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Microsoft officially ended support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. That means the company is no longer patching newly discovered security vulnerabilities in the operating system, and people who continue to use it are opening themselves up to security risks.
However, according to NetMarketShare, more than a quarter of all PCs (27.69 percent) were still running Windows XP in March of this year.
Why would people continue using a twelve-year-old operating system that would put them at risk?
No doubt, many are home users who simply aren’t very technology savvy and/or may not have the desire or the money to upgrade to a newer version of Windows. Some probably have older, underpowered PCs that can’t run Windows 7 or 8. And others have specific software—often custom business applications—that only runs on Windows XP.
Fortunately, the open source community has free operating systems that meet the needs of users in all of these situations. This month we’ve put together a list of 50 different applications that can replace Windows XP. It’s organized into several different categories. Those that are easiest for beginners to use come first, followed by lightweight operating systems that can run on old hardware, then operating systems that are particularly tailored for business users and open source operating systems that aren’t based on Linux. The list ends with a few applications that aren’t complete operating systems but do allow users to run their existing XP software from Linux.
Before we get to the list itself, here’s a some quick background for Windows XP users who aren’t familiar with Linux or open source software. Linux is an operating system that anyone can use free of charge. In addition, anyone can see the source code for Linux and modify it however they like. Because anyone can tweak it, it comes in thousands of different versions, which are known as “distributions.” Different Linux distributions use different interfaces or “desktops,” which determine how the operating system looks on the screen. Unlike Windows, Linux distributions generally come with lots of free applications already built in, so users don’t have to pay extra for office productivity software, security software, games or other applications.
1. Linux Mint
Many people consider Linux Mint to be among the most intuitive operating systems for Windows XP users. It supports several different desktop interfaces, including Cinnamon, which users can configure to look and feel a lot like XP.
Very easy to use, Ubuntu is likely the most widely used Linux distribution in the world. The desktop version offers speed, security, thousands of built-in applications and compatibility with most peripherals.
3. Zorin OS
Built specifically to attract former Windows users, Ubuntu-based Zorin is probably the Linux distribution that’s the most similar to Windows. It includes a unique “Look Changer” that switches the desktop to look like Windows 7, XP, Vista, Ubuntu Unity, Mac OS X or GNOME 2, and it includes WINE and PlayOnLinux to allow users to keep using their Windows software.
Also similar to Windows, Robolinux promises to allow users to run all their Windows XP and 7 software without making themselves vulnerable to malware. It also includes more than 30,000 open source applications.
Formerly known as YLMF, the interface for StartOS looks an awful lot like Windows XP. It’s managed by a group of Chinese developers, so the website is in Chinese. However, English versions of the OS are available.
6. Pinguy OS
According to the Pinguy website, “PinguyOS is very much designed for people who are new to the Linux world; many people coming from both a Windows or a Mac background will find plenty of familiar features along with some new ones that aren’t available in either Windows or Mac.” It’s based on Ubuntu and uses the Gnome-Shell desktop.
Popular with new Linux users, MEPIS aims at providing a Linux distribution that’s very stable and very easy to use. It comes with hundreds of applications preinstalled and you can easily dual-boot it alongside Windows so that you can continue using XP software.
Previously known as Cinnarch, Antergos is based on Arch Linux, which is popular with hard-core open source users, but Antergos much easier for beginners to use than Arch. It comes with a graphical installer that allows the user to choose from among several interfaces, including some that look quite a bit like XP.
Like Antergos, Manjaro aims to be a more user-friendly version of Arch. It comes with desktop environments, software management applications and media codecs pre-installed so users can get right to work after installing it.
Like many other OSes on this list, PCLinuxOS was designed with usability in mind. It can run from a LiveCD, meaning you can try it out while still keeping Windows XP installed on your PC.
For those looking to replace Windows XP on a PC primarily used by kids, Edubuntu is an excellent choice. It’s based on Ubuntu (and supported by Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu), so it’s very user-friendly. Plus, it adds plenty of software tailored for use by schools or home users with children.
Forked from Mandrake (which was later renamed Mandriva), Mageia is a community-driven Linux distribution with a good reputation for being beginner-friendly. Because it’s updated very frequently, it tends to include more recent versions of software packages, and it has excellent support for several different languages.
Kubuntu’s goal is to “make your PC friendly,” and it’s fairly easy for new Linux users to figure out. It combines Ubuntu and the KDE desktop and includes plenty of built-in software, like a web browser, an office suite, media apps and more.
Netrunner is based on Kubuntu, plus some interface modifications to make it even more user friendly and some extra codecs to make it easier to play media files. The project also offers a second version of the same OS based on Manjaro.
17. Point Linux
Also based on Debian, Point Linux uses the Mate desktop, which should feel comfortable to most Windows XP users. It aims to be a “fast, stable and predictable” desktop operating system.
