I work in multiple environments
throughout the day. Most of the time I am working on Linux. But occasionally, I
have to hop on over to a Windows machine for various reasons (usually to help
an end user resolve a problem). When I do this, I am thankful there are plenty
of cross-platform tools available. These tools range from standard desktop
tools to server-based applications.
I’m not talking about Web-based
applications served up by one platform to all platforms. I’m talking about
applications that can actually be installed on a variety of platforms and run
natively. These are the bread and butter of my work, and the fact that they’re
available across platforms makes life much easier. You may be surprised to find
out that these tools are available for multiple platforms. As they say, you
learn something new every day.
one of the best FTP clients out there. Filezilla offers an outstanding GUI FTP
client for all platforms and an FTP server for the Windows platform. The client
software has plenty of features, including: Supports FTP, FTP over SSL/TLS
(FTPS) and SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP), IPv6 support, tabbed interface,
powerful site manager, drag and drop support, filename filters, directory
comparison, and much more.
MySQL is, like Apache, one of the most widely used
database servers on the planet. MySQL drives sites like Wordpress, Drupal,
Joomla, Xoops, and a host of other CMS, ERP, and HRM sites. And for those
currently running SQL looking to migrate, MySQL now has a simple to use migration tool to
ease your switch. MySQL offers clustering, outstanding GUI admin tools (see
below), and one of the most reliable and usable database servers available.
Gimp is one of my favorite graphics applications. Most people are
shocked to find out that The Gimp is available for all platforms (minus Android
and IOS). It’s a powerful image manipulation tool with enough filters and
features to suit any level of user. The Gimp can please nearly any graphic
artist without the funds for Photoshop. NOTE: The Windows version of The GIMP
is looking for some solid developers to help with the project! If interested,
contact the team through the Gimp Developer mailing list.
Audacity is the cross-platform
tool for editing audio. If you’re looking for the best software to record your
podcasts, regardless of platform, this is what you want. I’ve been using
Audacity for years to record the Zombie Radio podcast (NSFW), and it has been a stellar
tool. Not only does Audacity record, it also is one of the best audio
conversion and editing tools you will find. Audacity also includes plenty of
effects and filters.
AbiWord is a simple
word processor. Why would you want to use a one-trick word processor? Abiword
is small, fast, light, and offers plenty of features. AbiWord has been
carefully written so that it can be run on any platform. AbiWord also includes
a handy collaboration tool that is tightly integrated with AbiCollab.net and
allows for easy sharing of documents with other AbiWord users.
Desktop won me over quickly. With its unique ability to aggregate
multiple streams of information (email, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter,
etc.), it provides a one-stop-shop for all your email and social feeds. Zimbra
can also connect to Exchange, making it a great replacement for Outlook. Of
course, you could take this one step further in your organization and use theZimbra
Collaboration Server and get rid of Exchange all together.
Claws Mail is one of
the fastest, most versatile email clients you will ever use. Yes, there is a
bit of a learning curve when you try to make Claws go outside the boundaries of
the standard email client. But that’s when it really soars. With Claws Mail,
you can do things you never thought an email client could do — on Linux, BSD,
Solaris, and Windows (sorry Mac users). Claws Mail also enjoys a good number of
plugins to expand the flexibility of this powerful mail client.
SpiderOak goes beyond the other cross-platform cloud
sync/backup tool, Dropbox, by letting you fine-tune exactly what is backed up.
Unlike Dropbox (where you’re limited to the Dropbox folder), SpiderOak allows
you to back up multiple folders and even preserve historical versions of files
and folders. SpiderOak also allows you to share folders with its ShareRooms
using RSS. SpiderOak gives you 2 GB free and then charges $10.00 USD per 100
GnuCash is the go-to open source, cross-platform
accounting tool. It offers tons of features (double-entry accounting,
stocks/bonds/mutual fund accounts, QIF/OFX/HBCI import, transaction matching,
scheduled transactions, financial calculations, and more) and is the perfect
solution for small businesses without the budget for QuickBooks or Peachtree.
TightVNC is an outstanding VNC server that enables you
to remote into desktops of nearly any platform. It’s free for both personal and
business use and available for Windows and UNIX. TightVNC includes a Java-based
VNC client along with the server. TightVNC is also compatible with standard VNC
software, so if you don’t want to make use of the Java-based client, you can
use your client of choice.