Free Software

Computers are famous for their versatility.  They help us with our work by creating good looking documents, store information without needing a large storeroom, communicate quickly and cheaply almost anywhere in the world, process our accounts, almost anything to help with business or education.  On top of this, when work is over, they can even keep us entertained streaming films and TV, and able to run a dizzying array of games for every taste.

There is one drawback to all this computing power.  To have all this software could cost you a small fortune.  In the nineties when you bought a piece of software you owned it, so if your computer had to be replaced you could then install the software on the new machine.  In recent years software makers have started putting limits on how many times a piece of software can be installed.  So if you only get 3 licenses for your word processor, once you got to the fourth install the software would automatically shut down, forcing you to buy the software again.
There is another option – Open Source Software.  Most open source software is free, but not all of it so always check.  There is usually a free piece of software that does the same job that only lacks the more complex functions.  For example, LibreOffice is a clone of Microsoft Office, and opens all the same documents but for free.  Unless you are a printer or copywriter you would have everything you need on the free software.
Photoshop is one of the most famous graphics programs, and is used by graphic designers all over the world.  However, if you only need to resize your images and don’t need the advanced functions that Photoshop offers, then consider Gimp.  A free and much smaller program that will still do what you need.  Inkscape is a viable alternative to Adobe Illustrator.
An extensive list of free/open source software can be found at this address:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_free_and_open-source_software_packages
If you’re looking to buy new software, consider looking for free/open source software first, and only buy if you really need to.

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