OpenSource Rant

This morning I got asked by a friend what I use for all my writing. We sat and talked for over an hour on the different software choices, but he was (and I was too, to be honest) surprised to know that all of the software I use is freely available and has unrestrictive licensing. I gave him a rant for at least 45 minutes about the beauty of the OpenSource community and after some consideration I have decided to talk about the software I use, along with why I use it and maybe even spit a little about OpenSource. I think this is a rant that any geek in his right mind should have a read of, so enjoy.

My most loved tool of the trade, and possibly one of the finest OpenSource projects available is OpenOffice(.org). While I know there are many people stuck on Microsoft Office and would find the change to OpenOffice a little daunting at first (as with the change from Linux to Windows), most would be surprised to know that much of the way OpenOffice works is similar, if not the same, as Microsoft Office. While Microsoft will try and make OpenOffice sound like the boogyman of the office suites, it is honestly one of the fastest growing and most developed OpenSource projects available. I use OpenOffice to write and spell check all of my writing, both personal and for the web.

For all my plain-text editing I use GNU Nano. It’s powerful, lightweight, runs free on almost any Linux install and it simply just does the job. I link off of my movabletype templated to files so that I can use Nano and personally I think once you get used to it, nothing could be finer. While in Windows I struggle along with Notepad or other variations. Many people have asked me why I don’t use fancier editors, the simple reason s that there is no need for it, if you know your code, you should use something as basic as possible.

Web Publishing
Anyone who has ever read my weblog would know of my love affair with MovableType. While MovableType has cradled me for some time now, I am rapidly considering finding a different backend for this website, due to MovableTypes new licensing system, which is both expensive and restrictive. It is an awesome weblogging utility, however I believe that their choice to change from the OpenSource roots has tarnished them in my mind. I will keep this updated over the next week or so depending on whether I change backends.

While software packages such as phpBB and IkonBoard share much of the attention, personally I think that PunBB is the easiest and most effective forum systems available. It is lightweight, small on resources and big on results. No graphical interfaces, just a simple intuitive design and awesome usability. Possibly the only improvement that can be made is the thread read/unread features of this board.

For my photo albums I chose to use Gallery. Simply put, it is the most developed photo gallery software available. I believe it’s own website said it best; “Gallery is a web based software product that lets you manage your photos on your own website.” Gallery even has an accompanying program called GalleryRemote which let’s you easily create albums and upload photos without using the web interface. I have used Gallery for years now and I will continue using it into the future.

Well I think this is about it. Should I think of any more I may update this entry over the next few days. Until then, bury yourself into OpenSource and see what is out there. Nine times out of ten, if you can pay for it, you can also find it for free. Don’t be scared just cause software is free, it’s usually because the developers honestly care about their product and not the money they could be making with it.