Free software/open source software in a Win32 environment

Posted 3 Oct 2002 at 15:21 UTC by Alleluia Share This

The OpenCD project is brilliant in design and execution, but is large in scope and therefore moving slowly. The final result will be a powerful free software advocacy tool. Our local LUG group is attending an annual technology show next week, and we decided to put together a CD to introduce the normal W32-based tech user to the notion of quality free software. This is in addition to the normal distribution of a couple hundred DemoLinux or RedHat or Mandrake CDs. In the next few days, I will be creating an ISO image including most of the following W32-based software.

All of the following software is free for anyone to use. Nearly all is also open source. The point is to give a wide variety of quality software on a single CD without overwhelming someone, so he feels comfortable browsing through software he may never use. Hopefully, he will either replace or extend proprietary software packages he currently uses.

Few people will use all of this software, but most people will find at least one software package useful for their needs. All of this software is reasonably mature or very mature--I have not used all of it; this list is condensed from other similar lists with a wider scope, but I may have missed some. Programming languages and tools are not included because it is assumed programmers are somewhat familiar with how to go to Google, research, download, and install things like Perl, PHP, Ruby, Python, and so forth. Yet higher-end packages like Apache are included because the audience will be tech-savvy users, perhaps curious about seeing Apache for the first time. Packages like Celestia are included because they are so beautiful to see.

For people that are inspired by this sort of idea, the OpenCD site contains the language, standards, and spirit that I would like to meet, and the project could use your help.

For the present, here is my question. On the list below, what have I left off? If I have given an inaccurate/incomplete description of a software package you know, let me know, since this list will accompany the CD.

OpenOffice - Open source office suite like MS Office
MySQL - fast SQL database server like MS SQL Server
Apache - high performance HTTP server, more secure than IIS
Ethereal - GUI network protocol analyzer
Snort - Libpcap packet sniffer/logger/lightweight IDS
Celestia - 3D space simulation with incredible screen views
Freeciv - multiuser Civilization game
GRASS - Geographic Information System browser
QCad - CAD program
Amaya - HTML editor/browser
Blender3D - 3D animation studio
VirtualDub - a video capture/processing utility
JEdit - programmer's text editor
Sqeakland - idea processor, for children and grownups
R - statistical computing similar to S
gnucleus - online filesharing client
dscaler - TV and video deinterlacer: video to PC
Zinf - audio player similar to WinAmp
Trillian - instant messaging client
Pop-Up Stopper - block popup windows in IE
WinPenguins - screen filler
Liquid War - a very interesting game
Jazz++ - full featured, audio capable midi sequencer
XaoS - fast real-time fractal zoomer
Exact Audio Copy - read / rip and write audio CDs
Ghostscript - display, print, and convert PDF
7-Zip - extracts and compresses files, similar to WinZip
PowerArchiver - extracts and compresses files
Fractint - create fractals
IrfanView - small, fast graphics file viewer | organize images
WinGIMP - photo and image manipulation, similar to PhotoShop
Mozilla - powerful web browser, email reader comparable to IE
Freenet - a secure and anonymous version of the Internet
HTTTrack - web site copier
PuTTy - Telnet and SSH client
WinJab - instant messaging client
ZoneAlarm - personal firewall and intrusion alerter
Tux Racer - a fun game
CDex - extract audio files from CD to other forms
Fwink - webcam application
Vim - powerful source code editor
xxcopy - powerful file copy utility
metapad - small, fast, and free text editor
LimeWire - online filesharing client
Miranda ICQ - instant messaging
IceBreaker - a fun game
TuxTyping - typing tutor
TightVNC - virtual terminal control
VideoLAN - multimedia player, network video streamer
K-Meleon - web browser, lighter than Mozilla
Phoenix - web browser, like K-Meleon
nmapNT - network security tool | network scanner
OpenSSH - SSH protocol suite
Aggie - network news aggregator
VirtualDub - video capture/processing utility
Audacity - audio editor
Crack Attack - 3D Tetris
bzflag - multiplayer tank battle game
hsqldb - lightweight java database engine
Mirc - internet relay chat client
WinCVS - high-end interface client to the CVS
Cygwin - a unix environment from within windows
Licenses, Links, and Documentation - to fulfill GPL requirements

These were distilled from lists at the following locations:

The Open CD
Golden Ear List
Freshmeat list by popularity
recent Slashdot discussion

I will post the link to the ISO here when it is completed and ready to download on October 9.

