Top Open Source Downloads…

Kudos to the folks at Datamation who put this list together…

“Tired of your boring screensavers? Need a game that allows you to survive the boring hours before quitting time? Wish your PC looked more like the terminals in the Matrix?

Or maybe you’re more business-minded: do you need an open-source solution for ERP? Project management? Bookkeeping? CRM?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, keep reading. These 75 noteworthy projects – each deserving of your love and affection – will help you do everything from creating desktop widgets to avoiding repetitive-stress injuries to visualizing distant, exotic landscapes. Or at least dreaming of life beyond your cubicle… “ 75 Popular Open Source Desktop Downloads

There are other lists for specific applications here

It is possible to have a rich computing experience without paying through the nose for Apple Hardware or Microsoft software. You betcha! It all begins with Ubuntu! Use the contact form if you want to know more…

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The search is finally over!


Image via CrunchBase

I write frequently about my disdain [hatred is too strong a word] for Microsoft and their evil licensing practices and my newfound love for Ubuntu. Over the weekend, the two final barriers to moving ‘full time’ to Ubuntu were removed. I wrote about one last night — VirtualBox allows you to run Windows seamlessly inside Ubuntu for the application or two you just can’t do without. The last remaining app I needed was a text expander like Texter for Windows or Text Expander for Mac that takes blocks of text and reduces them to keystroke combos. Lifehacker puts it this way…

“You write some blocks of text over and over. “My address is …” for example, or addresses you enter frequently into mapping web sites, or a list of email addresses. Text expansion tools instantly write those blocks for you when you write a trigger word, and are smart enough to auto-insert dates, text you’ve just copied, and then move the cursor to where you’ll be. On Windows computers, your Lifehacker editors use Texter, while the Mac writers run TextExpander (your sole Linux stalwart is tinkering with AutoKey at the moment). Save yourself a few words at a time, and soon you’ll have freed yourself from hours of mechanical typing.” Source: Top 10 Productivity Basics Explained – Productivity – Lifehacker

So today I found Autokey and while it’s a different paradigm than As-U-Type which has been my Windows favorite for many years, it shows great promise. Henceforth, I’ll be working on an experiment on my home computer to NEVER boot into my Windows partition. The transition is now as complete as it’s going to get for awhile. So long Windows — hello, Ubuntu!

btw, go to the source on the blockquoted article; the top 10 productivity basics post is priceless!

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What’s This “Linux” Thing and Why Should I Try It?

Tux, the Linux penguin

Image via Wikipedia

Here’s as good an article as I’ve seen on this topic recently…

“Linux is an operating system, just like Windows and OSX are operating systems. It talks to the computer’s hardware, makes sure everything’s going OK, and then you run programs on top of it. Because it pretty much always comes with a standard set of tools (the GNU tools) which are very similar to the tools found on big UNIX systems, it is sometimes called GNU/Linux. If you’ve ever used a UNIX system, you’ll feel right at home.

When someone says they use Linux, what they mean is they use a distribution (aka distro) of Linux. Without the GNU tools or any applications, it can be a little useless. A distro is a software bundle. It includes the Linux kernel (the part that actually talks to the hardware), the GNU tools, and whatever applications the person or people who started that distro thought were useful, all configured in a way that they think works well.” Source: What’s This “Linux” Thing and Why Should I Try It?

I myself am slowly, steadily making the move to Ubuntu. Why? My experience with Vista was so disappointing I was open to other answers than the ones that Microsoft is forcing down our throats. In many ways the Windows 2000 was the best that Microsoft ever made, XP not far behind but Vista disappoints. So bloated, so slow, so expensive…

My work configuration has two computers; 1 HP desktop running XP [with updates shut off, no anti-malware turned on] and one of the new Everex gPC’s priced at $199 from WalMart running Ubuntu [sorry, the gOS was so bad, I just installed Ubuntu over it]. Both computers are attached by a KVM switch and share a single monitor, keyboard and mouse. I go back and forth with a couple of keystrokes. Every day, the amount of time I spend on the Ubuntu box increases…

Is there a learning curve? Of course. Is it worth it? Definitely! A free OS and good quality open source tools mean no more ransom to Microsoft for updates and features I don’t need. More later. Click the title to read more…

Good-Bye XP. Hello Windows 7? Not so fast…

How long will it be before the average computer user rebels against these ‘shotgun upgrades’ from Microsoft?

