FOSS OTD: Google Desktop

Today’s FOSS OTD is Google Desktop. Google Desktop is not open source, but it is free, and it is very, very useful. I use it all the time to locate e-mails I can’t seem to find on my own, or to figure out what webpage it was that had some useful piece of information, or even to retrieve cached copies of files that have been inadvertently damaged or lost.

The only real question is whether or not you’re comfortable with the knowledge that Google could use this software to learn about your browsing habits and e-mail. Of course, I seriously doubt they care, on an individual level, but I’d be rather surprised if they weren’t using it on an larger scale to learn which pages are most popular, etc. The risks are basically the same as those of the Google Toolbar.

FOSS OTD (10/14): OpenOffice.org

The FOSS OTD for 10/14 is OpenOffice.org, a free, multiplatform, multilingual office suite. Capable of handling nearly all features of and file types used in more expensive software, such as Microsoft Office, OpenOffice.org is a great option for many users. Because of some quirks in Office and the ease of using OpenOffice.org to edit multiple documents, simultaneously, I’ve actually been doing all of my in-class note-taking on OOo, this year.