The OpenCD project
aims to introduce users of MS-Windows to the benefits of Free and Open
Source Software (FOSS). We include only the highest quality programs,
which have been carefully tested for stability and which we consider
appropriate for a broad audience. We provide a description and
screen-shots of each program, so you can get an idea of what it does
before installing. All these applications install and un-install
cleanly, so you can be comfortable testing them with the knowledge that
they will not adversely affect your system. The programs on the disc
are all distributed under an Open Source License (OSI approved), which
allows you to freely use and distribute them. You may even change the
programs using the source code, which we make available, and distribute
your own modified versions, provided you then in turn make the source
code available, and give appropriate credit to past contributors.
Open Source Software
Open Source Software (OSS) is provided with a license that gives the end user the right to
use it freely for private or commercial use. You also have the right to
inspect and even modify the underlying source code. You can give away
or sell the original version you received or one with your
modification, provided that you then in turn pass on the modified
source code so that others can benefit from the changes you have made.
This last clause protects the developer's work from unfair exploitation
by others, while allowing the source code to be released to the
community. You are not required to pay royalties to previous
developers, but you are still permitted to charge money for the sale of
OSS. This disc may have been given to you by a friend; or sold to you
for a small fee, and both are permitted.
If you have no interest in source code, you may ask
why the availability of this matters. One answer is that the release of
source allows external observers to inspect the true functioning of the
program, which means that you can be confident that the program treats
your private data with respect. A real problem with proprietary
software can be that your data is locked in to a software's proprietary
file format, which means that you may eventually be forced to upgrade
to newer versions of that software to retain access to your data. This
does not happen with OSS, because when the source code for opening and
saving files is available, a third party can easily write an import
filter for the next generation of software, ensuring that your data
will always be available. Finally, the release of source code has in
some cases spawned large communities of volunteer developers who have
in turn provided the world with highly useful, and entirely free
software such as Linux, OpenOffice, and Mozilla. These are then
available free of charge to schools or anyone else who may not have a
large budget available for software. So, you can see that the freedom
of software is important for everyone, not just software developers.
The OpenCD Project
There is a staggering number of OSS projects out there. A typical source
over 30.000 projects. There are also a vast number of Shareware and
Freeware programs available that you can freely download from the net.
However these do not qualify as OSS, because you do not have the right
to modify the underlying source code. Usually you are not even able to
inspect the source code, and often restrictions are placed your use of
the program, such as non-commercial use only.
Enter TheOpenCD project. We have made a small
collection of only the highest quality OSS for Windows, easily
available on a CD. When you insert the disc into your computer it
automatically launches a browser which will guide you through the
contents of the disc, presenting the various programs, and allow you to
easily install them. The programs are carefully selected to ensure
stability, ease of use and a clean install and un-install from your
computer. This CD is intended as a first introduction to the world of
OSS, but it is our hope that you will later go on to explore other
projects, and at some stage you may even want to try a whole new
operating system such as Linux. In the Further Resource section of this
disc we provide a list of other major OSS projects with links to their
web pages. There is also a selection of essays about Open Source which
should give you some more insight into the history and philosophy of
The OpenCD Team
So, who are the people who have put together this CD and why? As with most open source
projects, this one is run purely by a small group of enthusiasts in
their free time. Participating in such projects can be personally
rewarding and provides a useful public service. The core team of
TheOpenCD at present is (in alphabetical order):
Phil Harper - Responsible for re-programming and graphics in
versions 1.2 and 1.4 of the CD browser. Current maintainer of the project
web pages and forum.
Will Martin - Assembled the first edition of the CD,
including programming the CD browser, which was the basis for the
current version. Set up the project web pages and forum. Local grammar maven. Contributor
to the forthcoming version of the CD browser, based on K-Meleon.
Brett McNamara - Primary C/C++ developer. Responsible for Bil (now shelved), Launch (vital to
future versions), and XML/XSL work for future versions of the CD browser.
Henrik Nilsen Omma - Launched the idea for an OSS disc
for windows with two NewsForge articles in April 2002, and has
continued to play a central role in the project since. Wrote a
majority of the text for the CD browser and worked on layout and
Brentano - Made
the clean and simple text logo for TheOpenCD.
Eric Penne - Forum Moderator. Set up a site which
provided pre-made CDs for a small fee for those not able to download
and burn them.
Imran Ghory - The original maintainer of our extensive
OSS software list. Birmingham, UK.
Over 100 others - Have contributed with artwork and
We would also like to thank the nice people at sunsite.dk for providing
us with free web-hosting and for acting as primary mirror for our CD