Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

How Open Source are you?

Here’s a geeky meme that I’ve thought of. Below are a series of headers for different programs you use on your computer. For each one, say what program it is, whether it’s open source or not, and what you like about it.

Operating System: Windows

Most definintely not. But I do find it much easier to use than Linux, although I would like to try Ubuntu as it’s supposed to be quite simple. It also does everything I want it to do and is pretty reliable – I haven’t seen a blue screen in months.

Web browser: Firefox

Yes (almost). I say almost because the name and its logos are trademarked and not included in the source, but the code itself is open source. Firefox is fast, reliable, and doesn’t annoy me like IE. Opera is good but I find it a little over-complex.

Email client: Thunderbird

Yes (almost). Same as Firefox. Again, has all the features I want without annoying me and isn’t a security hole like Outlook Express is. Outlook, as well as costing money, has more features than I need.


No. The nag screen does annoy me but otherwise it’s a nice client with a good interface. FileZilla is open source but its interface is awful, and when I drag to resize some of the panes it never remembers their sizes between sessions. I want to like it but it annoys me every time I use it. WinSCP looks good but my host only supports FTP and FTP over SSL Explicit so it’s of no use to me.

Instant Messagine: Trillian

Not really. Fragments of Trillian’s code are actually in Gaim, as far as I understand – Cerulean Studios rewrote the code for Yahoo’s authentification in Gaim 0.70 and 0.79 after fixing it in Trillian.
Trillian, especially in version 3, has an attractive interface and doesn’t try to bundle the kitchen sink like some clients. Gaim is good on Linux but I’m not so keen on the Windows port, and Miranda IM has stagnated somewhat recently.

Media Player: Varies

I use VLC for some stuff, but otherwise it’s iTunes for music (not open source), Windows Media Player for DVDs and downloaded video files (again, not open source), and Winamp for playing occasional songs (not open source but I do have some open source plugins like MAD and ml_ipod).

Office Suite:

Yes. I really don’t see the point in paying for MS Office when this is so good, especially with the upcoming 2.0 release.

Image viewer: IrfanView

No. It’s hard to beat IrfanView for sheer versatility – I’ve recently been using its batch conversion and renaming utility to convert a series of JPEGs from one size and quality factor to another, while stripping out most of the metadata and renaming them, automatically. It’s also good for basic image manipulation.

Photo editor: Serif PhotoPlus 7

No Seems to work well enough for me and it’s cheaper than PhotoShop. Haven’t used the GiMP in a while but last time I found it far too complex.

Anti-virus: McAfee VirusScan Enterprise

No. But then I don’t know of any open source anti-virus tools. This is free from the university and seems to work well.

File sharing: Shareaza and Azureus

Yes (both). I mainly use Shareaza but some BitTorrent trackers have problems with it, in which case I use Azureus.

Compression: 7-Zip

Yes Not the nicest interface but quite speedy and has far better compression than any of utility I’ve seen.
So it’s a mixed bag, for me. How about you?


  1. How Open Source are you?

    Below are a series of headers for different programs you use on your computer. For each one, say what program it is, whether it’s open source or not, and what you like about it.

  2. How Open Source are you?

    Neil has a cool little meme idea, to see How open source you are. Below are a series of headers for different programs you use on your computer. For each one, say what program it is, whether it’s open source or not, and what you like about it….

  3. How Open Source are you?

    I quit doing memes sometime ago but Neil Turner has put a together a geeky meme to demostrate “how open source you are?”
    Operating System: Windows
    I have only know Windows all my life. I did try to install Linux but gave up for some reason. …

  4. Try Media Player Classic, great open source video player. No installation, single binary, very fast, many options.
    For audio I use foobar2000, simple interface, but its functionality is hard to beat. Very configurable, plays everything, replaygain support, masstager, etc. Free, many open source components.

  5. Meme: How open source are you?

    I score 3.5 out of 12.5 on Neil’s “How open source are you?” Meme quiz.

  6. There does exist an open source antivirus engine, called ClamAV. It also has a Windows frontend called [ClamWin](
    It’s apparently more limited than the usual antivirus programs though, as there is no permanent protection and stuff like that. I haven’t used it myself, I just read about this in a comment on Asa’s blog ;-).

  7. George: Trust me, I know about Media Player Classic – I’ve been using it for about a year now. It’s just not my primary player. foobar2000 is ugly and not the easiest program to use.
    Markus: Thanks, although by the sounds of things I’m not missing much…

  8. hi–good post .
    My bit of opensource goes like this
    *7 zip
    *media player classic.once used foobar.but love winamp.
    *Irfanview–its great.
    I have a problem with my firefox is not working in it.the gmail page itself is not loading .i have reinstalled firefox quite a few times .
    any suggestions?i can view it properly in my IE.