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FLOSS (Free/Libre/Open Source Software)1 for MS Windows Users

For almost every proprietary program which runs in MS Windows, there exists a free software (open source) alternative. In order to replace the proprietary software on your MS Windows machine, here is a list of possible software replacements. For a more comprehensive list of every program available, see the OSSwin Project. For Spanish speakers, see the comprehensive list at CDLibre.org.  If comparing costs between proprietary software and its FLOSS alternative, see this list of software prices

If you would like to download all these programs at once, The Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society has compiled a WinOSS CD with the latest versions of most of these programs. For Spanish versions of these programs, CDLibre.org offers a DVD and several CDs with most of these programs. If you just want a basic introduction to free software, try The Open CD (no Spanish version available).

Software Category

Proprietary Programs
(Cost in US)

FLOSS Alternative



Web Navigator

MS Internet Explorer ($0)
AOL Netscape ($0)
Opera ($0)

Mozilla FireFox

Internet Explorer is a security nightmare and should only be used when a webpage has been programmed to only work with Microsoft's proprietary extensions of the standard internet formats. Most spyware and other forms of malware has been designed to take advantage of the gaping security holes in Internet Explorer. According one test, an Internet Explorer user will receive 21 times more malware than a FireFox user.

Win, Linux, Mac


SeaMonkey uses the same codebase as FireFox but is a complete suite that uses less memory and has more tools than FireFox, although it doesn't support as many extensions as FireFox.

Win, Linux, Mac


MS Outlook Express (in Windows XP: $199, $299)
MS Outlook ($109, in MS Office: $399, $499)
Qualcomm Eudora ($0, $49.95)
Corel WordPerfect Mail ($29, $35; in WP Office: $99, $299, $399)

Mozilla Thunderbird

MS Outlook is a security hazard which can be a vector for dangerous scripts in email. Thunderbird doesn't have all the features of MS Outlook, but is much more secure, since it has built-in spam filters and doesn't allow dangerous scripts to run.

Win, Linux, Mac

SeaMonkey Mail

SeaMonkey Mail is very similar to Thunderbird but supports a couple more advanced options.

Win, Linux, Mac

Internet Instant Messenger

AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) ($0)
MS Windows Live Messenger ($0)
Yahoo! Messenger ($0)
Jabber ($0)


Unlike the proprietary internet chat programs which can only communicate in their own chat protocol, Gaim can handle all protocols so you don't have to switch between programs if you want to talk to people using MSN, Yahoo, Google, IRC, ...etc. It even supports spell-checking.

Win, Linux, Mac

FTP Client

InternetSoft FTP Commander ($29.95, $49.95)
Glub Tech Secure FTP ($25)


A fully featured FTP client based on the PUtty command-line tool. It is very useful for long uploads and downloads when you want to pause and later resume.



WinSCP is an FTP client also based upon PUtty with a simpler interface than FileZilla.


Peer-to-Peer (P2P)

EDonkey2000 ($0)
KaZaA (FileTrack) ($0)
Napster ($0)


For almost all the P2P networks, there are free software clients available. Use aMule for eDonkey networks, Gnucleus for Gnutella networks, and KCeasy for FileTrack networks. In place of Napster, use OpenNap. BitTorrent, however, is the best of the P2P clients in the opinion of many free software users. Many free software projects prefer that their software be downloaded by BitTorrent.

Win, Linux, Mac

Podcast Receiver

PodFeeder ($0)
nimiq ($0)
Doppler ($0)


Juice is a handy program for receiving podcasts automatically from many different sources. Essential for people who follow the alternative news on the internet from shows like Democracy Now! and CounterSpin.

Win, Mac, Linux (in the future)

Internet Telephone

Skype ($0, charge per call)
Symantec pcAnywhere ($99.95, $199.95)
Iready DigiPhone (monthly fee)
VocalTec Internet Phone

Speak Freely

Speak Freely is dificult to configure, but if both the sender and receiver have it installed, they can talk to each other for free, unlike Skype which charges for each phone call. In order to use Speak Freely, both the sender and receiver need an IP number, which can be tricky if the IP number is automatically assigned and can change.


