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Free software - able alternatives to budget-busting software - software


When you buy a computer, it most liable comes with Microsoft Windows preinstalled. And when you need a word processor, spreadsheet, or other software, you maybe buy it from a mainframe store. That software is vital. Not including it, a mainframe is just an expensive paperweight.

But you can find free and low-cost alternatives to business software. Free software has been free for years but has never been so affable to everyday computer users. These programs have long been the province of, well, geeks - experts who were eager to download huge programs from the Internet and who knew how to compile the programs from font code. But free software is inflowing the mainstream, gratitude to faster Internet contacts and easier-to-use installers that don't command a amount in central processing unit science.

Free software appeals to those on a financial plan as well as everybody who easily wants another choice. Examples of free software consist of GNU/Linux, an working classification that replaces Microsoft Windows; OpenOffice, a word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation director suite; and The GIMP, an image editor that rivals Adobe Photoshop. A PC with GNU/Linux preinstalled can cost hundreds of dollars less than a Microsoft Windows PC.

Free software takes time and money to run, and Microsoft will eagerly tell you that the total cost of ownership for GNU/Linux is umpteen times privileged than Windows. But advocates of free software say cost is not the only issue.

"Free software means the users are in control," says Richard Stallman, come to nothing of the not-for-profit Free Software Foundation. "Each non-free curriculum has an owner, a feudal lord in effect, who dominates the course and its users. The owners of non- free software often compel changes on the users, changes meant to suit them, not us. "

Free software advocates say there are two kinds of free: free as in "free beer" and free as in "free speech. " They're both good but for another reasons. The song of the Free Software Foundation is "Free software' is a affair of liberty, not price. " Commercial software licenses - those wordy, legalese-filled papers that no one actually reads beforehand clicking "I Agree" when installing software - as a rule compel strict limits: You can't bed in the software on more than one computer; if it doesn't work the way you want, you can't adjust it; and so on. Free software often has a license too, but it's far less restrictive. Users can amend the software to make it better.

"The main help is the area of colonize who will carry on to build up the software on a voluntary basis, exceptionally as it relates to guarantee flaws," says Irwin Taranto, treasurer of the Global Central processing unit Users Affiliation of Rotarians. Case in point is Mozilla Firefox, a web browser that's emphasizes speed and security. The course has taken a quick traction along with Internet users who are tired of the defense flaws in Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Most free software can be downloaded from the Internet. The programs are sometimes large, so a fast Internet bond helps. Some programs are sold in stores. Many free software licenses allow others to sell the software. Even though it may seem ironic, free software users often opt to pay in chat for value-added features such as in black and white documentation, a CD installer, and mechanical support.

The next time you need software for your computer, you might care about free alternatives. It may not be as free as free beer, but it can be as beneficial as free speech.

Copyright 2005 by Kevin Savetz.

Kevin Savetz is a casual technology journalist who has printed for more than 80 publications. He is the come to grief of FreeDownloadADay. com, which skin texture high-quality free software. You can subscribe to the site's Free Downloads newsletter, which is also free.

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