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Oh sure, you can run Linux apps on the Linux desktop. Obviously. But Linux developers aren’t content to stay confined. As a sign of Linux’s ever expanding influence, the Windows desktop also has an sprawling menu of open source apps. The following list is a mix of applications for home, business and education users from a broad range of categories.
With the end of life for Windows XP approaching, many Windows users may be looking particularly for software that runs on Windows 7 or Windows 8. To meet their needs, we’ve noted which versions of Windows each application supports, where possible. (Note that not all of the open source applications on the list specify with versions of Windows are supported.)
Some of the applications on the list run on Windows only, but others also run on Linux or OS X.
If you’re a Windows user with no previous open source experience, OpenDisc is a good place to start. It’s a collection of many of the most popular open source applications for Windows, including Blender, the Gimp, Scribus, Firefox, Thunderbird, Audacity, Celestia, VLC, LibreOffice and many more. Operating System: Windows
This open source Windows app collection is portable, meaning you can install it on a thumb drive or a cloud service so that you can use your favorite apps from any system. In addition to the collection, the site also features portable versions more than 300 other open source and freeware apps. Operating System: Windows (8, 7, Vista and XP)
Similar to chúng tôi winPenPack is a collection of open source applications that can be installed and run from a thumb drive. It comes in two pre-configured versions—Essential and Full—as well as a Personal version that users can customize themselves. Operating System: Windows.
4. ClamWin Free Antivirus
Popular with science teachers and space buffs of all ages, Celestia allows users to see the night skies as they would appear from any point in the known universe, at any point in time. The project’s main website has been down recently. The link above will take you to the Sourceforge page, and you can also find information and add-ons at the Celestia Motherlode website. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
The brains behind many planetarium displays, Stellarium shows the night skies as they appear to the naked eye from points on earth. The default installation includes more than 600,000 stars, but you can also add other catalogs that include more than 210 million stars. Operating System: Windows (32- and 64-bit), Linux, OS X.
An alternative to iTunes, Amarok aims to make it easy to discover and listen to your favorite music. It boasts an attractive, easy-to-use interface and integration with a wide variety of Web-based music services. Operating System: Windows (8, 7, Vista, XP), Linux, OS X, iOS
For the Linux community, Audacity has long been the go-to tool for recording and editing audio. Although not intended for use by professional recording studios, it has all the features home users and hobbyists are likely to need or want. Operating System: Windows (7, 8, Vista, XP, 2000), Linux, OS X
Based on the same code as Amarok, Clementine developers have focused on creating a fast, easy-to-use interface for this audio player. The latest version also includes the ability to control it remotely with an Android phone. Operating System: Windows (8, 7, Vista, XP), Linux, OS X, Android
If you’re a musician, there’s no need to spend tons of money on an application to print sheet music. Easy-to-use Musescore prints beautifully, and it’s completely free. Operating System: Windows (8, 7, Vista, XP), Linux, OS X
The Advanced Maryland Automatic Network Disk Archiver, a.k.a. AMANDA, claims to be the most popular open source backup software in the world. Aimed at organizations, it backs up networks, not standalone machines. Zmanda, which sponsors the project, offers a cloud-based solution based on the same code. Operating System: Windows (7, Vista, XP Pro, Server 2008, Server 2003), Linux, OS X
12. Areca Backup
Made for home users, Areca backs up standalone systems. It’s highly versatile and offers compression, encryption, and support for most storage media. Operating System: Windows, Linux
Downloaded more than 750,000 times, Redo aims to make backup and recovery very easy for home users. It claims to be able to do bare metal restores in as little as ten minutes. Operating System: Windows, Linux
Immensely popular, WordPress runs more than 60 million websites and blogs. The code at this site will allow you to set up your own server, or you can use the free hosted service at chúng tôi Operating System: Windows (8, 7, Vista, XP, Server 2012, Server 2008 R2, Server 2008, Server 2003), Linux, OS X, iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, others
This is the open source project that provides the basis for the Chrome browser. It aims to be safer, faster and more stable than other browsers. Operating System: Windows (8, 7), Linux, OS X, Chrome OS, iOS, Android
17. Tor Browser
If you’re worried that people might be spying on your Internet usage—or if you are a spy and don’t want people to know what you’re up to—Tor offers anonymous Web browsing. It makes communications untraceable by bouncing them around a network of secure servers and relays. Operating System: Windows (8, 7, Vista, XP), Linux, OS X
Under development since 1979, BRL-CAD is a package of more than 400 tools, utilities and applications for creating 2D and 3D solid geometry models. Its best-known user is the U.S. military. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, others
Track projects, milestones and tasks for group projects in the cloud with Collabtive. It’s very similar to Basecamp and will even import Basecamp data. Operating System: OS Independent
20. Feng Office
Built to offer project management for professional services organizations, Feng Office boasts more than 1 million users in more than 150 different countries. In addition to the free download, it also comes in cloud-based or paid on-site versions. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
PeaZip supports more than 150 different archive file formats, including some that offer very tight compression. It can also convert, split, encrypt or securely delete compressed files. Operating System: Windows (8, 7, Vista, NT, XP, 2000, 9x), Linux, OS X.
