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OpenTech Ministries » Software by Name

Software by Name

These are the applications that OpenTech Ministries recommends to many of our clients.

This is what you will see:

  • Overview:­ Brief abstract of the project
  • Function: What the program does.
  • Proprietary Examples: Names you might recognize.
  • Priority: Based on our resources.
  • ImpacT Overview: How this project helps others.
  • Current ImpacT: Where we are
  • Future ImpacT: Where we are going
  • Numerical ImpacT: Examples of how the numbers could work out.
  • More Info & Links: Self explanatory 

By Function:

Proprietary – Alternative 

Office Applications (Word processing, spreadsheet, presentation) ­

Desktop Publishing

Learning/Course Management (Distance Education)

Constituent Relationship Management

If you want specific Applications to use, check out the next section on Open Source Alternatives.

Office Productivity Programs: Most people are familiar with Microsoft Office, which contains the word processor MS Word, the spreadsheet program Excel, the presentation program PowerPoint the database program Acess, and many use Outlook for their email. While there are ways of making those programs work under Linux, there ­is a better way. One issue to consider is that MS Office cost hundreds of dollars. The OSS alternatives are free.

Sun Microsystems (think competitor for IBM) created, marketed and continues to distribute a competing office suite called StarOffice. They eventually decided to let the Open Source Community take over and they released StarOffice under a different name: OpenOffice. OpenOffice contains a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation program and a basic drawing program. Switching from MS Office to OpenOffice is no harder than switching from MS Office 97 to MS Office 2000 or MS Office XP. They are all very similar in their functionality.

There are some differences, though. OpenOffice will open most MS Office files and is currently just as "backwards compatible" as MS Office 2007. The problem lies in Microsoft’s desire to keep their monopoly by creating data storage formats that are not compatible with other programs (which is why sometimes older Office files do not open properly in newer releases of MS Office, as well). OpenOffice stores everything in a format called .xml, which is an open standard format. This simply means that everyone knows exactly how the data is stored, and in five or ten years, you will still be able to get your data easily (which is not the case with Microsoft).

There are also choices involved with Linux. You can choose between several word processors or spreadsheets. There are dozens of internet browsers (that are far more secure than Internet Explorer), email clients, image manipulation programs, etc. And it’s all free! You can even give copies to your friends and not be worried about lawyers coming after you.