Free Stuff Directory
Are you poor? Do you hate capitalism? Are you sick of giving out your private info in exchange for services? You're in luck. I've been collecting links to free resources all over the web for a while now. Take a look through the links below, and if you know of any I should add, send me an email.
- Operating Systems
- Learning Resources
- Web Hosting
- Find your local library
- Your local library needs your support. Many local branches suffer from funding shortages, and with the introduction of ebooks, they now face predatory pricing schemes from publishers that eat into these dwindling budgets even more. Please consider giving to your local branch in any way that they prefer.
Once you’ve located your local branch and signed up, you may be able to use the following services:
- Gutenberg.org - Thousands of public domain books, with more being added every day.
- Standard e-books - Public domain books that have been specially formatted to be easy to read on screens
- Public Domain Review - more than just books, this is an online journal that features different collections in the public domain. I’ve learned a lot and found tons of beautiful images here.
- LibriVox - Public domain audio books. Also available on Archive.org
- Baen Free Library - Free sci-fi novels and short stories
- Phillip K. Dick short stories
- Metropolitan Museum of Art Free Book Collection - Free nonfiction art books, many focusing on history and culture.
- Project Aeon Game Books - Used to be available in print (and maybe still are), but the authors are offering them online for free now. Kind of like CYOA but on steroids.
- Global Grey Books - Personally maintained project of self-made ebooks, many religious and esoteric topics here.
- CommonsWare Books - E-books about programming that are now licensed under Creative Commons
- FLOSS manuals - TONS of free manuals about different open source software
- Sacred-texts.com - Texts from just about every religious tradition in the world. This has been a favorite of mine for a long time!
- Free Music Archive
- Archive.org community uploads
- Bandcamp.com - sort by free
- CyberGrunge.net - Free net music (noisecore, experimental, electronic) hosting by a MelonLand native. Most of it is not my style, but the site itself is super cool and I love what they're doing here.
- Archive.org 78 RPM collections - Dedicated to cataloguing the vast catalogue of music from 78 records, most of which was never transferred to anything else, before they all break and disappear forever.
- Archive.org's cassette collection - digitized cassette tapes. Not all are music; you can find some weird stuff here
- Atari Music Archives - Almost all written by enthusiasts over the decades. If you like chiptune, this'll keep you busy for months.
- Jackhouse Radio - Internet radio stream featuring dance/house/techno and the like. Does play ads.
- Radio Garden - Radio from around the world. Very intuitive interface
- Rain Wave Radio - Game music internet radio station
- Waveplaza at Archive.org - Archive of lesser-known vaporwave
- Library of Alexandria 2000 - An archival collection of Vaporwave albums that are no longer available for purchase.
- Ivan.moe - Similar to the above, this is another archive project dedicated to Vaporwave. There's probably a lot of overlap here, but I feel it's important to have mirrored (or similar) sources in case something happens to one of them.
- Loyalty Freak Music - Really awesome personal collection of Creative Commons music, most composed by the webmaster.
- Lost MySpace - A searchable archive of music that was on MySpace
- Mirsoft GameMids - Game music in MIDI format
- Exotica - Not porn, I promise. It's a collection of Amiga game music and other related things, like box art scans.
- Archive's mirror of Jamendo.com - Jamendo.com is still up and functioning, but it seems to be getting a bit...Spotifyish...so if you're wary of being tracked and all that, you can listen to their music here.
- Birp.fm - Hand-curated lists of indie music by a music enthusiast. You can play the music directly on the site, but it also includes links to popular services where you can listen and purchase.
- Planet Boelex - This is one of my favorite musical artists and has been for a very long time. They make electronic/trance/ambient, and all of it is licensed under Creative Commons.
- My full curated list of podcasts is here: https://www.thefrugalgamer.net/blog/index.php?/archives/17-My-Giant-Podcasts-Masterlist.html
- Archive.org's collection of Old Time Radio shows
- 1920's Radio Network - An internet radio stream of music and programs from the 1920's
- Relic Radio - More old timey radio shows
- Musopen - Free sheet music
- Citizen DJ - Online remix tool using Public Domain resources. From the Library of Congress
- Prelinger Archives at Archive.org - Free public domain movies. Some are educational, some are news reels, some are full length feature films
- My 90's TV - Commercials, music videos, programs. Also has links to similar sites for the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, and 2000's.
