The open source software movement never ceases to amaze. Beyond the wildly successful open source behemoths -- Linux, Apache, MySql, etc -- there's a whole ecosystem of amazing little apps. Here are four great ones we find essential: SevenZip We've begun using SevenZip as an open source, more powerful, no-cost alternative to the familiar WinZip. The UI is clunky, but zips and unzips multiple formats seamlessly. TrueCrypt I'm impressed by TrueCrypt, a open-source, more powerful, no-cost alternative to DriveCrypt. I've blogged before how I keep my passwords and SSH private keys close at hand by keeping them in an encrypted volume on a USB thumb drive on my key chain. TrueCrypt is a great solution for this. OpenVPN And after some initial hiccups getting OpenVPN to work with Vista, the newest OpenVPN client (version 2.1) works flawlessly. Can't imagine working without strong VPN, and OpenVPN is a solid open source option. CudePDF Need to generate pdfs? We at RKG are fans of CutePDFWriter. Cutepdf installs like a printer, so you can generate PDFs from Word, Excel, Powerpoint -- whatever. I can't recall a single hiccup in three years of regular use. (CutePDF doesn't really belong on this list, as the product isn't open source, but it is freeware, and it does rely on Ghostscript, which is open source and GPL'd, and it works great, so somehow it snuck on!) I'm looking forward to the day we can skip the hassle, cost, and licensing overhead of MSFT and Office. Likely won't be 2007 for RKG, but maybe we'll try it in 2008?
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