Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Open Source Applications for Windows

I recently stumbled upon a list of open source Windows applications. Open source software is good because it allows for many software developers (from programming hobbyists to application development companies) to contribute to and enhance a program. The opposite, closed source software, is software whose developer does not allow others to contribute to the application. Then end result of closed source software development is that, though the applications may be guaranteed to run or the developer might offer to give you technical support (Microsoft produces closed source software and "guarantees" that its programs will run and offers "technical support" when they don't, and we all see how well that works out.), the applications may end up not having as many features or work as cleanly as its open source counterpart.

I try to use open source software whenever I can because they are often free and, frankly, they seem to run better than many Microsoft and friends' software.

I personally use and recommend:

  • Mozilla Firefox - web browser - Once you try tabbed browsing and don't have to open up a million Internet Explorer windows, and download a bunch of neat little add-ons and themes, you'll never got back.
  • Mozilla Thunderbird - email and feed reader - I can pull email from my many web mail accounts and aggregate my feeds, all to one place.
  • OpenOffice - office suite - I have used OpenOffice since my Junior year of college so I didn't have to buy Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. It can do anything MS Office Suite can do (including save to all the MS document formats) and it is much more customizable.
  • VLC - video player - I've only used VLC for about a month now because I hate RealPlayer and Windows Media Player is a memory hog. My only complaint is that VLC seems to have some problems with DVD menues.
  • BitTorrent - torrent downloader - It downloads torrents. There's not much else to say.

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