How a WindowsXP user can live off the land

If you have windows XP and want to live free and legal, then these are the pieces of software that will let you do everything you’re likely to want to do and more. My DVD of these files is around 2.5GB and if you add the WindowsXP installer CD into the mix you have everything you need when installing a new system.

Although some of these are the basic version from a company that sells commercial versions, none of these programs are crippleware, nagware or spyware. They are free (as in beer) and legal (as in eagle). Many of the programs are GPL and so free as in antifreeze. When multiple licenses are indicated this sometimes means that different parts have different licenses, and sometimes that there are multiple licenses available.

The links are either links to the homepage or the download as it takes my fancy. I’ve tried to make the links version independant, if they obviously aren’t, I’ve said (check for later version). I couldn’t find the home pages for some programs, so I’ve just included places that they can be downloaded from.

There are overlaps, so you probably won’t want to install all of these blindly.

Comments welcome.




  • Cygwin All those unix things for windows. (GPL)


  • Notepad 2 Very lightweight, but with features.
  • Notepad++ Another lightweight but good editor
  • Nvu An HTML editor that isn’t rubbish!
  • Jedit Powerful, extensible editor.
  • XVI32 A hex editor that doesn’t die with big files.


  • 7z For all your archiving needs. 7z, ZIP, CAB, RAR, ARJ, GZIP, BZIP2, TAR, CPIO, RPM and DEB. (GPL)
  • Adobe Reader
  • Foxit Reader reads pdfs, but does it fast and small.
  • Azureus A popular bittorrent client. Supports plugins, including RSS. (GPL)
  • PC Inspector File Recovery Undelete.
  • WinSCP (GPL)
  • DiskTools ImageMaker Free
  • eMule you should always use open source p2p software. Emule is a popular one. (GPL)
  • Partition Logic a free partition manager, not actually a windows program – you need to make a boot disk, but useful to windows folks nevertheless.
  • Shareaza is another open source p2p program that’s pretty good these days. Includes bittorrent.

Fun (check also abandonia, reloaded and wikipedia)


  • Blender 3d modelling. (GPL)
  • Gimp (GPL)
  • A small, fast, paint replacement, with plenty of features.
  • Dia A Visio like diagramming program. (GPL)
  • Inkscape Scalable Vector Graphics. (GPL)
  • Picasa Digital photo organiser.
  • Sodipodi More SVG (GPL)
  • Truespace 3 intuitive 3d. Now free because of newer versions. (check for later version)


  • World Wind Nasa viewer for many different kinds of satellite image.
  • Celestia Space simulator (GPL)
  • Google Earth More fantastic satellite photography, better coverage and faster than World Wind.


  • Maxima Algebra manipulation. (GPL)
  • wxMaxima A nice GUI for maxima. (GPL)
  • R Language and environment for statistical computing. (GPL)
  • Mathamatic An algebraic calculator. (LGPL)
  • Frink a calculator/programming language perfect for the kind of things you’d normally use the back of an envelope for.



  • Abiword cross platform word processor. (GPL)
  • OpenOffice a complete office suite. Good MS compatibility. (GPL/LGPL)
  • Gnumeric spreedsheet. Currently considered more accurate than excel for statistical functions. (GPL)
  • PDFCreator (GPL)
  • PostgreSQL an excellent database server





  • e-Sword The bible. Searching and many translations available.
  • one day an offline version of wikipedia

Runtimes / Libraries / Emulators

  • coLinux run the linux kernel and programs on Windows. Not much activity, but a cool idea.
  • DirectX (check for later version)
  • DotNet framework (check for later version)
  • GTK+ (for GIMP etc). (LGPL)
  • Java (check for later version)
  • QEmu (3rd party download) multiple architecture emulator. (MIT/BSD/GPL/LGPL)
  • SDL (LGPL)
  • Windows Service Pack 2
  • Xdeep/32 A convenient X server that performs well compared to XFree86 for windows. Sadly, looks like they’ve discontinued the free one, but maybe you can still find a download. Xfree86 has got a lot better though since I put this on. Check out cygnus for the download.
  • xming is another free x server – this one has fewer dependencies than the cygwin one, but is pretty much identical otherwise.


  • Audacity very good sound editor. (GPL)
  • CDex cd ripping (GPL)
  • winLame multiple format encoder (GPL)
  • zinf simple music player. (GPL)
  • TeamSpeak voice over ip IRC like system.
  • AcidExpress (check for later version) create loop based music.


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