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Free Media Directory

At first the point of this section might not be apparent. Finding images, music, and other media on the Internet is much like finding sand on the beach... it doesn't take a whole lot of effort. However, if you plan on using artistic material in your works, then the net gets a whole lot smaller. Most established artists have customized terms of use that are vague (is use in FOSS projects a 'personal' use?) or restrictive ("these images may not be cropped or modified"), if it allows for free use at all. Though the net is littered with wonderful art, most of it becomes useless when it comes time to release.

The net has permissively licenses media... it just takes some looking to find useful works free in the libre sense rather than just no-cost. This section has resources I've found helpful in my projects. If the license matter in your work then double check that I'm right before using it. Please let me know of any mistakes or especially interesting free content out there.


Icons

Icons are a vital part of making a nice and intuitive looking user interface. Hence it shouldn't be any surprise that there's numerous free sets available for software and web developers. This section is largely thanks to Max Power and Gnome Art where many of these sets were found.

I've avoided listing sets only available in OS specific formats like Windows icons (".ico"), icon packs (".ip"), Apple icon image (".icns"), and Mac iContainers (".icontainer") for the simple reason that I find previewing and using them to be a pain in the ass. Copies of the sets on this site only include icons in the png format (and svg if available), so check the links if you're interested in other formats. I've also thinned sets with excessive duplicates.

Icon Finder Spiffy search service for liberally licensed png icons. If you know what you're looking for then try this first.
CrystalXP Art site with numerous sections- mostly for Windows. The "Icon & PNG" section has numerous liberally licensed sets of specialized themes. This is also the home of the amusing Tux Factory.
WebsiteIcons Elegantly simple site containing over a hundred sets with previews. Not all have defined terms of use but they've contacted the authors to ensure they're free for personal and non commercial purposes.
Free Icons Download Collection of over a hundred categorized icon sets free for personal and non commercial use with clear terms of use.