Plain Text Editor

MS Notepad (in Windows XP: $199, $299)


Quite frankly MS Notepad is a very inadequite as a bare text editor. Notepad2 is far superior, yet maintains a simple design. Unfortunately Notepad2 like MS Notepad can only open one document at a time.



Notepad++ has so many options that many programmers use it in place of the text editors found in Integrated Development Environments. It recognizes and properly highlights almost every programming language. A real delight to use, although the non-programmer probably won't ever need most of its options.



This programmable text editor that can do everything, including check your email and run LISP. It has a steep learning curve and is almost a culture within itself, but it can do some amazing things--it has accumulated a lot of functions over the last 25 years.

Win, Linux, Mac

Word Processor

MS Word ($229, in MS Office: $399, $499)
Corel WordPerfect (in WP Office: $99, $299, $399)
IBM Lotus Word Pro (in SmartSuite: $281 per year)

OpenOffice.org Writer

OOo Writer is better than MS Word according to many reviewers. In my opinion, WordPerfect is slightly better than OO Writer, but WordPerfect is more liable to unexpected crashes. OO Writer runs in Windows, Linux/UNIX, and OS X, unlike MS Word and WP. It can export documents as PDF and saves in a text format, so documents can easily be recovered or exported. It exports to HTML better than any of the other major word processors. Its only major drawbacks are a lack of reveal codes like in WP and its non-intuitive search features which are designed for people used to UNIX regular expressions. OO Writer can also open and save in many formats including MS Word's DOC format.

Win, Linux, Mac


AbiWord is small, fast word processor. The upcoming version 2.5 will support internet collaboration editing like Writely does. AbiWord runs on all platforms and can open and save in many formats including DOC format. Its major drawback is that occasionally the formatting on screen will appear out-of-whack until the screen is redrawn.

Win, Linux, Mac


MS PowerPoint ($229, in MS Office: $399, $499)
Corel Presentations (in WP Office: $99, $299, $399)

OpenOffice.org Impress

Impress is just as user-friendly as PowerPoint and creates nice presentations, but Powerpoint has a few more advanced options than Impress. Occasionally you will need to reformat imported PowerPoint documents in Impress.

Win, Linux, Mac


MS Excel ($229, in MS Office: $399, $499)
Corel Quattro Pro (in WP Office: $99, $299, $399)
IBM Lotus 123
(in SmartSuite: $281 per year)

OpenOffice.org Calc

OOo Calc is just as good as the proprietary spreadsheets, although graph manipulation is slightly better in MS Excel.

Win, Linux, Mac


Gnumeric uses the R statistics language, so its statistical and scientific functions are better than those found in the proprietary spreadsheets. Its graph manipulation, however, is rather limited..

Win, Linux

Tax Accounting

Intuit TurboTax ($9.95, $39.95, $59.95)
H&R Block TaxCut

OpenTaxSolver (OTS)

OpenTaxSolver can calculate federal taxes for the US and Canada and the taxes for California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, and Ontario.  In the future, check the Tax Code Software Foundation which plans to have free software for preparing the 2006 US federal taxes.

Win, Linux, Mac

Personal Finance/ Accounting

MS Money ($19.99 - $89.99)
Intuit Quicken ($29.99 - $79.99)


Grisbi is a personal accounting application developed by a French group which is easy to set up and use. It doesn't support double entry bookkeeping and some other types of advanced accounting.

Win, Linux, Mac

Business Finance/ Accounting

MS Small Business Accounting ($149)
Intuit QuickBooks ($99.95 - $3000)

Currently none

In GNU/Linux, GnuCash offers more advanced accounting, but only preliminary attempts have been made to port it to Windows. SQL-Ledger is accounting software that can run on Windows web servers.

