software from the maker of the software directly. It’s not foolproof—after all, developers want to eat, too—but it helps.