In my opinion, OpenDisc is one of the best bargains available for Windows users. It is a collection of high quality, free, open source software on a disc for Microsoft Windows users.
The aims of the OpenDisc project include "to provide a free alternative to costly software, with equal or often better quality equivalents to proprietary, shareware or freeware software for Microsoft Windows."
All of the programs on the disk are completely full-featured programs that are available free of charge. None of them are "crippled" programs or lower-powered programs that beg for payments. If you are not familiar with the term "open source," you might want to read the Wikipedia definition at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-source_software to understand why programmers give away these programs free of charge.
The OpenDisc collection of software is available free of charge although the non-profit organization that produces it does accept donations. You can read more about OpenDisc for Windows and even download the files at: http://www.theopendisc.com/.
You can download the OpenDisc CD online and create your own CD copy of it. However, that process does require a bit of knowledge about downloading .ISO image files and then converting them to CD format when "burning" the disk.
If you don't already have a ISO-to-CD program, I'd suggest you first download the free ISOrecorder at http://alexfeinman.com/isorecorder.htm. Actually, there are several good ISO-to-CD programs available. ISO recorder is simply one of the more popular such programs. It is free and has been proven to work well by tens of thousands of users all over the world.
I haven't used it myself, but I have been told that InfraRecorder at http://infrarecorder.org/ is another good, free ISO-to-CD conversion program for Windows. If you already have a different ISO-to-CD conversion program, use what you already have.
If you are not familiar with converting ISO files to CD format, you can make a $20 USD or more donation. In return, the organizers will send two CD-ROM disks to you in regular mail with no downloading or conversion required. The donation covers the cost of the discs and postage, along with continued development of the project.
OpenDisc presently includes the following programs:
- Design: Blender, Dia, The GIMP, Inkscape, NVU, Scribus, Tux Paint
- Games: Battle for Wesnoth, Enigma, Neverball, Sokoban YASC
- Internet: Azureus (now Vuze), FileZilla, Firefox, HTTrack, Pidgin, RSSOwl, SeaMonkey, Thunderbird, TightVNC, WinSCP
- Multimedia: Audacity, Celestia, Really Slick Screensavers, Stellarium, Sumatra PDF, VLC media player
- Productivity: GnuCash, MoinMoin, Notepad2, OpenOffice.org, PDFCreator
- Utilities: 7-Zip, Abakt, ClamWin, GTK+, HealthMonitor, TrueCrypt, Workrave
A Google search on any of the above should provide more information about each program.
Please note that OpenDisc does not contain any genealogy programs. If you are looking for a useful open source genealogy program, look at GRAMPS, the Genealogical Research and Analysis Management Programming System, at http://gramps-project.org/. The download page for the Windows version may be found at http://gramps-project.org/download/.
While not open source, other good, free genealogy programs for Windows include RootsMagic Essentials at http://www.rootsmagic.com/essentials/, Legacy Family Tree at http://www.legacyfamilytree.com/, and Ancestral Quest Basics at http://www.ancquest.com/index.htm.
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