Preferred free and open-source software (FOSS)

This is our list of preferred free and open-source software (FOSS) and underlying technologies at workstation (WS) side. The aim of the list and the comments below is to improve interoperability at Embedeo, but it could be useful for the general public as well. Often, casual computer users are pleasantly surprised to discover that there are free and open source alternatives to commercial applications that they have been previously using.


To keep the list compact, we use some abbreviations in square brackets. A capital letter means that the software is either available or we recommend it for certain platform: BSD-style OS [B], GNU/Linux [L], Windows [W]. If there is [t], it means that we have not finished testing that software for our specific needs.

  • Web browser: Firefox [BLW]; also required for testing our web-based software.
  • Video and audio playback: VLC media player [BLW]. Supports huge number of popular video and audio formats.
  • Office software suite: word processor, spreadsheet, presentation program. LibreOffice is very powerful and feature-rich [BLW].
  • For accurate line art, like photographic targets, measurement gauges and rulers, we prefer programming directly in PostScript as in these examples.
  • Vector diagrams: Dia [BLW]. It is also excellent for exporting SVG vector graphics for web publishing. To see SVG examples, search for A1 or Z1 marking code in our SMD marking code database.
  • Inkscape is more powerful vector graphics editor, suitable also for artistic work [BLW].
  • Raster graphics editor: GIMP [BLW].
  • For programmable (command line) raster (and vector) image transformation, editing and analysis ImageMagick is preferred [BLW].
  • For WS-side C/C++ programming on Unix-like platforms, the preferred software suite is the one that comes as default, like GCC or LLVM/Clang [BL]. On Windows, the preferred suite is MinGW/MSYS [W].
  • Electronic design automation, PCB design: KiCad [BLW].
  • Audio recording and editor: Audacity [BLW].
  • Video editor: Avidemux [t].
  • Desktop publishing, document processing, typesetting: Scribus [t] or LyX [BLW].
  • If electronic data are intended for distribution under Windows, then the ZIP format can be used as a general archive, lossless compression format. The preferred implementation is Info-ZIP [BLW]. In Gentoo GNU/Linux these are the packages app-arch/unzip and app-arch/zip. On Windows the 7-zip software can also be used.

General information about some organisations related to free and/or open source philosophy can be obtained from (example list in random order): Free Software Foundation, Open Source Initiative, The FreeBSD Foundation. At Embedeo, we often refer to a good overview page of various licenses found on GNU website.

We wish to thank all developers and contributors of FOSS mentioned above!

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