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Free Software Alternatives

The high amount of views for this blog continues. Judging from the amount of people that posted comments on the last post (thanks to all who did btw), I have ~20 readers (9 distinct people who posted comments x ~2 for the people who viewed and didn't post, and rounded off). To be honest that's a bit more than I expected, but that still doesn't count for, at the time of writing, around 170 views, especially considering people having access to an RSS feed and all.

Anywho, I thought today i might devote a blog entry to the topic of free (i.e costs nothing) software alternatives. In this current climate, free, and especially open-source (i.e the source code is available to everyone) software is gaining in popularity, and there exist many high quality products that are pretty attractive alternatives to more pricey products from bigger software vendors. Below I'll go through a few of these free software alternatives.

Open Office: Not many people are aware of this, but there are pretty good alternatives to the widely used Microsoft Office suite of programs: Open Office being one of the bigger and more popular ones.

Extremely similar to Microsoft Office, Open Office even allows you to open and save documents and spreadsheets as MS Word and Excel files respectfully, and among many other features, provides PDF exporting within the product suite. With an interface very familiar to their MS Office equivalents, this sure beats forking out several hundreds of dollars for the MS Office version, and is only an 80MB download.

The GIMP: Standing for GNU Image Manipulation Program, this program is an image editor etc that is a free alternative to products such as Adobe Photoshop and Jasc Paint Shop Pro. Although for Windows users the window system of this program can be a little disorientating, an add-on called the Windows Deweirdifyer solves this.

If you can't afford other image editors, this program is a must.

Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird: I know I have blogged it many times, Firefox is an alternative to Internet Explorer and generally a great web-browser. Definitely a must for me even if only for its range of features. Accompanying Firefox is Thunderbird, which is an email client along the lines of Outlook Express. It is also pretty good.

I know I have only covered a few products, these are among the top of the list for me. If anyone has any else, please feel free to comment them.

Wine focusing lightI'll round off this post with a few images. Firstly, on the right is a picture I took at a restaurant of me tilting a glass of wine and observing the amazing colour that the light displays when focused through the wine. I found it pretty amazing at the time (probably because of the wine...).

Evil LucasTo the left is a picture that Michael drew at work. I somehow persuaded him to convert what he drew of a 3D block sort-of-thing, into a monster with angry eyebrows (the second set I added myself).

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