- Toonami Aftermath - All Toonami, all the time!
- Open Culture's list of free movies - Both fiction and non fiction.
- Ubu Film - Avant-garde films presented for educational purposes
- The Video Store - A collection of nostalgic commercials and other old stuff
- I Have No TV - Curated collection of free documentaries
- VidCommons.org - Peertube instance dedicated to archiving public domain and free license content.
- Archive.org's Laserdisc collection - Lots of cartoons and some anime, along with a ton of other stuff
If you’re a retrogamer, you’re in a perfect position to play thousands of games cheap or for free. Older games can be found easily and cheap all over the place.
- Itch.io - not all free, but it’s DRM free and purchases go directly to developers. Sort by free
- DriveThruRPG - For tabletop gaming. Again, not all free, but purchases go directly to authors. The same company also operates DriveThruComics, DriveThruFiction, DriveThruCards and StoryTellersVault.
- Archive.org - arcade games archive, DOS games archive
- Diablo online - Basically it's the Doom Engine, but in your browser. You'll need the Doom files, but once you've got those, just upload them and go!
- Abandonia - Abandonia is an archive for games that have been abandoned and are no longer supported or maintained. It's been one of my favorites for a while, has a good search function, and contains overviews and reviews of each game on the site.
- Reloaded.org - Game site decidated to retro remakes and freeware.
- XTC Abandonware - Very similar to Abandonia, but it's always good to have mirrors. Also allows you to play in your browser.
- AbandonwareDOS - Not just for DOS, this one also includes Mac games and lets you play them in your browser.
- MyAbandonware - Much like the ones above, but it's consistently higher in most search results so it's a bit more popular. Always good to have alternatives!
- Oolite.org - open source clone of the original Elite Dangerous
- Macintosh Repository - This one is specifically for Macintosh games and software.
- Mobility - Free Transport Tycoon game in German
- StepMania - Free dance & rhythm game for Windows with support for adding your own songs
- Unciv - Open source clone of Civ1
- PySol - Free solitaire collection written in Python
- IFArchive - The Interactive Fiction archive!
- QuakeJS - Online implementation of Quake2 in your web browser
- DOS Games Archive - More DOS Games.
- DOS Haven - This one contains homebrew and indie games, mostly released recently. Neat!
- Classic DOS Games - Contains shareware-turned-freeware turned games. The rest of the site contains a lot of neat content about old games, including interviews with developers and other articles.
- Anna Archive - Shareware, scans, magazines, and other old stuff.
- Total DOS Collection on Archive.org - Archival project hosted in one big ZIP file.
- ExoDOS - This is a project aimed at making old adventure games playable via DOSBox.
- Bytemoth's Gaming Links - Fellow MelonLand resident Bytemoth has a great collection of links for retro and free gaming.
- Vimm's Lair - Tons of ROMs and emulators, and also home to the Manual Project, which aims to catalogue as many video game manuals as possible
- Old-games.com - What it says on the tin.
- Awesome Game Remakes - This is a huge list on Github of links to remakes of classic games
- Libre office - Free and open source software (FOSS)
- Open Office - FOSS
- Free Office - Free, but not open source
- 7zip - Free open source file compression and archiving.
- Void Tools Everything - Free search tool for Windows that works MUCH better than the inbuilt one. This thing has saved my butt so many times!
- Atomic Scribbler - Aimed at novel writers
- Hemingway App - Web version is free, desktop version is paid and meant to support developers
- Shaxpir - Desktop software that includes free version and paid subscription. Includes world building tools
- GhostWriter - GNU Markdown editor created by KDE
- Photopea - Free, with option to remove ads for a year. The creator does not personally want to work on an online version, so someone has created one and posted it on Github here: https://github.com/suzuke/photopea
- Gimp - GNU Image Manipulation Program. Has a learning curve and it's not my favorite, nevermind that terrible name, but it'll do anything you need it to with some work.
