More Open Choices Are Out There
We discussed the open source alternatives to many popular commercial applications. However, if you are wondering about another type of software, you can always search for yourself. SourceForge hosts most of the open projects. The open source alternative site (osalt.com) is neat because you can search on the matching commercial application, and it usually lists similar open software.
If you haven't touched Linux before, give it a try. Thousands of distributions are available online for free. Ubuntu has become very popular among the newbies. Though it's slower, you can even try it from a LiveCD. Everything is run from the CD, and you don't have to install anything on your computer. Like other distributions, Ubuntu is already loaded with open source software and with many of the applications we discussed. If you do find you like it and want it to run faster, you can click the Install icon on the desktop. If everything is set up right, you can even keep Windows and have a dual-boot system.