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By Jason Brooks  |  Posted 2005-03-15 Print this article Print

One of the best places to locate open-source software—whether for Windows or other operating systems—is, which provides free hosting for open-source projects. You can browse for software by platform, but a good way to weed inactive projects out of your search is to browse projects sorted by activity.

Another good option for locating open-source software for Windows is to seek out software distributions tailored for Windows. One of these is TheOpenCD project, which maintains a downloadable disk image of open-source Windows software.

In addition, an extensive list of open-source applications for Windows is maintained at

Microsoft and open source

Microsoft has what could become a love-hate relationship with open-source software. When it comes to open-source software, Microsoft has the hate part down pretty well already, but the company also has released as open source a project called Windows Installer XML—a tool set that builds Windows installation packages from XML source code.

Windows doesnt ship with a set of open-source applications out of the box the way that a typical Linux distribution does, which can present an initial barrier to open-source development. Nor can Windows users take advantage of the streamlined updates that characterize Linux packages.

Microsoft may open code to Windows forms. Click here to read more. However, open-source applications enjoy other benefits on Windows. For one thing, Windows users dont have to worry about the complexities that accompany the diversity among Linux distributions, which require applications to be packaged expressly for each distribution.

In addition, open-source applications for Windows often sport nicer installers than do their cousins on Linux. For instance, getting up and running quickly with the open-source content management system Plone is a far smoother proposition on Windows than on the other platforms on which weve used it, and the Windows distribution of Plone also comes with a handy service startup and configuration console.

Senior Analyst Jason Brooks can be reached at

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.

As Editor in Chief of eWEEK Labs, Jason Brooks manages the Labs team and is responsible for eWEEK's print edition. Brooks joined eWEEK in 1999, and has covered wireless networking, office productivity suites, mobile devices, Windows, virtualization, and desktops and notebooks. JasonÔÇÖs coverage is currently focused on Linux and Unix operating systems, open-source software and licensing, cloud computing and Software as a Service. Follow Jason on Twitter at jasonbrooks, or reach him by email at

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