Cheap geek: Prologue

September 19, 2007

This is the first in a series of posts recommending good, useful software that is completely free. I hope the series will be of some use to those who, like me, don’t like to pay for software, but also don’t want to use pirated software. It turns out that one can equip one’s computer very well without spending a cent, and without breaking any laws. It seems incredible, but the days when it was necessary to buy software are, for most purposes and for most people, well and truly over. I’m not entirely sure what kinds of software I’ll discuss in these posts, but I am likely to cover security and multimedia applications, as well as helpful utilities. The only over-arching criterion will be that everything be free.

I was about to remark that this topic is a rather nerdy departure from the usual fare around here, but actually I’m not sure that’s true.

I must stress that I’m not attempting anything like a thorough survey; my remarks are not offered in a magisterial spirit. I simply intend to talk about the software I myself find useful. If you disagree with what I say, or have other suggestions, by all means let me know in the comments. I am always happy to find ways to improve my system.

I run Windows XP (which, alas, one does have to pay for), and that will affect some of the suggestions I make. If you have a Mac or a Linux machine, you may have different, better options, and you can rest secure in your superiority. Please, no taunting of Windows users.

Since this is only a prologue, I’m not actually going to recommend anything specific today. I hope to have the next Cheap Geek post ready within the week. Until then, enjoy your non-free software – while you still can.

4 Responses to “Cheap geek: Prologue”

  1. Adam Hincks Says:

    Craig, you seem to be running a virus on your computer. You should install an operating system. This isn’t taunting; merely stating facts and offering sound advice.

  2. cburrell Says:

    Thank you, Adam, for the advice. The virus calls itself an operating system, and I for one was tricked. I suppose it’s rather like those tempting e-mails that promise a large fortune if you’ll click on a blinking icon. In my experience, they aren’t telling the truth.

    Someone once said that believing everything you read was an excellent way to become well-rounded, but these examples show that the maxim is not universally true.

  3. Adam Hincks Says:

    But I’m still interested in the free software. Two open source packages which I don’t understand why they are not more widely used: the GIMP, which does everything photoshop can do and even has a solid Windows build, and OpenOffice, which, though it has its flaws, has no more flaws than Microsoft Office (and can read MS files).

  4. cburrell Says:

    Sit tight. I’ll get to those soon enough – though not always with approval.

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