In this article, you’ll discover what open source software is, why it might be just the thing you need for you new world order of working from home, and what applications you could install right away to help you get things done.
- Benefits of open source software.
- Firefox web browser.
- LibreOffice office suite.
- GIMP image editor.
- ProjectLibre project manager.
- Eclipse Integrated Development Environment.
What open-source software you should use to enhance your work from home experience?
Chances are, if you’re reading this you are doing it from home. Why? Because, like millions of people across the globe, you have shifted away from working in the confines of your company cubicle or office and are now working remotely in a comforting (and, hopefully, germ-free) space within your home.
Some of you have probably made that transition with ease. You’ve brought your company laptop from work and have set up a nice cozy office where you can plug away at the daily grind in your pajamas.
Others might not have found the transition so easy. Not only are you having to make the major adjustment of working around the distraction of spouses, kids, pets, and the ever-present home that places demands on you: you also don’t enjoy the convenience of having a work laptop to bring home. If that’s you, and your company doesn’t allow you to lug your desktop home, what do you do?
You could turn to open-source software.
What is open-source software?
First off, it’s important to understand what open-source software is. Although the average user doesn’t really need to know what this is, it’s still good to know why it exists, and why a software development company like BairesDev finds it such an important kind of software.
open-source software is all about freedom, which comes in two forms:
- Freedom to download and alter the source code of an application.
- Freedom to distribute the software with no charge.
It is important to note that although all open-source software must make the source code available, not all open-source software must be free. That delineation confuses so many, especially when open-source community members use the phrase Free as in beer. The “free as in beer” adage is actually a very simple concept: It refers to free beer given as a gift with no cost or expectations of the receiver. The giver pays for the gift and the receiver enjoys it.
However, as I said, open-source software is not required to be free as in beer. Most, however, are. In fact, the overwhelming majority of open-source software is free of charge.
But what open-source software should you turn to, in order to make your temporary transition to working from home a bit easier? This list should serve as a good starting point.
There’s no way you’re getting your work done without a web browser. Although your computer came with a default browser, chances are it’s one of the Microsoft browsers, which isn’t always the best choice (especially with regards to security).
Instead, opt for the open-source Firefox web browser. Firefox is a fast, user-friendly, web browser with plenty of security features (such as enhanced tracking protection, the Lockwise password manager, customizable permissions, and deceptive content and dangerous software protection).
More than likely you’re going to need an office suite. At work, you probably use MS Office. At home, you might not have ever purchased a license for Microsoft’s office suite, and there’s no reason to do so now (especially when the company you work for might not pony up for the cost).
So what do you do? You download and install the open-source LibreOffice. This suite of tools includes everything you need to collaborate:
LibreOffice even includes a drawing tool and a formula writer. And for those that have never been terribly happy with the MS Office Ribbon Interface, you’ll be happy to know you can select the type of UI you prefer with LibreOffice.
For anyone who requires an image editing tool, you’ve probably worked most of your professional life with Photoshop. That’s a fairly pricey tool, so you won’t be footing the bill for Adobe’s offering.
Instead, give GIMP a try. GIMP is the open-source answer to Photoshop. It’s just as powerful, offers two different types of interfaces (a single window or multiple windows), and can do just about everything Photoshop can. The one caveat to using GIMP is that you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to get up to speed with the UI. There are certain tasks that Photoshop does with a click of a single menu entry (or via a plugin), where GIMP requires manual steps that can be a bit complicated. But once you get up to speed, you’ll find GIMP as powerful as any image editor on the market.
Looking for a project management solution, similar to MS Project? If so, look no further than ProjectLibre, which includes tools like, task management and tracking, resource allocation, and Gantt charts. ProjectLibre also features:
- MS Project compatibility.
- Advanced project management functionalities.
- Issue tracking
For software developers, there are tons of tools available to meet your needs. If you’re looking for an open-source Integrated Development Environment (IDE), look no further than Eclipse. Eclipse is one of the top Java IDEs on the market and can easily fill the void when you’re working from home—even if doing gigs for software development outsourcing companies.
But don’t think Eclipse is limited to Java. You’ll be easily developing with PHP, C++ and Python. And with the help of plugins, you can extend Eclipse to take on just about any task necessary.
There are so many open-source tools available. If you’re unsure of where to turn, go to google and search for an open-source equivalent to X (where X is the title of the software you’re looking to replace).
In the end, this is only temporary. You might, however, find open-source software to be superior to the proprietary solutions you’re used to working with.