The best free open source software for Windows

If you run Microsoft Windows, you owe it to yourself to try these 10 killer open source apps -- InfoWorld's top picks

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Thwart those evildoers with ClamWin

ClamWin is a free open source anti-virus solution that provides a (mostly) comprehensive shield against the majority of common malware threats. I say "mostly" because the product lacks real-time execution monitoring, a critical component of any modern anti-virus solution. To scan for a virus with ClamWin, you need to manually initiate the process by selecting a suspect file and choosing the ClamWin option in the pop-up context menu.

Assuming you can live with a manual tool (some users may actually prefer it), ClamWin offers a fairly robust solution that includes an auto-updating virus definition database, an Outlook plug-in that provides real-time scanning of message and attachment data, and a scheduling function to automate proactive scans. And true to form for most free open source solutions, ClamWin offers a plethora of tweaking and tuning options so that savvy users can get it to work to their liking.

Prior to the release of Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE), ClamWin was one of the easiest ways to obtain a free anti-virus solution for Windows. However, now that Microsoft is offering its own, robust, and fully automated solution -- and providing it free to virtually anyone with a legitimate copy of Windows -- ClamWin’s star seems a bit diminished. Still, if you’re looking for an anti-virus solution with the transparency of open source development practices, ClamWin is the package for you.

Bottom line: ClamWin provides a good basic level of protection, but its lack of real-time execution scanning makes it more appropriate for veteran users than novices.

ClamWin is a tweaker’s paradise, with a plethora of configuration and tuning parameters to satisfy the savviest user.
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