The Business Software Alliance‘s “Great Raid” on establishments using unlicensed proprietary software, dubbed Oplan Crackdown, is just another wake-up call to end-users, business or individual alike, that it does pay to use properly-licensed software.
But with software prices still at astronomical levels, especially in the local retail market, the ordinary Filipino computing public may still feel disccouraged from buying the real McCoy.
So in the meantime, while I save up for that boxed-and-sealed copy of Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop, which usually runs into the tens of thousands of pesos–and which I most likely will be unable to buy with personal funds anytime soon–I load two nifty free downloadable alternatives onto my old laptop.
For my office suite requirements, there’s OpenOffice.org (product description here). OOo is now at version 2.0 beta 2, meaning it’s likely to have gone a long way from its earlier 1.xx version releases in terms of features.
What’s great is the native XML-format integration (which MS Office, sadly excluded in most Office editions) so you’re not locked down to a proprietary format such as .DOC, and OOo even has direct PDF-output, just some nifty features I like best.
Version 2.0 beta 2 is a 77-megabyte download. But hey, that’s smaller than MS Office XP Pro’s 300+ megabytes.
For the photo afficionado in me, I got the GIMP, the GNU Image Manipulation Program, which is cross-platform (actually originally intended for Linux users). Since I’m also a Photoshop user, I thought it would be worth it to try GIMPShop, a GIMP hack that changes the user interface to more closely resemble that of Photoshop.
It’s an 8-megabyte download. A far cry from what the Photoshop installation size must be.
I haven’t fully explored at this point, but I’m sure I’ll be pretty satisfied with what I got for free (or rather a few minutes’ download time, but still better than tens of thousands of pesos). I actually used to have the older versions one time or another. Now I’m going to test drive these babies all over again, this time, in their new incarnations.
Clair writes a more comprehensive article on FOSS, with a listing of other available software here.