Magnifying glass displays a preview montage

Name Author License Dimensions Formats Size Preview/Download
NuoveXT Alexandre Moore GPL v2 12x12 - 128x128 png, ip, iCont. 7.6 MB  NuoveXT.png
An absolutely fantastic system icon set available for Gnome, KDE, Windows, and Mac. It's complete with icons for applications, devices, emblems, MIME types, etc. open montage
NuoveXT 2 Alexandre Moore LGPL v3 16x16 - 128x128 png, ip, iCont. 4.3 MB  NuoveXT_2.png
Alexandre's most recent set and still in the works. open montage
SnowIsh Alexandre Moore GPL v2 16x16 - 128x128 png, svg 2.4 MB  SnowIsh.png
Small, soft set by the creator of NuoveXT. Svg copies can be snagged here (3.9 MB). open montage
Crystal Everaldo Coelho LGPL v2 16x16 - 128x128 png 20.7 MB  Crystal.png
Part of KDE, this is an absolutely beautiful, glossy set of over seven hundred icons. open montage
CrystalSVG Everaldo Coelho LGPL v2 16x16 - 128x128 png, svg 10.8 MB  CrystalSVG.png
Predecessor to the Crystal project. This series was discontinued, the copy on this site coming from the source for KDE 4.0.3. An expansion of this set is available by Exdaix here. open montage
Crystal Clear Everaldo Coelho LGPL v2 16x16 - 128x128 png, ico 14.4 MB  CrystalClear.png
Another discontinued Crystal predecessor with a softer aesthetic. The Windows icon (ico) version can be found on the set's CrystalXP page. open montage
Nuvola David Vignoni LGPL v2 16x16 - 128x128 png 12.5 MB  Nuvola.png
System icon set for KDE. I've found this set to be invaluable for user interfaces, having excellent artistic style for a wide array of controls. open montage
Torchlight Yan Shuangchun LGPL v2 16x16 - 128x128 png 4.7 MB  Torchlight.png
Another interesting set for Gnome and KDE including devices, folders, MIME types, and a variety of miscellaneous icons. open montage
Noia Carlitus LGPL v2 12x12 - 192x192 png 11.9 MB  Noia.png
Colorful, glossy system icon set. This was once widely distributed with copies on KDE-Look, Wikimedia Commons, Deviant Art (ico format), and a warm alternative but most downloads no longer function. open montage
StillLife Julian Turner CC v2 (A, SA) 16x16 - 128x128 png 450 KB  StillLife.png
Generic set with a few very distinctive icons. Only fifteen icons are avaialbe in 128x128, the rest are 48x48 or smaller. This set's DeviantArt page lists the set as being under CC v2 (A, NC, SA). open montage
Glaze Marco Martin LGPL v2 16x16 - 128x128 png, svg 5.5 MB  Glaze.png
Friendly KDE set with a special focus on media controls, mime types, and file system icons. open montage
FastIcons Multiple Free (Notice) 16x16 - 128x128 png, ico 21.2 MB  FastIcons.png
Several fantastic, diverse sets- many very artistic. Use requires a link to the FastIcons site. The vast majority are by Dirceu Veiga. Some sets were omitted from this site's copy due to licensing or content. open montage
Oxygen Multiple CC v3 (A, SA) 16x16 - 128x128 png, svg 14.5 MB  Oxygen.png
Over eight hundred KDE icons dual licenced under the GPL v2 or later. This site's copy came from the runtime source for KDE 4.0.3. Svg copies are available here (23.6 MB). open montage
Gion Silvestre Herrera GPL v2 16x16 - 128x128 png, svg 1.2 MB  Gion.png
Silvestre's most recent set. Thus far there's only 48 icons but they look excellent. open montage
Neu Silvestre Herrera GPL v2 22x22 - 128x128 png, svg 3.2 MB  Neu.png
Silvestre's first set, containing numerous categories in a colorful and friendly style. A KDE variant called kNeu is also available. Both Neu and kNeu have a few icons the other doesn't... open montage
^Nuovo Silvestre Herrera GPL v2 48x48 - 128x128 svg 6.5 MB  Nuovo.png
Silvestre's most somber (ie, least colorful) work. open montage
^Etiquette Silvestre Herrera CC v2 (A, SA) 48x48 - 128x128 svg 8.4 MB  Etiquette.png
Sizable set of vector art for applications, devices, emblems, etc. open montage
^Yasis Silvestre Herrera GPL v2 48x48 - 128x128 svg 5.1 MB  Yasis.png
Standing for "Yet Another Scalable Icon Set", this features numerous soft icons. open montage
^Yatta Blues Massimiliano Cero GPL v2 48x48 - 128x128 svg 2.4 MB  YattaBlues.png
