December 7, 2007 - 8:15 am - Posted by iDunzo
This Christmas I decided to give a few gifts to people in the open-source community.
I’m making donations to the maintainers of some of my favorite and most widely-used software projects. They’ve earned some payback!
Most of the programs I depend on most, I’ve discovered, are actually not big ones — they’re little things, applications that fill in the gaps between other apps, and that make my work all the easier.
The first big open-source project that gets a little of my Christmas cheer is the PortableApps suite, an incredibly useful bundle of no-install-needed editions of popular open-source programs.
It’s a one-stop shop of sorts for a whole slew of common apps — Firefox, the OpenOffice.org suite, VLC, and 7-Zip — and it can be run either from a removable drive or from a single self-contained directory on a PC.
I’ve pointed a number of friends at it as an easy way to consolidate all of their applications and documents into one place.
If they upgrade to a new machine — or if their PC ever gets borked and they need to recover files from it — they can simply copy the PortableApps directory somewhere else and pick up right where they left off.
It’s funny how many open-source projects of one kind or another you can end up using without even thinking about it.
Not long ago I started using the above-mentioned 7-Zip as my archiving application of choice — not only because it was open-source, but because it actually gave me slightly better compression ratios than WinRAR on certain kinds of files.
I’d originally started to use it provisionally, more as a companion program to WinRAR than a flat-out replacement.
Eventually I disabled WinRAR’s Explorer menu integration; not long after that, I deinstalled WinRAR completely. Any program that gets that much use from me deserves a hand.
Some of my other favorite programs are not open source, but are freeware and get my support just because they’re that good.
The image viewer and converter Irfanview, for instance: I can’t think of any other program I install as unhesitatingly on any computer as this one, and that I get quite as much use out of. Its author definitely gets a donation from me this year, whether there’s source code or not.
What projects, open-source or not — but ones you’ve used regularly — have you donated to?