Despite its many wonderful features, Linux is not really everyone’s cup of tea cos it takes time to figure out and learn. But even Windows users can bask in the glow of open source wares. Here are our favorite five open source goodies for Windows;
1. Mozilla Firefox, Wonder-browser
Firefox is among the best known Open Source tools around. It is compatible across-OS and works like butter on Windows, Mac & Linux alike. It beats most other browsers hands down in terms of the number of features it offers. It is also among the fastest and most secure browsers. And it can handle tabs fantastically. Plus, no matter how much crap you add to your Firefox toolbar, the thing will just keep working without crashing or slowing down.
2. Try Pidgin, An Open Source Solution To Communicate Across Networks
For those of you who use too many IMs to be logged into at the same time, try Pidgin. Pidgin is a multi-client chat platform that lets you log into as many different messaging platforms as you want. With Pidgin, you can be on Yahoo MSN, Gtalk, Skype, AIM, IRC and AOL all at the same time, chatting across multiple platforms.
3. The GIMP Is A Free, Small Open Source Image Manipulation Tool
The Gnu Image Manipulation Platform is Photoshop for Linux, but it takes less space and has an uncluttered user interface that doesn’t take up your entire screen unlike Adobe’s PS. Besides, unlike Photoshop, GNU is free and can be used on any operating system. Anything you can do on PS, you can do on GIMP just as easily, if not better. So while it makes sense for professionals to invest in a licensed albeit expensive Adobe Photoshop, regular folks like you and me can do much better than pirated versions of Photoshop (which tend to crash too often for our tastes). We can simply opt for The GIMP. All the images on this blog are edited in GIMP, and we swear we were running at least 10 other programs with GIMP and nothing stalled, nothing crashed, everything was usable simultaneously.
Freemind is an open source mind mapping ware that can be used on any Operating System. Freemind is a tad heavier than a lot of Linux apps, but it is a surefire tool that has never crashed on us till date. Plus, it is beyond simple to use. Create complex mind maps with links, images, icons and different color schemes, all in minutes and save them in different formats, as images, text documents and pdfs. Unsatisfied with Freemind’s icon and image library? Create your own icons or download a set from else where and start using them in minutes.
Lyx is a brilliant publishing tool. It is entirely different from any word editor that most folks are used to, in the sense, Lyx is not a WYSIWYG editor. It is a WYWIWYG editor. In other words, with Microsoft Word and Open Office, What You See Is What You Get. The user is responsible for formatting the document as and when he creates it. Using these editors involves writing and formatting documents simultaneously (especially if you don’t have a fixed template). But with Lyx, What You Want Is What You Get. In other words, keep writing and then tell your document how you want things to look, so you get is what you want. Lyx creates ready to print documents that are perfectly uniform. Plus, Lyx has a superior print quality that beats OO and MSWord hands down any day. If you’re a student reading this, download Lyx now to save time formatting your projects and papers and to impress professors with a pro quality finish.
On a later day, we’ll tell you how to download and install these tools in a Windows environment.