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Software Standards


Mandatory software is in boldface. Mandatory software must be installed and configured on your machine, and you should be prepared to use it as needed. You may use alternatives, as long as your work is fully compatible with the mandatory software. Documentation assumes you're using the mandatory software, unless otherwise noted. In-house support may be limited for workflows with non-mandatory software.

Recommended alternative software is in regular face. If an alternative to mandatory software is needed or desired, we recommend these be considered first. In-house support is still generally available.

Optional alternative software is in italics. In-house support for these is limited.

† Transitional only, not for final file output.

‡ Limited support, no in-house tech support.

$ Proprietary, permitted but not officially supported by the company. Should be used transitionally.

Software Recommendations

Office Software

Office Suites

  • LibreOffice 6
  • Calligra


  • LibreOffice Writer 6
  • AbiWord
  • Calligra Words
  • Writer


  • LibreOffice Calc 6
  • Calligra Sheets
  • Calc


  • LibreOffice Impress 6
  • Calligra Stage
  • Impress


  • Dia
  • LibreOffice Draw 6
  • Calligra Flow
  • Draw

Office Database

  • LibreOffice Base 6
  • Calligra Kexi
  • Base

PDF Annotation

  • Xournal

Math and Formulas

  • LibreOffice Math 6
  • GeoGebra
  • ZeGrapher
  • Math

Collaborative Editing

  • Visual Studio Code: Live Share (text/code only)
  • Etherpad [DevNet] (text/code only)
  • AbiWord

Desktop Publishing

  • Scribus
  • LibreOffice Writer 6
  • Calligra Words
  • Writer


  • Calligra Braindump
  • Freemind

Desktop Email Client

  • Evolution
  • Thunderbird
  • Geary

Web Browser

  • Brave
  • Firefox
  • Chromium
  • Opera
  • Vivaldi


  • VirtualBox

Graphics Design

Image Manipulation

  • GIMP


  • FlameshotJS
  • Shutter

Raster Graphics

  • GIMP
  • Krita (Calligra)

Vector Drawing

  • Inkscape
  • Calligra Karbon


  • Darktable
  • RawTherapee

Image Conversion

  • Converseen

3D Design

  • Blender

Video Editing

  • Kdenlive
  • Shotcut
  • Pitvi
  • OpenShot
  • Roxio NXT Creator 2 $


Recording and Editing

  • Audacity
  • Ardour DAW
  • Apple GarageBand $†

Music Creation

  • LMMS
  • Hydrogen
  • Garritan $†
  • Apple GarageBand $†

Music Score

  • MuseScore


Text Editor

  • Visual Studio Code
  • Atom
  • Geany
  • KATE
  • Nano
  • Vim
  • Brackets
  • Emacs
  • Sublime $‡

Build Tools

  • CMake


  • Visual Studio Code
  • Atom
  • Code::Blocks
  • Geany
  • Vim
  • Anjuta
  • Brackets
  • CodeLite
  • Eclipse CDT
  • Emacs
  • Kdevelop
  • Netbeans
  • Sublime $‡

C/C++ Debuggers and Dynamic Analysers

  • Visual Studio Code (debugging frontend)
  • gdb or lldb
  • KCacheGrind
  • Valgrind
  • Bless Hex Editor
  • Nemiver
  • Sysprof

C/C++ Static Analysers and Formatters

  • clang-format
  • cppcheck
  • AStyle
  • cccc

C/C++ Testing

  • Goldilocks


  • Docker

RestructuredText IDE

  • Visual Studio Code
  • Atom
  • Geany
  • Vim
  • Brackets

Collaboration/Pair Programming

  • Visual Studio Code: Live Share

Python IDE

  • Visual Studio Code
  • Atom
  • Geany
  • PyCharm Community Edition
  • Vim
  • Aptana
  • Brackets
  • Emacs
  • Eric
  • Pydev
  • Kdevelop
  • Spyder
  • Sublime $‡

Python Debuggers and Dynamic Analysers

  • pdb
  • pudb

Python Static Analysers and Formatters

  • black
  • flake8 (includes PyFlakes, pycodestyle, mccabe)
  • bandit
  • flake8-bandit
  • flake8-datetimez
  • flake8-docstrings
  • flake8-pytest
  • flake8-mypy
  • flake8-regex
  • flake8-requirements
  • mypy
  • pydocstyle
  • pylint

Python Testing

  • pytest
  • ward

Version Control Software

  • Git
  • Arcanist
  • Meld
  • Git Cola

Operating Systems

  • Ubuntu
  • Debian
  • Kubuntu
  • Linux Mint
  • Lubuntu
  • Ubuntu Studio
  • Xubuntu
  • Arch Linux
  • Fedora
  • Windows 10 with WSL

Disallowed Software


This list doesn't apply to open source contributors, although we strongly discourage use of the software below.

Why Disallow Software?

The idea of “Officially Disallowing” software for company use might initially seem to be overkill, but there is a logic to it. The decision is, again, not made lightly. In most cases, the software title in question contains security and privacy issues, bugs, or compatibility issues that make its use a significant business and development risk. In other cases, the software is disallowed on grounds of licensing issues. Paying several thousand dollars extra for commercial licensing is impractical when there is equivalent open-source software available.

It is worth noting that, while not the sole factor, drastic conflicts in business ethics were also taken into consideration. MousePaw Media is built around the conviction that educational and creative technologies should be accessible to everyone, not just those with a lot of money. Relying on corporations whose business practices are at stark odds with this ethic is, frankly, counter-intuitive.

Disallowed Software List

The following may NOT be used for company purposes, under any circumstances, unless otherwise noted or unless special permission is given by a supervisor. If you need more details, talk to Jason C. McDonald directly. (You are welcome to use these for personal reasons all you want.


No Adobe products may be used for development, due to licensing costs, file-type compatibility, and ethical concerns. (All useful Adobe products have an open-source equivalent in our present standards.) This includes Adobe Flash.


No Autodesk products may be used for development, due to licensing costs, file-type compatibility, and ethical concerns. (All useful Autodesk products have an open-source equivalent in our present standards.) This includes AutoCAD, 3ds Max, Maya, and Sketchbook.

Existing files may be opened with personal copies of Autodesk software for review and export purposes only.

MP3 File Format

Due to licensing and patent concerns, the MP3 format may NOT be used for any audio.

EXCEPTION: A copy (NOT the master) of the audio may be saved as an MP3 for compatibility with third-party services and software. Distribution in MP3 is only allowed if the distribution platform strictly requires that format.

Microsoft Internet Explorer

Due to serious security and performance issues, Microsoft Internet Explorer is NOT to be used under any circumstances for company purposes, including (but not limited to) accessing the staff network, company-commissioned web design, or accessing any website for work-related reasons.

Microsoft Office

Due to some ODT compatibility issues, and a lack of in-company training and support, Microsoft Office is NOT to be used on any company documents.

Trimble SketchUp (formerly Google SketchUp)

Due to licensing costs, SketchUp may only be used for internal idea drafting, and is strongly discouraged even for this.

Microsoft Windows

As of 2019, due to revisions in the Terms of Service and Privacy Policies for Microsoft, we have lifted the ban on Microsoft Windows. However, we still require Linux for development work. In circumstances where Linux is directly uninstallable on a work machine, Windows 10 with Windows Subsystem for Linux may be used.