InfoWorld's Test Center picks the best open source productivity software and mobile tools of 2011
There's no better way to protect data than by encryption, and no better free or open source encryption package than TrueCrypt. TrueCrypt lets you create encrypted containers -- essentially virtual disks -- that you can access as if they were real physical disks. The big difference, of course, is that the contents are encrypted through your choice of encryption algorithm and your choice of passphrase or encryption keyfile.
TrueCrypt can also be used directly on entire physical volumes, so an entire hard drive or USB drive can be encrypted to look like nothing more than random data. Even more clever is the ability to hide encrypted containers within each other, although that comes with the risk of accidentally destroying your own data if you don't pay close attention to what you're doing. Recent versions of TrueCrypt have added some remarkable features for Windows users, like the ability to encrypt the entire Windows system volume or even boot to a hidden operating system.
TrueCrypt uses its own custom open source license, which some people aren't happy about, but the fact it's open source at all is a major boon towards its utility and credibility.
The Bossies 2011 index:
This slideshow, "Bossie Awards 2011: The best open source desktop and mobile software," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in applications, mobile technology, and open source at InfoWorld.com.