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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Get well-connected with FileZilla

FileZilla is one of those essential Internet tools that you just can’t live without. A full-featured Windows FTP client, FileZilla makes interacting with FTP sites an efficient, productive process.

I’m particularly fond of FileZilla’s handling of batch transfers. I mostly use the program to update various remote Web sites I manage, and I find its ability to process large sets of modified source files to be especially helpful. Most operations are a simple drag-and-drop affair. However, when I need to exert more control over the transfer, I can tap into FileZilla’s dizzying array of configuration parameters -- for example, using a time zone offset to synchronize files from a distant location, a convenient feature when you live on a remote island that’s nine hours ahead of your servers.

FileZilla truly is a Swiss Army Knife of a transfer program, and that is ultimately its undoing. In their quest to cover every conceivable FTP scenario, the developers have created a bit of a Frankenstein product, with multiple mixed UI metaphors clashing with one another. For example, the program (now in version 3.1) sports an archaic-looking, Windows 3.x-era toolbar. However, most of the more powerful features and options are buried inside its old-school menus and tree-view-laden dialog boxes.

FileZilla’s main UI window is also a throwback, with a confusing four-panel directory tree and contents layout that’s reminiscent of the old Windows File Manager application. In fact, everything about the FileZilla UI feels a bit dated, possibly a side effect of its cross-platform heritage.

Bottom line: FileZilla isn’t going to win any Windows UI beauty contests. But if you can look past the ancient exterior, you’ll discover one of the most powerful FTP clients available on Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux.

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FileZilla isn’t the prettiest Windows application. However, it gets the job done, providing a wealth of options to streamline and automate batch transfers.
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