10 great free desktop productivity tools that aren't OpenOffice.org

These free and open source applications for Windows, Linux, and Mac desktops put power into the hands of users without taking from their wallets

Desktop productivity tool No. 5: Paint.NET 3.5.5

This spectacular program comes closer than any other to replacing Photoshop for the casual user. It's neither cross-platform (it's Windows-only) nor open source (although it is free for use). But it's far more elegantly presented and immediately useful than its open source counterpart, GIMP. Layered editing, a gallery of plug-ins, tons of built-in effects (even some GPU-accelerated ones), and support for just about every major image format make this program well worth having. Paint.NET has some weaknesses -- namely, text handling is awkward, and there's no way to create nondestructive manipulation à la Photoshop's adjustment layers. Both of those are being worked on for future editions of the program, though.

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