Open Source Apps for Windows

Blane Warrene

Many regular Open Sourcery readers know my primary workstation is a G4 1.25 GHz Powermac running Mac OS X Panther. However, my network here includes Windows XP Pro, Red Hat 9, SUSE Linux 9 and some older machines and os’s (yes – Windows 98 SE lives on for client testing purposes).

While I have invested financial resources in applications such as Windows, OS X and Microsoft Office for both platforms, I am always researching and testing open source apps across all the systems.

This morning I wanted to jot down some of my favorite open source tools used on my Windows XP system. I have found development incredibly rich for open source projects committed to Windows, and often they provide a solution that replaces in some cases prohibitively expensive proprietary software.

And for the record – I am testing out the use of Open Office in place of MS Office, on Windows, I just am not quite ready to switch. On my Mac I build presentations in Keynote, databases in Filemaker and word processor documents/spreadsheets in AppleWorks – so Open Office probably will not find its way onto OS X for me.

PDFCreator –

Creates PDF files from numerous Windows apps, most prevalent being MS Word.

FeedReader –

A great RSS newsreader that works on Windows 95 and up and supports all major RSS feed types.

Ethereal –

For use in network analysis down to the packet level and supports live network examination or from data captured in a file on a disk.

Getif – (not open source, but free!)

Great tool if you are administering networks or building SNMP monitoring into your systems. It is an SNMP browser, but also can display device/server interface information, routing tables, port scans, IP scans and more.

Password Safe –

Useful utility when you need to remember admin passwords across multiple servers and devices.

ClamWin Free AntiVirus –

This is a Windows front end to the free Clam Anti Virus ( that provides robust virus protection, integration to MS Outlook and a scheduler. Virus definition files can be automated to update on login or on a timed schedule.

There are many many more open source projects for Windows, however, these have proved valuable in my everyday use. Let me know about some of the apps you have used and also what your take on these tools are.