In the course of day-to-day computing there are applications that often seem indispensable. The vast majority of supposedly irreplaceable software is proprietary, bundled with our OS’ or has just become the acceptable standard due to lack of choice. Worse still, many of the applications we use day-to-day are costly, bloated or worse.
Fortunately, there is a wealth of applications out there that exist for no better purpose than to replace applications that have proved either too costly, or too inconvenient for people who use them regularly.
In the following pages we’ll look at some free and open source replacements for everything from Office suites to anti-virus and instant messengers.
Microsoft Office is a well-rounded and functional suite. Unfortunately it’s also an expensive package if it’s not bundled with your Windows install (which seems to be the case more and more frequently). While most readers will know that there are alternatives available, there are few alternatives available that offer everything the Microsoft suite does.
With regard to matching Microsoft Office application for application and feature for feature it’s hard to do better than OpenOffice.org. While OpenOffice is frustratingly slow to open (a fact very much worth noting for day to day use), for the most part it stands up well to comparison. Its Writer is a more than adequate replacement for Microsoft Word (having used Writer professionally for some years I’m happy to make that statement) and offers some features that leave Word sorely wanting.