Atma Xplorer

Xploring Games, Computing, Photography

Switching to Open Source Applications

Upon checking your programs list on the Start Menu, do you see mainstream applications like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Dreamweaver, Microsoft Office, Nero Suite? These are common and popular names to computer enthusiasts and novices alike, however not everyone has a real need for them.

I’m not swaying you away from buying and using propriety software. For professionals like web design artists, writers, journalists and whatnot, their pays off in functionality, ease of use and having the right tools for the job. I couldn’t even begin to imagine a web design artist making logos and designs using MS Paint. To an average user however, with simple needs photo manipulation/editing, html authoring, word processing and presentations, it’s very impractical to shell all that cash. It may not be much to look at it one piece of software costs about $ 10 (500 Php) but when you add it all up ? the cost of the OS, office suite, image editor, cd authoring, anti-virus, utilities ? it adds up so much that the total cost can pretty much buy you a new PC

Fortunately. there’s a number of Open Source Software offer themselves as free alternatives. Yes alternatives, and I stress the word alternatives because most of these are not full blown replacement because the sheer functionality of propriety software alone makes it indispensable to those who really need them like Office 2007 and Adobe’s software line. For non-mainstreams applications however like, their free alternatives almost always are worth more.

Disclaimer: I’m not in any way associated with any of the software and/or websites I listed other than the fact that I have them installed on my lower spec’d rig and my laptop.


Firefox – Everybody knows about firefox. If you haven’t heard about it, click the link and download it now. If you have an older PC though, I suggest getting the 1.x version here.

Opera – A browser with less glamor but more security.

CD Authoring

CDBurnerXP Pro 3 – It has most of Nero Burning Rom’s features with a smaller memory footprint. You can use it to burn data cd/dvds, audio cds, multisession discs and even burn from ISOs.

Express Burn – One of the lightest CD authoring softwares I’ve found. It offers a drag and drop interface and little else. It’s what I’m currently using.

Compression Tools

IZArc – Good free replacement for Winzip and Winrar. It’s shell inclusion isn’t as intrusive since IZArc simply adds a new line on your right click menu and the options drop down from there.

TugZip – Another good replacement for said two.

HTML Authoring

NVU – Provides HTML editing for Linux, Mac and Windows users

HTML-Kit – An HTML editor for HTML, XHTML, XML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP and other text file types.

Image Manipulation

GIMPis a raster graphics editor application with some support for vector graphics. GIMP is used to process digital graphics and photographs. Typical uses include creating graphics and logos, resizing and cropping photos, altering colors, combining multiple images, removing unwanted image features, and converting between different image formats. GIMP can also be used to create basic animated images in GIF format.

GIMP is also available for Linux distros and the Mac OS. Businesses GIMP as a free Photoshop replacement because it has several powerful features that par or even exceed the latter. What I don’t like about the GIMP is that it treats each instance of the program as a separate instance, ergo if you have 2 photos to be edited you get 2 set of tools, 2 navigation panes etc.

Paint.Net – You can think of it as an update to MS Paint. It is an open source photo editor that teaches many aspects of Windows forms development. Written entirely in C# the source code is under an MIT open license. I like Paint.Net because it offers much of the typical functions that I need from Photoshop like layers, magic wand, basic filters and more. Things that come in handy when you need a quick photo editing session before uploading to the web.

Office Suites

Abiword – I have only used it’s word processor since it’s pre-installed with Xubuntu and I love it’s simplicity.

Notepad++ – This should really be just under a text editing category but there’s so few programs that come close to it’s functionality. Notepad++ is able to recognize syntax-like characters like [] and makes text authoring easier.

Open Office – Judging by the looks, looks like an old geezer compared to the slick UI available to Office 2007. Open Office however, has the advantage of being able to open and edit Open Source formats, something that till now, Redmond refuses to add to their suite.


Adaware 2007 – A good anti-spyware program. I use it because it’s not as intrusive as AVG’s AS software.

AVG – one of the better Anti-Virus available today. They also provide an Anti-Spyware software too.

Avast – another good AV. I just don’t like the voice that speaks up whenever you do something. It sounds really creepy.

Foxit PDF Reader -This is an ultra light alternative to Adobe Reader. It opens instantly and has a very small footprint.

Video Players

Media Player Classic – one of the ligthest media players I’ve used. Has it’s own source filters so its less likely to install further codecs unless you’re playing a file encoded in Divx, Xvid etc.

VLC Player – Again a light media player. Has versions on Linux and Windows. Has it’s own source filters so its less likely to install further codecs unless you’re playing a file encoded in Divx, Xvid etc.

Zoomplayer – The best looking player with a smaller memory footprint that WMP. Like the other two it has it’s own source filters and it’s own codec installer that’ll search and install codecs which you can specify.

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