Friday, November 7, 2008

Proprietary Software vs Free Open Source Software

Well, a popular thing for people not using Linux is that their proprietary software does not work on Linux. Boo-Hoo. Cry me a river, build a bridge and GET OVER IT. People do not seem to trust free software because they determine it to not be as good as their Proprietary software from Windows/Mac. I am now making a list of proprietary software and its F/OSS equivalents.

1. Adobe Photoshop
A F/OSS program that is almost as good as Photoshop is called The Gimp. (see picture at right) It does a lot and even opens *.psd files with no more than the package "gimp" installed. Sweet. This is free, open source software that is just as good as Photoshop, so no excuses here.
Price: Free | Windows: Yes | Mac: Yes | Linux: Yes

2. mIrc
I in fact used to have this on my Windows drive till it got to be a pain in the butt and i gave up on it. A F/OSS solution to this is Konversation, a KDE / QT app designed to be user friendly but still get the job done well. Quite frankly, I have a good time with Pidgin, that supports IRC quite well, but if I specifically need an IRC client and not a multi-protocol client I use xchat-gnome from the Ubuntu repositories. It works nicely and blends in better with the Gnome Desktop Environment.

Xchat - Price: Free, on Linux / Mac. $29.99 for Windows | Windows: Yes | Mac: Yes, source or Xchat-Aqua

3. Internet Explorer
I used this for a while, but then moved to the Open Source project Firefox Web Browser made by Mozilla. Firefox has a clean interface and, with Firefox 3, desktop integration. Firefox uses the Gecko rendering engine to render webpages which works better than Microsoft's Trident engine, yet not quite as good, IMO, as WebKit (or KHTML, a fork of WebKit, more on this in a later post). Its shows text and graphics the way they are supposed to be shown. They offer versions for Windows, Mac, Linux and in the developers section the source code that, as long as your computer meets the requirements and dependencies are met, can probably be compiled on any Operating System. Used to Safari Web Browser? No Problem. Firefox 3 for Mac looks quite similar to Safari, and the Fission extension moves the progress bar to the address bar, just like Safari. There are extensions that make favicons hide in the bookmarks bar. Want a Vista-styled theme? Knock yourself out with the Strata theme - on XP this looks quite better than the green and on blue-themed Linuxes it looks really nice. Which brings us to Linuxes. There has been quite a dis-agreement on this. Some people had a disagreement on the theming of Firefox 3 for Linux. On a blog speaking of the theming the blogger only spoke of Windows and Macintosh theming - none to speak of Linux, till he made a correction apolagizing to the several commenters griping at Mozilla for "marching to the beat of Bill Gate's drum" (from a Google Groups post, but is appropriate for this situation) and only mentioning proprietary software. In his correction, he mentioned that Firefox 3 for Linux would follow your GTK+ style (ie Human icon theme would also be implemented into Firefox without the Add-Ons Pack from Ubuntu) and basically focus on blending with your GNOME desktop. In KDE on *.deb distros it looks ugly, but *.rpm distros show GTK+ natively so it's all good :)

Price: Free | Windows: Yes | Mac: Yes | Linux: Yes

4. Microsoft Office

Last on the list of Proprietary Software I would like to introduce you to Microsoft Office, to be replaced with Open Office (OK, maybe not in your world, but definitely in mine :P ) hopefully sooner than la
ter in the techno world. Unless you are totally anti-Microsoft and pass out if you see their obnoxious Windows flag, you have probably used Microsoft Office. It is one of the most top-selling software for computers in existence today. It is made for Windows, and usually for Mac about a year later. But oh god no, don't make it for the Linux OS.... that would be a sin for Microsoft. This is where open source prevails. Open Office is available for Linux, Solaris, Windows and Mac, and is Open Source. It has most features of Microsoft Office and can usually suffice for common tasks. Do you not need a full suite? Abiword word processor or Gnumeric spreadsheet should do the job. Enjoy.

OpenOffice - Price: Free | Windows: Yes | Mac: Yes | Linux: Yes

I may add to this list based on user comments so please comment so I know what to add! :P

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Wireless - Windows vs Linux

Plain and simple - when it comes to wireless, Linux ROCKS!!! Here's a brief comparison.

Windows (testing done on XP / Vista)
Dumb. Plain and simple. Ever use a wireless laptop or desktop and use windows with a USB wi-fi card that Winblows wont connect with without a driver? If so you know exactly what I am talking about. If not, then you're lucky. Mine is a Trendnet TEW 429-UB-A that is ZD1211 firmware. And guess what? I had to install the driver for it to work. Before I figured that out though, I also installed the client utility and it wont uninstall... >:( so now I must have both up for Wi-Fi to work. Why wont it work? I'll tell you why. My network is WPA secured. Alright, I eventually got it to work. But it wouldn't go down without a fight. Stupid.

Linux (testing done on multiple distros, screen shot from Fedora 8 if I'm not mistaken)
Pretty good, actually. Drivers are almost not heard of here, as they should work automatically on most distros, especially those using NetworkManager or its front ends. My wireless works nice. WPA is supported through a package called wpa_supplicant and it works, usually. Fedora 9 had a WPA update that broke my system, and I tried many times to be sure, then installed Ubuntu. I tried F10's Alpha, no luck. Beta, fastest WPA connecting speed I've ever seen in my life. And Preview has a Initramfs error, so I'm re-downloading just to be safe. Went down and up without blinking. Perfection. Even Mandriva uses Mandriva Control Center to control wireless. And everything lives in harmony. Wonderful.
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