Don’t Waste Your Money! These Are the Best Open Source Software Packages

1993 brought us the affordable home Computer. A monster 33 MHz CPU, 8 MB of DRAM and a 210MB hard drive — a technological wonder that would only set you back around $2200 and didn’t even have the power to run Doom. 20 years later we are using terms like Gigahertz and Terabytes and all for around $400. But the price of your computer matters not if you are still using Wordpad to send your ransom letters or Paint to airbrush Mila Kunis’s face onto Tera Patrick’s body. But as soon as you figure in Microsoft Office (279.99), Photoshop (699.99) and some sort of Security ($49.95) your $400 deal just set you back almost $1500. In 1993 you were forced to buy all these programs and rely on AOL chatrooms for any sort of cyber boob. Fortunately, today we have Open Source software and an endless amount of por… Anyway, Open Source software is free and for the most part just as good as their pricy counterpart. You are wasting your money if you aren’t running these 5 programs.

5 Eraser

Alright, let’s be honest. We all have something on our hard drive that necessitates a bit more assurance than hitting the delete button alone can offer. It won’t take much for someone to find your less than clothed pictures or your slam poetry. You can spend hundreds of dollars on a cleaner program, get an industrial sized magnet or just download Eraser. Eraser goes beyond removing the reference from the file but eradicates and overwrites the section of the hard drive. Don’t let a Presidential campaign get derailed because you poorly formatted a computer you donated to the Salvation Army.

4 Audacity

The internet has brought us many beautiful things but as Einstein taught us there is an equal and opposite effect to that. One of those opposite effects is every other guy with a lap top and a set of Beats by Dre think they are the next Skrillex or Deadmau5. Four years on, MTV and all the GTL in the world couldn’t help Pauly D so you dropping a ton of cash on Pro Tools or Adobe Audition aren’t going to make a difference. Do yourself a favor. Download Audacity, discover your rhythmlessness extends from your dancing to your mixes and get back to listening to Pandora.

3 FileZilla

Every now and then you want to send an email with an attachment a bit bigger than a word doc. Hell some camera phones can produce a several MB picture. Bottom line is most email servers offer a maximum of 10 MB for attachments. Enter FTP programs to save the day. FTP or File Transfer Protocol allows you to transfer several Gigabytes through the use of Internet Wizards and magic. OK, I may not know the tech behind it but I can tell you it works, it’s fast and it’s free.

2 Paint.NET

Let me make something clear there is a big difference between Paint.NET and Microsoft’s ever present Paint program. If you only need to occasionally crop a picture, paint will work for you. But try to shop a top back on the stripper from the pics at your bachelor party and you are going to need a bit more power. Photoshop is the industry standard. Too bad the Fat Cats over at Adobe have figured out the same thing and want $700 for the program. Unless you are rendering graphics for the Avatar sequel, Paint.Net will have all the photo manipulating accessories your heart will desire.

1 Open Office

Let’s take a look at what Microsoft Office 2010 offers you: Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Project and Publisher. With Open Office you get Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw and Base. The names may be a little different but I assure you they are exactly the same. If you have spent any time with Microsoft products you will have no trouble jumping right into its Open Source counterpart.

There, you were just saved $1000. If you think you are going to miss the billion dollar companies or call centers in Mumbai think again. Open Source software tends to have better support through their respective websites and several boards dedicated to making the experience better. The best argument of all is the price; it is free so you have nothing to risk. Feel free to show your appreciation by purchasing me a beer next time you see me at the bar. I prefer an IPA.

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