Useful software

by John Olsson


This is a living document listing useful software that I use frequently, ranging from proprietary desktop applications to open source command line tools. In my work I mostly use Mac OS and at home I use Linux based systems so I mainly use software that’s available on both platforms.


Emacs is the editor of my choice. It’s where I do almost all of my programming and writing. I also use eshell as my main shell and use magit for all Git interactions. I’ve been an Emacs user 20 years now and have published a few (maybe not all that impressive) packages on melpa (subatomic-theme, almost-mono-themes, octo-mode)

On mac I usually go for the pre-compiled emacsformacosx and on Linux based system I usually compile it myself.


Not much to say more than it’s the only browser I trust. A great piece of software that I have been using almost from the first release 18 years ago.


A bunch of years ago I started using a password manager (1password) and now I cannot imagine being without one. I switched from 1password to Bitwarden about two years ago because I experienced a few bugs that was annoying to me and I have been very happy with Bitwarden. Bitwarden is open source which is a big plus.

Bitwarden’s homepage

Godot engine

Game development have been an interest for as long as I can remember but I have always started game projects from scratch, reinventing the same wheel time and time again. The only game project I have ever finished was a tetris clone 15 years ago.

When I gave up the mentality to do everything game related from scratch (basically when I found the Godot engine) I was able to focus on the creative stuff instead of constantly writing variations of the same shader loading code, 3d model loader code and input handling code.

Godot is an impressive open source project that has a very active community.

Godot engine’s homepage


Fantastic open source 3d creation software. I’m still a newbie, but the 2.8 update really made the interface more beginner friendly.

Blender’s homepage


I write a lot of shell scripts and, well, I still have some knowledge gaps. ShellCheck is great for both catching potential bugs and to bridge those gaps by providing links to explanations for every found problem!

ShellCheck’s homepage

Made with Emacs! hacker emblem