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user1007 04-27-2013 08:46 PM

Computer Freeware and Open Source Projects
I am rather opinionated on the issue of pirated software and have always had licenses for anything operating on my machines. It has always angered me that software companies charged me outrageous amounts of money for a legitimate copy figuring I would make copies for colleagues and friends. And I used to get academic discounts while the rest of you were forced to pay 8-10 times as much for the same software.

With my last laptop I had to buy licenses for a few specialty software packages and an academic copy of Microsoft Office with Access but that is about it. Most everything on this machine is freeware or open source software.

Open source software is especially nice because it works on different platforms---Windows, Mac, Unix---so I can trade files without worries. And it is free to use and develop if you want to. And of course their are now cloud computing alternatives to expensive software like Google Docs too.

Some nice examples? OpenOffice and LibreOffice (Microsoft Office alternative), Gimp and GimpShop (Photoshop alternative), (Great image editor), SweetHome3D (Floorplans), Inkscape (Vector Graphics Editor), Scribus (Pagemaker alternative), Audacity (audio editing suite and music converter), GnuCash (personal and business accounting), and the list of stuff I use goes on. There are even some nice construction calculators out there.

Anyhow, I had to put a list together for a friend and thought I would share it with you. I have shared parts of it before. Have fun! (Gizmos Freeware Reviews) (Open Source and Commercial Software Comparisons [Has not been kept up of late but a good reference]) (Free Photography Software) (Free Cartoon Software) (Free Construction/Project Calculators) (Free Software Directory) (Open Source Project Listings) (Open Source Project Listings)

funfool 04-27-2013 09:10 PM

lets not forget grokking the gimp, is simply a detailed manual to use the gimp.

Just sad that the average Joe does not understand how a computer operating system works, or really cares. And no reason why they should.
Unless we come here and explain a few things and how to set them free.

Is always best if one has a old computer not being used, can play with it and learn, All my best hardware is on opensource, my wife is on win7 :(

user1007 04-27-2013 09:43 PM

I am on a 64-bit Windows 7 system and have no problems running all the open source programs I listed.

Open source is a nice concept but some projects are still fairly raw. Others, like Gimp and OpenOffice have been around the documentation is pretty good.

I do have one legacy program I dearly miss, a pattern recognition and natural language programming language, that has 8-bit code buried somewhere that will not run on the 64-bit AMD chipset. I may have found an emulator worth a shot. A new incarnation of it may be out soon which would be nice.

ddawg16 04-27-2013 10:37 PM

sd....thanks for the links....I'll have to try some of those once I free up a computer. I share your same opinion on pirated software.

A majority of what I do is work related (on a company supplied computer) so I can't take a chance of hosing it. As it is, we just ordered a new HD for my laptop that is about 4 years's running fine and I don't feel like spending 2 weeks to load up all my PLC and related software.....if ain't broke, don't fix it....

I used to have a Linux box running Red Hat...and I have a copy of Borland's Kylex compiler for Linux....I personally don't care for C++....I prefer Object Pascal (Delphi) or even Ada....It is just too easy to get pointers hosed with C.

I'm getting ready to build up a home grown DVR/server. It will most likely run on Win8....I'm going to use a SSD along with a couple of TB's not going to have Office so I don't mind using some of your above programs on it....

If by any chance you have some links to DVR related stuff...would love to see it.

Deja-vue 04-28-2013 12:17 PM

Here is a link to 450 Free Programs:
(Take your pick.)


benali 04-30-2013 01:59 PM

Hi sdsester,

Thanks for the nice list. For years I ran XP and increasingly ran open source apps on top of it. When it came time to upgrade to Vista, I switched to Linux, and ended up never going back. It's so much easier not to hassle with the licensing, Registry control, and other restrictions of Windows.

I used Ubuntu for years, but didn't like the new user interface on version 12.x. Today I run Mint on my machines.

Seems like a lot of people follow this pattern -- first they add open source to Windows, eventually going to all free apps, and then eventually it's goodbye Windows. Since switching to Linux I've never used paid software again. The "repository" (free program library) for Mint has over 10,000 free programs, and it's got everything I need. There was a time when Linux was harder to use than Windows but I think the better systems like Mint have caught up and are just as user-friendly today.

best wishes.

user1007 04-30-2013 02:17 PM

I still have not switched over to Unix because I have some specialized programs that will only run on Windows.

I often wonder how AT&T/Bell Labs/Whatever we call Ma Bell these days could have blown Unix mainstreaming so badly. AT&T even marketed great machines that ran DOS, then Windows and Unix at the same time but they did nothing with them.

Of course what is the essence of Unix, to a point, runs underneath the code for much of both the Windows and Apple operating systems. I am seeing more and more tablets running a Unix OS in addition to Chrome or whatever.

I am pleased Mint has worked out for you. Most of the open source programs I use run just fine on Unix OS on friends machines.

funfool 04-30-2013 07:14 PM

linux code really is becoming more and more popular. Most servers on the internet are using linux. Joes pizza shop may have a windows server that you can log into and order pizza delivered. But big boys like google and others are linux, even microsoft has linux servers running, since it is open source they renamed it to something else, but is still linux.
I also think but is just my opinion, ms is a big financial supporter of open source.
I will pick on kde graphical user environment for example. In the very early days, when ms was using win 2k, kde was young but at that time, kde looked a lot like how win xp would look. As time goes by, kde develops into something that now win7 looks like.
Also kde has made a open source windows version.

