Software Trends

Software makes things happen. PC Pitstop scans thousands of PC through their on line diagnostics each month. Part of the data that is collected in the scans are the software titles found in the software add/remove section of the Windows registry. By compiling the information, we are able to see the prevalence trends of specific software titles.

We have identified a few titles for our software trend analysis. Many of these selected titles are open source or freeware. It should be noted that the prevalence of these titles only mean that the software was installed on a PC. It does not necessarily reflect if the software is being used by the user.

Selected Open Source Software


Skype is freeware that lets users make fee exempt VOIP calls to other users of the service. An extremely popular alternative to common landlines and Major VOIP’s like Vonage.


opera is an innovative Internet browser with features that make browsing the web an experience. Currently more than 20 million people have chosen Opera as their preferred internet browser.


Ad-Aware remains one of the most popular open source applications because it provides a free spyware removal tool that scans your memory, registry, hard, removable and optical drives for known data-mining, aggressive advertising, and tracking components.

Spybot-Search & Destoy

Spybot-Search & Destroy is a popular proprietary spyware and adware removal program that is applauded for its ease of installation, free updates, and excellent features. However, over the last few years its popularity has been on downward trend because when compared to competitors like Ad-Aware, its cleaning-up skills have been called mediocre.


Avira AntiVir is a free application that was designed for easy to use reliable antivirus protection for home-users only. In 2008 rated Avira number one in having the highest detection rate compared to its major competitors, Norton, AVG, Eset, and many more.


Google Chrome is a recently released free web browser that was created to make the web faster, easier, and safer. Another alternative to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, the public stable version of Chrome was just released in December 2008, and by the end of January 2009 it had a share of 1.12% of the web browser market.


Mozilla Firefox is a free and open source web browser. Developed as an alternative to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, it currently ranks as the second most popular web browser in use.


Mozilla Thunderbird is a free and open source email and news client developed by the Mozilla Foundation. Although the basic programs lacks full PIM functionality, the email and news client is an alternative to Microsoft’s Outlook. is a free and open source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets presentations, graphics and databases. The OpenOffice.ord project is primarily sponsored by Sun Microsystems.

VLC Media Player

VLC Media Player is a free and open source multimedia player developed by the VideoLAN project. It can play various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3.ogg,…). It can also be be used as a server to stream unicast or multicast in IPv4 or IPv6 on a high bandwidth network.

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21 thoughts on “Software Trends”

  1. BM “” is the link to use to purchase a CDROM of OpenOffice. I love OpenOffice. It is such a nice alternative to MSO’s exhorbitant pricing. MSO is only licensed for a single PC so a copy is required for each PC in a home. If you have kids that need an Office application it gets very expensive. Yes there is the academic version but many users do not “officially” qualify and should by the full blown version hence a lot of money for several PCs. The country of Spain booted MS from all government PCs including OSs and Office. I look forward to when the US adopts the same approach. Spains reasons were two fold: one- they wanted to not use a proprietary file format that could only be read by MSO. This sounds harsh but consider reading Shakespears works if it were contained in a format from a software co that doesn’t exist any longer. Second- The costs associated with MS products. The only downside that I found with OpenOffice is scripting, but many users do not script for applications. I have yet to discover the object model that they use so that I can wright scripts for it.

  2. harpo_the_whale

    BM… never had a problem with “registry pollution” and Open Office (you might want to check on the number of keys created by Micro$oft though). I have dialup also… may I recommend maybe possibly even considering using a torrent app or download app that will allow you to start and stop whenever you wish? All great software mentioned that I use on both my XP & Linux machines.

  3. Richard Sherwin

    Ive tried Open Office but it wont copy text with pictures I copy (control-C) from the web, while MS Office 07 works perfectly here, tho Ive had to buy a program that gives me the earlier Word’s command line (the 07 is just too confusing). Both Firefox 7 and Chrome (which I like for gmail and google search) give me trouble showing info from some email tables–while Thunderbird works great.

  4. I was skeptical when my son said “Use Open Office”. I have found that I really like it. I normally use Firefox (and have preferred it to IE) but since a recent update 3.0.7, I can not see images in my e-mail. They have yet to find what the problem is, so I switched to to Chrome and I don’t seem to find it difficult to use at all. I haven’t decided if I will stick with it should Firefox find a fix. I do prefer both Chrome and Firefox to IE.

  5. I don’t trust Open Office because I’ve had just too many bad experiences of polluting my registry with useless junk. Besides that the file is too large to download by a dialup connection.

  6. Microsoft is under a legal requirement to charge for the office products. They were forced by the courts to start selling seperate when they used to give it away with the computers you bought. I am old enough to remember the lawsuits and hassles they suffered.

