Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Open Source and Free on Windows XP

I have a brand new previously owned computer with a fresh install of Windows XP. (I bought it at my company's fire sale.) As I am a bit of a software geek, I love installing new software on my PCs.

Here's a list of open source and free (as in beer) software that I like to install on fresh Windows XP machines.

First up is the browser. Internet Explorer just does not hack it for me. There are a lot of security issues with version 6. A lot of the defects have been addressed in versions 7 and 8 though, but at which point I've gotten used to the following little known browser.

For the longest time, my browser of choice is K-Meleon, a lightweight browser that uses the Gecko rendering engine. This is the same rendering engine used by the folks at Mozilla. K-Meleon though is not as heavy (hence lightweight), and has a lot of features builtin. That is, no need to screw around with plugins although you can add Mozilla plugins with a little bit of work. K-Meleon has all the goodies that Mozilla does (tabs, plugins). There are a couple of things that I've grown to like about K-Meleon. First, the search box and address box have been integrated into one box. Secondly, On a right click, you can send a new tab to either the foreground or background. This one is pretty much a K-Meleon only feature that I haven't found anywhere else.

I still use K-Meleon occassionally but it has mostly been replaced by Chrome.

What is good about Chrome? What's not to like? It has the basic features we've come to expect of browsers (tabs, builtin search, extensions, themes). The layout is great. It is fast. The builtin incognito mode is very useful. It's very, very stable. And best of all it is open source. I'm hoping for a Linux port of Chrome to show up.

Up next: Open Source and Free Office/Productivity Software on Windows XP.

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