In linux world, I get picked on for using a gui that looks like windows, but really, windows looks likes the gui I use. :laughing:

Android is linux based, googles chrome os uses linux, many small appliances ... Honestly, linux owns market share on almost all pc except the desktop. Windows owns the desktop.

mac is unix, unix is closer to bsd, they are cousins linux and unix, I gentoo based linux and it is closer to bsd in many ways then mac is .... but all are close.

So a list of 450 open source packages, that works on windows products is great.
I use portage as my package manager and chatting with friends while I write this reply. I put them to the challenge to determine how many packages are available in portage. :whistling2:
We came up with this command

foreplay usr # python -c 'import portage; dbapi = portage.db["/"]["porttree"].dbapi; print(len(dbapi.cp_all(trees=[dbapi.repositories["gentoo"].location])))'

The result is, 16642 packages in portage to install for free. I have a bloated system and this box has been running a couple years, I have about 1200 packages installed.
It does everything I need.

I still use windows on the wifes pc, she has games that need windows.

benali 05-01-2013 08:14 AM

Running Windows programs under Linux
The Wine program for Linux runs pretty much any Windows program under Linux. In my own use of it, however, it seemed to take up some time to set up. For example, I had to manually copy some Windows DLL files to various locations for it.

Personally, if I had some Windows programs I really needed, I'd stay on Windows. Or I'd run Windows under Linux via an emulator like VirtualBox. VirtualBox makes it easy and safe to run multiple operating systems on a single computer.

Wine is at
VirtualBox is at

Just some ideas.

RWolff 05-04-2013 10:44 PM


linux code really is becoming more and more popular.
Yeah it is, I have Ubuntu 12.04 on a Dell workstation I use for a dedicated server, and I recently got Linux Mint intending to use it on my main Mac Pro on a new drive bought for it, but I wasn't able to get it to work, so I stuck mint on a Dell laptop to play around with it a bit. I like how it looks and works.
At a bit of a cross-roads soon, the Apple/Max OSX has not come out with anything REALLY new (using Snow Leopard still) and Mac machines have- like the pc's not really seen much of any exciting breakthroughs either for the hardware.
I typically buy used Macs on ebay about once a year or 18 months, always trying to double the specs each time, but now with a 2x2 Gzh dual core xeon, 12 gb of ram, there's not a lot of doubling I can do any more, it's like it's reached a plateau and the used machines on Ebay are still way up in price, and even then they are not much of an improvement in specs, more cores isn't much help, and 3gz isn't much faster than 2gz for the money.
For me to continue doubling my specs for seat of the pants noticeable differences, I'd have to get something now more like a 4-5gz dual core, 1200 MHz DDR2 ram machine for the average $500-$800 I have spent on a machine, and that isn't happening.

So that brings the cross-roads closer to home of deciding to move away from Mac hardware, and building my own hackintosh to still use OSX, or to use mint with or longside, I've tried upgrading the Mac recently but it failed to work- the graphics card did not have the 1080 x setting (it had higher 1400 x and lower but not 1080 exactly. so it looked wierd on screen) I sent the card back. The SS drive I bought was a nightmare to install, and when I finally got OSX on it, all of the permissions were screwed up and were unrepairable, so I formatted it and use it for just a file storage backup archive.
My machines run 24/7 and are never shut down except during a storm, Ive never had one problem with the mac hardware, even on the used machines from ebay, every one them has performed flawlessly.

benali 05-05-2013 12:33 PM

RWolff, thanks for your insights. With your machines up 24x7, you have very different needs than I do, and it's interesting to hear what you use. My own experience with Apple is very limited, other than that they seem to have very high quality hardware -- as has been your experience. I've always taken the opposite approach of using low end generic hardware running Linux. Then I can swap parts in/out as needed. If I had the extra $$$, I'd probably follow your strategy instead.


RWolff 05-07-2013 10:53 PM


Originally Posted by benali (Post 1173044)
RWolff, thanks for your insights. With your machines up 24x7, you have very different needs than I do, and it's interesting to hear what you use. My own experience with Apple is very limited, other than that they seem to have very high quality hardware -- as has been your experience. I've always taken the opposite approach of using low end generic hardware running Linux. Then I can swap parts in/out as needed. If I had the extra $$$, I'd probably follow your strategy instead.


Well you know, my thoughts on low end hardware v/s higher end is I want to USE my computers, not have to dork around with troubleshooting some wierd intermittant problem, have to mess around locating parts, shutting down, opening and replacing stuff, reconfiguring and setting things back up etc etc.
I just want to turn them on and use them, and be reliable :)

My opensim server as I mentioned is a Dell workstation 3400 I think is the model, and it's been on 24/7 for the last 15-16 months or so except for storms, it's been rock solid, not one problem, I bought it factory reconditioned on Ebay from Dell.
I bought Dell because a friend said that's what she had and they were rock solid, indeed that's been my experience with this workstation and the two others I used before it which were a little too underpowered for my needs and I have them stored away after I bought the workstation.

I'm really hoping to build my own box after a bit, selecting all my own components, but geezus, you search for graphics cards, boards etc, read the reviews and its like every single one has problems, factory recalls or a bad series and a percentage of bad reviews, you just can't seem to find a component that does what you want, that doesn't have some flaw or problems, or that doesnt have say 300 positive reviews and 125 negative reviews, and it's most aggravating and frustrating trying to put something to gether, especialyl when you read buyer's reviews and one says "greatest card I've had yet, rock solid fast!!" and the next review goes "This card is absolute junk! it was slower than my old one and kept crashing my machine, then it stopped working completely, dont buy this junk!"

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