Five programs you can afford in a financial meltdown

The choice is clear: switch to open-source software

It's the afternoon of September 30th and for reasons beyond my understanding the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) is up more than 3.5 percent after yesterday's financial fiasco. Hello, Wall Street, what part of "No one has a new bailout deal; the House hated the old deal, and it's the week of Rosh Hashanah so it won't be a full week at Congress anyway" do you not understand? Even if you believe the bailout will magically work wonders for the economy -- I don't -- it's not going to happen this week.

No matter what happens to the bailout, it's a safe bet that times are going to be hard. So what can you do if you're not in Congress and you want to get new programs, but not pay an arm and a leg? After all, it's not like you can print money. Unlike, say, the US government. The choice is clear: switch to open-source software.

Like what you ask? Like these five prime examples of open-source software that's every bit as good, if not better, than their proprietary equivalents.

1) Microsoft Office: OpenOffice. Here's your choice: You can pay about a US$110 street price for Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007, which includes the basics office trilogy of Excel, PowerPoint, and Word, plus OneNote, Microsoft's take on a digital notebook, or you can pay nothing, Nada, for OpenOffice.

If there's anything you can't do in OpenOffice, which is soon upgrading to version 3.0, that you can do in Microsoft Office, I don't know what it is. There's also, as far as I can tell, almost no learning curve in moving from Microsoft Office to OpenOffice. I flip back and forth between the two office suites and I honestly can barely tell the difference between them whether I'm writing, working out my budget on a spreadsheet or - shudder! -- working on a presentation.

2) Outlook: Thunderbird. If you want to do real e-mail on Windows with Microsoft products, you're pretty much stuck with Outlook. I hate Outlook. A long time ago I called Outlook a security hole that masquerades as an e-mail client. I haven't seen any reason to change my opinion. It's amazing to me, even now, to contemplate just how many ways Outlook allows trouble to come visiting your computer. Thunderbird, on the other hand, has nothing like Outlook's problems.

I'm not crazy about Thunderbird 2.0.0.17. It's a good, solid program, but I feel it's been neglected by Mozilla since it was spun off as a project on to itself so Mozilla could focus its attention on Firefox. That said, I'll take it over Outlook any day of the week.

Besides you can either buy Outlook 2007, as a stand alone program for about $90, or as part of Microsoft Office Standard 2007 for US$315, or you can download Thunderbird. The price of the Thunderbird download: Zero. Zip.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags businessopen sourcesoftwarecostspropritary

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?