Saturday, December 03, 2005

Mostly Open Source

I'd been moving towards Open Source software on my old laptop, but I still had quite a ways to go. With the new machine, I was determined to not install any software until I first had tried the open source version of it. Thus before putting my familiar and beloved Paint Shop Pro on Artie, I installed GIMP. I figured there wasn't a shot in heck that this program could do what I needed, and I'd have to install PSP eventually, but I felt it necessary to at least give GIMP a try.

Oh. My.

I have never before fiddled with a program for only a few minutes before deciding that it was better than the one I had previously preferred. Especially a program that has such a different interface. But I tried all my usual tricks on GIMP, and it outperformed PSP by a mile on every one. I really wasn't expecting that. I've fallen in love. I have new image editing software now.

Other stuff I've already installed: Firefox (newest version), Opera, Thunderbird, Ad Aware, Spybot, Open Office, Metapad, Winamp, Tweak UI, and Filezilla FTP.

That last one I'm still not sure about. I've used an ancient and creaky version of WS-FTP for years now, and I've never needed anything more. I may go back to it if Filezilla doesn't impress me much. But so far I've managed to get a pretty solid computer system going, almost entirely with open source software. I've already sworn that I'll never ever go back to Microsoft Office.

Update: Another great program, which I may well use to replace my calendar program if it works as well as it seems to work, is Stickies. I'd never really understood the appeal of sticky note programs until I started playing with it. Now I don't feel the need to put Sunbird on this machine. And if I can get the Stickies Store add-in to work properly, I'll have an archive for it as well. I also added Lupas Rename, which I used a lot on the old laptop. Very useful for any mass renaming needs. I'm also trying out xplorer2 as a replacement for Windows Explorer. So far so good, but I need to get used to having two panes.