“Microsoft has wanted to kill Windows XP for years. There was only one problem. The users refused to let it die. Now, that Windows 7 is almost ready to go, Microsoft is, once more, trying to ax XP.

Microsoft did this to themselves. Vista was a flop. Even now, according to Net Applications’ Market Share, Vista has only a lousy 23% of the desktop market. For a while, Microsoft ignored the fact that even their own executives were horrified by just how bad Vista was. But, then the Linux-powered netbook came along, and Microsoft was frightened enough by its early successes that it un-retired Windows XP Home.

Now, Microsoft wants to kill off XP again. Step one will be bringing free support for XP to a close on April 14th. Step two is letting anyone and their uncle get a free copy of the Windows 7 release candidate sometime in May. The timing is by design. ” Source: Good-Bye XP. Hello Windows 7 – Computerworld Blogs

For me, the end of the line was last year. I resolved never to pay another penny to Microsoft and so far, I’ve been successful. In addition, my two-year long relationship with Vista ended last week, but it had been on the rocks for a long time…

I was forced into using Vista two years ago on a day when I had to walk into Sam’s Club and buy the best computer I could get at that particular store [don’t ask — it’s a long story!]. Well, for the past couple of years I have been living the old proverb about ‘marry in haste, repent in leisure’. My experience with Vista was so bad, that I started to look into Ubuntu and I have never looked back. Don’t get me wrong — Ubuntu cannot totally replace Windows. Yet. However, in many ways, it’s a better operating system than XP. And it’s free which is why every school, church and small business should think about getting off the Microsoft upgrade cycle and start using at least a little Ubuntu in their organizations…

I said my relationship with Vista ended. I hated that Sam’s Club computer so much that I actually traded with my college student son for an older computer just so I could run an xp/Ubuntu dual boot machine [which is very easy to set up — easier than a Windows XP/Vista dual boot!]. Using his computer properly configured has been like falling in love all over again. I can’t think of a single Vista feature that I’ve missed — not even the 17″ monitor on the machine which made the computer just too darn big to lug around, but that’s not a Vista feature, either. By the way, the computer I’m now using is an HP DV6000 series which you could ‘buy now’ on eBay for as low as $349. Also, I got off the Microsoft Office upgrade cycle, too. I now use OpenOffice 3.01 which is ‘built in’ to the Ubuntu download and available as a free download for XP [or Vista].

Bottom line? Here’s the thing you need to think about. Microsoft’s need to generate OS and Application licensing revenue forces users into an expensive, Microsoft driven upgrade cycle that doesn’t serve most organizations well. Smart leaders need to think about ways to stop the insanity by purchasing used computers on eBay and using free or inexpensive open source tools like Ubuntu and OpenOffice in conjunction with cloud computing solutions like Google Apps.

By the way, if you’re stuck using Vista and aren’t brave enough to set up a dual boot arrangement with Ubuntu, at least use the Vista Services Optimizer to shut off all the dreck you don’t need, although I highly recommend trying the dual boot option for those times when all you need to do is check email and surf the web quickly. Call or write on the contact page if you want to talk more about these options…

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101 Free Alternatives to Commonly Used Paid Software

You can follow the ‘via’ link above to go to the source and read the rest of the article if you’d like to dig a little deeper. Many of these applications can be batch downloaded quickly and easily at http://ninite.com

If you're using Ubuntu…

Google Chrome Logo
Image by Randy Zhang via Flickr

…like I recommend [especially for older computers] then Google’s Chrome browser combined with GNOME Do is a great combination. I create application shortcuts for web applications and then summon them with a keystroke combination. Very fast! Very powerful…

Another step toward the online "cloud computing" life

“Web-based computing has these advantages: It doesn’t matter what kind of computer you use. Mac, Windows, Linux, Ubuntu — they’re all the same. It doesn’t matter whose computer you’re using, or where. You don’t have to drag hard drives or USB sticks or even computers around with you, or copy files between a desktop and a laptop machine to keep them up to date. You just sit down wherever you get a web connection and dig in. Everything you need is stored in the internet ‘cloud.'” While it doesn’t matter what computer you use, it does matter which browser you use and Firefox — the best, imho — is available across all the aforementioned platforms as are many of the mission critical extensions. This makes for an easy transition to any operating system.

This is a must read article for anyone looking to reduce the cost of computing in their organization. Click here to read more…

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