Stellar gifts for software Scrooges

The gift guide for enthusiasts too cheap, strapped, or clueless to buy the software they really ought to have.

Stardock's WindowBlinds

If you're not sure what to give this holiday season, consider software. The benefits are compelling--here's a chance to connect hobbyist users with top programs they'll love, but may not buy on their own. Sponsoring a download for a friend or family member does you a favor, too, by avoiding the dense, grasping crowds at the electronics store and easing your worry that a boxed product bought online may arrive too late. Did we mention all the resources you save by ditching factory-made packaging?

Now that you're thoroughly convinced software downloads are the way to go, here are top giftable apps to suit a range of tastes and budgets. And for that extra touch, we've rounded up the prices to the nearest dollar.

About Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.