Tcl/Tk, posted 3 Oct 2002 at 17:25 UTC by davidw » (Master)

Tcl together with the Tk toolkit makes a nice, multiplatform alternative to M$ scripting environments. More information at It's simple, quick to learn, has tons of existing code, and for many years has been oriented towards working in a very cross-platform way. Ports exist to all major unixes, windows, DOS, VMS, Macos (classic and X), etc... The Tk toolkit is a great way to easily create graphical apps., posted 3 Oct 2002 at 21:41 UTC by atai » (Journeyer)

Free Software on Windows have been promoted for some time by Maybe you want to work together with them?

A couple of things..., posted 4 Oct 2002 at 19:08 UTC by piman » (Journeyer)

Crack Attack isn't 3D Tetris, it's a clone of the popular console game Tetris Attack. There's a game called Xbl or XBlockOut that is 3D tetris (which was first released as Block-Out, I think). Both are fun. Crack Attack uses the OpenGL libraries to render blocks and has some 3D effects, which is probably where the confusion came from.

Mirc isn't free software (in fact, it's probably one of the oldest Windows shareware programs that's still maintained). Are you maybe confusing some free IRC client with mICQ?

I would only put one of K-Meleon or Pheonix on the CD, to avoid confusing users with too many similar programs. I have no idea where development stands on each one, so I can't recommend which.

And an anal-retentive licensing note - "links" really should be to a site that you (or the people distributing the CD) maintain your/themselves, otherwise you have to provide the 3 year written offer of source code. It's probably best to just distribute the source with the binaries, which makes it simpler for everyone involved. Also, not everything on that list is GPLd, so make sure that all the licenses are on the CD.

chats and nets, posted 7 Oct 2002 at 00:44 UTC by Malx » (Journeyer)

vICQ (see ports of FreeBSD) - it is perl software
TkAbber - free TCL/TK Jabber client (tested on win32). Already usable from CVS
NetCat - usefull network(TCP/UDP/client/server) tool.

Thanks for the tips, posted 8 Oct 2002 at 09:00 UTC by Alleluia » (Journeyer)

Licensing &tc: As I am working my way through the list, I find the advice from piman above quite useful. I also had to eliminate Pop-up stopper, Exact Audio Copy, and Irfanview because of license issues which could probably be worked out in a long-term project, which this is not. I'm including Phoenix, 7-zip, and XaoS, although I could've chosen the alternatives K-Meleon, PowerArchiver, and fractint just as easily... Perhaps if this project gathers momentum, we can make alternatives available.

GNUSoftware: The gnusoftware project is entirely different in scope from this idea--they are specifically promoting GNUware, and this is a little wider in scope, yet narrower than TheOpenCD project.

GPL: Nearly everything on this list is GPL, those which are not will be appropriately linked and licenses included.

vICQ, TkAbber...: I'm looking at the other suggestions, yet. The final list, links to source code and licenses, and some documentation will be posted at the link above. Thanks for your help so far.

another suggestion, posted 8 Oct 2002 at 23:41 UTC by apm » (Journeyer)

You might want to consider Suneido (

KDE, posted 10 Oct 2002 at 14:00 UTC by pfremy » (Journeyer)

- the cygwin port of KDE. Although not ready for day-to-day usage, this is an interesting proof of concept.

- emacs

- ghostview

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