Celebrate Software Freedom Day on September 19 with open source software available for free downloads
September 19 is celebrated globally as Software Freedom Day to create awareness about free and open source software (FOSS) and also promote their open source development to make computer programmes (software) available to all. the guide has prepared a list of some popular open source apps that you can download for free. So, kiss goodbye to paid software and sign up for open source downloads.
Log on to: directory.foss.org for a detailed list of FOSS apps
Operating system (OS)
Yes, the latest Windows 10 OS is great, but it also comes at a steep price. And if you are running a school, business or are even fixing a unit by yourself, spending R14k on the OS alone can burn a huge hole in your pocket. We suggest you try some of the free and open source Linux distributions. There are several distributions such as Ubuntu OS 14.1, OpenSUSE, Fedora, Debian, Fossee OS by IIT Bombay, etc, which have shown great promise. Yes, managing them will require a bit of unlearning and learning new things, but trust us, the options with Linux are limitless. Besides, there are Ubuntu OS phones already available in the Indian market.
Log on to: ubuntu.com, opensuse.org, gnu.org and laptop.fossee.in
VPN for private internet
Remember the recent porn ban by the Indian government? Well, there’s a tool known as virtual private network (VPN) that can help you bypass any Internet censorship. We in particular are fond of OpenVPN, which is available for Android phones as well. Though, you will be required to read the documentation to understand how it works, once you have set it up, you may well have achieved freedom on the Internet.
Log on to: openvpn.net
Forked from OpenOffice.org, and supported by a dedicated bunch of programmers at The Document Foundation, Libre Office has come a long way as a free and open source alternative to Microsoft Office. The package does everything that Microsoft Office can, but most importantly, it’s free. However, if you like the app, we would suggest donating to support the Document Foundation. They are also working on an app for Android devices.
Log on to: www.libreoffice.org
Desktop publishing, imaging, animation and design
Whether you are a seasoned graphic designer, photographer, product designer, architect or a budding animator, you understand how important platforms such as CorelDraw, Photoshop, InDesign, AutoCad and 3D Max are. However, we would suggest that instead of paying hefty amounts in buying individual or group licenses why not try some open source options. There are several apps, which are gaining popularity among industry professionals, most notably apps such as Inkscape and My Paint for vector drawing, Scribus for desktop publishing, and Wings 3D, K-3D and Blender for 3D animation (My Paint and Blender were used in the making of the open source 3D film, Sintel). For computer aided design (CAD), you could try FreeCAD, BRL-CAD, LibreCAD or the made-for-architects software, Archimedes, for free. There are also tools like Synfig Studio (for 2D flash animation).
Open Source in hardware too
Open source is not just a part of the software industry, but is also making its way into hardware industry. Some of the most recent examples of open source’s success in hardware include the RaspberryPi2 board and Arduino boards in developing Internet of Things.
Log on to: Raspberrypi.org, Arduino.cc and Arduino.org
Cyber privacy, safety and security
The Guardian Project, run and managed by a team of programmers, several of whom are known only by their Internet Relay chat names, have been working towards creating several safe, secure and tracker-free apps, especially for Android phones. Some notable projects by the group include F-Droid (fdroid.org), an app repository for free and open source apps where every app is checked and vetoed before being allowed to be uploaded, Orbot, an app that brings the anonymity of The Onion Router (TOR) to smart phones, Orweb for private browsing on smart phones, SecureChat allows off-the-record encrypted chat, Ostel for private encrypted calls, Pixelknot that hides messages in everyday photos, ObscuraCam that can obscure, encrypt or destroy pixels within an image, and the most recent, CameraV, a camera app that allows to record secure and verifiable photo and videos using an encrypted metadata stored within photos.
Log on to: guardianproject.info