Why YOU should use Free Software too
When Microsoft got insistent with pushing windows 10 onto their customers in 2015, I asked myself if I really needed those nagging guys any longer in my life. Thing was, I had Adobe Creative Cloud subscribed, mainly for Photoshop, Illustrator and (dying) Flash. Premier Pro sometimes too. Creative Suit is for Mac and Windows only, though.
You have probably, like me, bought several Operating Systems and other proprietary software throughout your life. And sometimes you have undoubtedly tried to get away with not paying anything for applications, like with that free anti virus suite or exploiting the unlimited evaluation periods of winRAR or Sublime Text.
The weird thing is that I have paid thousands over the years for Adobe products and later even for their Creative Cloud, which is rented only, for 713,86 EUR per year. Steep shit. On the other hand, I hesitate to shell out well deserved €70/lifetime for an awesome product like Sublime Text? What the hell is wrong with me?
I had to really work with Open Source Software over a period of time, let’s say three months, to know if it’s any good. So I gave it a try. I installed Linux Mint on my office machines and went on with my business life. Gimp replaced Photoshop, Inkscape replaced Illustrator and Blender replaced Premiere Pro. Libre Office in conjunction with Google Drive replaced Microsoft Office, and boy, am I confident that G Suite is the future when it comes to office solutions. I don’t think I’ll ever go back.
You do not have to pay anyone to use Linux or Gimp. This is great when you have a not so fortunate year with your business. Me, I gladly donate to Open Software I use when business is good. Working with great free software has completely turned around my attitude. It feels really good paying for the apps I love to use on a voluntary basis.
We want people in poorer countries to have opportunities as well. Globalization and the internet could do that if tools were affordable for everyone and free software certainly is. You could be the best designer … if your client insists on Photoshop but you can’t afford it it doesn’t matter. With free software everyone has the chance to participate in global business and growth. No need to migrate, right?
While Debian and Linux sport graphical interfaces these days, you should be prepared to use the command line (shell) a lot. I am comfortable with shell commands since MS-DOS because I’ve always felt more in control when specifying what I want the machine to do with commands and parameters instead of clicking a symbol and “something happens”. In the months I have been working with Mint I’ve come to the conclusion that I like it. Alot.
In light there is darkness too
As much as I can recommend working with free software for educational purposes, there obviously are strings attached more often than not. Let’s take a look at Google’s Android OS. Google doesn’t charge anything but you are paying with the data your Android device generates while you are using it. Google collects and monetizes data i.e. knowledge collected that way.
This is a data privacy issue which does not upset me because why would an ant be concerned if a scientist monetizes its movement patterns? Most of the time things we do not have to pay for are not free at all though. We should keep that in mind.
Give Linux a try, do it now!
Switching from Windows with Adobe Creative Cloud to Linux with Gimp/Inkscape/Blender was not bad at all. This might be because I do a lot more talking and writing than designing these days. If you are a Photoshop Power User editing images 6 hours per day you could find it more of a hassle to switch.
And if you’re into gaming to some extend, your prime choice would be a Windows OS still. While Linux and iOS get more and more love from game developers, I’d still advise you to stick to Microsoft for now.
I am still running Windows 10 in a VirtualMachine to print stuff. I couldn’t get Linux to print on my old Dell 1250c attached to my NAS 🙁