16 September 2009

Favorite Open Source Software Part I

The first post will contain my mosty used OSS. This is however an open source related blog. Making some hint about freeware may ruins the objective. Say comparing Mingw+Codeblock with Visual C++ Express 2008.. hu hu

1. Archiver

- Being reasonably slower to achieve better compression is always acceptable
- Faster and lower memory for  decompression is a must have
- Stable operation under heavy load
- Shell integration
- Support for other major format

7-Zip 9   Learn more

Still in beta phase, 7-Zip by Igor Pavlov slowly but surely become one of most reliable archiver (be it freeware or commercial). Now with support for updating 7z archive, better cancellation under heavy load and new LZMA2 compression method.7-Zip will find its way to replace your favorite archiver and will be embraced in the same league as ubiquitous Zip.

7-Zip is one of few that has numerous support for surprisingly oddball format like shown in the shot above. It also have quirk like manual mutiple decompression for multilevel archive such tar.bz2

Peazip GUI is... odd
SharpArchiver Nice theme and simple interface, I'll looking forward
KGB Archiver Ever experience instability with it
FreeARC  GUI is...odd

2. Browser

- Flawless page rendering
- Simplicity vs feature ratio
- Efficient memory usage

This time my choice goes to two browser.
One use gecko other one use webkit. huhu that mean no Opera no IE already (they are not OSS anyway)
One is a fork other one is mainstream browser. WTF no firefox then?
One is single process other one is parent-child process. Yeah you know the last one
One is extremely lightweight other one is extremely memory-hog. uhh haven't you noticed that?
One is looks unpolished and odd other one is very sleek and intuitive. Thats the tradeoff
Both are the fastest browser. Yes beating Opera 10 too.
Both support latest web standart. Facebook should displayed flawlessly :)

They are K-MeleonCCF ME 0.096 and Chromium 4

Chromium >>>
<<< K-Meleon

K-MeleonCCF ME is another fork of an already lightweight K-Meleon by Hao Jiang, the other fork is K-Ninja. The fork focusing on making K-Meleon even more lighter while keep update with current standart (Gecko 1.9.1). It missed RSS Reader but add IE tab function. In many interface area there are glitches everywhere and dialogs was mostly unpolished (another chinese typical software). If you don't satisfied, you can wait for K-Meleon 1.6 (Gecko 1.9.1) which soon to be released. K-Meleon project itself is not a fork of Mozilla, mainly its a native win32 interface for gecko thus remove the need of XUL. This also considerably bring incompatibility with Mozilla extensions.

Chromium is a project behind Google Chrome, and an autobuild for Win32 is provided daily here. Not much I could say about this very well known browser.

Flock  This is better than Firefox itself  IMO
Iceweasel  Another prove that firefox fork is necessary
Seamonkey  I use this exclusively before switch to K-Meleon
Arora  Promising chrome alternative based on QT and Webkit
Firefox  Sometime the most popular is over-rated  
Amaya  I will use it for web development instead
Links?  Q: Do you need text mode?
Lynx?  A: Text mode is good for spider analysis...

3. Text Editor

- FAST, seriously I don't want to wait more than a second for opening text files
- Lean, in case my rig is under heavy-load I don't wish to wait it loaded either
- Built-in Regex
- Good language syntax support and programming purpose feature

Notepad2 4.0 Mod
This is a modified version of original notepad2 (another scintilla based editor by florian ballmer)
Notepad2 bring you most useful feature of Notepad++ at the cost of notepad. No more wait!

Notepad ++ Too big, too slow Scintilla based.
SCITE The original Scintilla but GUI need more work. Otherwise love the tab and leave notepad2
JEdit I'm not Java-based software fans

4. Internet Messenger

- Simple / Minimalistic interface
- Low bandwidth consumption, this is for chatting not browsing ehh...
- Multi-protocol

Pidgin 2.6 (formerly GAIM)

While windows version doesn't not support Voice/Video chat yet. Pidgin is getting near to AIO chat apps you ever needed. Me myself has replaced x-chat with it. Some alternative like MirandaIM offer more simpler interface. But none has close the sheer number protocol combined with simple interface pidgin has. Not  to mention its low bandwidth usage when compared to YM.

