lugh.ch

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What is good software to me? A list of useful software I value


Useful software often doesn't get the recognition it deserves. Here's my non-exhaustive list of things I enjoy(ed). I tried to mark the ones only available on certain OSes.

If I remember, I'll update this post over time to reflect change.

Qualification criteria

Good software, for me, is software that meets one or multiple of these points:

  • Fills a niche in an exceptional way
  • Has a healthy community/ecosystem or established it
  • Is on the users side
  • Does one thing, but does it well/is innovative
  • Is, in the best case, not billed periodically or SaaS

My vast list of great software

  • Web
    • Firefox - the only remaining privacy-protecting web browser. I use the Send page to device feature regularly
    • curl - Where would the world be without curl? It's used everywhere. Good handling of vulnerabilities too
  • Graphics
    • IrfanView [Windows] - The better image viewer, organiser and converter than ACDSee. Back in the days it was distributed as Postcardware
    • RawTherapee - Open source RAW image processing
  • Terminal emulators
    • Alacritty - GPU-accelerated. Configurable with a config file
    • iTerm2 [macOS] - until they announced an AI integration
    • cool-retro-term - I sometimes use it for nostalgy feels
  • Text
  • Operating systems
    • Debian - Stable, upgradeable and free (as freedom). Fast security updates. The base for may other distributions. One if not the first distribution using reproducible builds
    • Arch Linux and Gentoo - both distributions made me learn so much things to understand lower-level Linux concepts. They have very good documentation
    • Rocky Linux - Saving enterprise Linux
    • FreeBSD, OpenBSD - Good docs, good software
  • Server things
    • Dovecot - Highly-configurable IMAP server with amazing documentation. Has a very good security track record
    • nginx - As much as I liked to configurability and modules Apache offers, nginx's configuration is cleaner and more manageable
    • Terraform/OpenTofu - Not the only IaC tool, but probably the one with most integrations. Pretty usable for non-developers
    • Ansible - Approachable configuration management
    • ProxySQL - Router for MySQL. You can direct/throttle/block SQL queries
  • CLI tools
    • glow - Lightly formats Markdown on the CLI. Useful to not lose context, but still have a short look at a README.md or CHANGELOG.md
    • dos2unix - Saves so much time and energy
    • Midnight Commander - Need to extract/view one file from a tar.gz? mc is your friend
  • Desktop
    • yabai [macOS] - Tiling window manager. Arranging windows with the mouse? Blasphemy!
    • skhd [macOS] - Systemwide hotkeys. Useful in conjunction with yabai
    • Shortcat [macOS] - Mouseless navigation
    • Maccy [macOS] - Keyboard-first clipboard manag that allows you to search and pin entries. I also like that you see the application and date an entry was added
  • Security
    • Passwort managers
      • KeePassXC - Offline. TOTP, YubiKey support, allows to save any kind of sensitive data in a structured way
    • VPN
      • Tunnelblick [macOS] - OpenVPN client with extensive features (if you need configurability) that just works
    • Firewall
      • pfSense - Firewall project based on FreeBSD
  • 3D printing
    • PrusaSlicer - enhanced/based on the original Slic3r community project.
    • OpenSCAD - The Programmers Solid 3D CAD Modeller
    • OctoPrint - Web interface for 3D printing with everything you might need
  • Keyboards
    • QMK - The customizable keyboard firmware gold standard IMHO
  • Games

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