27 October 2007

Guilt-free Software

For years, I struggled with a basic computer dilemma - fork out hundreds of dollars I couldn't afford, accept illegal copies cheerfully offered by friends, or go without word processing and graphics software? Thank God, there's a better way.

Open Source Software

To be exact, 'open source' software is any program whose source code is available for use by developers. Typically, though, a good open source program is one that hundreds or thousands of people have worked on. Together. Absolutely free of charge.

For a non-developer-type software user, the important points are:

  • It's completely free of charge to use
  • People have worked hard to make it function, so if you can afford to donate your time or money, it will be appreciated
  • However, there are NO guilt-inducing "are you SURE you don't want to donate?" messages

So Where Do I Find It?

Here are information and download links for my two all-time favourite pieces of open source software:

Word Processing - OpenOffice (download it)
Graphics and Photo Editing - GIMP (download it)

In the next article, we'll look at how to accomplish basic photo-editing tasks in GIMP.


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