  7. It’s only in recent years that Microsoft has even made a version of Office affordable for the non-business and non-educational user. for that reason I’ve used a number of free word processors, but I do like the integrated nature of Open Office. It has a few quirks of its own, meaning a new learning curve for those familiar with MSO, and lacks some of MSO’s features, but for the money it’s an extremely capable system. Thunderbird knocks spots off both Outlook Express and the new Windows Mail; in neither could I find a way to keep my different email accounts in separate displays, but Thunderbird almost does it by default. Outlook is only really a viable email client if it’s used as part of the entire Office system including Exchange server – a major investment for anyting other than a large corporation. Firfox has been a very good and stable browser up until the latest incarnations of 3.0.4 and 3.0.6, both of which have exhibited an alarming tendency to crash. On the other hand at least the developers act quickly to bring out cures; Microsoft only seems to address ‘security vulnerabilities’ as a matter of priority in updates, whereas Mozilla tries not to put them in in the fist place. I do have MSO – but the new interface of the 2007 versions annoys me intensely – which is why I tend to use Open Office; it has functionality over originality.

  8. I am progressing on my sw (reliable) search. Currently, I am experiencing several new challenges with my laptop. Is there anyone who has not had a positive encounter with optimize 2? Thanks for your suggestions and comments.

  9. I’ve NEVER used Outlook hating it right from the start and find Yahoo email IS the best even over Gmail!
    I love Mozilla Firefox and have never had any problems with it and THANK YOU for the OpenOffice reccomodation as I recently upgraded my drive and didn’t want to buy MS Office!!

  10. Over the years, I gradually got away from MS Word, IE, and MS Outlook Express. Mainly because I couldn’t afford to keep buying MS software. I used WordPerfect for a few years and then switched over to Open Office, Firefox, Sea Monkey, and Thunderbird. For browsers, I like Firefox, Opera, and IE7 in that order.

  11. I am a huge fan of free (and preferably open source) software – there are so many great alternatives to the big names if you just know where to look and take the time to research a little (reviews etc. not all are so great).
    I do a lot of varying computer usage, and with a very few exceptions for very specialized tasks or games, see no need to pay for software at all.
    There is nearly always a free alternative that is usually as good if not better!

  12. For me Open Office is great, lets me use MS office files with zero problems and the price is perfect, it’s FREE. But like all software it will only do exactly what you tell it to do, but if there is a real problem at least you can get some help, real help not the MS generic type of check your drivers nonsense which is their standard answer/solution for everything and rarely if ever the right one. So if it’s not working for you then either you got a bad download or your giving it the wrong instructions/key strokes.

  13. I use all the SW mentioned except Thunderbird as I use Web mail. I have found all the free programs to be very good, reliable and solid performers. Don’t know why someone would not trust Open Office?

  14. If you have MS Office, are familiar with it and like it then you have no need of Open Office. However, Open Office is reliable, comprehensive and, for most people’s needs, MS Office compatible.
    The same idea goes for other free software. I use (and recommend to my clients) a lot of freeware but, of course, choose carefully and critically.
    Oh yes – I think you also have to be careful and critical about who’s advice you listen to 🙂

  15. I’ve had VLC for years. It’s pretty good. But it doesn’t come anywhere near Media Player Classic. That comes bundled with the superb K-Lite Codec Pack, which even includes the QuickTime Plugins, so that you don’t have to bother with that dreadful QuickTime Player.

    MPC will play all the normal formats, but will also play such things as FLV, MKV, MOV, RM (I think), OGV, and believe it or not, VOB! The best video player there is, by a long shot! Free too, of course. Do a search for “codec” and you’ll find K-Lite.

    Sent to you courtesy of the World’s Best Browser, OPERA!

  16. For more than 10 years, I’ve always wanted to support OpenOffice because it’s free and the effort and hard work developers put into it is admirable. However, I still think it’s not good enough as compared to Microsoft Word. From time to time, I try using new OpenOffice version, but it seems, I still can’t really depend on it for my document work.

  17. Open Office works the same as Micro$oft Office, only faster and with fewer resources. Column formatting is super simple, just click the column icon. Thunderbird sends HTML emails just fine; set it up in the Preferences. TBird won’t load up and crash like Outlook. I keep a copy of Office 2003 for some odd macros I only use once in a while, but 99% of the time I use Open Office, Thunderbird/Lightning, and Firefox safely and successfully.

  18. I have used firefox since it came out. It is so much better than IE. I have chrome too but it’s not as esy as firefox.

    then there is Open Office. I find it just as good as Word without the problems. What broke me with microsoft was when my computer went down and I had to add all the programs back. microsoft was hard to work with just to reuse my old software. then I found Open Office. It is great. I am using it on all my computers, my ofice computers and my church. We have had no problems except we have to remember to save in Word if we are going to send as email. Hopefully this will change as more people get this software.

    Yea freeware..

  19. I don’t really trust most of the freeware out there. I really like FireFox, but I don’t trust Open Office. I used a word processor called Fly Word. By the way people made it sound awsome. It laked column formatting at the very least. Have you every tried formatting columns without column formatting? I have and it’s a total mess! Oh, I might add that there’s a setting that allows you to send HTML emails in OutLook 2007. All you have to do is click the Options and than select I believe the Email Options tab in OutLook. I was so mad. Some idiot told me I couldn’t send HTML emails. I don’t think that person has ever used OutLook at all. That’s why I like to stick with what I know does the job. I’ve been using Microsoft Office for years now and it’s worked well for all of my needs.

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