- Paint.net - Another much easier to use free paint program
- Alpaca - contains ads, popular with anime community
- Krita - FOSS, included in most Linux distros, Krita is more of a painting program than an image editor, but it is easy and fun t ouse.
- Aesprite - Paid, but open source
- Piskel - Online pixel/sprite editor
- Inkscape - Vector editor. I've been using this program for years and I love it.
- Tilemancer - No longer being developed; supersceded by Tilesetter.
- Audacity - Free, open source, multiplatform audio editor
- Milkytracker - Open source, multiplatform music editor for making .MOD files
- Nanoloop - Originally created for the DMG Game Boy, it now has Android and iOS ports and can be used with dedicated hardware. There is no Windows version, but it can be played in an emulator.
- LSDj - This is another very popular music program for the Game Boy
- Jummbus - An online tool for sketching chiptune melodies. Allows you to share your creations by putting the music in the share URL
- Laborejo - A handful of free music programs geared towards MIDI
- Signal Editor - Online MIDI editor; I used this to make most of the tunes on my Music page.
- OnlineSequencer.net - This is another online MIDI tool that I used before switching to Signal.
- VLC - Free and open source media player than handles a ton of formats.
- Youtube-dl - The best way to download youtube videos and others. Command line only, but it's got a wealth of features. If YouTube-dl can't grab it, it probably can't be grabbed.
- NewPipe - Alternative frontend for Youtube that supports downloading. Functionality is spotty though because Youtube keeps trying to kill it with every update. Android only, unfortunately.
- PeerTube - Peertube is a video hosting suite that ties into the fediverse. There's a list of instances here, or you can check out my instance here. I'm not currently accepting sign ups, but I've allowed global searching so that you can use it to search the entire PeerTube network.
- DTube - An alternative to YouTube that is not based on PeerTube and seems to have a minimum of alt-right content (because these services tend to get overloaded with them pretty quickly). Note that they have an associated cryptocurrency
- Open Shot - FOSS video editing software
- Shotcut - FOSS video editing software. I've used both this and Open Shot above, and I think which one is better comes down to a matter of preference.
Most of these are for Game development, because that's most of what I do right now.
- Godot - Free and open source 2D and 3D game engine. I've worked with this one and I like it alot. It supports C#, but also has a Godot-specific "Godot script" which is very easy to use. Documentation is pretty great and it's easy to pick up.
- Monoengine - Open Source implementation of MS's XNA framework, so it supports modern consoles
- Tic-80 - Tic-80 is a fantasy console, very much like Pico-8.
- Pico-8 - This is probably the most famous of the fantasy consoles. There's a ton of documentation for it and tons of games that have been made for it. I even have a blurb about it on my Games page!
- Bitsy - A very simple 2-color game maker that only supports walking around and interacting with talk bubbles. It sounds too simple to be interesting, but people have used it make hundreds of wonderful little stories. There are even plug ins that can extend the functionality a little bit if you want to add things like multiple endings.
- GBStudio - GB Studio is a free visual development engine that lets you build games for the original Game Boy. It's very easy to pick up, and it's the game creator that I used to make Henry Is Hungry. It does have some limitations, but this is to be expected from a development environment that targets older hardware.
- Build Engine - Build Engine is an older game engine that was used to make Duke Nuken, Shadow Warrior, and a great many others. It works similarly to the Doom Engine, if you've ever worked with that one.
- Decker - Decker is a modern implementation of HyperCard, and is described as a tool for making interactive documents. Its primary purpose isn't necessarily for gaming, but it can be used to make simple games.
- Tny - Another fantasy console that works similarly to machine code. There aren't as many games made for this as some of the others, but if you like machine code, definitely check it out!
- Voxatron - Made by the same folks as the Pico-8. It’s no longer supported and not nearly as popular, but I personally like it a lot, so I’m pushing for it here. My website, my rules.
- Solarus - Open source GNU 2D game engine written in Lua. I've never worked with this one but it looks pretty neat.
Note: If you're really into fantasy consoles, there's a whole curated list of them on Github here: https://github.com/paladin-t/fantasy
Note 2: I don't really consider Unity to be free anymore, because of changes they've made to their services lately
- Glyphr - Free online font editor that supports bezier curves and is specifically made for hobbyists.