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) Oracle PeopleSoft ERP
MS Project ($599, $999)
InfoSiAL FacturaLUX FacturaLUX manages the accounting and all other kinds of data in the management of a business. The version for Windows XP is not yet stable.  The Windows version should only be used in Windows NT and Windows 2000. Win, Linux, Mac


SPSS Base ($1599)
Insightful S-PLUS

JGR (Java Gui for R)
R Commander

JGR (pronounced as "jaguar") and R Commander are graphical user interfaces for the R statistics language, which is a free software implemention of S. Although the SAS and SPSS are nicer GUIs, many statisticians like R better that the languages which come with SAS and SPSS. In addition, Gnumeric provides an easy way to use R functions inside of a spreadsheet.

Win, Linux, Mac

Calendario Mozilla Sunbird Aunque Sunbird es un programa muy preliminar todavía y falta muchas funciones, su interfaz es intuitiva y fácil de usar. Win, Linux, Mac?
KOrganizer El calendario en KOrganizer tiene más opciónes que Sunbird, pero es un poco más difícil de usar y menos agradable en aparencia.  Win, Linux, Mac?
PIM (Gerente de información personal) KDE PIM KDE PIM no es tan fácil de usar como un PIM integrado, porque consiste de dos programas, KAddressBook y KOrganizer, que fueron traslado de KDE en Linux. No comparte la misma apariencia de programas de Windows, pero tiene algunos funciones advanzadas como sincronización con un palm pilot. Win, Linux, Mac?

Web Page Editor

MS FrontPage ($199, in MS Office: $399, $499)
Adobe Dreamweaver ($399)


Nvu is a web page editor with a nice user interface, but fewer options than FrontPage and DreamWeaver. Its table editing needs improvement and there is no option to see both the HTML code and the web page at the same time while editing. Nvu is prone to frequent crashes and still has a number of annoying bugs, but I still prefer Nvu to FrontPage, because it adds less garbly-gook to my html code. In GNU/Linux, many use Quanta Plus, but its interface is much less intuitive than Nvu.

Win, Linux, Mac

OpenOffice.org Writer

Writer has a web page mode so you can edit web pages, but you can't see the HTML code, so it is rather limited in its web editing capabilities.

Win, Linux, Mac

PDF (Publishing Format)

Adobe Acrobat ($299, $449)


Although there is not free software program for editing existing PDF documents like Adobe Acrobat, you can edit your documents in OpenOffice and save them as a PDF. OpenOffice PDFs support hyperlinks, but do not support forms and the other advanced features of Adobe Acrobat.

Win, Linux, Mac


PDFCreator converts documents in a print format such a postscript into PDFs. It doesn't support hyperlinks, forms, and other advanced PDF features



Although the main xpdf viewer doesn't run under Windows, its programs to extract images from PDF files and to convert PDF files into postscript or text do run in Windows.

Linux, (Command Line tools: Win, Mac)

Desktop Publishing

MS Publisher ($169, $209, in MS Office: $399, $499)
Adobe Pagemaker ($499)
QuarkXPress ($749, $1499)


Scribus is fast approaching the utility of Pagemaker and has already bypassed Publisher, although it isn't as user-friendly. Before installing Scribus, make sure to first download and install Ghostscript for viewing postscript files.

Win, Linux, Mac

Simple Graphics

MS Paint (in Windows XP: $199, $299)

OpenOffice.org Draw

OpenOffice Draw is better than MS Paint by all measures. It also supports basic diagramming. It's only drawback is its poor export quality to other image formats like png and jpeg.

Win, Linux, Mac


MS Visio ($199, $499)


Dia lacks some of the advanced features of Visio, but will handle the diagram drawing that most people want. For its code size, it is an amazing program. Currently Dia can't open Visio files and there is no easy way to share files between Dia and Visio users.  

