Sometimes you want to make a cool graphic or write out that planning memo, but you don't have the right software. Maybe you can't get access to tools like Photoshop or Microsoft Office. If you can't or don't want to spend the money on these tools, check out some of your open-source options:
- OpenOffice: An attempt to match the functionality of Microsoft Office, Open Office (or Libre Office) provides word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software that will meet most or all of your needs. Check it out here.
- The GIMP: GIMP stands for the Gnu Image Manipulation Program (not what you were thinking, huh?) and it provides much of the same functionality as PhotoShop. While the interface can be a little cumbersome, the price point is great and it just takes a little work to figure out.
- Quantum GIS: Got a lot of geographic data that you don't want to display in an Excel sheet? This program is great for taking that geographic information and turning it into maps! Like GIMP, this interface can be a little clunky, but it is capable of producing beautiful visualizations of your geodata.
- Linux: Can't afford or don't want Windows itself, or a Mac? Try Ubuntu Linux, a variety of the Linux operation system that is designed from the bottom-up for easy use. If you want to try it out, install it using VMWare Player and run it from within Windows itself.
Don't let the lack of paid software stop you from designing, writing, coding and organizing. Open-source tools are out there for you to use!
What types of open-source software have you used and liked? Share in the comments on our blog.
Tim Anderegg is Lead Web Developer for the Candidate Project at NOI.