Here are some essentials free tools available from internet.
OS Compilers Language Tutorials Office LaTeX Security
Audio/Video Players Audio Picture Video Codecs Others

Operating System

Ubuntu [FR] A Debian based linux
Open Suse A Suse based linux
Cent OS A Red Hat based linux
UNetbootin Install your Linux from a USB key
CygWin A Linux-like environment for Windows

C / C++

MS Visual 2005 Express Edition
GCC - GNU Compiler Collection (Linux only)
MinGW - Minimalist GNU for Windows (Win32 port of GCC)
GSL - GNU Scientific Library
LCC - win32


Programmers Notepad (Windows)
NEdit (Linux)
Scicoslab (incuding Scilab) formerly Scilab GTK
Java 2 SE (v 1.4.2) / Java 2 SE (v 1.5.0)
MySQL (v 4.1)
EasyPHP to develop PHP code with Windows


Opera The best web browser
OOo - and tutorials in french
Extended PDF and a tutorial in french
PDF Blender merges PDF documents
The PDF Toolkit command line tool for PDF files
GhostScript / GhostView
7zip (Windows)
FileZilla FTP client
Cobian Backup 8 Backup software
SyncBack Freeware V3.2.14 Files  synchronization software
JKDefrag a disk defragment utility
Gparted creates partitions on your hard drive
Ultimate Boot CD you need this bootable CD in case of crash


GhostScript / GhostView
MikTeX LaTeX for Windows
TEXnic Center LaTeX IDE for Windows
TEXaide : Not free anymore.
WMF2EPS Window metafile converter
Official WinFIG website
- XFIG User Manual
- A complete library for XFIG or WinFIG
- FRITS an electronical symbols library for Xfig.

Fig tools fig2eps and fig2pdf scripts for Linux
Fig tools fig2eps script for Windows


Avast, AVG Free Edition and Antivir free anti-virus
Ad-Aware SE and Spybot S&D free anti-spywares
Zone Alarm or KerioFree firewalls for Windows XP


Cours,tutoriels et documentations... (French)
Numerical Recipes in C
Here are some resouces in french for LaTeX :

Audio / Video players

VideoLAN VLC media player (do not use any codec)
WINAMP A great multimedia player / organizer for Windows
Zinf The GNU Open-source audio player / organizer

Audio tools

CDex Extract and convert CD tracks in various formats (MP3, Ogg, VQF, AAC, Wav, ...)
Rarewares Free audio tools converters
Audacity A sound editor
Kristal Audio EngineA free multi-track sequencer

Picture/Photography tools

the GIMP The ultimate GNU Image Manipulation Program
"Grokking the GIMP" is THE book you have to read about the GIMP [in english] [en français]
PTAssember : Not free anymore.
Terragen Landscapes creation
Blender 3D graphics creation
Chaoscope 3D strange attractor rendering software

Video tools

CamStudio Make video tutorials easily
Slide Show Movie Maker
Virtual Dub


Ogg Vorbis The free open source audio codec (better than MP$)
Lame MP3 Codec The free open source MP3 audio codec (requiered by Audacity or Virtual Dub)
- For CDex or Audacity : LAME exe and dll
- For Virtual Dub : LAME ACM
Xvid The free open source MPEG 4 video codec
DivX Codec The most popular video
Tsunami Mpeg Encoder converts video files to MPEG1 (VCD) or MPEG2 (SVCD and DVD)


Visible Earth - Earth's City Lights A great wallpaper
CDisplay Comic Reader to read comic books on your PC
Semantic Atlas French-English dictionnary from CNRS
Publish or Perish Research impact software (using Google Scholar database)

You're settling for good when there's awesome.  Upgrade to Firefox 3.6!