Win, Linux, Mac

Advanced Graphics

Adobe PhotoShop ($649)
CorelDRAW ($399)
Corel Paint Shop Pro ($99)

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Project)

Some people say that the GIMP is more difficult to use than PhotoShop, although it may just be that they are used to PhotoShop. In any case, the GIMP has the same graphical editing capabilities of the PhotoShop, although some things like red-eye removal are harder to do.

Win, Linux, Mac

Vector-based drawing

Adobe Illustrator ($499)
Corel PaintShop Pro ($99)


InkScape is a vector image editor. It doesn't support all the features of the proprietary SVG editors, but it is rapidly improving.

Win, Linux, Mac


Adobe Macromedia Flash ($399, $699)
Corel Animation Shop ($39)
AutoDesk Maya Complete ($1999)


Blender is a 3-D modeling program which can be used to create animations, although it is harder to use than Macromedia, especially for creating web page animations. It has steep learning curve, but you can make animated movies with it.

Win, Linux, Mac

GIMP with extension (See above)

GIMP supports SVG animation with an extension, but is significantly harder to use than Macromedia.

Win, Linux, Mac

Computer Aided Drafting

AutoDesk AutoCAD ($899, $3995)
RibbonSoft QCad Professional (~$31, ~$44, ~$287)

RibbonSoft QCad Community Edition


QCad is a 2 dimensional drafting program and circuit board designer which is easier to learn to use than AutoCAD. Although it doesn't offer the 3-D modeling and some of the advanced features of AutoCAD, it will serve for most drafting needs. RibbonSoft has released a free software edition of its software which is the same as QCad Professional except for support for the scripting and polyline modules. QCad is widely available in Linux, but to use it in Windows, you have to download the source code and compile it with the Qt library which isn't free in Windows. Although other Qt programs for Windows such as Scribus are available for download, I have been unable to find a compiled version of QCad for Windows. If you have access to Qt in Windows, please compile it for the rest of us who can't afford Qt licensing fees.

Win, Linux

Photo Manager

Apple iPhoto (in iLife: $79)
Nero PhotoShow ($39.99)
Sonic Roxio PhotoSuite ($29.95)
Google Picasa ($0)

Currently none

Picasa is decent freeware (not free software) for Windows. In GNU/Linux, F-Spot, gThumb and KSquirrel are nice photo managers, but they haven't been ported to Windows.

Multimedia Player

RealNetworks RealPlayer ($0, $19.99)
MS Media Player
Apple QuickTime ($0, $29.99)

VLC (VideoLAN Client)

VLC has a couple of novel features that no other media players support. As good as RealPlayer and Media Player for watching movies, it falls short as a music player. VLC doesn't support ripping, and its play list features aren't very user-friendly. It uses normal menus and buttons, unlike some annoying media players which try to imitate physical stereos and VCRs, but users who like skins may find its selection limited. If a video has multiple sound tracks, VLC won't always auto-select the correct sound track--you have to select it from the menu.

Win, Linux, Mac


The Hungarian answer to RealPlayer, but it doesn't have a GUI interface in Windows yet. Some free software advocates don't like it because it supports a lot of proprietary formats, but it will play just about every format imaginable.

Command line: Win; GUI: Linux, Mac


A nice Java-based media player, but it should be avoided since it supports Digital Rights Management, an industry plan to restrict your digital rights.

Win, Linux, Mac

Music Player

Nullsoft Winamp ($0)
Musicmatch Jukebox ($0, $19.95)


MusikCube is an excellent music player and ripper with a very intuitive interface and nice play list features. It supports MP3, but is uses Ogg Vorbis by default which is a superior sound format. MusikCube doesn't support “skins”, which some may see as a drawback. Unfortunately its GUI is programmed in Visual Basic, so it isn't portable to other operating systems.


Sound Editor & Mixer

Sony Sound Forge ($69.95, 319.96)
Sony ACID ($69.95, $374.96)
Steinberg Wavelab ($149, $649)
Adobe Audition ($349)


Audacity is a well-designed and easy-to-use sound editor, but it doesn't have track indicators, so you can only do very basic multi-track mixing. There are better proprietary sound editing programs but they priced beyond the reach of most amateur musicians and redubbers.

