Open source is here to stay and is a major contender with closed source and proprietary software. Open Source software is now quite easy to use so if you are considering starting out in using open source because you have heard a lot about it, you might be wondering what all software is available for you to use to get your routine jobs done.
Below are 5 software applications that most users use for more than 2 hours day.
The most important piece of software on any machine, these Operating systems are the best. Ubuntu is one of the most user friendly Linux Distribution with a huge number of contributors and the largest user base. Fedora is just right for a simple server which you do not have to house sit too much. Fedora can also be quite easily used as a desktop OS. I run ubuntu on my home and work systems and fedora on my test servers.
The browser is the software that is turned on first after my OS boots up and is the last software to be closed before being shut down. Further goes to reinforce how network oriented, the computer world now is. The possibility to install addons endeared it to me and millions of others, and the way it is implemented is much better than Opera’s widgets and much safer than IE’s activex controls. The sheer number of addons available is mindboggling. The theme of the browser can be changed too, but I don’t think many people actually use that feature anymore. My most popular addons are adblock, twitterfox and firebug.
My boss needs pretty reports and prettier statistics and charts. Open Office proves quite competent for the job. You have Writer for reports and text documents, Calc for spreadsheets and Impress for presentations. There is also Math and Draw which come in useful at times. It does have performance issues and could do with an appearance makeover but since this project is much more complicated than the others mentioned in this page, it can be forgiven.
Both of these are Mail clients with bundled contact managers, calendars and to-do lists. They both have desktop integration with the clock in the system tray in both GNOME and KDE in most major distributions. Support for IMAP, POP, SMTP, Exchange servers are all available. They should usually be available in your distibution’s official repositories if you are using linux. For windows, you could have a look of thunderbird, though I find it unnecessarily complex for my simple needs.
These are chat clients, the former exclusively for irc and the latter is a multiprotocol chat client which I use primarily for for googletalk and yahoochat. Pidgin does handle irc too, but I like xchat for irc better.
When you gotta code, you gotta code. These no-nonsense text editors are perfect for writing up the code before you run your favorite compiler on it. Syntax highlighting for different languages is available and Vim support autocomplete for some languages with plugins. But I like the GUI better for the simpler multi-tab facilities which makes it similar to modern day browsers. I still haven’t gotten used to the tabs in nautilus though.
Other software that I use frequenty are Banshee for music library management and playback, GIMP for image editing, Filezilla for ftp access, VLC Media Player playing video files and Tomboy notes for taking quick notes while on the phone. There are probably hundreds of alternatives for these software in the Open source world and the more you explore, the more treasures you will find. These however are the ones you will find most commonly installed out of the box on major distros. Have fun and let me know what you think about this post via the comments .