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Moving to Free Software

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  • Copyright 2007
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/4"
  • Edition: 1st
  • eBook (Watermarked)
  • ISBN-10: 0-321-49625-6
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-321-49625-6

This is the eBook version of the printed book. If the print book includes a CD-ROM, this content is not included within the eBook version.

Stop paying for Windows software! There are free alternatives that are just as good . . . even better!

In Moving to Free Software, world-renowned open source software expert Marcel Gagne tours the little-known world of free Windows software, uncovering today's best packages for everything you'll ever want to do with your PC! You'll discover amazing tools for everything from Web browsing to instant messaging, office productivity to gaming, and even Windows security. You won't see this software advertised in fancy magazines, or on TV . . . it's the best kept secret in computing!

  • Surf the Web safer, faster, and smarter with Firefox
  • Get free Spam filtering and advanced email security with Thunderbird
  • Discover OpenOffice.org 2.0, today's super-powered office productivity suite
  • Get free instant messaging that talks to AOL, ICQ, Yahoo!, and MSN
  • Make free calls anywhere on Earth, with Skype
  • Create podcasts (and more) with Audacity . . . or download podcasts with Juice
  • Build your own Web site with NVU
  • Create and edit digital art with Inkscape and The GIMP
  • Protect your Windows computer with Spybot and ClamWin
  • Discover great free games, including Flightgear, the better flight simulator

There's more--from handy utilities like CD Ripper to pro-quality desktop publishing software for all your newsletters and brochures. This book gives you software the way it's supposed to be--powerful, friendly, and free!

Sample Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xvii

Chapter 1: Introduction to Free Software 1

Really Free? 2
All You Need Is . . . 2
About the Money . . . 3
Has Marcel Gone Mad? 4
Transitional Software 4
Installing Programs 6
Finding Even More Free Software 7
What About Support? 8
Linux! The Ultimate Free Software 9
Full Steam Ahead 10
Resources 11

Chapter 2: Surfing the Web with Firefox 13

Mozilla versus Firefox 14
Addicted to News: Firefox Does RSS 22
Extending Firefox 24
Resources 28

Chapter 3: Thunderbird: A Safer Email Client 29

Thunderbird 30
Attached to You . . . 39
No More Junk Mail! 41
Revisiting RSS 43
Resources 44

Chapter 4: Gaim: Multiprotocol Instant Messaging, and IRC, Too! 45

Why Jabber? 46
Instant Messaging with Gaim 46
IRC: Internet Relay Chat 54
Using Gaim for IRC 54
Resources 59

Chapter 5: Skype: Free Long Distance, Anyone? 61

Creating a Skype Account 62
"Is this thing working?" Testing Your Connection 65
Search Me! Adding Friends to Your Contact List 66
Come Here, Watson! Making Calls on Skype 69
SkypeOut and SkypeIn 72
Face to Face with Skype: Using a Webcam 73
Getting a Little Privacy 75
Resources 76

Chapter 6: Creating Documents with OpenOffice.org Writer 77

OpenOffice.org Writer 78
Write Now! 80
Help! 85
To Word or Not to Word? 86
Personalizing Your Environment 87
A Wizard of Words 90
Navigating Style 91
Speaking of Document Elements . . . 94
More! Give Me More! 95
Resources 96

Chapter 7: Using OpenOffice.org Calc for Spreadsheets 97

Starting a New Spreadsheet and Entering Data 98
Magical Totals 104
Nice, Colorful, Impressive, and Dynamic Graphs 105
Final Touches 108
Resources 109

Chapter 8: Presentations with OpenOffice.org Impress 111

Getting Ready to Impress 112
Instant Web Presentations 122
How About a Little Flash? Shocking! 126
Extra! Extra! 126
Resources 127

Chapter 9: Personal Databases: OpenOffice.org Base 129

The Beginning: Creating a New Database 130
Setting the Table 134
Creating Mailing Labels 140
Further Exploring 145
Resources 145

Chapter 10: CDex: An All-Purpose CD Ripper and Audio Converter 147

Intermezzo: Digital Audio Formats 148
Introducing CDex 148
Ripping Music to Your PC 151
Ripping Just a Little 153
Simple Music Player 154
Resources 155

Chapter 11: Audio Magic with Audacity 157

Installation Notes 158
Touring Audacity's Interface 158
Let's Record Something 159
Editing Audio 162
Fade to Special Effects 163
Creating Podcasts with Audacity 164
Resources 166

Chapter 12: The Juice: A Podcast Aggregator 167

The Juice on the Juice 168
Running on Automatic 175
Cleaning Up 177
Locating More Podcasts 178
Resources 178

Chapter 13: Nvu: A Graphical Web Site Design Tool 179

Installation Notes 180
Saving Your Work 185
Creating Subsequent Pages 187
Publishing Your Web Site 191
It's a Beautiful Thing 195
Resources 195

Chapter 14: Inkscape: A Vector Drawing Program 197

A Friendly Introduction 198
Drawing Tools 202
Fill and Stroke Genius 210
Drawing Tools, Part Deux 214
The Full Meal Deal 219
Saving Your Work 220
Resources 221

Chapter 15: Digital Art with the GIMP 223

Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your GIMP 224
Printing Your Masterpiece 230
Tools, Tools, and More Tools 233
You Mentioned Gimpshop? 246
Resources 247

Chapter 16: 7-Zip Is Decompression Heaven 249

Installation and Setup 250
Touring the Interface 250
Unpacking a File 253
Creating an Archive 254
Self-Extracting Archives 256
Resources 258

Chapter 17: Spybot: Protecting You from Spyware 259

Getting Started with Spybot 260
Keeping Up-to-Date 262
The Hunt for Spyware 264
Fixing Problems 266
Immunization Prevents Further Infection 268
It Never Ends . . . 269
Resources 269

Chapter 18: ClamWin: Free Antivirus Protection 271

Always On versus Scheduled 272
Scanning Your Files 273
What to Do with the Viruses 276
Scheduling Virus Checks 277
Keeping ClamWin Up-to-Date 278
Limitations and Other Choices 280
Resources 280

Chapter 19: Scribus: Free Desktop Publishing 281

Installation Notes 282
Frames, Bristol Board, and Projects 282
Getting Started with Scribus 283
Text Frames and Properties 286
Working with Images 290
Printing Your Document 295
A Scribus Calendar 297
Personalizing Scribus 301
Getting More Help 302
Resources 302

Chapter 20: Endless Free Fun and Games 303

PlanetPenguin Racer 304
Freedroid RPG 306
Armagetron Advanced 308
SuperTux 309
Tanks for the Memories: BZFlag 310
Fish Fillets Next Generation 313
Neverball and Neverputt 317
SolarWolf 320
FlightGear 323
Penguins . . . 326
Resources 327

Chapter 21: The Ultimate Free Software: Linux 329

Burning the CD Image 331
HELP! 334
Taking a Tour of Ubuntu Linux 335
Installing the Ubuntu Live CD 346
Remember to Share 353
Resources 354

Index 355


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