- Fontstruct - I LOVE Fontstruct, and have used it to create many of my own fonts. This website has an online font editor that works similarly to a pixel editor, but you have more pen shapes to chose from. Excellent for creating Bitmap fonts. It will seem weird at first, but once you get used to the tools it can be used to make all sorts of fonts.
- Birdfont - Free desktop font editor. I've used it myself and it's very easy to pick up.
- Font Forge - Free open source font editor
If you're struggling to choose a Linux distribution, you should know that the main thing you will need to focus on is how to use Linux in general. Once you pick up the basic skills of working with any of the Linux flavors you chose, you can transfer them to others fairly easily, so don't worry too much about picking the wrong one. Ubuntu and the ones based on it are generally easiest for beginners to pick up, not only because they're easy on the eyes, but because there's a lot of support for them already, and anything that will work on Ubuntu will generally work on its derivatives. I would personally start with one of those, and then once you're more comfortable you will know more about what you need.
- Ubuntu Desktop - The original, obviously.
- Linux Mint - Based on Ubuntu. This is the one I use and I love it! You can see what I have it installed on in my blog. Everything so far has "just worked," with the exception of my video chip which is ancient and not even supported by its maker.
- Kubuntu - Combines Ubuntu with KDE, a specific desktop environment that controls what your windows and desktop look like. There are several popular desktop environments (KDE, GNOME, Plasma), and they're really just a matter of personal opinion.
- Lubuntu - This flavor is designed to run lighter than others, so you would probably want to go with this one if you have very limited hardware.
- Pop OS - Meant for STEM folks or creative types who need a workhorse for their projects. This one is definitely meant for beefier hardware.
- Elementary OS - This OS is meant to look and behave like MacOS, although they also advertise it as an alternative to Windows as well. Very pretty looking!
Debian and Debian-based
- Debian - This is the original distro that Ubuntu was based on. It continues to be popular and has several flavors of its own.
- Siduction - Debian based, there's nothing software-wise that I can find which would set this apart from other distros. Instead they are heavily aligned with the GNU free software foundation, so theirs is more of a philosophical approach to the OS rather than a functional one. If you're wanting an ethical OS, this would be a good choice.
- Tails OS - A privacy-centric OS that can be run off of a USB stick.
ArchLinux and ArchLinux-based
- ArchLinux - This is an independently developed flavor of Linux, with several different derivatives of its own.
- Manjaro - Based on ArchLinux
- Garuda - Also based on ArchLinux, and meant to be fairly configurable. Can be used with any of the popular desktop environments you prefer.
- TinyCore - Probably the smallest Linux distro, clocking in at 17MB. As such, there are a lot of things it can't do, but it will allow you to install whatever you need to do those things. This is not a general purpose OS, obviously, but if you need it, you probably know who you are.
- Endeavor OS - Terminal based OS that comes with very few packages installed by default, so this is definitely not for beginners. You can install any desktop manager you like once you get it going, though.
- Slackware - A slightly less popular Linux flavor that is meant to mimic UNIX as closely as possible.
- Puppy Linux - You can get Puppy Linux in Ubuntu, Raspbian, and Slackware flavors, but all three are meant to look and act exactly the same. It is geared towards beginners and those who generally do not have much familiarity with computers.
- Void Linux - Independent Linux distribution with its own package manager (kind of like the AppStore, but for your PC). It uses XFCE as its desktop environment. Probably not for beginners.
Feeling adventurous? Due to their obscurity, and thus lack of support, probably none of the OSes will be good choices for a daily work machine, but they're all very interesting and useful in their own right. Most of these are smaller, so they'd be excellent for smaller, single-board machines like the Raspberry Pi or others (provided the hardware is compatible).
- MikeOS - MikeOS is an assembly-language based 16-bit operating system meant to teach people how simpler operating systems are coded and work. The code is extensively commented so that users can look at it and see how everything works under the hood.
- SymbOS - A GUI-based operating system that was developed for the Amistrad CPC, an 8-bit home PC originally released in 1984. The project has been in continual development since 2000, and is truly a labor of love. It's also gorgeous.