22. DNN (formerly DotNetNuke)
Used by companies like Bank of America, BP, Hilton, Samsung and Kaiser Permamente, DNN is one of the most popular open source Web platforms for business. Paid and free versions are available. Operating System: Windows (8, 7, Vista, Server 2008, Server 2012)
Drupal boasts a community of more than 1 million people from 230 different countries. Extremely popular, its users include AOL, Harvard, MIT, San Jose State University, MTV, Sony Music and many others. Operating System: OS Independent
Downloaded more than 35 million times, Joomla runs millions of websites, including those of Ebay, Barnes & Noble, GE and Ikea. It’s won numerous awards and has a very active community of users. Operating System: OS Independent
Plone claims to be “among the top 2% of all open source projects worldwide,” as far as the size of its development team and user base. Its goal is to create websites that are fast, powerful and beautiful. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
26. Sugar Community Edition
Millions of people around the world use the Sugar CRM platform. Organizations can host the free version of the software themselves or use one of the cloud-based paid editions. Operating System: OS Independent
The self-proclaimed “true universal open source database,” Firebird has been under development since 1981. It boasts “excellent concurrency, high performance, and powerful language support for stored procedures and triggers.” Operating System: Windows (7, Vista, XP, NT, ME, 9x, Server 2000, Server 2003, Server 2008), Linux, Unix, OS X, Solaris
The “world’s most popular open source database,” MySQL provides the foundation for many Web applications, including Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, PayPal, craigslist and others. It comes in many different free and paid editions. Operating System: Windows, Linux, Unix, OS X
If your system is running slow or you have concerns about privacy, BleachBit is for you. It can securely delete files and clean out your Internet history, cache, temporary files, logs, cookies and other junk. Operating System: Windows (7, Vista, XP), Linux
31. Darik’s Boot And Nuke
DBAN securely deletes all of the information on a hard drive. It’s a great tool to have on hand when you’re recycling old systems. Operating System: OS Independent
32. Electric Sheep
One of the most interesting screensavers ever created, Electric Sheep connects thousands of “sleeping” systems to create collaborative pieces of art. The name and the concept come from Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Operating System: Windows (XP or newer), Linux, OS X, Android, iOS
Leave yourself digital sticky notes on your desktop. Key PNotes features include portability, rich text formatting options, skins, overdue tracking, LAN exchange, social network integration, password protection, encryption, tags and much more. Operating System: Windows (8, 7, Vista)
One of the great features of desktop Linux is the ability to create virtual desktops; VirtuaWin adds the same functionality to Windows. Excellent for multi-tasking, it allows you to group together sets of open windows and switch between them. Operating System: Windows (7, Vista, 2003, XP, 2000, NT, ME, 9x)
If you already use the Firefox browser, Thunderbird makes a great companion app as it offers an email client with a similar interface. To make it more like Outlook, you can also add Lightning for calendar functionality. Operating System: Windows (7, Vista, XP, 2000, Server 2003), Linux, OS X
Encrypt your files or mail using GNU Privacy Guard (GPG) technology. It’s easy to install and use, and professional support is available from third-party companies. Operating System: Windows (8, 7, Vista, XP)
Another very popular encryption option, TrueCrypt can encrypt an entire disk or a partition. It offers fast performance thanks to parallelization and pipelining features. Operating System: Windows (7, Vista, XP), Linux, OS X.
This community-managed ERP solution includes HR, sales, purchasing, manufacturing, materials, finance, maintenance and project management features. It integrates with several other well-known open source enterprise applications to add ecommerce, business intelligence, document management and other capabilities. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, others
41. Apache OFBiz
Managed by the Apache Foundation, this enterprise automation suite includes CRM, e-commerce, supply chain, manufacturing, maintenance management, and point of sale capabilities, as well as traditional ERP features. It attempts to be “as good or better than those available from major proprietary ERPs at a significantly lower total project cost.” Operating System: OS Independent
42. Compiere ERP + CRM Business Solution
This award-winning software boasts that it’s the “most modern, adaptable and lowest cost ERP solution available.” It’s available in enterprise or community editions, as well as a cloud-ready version. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
The “leading Web-based business applications for the cloud,” Openbravo is a suite of Web-based software for managing businesses. In addition to the free community version, it comes in several paid versions, including some tailored for various vertical markets. Operating System: OS Independent
44. Postbooks/xTuple ERP
The self-proclaimed “worlds #1 open source ERP software” comes in multiple cloud-based or on-site versions, in addition to the free PostBooks edition. Paid add-ons, services and support are also offered. Operating System: Windows, Linux, Unix, OS X
45. 0 A.D.
