Open source is now cool and hip. Here are some open source programs that you may not yet have on your Windows box.
- Abiword open source word processor is a free option that more than stands up to commercial word processors like MS Word. It has all the basic word processing features that you have come to expect from any commercial package like basic formatting, spell check, mail merge and document history.
There are tools plugins that expand the capabilities of Abiword. You can add an equation editor, a grammar checker, a Babelfish plugin, a Google plugin and a Wikipedia plugin. You can even hook up to a web dictionary
using the Web Dictionary Integration plugin.
Head over to the download section and get your own copy. (And there are versions for Linux and Mac OS X too if Windows isn't your thing.)
- Pop quiz. I say open source browser. You say...? Yes. Everybody and his second cousin has downloaded the Firefox browser. As good as the Firefox browser is, I find it to be a bit of a resource hog. And some of the versions aren't as stable as they should be.
Enter K-Meleon. K-Meleon is fast and lightweight. It is also built upon the Gecko engine, the same rendering engine that powers the Firefox browser. Download this nifty little browser here.
- What do you use when MS Word is just too much, and Notepad/Wordpad can't cut the mustard? Notepad++ to the rescue. Among the many goodies available in Notepad++, syntax highlighting and multiple tabbed views are the most useful to me. Notepad++ is particularly useful for editing HTML, XML and various other programming tidbits. Download Notepad++ here.
- So we have two text editors on our list. What about spreadsheets, you say? Gnumeric will do most everything you expect out of a modern spreadsheet. It supports all of the functions supported in MS Excel plus 154 functions that are not. It can do statistics and finance. It can plot your graphs and piecharts. You can download Gnumeric over here. Just head on over to the third party downloads for MS Windows.
- Need an open source alternative to Photoshop? You need Gimpshop. Gimpshop has the power of The Gimp with the interface feel of Photoshop. Many Photoshop tutorials can be followed using Gimpshop. Download it over here.
- At number 6, we have the versatile 7-zip. Need to unzip or unrar that file you downloaded using bittorrent? Look no further. 7-zip can handle most every file format you can throw at it. Get it here.
- All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. There are a lot of open source games but let's put a port of a classic at number 7. Space Invaders OpenGL is a nice slick implementation of a classic video game. What better way to relieve stress than by blasting aliens out of the sky? Get it here.
Honorable mention: I would have liked to put Frozen Bubble as The Game on my list, but alas, the Windows port is not up to date. And it's not completely bug free. So let's just say that Frozen Bubble is one of the reasons you might want to try to open source your OS (with this or this) instead of just installing open source apps on Windows. Or, you can try the 1 player Java version of Frozen Bubble in your browser