Networking Software


  • PuTTY:
     This is the preferred SSH client for Windows.  It is free, easy to use
    and well maintained for both security and bug issues.
     (As with everything, it is only "maintained" if you regularly check
    for updated versions!)
     Please note that most other SSH clients for Windows are NOT free for
    use on government computers or in the pursuit of lab business, though
    they might function just fine without payment.

  • WinSCP:  This is a fine graphical SFTP and SCP client utility with some additional features built in.

  • X servers (no, Exceed doesn't make the cut because of the high monetary cost):

    • Cygwin:  Please look at the separate Cygwin page for information on installing and configuring the Cygwin X server.

    • Xmanager:  I
      recommend that you use the Cygwin X server, but if you find something
      that it can't handle, then this is the recommended alternative. 
      It isn't free (but it does have fully functional time-limited
      evaluation license if you want to try it out.) 
      It is much cheaper than Exceed and seemingly just as capable, but
      without quite as much overhead. 
      I'm particularly interested in hearing about X Server alternatives, so
      let me know if you have a favorite!

  • Alternatives to Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Outlook Express:

    the leading web browser and mail client, these two apps are the target
    of prolific viruses, trojans, malware and other nasties. 
    In addition to avoiding many of these, you may also like some of the
    features available in the alternatives (eg. tabbed browsing is a
    popular feature unavailable in IE). 
    Four alternatives are in common use (three of them share much of the
    same code-base -- Mozilla, Netscape Navigator and Firefox). 
     This review
    might help sort you out the differences.
     As with anything, your preference is yours to decide (and also, as
    with everything else here, feature and security updates are released
    quite often, so you might try to check for new versions regularly): 
    They are listed here from highest recommendation to lowest:

    1. Firefox/Thunderbird: 
      Though frequently mentioned as a pair, Firefox and Thunderbird are
      stand-alone applications. 
      Firefox is a web browser, and Thunderbird is an email client. 
      "Stand alone" here means that these can be installed separately from
      each other. 
      You can configure them to work with alternative software as you wish
      (eg. use Firefox for surfing, but set Outlook as your default mail
      client). Actually, you can generally mix and match pieces from all of
      these alternatives, but most of them start out with defaults tied to
      their suite companions. 
      Slight thumbs up to Firefox over the other alternatives because it has
      almost every feature found in the corresponding Mozilla suite, plus
      additional add-ons. 
      Vast numbers of independently produced add-ons and customizations are
      available as well.
    2. Mozilla Suite: 
      A suite that includes the big three:  a browser, email client and HTML
      This is a fine alternative, but as a browser alternative, this author
      gives the bigger thumbs up to its sibling, Firefox, listed above.
    3. Opera. 
      It is available in a free version with a "branding" bar that contains
      advertisements, or you can buy the product to remove this minor
      annoyance.  (Branding/non-branding examples.)
    4. Netscape: 
      The Netscape suite includes a browser (Navigator), email client (Mail),
      HTML editor (Composer) and other tidbits. 
      Of the three Mozilla-based browsers, this is probably the least used
      and has the most extraneous stuff thrown in, which is one of several
      reasons it gets last place in this list.
        It is good enough to recommend, but just not quite as highly as the

  • Java, WebStart, JRE, J2RE, JSDK,
    Microsoft VM and all that Jazz...: The author of this segment finds
    this to be very puzzling and sometimes frustrating stuff to understand,
    keep up with, and especially to try to explain clearly and succinctly. 
    <Melodrama> Imagine Sun, IBM and Microsoft all walked into a bar
    and had a few drinks. Heck, let Netscape walk in a few minutes later
    for good measure. 
    Fifty states' attorneys general plus the US AG and DOJ are to act as a
    Now imagine that you, a mere passerby on the street were harangued into
    cleaning up the inevitable bar fight, complete with broken bottles,
    flying bar stools and blood everywhere all while it is still going on. 
    That's not even close to how awful it is...</Melodrama>   Details
    to be filled in here!

  • OpenAFS, MIT Kerberos, Wake and Leash: Details to be filled in here!

  • Google Toolbar :
    This is a very convenient interface to initiate Google searches, plus a
    decent pop-up blocker. Unfortunately, it is only available for Internet
    Explorer (though other browsers may support similar features natively).

Please send comments, corrections and suggestions to Wayne Betts: wbetts {at}