This award-winning real-time strategy game is similar to Age of Empires. Players choose a civilization and build their cities while combating opponents. Operating System: Linux, Windows (8, 7, Vista, XP, 2000), OS X
46. Alien Arena
A fast-paced first-person shooter, Alien Arena offers “immersive arenas, freaky and violent weapons, and a vibrant community.” That graphics are excellent, and there are plenty of online games to connect with. Operating System: Linux, Windows, OS X.
47. AssaultCube Reloaded
Another first-person shooter, AssaultCube Reloaded aims to incorporate some of the best features from various commercial games. Key features include ricochet shots, anti-cheat, many different wapons, realistic gameplay and more. Operating System: Windows (7, Vista, 2000, Server 2003), Linux
This incredibly sophisticated flight simulator rivals commercial applications. It includes realistic models of more than 20,000 real airports and many different aircraft. Plus, the active community of users is always expanding its capabilities with new planes and additional scenery. Operating System: Windows (8, 7, Vista, XP), Linux, OS X, others
49. Frets on Fire
Very similar to Guitar Hero, Frets on Fire challenges users to play along with their favorite songs using a guitar controller or the keyboard. You can create your own songs, import songs created by the community of users or import Guitar Hero songs. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
Designed for young children, this project brings together more than a hundred different educational games. It includes activities related to math, keyboarding, piano composition, geography, science, chess, reading and much more. Operating System: Windows (7, Vista, XP, 2000), Linux.
In this real-time strategy game, players choose to play as Tech, Magic, Egypt, Indians, Norsemen, Persian or Romans. The game world is incredibly detailed and many multi-player game servers are available. Operating System: Windows, Linux
This excellent Texas Hold ‘Em app offers both single- and multi-player games. The interface is very attractive and you can easily change the style or create one of your own. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, Android
53. Rigs of Rods
This popular vehicle simulator has a very active community constantly creating new vehicles and scenery. It uses a unique soft-body physics engine to create realistic models of land, sea or airborne vehicles. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
Short for “The Open Race Car Simulator,” (TORCS) is a very realistic racing game. Play using a keyboard, mouse, joystick or steering wheel controller. Operating System: Windows (32- and 64-bit), Linux, OS X
55. UFO:Alien Invasion
Head to the year 2084 in this squad-based tactical strategy game. Save the earth from alien invaders while playing in single- or multi-player mode. Operating System: Windows (XP or newer), Linux, OS X
This cartoonish game calls itself “the most fast-paced sport on the web!” Players fight against “rocketlauncher-wielding pigs and lasergun-carrying cyberpunks” in a game that isn’t as gory as most first-person shooters. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
57. Warzone 2100
Warzone transports users to the year 2100, where they must rebuild civilization following a nuclear apocalypse. Play in campaign, multi-player or single-player mode. Operating System: Windows (8, 7, Vista, XP), Linux, OS X
Lots of weapons and addictive gameplay make Xonotic a hit with gamers who enjoy first-person shooters. If you’ve ever played the game Nexuiz, this game will feel familiar. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
Blender is a professional-caliber 3D animation suite that offers modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, video editing and game creation capabilities. The team behind the software is also involved in the creation of open movies, and a new project is currently in the works. Operating System: Windows (8, 7, Vista, XP), Linux, OS X
Short for “GNU Image Manipulation Program,” Gimp is a very sophisticated, professional-quality graphics tool for photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It supports most image file formats and offers a customizable interface, photo enhancement tools, a channel mixer, and much more. Operating System: Windows (8, 7, Vista, XP, Server 2003, Server 2008, Server 2012), Linux
Also suitable for professional use, Inkscape provides tools for the creation and editing of vector graphics. It’s a great tool for creating logos, illustrations and scalable artwork. Operating System: Windows (7, Vista, XP), Linux, OS X
63. Orange HRM
With more than a million users, OrangeHRM claims to be “the world’s most popular Open Source Human Resource Management Software (HRMS).” In addition to the free community version it also comes in paid professional and enterprise versions, with add-on services also available. Operating System: Windows (7, XP, Server 2003, Server 2008), Linux, OS X
If you’re drafting a speech, preparing for a debate or writing a position paper, Argumentative can help you map out your argument visually. You can also export those graphics to Word, PowerPoint, text or Web formats. Operating System: Windows.
Descended from a project that began in the 1960s, Maxima is an algebra system that handles differentiation, integration, Taylor series, Laplace transforms, ordinary differential equations, systems of linear equations, polynomials, and sets, lists, vectors, matrices, and tensors. It can also plot graphs in two or three dimensions. Note that like most math software, it requires users to have some knowledge of programming. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
One of the more polished open source math applications, Scilab supports thousands of different mathematical functions. Paid support, training and services can be purchased through Scilab Enterprises. Operating System: Windows (8, 7, Vista, XP), Linux, OS X
A great tool for brainstorming or organizing your thoughts, FreeMind makes it easy to create graphical representations of the connections between words, much like you would on a white board. Very popular, it’s downloaded an average of 4,000 times every day. Operating System: Windows (7, Vista, XP, 2000, NT, 9x, Server 2003), Linux, OS X
Forked from FreeMind, FreePlane offers many of the same capabilities as its predecessor. To see it in action, check out the mind map explaining its functions. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
Ideal for educators and helpdesk personnel, CamStudio makes it easy to record what is happening on a computer screen. It can also record sound. Operating System: Windows (7, Vista, XP)
This tool makes it easy to burn CDs and DVDs. It can crate data, audio and mixed-use discs, as well as erasing rewritable discs. Operating System: Windows
73. VLC Media Player
VLC’s claim to fame is that it plays just about everything. It’s simple, fast, easy-to-use and doesn’t require any extra codec packs to operate. Operating System: Windows (XP or later), Linux, OS X, others.
