Windows by necessity: TheOpenCD

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
  • 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.


Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article are permitted worldwide, without royalty, in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.