FLOSS, Rinse and Repeat

I like free. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  I like free!  Who doesn’t like a free lunch or free beer? How about receiving something which you don’t have the obligation to pay? I bet it’s nice to walk away, guilt-free. However, getting free stuff is hard to come by. Everything has a cost. Time and effort goes into producing stuff – including software.

Software costs thousands of dollars to make our tasks easier and more efficient. It’s around us at home, at work and in the schools. But for someone who wants to enter into a creative career or engage in creative hobby, questions linger: Wouldn’t it be nice if we don’t have to dip into our wallets to use the tools we need for our daily use? Should we be hindered by the high costs of software to do creative works? Better yet, is there a better way to have access to the robust software we need? Should I be a pirate?

In previous articles, I have talked about the free 3D animation program Blender. Blender is a prime example of Free (Libre) Open Source Software (FLOSS/FOSS). With Open Source, applications whose underlying programming code is available for modification by the user. They remain free to use. Also, they are maintained by volunteer programmers who add new features and squash bugs on a regular basis.

Besides Blender, there are other Open Source programs on the web. For starters, there is a website called, “alternativeto.net” where you can search for a FLOSS version of commercial software (also called, “Closed Source Software”). Depending on your needs, there are tons to choose from. You’d be surprised what’s out there.

Do you need a painting software similar to Adobe Photoshop? Yep, GIMP is one of the many free painting programs. How about a free word processor that’s like Microsoft Office? I’m currently writing this article using LibreOffice. LibreOffice can also read your Office and Excel files. What about a simple audio editing app? I’ve used Audacity for a freelance job to correct the volume on a video file. It works really well! Is there also an Open Source vector illustration tool? Sure, Inkscape comes to mind. The list goes on.

So far in my experiences, FLOSS does the job well. They are great as complimentary tools to commercial software. They are also good tools for anyone who want to start pursuing a specific career path. People are using Open Source programs in commercial works. It’s amazing to see people being empowered with free, Open Source software to create works of art!

So there you have it! You can create great things without spending any of your hard-earned money or going to the dark side –  guilt-free! But if you’re curious on what FLOSS provides, Ostatic.com is a dedicated website for all things Open Source. On the creative side, LibreGraphicsWorld.org is a good site with articles and tutorials.

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