Essential Guide

Guide to open source operating systems, programs and more

There are many open source options organizations can use instead of Windows and Office. Open source operating systems, specifically Linux, can even save companies money.


In the world of enterprise operating systems, productivity suites and programs, it may seem as if there are few options besides Microsoft.

Windows commands the OS market, but Linux can be a viable, money-saving choice. Microsoft products such as Office run the productivity suite market, but OpenOffice and LibreOffice have a lot of the same capabilities for free. The same is true for other standard enterprise programs such as Photoshop: GIMP is a free photo editor that lets users do the same work they'd use Photoshop for.

The common denominator? Open source OSes and applications can save your company money. They are also more flexible because you can tweak the code to fit your needs. Take a look at these resources to help you decide if open source options could be a fit somewhere in your organization. 


Key open source alternatives terms

Get up to speed on all the open source terms you need to know with these definitions.

2The allure of Linux-

Open source operating systems

Windows is the dominant operating system in the enterprise world, but it’s not the be-all end-all. Open source operating systems offer IT choice. One choice is Linux, an open source OS that can save companies a lot of money on licensing fees while providing a variety of hardware options. If you’re interested in Linux you can test the OS using a USB stick, but it’s important to know how to install it and find out what packages fit your needs.


Five features that make Linux desktops appealing

Linux made a name for itself as a server operating system, but it’s now a viable option for desktop environments as well. Linux-based desktops have no licensing fees and they are compatible with a variety of hardware options. Linux OSes also feature open source apps. Continue Reading


How to install Linux on Windows 7

There are three primary options for installing Linux on a Windows 7 machine: dual-boot setup, virtualization or running the OS from a USB stick. The option you should use depends on your needs. Dual-boot setup, for example, is perfect if you want to run Windows 7 sometimes and Linux at other times. Continue Reading


Pick the right Linux package for your needs

Once you have a Linux desktop up and running you have to decide between the Debian package and the Red Hat Package based on which Linux programs are the best fits for you. Another important choice is the package manager which delivers the GUI for installing and maintaining Linux programs. Some choices include the Ubuntu Software Center and Synaptic. Continue Reading


Test a Linux-based OS on a USB stick

If you're looking for a new OS and are hesitant to trust Windows 10 after the issues with Windows 8, you might want to consider a Linux option such as Xubuntu. It offers a high performing, light-weight alternative to Windows that you can test out before making a commitment by running it with a USB stick. Continue Reading

3Open source productivity suite-

Alternatives to productivity suites and apps

Microsoft Office dominates the productivity suite landscape, but open source alternatives such as LibreOffice and OpenOffice can take its place in certain situations. The main appeal of these alternatives is they’re free. And though Photoshop sits atop the graphics-editing program market, GIMP -- an open source photo editor -- is a free alternative that offers a wide variety of tools, including editable text layers and a foreground extraction tool.

But ultimately, you get what you pay for. Open source productivity suites have issues, including not being able to open and save Microsoft Office documents with complete transparency. If you are interested in open source productivity suites, you should compare Microsoft’s offerings with the open source alternatives to see which is best for your company’s needs.


What to expect from LibreOffice

LibreOffice can fill in for Microsoft Office and offer the flexibility of open source software. The standalone desktop applications include manual upgrades, locally stored files, functionality with or without a network connection, and more. Continue Reading


Office 2013 vs. Office 365 vs. open source alternatives

It might seem as if Office 2013 or Office 365 are the only players in the productivity suite game, but open source alternatives such as LibreOffice and OpenOffice, which are free, can be viable options. See how Microsoft's offerings compare to open source options. Continue Reading


Open source showdown: LibreOffice takes on OpenOffice

Open source productivity suites such as LibreOffice and OpenOffice are solid options if Microsoft Office isn't for you. Compare both of these open source alternatives with Office 365 to see how they stack up against each other. Continue Reading


Three areas open source productivity suites falter compared to Office

Yes, open source productivity suites such as LibreOffice and OpenOffice are free, but there are three key considerations to keep in mind if you are planning to use one to replace Microsoft Office. First and foremost, the feature sets are different from Office so users might not be as comfortable using them. Continue Reading


Microsoft Office stands above open source competition

Microsoft Office is far more expensive than open source alternatives, however it may still be the best choice. The productivity suite offers the most features, admins and users know how to use it, and it does not have the compatibility issues of open source products. Continue Reading


How to get started with GIMP

Photoshop is the go to option for editing photos, but the program can be expensive. GIMP, an open source graphics-editing program, is free, easy to learn and can scale up to meet a growing user base. Continue Reading


Flexibility and features make GIMP a viable alternative to Photoshop

Besides being free, GIMP is a realistic alternative to Photoshop because it offers a a robust set of features that include full alpha channel support, editable text layers, a foreground extraction tool and more. GIMP also boasts an extensive online community that can help users sort through problems. Continue Reading

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