Free alternatives to software piracy

Comments 1 to 25 of 94

EvilRusk 17th March 2006, 19:18 Quote
Some great stuff can be had for free!

I myself use Suse 10 and most of the alternatives mentioned. Open office is simply great and there are some huge lists of free software that are very good. I have almost entirely converted my whole PC to free software now. Granted GiMP is not quite as good as photoshop but it can do quite a lot and even supports many photoshop plugins as well.

More free software can be found on the extremely extensive list here:
BioSniper 17th March 2006, 20:13 Quote
Open office is definatley a fantastic alternative to Office. The gf says the equasion editor is far better in Open Office too as its faster and doesnt require you to click every entry, instead you can just type it. It does amaze me though still how many people insist office is better :(
Fr4nk 17th March 2006, 20:31 Quote
Originally Posted by Bit-tech
"Warning. Our scans have detected unlicensed software on your computer. An automated email has been sent to the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST), the FBI and Microsoft. You will be contacted within the next 48 hours to arrange a court date."
Just as I read that the phone rang

But on a serious note, the free you can get is amazing but I can pick out some features that I actaully need in PS CS2 uposed to Gimp.etc. Also I quite like Open office, it's got to be one of the best free apps around :)

ps: I'm loving "pete the pirate"
ajack 17th March 2006, 20:37 Quote
Since moving to Linux on my desktop a few months ago, there are only a handful of things I actually miss - I found myself booting into Windows occasionally after first moving, but I haven't used it for weeks now. I miss Foobar2000, mainly because there just isn't a nix music player that is anywhere near as good as it. There are also some fairly specialist apps (Mobile Phone Tools, etc) which are only available for Windows which are a bit annoying, but there's not much I can do.

I use PSE just fine with WINE - it's a little slow but I don't use it that often (and I really haven't spent a lot of time with the GIMP (!) so I still find it fairly difficult to use). I have to use WINE for a 68000 assembly IDE too (which I need for a module at uni) but apart from those, there is either a Linux port of any app I might need, or there is a good alternative.
ch424 17th March 2006, 20:39 Quote
Remember you can also get Office student and teacher edition that entitles you to three installs, and comes with Word, Excel and Powerpoint for £90. I use Ubuntu on my laptop, with the XP licence from that on my desktop. My scanner came with PS Elements.

And Biosniper, I much prefer Office as it doesn't take 45 seconds to open, and it looks and feels nicer once it is open.

DriftCarl 17th March 2006, 20:53 Quote
A very good article there. I might try that setup on a spare pc i have.
I know thunderbird is pritty good, I used it for a while but i didnt like the fact that no anti-virus software works directly with it, in the same way that AVG, or mcafee or norton work with outlook. So I am back on outlook 2003 and with a bit of maintenance, the junk mail filter isnt too bad.

I think the MAJOR problem left with people stuck using windows is games. Home users buy PC's for games now rather than letters and stuff. PC's really are much better gaming machines than Xboxes or playstations. And the reason why my main PC is XP is simply because the games I play wont work on linux or mac.

Another reason is probably because I work in IT and have to support desktop users and maintain servers that I prefer using windows right now.

I have been testing the new beta of vista over the last few days at work and I must say I was quite impressed with it. looking at vista, I cant see windows dieing any time soon, which tells me that it will continue to be pirated and therefor probably make huge sums of money for microsoft in corporate licence fees.
Tomm 17th March 2006, 20:59 Quote
I don't really agree with the "Apple Alternative" bit. I run a mac and whilst Mail, address book and iCal are good enough, I don't think any of the other apps cut the mustard. iPhoto is simply a totally different app to Photoshop. It's more like a MS Paint + photo organiser. The Gimp on OS X is pretty rubbish too, although I never really got on well with it on Linux either. Too clumsy an interface and just not as powerful as CS2. Maybe it'll get better when they can release a version that doesn't use X11.

Office:Mac is much nicer than Open Office, which is sluggish, ugly and not as powerful on the Mac. I've never used the PC version of OOo, but the Mac version is pretty awful, certainly not in the same league as Office anyway. iWork is pretty crap too - Perhaps I'm just used to Office, but I hated iWork. It's too simple, but most of all it's not compatible with .doc or .ppt files. In this world, that's no use to anyone.

