We demonstrate a high-quality cavity-free 10 GHz 680 fs pulse source starting from a continuous wave (CW) laser. The pulse source is employed in a 640 Gbit/s on-off keying (OOK) OTDM data generation and demultiplexing experiment, where the error-free bit error rate (BER) performance confirms the high pulse quality. The pulse source is based on a linear pulse compression stage followed by two polarization-independent non-linear pulse compression stages. The linear pulse compression stage relies on a phase modulator, which is used to generate linear chirp and followed by a dispersive element to compensate the chirp. The non-linear pulse compression stages are based on self-phase modulation (SPM) in dispersion-flattened highly non-linear fibers (DF-HNLF). The pulse source is tunable over the C-band with negligible pedestal. © 2011 Optical Society of America.