Take Open Source Software For a Test Drive With Click2Try
It's easy for people who are skeptical of open source software to come up with a dozen reasons -- some perfectly valid -- to not give it a chance. Chief among them are uncertainty about which applications to try and an unwillingness to alter their computers in any way. Click2Try is a great way to try open source software in a virtual environment without the hassle of downloads and installation.
Launched earlier this year, Click2Try offers an assortment of open source apps and entire Linux distributions on a private virtual machine for a single session, no registration required. To save sessions and return later, you'll need to become a registered user and provide an email address.
There are several categories of software to choose from, including education, sysadmin, and productivity apps. There are also three Linux operating systems available: Ubuntu, openSUSE, and CentOS. Unfortunately, they all use the GNOME desktop so if you want to give KDE a whirl, you're out of luck. Starting an app in a virtual environment is a simple two-click affair that has you up and running in no time.
Java-based Click2 try works on Windows XP and Vista, Mac OS X and, of course, Linux. You'll also need an updated version of Java 1.6. The site is optimized for Internet Explorer 6 & 7, Safari 3, and Firefox 3. When the Web site checked my system for compatibility, I got a warning message that it wouldn't work with my copy of Firefox 3.5, but I signed in anyway and had no problems whatsoever.
Click2Try's Free 4/7 Evaluation gives most users plenty of time to assess the open source software they're interested in but if you want more time or to try more than one app at a time, there are subscription plans available for purchase starting at $40 per month. Although the application catalogue is sparse right now when compared to the thousands of FOSS apps available, it will no doubt fill up quickly. Click2Try is a great no-risk way to convince people to try open source software, and a useful site for trying out apps yourself without any download and installation headaches.