Dave Winer responded to a Doc Searls editorial which included a testimonial to the essential nature of "Open Source" software with a list of his Mission-Critical Software, to illustrate that it's software that's essential, not Open Source software.
That seemed like an interesting thing to do, so I've made my own list, of what I use at home. These are ordered roughly from most-used to least, which is not necessarily the same thing as "most essential."
A number of the tools are essential at work, as well: notably vim and the browser. I still use Outlook there, since it hasn't mysteriously broken the way my home copy did, and some big apps for engineering work, which are most definitely not Open Source, and not free. I maintain an Apache webserver on hp-ux, and I've been sysadmin or advisor for installations of hypermail both of which are Open Source and freely distributed.
Disclaimer: I'm not a software developer per se, and any claims to things being "Open Source" are just my best guess. "Free" (or not) is for the version I'm using, not necessarily all versions.
|vim||Main writing tool||All the time||Yes?||Yes|
|MSIEv5.5||Browser||All the time||No||Yes|
|Outlook Express||All the time||No||Yes|
|Windows95||O/S||All the time||No||No|
|amail||web email access||Several times a week||Yes||Yes|
|Corel Photopaint||Image edit||Several times a week||No||No|
|EditPad||Text file view/print||Once in a while||No||Yes|
|WS_FTP LE||Ftp utility||Several times a week||No||Yes|
|Quicken||Bookkeeping, accounting||At least once a week||No||No|
|Quattro||Spreadsheet, simple database||Occasionally||No||No|
|Noteworthy Composer||Score editing, choral rehearsal||Intensively at times||No||No|
|Cygwin||Unix shell on windows||Occasionally||Yes||Yes|
|Acrobat Reader||PDF viewer||Occasionally||No||Yes|
|Zonealarm||Internet security||Whenever online||No||Yes|
O'Reilly has an index of P2P "companies, projects and initiatives" with interesting branches out into different software directions.
Tom von Alten tva_∂t_fortboise_⋅_org