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October 19, 2005 7:55 AM   Subscribe

OpenSourceFilter: What open source software rocks your world?

We all know about Firefox. What else do you use that has made a significant improvement in your computing life?
posted by mikewas to Computers & Internet (33 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Azureus. WASTE. Gaim. CDex.

Oh, and Linux.
posted by agropyron at 7:59 AM on October 19, 2005

Best answer: Previous thread.

I use GIMP. Once I got used to the interface, it's a great program, and it certainly beats dropping whatever obscene amount of money Adobe wants for Photoshop these days.

For torrents, I use ABC, which I think is open source. It's not flashy, but it gets the job done nicely.

In terms of Linux, I like Slax, which allows you to create a highly customized bootable CD or USB key with saveable preferences. It's really neat. Ubuntu is also nice.

Pretty much everybody benefits from Apache without really thinking about it.

I also like Mozilla's Thunderbird email program.
posted by selfnoise at 8:04 AM on October 19, 2005

Bind has made a signifigant impact in everyone's lives.
posted by cmonkey at 8:12 AM on October 19, 2005

Best answer: Apache is so good, it's invisible to most people using it.

LAME and Mplayer are both great pieces of software, me hearties.

Python rocks my world. Such a beautiful, simple, but unstoppable programming language. I would have to put Perl in there as well - can't stand to be on the coding end, but like Apache most people probably "use" it a hundred times a day without realizing it.

And all those Linux distros that manage to fit an entire operating system and software suite into a 60-meg file on a USB drive.
posted by Jimbob at 8:18 AM on October 19, 2005

I knew I was going to forget something. Odinsdream mentioned VLC, and I use that all the time. Excellent video player.
posted by selfnoise at 8:26 AM on October 19, 2005

MPlayer, definitely; I haven't found any other player that's as robust.
I'd say Gaim, while not revolutionary, is quite nice, and I use it on both Linux and Windows.
Linux in general, of course.
OpenSSH, because there's a lot to be said for being able to "use" my computer at home when I'm at work (and don't need the GUI stuff of VNC or remote desktop).
GPG, for free & easy encryption; Thunderbird (plus Enigmail) for e-mail (Evolution is decent, but sloooow).

A lot of other stuff comes in handy from time to time, without being particularly worthy of mention or useful for most people.
posted by Godbert at 8:31 AM on October 19, 2005

posted by NucleophilicAttack at 8:32 AM on October 19, 2005

I'll second screen. Let's not forget gcc and the whole host of dev tools that make everything else possible.

oh, and emacs, cuz vi blows. Just kidding...don't shoot me.

posted by abingham at 8:36 AM on October 19, 2005

posted by advil at 8:38 AM on October 19, 2005

Linux, Firefox, Thunderbird, Fire, screen, rsync...and many other things I'm forgetting at the moment.
posted by oaf at 8:48 AM on October 19, 2005

Open Office lets me read and write .doc files, along with lots of other things.

LaTeX lets me typeset anything beautifully.
posted by gorillawarfare at 8:55 AM on October 19, 2005

All the above, and the excellent amaroK too!
posted by Nick Jordan at 8:58 AM on October 19, 2005

I would say, not even so much the big stuff (ooo, gimp) but much smaller everyday things the functionality of which you used to have to shell out for: 7zip, filezilla, openssh, cdex.


funny how bind is so widespread and yet such crap -- good example that opensource does not necessarily equal good. but does imply there are always alternatives, e.g. the excellent djbdns.
posted by dorian at 9:50 AM on October 19, 2005

oh yeah: scribus. audacity.
posted by dorian at 9:51 AM on October 19, 2005

"...a significant improvement in your computing life?" Easily Cygwin and PuTTY.

I 30% hate and 70% love Ant.

I 100% love rsync + OpenSSH.
posted by jmcmurry at 9:53 AM on October 19, 2005

Filezilla. One of the first things I install.
posted by fishfucker at 9:57 AM on October 19, 2005

Best answer: All the things people have said above, plus...

Work needs: Ethereal, nmap, and netcat. I don't know what I'd do sometimes without these three.

Developer needs: Perl, CPAN, Tomcat, and PostgreSQL. These are the big ones I'm playing with at the moment.

Home needs: all the Mozilla projects. I use Firefox, Camino, and Thunderbird on an hourly basis!
posted by sbutler at 10:06 AM on October 19, 2005

Blender is a very cool open source 3D program. The UI is kind of weird at first, but you get used to it.
posted by brundlefly at 10:10 AM on October 19, 2005

LAME, and MAME, and Xwords.
posted by box at 10:18 AM on October 19, 2005

Oh, yeah, and a lot of things that have already been mentioned, and Shareaza.
posted by box at 10:20 AM on October 19, 2005

Docutils. Saxon. FOP.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:25 AM on October 19, 2005

OpenSSH, screen, centericq, and BitchX is basically my day. If you comfortable with the CLI, then screen gets a double vote from me.
posted by PantsOfSCIENCE at 10:39 AM on October 19, 2005

PHP, Apache, WinSCP, PuTTY, LAME, XviD, Media Player Classic, anything on Sysinternals, SciTE, FireFox, SAJAX, OpenOffice, Azureus. I'm sure there's more, but that's all I can think of at this point.

