If you travel frequently, it can be frustrating to have to use a system that doesn’t have your favorite open source software already installed. Fortunately, many of the most popular open source applications come in portable versions that you can take with you on a USB thumb drive or other portable media.
What makes an application portable? These apps can run from any portable device (a thumb drive, CD, DVD, portable hard drive or other device) without needing to be installed directly on the hard drive of the system you’re using. They also don’t leave behind any files on the host system, and they don’t interfere with other software installed on that system.
For this list, we’ve compiled some of the best portable open source applications available. Some of these were originally designed by the project owner to be portable. Others are open source applications that have been re-packaged for portability by a third party.
Several groups, notably PortableApps.com and winPenPack, have created suites of portable open source applications. Others offer directories with many individual portable apps. Because these collections and directories are so helpful, we put them at the top of our list. Other individual portable applications come next, organized by category.