Simple theme with some overlap with Gorilla. Set includes an additional scattering of small png icons. open montage
^Gartoon Kuswanto GPL v2 48x48 - 128x128 svg, ico 9.9 MB  Gartoon.png
Kuswanto's first work, a system icon set for kids. There's also a mac variant in a dmg. open montage
^Lila Daniel Taylor GPL v2 48x48 - 128x128 svg 16.1 MB  Lila.png
Cartoonish set inspired by Gentoo. The icons have a consistent style that isn't particularly colorful, but soft and elegant in their simplicity. open montage
^eXperience David Berg GPL v2 48x48 - 128x128 svg 3.6 MB  eXperience.png
System set based on Everaldo's Crystal sets. open montage
^BlankOn Zeus Box Design GPL v2 48x48 - 128x128 svg 4.7 MB  BlankOn.png
Simple, mellow system icon set. Local copy was retrieved from its Gnome Art site. open montage
^Lanthys Adrien FacĂ©lina LGPL v3 48x48 - 128x128 svg 786 KB  Lanthys.png
Small beta consisting of about forty icons. Unfortunately the project has been innactive for a couple years. open montage
^Jini Kitae Kim CC v2.5 (A, SA) 48x48 - 128x128 svg 16.2 MB  Jini.png
Cartoonish system icon set. Korean use is under CC v2 (A, NC) instead. This site's copy reflects version 0.6. open montage
^Gorilla Jakub Steiner CC v2 (A, SA) 48x48 - 128x128 svg 2.3 MB  Gorilla.png
Among the first sets to push svg rendering on the desktop, this is a small collection of generic icons. open montage
^Tango Multiple CC v2.5 (A, SA) 48x48 - 128x128 png, svg 3.8 MB  Tango.png
Tango is a project to create a consistent interface for FOSS projects. Simple and sharp, this has a variety of themes including media controls, emotes, weather symbols, etc. open montage
Sweetie Joseph North CC v3 (A, SA) 8x8 - 24x24 png, psd 92.6 KB  Sweetie.png
Nice set of small icons including generic web controls and communication symbols. open montage
Flags Mark James Free 16x11 png, gif 95.4 KB  Flags.png
Handy set of 247 country flags, named according to their ISO abbreviations. open montage
^Flags 2 Michal CC v2 (A, SA) 18x12 gif 22.9 KB  Flags2.png
Smaller set of country flags. open montage
^Manentia Pack Javier Odriozola CC v2.5 (A, SA) 16x16 gif 44.0 KB  ManentiaPack.png
Web icon set of 245 generic icons. open montage
^TwoTone Paul Jarvis Free 16x16 gif, psd 14.7 KB  TwoTone.png
Seventy five simple, symbolic monotone icons available in several colors. open montage
Drunkey Love Kevin Wetzels Free 16x16 png 28.9 KB  DrunkeyLove.png
Set of 143 tiny generic icons. Smaller 12x12 variations (with some additions) can be found here. open montage
Silk Mark James CC v2.5 (A) 16x16 png 577 KB  Silk.png
Set of a thousand tiny icons for all sorts of things. open montage
Feed Icons Kuswanto CC v3 (A, ND) 16x16, 32x32 png 60.2 KB  FeedIcons.png
Seventeen icons with both a large and small version, mostly concerning RSS feeds. open montage
Web Controls Marko Vidberg Public Domain 16x16 - 32x32 png, gif 1.6 MB  WebControls.png
Simple set of eleven small commonly themed icons. They're available in black, blue, green, and red. open montage
^Greyscale Ian Main CC v2 (A) 30x30 gif 17.3 KB  Greyscale.png
As the name suggests, this consists of a set of forty generic greyscale icons. open montage
Humility Andy Fitzsimon GPL v2 16x16 - 48x48 png, svg 972 KB  Humility.png
Generic set for an Ubuntu theme. Unfortunately the svgs are somewhat corrupt, preventing me from exporting the icons in larger sizes. open montage
Aqua Fusion Daniel Flax & Markus DSL 24x24 - 64x64 png 1.7 MB  AquaFusion.png
Small, soft system set. The set's original home page (and with it primary mirrors) have long since expired. KDE-Look has project pages for version 0.4 and 0.5.1. open montage
Ricebowl Yan Shuangchun LGPL v2 32x32, 128x128 png 567 KB  Ricebowl.png
A very nice, soft set including devices, folders, and MIME types. The small icons represent common browser controls. open montage
DesignMagus Kelli Shaver Free (Notice) 64x64 png 90.1 KB  DesignMagus.png
Sixteen generic icons. The site has a few additional sets, most interestingly a set of weather icons. This set requires that a readme is provided with the icons. open montage
