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You could always check out tucows.com's download area for gif-only graphics shareware & freeware downloads if you really want a dedicated gif utility.
Any gif editor, free or paid, should allow you to choose variour color depths - from a single color up to 8-bit (256 colors). And any gif editor should support transparency. But beyond that point, things get interesting.
The question becomes, what features do you want or need. Some of the things I use regularly:
1. Single color edits to the look up table
2. Weighted color allocations
3. Force exact colors into the index
4. Work with transparency as if it were a color
5. Lossy algorithms
I could live without lossy algorithms - but not the rest of it. And I don't know of any freeware or shareware that offers all this, and I make my living developing websites. So for me, it's Photoshop or Fireworks. I have both, but I'm new to Fireworks so it's not as comfortable.