Monday, January 15, 2007

Recommended guide for Open Source Software's

People often come up to me and ask for advice on software's that could help them with their daily activities (browsing, antivirus, media players etc). In all likelihood, I advice an open source software for two simple reasons - they have infinite value for money (a very good software for NO money), they have been tested by millions of user and their development is always ongoing - in simple words, any bug or feature that you think/want/desire can and will be added to the software :) Here is my recommended list -

Web Browsing
1. Firefox - (Replaces Internet Explorer)
Firefox makes it to the top of the list, so no points for guessing that its the MOST recommended software. Compared to any other browser - it is much faster, lightweight (wont consume 100% of your CPU), simpler, stops annoying popups and has tons of amazing plug-ins that can make surfing the web a real pleasure. Switch to Firefox now !

1. ClamWin (Replaces Norton Anti-Virus or McAfee)
ClamWin is a smart anti-virus software that is fast, easy to manage and unobtrusive (wont eat up your CPU and make it slow) while keep your system free of viruses. So why pay for Norton or McAfee anymore?

Email Client
1. Thunderbird (Replaces Microsoft Outlook)
Thunderbird is an email client that has the main features desired in any email client or software for that matter - rich (full) feature set, lightweight, fast, a very good spam filter, and last but not the least protects you from those ridiculous phishing attacks by clearly indicating which emails send you to a bogus website. With a new plugin you can even get Gmail like UI for thunderbird.

Word Processing / Office Suites
1. OpenOffice (Replaces Microsoft Office)
Instead of paying for Microsoft Office, one should try OpenOffice. It includes very nice replacements for Excel and PowerPoint (and workable replacements for Access, Word and other Office elements).

2. Abiword (Replaces Microsoft Word)
A very effective replacement for Microsoft Word (who wants to pay for M$?). It is very fast compared to Word and includes pretty much every feature that I one desires in a word processor, plus saves and operates on lot of different file formats.

Photo Editing / Graphics
1. GIMP (Replaces Adobe Photoshop)
GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It is feature rich, solid and free ! So now why pay exorbitant amounts for Photoshop anymore !

Instant Messaging
1. Gaim (Replaces AIM, Windows Messenger, Yahoo Messenger etc.)
A very simple instant messaging program that allows you to be on AOL Instant Messenger, Windows (MSN) Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and Google Talk simultaneously with one program. There are other programs that do the same work, but Gaim is simple, fast and more reliable.

Video Player
1. Mplayer (Replaces Windows Media Player, Quicktime, RealPlayer, etc.)
One player to rule them all! Plays anything under the sun. Use its keyboard shortcuts and you will never use any other player ever ! The most interesting is use of arrow keys to move within the video. The plain MPlayer has no GUI (graphical user interface) and can be a little tricky because of the command line hassle. My recommendation is to go with MPUI.

2. VLC Media Player (Replaces Windows Media Player, Quicktime, RealPlayer, etc.)
Similar to MPlayer, plays all media formats and has a clean, simple interface.

Update: The second list of MUST-try open source apps is here.

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