Top 10 Desktop Applications
Notepad++ (Text Editor)
Probably the most handy tool a programmer can ask for. Basically, this is just Notepad on speed. It has everything a programmer could ask for - syntax highlighting (supports plenty of languages), tabbed viewing, indent guide, line numbers, tab sizing... I could go on. Essential for any programmer, no matter what your skill level.
Firefox (Web browswer)
Firefox is gaining popularity for a very good reason - it's good. Damn good. IE is too buggy, Opera too chunky. Firefox right there in the middle. And if you want to inject it with steroids you can through plugins and skins.
OpenOffice.org (Office suite)
An open source office suite that can run on most platforms. It's basically a free Microsoft Office replacement, and if you don't mind a few subtle changes, you'll find it better. My favourite feature is exporting in PDF format.
Azureus (Torrent client)
An open source torrent client. Lightweight, reliable, easy. Great tool for downloaders.
iTunes (Media player)
One word: slick. Two words: Very slick. Many words: Windows Media Player just plain sucks. There are other alternatives such as Foobar, which is pretty bloody awesome if you've got a spare 6 months up your sleeve to learn how to use it properly, but none of them are as good as iTunes. It's the perfect program for maintaining your music collection. The most recent update (iTunes 7) introduces much more accessible album art, which is the only real thing that was lacking in the last releases (which is probably why it's the only major change). In fact I'm wrong... allthough Apple are trying hard, they still haven't (in my opinion) mastered the video side of things. Thats why I use....
VLC (Video player)
A light weight video player. It doesn't include many features, but contains all the necessecities and a plethora of settings. Although I use it for all my video watching, the one thing that is lacking is any organisation. If I can find a program to organise my video collection I will be happy. I know there are some out there, but they suck. VLC will do for now.
Eclipse (Software development suite)
Free open source programming development suite. A programming suite developed in the open source community - a match-winning combination! It has all the settings you need and more, and supports plenty of languages. It also has an extensive Help section.
WinDirStat (System tool)
Sensational tool that helps you understand what files and folders are using up the space on your hard drive. A graphic display is generated, and if you see a big file or folder you can click on it and the program will tell you what that file is. It's too hard to explain; check the website for screenshots. Regardless, you will probably be thankful you downloaded this tool.
Audacity (Audio editing suite)
If you're into home recording, podcasting or anything to do with audio, this is a great place to start if you've never done it before. It's an open source audio editing program with all the basic features you need to get started. It's definitely no Adobe Audition, however it is much more lightweight meaning it works great with mid to lower end computers, whereas you probably only want to use Audition on a higher performance computer.
eMule (P2P client)
I haven't shopped around for other P2P clients at all in the last year because eMule has been so great to me. I'm sure there are other good clients like Limewire, but I haven't encountered any problems with this open source program; that's why I love it.