Starting a business can be a very exciting yet daunting experience. Saving money on essential software required to run your business will help reduce the pressure on your start up costs.Here is a small selection of opensource software applications that can be used by any freelancer or SME, saving them a considerable amount of money. All of the software listed has been used across the globe by multitudes of businesses and individuals alike. Some you will have heard of like 'Firefox' others will be new to you.
Office Suite Application
Libre office is a nice well established selection of software that aims to provide a viable alternative to the more well known Microsoft Office - a word processing, spreadsheet and presentation collection. The office application called 'Writer' suite allows users to save text documents to PDF, MS word .doc format and it's own format '.odf' to name but a few. In total the package consists of six applications that ideally cater for most tasks required by businesses. The applications are:
- Writer - Word Processing application.
- Calc - Spreadsheet application.
- Impress - Presentation application similar to powerpoint.
- Base - Database application similar to MS Access.
- Draw - A vector graphics editor similar to early versions coral draw.
- A application used for creating and editing mathematical formulae. Similar to Microsoft Equation Editor
Notable users of the software include the following:
The Document Foundation has set a target of 200 million users worldwide before the end of 2020.
- In 2014, the French city of Toulouse announced it saved 1 million euro by migrating thousands of workstations to LibreOffice
- In August 2013, the administration of the Spanish autonomous region of Valencia has completed the migration of all 120,000 PCs of the administration, including schools and courts, to LibreOffice.
- In 2013, the German city of Munich announced that it would transition from OpenOffice to LibreOffice in the near future. This is in line with Munich's long term commitment to using open source software. Munich uses LiMux, an Ubuntu Linux derivative, on nearly all of the city's 15,000 computers.
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GIMP - Image Manipulation Program
If your business involves the use of graphics manipulation on a regular basis then GIMP
(GNU Image Manipulation Program) should seriously be considered. Apart from being totally free, the software has a huge following and is constantly growing on popularity. There is also a huge selection of online tutorials and a large fan base of users willing and able to assist new users at every turn with advice and tutorials.
Gimp has been around for quite some time and has matured in to a serious alternative to Adobe Photoshop. With hundreds of plugins to choose from Gimp possesses the potential to be extremely versatile, accomplishing a multitude of tasks far beyond the requirements of most users.
GIMP possesses tools used for image editing, free-hand drawing, resizing, cropping, photo-manipulation, saving or converting between different formats. It is also possible to produce animated GIFs. Gimp could now be considered a high end free software graphics application for the editing and creation of images for a variety of industries including film, animation, web design, graphic design and education to name but a few.
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Linux Operating Systems
Released in 1991 Linux has been around for a good number of years and has become a well established and respected player within the software industry. Linux has become the leading operating system with over 90% of the worlds super computers using a variety of the Linux operating system. Used by governments and large organisations within a many countries around the globe Linux is fast making a route in many homes and businesses providing a viable free alternative the mainstream systems such as Apple and Microsoft.
All about Ubuntu
I have been using Ubuntu for several years now as my sole operating system after I spat the dummy with MS Vista back in 2008. Since then I can honestly say that Ubuntu has been wholly reliable, surprisingly fast and a sheer pleasure to use. The operating system is a Linux based OS (operating system) which in essence means it's more secure than your traditional windows OS. It's free because the source code used to make the OS is open source (meaning the code can be used, tweaked and repackaged by anyone without payment). Over 20 million individuals, businesses and governments around the world use Ubuntu as their main OS. It's reliable and secure and comes preloaded with an array of popular applications ranging from desktop publishing and word processing to video editing and more besides.
Wow, where do I begin? Simply put... it's just nice, aesthetically pleasing, semi transparent windows, widows and interface settings and the ability to add special effects such as wobbly windows or fire effects that occur when opening or closing windows. The list is endless. Change the theme if you want or simply the change desktop image, Ubuntu provides a simple user interface allowing the user to tweak 'til' your heart's content (if you so desire).
As soon as you boot up Ubuntu, you will notice that unlike the paid operating systems out there, Ubuntu comes packed with pre-installed software to help get the user going from the outset by providing office programs such as word processors and spread sheets to video players, email clients and photo managers. Ubuntu also provides a software facility called a repository that holds thousands of free programs to download on to your OS for free. Recently the option to buy software has appeared too but with the huge free selection to choose from there is really no need to buy at all. From well know software titles to lesser more obscure specific bespoke programs, Ubuntu provides a vast array of software that will cater for any business.
Stable for five years
Ubuntu provides LTS (Long Term Support). This means that the OS is guaranteed for five years of support through it's developers (Canonical). In essence it means the you are not having to update your system every six to twelve months with newer versions (unless you are into that of course) but have the option to use a stable system on a long term supported basis.