I love open source software and the inherent business model for it. I love for software to be free and pay for support when I need it. This means that as a tinkerer, I can continue to play around with cool and interesting things I find, adapt software to fit my needs, and give back to the community when I can. Besides, software shouldn’t be prohibitively expensive so as to cut out all but corporate users — that stifles innovation.
So with that being said, here are few of my favorites, with more to be added later.
This is a 95% (ish) MATLAB compatible open source project, which is awesome if you don’t have 3 grand lying around to buy the real deal and don’t qualify for a student license. There are many toolboxes available at the Octave forge.
OpenCV is a great library for machine vision. It has bindings to C, python, perl, to name just a few. I’ve used in numerous projects with great success. If you have any familiarity with MATLAB’s image toolbox, the functions should feel familiar and right at home.
This is a full office sweet which rivals MS Office in all but Visio. In fact, the one area that it wins hands down is in equation editing, which is one of the easiest to integrate into a report or document in my opinion. While the program will export to MS formats, not all formatting will carry through. It gets my thumbs up.
While this is not a software package but a website, they do track nearly all relevant Linux and Unix (read FreeBSD) Distributions known to man. If you are looking for a specific distribution to accomplish one teeny-tiny custom function and someone has created a linux variant to do that one particular thing, chances are DistroWatch will know about it. Of course they know about all the big ones as well, like Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, CEntOS, etc…