Trae Myers

Posted on April 28, 2014

Writer's Commentary

Students have low-cost options
for high-end software

With the cost of college rising, students these days look to pad their wallets with as many freebies as possible. Fortunately, many computer programs are free, many of which are professional-level quality. Take a look at some college programs and their free alternatives:

Microsoft Office: LibreOffice

While Microsoft Office has become the most used program, many organizations are turning to Libreoffice. This free program saves money in these times of rising costs. Schools around the world use this software, which has a high level of compatibility with Microsoft Office. As an open source product, that means this handy software will always remain free.
libreoffice.org/

Adobe Photoshop: GIMP

Also an open source project, GIMP has much of the functionality of Photoshop, but none of the exorbitant cost. Not quite as robust, but if you will not use it daily, it should suffice.
gimp.org/downloads/

Adobe Audition: Audacity

This program is arguably more popular than its paid Adobe Audition.
Used by many recording studios because of its simple yet robust performance, Audacity is the product to choose if you need to do anything with sound or audio.
audacity.sourceforge.net/

Windows: Linux Mint

While everyone seems to think the only choice is between Windows and Mac for an operating system, there is also Linux. Linux, like the other program, is open source and will always be available for free.

Unlike Windows and Mac, the varieties of Linux are not only newer and older versions, but some tailored to certain tasks while others are more general.

Linux Mint is designed to be easy to use right out of the box. It comes with Libreoffice installed already and is three clicks away from installing GIMP.

In addition, it makes better use of your computer than either Mac or Windows, making work faster.
linuxmint.com/

The other programs for which people pay thousands of dollars are myriad, but some great, free alternatives allow you to have your cake and afford it, too. Make sure to visit a trusted site such as cnet.com, which scans the programs for viruses to help keep your computer safe.


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