Win, Linux, Mac

Video Editor

Adobe Premiere ($99, $849)
Apple Final Cut ($299, $1299)
Ulead MediaStudio Pro ($399.99)
Avid Pinnacle Studio ($69.99, $99.99, $129.99)


There is no free software replacement for the proprietary movie editors, but VirtualDub is a handy video capture/processing utility designed for AVI video. It can read, but not write, MPEG 1 video as well. If you want a freeware movie editor, check out Zwei-Stein Video Editor.



CinePaint edits bitmap images for tradition movie formats which use frames.

Win, Linux, Mac

DVD player

InterVideo WinDVD ($39.95, $49.95)
Orion DirectDVD ($99, $149)
CyberLink PowerDVD (49.95, 59.95, $69.95)

See VLC above.

VLC occasionally has problems with DVD menus and doesn't deal very gracefully with bad spots in DVDs, but it will play most movies just as well as proprietary DVD software. The big problem is that there are ridiculous legal restrictions on decoding MPEG formats and decrypting the CSS (Content Scrambling System). If you believe as I do that most forms of intellectual property are morally wrong or if you believe that you should have the legal right to watch a movie which you paid for, then watch movies with a clear conscience with VLC. If you believe that big media companies should have the right to charge you for the act of decoding and decrypting information in their proprietary formats, then don't use VLC.

Win, Linux, Mac

CD/DVD Burner

Nero ($79.99)
Sonic Roxio DigitalMedia Studio ($69, $99, $149)

CDRDAO (CD Recorder Disk-At-Once)

CDRDAO is a command-line tool for burning CDs which runs in just about every platform. To use it requires creating a text file which contains information about how to burn the CD.  Unfortunately CDRDAO can't burn DVDs and doesn't have a graphical interface.  Burn-At-Once has created a graphical front-end for CDRDAO which is free for non-commercial use. CDBurnerXP Pro is a decent freeware CD burner for Windows, although it is not free software. Annoyingly, it defaults to ISO 1, so you have to select ISO 2 if you don't want shortened filenames. In GNU/Linux, K3B is an excellent CD/DVD burner, but it hasn't been ported to Windows.

Command Line: Win, Linux, Mac

First-person shooter game

ID Software Doom ($20, $25) & Quake ($40, $50)
3D Realms Duke Nukem ($19.99)


Cube doesn't have any artificial intelligence, so you can only play against other human beings in internet multi-person play, but the graphics engine is rather nice.


War Strategy Game

Blizzard Warcraft ($19.99, $29.99)
MS Age of Empires ($49.95)


Not as slick as some of the commercial games, but definitely an enjoyable battlefield strategy game.


Personal Database

MS Access ($229, in MS Office Pro: $499)
Corel Paradox (in WP Office Pro: $399)
MS Visual FoxPro ($649, in Visual Studio: $299, $799)
FileMaker Pro ($299, $499)

OpenOffice.org Base

OOo Base is currently only a limited replacement for a visual database like Access, but it is rapidly improving. Although there are a number of excellent free software databases, none have as good of a GUI interface as the proprietary databases. There is certainly no visual programing database program like Visual FoxPro in free software.

Win, Linux, Mac

Enterprise Database (Server)

MS SQL Server ($3899, $5999, $24999)
Oracle Database ($400, $4995, $40000)


MySQL is a small and quick database that outperforms most propriety databases in small and medium scale server applications. Before version 5 it didn't support many of the functions used by large enterprise databases.

Win, Linux, Mac


According to test data, PostGresQL is faster than Oracle. It supports all the advanced database functions and is an excellent large-scale enterprise database.

