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Making Windows tolerable

Even UNIX people have to use a Windows box from time to time. I'm using Windows XP to play games and because I need some software that's win32 only from time to time. Yeah, there's wine and it works great but some things still are too slow or keep crashing with it.

So here's a list of software I recommend if you have to work on a Windows box. Not all of the programs linked here are published under the GPL but many are. This list should help you if your favourite Linux app isn't available on Windows and you don't know how to replace it.


* IRC client: Nettalk -- Flawless and clean IRC client. Not bloated at all but has all the features I need (and many funny suggestions in the auto-completion module. :p ) [OSS, Apache 2 license]

* Bittorrent client: Deluge -- Easy but configurable bittorrent client based on Gtk+ [free software]

* FTP Client: FileZilla -- Full-featured FTP client, you may know the client or server from Linux. [OSS, GPL]

* SSH Client: Putty -- Good SSH client, copy and paste doesn't work though (annoying but maybe due to Windows and not Putty, dunno). [OSS, MIT license]

* Multi-protocol Instant Messenger: Miranda -- Supports all the protocols I need, plugin-architecture. [OSS, GPL]

* Webbrowser: Firefox -- Everybody knows the other one sucks. [OSS]

* Email client: Thunderbird -- Good mail client, has IMAP support and everything else you need. [OSS]


* Music player (play MP3s): SongBird -- Many useful features, fast access to songs via DB. [OSS, GPL]

* Audio Encoder (create MP3s): BonkEnc -- Simple, small, works like a charm. [OSS]

* CD/DVD burning: Infrarecorder -- Does the job, good and simple interface. [OSS, GPL]

* Video player: VLC -- One to play 'em all. [OSS]

* Sound editor: Audacity -- Many good features (UI could be better but it works.) Ignore this one if you don't edit sounds. [OSS, GPL]


* Image manipulation (bitmap): GIMP -- Great program to edit photos and other images, my favourite. [OSS, GPL]

* Image manipulation (vector): InkScape -- Full-featured vector graphics editor. [OSS]

* Image manipulation (bitmap): Paint.net -- Small but rather powerful program, enough features for small tasks, loads way faster than Gimp. [OSS]


* Encrypting Proxy: Tor/Vidalia -- helps defend against network surveillance [free software]

I don't use the following programs myself, you can avoid getting viruses with the Windows Firewall and a bit of sanity. They come in handy when you're asked to repair peoples laptops though. :p

* Anti-Virus: Avira AntiVir Free Edition -- A virus scanner. Welcome to Windows. [Free for personal use]

* Anti-Virus: AVG Free Edition -- Another virus scanner. Just to give an alternative. [Free for personal use]

* Desktop Firewall: Outpost Free Edition -- A firewall with a simple and clean UI. [Free for personal use]


* Multiple Desktops: Virtual Dimension -- Simple virtual desktop manager. Makes me feel much less restricted on Windows. [OSS]

* Text editor: Context -- Full-featured but fast text editor, has syntax highlighting. Great. [OSS]

* Archive manipulation: 7zip -- Can create and extract zip, tar, gzip, bzip2 and many more. All you need. [OSS]

* EXT2/3 driver: Ext2FSD -- Mount EXT* filesystems under Windows. I use it to access the music I got on my linux partition. [OSS]

* Virtualization: VirtualBox -- Nice to test stuff and play with things. Just ignore this one if you don't know what virtualzation is. [OSS]

* Linux tools: Cygwin -- Ports of all your favourite linux apps. Use the power of bash, sed, awk and many more on Windows. [OSS]

* Scheduled shutdown: WinOFF -- What the name suggests: shutdown Windows at time X. [Free for personal use]

* Hardware info: HWInfo32 -- Get detailed hardware info. Comes in handy to find drivers for the boxes of other people. [Free for personal use]


* Office suite: OpenOffice -- Everything I need (if you don't count TeX). Supports export to pdf! [OSS]

* ps file manipulation: Ghostscript, Ghostview and GSview -- Also opens pdf files. Ignore this one if you don't know what ps files are. [Free for private use]

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