The best free open source software for Mac OS X

If you live and work on a Mac, you'll want to try these 10 killer open source apps -- InfoWorld's top picks

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There are deeper forks too. A number of other browsers like Flock and XeroBank marry Firefox's core rendering engine with other features. Flock combines a social network layer to the browsing so that you can share your click stream more easily with your friends. Xerobank incorporates Tor, a proxy tool that blocks your location from the Web sites.

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Firefox's add-on mechanism lets you extend the browser's capabilities with features like the Firebug window on the bottom, showing the markup of the page in view.

Escape from Photoshop with GIMP or Seashore

There is only one problem with Adobe Photoshop: the price, close to $1,000 for the extended version and more than $2,000 for a big bundle with other tools.

But there's GIMP, the GNU Image Manipulation Program, which costs nothing. It's built mainly for the GNU/Linux world, so you can't use it without installing X11, a task that's not too hard if your original Mac OS X installer disks are handy. But it does almost everything that Photoshop can, and there's even a skinning function that makes it look like Photoshop.

Like Firefox, much of GIMP's value comes from the wide variety of plug-ins built by programmers and artists. Some tagged "script fu" are amalgamations of GIMP operations linked together by the built-in scheme programming language.

If you're not enough of a programmer to enjoy using the LISP-like Scheme, you have two other choices. First, run back into Adobe's fold and purchase Photoshop Elements, a version of the big tool with a much more attractive price; for just under $100, Photoshop Elements will also use most of the professional plug-ins sold for Photoshop. Or second, grab Seashore, a simple version of GIMP with only the most essential routines. It's already a Cocoa app, so there's no need to install X11.

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Seashore is a nice and simple tool for twiddling image files. It carries you back to the days of MacPaint.
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