Crackerjack Greenback Prudent Advice for a Prosperous Future

November 1, 2008

Save Money on Your Computer with Free or Open Source Software

Filed under: Frugality,Saving Money — Paul Williams @ Crackerjack Greenback @ 11:47 am

       In the not too distant past, we didn’t have many viable alternatives to Microsoft’s operating system, office software, web browser, or e-mail client. Sure there were alternatives out there, but when most of Microsoft’s software comes pre-installed on PCs the majority of people end up using the Microsoft choices. Many people still aren’t aware that there are free, high-quality alternatives available.

The Open Source Initiative (TM)       So today is all about how you can save money by using free or Open Source software instead of the standard Microsoft or other proprietary applications you have always used. There are even alternatives to Adobe’s Photoshop, Acrobat Reader, and much more. If you’re not sure what Open Source means, you can check out The Open Source Initiative’s definition by clicking on their logo to the left.

       What follows is a very short list of some of the best free or Open Source software available today. I’ll also list a few websites you can visit to find even more free or Open Source software at the end.

Internet Browsing

Firefox       I use Firefox at home and work for all of my Internet browsing. The fact that it has been safer to use than Internet Explorer for a long time is one good reason you should be using it too. Additionally, there are a ton of “add-ons” available to enhance your user experience. For example, I use Adblock Plus to block all advertisements while I’m surfing. I’ve always found them annoying, but it also lets me browse faster since I don’t have to wait for the ads to load. You can download Firefox by clicking the logo on the left, and you can find tons of add-ons by clicking here.

Email

Thunderbird
       Thunderbird is a very good alternative to Microsoft Outlook. Thunderbird lets you access your email in a whole new way while keeping all of your information safe and secure. It also lets you customize the way you view and use your email, so you can have it just the way you like it. Click the logo to download.

Office Software

OpenOffice.org       OpenOffice.org is a very good alternative to the Microsoft Office Suite. You’ll get software for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases, and more. It might take you a little while to learn it, but overall it’s a fairly similar layout to Microsoft Office’s software. (I mean, how creative can you get with a word processor?) Click the logo to download.

Operating System

Linux       If you’ve ever had to purchase a copy of the Windows operating system, you may have wondered why you spent so much money when you’re staring at the famous Blue Screen of Death. Well, there are free, open source alternatives available! The alternatives are all a variation on Linux which is similar to Unix. You used to need to know a lot about computers to be able to install a Linux distribution (that’s what they call the different alternatives), but there are many user friendly options available today. Click on the logo to go to a quiz by zegenie studios to help you determine which Linux distribution is right for you. (They even ask you about your computer expertise!)

Get It All at Once (sans Operating System)

Winlibre       Want to download all of the best free or Open Source software in one shot? Try out WinLibre (click the logo to go to their website). For Mac users, there’s also Maclibre. You don’t get all the free software in the world, but you’ll get the essentials (OpenOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, theGimp, Inkscape, and more). You won’t find an operating system bundled in though (that’s a major download in and of itself).

Even More

       And if all of that wasn’t enough, you can find even more free or Open Source software at these links:

Open Source Alternative

Wikipedia

Mohawke’s Best of the Best Free and Open Source Software Collection

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