The Best Things in Computing are Free

The Best Things in Computing are Free

This post is, basically, stuff you need to set up a computer with a complete (+ 1) set of office programs, email, web browser, the equivalent of Adobe Photoshop and an OS faster than Windows and not confusing like a Mac. Free. Plus, links to get them.

Part One (Completely Optional): Operating System

The “OS faster than Windows and not confusing like a Mac” is a personal favorite of mine, Ubuntu Linux. You don’t really need it to run the other stuff in this post, but it is neat. Note: you don’t have to replace your existing OS to have Ubuntu. You can partition your hard drive and choose which OS to boot on your computer’s startup. And there’s this thing called ‘Virtualbox’ I’m researching. Kind of. Either way, you need to download the iso image from the link.

Link to the Ubuntu download page: >>here<< You will be asked if you want to download Ubuntu 12.04.1 or 12.10. Choose Ubuntu 12.04.1 for a longer period of support, 12.10 for the latest software. Don’t try putting the downloaded iso image on a flash drive. It won’t work.

Mac users: I know Ubuntu can be installed on a Mac, but I have no idea how since I’ve been focusing on PC installation.

This is all I know about Ubuntu on a Mac.

Download Ubuntu theme for Windows 7 and Vista I made

Part Two: LibreOffice

What I meant by “complete (+ 1)” is that LibreOffice 3.6.2 has six different programs to get stuff done. Writer is your word processor, and not just that. It also has the complete tool kit of Draw, one of the best doodling programs I’ve seen that are just as good with a mouse. And this awesome text animation thingy that makes words scroll across a text box size of your choice. Impress is the presentation wizard. Calc makes spreadsheets. If it’s a spreadsheeting program, you may ask, why is it called Calc? It also solves equations. For example: if you typed ‘=3+2’ [Enter key], the box would show ‘5’. Math seems pretty obvious. And last but not least, LibreOffice Base, which makes databases. I’m not sure how it works or how to use it. All these with a lot of functionality each. And they’ll save documents into, like every format under the sun that works with the kind of document, with OpenDocument Format (.odt in Writer, .odg in Draw, .odp in Impress and so on) being defaults and I find them the most flexible. Works on all OS s. Preloaded on Ubuntu.

And finally, the link is >>here<<.

Part Three: Firefox and Thunderbird

Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla Thunderbird do what they do, and they do it well. (Kind of running out of time & ideas…)

Firefox is the Internet browser. It is very highly customizable, with Personas and Themes, and there’s even an option to set up a Firefox Sync account to access your bookmarks, Personas, settings and even tabs across multiple devices. ‘Devices’ including Android phones. Works on all OS s, preloaded on Ubuntu

Get Firefox >>here<<.

Thunderbird is the email program. And it doesn’t open emails in a new window. One is split in half: the top part inbox, the bottom part message. Preloaded on Ubuntu.

Get Thunderbird >>here<<.

Part Four: GIMP

GIMP is the ‘free Photoshop’. It’s name stands for GNU (what Linux is based on) Image Manipulating Program. And, yeah, there’s nothing Photoshop can do that GIMP can’t.
Designed for GNU, or Linux, such as Ubuntu. Works on all OS s
Get GIMP >>here<<.

So, yeah, that’ll make a completely free computer interface with a lot of cool stuff.

Unrelated Part: Screenshot Tools Across the OS s

This is the Snipping Tool. It is completely unrelated to this post. It is a nifty feature from Windows 7 and Vista Home Premium and is what I used to get the nice clean screenshots of the other applications. (I ‘screenshotted’ my Taskbar.) Ubuntu has something like it, but you’ll never guess what it’s called: Screenshot!

I don’t have a Mac and try to avoid using them as much as possible, unless I’m working on my FIRST Lego Robotics team’s research project and I have a really lousy connection to the school’s open security Wifi network and are forced to switch over to the Firefox (see part 3) I installed on the shared(!!!) guest login of the computer lab Macs, go into ‘Tabs From Other Computers’ (about:sync-tabs for you awesome people who use Firefox) in Sync, which I also set up, and carry over.