The Mindthis Tech section strives to advise young professionals with easy reads on hard topics. We accomplish this by demystify complex tech ideas that often get lost in the “clouds” for young professionals who technology is not their strongest forte. From explaining HMTL 5 in layman terms to providing the best open-source software, consider the Mindthis Tech section your personal team of advisors.
Now it’s holiday season, typically a time overloaded with commercial tendencies. Some of the lucky young professionals will get a new laptop for Christmas. But there’s nothing more disconcerting than realizing your brand new Mac is baron in terms of applications. Instead of having to pay heaps of money for the software for your laptop or desktop, why not consider utilizing open-source software that is readily available, and most importantly, free.
1. Mozilla Firefox – The Best Open-Source Web Browser
Many people are uncomfortable with the idea of installing a new browser on their computer, hence why Internet Explorer still holds part of the market share. However, there are a plethora of benefits that lie behind the download button. Firefox is an example of a compatible browser, which is handy for web developers. When websites are coded, they’re designed to look a certain way, which Firefox compliments.
IE has numerous obstacles which prevent a website from looking the way it should, unless coded specifically for the browser. In layman’s terms, IE is that unnecessary step in the web development process that no one likes to do. It will become even more complex as HTML5 becomes more widely integrated. Also, Firefox has many fun plug-ins to make running your websites more fun or dynamic. Firebug is one that can be used to see the coding behind the websites, which can result in hours of time saved for web developers.
2. FileZilla (for PC) or RBrowser (for Mac) – The Best Open-Source FTP Clients
Both of these programs act as relatively flawless FTP or SSH clients. This is the tool that you can use to upload content to a server to be hosted as a website. I found that working with other FTP clients often posed many difficulties – either connecting to the server, or extremely long uploading times. But, unlike their competitors, these are relatively intuitive clients for new users.
3. GIMPshop – The Best Open-Source Photoshop
GIMPshop acts as a viable and best open-source software alternative to the monopoly of design software owned by Adobe. It has many of the same functionalities, with the exception of a few new features of Photoshop CS5.5. For those looking to learn the tool without shelling out hundreds of dollars, this is an easy way to familiarize yourself with the world of design. Unfortunately, there is a limitation with printing functionality, as there is only the option to design in RGB which can distort colours when printing (most printers advise using CMYK).
4. OpenOffice – The Best Open-Source Office Suite
Based off of the design of Microsoft Office, users will be at ease with the interface of OpenOffice. Equipped with all of the fixings that MS Office has, there is almost no reason to steer from this option. Most importantly, files can be saved as its MS Office equivalent (for example, if you’re creating a text document, you can save it as a .doc) which makes it widely compatible.
5. VLC – The Best Open-Source Media Player
VLC is an extremely handy tool when dealing with video compatibility. If you’re torrenting movies or television shows and the extension isn’t inherent to your device (i.e. a non-Quick Time or Windows Media Player file), you may run into some difficulties. This mostly occurs with Mac users who download .AVI files for their computer, only to run into complications when opening them. This type of headache can easily be avoided. Plus, VLC supports subtitling, which you can also torrent and attach to your files.
6. Notepad++ – A Better and Open-Source Notepad
7. Freemind – The Best Open-Source Mind Mapper
Ever needed a more efficient way to map out the processes behind an essay? What about that portfolio you’re trying to build? Or even planning out the holidays? Freemind is an free mind map creator, which allows you to link, add photos, use citations, drag and drop, and more.
8. Calibre – The Best Open-Source E-book Manager
Calibre acts as an e-book computer software that is compatible with numerous e-book readers on the market. It saves and organizes the books you may download from Google books or Amazon for example. This also allows you to manipulate e-books, so you can change fonts, or remove text altogether.
9. WordPress – The Best Open-Source Content Management System (CMS)
Easily the world’s most popular blog and template site, WordPress has become its own community, as users continuously develop new themes, widgets and plug-ins to make your websites that much more dynamic and unique. Many of the templates are malleable, so much so that a plethora of popular sites on the internet are actually based in WordPress (Mashable and Forbes, for instance, and Mindthis just to give you a flavour). Content is easy to change and maintain, and it is simple to develop your own material from scratch.
Young professionals can save thousands of dollars by using some of the best open-source software. Christmas can be a stressful time but we hope this list of the best open-source software can save you time and money. If you think we missed some, feel free to suggest more in the comments box below!