Kreski Lines Szymon CC v2 (A, NC) 64x64 png 732 KB  KreskiLines.png
Among my favorites, this is a fantastic (but small) set of rugged, sketchy looking icons. This set's DeviantArt page has an extended collection with ico and ip counterparts but that copy's not under CC. open montage
^Nerdy Lines Christoph Brill CC v2 (A, NC, ND) 48x48 - 128x128 svg 2.1 MB  NerdyLines.png
This is the Kreski Lines set redrawn as svgs with a few additions. While scalability is handy, this lacks some of the charm provided by original's rugged textures. open montage
NeonX Alexandre Moore CC v3 (A, NC, ND) 128x128 png, iCont. 524 KB  NeonX.png
Set of 37 black icons (mostly folders) with luminous symbols. open montage
Keys 1 Alan CC v2.5 (A) 128x128 png, ico 632 KB  Keys.png
Set of 102 simple, plain icons of keys originally developed for video tutorials. open montage
Keys 2 Chromatix CC v2 (A, NC, ND) 128x128 png 1.8 MB  Keys2.png
Set of keys including some non-English characters. open montage
*ColorCons Ken Saunders CC v2.5 (A, SA) 128x128 png, ico, icns 2.3 MB  ColorCons.png
Set of 49 glossy, uniform icons featuring numerous symbols common in user interfaces. They're available in red, green, blue, and smoke. Use requires a link to his site. open montage
*PrimaryCons Ken Saunders CC v2.5 (A, SA) 128x128 png, ico, icns 5.6 MB  PrimaryCons.png
Over a hundred thickly bordered symbolic icons. They're available in red, green, and blue. Use requires a link to his site. open montage
*MouseRunner Ken Saunders CC v2.5 (A, SA) 128x128 png, ico, icns 2.7 MB  MouseRunner.png
Eleven of Ken Saunders' smaller sets including media controls, weather icons, zodiac signs, etc. His site has several more sets with less liberal terms of use or trademark concerns. Use requires a link to his site. open montage
*Soft Icons Asher CC v3 (A, NC, SA) 128x128 png, ico 724 KB  SoftIcons.png
Contrary to its name this is a sharp, glossy set of fourty five generic icons. He's also the author of the Aeon set though unfortunately it isn't really free in the liberal sense. open montage
*Ahmad's Sets Ahmad CC v3 (A, NC, ND) 128x128 - 512x512 png, ico, icns 5.0 MB  AhmadSets.png
Several glossy sets by Ahmad. Themes include cell phones, linux distributions, mac apples, and the ruby programming language. open montage
*Free Icons Jonas David John Various 256x256 png, ico 8.3 MB  FreeIcons.png
Set of 106 large icons of common objects, made from images on Stock.XCHNG and Flicker (sources and licenses are documented). open montage
*Turbo Milk Multiple Free (NC) 256x256 png, ico 1.1 MB  TurboMilk.png
Amusing set of 25 critters. This is only free for non-commercial use. open montage
*OpenPhone Walrick GPL v2 256x256 png, ico 612 KB  OpenPhone.png
Twelve very large icons based on those for the iPhone. open montage
*Vista Toon Pack Tardio CC v3 (A, NC, ND) 256x256 png, ico 11.1 MB  VistaToonPack.png
Colorful set of application icons with several alternatives for OpenOffice, Opera, Quicktime, Skype, and μTorrent. Tardio's site has some additional art including a couple themed sets and wallpapers. open montage
*Deleket's Sets Deleket CC v3 (A, NC, ND) 300x300 png, ico, icns 34.5 MB  DeleketSets.png
Twenty four of the artist's sets with an emphasis on application logos, Mac products, and emoticons. Individual sources are available in its readme. open montage
*Brushed Adlua Pedja Rusic CC v3 (A, NC, ND) 245x245 png, ico, icns 2.3 MB  BrushedAdlua.png
Set of sixteen themed folders bundled with Pedja's related works: Lons, Prty Trash and Byrn. open montage
*Onibari Light Pedja Rusic CC v3 (A, NC, ND) 245x245 png, ico, icns 1.1 MB  OnibariLight.png
Eighteen large, creatively themed folders. open montage
*Onibari Leopard Pedja Rusic CC v3 (A, NC, SA) 512x512 png, ico, icns 6.2 MB  OnibariLeopard.png
Like Onibari Light this set consists of huge, creatively stylized folders. open montage
* Preview and montage has been heavily scaled (lacking much of the detail).
^ The copy on this site contains png conversions. If derived from svgs then they're in three sizes: 48x48, 72x72, and 128x128.


