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July 26, 2004

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The Free Software Experiment

On my old computer, I had a ton of software I’d acquired during college on education licenses and … by … er … other means. Photoshop, Flash, Dreamweaver, Cool Edit, and assorted other programs. My new computer was built by a coworker for about $350, and I’m currently trying to populate it with good software. But I’m staying on the up-and-up this time. I’m sticking to all software I can afford. Thanks to the $20 copy of Win XP my coworker got me when he visited Microsoft, I didn’t get Linux, although I considered it. Here’s what I’ve found so far in my foraging for software, all free:

  • Expressions 3: My drawing program. MS took over the company that had made this software, and has for some reason made it free. I’ve been quite happy with it so far, although there’s a bit of a high learning curve, especially if you’re used to doing all your illustration in Photoshop.
  • Star Office 7: My office suite. Sun’s slightly gussied-up version of the open-source OpenOffice project, which I have maligned in these very pages. I haven’t had to do any hardcore word processing at home yet, and I don’t know if I will, but I think if I do, this should be fine.
  • The GIMP: My photo-editing program. Pretty capable, although I’m so used to Photoshop that I haven’t had the patience to really get down and learn it. I could not deal with the interface until I got this plugin, though.
  • RagTime Solo: My page layout program. A beauty from a German software company. The version of the software for personal use is free, and is exactly the same as the commercial-use version, which costs Њ845.
  • Audacity: My audio-editing program. Decent, although I’m considering trying ProTools Free again now that I have a computer than can handle it.
  • Picasa: My photo organizer. Why I need a photo organizer, considering Win XP’s photo display features are perfectly satisfactory, I don’t know, but it’s free. Whatever.

Other sundry free excellent software:

Any others?

Posted July 26, 2004 at 10:51 | Comments (6) | Permasnark
File under: Technosnark


Out of curiosity, why didn't you go Linux? I've been all-Linux for the past year and a half and haven't looked back.

There's still time! Download and install Fedora!

I don't know about Matt, but my fear with Linux is all about the drivers. I just have no confidence that I will be able to connect to a wireless network, or hook up a printer, or a digital camera, or whatever. What say you to THAT, Holovaty?

Posted by: Robin on July 27, 2004 at 01:06 PM

To that, I say give it a try. You'll probably be pleasantly surprised. When I installed Fedora, everything Just Worked -- and I'm on a laptop, which means trickier hardware.

Actually, I'm posting this via my wireless Linux laptop, which found my apartment's wireless connection automatically when it turned on. (No initial configuration needed.) I transfered some digital-camera photos just the other day. And even my funky little USB keychain works.

Fedora ain't your grandfather's -- er, older, geeky brother's? -- Linux.

Anyway, just spreadin' the good word.

I apologize for misspelling "transferred."

Alls I have to say for myself, Adrian, is that I was skurred. That once I turned my back on the arch-browser, I should be shut out of the broadest annals of software society, doomed to populate my computer with buggy beta-releases of sketchy open-source imitations of corporate software. And the sleek, seductive WinXP, with its shiny buttons, trumped all the screenshots of the various cartoonish-looking Linux clones, especially for $20.

I don't know. I'll continue to mull, given that I'm currently downloading a few dozen open-source imitations of corporate software.

Posted by: Matt on July 28, 2004 at 08:03 AM

So Snarkmarket has reached the awesome point where I am actually searching the archives for stuff I vaguely remember. Case in point: I just got a new computer (stats to come... suffice it to say for now it has a 24" monitor) and after I finished the Great Purge of Dell pre-installed crap I wanted to start filling it again... filling it with open-source goodness!

And, in other picking-up-a-two-year-old-comment-thread news, Adrian is now rocking Kubuntu (Ubuntu + the KDE GUI) and I have to admit, it's purty. Just about as purty as WinXP with the fancy Royale theme, in fact. Maybe I'll slice off a sector of this brand-new hard drive...

Oh, finally: Notepad++ is still pretty fantastic.

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