Thanks to the benefits of modern search engines, locating most open source software is fairly straightforward: just do a query for a given title or perhaps a type of software in your favorite search engine. Chances are fairly decent that you’ll find what you’re looking for. Where things can get fuzzy, however, is when you simply want to browse around. Many people out there honestly have no idea where to go to locate the latest and greatest open source software. In this post, I will demonstrate exactly where you can make software discoveries of your very own.

SourceForge

SourceForge should always be your first stop, in my honest opinion. It’s got endless titles for Linux, Windows, and even OS X. SourceForge does a fine job at setting everything apart into sections such as Games, Security, Business, Audio/Video, and so on. There are open source titles here that you haven’t even thought about yet, so it’s a great place to do a little light browsing. Just remember that the projects hosted here are often in mixed stages of development, so while many are mature, others may still be under heavy development.

Finding Open Source Projects
Photo by Dmitry Baranovskiy

Google Code

Unlike SourceForge, it seems like Google Code is like some kind of secret. Most people have never heard of it unless they’ve stumbled upon a hosted program by mistake during their daily Web travels. But once you understand that this is a great second place to find new and inventive apps, you’ll never want to leave. I would definitely say that Google Code hosting is more centric on hosting and less centric on discovery. Categories offered make no sense to the end user and are more focused on what powers the code running any given app. Categories such as Flash, PHP, etc. lend credence to this theory.

Osalt.com

Easily the most navigable of them all, osalt.com. What makes it so compelling is that you can type in the name of a proprietary program you’re already using, only to have your open source alternatives spelled out to you in return. Bundle this with the option to browse the provided software directory and it’s easy to see why osalt.com is so popular.