Use Open Source Software

by Justin Weinger on October 17, 2006

Let’s say you just got a new computer and you need some sort of word processing software.  Which of the following two scenarios seems like the most appealing to you:

  1. Drop $400 on the latest Microsoft Office suite
  2. Download some free Open Source software that works just as well as Microsoft Office, is more than likely able to be integrated with Microsoft Office and, did I mention, FREE?

Hmm, spend $400 or get a nearly identical program for free?  Not exactly rocket science.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, Open Source software is put together by a community of software and web programmers for use or modification by the general public.  For example, the program that I use to set up Saving Without A Budget is called WordPress and is probably the best known example of open source software.

The best resource to find most open source programs is SourceForge.net, where you can find software for blogging, small business, computer games, multimedia – pretty much you name it, you can find an open source program for it.

The only downside regarding open source software is there does tend to be some bugs in the software, usually small glitches that are fixed in later iterations of the same program.  Thankfully, since these programs are under constant development and improvement, it doesn’t take long for the bugs to be found and corrected, and then you can install the latest version of the program.

At this rate, I really don’t ever plan on purchasing over priced commercial software ever again – and there really isn’t a reason to.

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{ 5 comments }

Jim Davis November 9, 2006 at 2:27 am

There may be the odd bug but on average i wouldnt say any more than most commercial software, look at Windows for example it is in a constant state of bug fixes and patches. In the case of software it has been my experience that free rarely equates to lower quality.

brian.carr November 9, 2006 at 10:26 am

Jim – Thanks for the reply. You’re certainly right, for most stable releases of open source software the number of bugs tend to be pretty minimal. Regardless, considering you’re not paying for the software, there’s really no room to complain!

knueven7 November 28, 2006 at 8:30 am

Another alternative to MS Office is Google Docs and Spreadsheet. I use it all of the time and have yet to encounter any issues with Office compatibility. GMail and Google Calendar are also nice alternatives to outlook too.

brian.carr November 28, 2006 at 9:55 am

I agree. I’ve been using the Google Docs and Spreadsheets for a while and have been pretty impressed with them.

matelot November 28, 2006 at 2:46 pm

don’t worry, there will be PLENTY people still depending on M$ crap
Let’s say 95% (fair?) of the computer user population won’t be able to do ANYTHING when they turn on the PC and it aint Windoz.

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