5. Media Player

For Audio Player:
- Lowest memory/CPU usage as possible cause I will listen to song as much as I work
- Option to hide the interface (e.g as systray) and control it from 100% hotkeys
- Support Ogg and at least one lossless-compressed format like FLAC

For Movie Player:
- Should play most popular format
- Smooth playing, yes I'm talk about seek time too
- Basic video control would be nice

This is somehow too simple audio player but fill all criteria (if you have multimedia keyboard), playlist also faraway from competing Winamp's. The good side, memory (3,5MB) /cpu (mostly 0) usage is one of the lowest of every GUI player I have tried before :) In short: listen and leave it run in backgroud.

- aTunes Java-based player that gaining popularity. If you don't mind the java-hog thingy this is a great choice that similar to iTunes, use MPlayer as engine, have global hotkeys and many excellent online features which cost (>80MB/>40MB minimized) memory usage.
- wxMusik  Absolutely powerful yet low-resource player that should unset CoolPlayer easily, but interface is somewhat unresponsive. (project seemed terminated)
- Songbird  a popular odd combo, hmm.. what the dev think about it...
- Jukes  Another decent Java-based player, but give me a hardtime finding the volume slider...
- Jajuk  Java apps always has new trick for GUI, but this time its too much for a player
- Zinf  Buggy FreeAmp clone (didn't respond multimedia keyboard event?)

Long before mplayer world of windows was ruled by codec (vfw, acm, dshow, activex etc) package that enable regular movie player to support additional format. For the record I 've experienced the pain ACEs Mega Codec too. Then ffdshow is coming, but all was proven to be no more than a mess and incompatibility. MPC bring a slightly better solution but still have the same backend. So here you go the winner: MPlayer bring all decoder natively inside itself.

Now whats left is selection of GUIs. My choice goes to MPUI-hcb, an updated MPUI with perfected features but still as lightweight.

none, or maybe SMPlayer & MPlayer

6. Burning Tools

- Decent burning engine, Nero still the best AFAIK
- Feature complete (including format, methods etc)

CDRTFE 1.3.5 (CDRTools Front-End by O.Valencia and O. Kutsche)

It reminds me to X-CD-Roast on linux. A front-end to cdrtools (burning engine by joerg schilling) that bring you the most of it and more (Mode2CDMaker and VCDImager). It can eat and spit (CD and DVD), Audio CDs, XCDs, (S)VCDs and DVD-Video in RAW, TAO or DAO

Filesystem support includes:
ISO9660 up to level 4 (my favorite)
Joliet extension
Rock-Ridge (Amiga and most Unix)
AFAIK mkisofs did support hfs, you might try it from additional command option from setting dialog

CDRTFE's interface is nowhere like others, its name isn't so. Its really focus on features (which I suggest you to read it by yourself before even try this apps). A good thing you need to know is that CDRTFE use native cygwin emulation of cdrtools, which mean produced ISO or disc could benefit from POSIX.

For example:
- Inside CDRTFE, Filesystem become case sensitive. Yes! cdrtfe.exe is not the same as CDRTfe.exe
- Support hardlink-like handling for duplicated files

Like X-CD-Roast, CDRTFE doesn't offer explorer inside its GUI. Instead a clever solution is done from explorer context menu integration.

InfraRecorder More polished UI, less powerful, much popular

7. Download Manager

- Support multisource, multipart and accelerated mode
- Able to fully hide itself as systray
- Wide protocol support such as bittorent or able to retrive from youtube or rapidshare
- Scheduler or Bandwidth limiter (like wget) is a good addition

Still stick with IE's download dialog? Even FF and Chrome offer decent download manager. Opera 10 has torrent support too. So why we need another download manager. That would be criteria no.1 that most browser didn't implement it reasonably due to traffic balance. No.2 also not make sense for browser too.

Frankly nowadays dozens of  freeware was comparable to download manager veteran like GetRight, DAP or Mass Downloader. Even, you can't see significant differences between OSS, freeware and shareware. Need another excuse? If you want commercial grade inside OSS thats where FDM shine. FDM memory usage is one of highest among download manager. At <8MB I doubt thats important issue in regard to its complete array of features.

Have been started as freeware and converted as OSS, FDM face almost no competition from original startup OSS Downloader like alternatives below:

wxDownload Fast   Low-resource DM with great feature
widestream DM  Despite its small size, its .NET 3.5 architecture made it resource-hog
True Downloader  One of earliest OSS of its kind and currently no longer active

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