Brief: If you are looking for free and open source software, here are some websites from where you can download free software.
Where can I download open source software?
I have been asked this question several times and I usually have the same answer. So I thought instead of replying to individual emails, I would put a list of sources in an article so other people can also benefit from it.
You can always find software in the software center of your Linux distributions, the description usually specify whether or not it is open source. Of course, project websites also distribute the software. But apart from them, if you are in browsing mode and just looking for interesting softwares to download, there are several websites that list and host open source software.
Best websites to find and download open source software
Some websites provide a way to effectively collaborate for open source software development but that is not our focus here. We’ll be focusing on web-portals that host and distribute open source projects.
Just to clarify, the list is not in any specific order. So, here we go with the list of websites that host or list open source software. Feel free to bookmark them.
SourceForge is one of the earliest portals to host and distribute open source software. Over the years, SourceForge has become one of the premier resources for open source projects.
SourceForge boasts of hosting over 500,000 projects and has millions of registered users. It sees over 4 million downloads a day from over 30 million monthly users.
You can find featured open source projects on its homepage along with editor’s choice projects. You can also browse software in various categories. A search option is available too.
SourceForge also provides stats on downloads so you can see if the project is popular or not. The project page also shows which operating system is supported and which license is used.
Registered members can also rate and review software, similar to what you see on Play Store and App Store.
SourceForge ran into controversy in 2013-14 when it tried to monetize the downloads with adware. Thankfully, it is now owned by Slashdot Media and its president Logan Abbott has ensured that the software remains free from ads.
Logan has also indicated that there will be a redesign of the website soon giving it a more modern look and making it more user-friendly.
OSDN stands for Open Source Development Network. It provides a bunch of free-of-charge services for open source software developers. These services include SVN/Git/Mercurial/Bazaar/CVS repositories, mailing lists, bug tracking system, bulletin board and forum, website hosting, release file download service, file archive, complete backup, shell environment etc.
Over 55,000 projects use OSDN services. Even big names like Manjaro Linux host their project on OSDN.
As and end user, you can use OSDN for finding and downloading open source software. Their download page has a list of software categories you can browse through and download.
FossHub was founded in 2007 with the goal of becoming “reliable place for users who wish to download their favorite software titles and as a trustworthy partner for certain free projects”.
It provides fast worldwide servers and optimized pages for a fast load and download of open source software. They have only direct download links so no further redirection or waiting time there.
Project page lists the total number of downloads. It also shows the supported operating systems.
You can also rate and review the software, even if you are not a registered member.
Just to be clear, FossHub also hosts selected few closed-source freeware. This may confuse some people as they might expect FossHub to host only free and open source software.
It would be better if they clearly mention on each project page if the concerned software is FOSS or not.
GitHub is slightly different from the two discussed above. GitHub is more focused on hosting source code and project development. But it is also extensively used for distributing software.
Projects can make their own web pages on GitHub and can provide the direct download from it. Software can also be downloaded directly from the main repository.
As an end user, you won’t find GitHub very friendly for browsing software and downloading it. But if you are a developer, GitHub is heaven for you.
F-Droid is a platform to list and distribute free and open source software for Android.
You can browse FOSS Android apps in various categories. You can also download the APK files directly from the website but it is recommended to use F-Droid client for installing the apps.
With F-Droid client, your installed Android app will get updates. If you directly use the APK, it won’t get updates and thus will pose a security risk.
You can visit their website below:
I would like to mention Savannah from GNU for downloading free and open source software here. It’s an old-school website from FSF that I don’t find very user-friendly. However, you can be sure to get 100 percent free and open source software here.
alternativeTo is also a good place to find open source alternative software recommendations. You can filter by platform and licenses to ensure that you are getting the appropriate recommendation. However, it doesn’t host the projects itself.
Now, this list may not be exhaustive and you might know of some other such websites that host and distribute open source software. If so, please mention them in the comment section below and help me improve this list of websites to download open source software?