As some of the regular readers of this blog may know, a couple of months ago I had to wipe my hard disk, because I was just fed up with the spyware that my computer had been infected with. My plan was then, after reinstalling, to use as much open-source software as I could.
My first efforts weren’t exactly successful… I downloaded and tried to install Linux Mandrake, but it didn’t want to work… I still don’t know why. At some point in the future I will try and get it working again, perhaps when I get a new PC…
But the next thing was getting a decent office environment. In previous years, I’ve used Microsoft Office… this time I gave installing MS Office a miss (except for Outlook, which I shall come to in a moment) and installed Open Office. I have to say, I’ve found its features to be comparable to those of the Microsoft (pay-for) version, and it works pretty well. I don’t do much mucking around with office documents these days, but still… it’s decent!
Anyway. Then I needed a web browser… this was easy. I’d been using Mozilla Firefox for a while, so I just downloaded that again! At least Firefox seems to be immune from much of the spyware rubbish that Internet Explorer is prone to.
Now, email clients… I’m still using Microsoft Outlook. The reason being, I had all my data files as Outlook files, and I wasn’t sure whether I could import them directly into another email client. Now that I’ve got Outlook up and running, I think I’m going to give Mozilla Thunderbird a try.
Compression utilities (zip files etc) are always useful. I found a neat little freeware program called Filzip which works very well!
Which brings me to the most recent — graphics software. I do the odd website and mess around with images a bit, so I need something which can do graphics but not have to pay too much for it! In previous years I’ve used Jasc Paint Shop Pro, but this time I decided to opt for an open-source alternative: the GIMP (I think it might stand for Graphical Image Manipulation Program but I’m not sure). Although installation actually meant downloading two different files and installations, I was pleasantly surprised by the features. It’s definitely comparable to Paint Shop Pro in terms of its functionality, and certainly holds its own in the graphics department!
Overall, I’m very happy with the software I have at the moment! Now I’ve just got to find a Linux distribution that works on my computer…