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Open Source Software for Windows

Although there is no doubt that the best way to take advantage of the wealth of open source software available is to ditch Windows in favour of an open-source operating system like Linux, it is not the only way; some excellent packages have been ported to Windows as well. On these pages we suggest some open source software that you can start using straight away and which will doubtless whet your appetite for more!




Office Software
Unless you are one of a tiny number of Microsoft Office users whose documents are wholly dependant on a catalogue of Visual Basic Macros, you probably don't need to be using MS Office at all! The Libre Office office suite (you might have heard of it as OpenOffice) provides a word processor with many advanced features and the ability to open, edit and save Word files fluently. It also has very useful real-world features like one-click "print to PDF". The rest of the suite comprises a very competent spreadsheet to replace Excel, and a fantastic Presentations program which is every bit as easy to use (if not better) than PowerPoint. A highly sophisticated vector and bitmap graphics creation program is also included, which is suitable for a very wide range of graphics tasks, and includes 3-D capabilities. In the past few years and additional program has been added called Base, a replacement for Microsoft Access. Base facilitates access to a large number of databases, and enables both beginners and power users to manipulate data with ease using forms and reporting wizards.
OO Screenshot
Web Browsing
The excellent Firefox web browser is a one way of reducing your spyware problems and simultaneously improving your browsing experience. The "rendering engine" at the heart of Firefox is one of the most standards-compliant available. There are a wealth of useful add-ons available, particularly good are NoScript and AdBlockPlus which make your web browsing significantly safer and hide those irritating adverts that plague some sites. See the Firefox website for reviews and more information.
Firefox Screenshot
E-mail
Firefox's companion Outlook Express replacement is called Thunderbird and is capable of importing your entire Outlook Express setup complete — with a simple click of the mouse you can be up and running with all your previous emails and addresses but using a much more secure and stable, and standards-compliant E-mail client! Enjoy the effective "spam" filtering built in. Visit the Thunderbird project website to download it or find out more.
Thunderbird Screenshot
Image/Photo Manipulation Software
The "Gnu Image Manipulation Program", or GIMP is a direct no-cost replacement for Adobe Photoshop. Unless your line of business is high-end printing you are unlikely to require features that the GIMP does not implement. See the GIMP project website which also provides links to tutorials to get you started even if you're a novice at working with images.


GIMP Screenshot

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