I read all the time about open source and how wonderful Linux is, but it has always eluded me. I have tried setting it up and sometimes I can even get it to work, and then I want to do something that only works on Windows or there is an application that only runs on Windows. Eventually, I go back to what I am familiar with even though it is expensive and I do not particularly like the company behind it. One thing I did wonder, however, was if any of this terrific open source software is ever written to the Windows platform? That would really interest me. Name and address supplied The question about Linux is almost a question about taste, but one must remember that things are changing. With Novell now the proud owner of Germany's SuSE Linux, anything could happen on that front. As for open source for Windows, yes, indeed, there is quite a lot. One of the most famous projects was the original Mozilla Web browser (the heart of Netscape Navigator). Still going strong, Mozilla.org takes care of the browser that many like to use because they do not want convicted monopolists controlling everything. It may be an uphill battle, but it continues. The browser is certainly out there for the latest version of Windows, and may even be there when Windows decides it really will build the browser into the operating system. Apart from its normal browser, Mozilla has a number of things in the offing. Mozilla Firebird 0.7 is Mozilla's next-generation browser, said to be quite quick. Mozilla Thunderbird 0.3 is an e-mail and newsgroup client. All of these are for Linux, Mac and, yes, even Windows and can be found at www.mozilla.org . Then one must not forget OpenOffice.org, one of the office productivity suites that is attempting to displace Microsoft's second major product, Microsoft Office. OpenOffice has a lot of support, but it may not be for everybody. It is always worth a try, though, and free to download from openoffice.org. Sourceforge.net is one of the best sites for open source software, and it claims to be the largest such site in the world. A great deal of the development is done by those using Linux, but there are a few developers who want to do things for Windows. Sourceforge is showing off a rather good-looking little FTP application called FileZilla that has lots of features and even security. All this only on Windows: sourceforge.net/potm/potm-2003-11.php Other open-source software for Windows that comes highly praised includes GNU Image Manipulation Program, or Gimp ( www.gimp.org ) , which does many of the things Adobe's Photoshop does, and Gaim (gaim.sourceforge.net), which lets you chat with users on any text chat network. Questions to Tech Talk will not be answered personally. E-mail Danyll Wills at firstname.lastname@example.org .