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: OpenOffice.org
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.
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?