Reader's Choice for Best OSS Projects

Since my first posting on open source tools in 20 great Windows open source projects you should get to know, I have received a lot of reader feedback on some of your favorite open source projects. I just want to reiterate that with the first post I intended to bring to light some OSS projects that were probably not directly on your radar but nonetheless should be given a look. With the second posting Five great Windows open source tools, I reviewed some lesser know open source projects, but included a list of OSS legends so as not to offend anyone. Interestingly, I still received some strong feedback. The range of comments was also interesting. Some were suggestions about alternatives, some were staunch defenders of their favorite OSS and other just questioned my sanity (fair enough, I question it at times as well). So I thought about the comments and considered several ways I could approach the subject. I decided the best way was to do a "Readers Choice" post. So here it is. This listis based on the number of comments received and the passion of the post. (Please note: this is not a ranking). So without further ado I present: A Better Windows World Reader Choice for Best OSS Projects (ABWWRCBOSSP), ok the acronym needs some work, but all the same, here they are: Keepass By far one of the most popular OSS password managers, Keepass may be the most popular password managers of them all. I use it myself. But, as I said my previous posts, I meant to highlight some little known OSS projects. Keepass comes with a ton of features and offers 256 bit encryption. This is a great tool for IT pros or the users they support. I thank reader’s vkeser, pompjoggie, Rieckus Huysamen for their comments on Keepass. Openproj If you are looking for an alternative to the much costlier Microsoft Project look no more. Openproj offers users the full set of project management tools without the price tag. It is easy to use and has quite a following with over 800,000 downloads since it was introduced. If project management is a priority but you have no budget available, you cannot go wrong with Openproj. Thanks to James Thompson for making me aware of this OSS project. ICEcore (now called Kablink) Team collaboration has become a large part of today’s corporate environment. The ability to communicate in real time and to collaborate saves countless man-hours not to mention money. Kablink (formerly ICEcore) is an open source collaboration software designed to create a full sharing environment. Features included are shared calendars, discussion forums, blogs, web conferencing, surveys, workflows and much more. One of the coolest things about Kablink is it collaborates the way we are used to working every day. Anyone familiar with social networking, blogging and chatting will be able to get up to speed on Kablink in no time. I want to thank Brent McConnell for writing in about ICEcore. Network Monitoring Network monitoring is essential in any IT environment. Size of the organization does not matter -- it is essential to know what is going on. In this Reader Choice post we have three different products that all offer an open source solution to the commercial alternatives. When it comes to number of comments and strength of conviction of those comments, all three of these products came in neck-and-neck (and neck). So I grouped them all into the area of network monitoring. I have tried all three and each has its strengths and weaknesses. However, I would not hesitate to recommend any of these solutions. Hyepric HQ has a large and active community and offers tools for cloud monitoring. Spiceworks is well known in the OSS world and is meant to be an all-in-one solution. It offers helpdesk solutions, monitoring and inventory features for your network. The Dude was easy to setup and offered some cool features for mapping your network across geographical boundaries. A useful feature for organizations spread across a city or cities. You can learn more about each and download the software at the following websites: Spiceworks HypericHQ The Dude A big thank you to Stacy and the other readers who commented on these projects, I would thank them also by name but the only other name I have is Anon. In fact, Anon made a lot of comments; this Anon person has a lot to say on my blog. I am going to have to meet with him/her one day and spring for a cup of coffee for all the support :-) Wireshark Wireshark is of course, the standard in network protocol analyzers for the IT Industry. There is not much I can say that has not been said about it already. It was one of those tools that I didn't name in previous posts not because it wasn't great, but because I wanted to feature some up-and-coming OSS tools for users to take a look at. Wireshark is one of those that belong in every decent IT person’s arsenal. In fact, it belonged in my legend's list from the second OSS posting I did. Somehow I forgot to put it in and I owe an apology to the folks at Wireshark for that oversight. Thanks to Bill Beltas for commenting about Wireshark. And seriously if you have not used it yet go download it and work with it right now. Audacity If you need to record and edit sound files nothing can be better than Audacity. You can record live audio, convert audio formats, splice sound files together and change the speed and pitch of those files. This tools rocks and it is for home users or IT shops that work with multimedia. Great tool, great project, I use it a lot for my music. I have even used it to clean up some drums tracks I recorded onto my laptop from my Roland TD3k drum kit. Craig R. I want to thank you for mentioning Audacity and I hope that many of the readers of the 20 open source tools got a chance to see that comment and try Audacity. Kismet Here is a great tool for detecting, sniffing and intrusion detection for wireless cards. With the mobile office growing it is great to have tools to help you to not only connect but to do so safely. Kismet works with any wireless card that supports raw monitoring. It has some awesome features such as: graphical mapping of networks, Network IP range detection and identification of access points and clients. And many more that make this a project worth looking at if you have a need to function wirelessly. Inkscape Inkscape is an open source alternative to commercial packages like Illustrator and Photoshop. I was quite blown away when I got a look at it myself. I have worked with Illustrator and Photoshop, mainly having been familiar to support marketing and graphics departments. But I know my way around the products well enough to know that if I had to recommend software for vector graphics editing, no doubt I would save the money and go with Inkscape. I want to thank GK4 for writing in about Inkspace. Pentaho I spent the better part of a year and a half becoming quite the Microsoft Performance Point guru. Imagine my surprise when I found out that Microsoft was going to integrate (or dumb down, depends on your viewpoint) the product. I took a look at Pentaho after reading the news and found a really good alternative to Performance Point Server 2007. Pentaho has all the features of a full commercial BI package with great community support. The innovation of the product impressed me as well. I was intrigued with the iPhone plug-in and Google maps integration. It was simple to go from Performance Point to Pentaho and I was comfortable with it in minutes. If you are looking to delve into BI, then Pentaho is an OSS project you need to consider. I owe a very large thanks and commendation to PJ for the tip on this one. WinSCP WinSCP provides the ability to transfer files securely between local and remote machines. It has support for SFTP, SCP and FTP. It is simple to use and has a host of features including an internal text editor and the ability to set transfer options. Again this is one that might have a small audience that need to implement secure file transfer using SFTP or SCP. But those who need the ability will appreciate WinSCP. Thanks to Rob Mitchell for writing in about this one. Well those are my Reader Choice for OSS projects list. I hope to do another sometime soon. If you have a favorite OSS project that is not on any of these lists. Please comment or email me and again thanks to everyone for your comments and thoughts.

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See my lists of great tools Five great Windows open source tools 8 little-known technologies that instantly make Microsoft shops run smoother 9 wickedly useful Web sites for Windows administrators 12 cool cross-platform tools for Windows, Macs and Linux 20 great Windows open source projects you should get to know A Better Windows World Tools Library
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