Win, Linux, Mac

Web Page Server

MS Internet Information Server (in Windows XP Pro: $299, in Windows Server: $999, $2999)


Apache is faster, more secure, and has more configuration options than IIS. Roughly 70% of webpage servers use Apache.

Win, Linux, Mac

Email Server Magic WinMail Server ($129 - $1299)
Merak Mail Server Engine ($264 - $980)
Sendmail Sendmail is more configurable and is faster than its proprietary competitors.  Sendmail was one of the first email serving programs and is used by over 40% of email servers, making it the market leader. If looking for a highly secure email server, check out postfix for UNIX-like systems. Win, Linux

C/C++ Programming

MS Visual C/C++ (in Visual Studio: $299, $799)
Borland C++Builder ($1090, $2490, Turbo: $399)
Freescale CodeWarrior

Bloodshed Dev-C++

Bloodshed Dev C/C++ is an integrated development environment (IDE) like Visual C/C++ in Visual Studio. It uses the MinGW (or alternatively Cygwin compiler which is based upon the gcc (GNU compiler collection). Bloodshed can only compile C/C++ code, but in GNU/Linux there are nice multilingual IDEs like KDE Developer and Anjuta DevStudio which are comparable to MS Visual Studio. For cross-platform programs, write C/C++ programs using free libraries like GTK+ and wxWidgets which will run in almost any operating system.


MGWin Developer Studio

MGWin Developer Studio is an IDE for the MinGW compiler. It comes with a nice resource editor for creating visual components for your programs.

Win, Linux

C# Programming

MS C# (in Visual Studio: $299, $799, $2499)
Borland C#Builder ($1090, $2490, $3490, Turbo: $399)


Mono is a free software implementation of C# that runs in both Windows and Unix-like systems. It hasn't implemented all of the MS C# libraries yet and doesn't come in an IDE like Visual Studio.

Win, Linux, Mac

Pascal Programming

Borland Delphi ($1090, $2490, $3490, Turbo: $399)2

Bloodshed Dev-Pascal

Bloodshed Dev-Pascal is an IDE which can use either the Free Pascal or GNU Pascal compilers. Although it doesn't have the Rapid Application Development and other visual programming features of Delphi, it is a good tool for teaching programming.


BASIC Programming

MS Visual Basic (in Visual Studio: $299, $799, $2499)

GNU/Liberty Basic Compiler Collection (GLBCC)

There are a number of free Basic interpreters/ compilers available. Probably the best for general use is the GLBCC, although it doesn't come with an IDE.

The next version of wxBasic for wxWidgets programming looks promising, although the current version is incomplete and difficult to use. Mono's Basic.NET Compiler also bears watching for people who program in MS Visual Basic, although it is currently not a complete implementation.

Win, Linux

Java Programming

MS Visual J++ (in Visual Studio: $299, $799, $2499)
SUN Java ($0)
Borland JBuilder ($499, $3500, Turbo: $399)

GCJ (GNU Compiler for Java) + ClassPath

Although programmers can develop Java programs without paying licensing fees, SUN has been roundly criticized for not releasing Java as free software. It appears that SUN will give Java a free software license in the future, but in the meantime, the GNU Compiler for Java (GCJ) and Classpath can replace SUN's Java. Unfortunately, Classpath hasn't implemented all of SUN's java libraries yet, so some Java code won't run with it. For a good development environment for Java, check out Eclipse.

Win, Linux, Mac


Eclipse is an IDE and toolkit for 12 different languages, including C/C++, Fortran, PHP, Perl, Python, and Ruby, but it most used for Java programming. The Eclipse SDK uses a different widget toolkit than standard SUN Java and has a number of GUI tools to simplify the construction of applications.

Win, Linux, Mac


Corel WinZIP ($29.95 - $59.90)
WinAce ($29, $39)


7-Zip can decompress 15 different compression formats, so it can open just about any compressed file. It has a unique compression format which is 10% more compact than RAR and 75% more compact than the standard ZIP compression used by most programs. It's only drawbacks are its odd interface and the fact that it can't decompress multi-volume ZIP files.

