Free and Open Source Software for Windows

There are times when my work requires Windows, and now I’m kind’ of OK with this, with time I got less and less religious about operating systems, maybe because OS-X is out of my reach and because the multitude of Open Source and Free packages available for Windows are more every day letting me use, pretty much, the same packages both under Linux as under Windows.

So last weekend when I had to reinstall an aged Windows (20 minutes for a shut down among many other little or hugely annoying things)  I decided to make a list of the software I use and cherish, for the next time, because all of us know, there will be one ?

Some of the packages are not pure FLOSS just free as it costs no money, but still I think they are worth including them.


  • OpenOffice – I don’t think there is anything to comment here, except maybe that I like it a lot more MS Office, I just find it more intuitive and clean, not to mention about actually owning your documents or many other great features not available in MS Office
  • PDF Creator – this is a nifty program that let’s you print any document (not made in OpenOffice where this feature is included) or web page or email as a PDF document.
  • NVU – a little HTML editor derived from the old Mozilla Composer for the moments I have to edit clean little HTML documents
  • FreeMind – a Java program to edit mind maps for un-tackling complicated issues


  • Mozilla Firefox – tabs, security, standard compliance makes that my favorite browser
  • Mozilla Thunderbird – I have the nasty habit of carrying all my mails since I had a mail account, and somehow among being secure, having a great spam killer it is the only one that can handle with easy my 20.000+ mails, that’s when I’m not under Linux where I prefer KMail
  • Free Download Manager – when torrents are not available, resuming is important or I just want to limit the download speed
  • Azureus – bit torrent client
  • Putty – hey, Unix is kind of hard to get out of your system, so is SSH
  • SSH Sentinel – VPN
  • WinSCP – file transfers based on SSH, SFTP or SCP
  • W.bloggar – hey I have a blog don’t I
  • FileZilla –when I don’t feel like winscp-ing
  • Konfabulator – when I have processor cycles and memory to kill, but It looks soo good
  • TightVNC – when a command line it’s just not enough
  • GAIM – all do I prefer Yahoo Messenger, when I have to be on-line on multiple accounts nothing beats this

Multimedia / Design

  • Inkscape – excellent vectorial drawing program, I don’t know what is more appealing the fact that it’s good or that it has SVG as it’s default format
  • GIMP – no commentaries here, it’s a classic
  • DIA  – for diagrams
  • Audacity – when I have to record conversations and then make them MP3 or OGG’s
  • VLC Media Player – for those little movies I keep getting from friends in my emails 
  • PixelRuller – when pixels can not be trusted and have to be measured
  • Magnifier – especially when doing graphics and design it’s good to check tings at pixel level
  • ColorMania – I have a bad memory with color hexa or rgb strings so It’s handy to just have it at hands


  • GVIM – well, old habits die hard, it edits anything more quickly
  • XEmacs – I am an Eclipse convert but still I pay my respects to the ex-one
  • Eclipse – well, the only one which was able to make me quit Emacs
  • XAMMP – IIS is good, but nothing beats Apache, PHP, mod_jk, Tomcat, … and after a couple of battles to manually install all of this, I found XAMMP which did all this in 10 minutes, excellent
  • MySQL, MySQL Administrator, MySQL Query Browser, MySQLCC (I still don’t like the query browser) – because everybody uses a data base and this one is the quickest to work with
  • Postgresql – when MySQL is not good enough
  • WinCVS – when Eclipse is not appropriated
  • Active State Active Python – just because I’m under Windows doesn’t mean that I can’t do it
  • Ruby – I still  hope that one day I will learn it
  • Cooktop – excellent for XML transformations
  • Tidy – all kind HTML,XML of conversions and validations 
  • Gygwin – Windows just isn’t enough, beside that I have a hard time convincing my fingers to write dir instead of ls, or I’m just too lazy to do a Explorer search when I have find and fgrep, did I mentioned gcc, make?


  • WinDirStat – in time your free space on your drives tend to disappear, it’s just a handy tool to actually visualize the content of your drive
  • 7Zip – archive manager, it knows all what matters, gzip, bzip, zip, and many more
  • Free Launch Bar – I hate the start menu, it’s just too slow
  • HD Tune – I’d lost a couple of hard drives in my life so checking the temperature and the SMART status it makes a lot of sense to me
  • Notepad2 – because notepad it is just plain stupid
  • VirtualWin – after you spend so much time under Linux, one desktop won’t really fit you any more. 
  • Free Comander – I’m not a big fan of such tools, I’m still the command line guy, but sometime it comes

I’m sure there are a couple more I forgot about, but I think the most important ones are above.