So my app bill probably runs to about £800 anyway, haha.
Kipman725 17th March 2006, 21:18 Quote
Open office is great, I could get office 2003 for very little but I chose to keep open offcie as it has all the features I need and is open source and free :)

I also use ubuntu for the home server and the GIMP for image manipulation so I guess I already followed your advice :P
customh 17th March 2006, 21:32 Quote
ch424, i agree wholeheartedly on office, looks nicer and feels the same. I'm going to start using gimp though
Fod 17th March 2006, 21:41 Quote
goddamn. GIMP is the worst piece of software, ever. don't even BEGIN to try and convince me otherwise. it's HORRIBLE.
Cthippo 17th March 2006, 22:00 Quote
Does anyone know of a free version of Flash 8? I really want to learn flash, but I don't have $400 to drop for asomthing to do cool stuff on my website.
customh 17th March 2006, 22:01 Quote
Well whats the deal, is gimp good or not?
Atomic 17th March 2006, 22:03 Quote
Originally Posted by DriftCarl
Another reason is probably because I work in IT and have to support desktop users and maintain servers that I prefer using windows right now.
Complete opposite for me. I prefer OSX partly because it isnt windows!
Veles 17th March 2006, 22:10 Quote
Originally Posted by Cthippo
Does anyone know of a free version of Flash 8? I really want to learn flash, but I don't have $400 to drop for asomthing to do cool stuff on my website.

Apart from the trial version I don't think there is any free flash publishers. Although I do reccomend you learn to use Flash, it's so much fun and you can do some great stuff on it.
Almightyrastus 17th March 2006, 22:25 Quote
Originally Posted by DriftCarl
And the reason why my main PC is XP is simply because the games I play wont work on linux or mac.

My reasoning exactly at the mo. The games that are availiable for linux (yes there are a fair few, try for an idea of them) are not really the sort I am into that much.

When more of the things I am into get ported over to linux then I may give it a decent tryout, I have played around with it in the past and could get to like it.
BioSniper 17th March 2006, 22:45 Quote
Strangley I've never found that Open Office takes more than a few seconds to open though loads of people complain it's slow. I also find the user interface of the newest version is pretty much exactly the same as Office but I guess each to his own.
Also what does the speed of the app opening actally matter in real terms, as in the end once its running, it runs at the same pace office does?

Either you can live with free software (and its quirks), or you can't I guess :)

::edit:: typos corrected.
Buzzons 17th March 2006, 23:02 Quote
the point is that would need a learning curve, a new OS and apps you have never used before, that == effort, where as going to a search engine (ircspy // torrentspy // piratebay etc etc) and typing "office 2003" and downloading it == no effort. thus no effort > lots of effort
customh 17th March 2006, 23:07 Quote
I HIGHLY recommend you cease and desist with all talk of warez, otherwise you WILL have a ban.
I do agree with you on the fact that something requires a learning curve and i know the ins and outs of xp though.
The_Pope 17th March 2006, 23:11 Quote
Wow - this article has only been online a few hours and already there's lots of good discussion.

Please, please do share your own experiences (as some have been doing already). There was only a limited time available to research this article and I'm sure many of you have had long experiences - good and bad - with some of the software packages highlighted, or maybe you can suggest some others...

Keep it up! :D
EK-MDi 17th March 2006, 23:27 Quote
Generally speaking, I hate open-source software. They tend to prove not the slightest match to commercial software and in my opinion, is worth going to any extent just to get a commercial leading software, most usually from the magnificent Microsoft.
cpemma 17th March 2006, 23:37 Quote
Originally Posted by Cthippo
Does anyone know of a free version of Flash 8?

There's also a cheap Win clone, Swish. I looked at it but decided my brain was too full already.
Originally Posted by Buzzons
where as going to a search engine (ircspy // torrentspy // piratebay etc etc) and typing "office 2003" and downloading it == no effort.
That gets you on the blacklist, 3 strikes and you're out.
Coutsos 17th March 2006, 23:39 Quote
Originally Posted by customholle
Well whats the deal, is gimp good or not?
If you aren't a skilled graphics artist, GIMP is great. You may not need all of the features that you find in Photoshop, so what's the sense in paying for them (because you ARE paying, of course).

