I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a huge Windows fan. That said, I work with many folks who are. Which gets me thinking about open source applications that would be a best fit for their Windows 10 installations. In this article, I'll share my top picks for Windows 10 open source software.
Hey, just because someone is using Windows doesn't mean they can't still enjoy the benefits of great open source software! Right?
Handbrake – When it comes to backing up your DVD collection, in case of fire/kids/life, it's tough to beat the awesome feeling that comes from a completed Handbrake session. Despite its highly customizable nature, Handbrake also provides you with some helpful presets to make the disc to file conversion as painless and simple as possible. I personally appreciate the preview mode myself.
Filezilla – Whether you're still using traditional FTP to upload your files to a server or keeping it secure with SSH keys using sFTP – FileZilla has you covered. I've long believed that FileZilla is among the best in class FTP management applications on any desktop operating system. You can drag drop, change permissions, even master through thousands of batch transfers without breaking a sweat!
Juice – Despite statements to the contrary, podcasts are not dead. Many of the most popular are booming right now and you can use Juice to capture all of your favorites, automatically. Thanks to the magic of RSS enclosures, your favorite podcasts can simply appear on your PC as they're released. Not sure what to listen to? No biggie, they have a huge directory of podcasts to choose from. How's that for convenience?
VLC – When I watch video on a PC, I run VLC. To me, it doesn't matter if that PC runs Windows or Linux, my expectations on what I want from my video player are the same. As a general rule, VLC will play just about anything. VLC works like a champ for anything audio- or video-based, ranging from FLAC audio to DVD playback.
GIMP – It often amazes me how frequently I find myself relying on GIMP these days. From image combining to extraction, GIMP is simply one of the best tools in my toolbox. Admittedly, I've used it for so long that using anything else is out of the question. I have a workflow that works for me and GIMP is at the forefront of any serious creative project I have to accomplish.
LibreOffice – I've found that many people who honestly don't know anything about running Open Source software are, in fact, running a fairly current version of LibreOffice. Usually these individuals read about it somewhere, found it for free or had it installed by someone they knew. The one common thread all of these folks seem to share is the fact that it's being used often and dependably. Whether I'm running calculations with Calc or word processing with Write, these are my goto apps within the LibreOffice suite. Impress for presentations is also fantastic and worth your consideration.
Clementine – The very first time I switched to an open source jukebox media player for my music, I ended up with amaroK on Linux. Years later, I've found myself using a fork of this media player called Clementine. It offers the best features anyone could want in a music player. I've been known to plugin to my Spotify account and export my playlists. This way if I ever switch to something different, say Google Play Music, my playlists will remain intact. That is the power of Clementine, folks.
Notepad++ – Very few applications have shook my view of using Windows harder than Notepad++. Suddenly I find myself using a sane, usable text editor that doesn't leave me frustrated! In my humble opinion, it’s the most amazing text editor ever conceived of for Windows users. Notepad++ features a tabbed interface with macro support, customizable GUI, Perl Compatible Regular Expression Search/Replace, and zoom functionality. Bundle all this with its syntax handling and you'll never want to close this editor!
VirtualBox OSE– Most people don't think much about the licensing of the VM software they use. But if you're using VirtualBox OSE, you could be using the Open Source Edition to boot another OS within your host Windows installation. Side note, I like to think that using VirtualBox is a great way to get to know Linux...without any lengthy commitment!
WinDirStat – Trying to track down large files that are stealing precious hard drive space can be a pain. But Windows users rejoice, there's an app that can help you with this challenge – WinDirStat. Designed to be a visual application, WinDirStat will literally show you which files and directories are taking up the bulk of your hard drive space. To make things easier, you'll also find that WinDirStat provides pretty solid tree-map support as well.
Wox – Not to be confused with Woz, the co-founder of Apple, Wox is a keyboard launcher designed to make you more productive at your Windows computer. For me, I can't even fathom using a computer without a good keyboard launcher. So if you were to drop me in front of a Windows box today, I'd be using Wox without a second thought. Using Wox, I can search the Web, locate files to open, and even startup programs!
AutoKey – Automating Macros and repetitive tasks can be a real pain. Lucky for you, there's an open source application called AutoKey to take the sting out of the experience. Even with documentation, there is a learning curve involved, yet once you get the hang of it you'll never look back. At it's simplest, you can think of AutoKey as software designed to automate keystrokes and mouse clicks. You can even use it to help with typing. For example, abbreviations can become full sentences or paragraphs. It's actually pretty amazing what can be done with this application.
Greenshot – Gone are the days of taking screen shots only to drop them into some paint like program! With Greenshot, you can take a screenshot and then add annotations, or even export a screenshot straight to a printer. Need to highlight or obfuscate parts a screenshot? Not a problem! Only wish to take a screenshot of a region of the screen? Again, this is doable without any issues. Greenshot is a must have application for Windows.
So which open source applications are you using? Perhaps you're using them on other platforms like Linux or OS X? No matter, hit the Comments and sound off with your favorites! I'd love to compare notes and see if there are any new software titles I haven't heard of.
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