Portable Apps has done something very nifty. It makes a lot of Open Source apps portable to any USB Flash Stick – for free. They ask for donations, and given the time, energy, and convenience, I do give despite the tight times in freelance programming.
The list of applications is growing very fast – 13 new programs registered in April alone including Open Office, Notepad++, Toucan, MacOS Class on a Stick, and about 70 other programs, games, utilities. This is great stuff – well worth checking out. The payoff is big if you work at school, offices, libraries or other places where you can easily plugin a Flash stick to any USB port. Portable Apps currently support Windows programs for most versions from Win 95 thru to Vista. It also supports Wine under Linux for many of its apps. Thus , Linux usage of the same program files for say FileZilla, Open Office and Firefox is possible.
I did some timings of loads from my Flash Stick through the USB port of Gimp and Open Office – and I saw load times comparable with the hard-disk versions. Slightly faster from the hard disk, but occassionally the Portable App versions were 20% faster. In general this user is a very happy camper.
One can see the implications of PortableApps. Like Asus EEE which established a new entry point for laptop/portable computing, Portable Apps does the same – just stripped down to users carrying their data and programs around on a Flash stick. This will certainly promote the use of Open Office and other Open Source apps as the preferred app. Also I certainly expect to see a fully compatible Linux+Windows version of this within a couple of years(MacOS may have licensing problems). This is great – now along with Java programs like Eclipse and SQL Developer I can carry my writing work with me too – and all on a keychained flash stick. Love it!