On the free front I would download Picassa and try utilizing it as a raw processor. It does a pretty good job and offers some tools for manipulating and augmenting the photos.
I also use Lightroom. While not free it will process RAW and offer a great amount of flexibility.
Just my 2 cents
|_F0A5334-Edit_small by Dester Wallaboo|
from Open Air Fashion Photography
|Old Harry's Rocks by John93Robertson|
from View from the top - Sea