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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Have You Considered Open Source Lately?


So you want to make a flyer and you think you don't have the application necessary to create it. You need to have a closer look at Open Source Software. What is it?


Well, without getting too technical, Open Source Software is software developed by an open community of developers in to be used by anyone free of charge. It is called the Open Source Initiative, developed in response to the cost of using commercial software. Of course it did not start off as a big thing, but now it would seem that Open Source has gained more acceptance from the general public. I will discuss a few Open Source applications, namely Inkscape, OpenOffice Draw, Gimp, and Scribus.


Inkscape is a Free Vector Graphics Editor similar to Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw but without the noticeable drain on your machine. The Inkscape program which is smaller and faster than its rivals, is capable of producing high value work. Many use it to create Vector Graphics like the images found in the Open Clip Art Library and Clker, which I explain in detail in my Blog post about Copyright Free Vector Clip Art.


I have used Inkscape for years to design flyers and other print material for myself and my clients. You too can learn how to create a flyer with a few free Inkscape Tutorials from the FlyerTutor website or download from dozens of Free Templates. You should also download a copy of the Inkscape program here.


Apache OpenOffice Draw is a part of the Apache OpenOffice Suite which also comes bundled with Apache OpenOffice Writer, Base, Calc, Impress, and Math. Apache OpenOffice Draw is the Open Source equivalent to Microsoft Publisher. You can create professional looking documents with this Open Source Application. You should download the Apache OpenOffice Suite here.


Gimp is an Open Source Free Image Manipulation Program similar to Adobe Photoshop. I use Gimp to edit (scale and retouch) the free clip art images that I use on the FlyerTutor website. I haven't used it much but it is an awesome program. It can be used to create graphics for websites, give images transparent backgrounds, create or edit artwork, etc. As is common with all the other Open Source applications, Gimp has a much faster load time than Adobe Photoshop because of its small size. This makes it extremely efficient and super fast. You can download Gimp here.


Scribus is an Open Source Free Page Layout application similar to Adobe InDesign. It is great for newsletters, brochures, and newspaper style articles. I used this program a few years ago and found it to be a bit of a hassel. It has since been updated and I'm looking forward to seeing what's new especially since someone recently suggested it for flyer design. So look for a blog post on Scribus soon. You can download Scribus here.


Some of the many benefits to using Open Source Software:
  • Never stress about upgrading again - check for updates and download freely
  • No serial numbers required
  • Never use outdated software because of an expensive upgrade
  • Never get hooked on trial software that you are unable to purchase later

Breakdown of Prices


Commercial Software Open Source Alternative
Adobe Photoshop - $699Gimp - Free
Adobe Illustrator - $599Inkscape - Free
Corel Draw - $599Inkscape - Free
Microsoft Publisher - $139.99OpenOffice Draw - Free
Microsoft Word - $139.99Scribus - Free
Adobe InDesign - $699Scribus - Free


One thing you can do for the Open Source Community besides continue to use their valuable software, is to spread the word. Let your friends and family know what Open Source is and what it can do for them. 


For those of you who would like to go a step further, DONATE. The websites for the applications that I have detailed each have a Donate button. To find out about the Open Clip Art Library and Clker, you can read my post on Open Source Free Clip Art

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