A bit more than a year, I realized that if I wanted to ever get in business, I had to come clean with my questionable software licensing practices. Back then, I was operating solely on Windows XP Pro and many other programs that were not acquired in the most legal of ways. Such practices being obviously very risky for anyone making a living out of working computers, I was faced with the decision of either changing everything and shift to a mostly open-source and free software suite or keep the software I was currently using but purchase licenses. I decided to take the harder but cheaper route.
I do not currently run a business, so I guess I could have kept my old habits for a few more years. However, the rationale for making the switch so early is that it takes a fair amount of time to become proficient with a certain program and learning to use one while running a business that depends on it at the same time is quite risky. This is the reason I did it well in advance so that I would not have to bother about server downtime because I am a noob with the Linux command line.
Do not get me wrong, I still need and use Windows XP (for which I have a license). The difference now is that it is in the form in a virtual machine that is only booted up when I need to do some testing on that platform. As for the windows Vista wave, I have completely missed it although it did get to do its share of damage from a distance. My relatives no longer come and ask me to fix their Vista because they have figured out I am in a different boat; that’s fine with me. As a matter of fact, I will most likely miss the Windows 7 wave as well, I’ll surely give it a try before the release candidate trial expires but I doubt very much it will convince me to let go of my *nixes and switch back to M$. The only thing that I use on a day to day basis that I had to pay a fair chunk of money for is Mac OS X. About a year ago, I had heard so many people professing the merits of this OS so I had to see for myself if it was worth all the hype. It turns out those people were right, OS X is well worth its price and at the same time, it made my switch to open-source considerably easier due to it being a Unix.
While I will debate a bit more about the merits of open-source in a different post, I will try enumerating all the programs that I had to get rid of or refrain from using as well as their replacement in order to make that switch to (almost) open-source. Here it goes.
- Windows XP Pro -> Mac OS X and Linux
- Microsoft Office -> Openoffice.org
- Visual Studio -> Eclipse
- Dreamweaver -> Eclipse
- Photoshop -> Gimp
- Illustrator -> Inkscape
- Lightwave 3D -> Blender
- Outlook -> Thunderbird
- VMWare -> VirtualBox
- And many more…