Resolution for Open Software

For your New Years resolution, try something that's both good for you and achievable. Convert to using open source software.

Firefox Logo

Internet Browser: Mozilla Firefox internet browser is now available in native 32 and 64-bit versions. If you have a 64-bit Windows computer, uninstall old Firefox and the other browsers, then grab the 64-bit version.
If you have a 32-bit computer grab the latest Firefox anyway. Browsing with Firefox is less likely to see your data and browsing habits reported to third-parties while generally being more responsive.

DuckDuckGo logo

Internet Search Engine: Adopt an internet search engine that doesn't keep you trapped in a thought bubble. You like Google or Safari because you tend to agree with the results. Try switching to a neutral search engine like DuckDuckGo. It doesn't track you and keeps your mind open to other options.

Thunderbid logo Lightning logo

Email Software: Thunderbird is a very capable and straight-forward email program. It connects to wide range of mail servers. Thunderbird can import existing emails from Outlook and a range of other common email software. If you are familiar with Outlook Express then Thunderbird will feel very comfortable. It handles authentication from POP/Plain text thru to the new OAuth2 secure authentication used by GMail. An optional add-on called 'Lightning' is available if you require calendar functions too.

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Office Software: Update your office software to LibreOffice. It's compatible with a wide range of documents, spreadsheets and presentations all the way from Lotus 123 and Word Perfect through to the usual Word and Excel files. It's available in a wide range of languages so you don't have spell American. You can even grab a help guide in the language of your choice to help you get started.

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Image Editing: If you like to edit photos or create graphic art then install GIMP (Graphic Image Manipulation Program). GIMP is over 20 years old and provides a stable platform with versatile editing and effect options. If you are new to GIMP then opt to use 'Single Window Mode' from the "Windows" menu for a less confusing interface. You can also grab a help package in the language of your choice.

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Publishing: Desktop publishing, newsletters, advertising material, promotion flyers and printing proofs are all covered by Scribus. If you're already savvy with Publisher or PageMaker then Scribus is a great alternative.

Pencil logo

FlowCharts and Diagrams: Who doesn't like a good flowchart or decision-making tree? Grab a copy of Pencil to help you capture that logic. Flowcharts of many styles with a range of shapes and objects can be created easily.

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Disk Maintenance: Your computer's hard drive needs some love and that should at least be monthly. Run MyDefrag on your hard disk drives or solid-state drives to keep your filesystem orderly and responsive. MyDefrag contains a range of housekeeping options you can choose from.

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File Cleaner: If you are selling a computer or disposing of hard drive then you should wash the disk. If you work with private data such as customer information, medical records, banking and financial details then you shouldn't merely delete those files. They should be wiped from the system. Deleted files aren't truly deleted. Specialists and people with a motivation can recover them even after you empty the recycle bin. BleachBit provides a range of tools you can use to securely erase individual files, directories and folders or wash an entire hard drive or USB stick. Bleachbit is the computer equivalent of a paper-shredder.

What will all this cost you? Nothing. These software packages are all available online at no-cost. Remember that there are lots of 'free' products out there which we would never recommend to you. The reason is that those 'free' packages harvest your data and sell it to third-parties in order to make money. Alternatively they contain advertising or have sub-optimal performance.
The packages listed here are safe, and in most cases, open-source. The world of open-source and free software is larger than you think.
As always, Caniluna is ready to help and advise.