Fonts

From the professional to the abstract, fonts can be a handy resource for banners and specialized labels. Their uses are fairly rare so I won't expand this section beyond a few sites I found helpful. For a more extensive listing see Vitaly Friedman's compilation of the 25 Best Free Quality Fonts.

Aenigma Font Archive preview Individual
11.8 MB
download Download All
9.2 MB
Almost three hundred artistic TrueType fonts by Brian Kent, essentially under a No-Derivative CC license. They're also available in a Ubuntu Edgy/Feisty repository here.
Pedroreinanet download Download All
46.2 MB
Collection of almost two hundred fonts under a No-Derivative license (terms of use). Most are available in both TrueType and Type 1 formats. The copy on this site only has the TrueType copies.

SearchFreeFonts A fantastic site with thousands of fonts. They're browsable by category and can render previews of arbitrary text on the site. Unfortunately while all fonts are either classified as 'free' or 'commercial', the free fonts don't have any defined terms of use.

TypeOasis Domain of several font designers. This including several themed collections such as Celtic, runes, pirates, graffiti, etc. Free as in beer, unfortunately many sections have undefined terms of use and the site's owner is unresponsive to questions.


Images & Photography

While icons are spiffy for interfaces, occasionally the need arises for larger artwork. The following certainly aren't a replacement for the Google image search but they provide a nice alternative with liberal terms of use.

WikiCommons Besides Wikipedia the Wikimedia Foundation has several other services. One of them is the Wikimedia Commons, a resource for liberally licensed images, video and sound clips. The vast majority of the content is photos, making this an excellent resource if you need to snag a shot of something generic.
GnomeArt Art site for wallpapers, login screens, and other art for the Gnome desktop environment (but not necessarily Gnome specific). Terms of use are clearly listed with the art and most are CC, Free Art, or under other liberal licenses. I've found that this is an especially good resource for backgrounds.
Image After Sweet image repository with tons of photos and textures free for personal and commercial use.
StockXchng Prominent stock photo site with liberal terms of use. Full sized images require an account and search results are intermixed with 'StockExpert', their non-free counterpart. Still, it's a great resource when you can't find what you're looking for elsewhere.
OpenClipArtLibrary Clip art collection of varying quality under Creative Commons and Public Domain. All art is made available in a single archive.


Audio

Though not commonly a consideration, music and sound effects can be handy for some projects (most often games). The following are a few liberally licensed sources of audio clips.

Jamendo Beyond vast, Jamendo's a music community with over ten thousand albums, all available under liberal licenses and freely available in several formats. Artists are largely funded by donations so if you like something then don't forget to support their work!
Magnatune Living up to their motto "We are not evil", Magnatune provides a fantastic service for both artists and anyone looking to expand their musical horizons. With over five hundred albums available in several formats under the Creative Commons (A, NC, SA) what more could you ask for? Download instructions for non-commercial projects can be found here.
Incompletech Music by Kevin MacLeod. This includes numerous pieces in several genres under Creative Commons v3 (A) as MP3s.
Open Source Audio Part of the Internet Archive, this consists of several genres of music licensed under the Creative Commons.
FUMP A collaborative music project, FuMP's exactly what it sounds like - comedy music under CC 2.5 (A, NC, SA).
Beat Masters Chiptunes by Marco Martin under Creative Commons v3 (A, NC, SA).
LibriVox LibriVox is a project that releases audio books made by volunteers into the public domain. Admittedly I've never found a use for this in a project but it's never the less a spiffy resource for audio materials.


Miscellaneous

It's been said that everything's miscellaneous but I'll try to keep this section brief. The following resources either cover multiple categories or defy efforts to pigeonhole.

DeviantArt Anyone even remotely connected with artistic circles are probably aware of DeviantArt. This is a showcase for all kinds of work by hundreds of artists, many with liberal terms of use. Most works require the artist's permission but they're usually prompt to respond and very generous.
ActivityIndicators Collection of activitiy indicators (animated gifs) in the public domain.
Ajaxload Generator for free activity indicators providing a couple dozen animations in any color.