- ArOS - ArOS is a modern OS designed for Amiga computers, but can be run on others as well.
- Icaros - A fork of AROS meant for modern PCs.
- Toaruos - This is a hobby OS designed by a single person over the course of eleven years. Truly an amazing accomplishment!
- SkiftOS - Another hobby project, made with C++. I am in awe of these people.
- Syllable - Syllable is based in part on Linux and the GNU project, but is not actually a Linux operating system. It is designed to conform to the POSIX standard, which is a set of principles that UNIX (and all OSes based on it) follows about how its code should work. This OS and the one it is based on (below) and programmed with a language called Meta (not affiliated with Facebook)
- AtheOS - This is the OS Syllable was originally based on, and is no longer in development. It is interesting to look at because it is made using the same language and can still be used as a historical artifact.
- Wayne OS - Free and open source alternative to ChromeOS, meant to be run on Chromebooks or other thin clients.
- FreeDOS - GNU implementation of DOS. Oh yeah, baby! You can use this to play old DOS games, run DOS software, etc. etc. Awesome.
- HelenOS - An OS written from scratch that has some interesting ways of interacting with hardware.
- MenuetOS - Another OS written in assembly language that is meant to remain as "flat" as possible, in terms of abstraction.
- Kolibrios - A fork of MenuetOS that is very lightweight and does not require heavy hardware to run.
- TempleOS - The story behind this OS is a fascinating one that you should definitely read. It was created by one person, who while suffering from Schizophrenia had a religious epiphany. The resulting OS is meant to be the third temple of Jerusalem prophesied in the Bible.
- ReactOS - Open source implementation of WindowsNT
- HaikuOS - An open source OS that was inspired by BeOS
- USN - Another very tiny operating system written in Assembly by the folks over at the Hundred Rabbits collective.
- Wayne's Word - Online "biology textbook" of sorts, written by a Biology professor and all online for free, as a static website. It was written directly for the web, so I'm not including it under books for that reason, but you could read through this one for weeks.
- Learn 101 - Language learning lessons for tons of languages
- Let's Learn Together - Neocities site with a ton of articles about all sorts of topics. Created by someone who has a passion for learning and sharing knowledge.
- Neocities - Free static web hosting with some social network features. The paid tier gets you more choices, but there are no ads
- Wordpress.com - Different from Wordpress.org, which hosts the software downloads. Wordpress.com gets you a free blog, supported by ads
- Blogger - Blogger is now owned by Google, so I advise against using it if at all possible. Plus, I worry that they'll shutter like they've done with so many other services.
- Dreamwidth - I'm probably partial to this one because it's run by Dreamhost, my hosting provider. I've been pretty happy with them, and they're funded by customers like me. It's basically like Livejournal, though.
- Livejournal - Still around, though not nearly as popular as it once was. George R.R. Martin still maintains his, so there’s that. A lot of folks left because it got bought by a Russian-government backed company, and they (the government, not the site) have a proven history of persecuting LGBTQ groups, which were pretty huge on the platform. It cleared out pretty quick after that.
- Github - I have mixed feelings about this. I feel like it's too pervasive at this point and it worries me. However, a good number of people not only use it for hosting, but also use it to organize backups for their sites, and have been happy with the service they've gotten.
- Infinity Free - Back before I moved to Dreamhost, I set my site up on Infinity Free since they offered PHP without having to upgrade to a paid account. The free service survives by showing ads in the control panel (not to your visitors) and by funneling some customers to their paid services. They will delete your site if you ignore it for a while, so make sure to log in frequently.
- Atspace - Aaaaand before I was even on InfinityFree, Atspace was where I had my original site, Wayward. They were pretty good to me there, although this was years ago and they only supported static sites then. You'll get a bit more now and they'll even let you have a MySQL database if you want.
These are resources that fall under multiple categories, or provide lists to other resource links.
- Open Culture - Movies, books, audio, courses, etc.
- Awesome Self-hosted - This is a list on Github of self-hosting options. Not all of them are free, but I'm including it here because we often look for self hosting options as an alternative to paying for subscription services.
- Open Source Mac OS Apps - From Github, these cover a variety of functions.
- Awesome stock resources - Lists of links to free stock resources