If you miss older versions of Word that didn’t have the “ribbon,” AbiWord might be a good choice for you. It can open and save documents to and from other word processing program formats, including Word and chúng tôi Operating System: Windows (95 or later), Linux, OS X, others
This Apache Foundation software includes the same set of applications as LibreOffice (above) with a very slightly different feature set. Under development for more than twenty years, it’s a very mature project that is easy to use and compatible with Microsoft file formats. Operating System: Windows (8, 7, Vista, 2003, XP), Linux, OS X
If you have a beginning typist or a budding writer at your house, WriteType is a great first word processing program. It includes student-friendly features like word completion, auto-correction, document read-back, grammar checking and more. Operating System: Windows, Linux
It’s not even two years old yet, but Chamilo has already attracted more than a million users. It integrates easily with many other applications and includes adaptive assessment, social and mobile learning, skills management and other capabilities. Operating System: Windows, Linux, Unix, OS X
Used in more than 100 countries, Claroline has a large international community. It boasts an intuitive interface, flexibility, modular architecture, scalability and stability. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
The ILIAS website says it is the first open source learning management system in the world to achieve SCORM 2004 (3rd Edition) compliance. It’s another international favorite with an active user community and extensive documentation available. Operating System: Windows, Linux
With 65 million users, Moodle is one of the most popular open source applications of any kind. It’s easy to use, flexible, customizable, scalable and secure. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
The Sakai learning management solution offers the modules typically needed for teaching an online class, such as assignments, calendar, forum, chat, gradebook, tests, etc., and ePortfolio capabilities that allows students to showcase their work. The same group is also working on a related project for collaborating on research. Operating System: OS Independent.
84. KeePass Password Safe
If you have too many passwords to remember, KeePass offers a secure alternative to writing them down or using the same password multiple times. It stores unique passwords in an encrypted database that users can unlock with a single master password. You can install it on Windows Vista or later systems, or use it from a USB drive on older systems. Operating System: Windows
85. Password Safe
Designed by security expert Bruce Schneier, this award-winning app has been downloaded more than 4 million times. It offers very similar functionality as KeePass. Operating System: Windows (8, 7, Vista, XP)
With this helpful tool you can create a PDF file from almost any document. It can also do encryption, password protection and digital signatures. Operating System: Windows (2000 or later)
If you have a PDF file that you need to edit, PDFedit can do the trick. It has an easy-to-use GUI for Windows users, and it also operates from the command line. Operating System: Windows, Linux
Now nearly twenty years old, this financial management software is easy to use and can import and export to and from popular applications like Quicken and Money. Noteworthy features include duplicate detection, scheduled transactions, tagging, reminders, category splits, budgeting, dynamic reports, auto-completion and more. Operating System: Windows, Linux
Web-based Achievo includes project management, scheduling and time tracking. Paid support is available through partner organizations. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
91. Project Libre
Awarding Project Libre specifically aims to be an open source replacement for Microsoft Project. The group of developers behind the application is also working on a project portfolio management (PPM) application. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
This virtual private network (VPN) solution allows secure access to an organization’s network for workers who are off-site or using their own hardware. In addition to the free community version, the company behind the project also offers a paid solution and a paid VPN service. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, Android, iOS
Popular with schools around the world, OpenAdmin has been downloaded more than 26,000 times. It’s Web-based and can be used for a single school or to manage multiple schools within a district. Operating System: OS Independent.
This web-based school management system “focuses on excellence and evolution in the field of education” with an emphasis on supporting the latest trends. It comes in both a free, open source version and a paid, supported edition. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.
This popular student information system offers separate applications for K-12 schools, higher education and trade schools, hybrid and online schools, and district management. It’s available in free, paid and cloud versions. Operating System: Windows (7, Vista, XP, Server 2008, Server 2003), Linux.
