my favourite open source applications for Windows

Using Windows as a free software enthusiast is isn’t always easy but often people don’t have a real choice and nothing can be done. But that doesn’t mean you have to abandon free software altogether salving one’s conscience. I’ll leave Firefox out of the List.


    Although slim and minimalistic in its appearance Notepad++ is one feature filled editor. Tabs, syntax highlighting for a variety of languages, a FTP-client, Hex-editor, a customisable interface and split screen you name it. It’s not Emacs, there are no mp3 player nor are there any doing-you-laundry-while-you’re-sleeping features, the only thing it does is to help you view and edit code and it does so very well.

    There are autocompletion, regexp and plugin functionality for the lazy/effective ones of you.


    Using Windows won’t make your server or your Linux machine at home home go away, and what do you need to access them? SSH! And if you’re looking for a SSH client, look no further this is all you need. Putty itself can be configured to be somewhat portable (check the docs) and is tiny in size. It’s just a simple executable.

    There are however several other executables to enhance your Putty experience, take a look at Pageant and PuttyGen.


    Filezilla actually managed to become a very popular, free FTP client in the Windows world and offers all the features you’d expect from it. In addition it integrates with Putty’s Pageant, using its assigned public SSH keys and serves as a SFTP client.

    There isn’t much more you can say about it. It’s a FTP client, not Emacs! :P


    Everyone needs to remember passwords, everyone needs to remember account names. Keepass remembers them for you and not only that. Keypass helps you creating secure, random and customisable passwords for all your accounts. You can easily manage all of your countless accounts, adding comments and URLs to the specific entries. There is a plugin helping you to import all accounts saved in your Firefox profile to Keepass to help you getting started. The Databases are encrypted and can only be opened by a Password, a Keyfile or both of them.


    Tired of installing various IM/Chat clients to keep in touch with your friends and business relations and don’t want to trust closed source applications like Digsby or Trillian? Then Pidgin is what you’re looking for.

    Formerly known as Gaim, Pidgin is able to use a variety of protocols (MSN, OSCAR, Gadu-Gadu, IRC, MySpace, Facebook, Novell GroupWise, Silc, Yahoo, Lotus Sametime, QQ, SIP, Bonjour) by default and others like Twitter can be added via third party plugins. Talking of which, Pidgin comes with a bunch preinstalled and even more are ready for download or being linked on the website.

    Theming, via GTK is possible.


    Photoshop may be the leader in this field, but if you don’t want to spent or have a lot of money, or just prefer free software GIMP is basically all you need to draw some pictures, tweak your photos and create a graphics for you website. There are countless plugins, scripts and tutorials for GIMP on the web and it is compatible to Photoshop brushes and after you set up Ghostscript able to handle Adobe’s Postscript files as well. Layers, masks, filers if offers all you need for your semi-professional, image manipulating experience


    I already wrote about InfraRecorder in an earlier post. It’s a free software CD/DVD burning solution built upon cdrecord. Its interface is similar to Nero’s classic interface which in turn looks like some kind of FTP client — you get the idea. In addition it offers the InfraExpress interface which does the same as the NeroExpress interface: Showing only those options and functions you’re likely going to use, opening the classic view only if needed. Today’s burning suits have become emacs like monsters and if you’re only looking for some easy and straightforward way to burn files on a disc you found your solution.


    Working with Gimp on Windows and on Linux environments made me miss one thing. Window’s window manager doesn’t offer “stay on top” functionality, you can’t roll up your windows. DM2 offers this without installation, just download it, start it and set it to autostart if you like and set windows to stay on top.

    But it doesn’t stop there also makes it possible to changing Windows transparency, setting their priority and minimising them into the systray or giving them a floating icon. There is some basic, multiple workspace functionality as well but lacking a pager I really couldn’t be bothered using it.

You can stop counting. I made 3 Emacs references!

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