Man, I use a lot of free stuff. ;) I'm a cheap bastard.
posted by purephase at 11:00 AM on October 19, 2005

amaroK kicks more ass than an ass kicking machine!
(I just wish I was on my linux box more often to use it or there was something as good on Windows)
posted by Ikazuchi at 12:05 PM on October 19, 2005

As a developer and a Linux user, it's hard to think of just how many different ones I use. The Linux kernel. GNU software from gcc and glibc to the GNU core utilities. Xorg. The Gnome or XFCE desktop environments, or the Ratpoison window manager. Emacs or Xemacs. GnuCash. Thunderbird. LAME. OpenOffice. FLAC. CVS. Mplayer. Perl. Python.

There's a lot of free, but closed source stuff I use, too.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 12:40 PM on October 19, 2005

Docvert is great!

(I ain't got nothing that hasn't been said. Thanks open source)
posted by holloway at 1:55 PM on October 19, 2005

Bittorrent without a doubt, with Azureus as my favourite BT client.

SciTE is by far my most favourite text editor in both Windows and Linux (with vim a distant second).
posted by furtive at 2:20 PM on October 19, 2005

MythTV, VNC and Xine.
posted by jackmakrl at 4:06 PM on October 19, 2005

Languages for data analysis: R, OpenMCL, and Python.

Firefox and Thunderbird (and NeoOfficeJ)

posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:47 PM on October 19, 2005

much of what has been mentioned above, plus LyX/LaTeX/bibtex, xfig, xchat (mmmm, timewastage) & let's not forget rxvt, XFree/Xorg and everything underneath (gtk, glibc, linux and a load more relatively invisible libs). GnuCash for invoices. I use OpenOffice but hate it.

I spend a huge amount of time in emacs, openssh/screen, and gcc/g++. g++ and toolchain (as, ld, etc) really rocks my world for work (PhD) purposes, as do gdb/ddd. regular rsync and invocation of make too. netpipes+tar is a pretty useful combination. Better include the whole GNU fileutils thing and tcsh or bash. gzip & bzip2. valgrind!

I run 3 websites, so Apache & PHP keep all that in line with a dash of Perl. libjpeg in a bunch of tools I wrote. Mailman, fetchmail, procmail & spamassassin for some very interesting mail routing issues. Sylpheed+gnupg for an MUA if you can't face mutt before morning coffee. I think there's ssmtp and exim in there somewhere too.

All my CDs are stored as FLAC and play 24/7 via a Perl script on Linux. All my movies are played on mplayer+libavcodec and often encoded with mencoder. I used to be a heavy ogg user until I switched to FLAC. perl+lame for making CDs to put in the car MP3 player.

gcombust, dvd+rw-tools, mkisofs and that whole cdrtools toolchain. cdparanoia is an important one, bundled into a bunch of frontends like grip and CDex.

I think that's enough linux geekiness for one posting.
posted by polyglot at 5:52 PM on October 19, 2005

Rockbox (firmware for mp3 players)

Bricx Command Center (developement platform for Lego Mindstorms, Spybotics, and other Lego robotics systems).
posted by -harlequin- at 5:55 PM on October 19, 2005

Response by poster: Awesome. Thanks, everyone... I got a lot of ideas for things I might actually use (I'm WinXP in the office and Mac at home)

Sorry I missed the earlier thread.
posted by mikewas at 5:57 PM on October 19, 2005

I recently went all-OSS on my computers and haven't looked back.

KDE (amaroK, Kaffeine, Kate, Kopete, KPDF, Kile, Korganizer, Konqueror, K3B, KDevelop, ...) is the best desktop environment on the planet, and getting better every day.

Eclipse, Azureus, Thunderbird, Firefox and its extensions are great. OpenOffice and GIMP are not perfect but are open source leaders. Octave, Blender, Inkscape, Audacity, etc. are all nice and important.

Bash, screen, rsync, wget and the dozens of other big and small CLI utilities from the rest of the GNU toolkit and other projects are tremendous productivity boosters.

Xorg, VLC, MPlayer, Xine, freedesktop projects all provide core functionality from which everyone benefits.

Gentoo and Ubuntu are two great distributions with great momentum, technology, and community, and headed in the right direction.

Postgres, GCC, Apache, Perl, the kernel... you know. We stand on the shoulders of giants.

Many other projects for Windows and of course the many other servers, clients, libraries and languages and OS infrastructure that forms the foundation for it all on both the desktop/laptop and the server. Specialized projects like Weka, BioPerl, Ardour etc. are awesome too, if you're in the field.
posted by azazello at 7:50 PM on October 20, 2005

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