BitDepth 488 - August 30

The Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society has produced a CD of Open Source software.
Free software from computer gurus

Paul Worswick, Dev Anand Teelucksingh and Mike Tikasingh are three of the usual suspects behind the new freeware CD from the Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society. Photo by Mark Lyndersay.

Promoting the launch of the TTCS OSSWin CD, the Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society described the project as "a collection of over 90 Free/Open Source software (titles) for home and business users running Microsoft Windows 98SE/Me/2000 and XP."
The CD itself isn't free, but at TT$40, it's an attractive compilation of useful software that's well worth the hours it will take you to explore it. The CD collection covers the following software categories; desktop applications, educational, games, graphics, Internet, server, sound & video and utilities.

The selected software is available from most popular download sites, but the TTCS has invested palpable effort in creating a collection, curated, if you will that will save most casual users (particularly those on dial-up), the time and effort of sifting through a dross of software to find the gems that are worth trying.
The software is free and much of the software has been in development for some time, but computer society's compilers haven't included the source code on the CD, which won't matter to anyone except the geekiest of programmers.
The software works on most recent versions of Windows, though the interface can be read by any computer which can read the Windows file system on the CD and can open a webpage.

Most users will find the collection a boon with a bounty of freeness. For TTCS, it's a way of evangelizing the cause of open source software, code that's developed by programmers who donate their efforts to the computing community and make it available to other coders. Popular software like the web browser Firefox (included) are the result of many eyes and hands working to create a product for the sake of excellence.
"Many will look at cost rather than access to the source code as more important," says Dev Anand Teelucksingh of the TTCS. "But having more users is always a good thing for the OSS developers. End users can help with the development of OSS, helping other users, suggesting improvements, etc."

Dev, a key figure in the TTCS' "open leadership" style shaped the content along with society frontliners Paul Worswick and Colin Razack. Michael Tikasingh designed the CD's cover.
It's Dev who tries to set the agenda for the TTCS' meetings and struggles to hold them to it, and I don't think anyone would argue that his passion for open source drove the development of the CD.
In the interests of full disclosure, I sometimes hang with these folks at their pizza limes, fishing shamelessly for BitDepth story angles, so I've seen the results of Dev's gentle rudder handling at these stormily tangential meetings.
No CD for Linux is planned, since most Linux distributions already include large selections of free, developer friendly software as befits the operating system that defined the open source movement.

A Mac CD fits in with Dev's plans to try a Macintosh, so that might happen. For now, the OSSWin CD remains an actively developed project.
The product is burned on demand, so software is constantly being evaluated for inclusion. Since my review copy arrived, Dev notes that five titles on the CD have been updated and three new ones have been added.
The profile of software on the CD is rich enough that a new computer owner could install Windows, stick the TTCS product in and cherry pick enough software to keep going for months without looking at a commercial product.
If you have a recent Windows computer and are curious about well-written software that also happens to be free,
visit their site for more details about TTCS' open source software CD collection.
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