Friday, June 13, 2008

What open source software do you use and why?

Hi all
I am sitting in a meeting about open source software for academics.
So I was wondering...
What open source software do you use and why?
Please post a follow-up


Matti said...

I'm a Mac user, and have a Windows computer at home, but on my work computer I run Linux. I'm going to give you my top ten (but there are many others!)

1) GIMP; it's a great tool for editing my digital photos (

2) OpenOffice; especially because it produces .pdf's and can embed .eps images there (only Linux version). OpenOffice can even export graphs, pie charts, and other spreadsheets objects in .eps form (ready for printing press)!

3) LaTeX, BibTex, and a number of tools for them. Because LaTeX is real, real good for serious writing.

4) gcc. For obvious reasons.

5) Audacity. Great tool when you need to work with your interview recordings or any sound files.

6) DiA. Very good tool for drawing .eps diagrams.

7) Firefox. The best browser. Plug-ins make serious surfing fun, not work like Explorer.

8) Thunderbird. I like it even more than I like Apple's mail.

9) Moodle. What can you say? Why on EARTH would anyone still pay ridiculous amounts of money for WebCT and others?!?!? I really don't get it.

10) Linux. For getting the work done without spending too much time on viruses and updates. A MUST in Africa.

Stuart Charles said...

1) I agree with matti, Mozilla is great, I find it less fussy and also seems to be less resource hungry on my aging Latitude

2) Irfanview is a great little utility I use for viewing and playing with pictures

smiti said...

I use the Drupal document management system on an external to CPUT web site (my own) to communicate with other academics. Even on this blog you can only post when you authenticate. Maybe there is a need for some control?
My personal opinion is to see what works for the purpose intended and not to make statements on what is best - open source or proprietary. On my site I can allow others to comment, add documents, blog etc.

I also run Moodle (learner management system) and DotProject (project management) scripts on the same site.

To keep spammers out I control the user postings

CPUT Discovery term 1 2008 said...


I run a dual boot system and some virtual machines for testing purposes, but here are my favourites:

Opensuse as a operating system - nothing like a free Linux distro that is backed up by a major company. Novell actually make drivers for Suse if you request them. Best out-of the-box distro from home to data center that I have seen.

Thunderbird- I was having endless nightmares with Outlook crashing all the time, then lightning (calendar feature) was fixed up and now Thunderbird provides all the functionality I had in Outlook (yes, all the calendar and task features), but it is much faster and a lot more stable.

Firefox- do I need to say anything here?

Open Office, was not so great in previous versions, but I think it is at least on par, if not better than MS office- especially with some of the built in features.

7-zip gives you a more complete package than winzip

Inkskape and GIMP for image manipulation.

Freemind for mind-mapping

Openproj for project management.

Not using Moodle, but it is a great tool for content management, also many tools work with it such as Dimdim for video/webconferencing etc. Stable with loads of plugins.

Hope this is of some use.