Life without Windows or OS X

GNU/Linux is quite possibly the most important free software achievement since the original Space War, or, more recently, Emacs. It has developed into an operating system for business, education, and personal productivity. GNU/Linux is no longer only for UNIX wizards who sit for hours in front of a glowing console. Are you thinking about switching to Linux and want to learn how to use it? Have you been using GNU/Linux for some time and want to learn even more? This is the place for you.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The One-Percenter: The desktop GNU/Linux User

The economic news is grim, for sure. The New York Times reported that nearly 600,000 jobs have been lost in January alone. Some believe that the 2008 crash is probably the most serious economic crisis we have faced after the Great Depression. I believe of that in 2009 will see open-source become more mainstream than ever before. Now I’m not here to say the open-source applications are better than commercial ones. I just here to lay out the idea that open-source applications can be a life saver for those facing hard times. This is software that is designed to be totally free. Not just free of cost but means that anyone is at liberty to change the program or trade it as he/she sees fit. I have been using open source and free software for years now. Part of the challenge open source faces, is a perception that if it's free, it must not work well or they would be charging for it. That is not true at all .Open-source applications are going to have flaws and there are going to be aspects you like and dislike just like any commercial software. Obviously some alternatives are better than others. In these times Gnu/Linux is quickly gaining popularity, but there are still many users afraid to convert as they are not familiar with the applications. My mission here is to provide the names of some high quality open source alternatives to well-known commercial products. And remember that open source software is also a freeware alternative. The majority of them, come pre-installed in the most popular Linux distributions, or are available through their online software repositories.

You have a 4 year old system which came with xp home. You could update it to vista but it will cost you about 180.00 plus it may not be able to run on your system. With the price of gas, food and living expenses in general, do people need to upgrade their systems yet again with another Windows release? Linux is perfect for doing simple things like web browsing, text-editing, and so on, due to its speed, simplicity and dependability. Mandriva Linux Powerpack 2009 cost $60.00 or Linux Mint 6 for free. Gnu/Linux works as well on a high-end workstation as it does on a subnotebook. I must note that in Mandriva Linux and Mint Linux you will not find free Windows nor Mac. You'll just find a completely new operating system, working in a completely new different way. It can be frustrating for people who are new to Linux when things don't work the way they expect them to.

You need an email client. Im sure many of you heard of Microsoft Outlook 2007. It is often used mainly as an e-mail application, and it also includes a Calendar, Task Manager, Contact Manager, note taking, a journal and web browsing. You can pick it up for $100.00. Or try Evolution which has mail, calendar and address book standards to ease data sharing. Evolution connects to corporate communications architectures, including Microsoft Exchange and Novell GroupWise. Users can create customized reminders for their events that open windows or play sounds. Users can organize their work by entering to-do items into the task component. Summary, description, due dates, priorities, and categories can be entered. Users can then view their items by date, priority, deadlines and other criteria or view tasks in the integrated calendar view. Cost to you free.

You need to do a paper for class. Well just go down to your locale best buy and drop down a cool 99.00 For Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007. The suite offers good integration between all of its products - with a good unified user interface that make you as the users feel at home in all of the applications. Why not try It's a multi-platform office productivity suite. The software suite combines word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation tools similar to the Microsoft Office suite. While today may not be a 100 percent, feature-for-feature match with Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007, its strong interoperability with Office file formats, combined with the fact its free, making it the best alternative for people that need only basic capabilities. Again Free.

Nero Software NERO 9 is around 60.00 Nero Burning Rom has many features for backup, cd copying, audio and more. It is easy to use - and your will soon be backing up your data or burning your ISO files with this program. K3B CD-Creator is a user-friendly CD burning software. K3b project provides a comfortable user interface to perform most CD/DVD burning tasks like creating an Audio CD from a set of audio files or copying a CD. How much? Free.

The great Adobe Photoshop Elements is around 70.00 The main features of Photoshop Elements are photoed organization and user friendly editing. The GNU Image Manipulation Program or Gimp is a valid competitor. Clearly, GIMP feels very different from Photoshop. Among Gimps features you find: powerful painting tools, layers and channels support, multiple undo/redo, editable text layers. Also Gimp imports files from Photoshop (psd) and can also read scalable vector graphics (svg) files. To date it is not be 100 percent, feature-for-feature match with Photoshop Elements, but $70.00 can be hard to come by right now.

Switching to open source software means the end of software license fees, not just for the operating system, but for the major applications that run on it, as well. The free alternative might not be as eye poping or as well-known as the commercial package, and some aspects of the program might not be as polished, but in many cases will get the job done. Open-source applications are a product of the internet, when bright people exchange information they can make amazing things happen. I believe it to be a very social environment, where your constantly encouraged to speak out, talk to your fellow users, to the developers, and even participate in events. All of the source code for these programs are licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License, which means that anyone can access and change them to suit specific purposes. Open source apps do tend to lack the integration and polish you’ll find on other platforms. I will also say that for some people with that lack of eye candy they just dont cut it as replacements for their proprietary counterparts. However, these projects are supported by the free software development community and is provided to Gnu/Linux users at no cost.

Photo shop 70.00 /Gimp

Nero 60.00 / K3B

Office 100.00 /Open Office

Outlook 100.00 / Evolution


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