Most web workers are constantly adding new applications to their arsenals, and it’s common for our computers and mobile devices to become loaded with them over time. At the same time, many mobile devices these days can’t tolerate arrays of bloated applications. I’ve written before about PortableApps.com and MacLibre, both of which deliver bushels of free, open source applications for Windows and Mac users. They’re especially good for putting applications on a USB thumb drive, where the applications are stripped down into light, portable versions. These downloads are also popular among netbook users, who often have limited local storage. Another site to keep in mind if anti-bloatware is an attraction is OldApps.com.
OldApps delivers exactly what its name implies: older versions of popular applications, where users may favor the older versions because of their smaller sizes, or their lack of complexity, or both. Here’s more on what the site offers, and what to be careful about.
While at first glance it may seem anti-evolutionary to seek out older versions of applications, don’t you favor some apps simply because of how quickly you can get in and out of them to get work done? One of my favorite examples of this type of application is IrfanView. IrfanView is a lightweight but very capable image editor, and I often prefer to go into it quickly to get work done rather than load a much more bloated program. The developers of IrfanView know that this is an attraction, and they smartly offer a link to OldApps.com for people who want previous versions. (You can also find many good light footprint apps at TinyApps.)
According to the latest data from OldApps.com, you can now download 2,835 old versions of 193 applications for free. You can get lightweight, easily portable versions of ICQ Lite for instant messaging, less complex and bloated versions of image editors such as IrfanView and Paint.net, lighter versions of Adobe Reader, and much more.
It is wise to keep security in mind when using older versions of applications, especially browsers and messaging-oriented ones. I primarily use OldApps.com for smaller, more portable versions of my favorite desktop applications that I can use on a USB thumb drive or netbook. These aren’t my primary devices, but they help me get mobile work done with portable applications. I’m not interested in bloatware for them. I keep them secure even as I use light and portable versions of applications, and if you’re increasingly using these types of totables too, look into OldApps.