This screenwriting, storyboarding, scheduling and budgeting tool claims to be the “#1 choice for pre-production.” The desktop app is available under an open source license, but the mobile apps and online syncing and collaboration tools require a paid account. Operating System: Windows (7, Vista, XP, Server 2003), Linux, OS X
Great for independent professionals and small teams that bill by the hour, eHour tracks clients, projects and time spent. It’s Web-based and flexible, and it comes in multiple languages. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X
Another option for tracking worker time, TimeTrex had modules for scheduling, attendance, job costing and payroll. In addition to the free open source version, it comes in a variety of paid on-site and cloud editions. Operating System: Windows (2000 or newer), Linux, OS X
This app combines calendar functionality with a journal and can be used as a free alternative to Evernote. Use it to document your life diary-style or to keep track of notes about upcoming events. Operating System: Windows, Linux
Based on a lot of the same code as Firefox, SeaMonkey combines a browser, email and newsgroup client, IRC chat client and an HTML editor in a single package. It’s a very mature project and available in a couple of dozen different languages. Operating System: Windows (7, Vista, XP, 2000), Linux
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Currently only a few percent of machine learning models move from R&D to production, but over 50% of businesses now want to build their own models in house. The highly complex, distributed machine learning application is comprised of existing open-source software (which the Seldon team contributes to), as well as proprietary software that was developed in-house. Thanks to solutions like containers and orchestors, the company is able to run and ship their distributed applications much more quickly and easily to their customer base.
Predicting the Future with Seldon Platform
Seldon’s mission is to help people predict and shape the future with machine learning. They’re firm believers that machine learning is the enabling technology driving AI renaissance, as it helps people solve problems of all shapes and sizes. Seldon’s CEO Alex Housley has been building technology start-ups since 2003.
To shape and validate Seldon’s roadmap, they’ve been listening to their community of data scientists and customers about their priorities and the challenges that organisations face. One of their biggest decisions was whether to focus on some of the vertical use cases or continue to build a foundational technology that operates on a generalised and horizontal basis. Most machine learning startups focus on serving a specific use case and it’s a validated playbook that investors understand and buy into. According to UK AI market research published by David Kelnar from MMC Ventures, 84% of startups focus on AI for a function or sector. Companies can build a defensible moat by combining deep domain expertise and the data network effect that improves the service itself as more data is fed into it — in terms of accuracy and performance of the model.
Believe in the Company, Hold the Award
In 2023, Seldon was part of the world’s #1 fintech accelerator, Barclays Techstars. This experience helped the company to gain vast amounts of product feedback from a broad range of stakeholders and sign customers in the banking and financial services space. It also helped to gain deeper understanding of the machine learning use cases that large enterprises are prioritising and challenges they face when embarking on an AI project.
It quickly became clear to the Seldon team that they had to build a new enterprise product. Solving deployment means creating an entirely new category in machine learning that sits on the intersection of data science and ops. Seldon Deploy is a new machine learning deployment platform that they have been creating based on hundreds of discussions with clients, prospects and mentors, and feedback from the community. It provides a stunning new UI that helps data science teams manage deployment workflows, providing new capabilities around infrastructure, collaboration and compliance.
The Visionary Leader
Alex is a serial entrepreneur on a mission to establish the new open standard for predictive AI, to make the world a more personalised, productive and fun place. He is the co-creator of the Genome Laser, which sequenced the inventors of the laser and high-speed genome sequencing and blasted their DNA into space with an enormous laser.
Managing Tough Times
When the company released their open-source machine learning platform in 2023, machine learning was a niche topic in the business world. But leveraging what is broadly described as AI is now at the top of the strategic agenda for organisations of all sizes across industries.
Happy Clients of Seldon
AI is about using machines to solve new problems. It’s about automating and augmenting our decision making. It’s about making the world a better place. Embracing AI is one of the biggest opportunities for the UK economy at this time.
Machine learning is everywhere in our lives. It recommends products online, removes spam from your inbox, and decides which of your friends’ status updates you should read.
Computers have already acquired superhuman abilities across hundreds of new and much focused domains.
But machine learning can also help them tackle some of the world’s biggest problems like
Drug discovery and image diagnostics in healthcare.
Predicting crop yields in agriculture.
Increasing power efficiency – from data centres to the national grid and soon smart grids.
Here are a few words from some of the happy customers of Seldon.
“You need platforms like Seldon plus their ability to develop sophisticated algorithms to make better predictions. It’s reassuring having Seldon on our side during our personalisation journey to accelerate our projects and make better decisions.” Michael Harte, Barclays Group Head of Innovation
“I’ve found Seldon to be organised, reliable, patient & innovative. During our first workshops, they helped me understand how machine learning can solve my business problems & improve my services. They clearly understand what it takes to deliver a successful machine learning project” Alexander Pluke CEO The Plastic Economy
Predictions for the upcoming year are always plentiful in December, and this year is no exception. On PCWorld, for example, we’ve seen security predictions, enterprise resoure software (ERP) predictions, and general IT forecasts for 2011.
What I haven’t seen so far, however, are predictions for Linux and other open-source software. Lest that category of technology go “unpredicted,” allow me to venture these thoughts.
