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Free applications no longer implies poor quality. Here are three of my favourites.
Even if you don't have an iPod, Apple's supreme music player [www.apple.com/itunes/download/] is a delight. Use it for example to digitise your CD collection, which becomes easily searchable and always available.
Like Internet Explorer (IE), Firefox is a 'browser'. You use a browser to surf the Internet. There are no disadvantages in installing additional ones.
For extensive web browsing all [www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/all/] is excellent - select the language version you need.
See Libre Office download [www.libreoffice.org/download/] for one of the most important open source applications