It is surprising that many educational institutions still use software in their classes that is very expensive to purchase or may even require a monthly subscription. Especially in countries where it is generally difficult for people to afford education, it would make sense to use the almost equivalent or in some areas even better software solutions from the OpenSource segment. We as an advertising and digital agency in Germany have already switched completely to OpenSource solutions since a few years.
Our experience is: Sometimes you have to get used to it or you don’t find everything under the menu item where you found it before, but after a short re-learning phase it works wonderfully and often better than the expensive solutions from Microsoft or Adobe.
And don’t forget: Office 365, Windows and all Adobe Products (e.g. Photoshop) send your personal data back to the mother company in every second you use it. OpenSource is build by groups of volunteers and companies which support them. Since the source code is open to everyone, everyone can see exactly what the software is doing! No data will go anywhere without people knowing it.
Here is what we use:
Linux Mint instead of Apple/Macintosh OS or Windows (you can still keep your Windows on the computer and use both, but I use just Linux Mint and may be once a year switch to the Windows area). Linux Mint is build on top of Linux Ubuntu, so if you like Ubuntu better just use that, since both are free you can test both. Linux Mint is a bit easier in the handling.
Replace Office 365 – Word, Excel, Powerpoint with
Libre Office – Writer, Calc, Impress (plus Draw, Math Formel and Base data base) / the good thing with Libre Office is, that it can still read and save to the Office format, so you can still exchange documents with people who like to pay for their software.
Adobe got very expensive and only provides subscriptions:
Replace Adobe Photoshop with Gimp, which can do just the same,
Adobe Illustrator with Inkscape. Inkscape is even better when it comes to produce SVGs for the web.
If you edit movies or want to convert them you can replace Apple Final Cut or Adobes Premiere with DaVinci Resolve. DaVinci Resolve is free and much better than Premiere and Final Cut.
If you do advanced film effects you can replace Adobes After Effects with DaVinci Resolves Fusion (different work flow and system but worth learning it).
Publishers can replace Adobe InDesign with Scribus.
How to test and learn it?
As said before, you need to learn the new software because people decided not to make it exactly like their expensive counterparts. Once you get used to it, you will see that the workflow is often better in the OpenSource software then in the payed software, since the developers could start from scratch and make things better.
My advise is, to load the OpenSource counterparts on your Windows or Mac computer and start slowly using it. Once you feel confident, you can switch completely, safe a lot of money and save the digital world, by not sending all your personal data every second of your life to the big IT companies.
For all lecturers and teachers
Why would you force your students to use expensive software, if they have already issues to pay for their education? You should be the first to introduce the free OpenSource counterparts and use them in your teaching. Instead of having some hacked old version of Office or Adobe on their computers, students can use up to date OpenSource software and get confident with it.
Is the OpenSource software running well on an older computer?
Yes, it is much more performant on an older computer, but only in conjunction with a Linux (Mint or Ubuntu) operating system. On Windows or on an Apple/Mac you can also install it directly, but, it might be slower. Once you switch to Linux as your operating system, even on a quite old computer it will perform very smooth.
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