Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Technology Tip #6: How to Get the Software You Need At Home For Free

A lot of people come to the library to access the software we have on the computers. They need Microsoft Word to update their resume, Microsoft Publisher to make a poster for an event, Microsoft Excel to make a budget, etc. This software can be expensive depending on where and when you buy it. Microsoft Office Student Edition can range anywhere from $88 to $290.

If you aren't in a position to afford that type of software, don't worry there are alternate options for you to consider, for free. This type of free software is known as "open source" software. The concept behind it is that instead of one company being behind the creation, a team of volunteers help create it. When open source software first came on the scene in the late 90s it wasn't very popular because the software wasn't as "slick" as the kind you could pay for. Slowly but surely open software has grown in popularity and in product stability.

There is an open source software version for almost any software you can conceive of. Be well aware before you start downloading things willy-nilly. Unless you can find a reputable source the recommends the software, do not download it! Here are a few trust worthy open source software that I recommend: (click on the link to get to the page you can download these programs from).

If you need Microsoft Word, Excel, Publisher, download Open Office.
If you need Adobe Photoshop download Gimp.
If you want Windows download Ubuntu (it has Open Office & Gimp included)
If you need something to help you with formatting your e books to share try Calibre.

If you don't have the internet on your home computer but still want these computer have no fear! Spend a few bucks and get yourself a memory stick. When you come to the library we can help you download the software to the memory stick. Then you can move the software from your memory stick to your home computer.

If you have any questions come see us at the reference desk. If you can get enough people together that want to learn the ins and outs of one of these programs we may be able to make a computer class.