I quite frequently state my concern over several software packages on the market and certain common mainstream operating systems. And people ask me what the alternatives were. I give them some and usually end up with recommendations like Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Firefox, Thunderbird, Openoffice, Libreoffice and Tine20.
And people are really surprised when I tell them that you do not have to pay for them. And the return question is why people do not use it them when they are better and free of charge.
The simple answer is: Because you cannot buy them in the shops.
Sounds funny, but it’s true. If you are not informed and are not immersed in the computing world, you would not know about all those great software products. And anyone automatically assumes that you have to go to a shop and buy something if you need some product. No one would assume that it comes for free to download.
I have been involved, partly actively as contributor, in the open source world for a few years. My time as a full-time worker and family dad of two kids and a husband with a hobby farm is pretty limited but I still continue to test, develop and contribute to KDE and Tine20 groupware.
If you like to know more about great software that comes for free, have a look at:
kubuntu: A free operating system based an Debian Linux with KDE as graphical user interface. Sleeker, better looking and faster than Windows8. Debian Linux is also the operating system under the hood of Mac OSX.
Mozilla Firefox: An award winning internet browser with high security and heaps of various plugins. Forget about IE.
Mozilla Thunderbird: More than an email client, a great replacement for Microsoft Outlook. With the Ligthning extension you will have all your calendars and tasks as well, exactly as in Outlook. But you can also access your google calendars or calDAV calendars, ie Apple Cloud calendars.
Gimp: A Photoshop replacement.
Apache Openoffice: A Microsoft Office replacement, reads and writes MS Office documents but also the various OpenDocument formats.
LibreOffice: As above another MS Office replacement that reads and writes MS Office Documents but also the various OpenDocument formats.
Scribus: A dektop publishing program for the advanced user.
InkScape: A replacement for Adobe Illustrator.
Tine20: An opensource groupware solution. Great web interface for calendars, tasks, file manager, emails, contacts, resources, time sheets, products, tracking, …
You can access your calendars, tasks and contacts through Thunderbird and similar industry standard clients. Incl. your iPhone/iPad.
Any many more. Have a look on SourceForge, the biggest collaboration place for opensource projects. All free of charge and ready for download.