Free and open-source software is good for you and good for the world. This is the best free Mac software that we know of.

Open Source Mac is a simple list of the best free and open source software for Mac OS X. We aren’t trying to be a comprehensive listing of every open-source mac app, instead we want to showcase the best, most important, and easiest to use. This page should be a handy reference and a useful tool for getting more people to start using free and open-source software. If you think we’re missing any great apps, please let us know. Open Source Mac is of course hosted on Linux.

Note to software creators: first of all, thanks so much for making free, open-source software– we love you.

Second, if we linked to macupdate or versiontracker as the download page, it’s because we think your download page is too confusing for new users. It’s usually very easy to improve– just add a big ‘Download Now’ link towards the top of the page, without too much clutter around it (use mozilla.org or adiumx.com or bittorrent.com for inspiration).

Here’s some more unsolicited advice for getting more people to download your software:

  • if you have a nice icon, show it off prominently.
  • put a download link and a screenshot on your front page.
  • if you use mirrors, use a script to pick a random mirror and just give people one link that says ‘download now’
  • if there’s any way you can avoid sending people to the sourceforge download mirror page, you should (we know it’s not your fault, but it baffles lots of folks).
  • if you really want to make things easy for people, and you have a cross-platform app, detect what OS they are on and give them the correct link.
  • test your page on a novice! See if they can understand what the software does and how to get it.