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Open Source Software


Here at ComTech I love open source software.  Not only because it is free but also because it gives the user choice.  Open source software is packed full of features that are usually only found in their more pricey cousins and today we shall explore some of the best open source software on the market.

Word Processing

Love it or hate it Microsoft Word is still the standard for word processing.  Bundled within the mighty Office 2010 suite (priced at £110) everyone thinks there is no alternative.  Enter far left Libreoffice Writer.  Bundled as part of the fantastic Libreoffice suite Writer can open any word document, save documents in .doc format and is just as competent as Word.  There are slight differences in the way the menus work but not enough to distract from the functionality of the program.  Libreoffice can be found at http://www.libreoffice.org/download/?type=win-x86&lang=en-GB.

Spreadsheets

Like Microsoft Word  Microsoft Excel has been the standard for spreadsheets for a long time.  But again as part of the Libreoffice suite I give you Libreoffice Calc.  Based on the same philosophy as Writer it is fully compatible with Microsoft Excel without having to pay for the licence fee.

Email / Calender Tool

Almost everyone will have used Microsoft Outlook for emails and the reason is it is a cracking piece of software.  But what are the alternatives?  One you should try is Evolution.  Evolution works on both Windows and Linux and is just as functional as Outlook.  It is easy to set up email accounts and saving email settings is just a couple of clicks away.  Overall it is probably slightly easier to use than Outlook and I would definately recommend it.  It can be found here.

Desktop Publishing

The experts choice has to be Microsoft Publisher 2010.  It supports professional colour formats and uses the familiar Office ribbon menus.   It also comes with a wide selection of pre-designed templates which makes it easy to get up and running in no time.  The alternative here is Scribus.  In many ways Scribus is much more powerful the Publisher 2010 however it can be slightly harder to get to grips with but it does include excellent online help and guidance for all levels of user.  It is available for Linux and Mac and can be found at www.scribus.net

Antivirus

There are literally hundreds of free antivirus products on the market but the one that stands out and comes recommended by me is Avast Free.  This is a great little program which runs quietly in the background checking your computer with its real time shields and updates automatically.  You do have to register it but the licence is free and lasts for 1 year when you just register it again!  Download it at www.avast.com/free-antivirus-download.

Photo Editing

Adobe Photoshop is the undisputed king in photo-manipulation software but as always there is an alternative and this time it comes in the form of Gimp.  Gimp is a credible alternative to Photoshop, with many advanced features and even shares a similar menu layout.  It also comes with support for pretty much every file format you can think of it is a great way of learning the ropes of advanced photo editing without spending any money.  Gimp can be found at www.gimp.org/downloads.

There are many more free alternatives to mainstream software which we don’t have time to explore.  The best way to learn about open source software is use the internet and remember open source can be used for business as well as individuals.  Go learn!!!

About the Author

Hi I am Chris the owner of ComTech. I provide IT Support, Laptop repairs and Computer repairs to both personal and business clients in and around Stirling. For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find my blog, testimonials, services and much more.  Start supporting a local business today so I can start supporting you.

If you found this blog useful then why not sign up to my RSS Feed for news, tutorials, views and general techie stuff!!

 

 

Installing Linux software from source


You should always try and install software through your distributions package manager but there will be times that you want a particular package that is not included.  This is when you will need to install it from source.  This tutorial will show you how.

Ok download the source code for the package you want.  Open up a terminal and switch to the directory where you saved the source code.  For example, I usually save to my desktop so I would type:

cd /home/chris/Desktop

Next just check that your downloaded source code is there by typing:

ls

Assuming that you can see the file you are after we will now need to extract the contents.  Type one of the following depending on whether your file ends in tar.gz or tar.bz2.

tar -xvzf./filename.tar.gz or tar -xvjf./filename.tar.bz2

Now we change to the directory we just extracted the files to by typing:

cd (package name)

At this  point I would recommend taking a look at the ReadMe file.  It will contain any specific install instructions.  You can find it by typing:

ls

If there are no specific instructions you now configure the files by typing:

./configure

Next we build the package by typing:

make

And finally we install it:

make install

About the Author

Hi I am Chris the owner of ComTech. I provide IT Support, Laptop repairs and Computer repairs to both personal and business clients in and around Stirling. For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find my blog, testimonials, services and much more.  Start supporting a local business today so I can start supporting you.

If you found this blog useful then why not sign up to my RSS Feed for news, tutorials, views and general techie stuff!!

 

 

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