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

To many, free open source software and Microsoft Windows seem to be mutually exclusive. After all, the open source development model is most closely associated with the Linux OS and, to a lesser degree, various Unix derivatives. So when you mention the two together, you often get some rather strange looks. This is a shame because there exists a growing landscape of compelling free and open source solutions just waiting for the intrepid Windows user.

You probably already know one of them well. Firefox has long stood as a prime example of how the open source development process can work to deliver a first-class solution that rivals, and in many ways surpasses, the best that the commercial side has to offer. However, it would be a mistake to make that arduous (for novices) trek to and stop there. Over the horizon are many more FOSS-on-Windows treasures waiting to be discovered, including tools that can improve your productivity, expand your lines of communication, and help keep you safe from threats along the way.

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So if your perspective on open source is limited to squat s00miling penguins and swooshing orange canines, read on -- and learn about some of the free open source gems that deserve your consideration. Who knows? You may find yourself developing a whole new perspective on the open source community.

See our slideshow summary of the 10 best open source apps for Windows.

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