U-C WEBS' founder Nardo KuitertBy Nardo Kuitert, U-C WEBS
[Published in The Business Eye, October 2007 – Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce]

The Internet has brought about many changes. Ask the record companies! Emailing is now an everyday activity for most of us, as is searching in the search engines. Next time you search in the search engines, you might want to explore an interesting territory called “Open Source”.

Open Source software is usually free, and can be freely distributed and altered. The developers of Open Source software believe that the source code of the software should be accessible to anyone, and not controlled by a vendor like Microsoft or Adobe. Many Open Source programs are variations on something familiar. Take Open Office, which is very similar to Microsoft Office. With it you can open and save Word documents, Excel sheets, PowerPoint presentations or its Open Office equivalents. And what is really handy: you can save documents as PDFs without having to spend hundreds of dollars on Adobe Acrobat. Also: the file sizes of the PDF documents are nice and small.

Searching for “open source pdf” may lead you to programs like PDFCreator or PrimoPDF. Planning to use an Open Source alternative to Photoshop? Use the GIMP, SodiPodi, or Inkscape. Need Open Source HTML editors with functionality like Dreamweaver of FrontPage? Consider NVU or KompoZer, or Bluefish (for experts). Good Open Source Content Management Systems or Blogging tools include Joomla, Drupal and WordPress.

Of course you still need to learn how to use the software, as they will never be 100% copies of their commercial counterparts. But some of these Open Source programs may provide you with viable alternatives to pricey software packages. The barriers are definitely coming down. Powerhouses like Microsoft or Sony Music can tell you all about it!

For more information: contact your web master, or email Nardo Kuitert at [email protected]

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