1. Android, Android, Android
This feels like a no-brainer at this point, but Android is clearly going to continue on its upward path throughout 2011. Holding nearly a quarter of the smartphone market in October, it’s widely expected to become the number-one mobile operating platform in the world in the next few years; I predict that will happen sooner rather than later, possibly even by the end of next year.
iPhones, meanwhile, will increasingly be a niche choice among a relatively small set of Apple fanatics, much the way Macs are, while Windows Phone 7 will be declared a flop.
2. Again, on Tablets
Android is going to give Apple a serious run for its money in the tablet arena as well, mirroring to a slightly less dramatic extent its rapid ascendancy on smartphones. I’ve lost count of just how many Android tablets are expected in the coming months, but there’s no way the solitary iPad can continue to dominate in the face of such diverse choice.
3. Ubuntu and Linux
Ubuntu is going to continue the strides it made this year and finally give Linux some of the brand recognition it needs on the desktop and maybe some mobile devices as well, making it a serious contender in the mainstream, even among non-technical consumers.
In particular, the combination of the new Unity interface and the Wayland graphics system promise to make upcoming Ubuntu versions what may be considered the first true “Linux for the masses.” Canonical’s research and development in such areas as context-aware computing, meanwhile, could push it ahead even further, and its debut on the tablet will give it a whole new arena to compete in.
In short, I predict big things for Ubuntu next year, even as Linux continues strong on servers and as Windows continues to fade in a cloud of malware.
Along with these relatively new contenders in the operating system arena and the increasingly blurred lines that separate form factors, I think we’re going to see an increasing number of devices sold with two operating systems. More often than not, at least one of those will be based on Linux.
One of the first things people did to Google’s Chrome-based CR-48, for example, was to install Ubuntu on it, and we’ve already seen tablets from the likes of Acer and Augen offering the dual-boot option too.
Choice is always a good thing, and I believe manufacturers will increasingly recognize that in their operating system decisions.
5. More Open Drivers
This year saw the announcement of Broadcom’s new open source wireless driver, and it also saw the debut of an open source driver for AMD’s Ontario Fusion chip. As Linux becomes increasingly mainstream, this is a trend that will continue. No manufacturer wants to exclude an increasingly significant market.
With mobile devices expected to outpace PCs in the next 18 months, the low-power, open source-friendly ARM architecture will continue to shine. Microsoft and Intel may both now be trying to catch up in this arena, but such efforts promise to be too little, too late.
I predict that ARM chips will become commonplace in PCs and even servers as well, particularly given the growing popularity of Ubuntu and other Linux distributions, which don’t require the expensive horsepower that Windows does.
7. Oracle and OpenOffice.org
Oracle had a very bad year in 2010 when it comes to open source, making it clear that it has no desire to play any role that doesn’t involve significant profit. In addition to suing Google over Java, the company has pulled the plug on OpenSolaris, caused the launch of numerous forks, precipitated the Apache Software Foundation’s resignation from the Java SE/EE Executive Committee, and targeted the Hudson project with more ownership claims.
OpenOffice.org, of course, is one of the projects that has now been forked, and I’m betting that the result–LibreOffice–is going to take over in the open source productivity software world. Many Linux distributions have already pledged to include it instead of OpenOffice, and the Document Foundation has exciting plans.
Oracle, meanwhile, will stick to lawsuits and price increases.
Will my predictions hold true? Time will tell. Meanwhile, what do you expect to see happen in the world of open source next year?
Follow Katherine Noyes on Twitter: @Noyesk.
For years, Linux and free software were perceived as threatened by cloud computing, the online storage of data. However, over the last few years, something ironic happened — free software became a major player in cloud computing.
That wasn’t always the case. In 2008, Richard Stallman, the founder of the Free Software Foundation, condemned cloud computing as “just as bad as using a proprietary program….If you use a proprietary program or somebody else’s web server, you’re defenseless. You’re putty in the hands of whoever developed that software.” Cloud computing, he added, was “worse than stupidity” because it meant that providers controlled customer’s data.
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Stallman was referring mainly to the free storage that many providers offer, equating it with the free services provided by social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Free services, he argued, gave the same convenience as free software, but without user control.
The Free Software Foundation’s response to this threat was to release the Affero General Public License, a license designed for online services. However, the Affero License has never been widely used, and critics like me have often noted that the Free Software Foundation has courted disaster by not offering a solution to an obviously growing threat.
What none of us foresaw was that much of the perceived problem would eventually solve itself. Nor could we foresee that free software would become the model for a growing number of cloud vendors. Angel Diaz, Vice President, Software Standards and Cloud Labs, estimates that IBM did seven billion dollars’ worth of business in cloud service in 2014 alone — and that was only a single company.
Cloud services have been dominated by companies like Amazon and Microsoft. However, in 2012, the OpenStack Foundation was founded to administer a project started by RackSpace and NASA. Today, the OpenStack Foundation consists of hundreds of companies, many of whom are also active in free software development, including Canonical, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Red Hat, and SUSE. Others are well-known technology corporations such as Huawei, Oracle, and VMWare.
