Friday, July 9, 2010

Don't pay! Use open source! (part 1)

Day by day we see many companies to move some strings here, and there, and have the authorities to go after people who use illegal software.
They claim that piracy in their software make them lose money.
Well this is not truth, I mean most of the people who use photoshop to make some forum avatar, will never buy (because they can not pay for it) the original program. So the money lose here is iconic and not real.
Some call the companies fascists and call others to download pirated software, just because they believe this is some short of revolution against them. This is stupid if you ask me, and it is just another stupid try to show as OK something that is not.
Downloading pirated software it is not ok. If you really want to do some short of revolt just boycott that software.
Some people say that they download pirated software because they don't have money to buy it. Another stupid think. If you don't have money, then don't buy it! It is not something you need to live, you are not starving and this is bread. It is just a luxury. You can live without it. Or you can buy cheaper alternatives, why to use photoshop which cost about 900$ while you can buy pixelmator at 59$? Believe me the extra features of photoshop are tools that you will never use, you will never realize they exist.

And after all! (Sorry for the long intro above) We have the Open Source programs!

It is not something new, the open source programs exist since the start of the GNU OS and the GNU General Public License (GPL), but because of the increased popularity of the linux distributions all these programs have their popularity increased as well.
Linux have became friendly for almost every person who want to use a computer and since it is free, there were a need for free applications to support it. So the open source programs begin to gain popularity as applications distributed with linux.
At the beginning they where just like linux, inaccessible from amateurs. Their interfaces where primitive and they couldn't deliver anything close to their commercial counter-programs in windows and macOS.
But time is moving fast and the linux have evolved and you can use it without writing even a line of code in some terminal interface.
The open source applications followed that evolution and now many of them can offer incredible features and they can stand face to face with their counter-programs in Windows and MacOS.

So I guess it is about time to stop the history lesson and make a list with the commercial programs and the counter-programs we can find as open source.


OK let's face it, photoshop is a good tool. Somehow it made people forget about photopaint, and other rival software tools. But there are a couple of minors here.
First of all, it is expensive. With a price about 900$ you don't just walk in a store and buy it.
Secondly, the upgrades it's gets in almost yearly base, does not worth the upgrade cost. I have seen many graphic designers to don't upgrade for 2 or 3 versions, because "that extra little tool they added, offers nothing to me".
And the reason that make me hate photoshop the most. It is not a photo manipulation program any longer. It is so way out of it's path, that adobe released Elements for photo editing. It was ok to have plus the photo editing, all these bitmap edit futures, but now... they added a lot of features that nobody in the world use them!
Someone wrote in a graphics design forum once, "photoshop is like an apartments building, and you have to buy the whole building just to use 2 apartments."
Closing the description, I really feel the need to notice that you can't use photoshop in linux. Sorry but MS Windows are not a good OS, and MacOSX requires an Apple computer.

What Open Source have to offer?

Well this is a very good alternative solution to photoshop. It can offer everything that a normal user need. It became better and faster over the newer releases (well in simple tasks you will not notice any speed difference, but if you try to paint something with a digitizer, you will notice some lag) and it is free.
It is good enough to be used from professional graphic designers, but they have to use some other programs (but still cheaper than buying photoshop) to do conversions from RGB color mode to CMYK.
This sound stupid? Well home users does not need CMYK, but when it come to printing this can be a problem. Especially if we are talking about offset printing, because ok, most digital printers can print RGB without noticeable color matching problems but the big offset printers can run in trouble with RGB.
The developers behind gimp said that they will add CMYK support in the next major update (gimp 3? maybe).
Still professionals who does not need CMYK, like for example the ones who design graphics for the web, can take everything they need from gimp. This can significantly lower some expenses of a studio, and the new studios will appreciate some relief from their initial expenses.
Also you can find in google a lot of brushes, plug ins, tutorials etc for gimp, just like photoshop.

So don't use a pirated photoshop, who knows what viruses you will download with that torrent you found somewhere in the net, just get gimp for free!
Available for Windows, MacOSX and Linux (also for the less popular, Solaris and BSD OSes)

If you are used to photoshop you will need some time to make the switch but with a little customization here and there, you will feel right at home!

Coming up next:
MS Office and Open Office!

No comments: