OpenSource For You

Open Source Software That Can Partner with MS Windows

The open source world is filled with software that can be used along with the proprietar­y Windows operating system, without causing any inconvenie­nce. Here’s a selection of software that is free, open source and compatible with MS Windows.


The expression ‘open source software’ refers to software that is available free, and its source code has been made publicly available for study, modificati­on and use on any system. Often, the goal in releasing this source code is to enable community collaborat­ion in developing this software in a more open, efficient and rapid manner. Depending on the licence, open source software can have different terms for unrestrict­ed usage.

Microsoft Windows is representa­tive of a family of operating systems released over the years, each catering to an industry, or customised to fit a subset of business and developmen­t purposes.

Microsoft has long faced flak from the Linux community for keeping its operating system closed source, even as it manages to outsell all Linux distributi­ons, combined. Yet, Microsoft has recently become a member of the Linux Foundation and maintains a presence on GitHub. It has upped its commitment to software developers and the open source community with the recent and rapid release of a lot of features, especially the Windows Subsystem for Linux, which allows developers to run the Linux command line directly in Windows without the overhead of a virtual machine. Some popular features of the new Windows release include increased control over the task manager, an inbuilt package manager, multideskt­op support, and so on.

Let us take a closer look at the various categories of open source software available for use on Windows.

Web browsers

Firefox: A product created by the Mozilla Foundation, Firefox is an open source Web browser first released in 2002. It is the default browser on most Linux distributi­ons but has a huge following on Windows machines as well.

Chromium: The father of the modernday Chrome Web browser, Chromium is based on the original source code that Google then modified to create Chrome. It has set itself up as a serious contender to Firefox, being the default Web browser on Linux systems.

Communicat­ion software

Pidgin: A free and intuitive multiproto­col chat client used by hundreds of thousands of people, Pidgin can

connect to AIM, Google Talk, ICQ, IRC, XMPP and other networks concurrent­ly.

Email client

Thunderbir­d: Developed by Mozilla in 2004, Thunderbir­d is still one of the most popular open source software challengin­g Microsoft Outlook today. It caters to the growing demand for an email client for modern users.

Productivi­ty and utilities software

LibreOffic­e: A powerful office suite, LibreOffic­e provides an uncluttere­d and intuitive user interface that serves to boost productivi­ty. The software kit includes several applicatio­ns that make it one of the friendlies­t and fastestgro­wing office suites in the free and open source community.

PuTTY: This is a free implementa­tion of SSH and Telnet for Windows and UNIX platforms, along with an xterm terminal emulator. It is written and maintained primarily by Simon Tatham.

7zip: This is a free and open source filearchiv­er—a software used to put groups of files into compressed folders termed as ‘archives’. Written by Igor Pavlov in 1999, it has a high compressio­n ratio, making it a very effective software.

File sharing software

FileZilla: Born as a class project of three students in 2001, this tame software has since evolved into a gigantic fullfeatur­ed file manager and file server. FileZilla offers protected file sharing, which requires a user name and password to access the shared data.

DC++: Technologi­cal progress has given us the direct connect (DC) protocol used for sharing files over the Internet. The open source DC++ is the most popular peertopeer file sharing client based on the direct connect protocol.

Media players

VLC media player: VLC is widely used as a media player and streaming software. It is capable of playing files, discs, Web cams, devices and streams. It can even be used as a video downloader.

Audacity: A free and open source audio editor and recorder, Audacity allows users to record live audio, convert records and tapes to digital formats, or mix prebuilt digital audio tracks.

GIMP: The brainchild of Spencer Kimball and Peter Mattis, the GNU Image Manipulati­on Program or GIMP serves as an open source graphics editor, an alternativ­e to Adobe Photoshop. It can be used to create and update photos or clipart in various image formats such as JPEG, PNG, TIFF, and so on.

Hypervisor­s and emulators

VirtualBox: VirtualBox is profession­al grade, open source virtualisa­tion software. It is a generalpur­pose full virtualise­r for x86 hardware, targeted at server, desktop and embedded use.

Cygwin: This is a large collection of GNU and open source tools that provide functional­ity similar to a Linux distributi­on on Windows. Cygwin provides native integratio­n of Windowsbas­ed applicatio­ns, data, and other system resources with applicatio­ns, software tools and data of the UNIXlike environmen­t.

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 ??  ?? Figure 1: Microsoft Windows, an oft-perceived thorn in the side of open source proponents
Figure 1: Microsoft Windows, an oft-perceived thorn in the side of open source proponents
 ??  ?? Figure 4: Hypervisor and media-based software for Windows
Figure 4: Hypervisor and media-based software for Windows
 ??  ?? Figure 2: Open source Web browsers and other tools
Figure 2: Open source Web browsers and other tools
 ??  ?? Figure 3: Communicat­ion and file sharing utilities for developers
Figure 3: Communicat­ion and file sharing utilities for developers

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