Win, (Command Line: Linux, Mac)


Symantec Norton AntiVirus ($39.99)
McAfee AntiVirus Plus ($39.99)

ClamWin Free Antivirus

ClamWin is based on the ClamAV scanning engine which has a relatively high rate of virus detection. ClamWin does not an on-access real-time scanner like some of the proprietary anti-virus programs, but it does have a scheduler for regular anti-virus scanning and a plugin to scan email in MS Outlook for viruses.


Internet Security (anti-spyware, etc.)

McAfee Internet Security Suite ($49.99)
Symantec Norton Internet Security ($69.99)

currently none

Since most forms of internet malware simply don't function in GNU/Linux, few free software developers feel the need to develop counter-measures for a threat that doesn't bother them. If you need freeware to protect against spyware, try LavaSoft's Ad-Aware SE Personal.

Network Security Scanner

Tenable Network Security Nessus (version 3) ($1200 per year)


nmap scans networks for security problems. In Linux, nmap can be used with the GUI front end nmapFE, but in Windows it can only be used from the command line.

Win, Linux, Mac

Nessus (version 2) / OpenVAS

Nessus is an excellent network security scanner which used to be free software, but Tenable Network Security decided to turn it into proprietary software with version 3. Open source advocates are developing a free version called OpenVAS based upon the old version 2 code, but it is not yet available for download.

Win, Linux

Scanner and OCR (Optical character recognition)

Nuance OmniPage ($149.99, $499.99)
ABBYY FineReader ($199, $399)
NewSoft Presto! ($99.95)


There is no free software in Windows for controlling scanners. For OCR, GOCR is a very rudimentary command-line tool for converting image files into text files. Nobody has created a graphical interface for it and people who aren't used to the command-line will find it difficult to use. If you want the help files, you have to download the source files as well.


Voice Recognition

Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking ($99, $199, $899)
IBM ViaVoice ($29.99, $49.99, $79.99, $189.99)

currently none

None of the current free software voice recognition projects are developed to the point that they can be used by normal Windows users.  IBM recently released some key code as free software, so we may see something in the distant future.

Command Line

MS-DOS (in Windows XP: $199, $299)


DOS is extremely limited as a command line interface, which should be avoided when possible. Cygwin is a UNIX emulator which provides the basic command line capabilities of UNIX inside Windows.  Cygwin can be used to manipulate Windows files, but can't run BAT files or Windows programs, so it can't fully replace DOS in Windows. 



FreeDOS is a free software implementation MS-DOS. It works fine as a DOS boot disk, but it won't run inside of Windows 95 or later.

Installation of Spanish Versions of the software

Most of these free software programs will automatically detect the default language in Windows and set it as the user interface language. Some programs however require special downloads or the user interface language needs to be selected.

After installing the English version of OpenOffice 2, download and install the Spanish Language Pack. It should automatically put interface in Spanish, but if not, go to go to Tools->Opcions->Language Configuration->Languages and select Español as the User Interface Language.
To add Spanish spell-checking, go to Archivo->Assistantes->Instalar diccionarios nuevos. Select Español and click Ejecutar DicOOo. After downloading the Spanish [es_ES] dictionaries for spelling, silable separation, and sinonyms, exit and restart OpenOffice. If you have set up OpenOffice for quickstart, you will have to exit that as well. Look for the OpenOffice icon in the expandable tray on the right-hand side of the taskbar in Windows and right-click on it. Select the option Salir de Quickstarter. After restarting OpenOffice, go to Herramientas-> Opciones-> Configuración de idioma-> Lingüística. Under Modulos disponibles de idioma, click Editar. In the Editar Modulos dialog box, select Español (España) under Idioma.

To spell check in Spanish, select the text, then go to Formato->Carácter and select Español (España) under Idioma. To set Spanish as the default language for spell checking, go to: Herramientas-> Opciones-> Configuración de idioma-> Idiomas. Bajo Idiomas predeterminados para los documentos, select Español (España) for Occidental.

