03 July 2008

Try free open-source run-anywhere software

Why use expensive commercial 'bloatware' (which locks you into an endless cycle of planned obsolescence at your expense) when so much free, open-source software is now available? Much of it even runs on Windows, although much of the software emerged from open source communities and companies that backed open source (at least in some forms).

The portable applications, such as Lupo PenSuite and PortableApps will run on the hard drive of your computer (without creating hard-to-uninstall files and registry artifacts), but you can also run them from a portable pen drive or other such memory device (SD card, Memory Stick, attached external hard drive, etc.). There are other products and online services available in addition to the ones listed here, but, except for the last entry on the list ('Other'), I am only including ones that I have downloaded and am using now.

It is not just that expensive proprietary software is being challenged by cheaper and even free rivals. It's that desktop computing and office functions, like DTP and word processing, are now being ingeniously adapted to ubiquitous computing and the new Web (Web 2.0). What I like about much of the software listed below is that, not only is it free, but I can run it on all my computers and on any computer that I use (such as at an internet cafe when I travel), with or without an internet connection (except Google Docs and PicasaWeb , which are a web-based word processor and photo album, respectively).

I. Lupo PenSuite

This is a whole set of portable programs (you can run them from your chosen type of plug-in memory, such as an SD card, Memory Stick, or Pen Drive), and it is available in both full and light versions.

Download here:

The suite includes portable versions of Firefox, Opera, Thunderbird, Gimp, IrFanView, ClamWin Anti-Virus, AbiWord WP, and numerous other productivity applications and utilities. Language packs for many languages are also available.

Here is a link to a longer list of software either included with the Lupo PenSuite or compatible with it, and available for download:


II. PortableApps

Another total package of programs that comes in a suite or to be run 'anywhere' as individual programs. This one includes a very nifty portable, run-anywhere version of Open Office, itself a suite of programs that can replace MS Office.

Download versions of the PortApps suite here:


III. OpenOffice

This is a complete office suite that includes compatibility with MS Office and other word processors. However, the open document standard that is being promoted with Open Office also integrates with Google Documents, the online word processor that Google provides to its account holders.

Download information is here:


III. StarOffice and StarOffice as part of Google Pack)



StarOffice is the commercial version of OpenOffice (it descends from German software that Sun Systems acquired in order to compete with MS in word processors and office suites). However, a free version is available if you have a Google account and you can download it as part of Google Pack software (which is well-known for such titles as Picasa and Google Earth).

Although OpenOffice and StarOffice are 'sister' program suites, differences do emerge when you actually run them. This is, in part, because I run OpenOffice for English and I use a Japanese language version of StarOffice. Additionally, I find I can open document formats in StarOffice that OpenOffice can not handle--such as documents in the format of Japan's venerable word processor and office suite--JustSystem's Ichitaro.

For more information about StarOffice as part of Google Pack, see this blog:


To download the entire Google Pack, go here:


IV. Yahoo! Downloads

Mostly downloads for web communications and Web 2.0 life.

Try http://mobile.yahoo.com/ if you can do real 3G telephony with a programmable phone.
If you are accessing them from your phone, type m.yahoo.com in your phone browser.

V. Google Docs

You need a Google account, and once you have it, you can co-ordinate your g-mail activity with your Google Docs (such as upload an attached .doc from an e-mail and begin to edit it at the Google Docs interface, which is really a word processor running in your browser). Not only does Google Docs integrate with other Google services, but it accepts the Open Document format (such as documents saved in the default format of Open Office, extension .odt) and Star Office (.sxw) as well as MS (.doc) and Rich Text (.rtf).

Also, make note of PicasaWeb, which integrates a web service for photos with the really good photo editing and album software available through Google Pack, a program called Picasa.


VI. Other

A. Free Portable Software Downloads

B. Open Source Living

For example, imagine replacing Adobe Page Maker for DTP with freeware, such as Scribus:


C. winPenPack 3.4

Another suite of programs optimized to run anywhere, such as on a pen drive.



To download, go here:




Back to top

Back to top
Click on logo to go back to top page.