Windows by necessity: TheOpenCD

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.



Jeffery Hudson's picture

While the OpenCD comes with some great software for windows, I have found that there is still room for more then what the OpenCD has on it. I've started keeping a 'repository' of Open Source windows programs on my USB HDD. I have most of the programs on the OpenCD, plus few more 'necessary' programs. When my family calls and needs a quick computer fix, it always comes with me and I just add a bit of "Foss" to their lives.

The best part is, I can add to the 'repository' when ever I want. If a new version of a program, I just download the new version. No need for a new cd. If my family really wants a CD/DVD, I can easily burn it for them.

The OpenCD project is a great project and is what led to my idea of keeping my own 'repository'. But if you find yourself always helping your Windows friends, you may need to keep your own so you can always have it up to date.

Guy_P's picture
Submitted by Guy_P (not verified) on

The other obvious one is Portable Apps

A portable app runs without installing so people do not have to install them to try them out. It also means you can carry apps round on a pendrive ready to use when you need them on a windows PC.

This means Open Office on any Windows PC to access your documents. Gaim & Thunderbird already set up with your accounts. Firefox with your preferences, extensions & bookmarks in place.

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

Windows at work/ Linux at home. I cannot convince the large company I work for to uproot Windows and go for Linux. Yes, I can show them how fast it is, or how much less disk space it uses, meaning that we do not need to replace our boxes each year. I can show how spreadsheets are just as nice and how the gimp is so superior to paint and any number of things. But, Mr. gates has his hooks in this business too. So, I propose Windows at work/ Linux at home. Perhaps, in the near future someone here will realize we beta test his junk. Oh well.

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Anthony Taylor's picture


Tony Taylor was born, causing his mother great discomfort, and has lived his life ever since. He expects to die some day. Until that day, he hopes to continue writing, and living out his childhood dream of being a geek.