Open Source Software



Did you know there are free alternatives to many common computer programs? Instead of paying Norton or McAfee a yearly subscription fee for antivirus protection, why not use a free alternative like ClamWIN for Windows PCs? Instead of buying the expensive Microsoft Word, why not use a free alternative like Abiword? Want to edit your photos with the power of the costly Adobe Photoshop program, but on a budget? How about the free GIMP program, which does virtually everything it's brand-named cousin does?

Open-source software is software that can be freely modified by anyone. Programmers can tweak the code to improve the software. The end result is often software of excellent quality at no cost to the end user.

Next time you think about software to achieve a particular task, search the internet for an open source alternative first. If you install it, and don't like it, just remove it. Since it's free, you're out nothing.

In many cases, it's no longer necessary to install software on your computer to do a task. Many can be done completely online. For example, a great photo editor is available at pixlr.com/editor -- fix up your photos and download them back to your computer when done. No software needed!

In addition to the above links, here's a few more products that will help with everyday computing needs:

  • Apache Open Office...................replaces Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, Powerpoint)

  • VLC............................................replaces Windows Media Player - plays nearly any audio/video format

  • Audacity......................................sound recorder and editor

  • Handbrake..................................converts DVDs to computer files

  • Keepass......................................consolidate all your passwords

  • Stellarium....................................love the stars? Great astronomy program

  • Google Docs and Zoho Writer....online word processors

There are many lists of open source software, if you are interested in seeing more options. Here's a couple:

http://www.thesimpledollar.com/30-essential-pieces-of-free-and-open-software-for-windows/

http://www.datamation.com/open-source/open-source-software-list-2015-ultimate-list-1.html


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