If you're a highly skilled professional graphics artist, it could be that GIMP suits your needs (and maybe you're an OpenSource junkie!). You've got to pick which tool will best serve in a given situation.

Software is like Pokemon. Write that down. :D

What I wonder is why people think GIMP is the only free alternative. Here's one I just found: Paint.NET.

That Zimbra looks really interesting though, I'm going to have to check it out.
customh 18th March 2006, 00:01 Quote
Thanks there, and thanks for the backup cpemma
Cthippo 18th March 2006, 00:15 Quote
Originally Posted by cpemma

That gets you on the blacklist, 3 strikes and you're out.

And why is that?

Thanks for the link, btw.
Anakha 18th March 2006, 00:21 Quote
While there are many free alternatives to commercial software, the main problem is that they've been developed to "Scratch an itch" on the part of the developer. Once it does that, however, development ceases.

I'm an ASP developer by trade, and while there are many programs out there for development, they all seem based around a very faulty premise (Here's an emacs template for ASP... You know how to use emacs, right? No? How about vim? AARGH!). I don't want to have to sit down and learn a piece of software, how to get around it's niggles, "Features" and bugs, just to use it. So, seeing as I was on the beta team for VS2005, I use my "Beta 2" copy of VS. It didn't cost me anything, I'm using it legally. Could I afford VS otherwise? Hell no! And I'm not the only cheap one here. I was employed by a large company (A pharmaceutical company who's name rhymes with "Loony Ken") to develop their intranet, and I was expected to use Notepad to develop the whole thing (Needless to say my copy of VS travelled in with me on a USB stick).

Free software is usually made so it does what it needs to, but no thought is given to the user experience. I mean, who the hell decided that <ESC>!wq is an intuitive way of saying "Save and exit"?

Free software tends to develop from one of two pathways.
  1. To do a single task
  2. To copy an existing piece of commercial software

So you end up either having to stitch together numerous small programs, all with very dissimilar user interfaces (SDI for an image editor? Where's my tool pallette gone?) with a lot of "Glue" and workarounds (I'm looking at you, perl, grep, sed, awk, and all the rest of the "Just pipe it in" set), or you have to deal with a second-rate copy of an existing package, who's UI has been ripped off wholesale without any thought as to why the designers chose to do it that way ("It's like that in word, right?").

Microsoft and Adobe (And the like) all spend thousands of dollars a year on User Experience testing and usability research, and for the most part it shows. I have no problem paying for software, but I expect to pay a reasonable amount for it.

As an example, how much cost goes into the development of the average Computer Game? There's programming, Modelling, Actors for the voice overs and motion capture, yet more for the FMV, online gaming servers to put up, advertising, licensing of the music. A cost of millions by the time all is said and done. Yet how much does a game cost, retail? £30? £40? Yet something similar, original input cost wise (Say, Adobe Photoshop CS) will set you back 100x that amount! It's patently ludicrous.

And (For Windows, at least), it's in Microsoft's best interests for you to have it. Then you can use software made for the system (WINE nonwithstanding), which equals more profit for them. MS are getting the idea. .Net's main development tools are free to download and use, which increases the market share and encourages more people to use it. If MS wanted to achieve greater market penetration, they should release a version of Windows for free (What an idea!). Perhaps a bare version, with nothing bundled inside (No Media player, no IE etc). Then people could buy MS products, or third party ones, to upgrade their system with exactly what they want.

As for the "Apple" argument, use you get a lot of things built-in. But you do with Windows, too. (mail=Outlook Express, iPhoto=Windows Imaging, iTunes=Media Player and so on). And you pay less of a premium for PC hardware and Windows than you do buying the Apple experience. When you buy "Apple", you buy a lifestyle, and you pay a premium for it.

Note, this is all IMHO, and any resemblance to views of other people, companies, or the view out of my window is purely co-incidental.
Log in

You are not logged in, please login with your forum account below. If you don't already have an account please register to start contributing.

Discuss in the forums