If Espanol does have check mark next to it when selecting it from the list of language, then OpenOffice can't find the dictionary files for Spanish. Exit OpenOffice, and go to the C:\Program Files\OpenOffice.org 2.0\share\dict\ooo\ directory and make sure that you see the files es_ES.dic, es_ES.aff, hyph_es_ES.dic, th_es_ES.dic, th_es_ES.aff. If not, you will have to download these files and place them in the directory. Then add the following lines to the dictionary.lst file in the same directory:

DICT es ES es_ES

HYPH es ES es_ES
THES es ES es_ES

Save the file as bare text and then restart OpenOffice. Now it should be able to spell-check in Spanish.

If you want to set your documents to spell check in Spanish from another country, you will have to rename your dictionary files to the ISO code for that country. For instance, if you want to set Peruvian Spanish as your language, you will have to rename the dictionary files to es_PE.dic, es_PE.aff, hyph_es_PE.dic, th_es_PE.dic, th_es_PE.aff and change the dictionary.lst file to:

DICT es PE es_PE

HYPH es PE es_PE
THES es PE es_PE

Mozilla-based Software
NAVE offers full Spanish versions of Mozilla Firefox, Thunderbird, Sunbird, SeaMonkey, and Nvu for download. Or you can install the English version and then later install a separate XPI Spanish Language Pack.
Mozilla Firefox
After installing the XPI Spanish Language pack, go to: Tools-> Options-> Advanced-> General. Click "Edit Languages" and in the "Languages" dialog box, click "Add" and select "Spanish [es]" from the list. Then click on "Move up" to put Spanish first on the list.
To install the XPI Spanish Language Pack go to Edit-> Preferences-> Appearance-> Language/Content. Click "Download more..." and select Spanish. After downloading, select Spanish as your prefered language, click "OK" and then restart SeaMonkey.

Currently there is no spanish translation of the latest version of 7-Zip, but older versions have been translated. See http://www.7-zip.org/es for the latest available version.


Currently there is no Spanish version of MusikCube, although somebody has started a translation.

MGWin Developer Studio
There is no Spanish translation available.

This document has NO copyright and is PUBLIC DOMAIN.
Please share and modify freely.
Amos Batto <amosbatto AT yahoo DOT com>
If you have suggested changes, please email me.
Last Revised: 30 Sept 2006


1 Free software has been around since the dawn of computing, but it was formally coined as a term in 1984 with the beginning of the GNU project and the later creation of the Free Software Foundation. Today roughly 70% of free software uses the GNU General Protection License (GPL) created by the Free Software Foundation, although there are over 60 other free software licenses such as the BSD, MPL, and MIT. Free software is often referred to as "Open Source" in the press, a term coined in 1998 to woo the business community and to distance the movement from the Free Software Foundation which trenchantly insists that the "4 fundamental freedoms" of software users are paramount to any technical or commercial considerations. If you care about the ethical and social implications of technology, use the term "free software" to signal that choice to others. If you care about things like peer review of the code and superior development methodology (or you just like to pander to business interests), use the term "Open Source".  Since speakers of Romance languages like Spanish, French, and Italian don't have the confusion between "free" and "gratis" in their languages, they generally use the term "software libre" or "software livre" without controversy. If you want to use a neutral term for the software, refer to it as "FLOSS" (Free/Livre/Open Source Software). Whatever you do, don't refer to it as "freeware" or "shareware" because those types of software don't give you the right to freely use, study, modify, and redistribute the code.

2 For people who want to use Delphi without paying a license fee, Borland recently released a version called Explorer which can be downloaded for free. Unlike the old Personal version, Explorer can be used for commercial projects. Unfortunately, Borland has abandoned development of Cylix, its version de Delphi and C++ Builder for Linux. Cylix can still be used with old versions of glibc and some special configuration.