Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Free stuff for Macs

It's amazing that there are so many open-source applications out there for Macs. I mean, first Apple gives you 17 tons of useful software with a new Mac -- and then you can download major programs for free.

For instance, I always use NeoOffice instead of Microsoft Office. I don't want anything Microsoft on my Mac. NeoOffice is a great replacement for Word and you can even save files in .doc format to exchange with poor slobs who are merely on PCs. You can download it here.

I also found an open-source Mac alternative for Adobe's Illustrator, which I never found easy to use but nevertheless relied on for simple tasks. I was sad to lose the program's functionality when I switched from a PC to a Mac about five years ago. Thankfully, I recently discovered Inkscape, an open-source program that pretty much does the same things as Illustrator. Mind you, this one isn't even halfway to a 1.0 designation -- it's very much a work in progress. But for the simple uses I plan for it, it seems fine. You can download Inkscape here.

And finally, I've just located an open-source substitute for PageMaker. I used to be a PageMaker maven on my PC, making newsletters for tons of good-guy organizations. I can really work PageMaker. When I switched to a Mac I bought Quark Express but I can't even transfer it to the new computer I just got, and anyway I hated it. So I recently downloaded Scribus, an open-source Mac alternative to PageMaker and Quark. This one is beyond 1.0 so it's pretty stable. I haven't used it yet (and it seems it may be difficult for folks who aren't already familiar with desktop-publishing concepts) but it seems quite functional, at least to me. I grok what all the buttons are for. You can download Scribus here.

So much free stuff! My thanks to all the developers who worked so hard to make these programs available for mere mortals. May they live long and prosper.