Top 20 Open Source Apps for Windows: Page 2

Posted October 11, 2010

Matt Hartley

Matt Hartley

(Page 2 of 3)

8) VirtualDub – Not my first choice in video editors as I prefer OpenShot for the Linux desktop, however it would be my next choice for video editing work on the Windows desktop. VirtualDub will do nearly anything most people expect from a video editing suite, in addition to making filters available through plug-ins offered on another website. The software is quick, bugs are minimal and for the price of $0, fits into the budgets of many would-be video editing enthusiasts.

Windows Movie Maker is what most casual video editing enthusiasts will be reaching for if they're looking for something proprietary-based. Like VirtualDub, it's freely available. However one might notice that it feels a bit more up to date, much like KDENLive or OpenShot would on the Linux platform. I have been told that VirtualDub still wins on speed though, and of course, it's open source.

9) Miro – I consider Miro to be more of a video jukebox than a video player like VLC. Despite having completely dropped the ball in the last few releases with Flash support for Linux users, Miro on Windows is actually difficult to duplicate in the proprietary software world -- it's unique in its offerings. Miro provides instant access to video channels for popular video podcasts, allows for RSS subscription support for mainstream content like Hulu or YouTube video. And overall, it’s the easiest bittorrent client available today. Miro can run in the background or provide instant gratification for those looking to download multiple videos at once.

Surprisingly the closest proprietary software to Miro is iTunes. Even then, iTunes doesn't offer the same kind of functionality. No Hulu, no bittorrent, yet it does offer much of the same type of podcast selection. Given that iTunes also supports music and mainstream movies, it's difficult to group this into the same category as Miro. And yet, it's the closest thing to Miro available using proprietary code.

10) Open Office – Once LibreOffice comes out of beta, my recommendation will obviously change. However for the time being, Open Office will remain my office suite of choice for Windows users. When it comes to simple, reliable access to spreadsheets, word processing and presentation creation, Open Office has always been my first choice. The only thing I would like to see is grammar check installed by default. While there are some mediocre grammar plug-ins available, they are quite unreliable and don't always install right.

Microsoft Office has ruled this space since the beginning of popular adoption of the PC. Expensive for most people, less expensive for students, Microsoft Office uses controversial file formats that have made it interesting to use on non-Microsoft created office suites. I don’t use Microsoft Office, but other people swear by it due to familiarity and compatibility with others using the same software.

11)Iron – I honestly wish that Iron was available on other platforms, as it is basically Google Chrome/Chromium without any privacy concerns. All the same functionality, plus some other goodies like an ad blocker and better user-agent flexibility. Like Chrome, it's fast, stable and makes using other browsers a lot less appealing.

Internet Explorer. Do I really need to say any more than that? Not know for friendliness to Web standards, this proprietary browser has prompted some people to create customized CSS files so websites load properly in this browser. In short, I’m not fond of this piece of software.

12) Audacity – Without a doubt, the single best open source audio editor I've ever used is Audacity. Not to say that more advanced functionality isn't being offered by other applications. Rather I’m pointing out that for most people, this is all the software they need for clipping, mixing and editing audio files. Audacity works like a rock star with Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV or AIFF sound files. I am also in love with the import/export options provided as it makes working with audio files so much easier than comparable programs.

Both Sony ACID Pro and Adobe Audition are more comparable to Ardour for Linux, than to Audacity. Regardless, much like we've seen with other applications above, the proprietary alternatives fall into their own unique categories. In this case, they are expensive and are likely overkill for someone looking to duplicate what Audacity offers.

13) RSSOwl – Despite what most people believe, RSSOwl is a must-have RSS reader for not only Linux, but also Windows. Some of the best functions provided by this app include the embedded browser, tabbed feed reading, grouping mode and keyword feed subscriptions from most of the media big players.

I'd easily say FeedDemon is the de facto proprietary alternative. It has functionality as seen above, plus a few other tidbits like tagging and Google Reader sync. Outside of those two options though, I think it's a wash as to which application is better. I myself, opt for RSSOwl simply due to its license and that it's also available on my preferred desktop as well, which is Linux.

14) Notepad ++ - We all need a reliable notepad application. But this doesn't mean that it has to be the one that comes with the desktop operating system by default. Notepad ++ is definitely aimed toward those doing programming or web design, as it has the syntax functions that allow for more control. Overall, it's just fun to use something that allows for a strong alternative to WordPad in Windows.

Microsoft WordPad, not to be confused with Microsoft Word, provides the basic text editing options that most people wanting something more than notepad provides. It allows for basic spell check and basic formatting, but like notepad, it has a bare-bones feature set.

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Tags: Linux, Windows, Linux downloads, open source software, Office

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