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Anthony Taylor [end_users]

Windows by necessity: TheOpenCD

fsmsh.com/2195 [windows]

As much as I despise MS-Windows, I live in a world that requires at least a working knowledge of the Worst OS In The Universe (tm). From my earliest experiences with MS-Windows 3.0, I looked for ways to make my life bearable: from the Workplace Shell demonstrations to the registry hacks of today, I try to make MS-Windows very unlike MS-Windows.

We make many sacrifices in the name of employment. Giving up our soul to MS-Windows should not be among them. It should bow to our will, not the other way ’round.

I gave up on MS-Windows a long, long time ago. After I discovered GNU/Linux, and OS/2, and other operating systems (VMS, for instance), I learned what an operating system should be: strong and pliable, adaptable and reliable. MS-Windows was none of these things. In fact, after exposure to other operating systems, MS-Windows was downright insufferable. This wasn’t helped by the release of MS-Windows 95, nor MS-Windows 2000 or XP. In fact, every release lead down the same boring, stultifying path: do things the MS-Windows way, or don’t do them at all. The latest release of MS-Windows Vista indicates the future is just as terrible as the past.

So I appreciate every little thing that makes MS-Windows more palatable. Particularly, if that means anything that makes it a little less restrictive, a little more free.

And that brings me to TheOpenCD, a collection of superb free software. all on a single CD, with an easy-to-use installation program, thirty-three packages of free software goodness. Here’s the list:

  • Blender
  • GNU Image Manipulation Program (the GIMP)
  • Inkscape
  • NVU
  • Scribus
  • Tux Paint
  • Battle for Wesnoth
  • Enigma
  • Neverball
  • Sokoban YASC
  • Azureus
  • FileZilla
  • Firefox
  • Gaim (now Pidgin IM)
  • HTTrack
  • RSSOwl
  • Thunderbird
  • TightVNC
  • WinSCP
  • Audacity
  • Celestia
  • Really Slick Screensavers
  • Stellarium
  • MoinMoin
  • OpenOffice.org
  • PDFCreator
  • Notepad2
  • 7-zip
  • Abakt
  • Clamwin
  • GTK+
  • HealthMonitor
  • Workrave

This is quite an impressive list of software, representing the creme de la creme of free software available for MS-Windows. It is certainly an indispensable CD, and worthy of handing out to family, if not strangers on the street. No, it doesn’t make MS-Windows a decent operating system, by any stretch of the imagination. But it does make MS-Windows more bearable.

And that is an accomplishment worth celebrating.

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