25 free open source projects IT pros will love

SourceForge expert points out 25 lesser-known projects for IT folks

Although it’s popular these days to pooh-pooh the advertising-supported, for-profit SourceForge in favor of GitHub, the SourceForge folks want to remind you that the forge still hosts more than 300,000 projects and serves up a good 4 million downloads a day.

We asked SourceForge’s community manager and longtime open source coder, Rich Bowen, to sniff out a few of the cool, lesser-known projects he thinks IT folks will love. What follows are his picks, along with a few of our own.

[ Also check out the slideshow of this article. |  Learn how to install Apache on Linux in InfoWorld Test Center's step-by-step guide. | Track the latest trends in open source with InfoWorld's Open Sources blog and Technology: Open Source newsletter. ]

Also: 26 helpful open source network management tools
Fave raves: 22 IT pros name their favorite products

LEAF is a customizable embedded Linux network appliance for use in a variety of ways. It was originally intended as an Internet gateway but can also be used as a router, firewall, and wireless access point.

2. Freeplane
This is an application for an organizational technique called mind mapping. Occupying the middle ground between an editor and a diagramming tool, Freeplane allows the user to add content quickly and produce structured content that can be manipulated as easily as a diagram. It is useful for knowledge management and project management.

3. FOG
FOG is a free open-source cloning/imaging suite that is intended to be a substitute for Ghost. It can be used to create images of Windows XP, Vista and 7 PCs using PXE and PartImage. Features include memory and disk test, disk wipe, antivirus scan and task scheduling.

4. Advanced Onion Router
Advanced Onion Router is a Windows client intended as an alternative for the Tor+Vidalia+Privoxy bundle. It is able to force a program and its plugins to use the Tor proxy regardless of its configured proxy. Tor is a project for maintaining anonymity on the Internet.

5. Eraser
Eraser is a secure data removal tool for Windows. It removes sensitive data from your hard drive by overwriting it several times with carefully selected patterns and it also erases residue from deleted files including MFT-resident files (for NTFS volumes) and directory indices (for FAT). Also allows you to schedule your data removal in advance.

6. Dmg2iso
Dmg2iso is a small tool for converting Apple Macintosh .dmg images to .iso images. The application is universal for Mac OS X version 10.4 and above.

7. TurboCASH Accounting
TurboCASH is an entry-level accounting package for Windows. It is suitable for single users and small companies. It accommodates developer scripts, local plugins and multi language translation.

8. Snoopy
Snoopy is a PHP class that simulates a web browser. It automates tasks such as retrieving webpage content and posting forms, for example.

9. Iometer
Iometer is an I/O performance analysis tool originally developed by Intel in the late 1990s. When Intel discontinued work on Iometer, the company gave it to the Open Source Development Lab (OSDL). It measures I/O performance for single and clustered systems.

10. Create Synchronicity
Create Synchronicity is a backup application that synchronizes files and folders. It can schedule backups, too. It’s multilingual and lightweight at only 180 KB.

11. Burn
Create data discs with advanced data settings. When you create video and audio discs, Burn will convert formats as needed. Copy disks, create DVD-Video discs… just about any CD/DVD burn function you need, Burn can do.

12. Hugin
Hugin is a software package for the creation and processing of panoramic images.

13. Anti-Spam SMTP Proxy Server
The Anti-Spam SMTP Proxy (ASSP) Server project is a platform-independent SMTP Proxy server which implements auto-whitelists, Bayesian, Greylisting and multiple filter methods. It includes an enormous feature list and integrates with ClamAV.

14. Blat
Blat is Windows command line SMTP mailer. Use it to automatically e-mail logs, the contents of HTML forms, or whatever else you need to send.

15. UltraDefrag
UltraDefrag is a disk defragmenter for Windows that can even defrag locked system files by running during the boot process. It processes single files or folders from the Explorer context menu and is available for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows.

16. FREE!ship
FREE!ship is a surface modeling program for designing ships, yachts and boats. Subdivision surfaces are used to give the designer the freedom to design any desired hull shape.

17. Classic Shell
Classic Shell adds some of the classic XP features that are missing in Windows 7 and Vista, like the classic start menu and the toolbar for Explorer.

SNARE (System iNtrusion Analysis and Reporting Environment) is a series of log-collection agents to help you analyze audit log data. Agents are available for Linux, Windows, Solaris, IIS, Lotus Notes, Irix, AIX, ISA/IIS and more.

19. ZBar
Take a picture of a barcode and use Zbar to read it on your computer. Supports EAN/UPC, Code 128, Code 39, Interleaved 2 of 5 and QR Code. Includes libraries and applications for decoding captured barcode images and uses a video device (such as a webcam) as a barcode scanner. (There’s also an iPhone app version.)

20. Icinga
Icinga is an open source IT infrastructure monitoring system based on Nagios. Icinga will be fully compatible with its predecessor, retaining all the existing Nagios features while adding new features requested by the user community.

21. WinDirStat
WinDirStat is a disk usage statistics viewer and cleanup tool for Windows. It shows disk, file and directory sizes in a treelist and graphically in a treemap, much like KDirStat or SequoiaView.

22. WinMerge
WinMerge is a Windows tool for visual difference display and merging, for both files and directories. It supports Unicode and Windows Shell. It includes a flexible syntax coloring editor, Regexp filtering, side-by-side line differences and highlights differences.

23. FreeCAD
FreeCAD is a platform-independent 3D CAD/CAE program, based on OpenCascade, QT and Python. It includes key features like macro recording, workbenches, the ability to run as a server and to support dynamically loadable application extensions.

24. Audacity
A multi-track audio editor and recorder for Linux, BSD, Mac OS, and Windows. Supports WAV, AIFF, Ogg, and MP3 formats. Features include envelope editing, mixing, built-in effects and plug-ins, all with unlimited undo.

25. Pingus
This list couldn’t be all work and no play. Pingus X-Fi2 is an open source clone of the addictive puzzle game Lemmings. The player takes command in the game of a bunch of small animals and has to guide them through levels. Since the animals walk on their own, the player can only influence them by giving them commands, like build a bridge, dig a hole or redirect all animals in the other direction. Pingus offers its own unique twists, like the worldmap or secret levels.

Also: 26 helpful open source network management tools
Fave raves: 22 IT pros name their favorite products

This story, "25 free open source projects IT pros will love " was originally published by Network World.


Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

How to choose a low-code development platform