Such a diverse group required a model for cooperation. The Foundation found it in Linux and the free software movement. It chose the Apache 2.0 license for its software, allowing for a mixture of free and proprietary uses. Just as importantly, it took Linux, free software, and the community that supports them as a direct example, noting how they were organized and how they had survived the cycle of boom and bust around the turn of the millennium.
The result was unprecedented growth, which Chairman of the Board Alan Clark of SUSE attributes largely to the Foundation’s ability to learn from free software’s example. It helped, too, Clark says, to be able to point to a proven success to convince executives of the validity of the approach.
Of course, free software as a means of production does not address Stallman’s concerns about privacy and control of data. Even if users can examine the code for backdoors usable by vendors, they still have no control over who has access to the data, or where and how it is stored.
However, free software is providing alternatives that address these issues as well. For example, Tahoe-LAFS is a free software project that offers the means to encrypt data and to store it in separate chunks across multiple sites and reassemble it, with the result that privacy is returned to the users.
Similarly, ownCloud, which began as a free software project and became a company, offers a relatively easy way for customers to set up their own cloud services while retaining control over their data. The fact that ownCloud does not sell storage itself helps to reinforce its dedication to privacy.
In fact, when ownCloud founder Frank Karlitschek talks, his concerns sound almost identical to Stallman’s. The problem with most cloud services, Karlitschek explains, “is that we give up control of our data, which means privacy is a concern; you don’t really know who has access to the data.”
ownCloud is probably a minor company compared to most members of the OpenStack Foundation, but the signs are that it, too, is flourishing. Still, the point is that, both in the mainstream and in the alternatives, free software has become a dominant player in cloud services. What is more, it has done in less than five years what free software took over twenty do — largely because free software was available as an example.
Apparently, in expressing his concerns for free software, Stallman neglected to consider free software itself as a factor in the situation. The current situation is one that was inconceivable in 2008.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Manuel Kasper developed the embedded firewall software package m0n0wall back in 2002, he says, while experimenting with embedded x86-based computers. “Having just succeeded at stripping down FreeBSD enough to make it run on a Soekris net4501 board… and deploying it for use as a home firewall/NAT router, I wanted to go one step further,” he says. “I wanted a nice, web-based interface to configure it, just like the commercial firewall boxes.”
Kasper says he chose the name m0n0wall simply because “Mono” was his nickname in school. “I’m not sure why I replaced the o’s for zeros—perhaps because all domain names with normal o’s were already taken—and when I look at it now, it seems a bit silly/’31337‘—but it has become a trademark anyway,” he says.
And the system requirements have remained extremely minimal. “m0n0wall will run on almost any x86-based PC with a Pentium-compatible processor, at least 64 MB of RAM, and at least two supported network controllers,” Kasper says. “No hard disk is required; a USB flash drive, a CF card, or even a CD-ROM plus a floppy disk (for very old machines) suffice. While a common off-the-shelf PC will do, m0n0wall is especially designed for x86 based embedded computers, such as the new AMD LX based boards from PC Engines and Soekris.”
Still, Kasper admits that m0n0wall’s simplicity can also be a weakness. “If you’re looking for features such as content filtering or proxying, or if you want a firewall that can double as a print/file server or PBX, then m0n0wall won’t be a complete solution for you: it has long ago been decided that these things don’t fit in with the m0n0wall philosophy,” he says. “But that’s why there are other m0n0wall-based projects, like AskoziaPBX, FreeNAS, or pfSense.”
And being open source, Kasper says, helps in terms of both price and security. “[Users] get a firewall with a web interface that can stand up to many commercial solutions in terms of features and usability—but for free,” he says. “[And] if a bug is found, it is usually only a matter of days (sometimes hours) before a fix is released—and since all the source code is available, anyone with some FreeBSD and PHP knowledge can add new features or fix bugs.”
Kasper says m0n0wall has proven to be particularly attractive to ISPs. “The traffic shaper built into m0n0wall is used by some (usually smaller) ISPs to easily control the bandwidth usage of their clients without having to resort to command lines or expensive commercial gear,” Kasper says. “Also, I’ve heard that the captive portal built into m0n0wall is quite popular among small WISPs and individual hotspot operators, perhaps because it is so easy to deploy and, in conjunction with the other features of m0n0wall, can provide a complete solution for a hotspot access gateway.”
The most recent releases, Kasper says, have updated the base system to FreeBSD 6, improved support for new WLAN cards as well as WPA, added a SIP proxy, and added support for ISPsec tunnels to dynamic endpoints.
Support for the solution is available through m0n0wall’s forums, chat, and mailing lists. Commercial support services are also available from Oklahoma-based Centipede Networks.
Looking at the solution as a whole, Kasper says the best way to explain m0n0wall’s strengths is to look at the stability and reliability of FreeBSD. “m0n0wall, owing to the fact that it’s based on FreeBSD, inherits those qualities,” he says.
This story originally appeared on ISP-Planet.
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