Microsoft Windows and Office together are available for “40 dollars in Thailand”:http://www.idg.com.sg/idgwww.nsf/0/57F719F988F6415548256D8D003789A6?OpenDocument. However, the Pakistan government shows no sign or realization that they can bargain with Microsoft. So sooner or later, things are going to come to a head. Nobody here is going to buy software for a hundred dollars a pop here.
As Pakistan cracks down on software piracy, free software is going to become more and more important. Excepting the larger corporations and multinationals, every single computer in Pakistan runs pirated software. It will be interesting to see whether people will end up buying software, or switching to free alternatives. Even if the govenment starts jailing people, my guess is that about 2-4 percent of home users will pay western prices for software. Thre are “ongoing efforts”:http://newsforge.com/newsforge/03/10/05/162252.shtml?tid=11 to convert to Linux by the government. While techies/geeks are switching, the normal user is going to avoid it like the plague. See “LinuxPakistan.net”:http://www.linuxpakistan.net/ for more about Linux usage in Pakistan.
There are many good reasons to switch to OSS: “Why Open Source Software / Free Software (OSS/FS)?”:http://www.dwheeler.com/oss_fs_why.html and “Why Software Should Be Free”:http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/shouldbefree.html.
The following programs are all “best of breed”. These are the tools I use, and except for OpenOffice, are all better than the commercial alternatives.
* “FileZilla”:http://filezilla.sourceforge.net/ :: FileZilla is a fast and reliable FTP client and server with lots of useful features and an intuitive interface.
* “Mozilla Firebird”:http://mozilla.org/products/firebird/ :: A Lean, Mean Browsing Machine. The best free browser, a thousand times better than Internet Explorer. Still in beta.
* “Mozilla Thunderbird”:http://mozilla.org/projects/thunderbird/ :: A email client based on the Mozilla email component. Still in beta.
* “SciTE”:http://www.scintilla.org/SciTE.html :: A free source code editor for Win32 and X. IMHO, the best text editor yet.
* “Ad-Aware”:http://www.lavasoftusa.com/software/adaware/ :: A must have tool for every Windows pc.
* “CoolMon”:http://coolmon.arsware.org/ :: is a program for monitoring vital system stats and almost anything else you wish to display on the desktop.
* “Winamp”:http://www.winamp.com :: The classic audio player.
* “MPEG Audio Collection”:http://j-faul.virtualave.net/ :: It is designed to organize your audio file collection.
* “OpenOffice.org”:http://www.openoffice.org/ :: everything you’d expect in office software. It’s slow, but the 2.0 release is supposed to improve speed.
h4. Web Servers/Tools
* “Apache”:http://www.apache.org/ :: powering the internet.
* “MySQL”:http://www.mysql.com/ :: database software
* -“Movabletype”:http://www.movabletype.org/ :: Movable Type is Six Apart’s powerful, customizable publishing system which installs on web servers to enable individuals or organizations to manage and update weblogs, journals, and frequently-updated website content.- It seems MT is not open source, though the source code is available. Therefore the following link.
* “Open Source Content Mangement Software”:http://www.la-grange.net/cms
* “CaRP: Caching RSS Parser”:http://www.mouken.com/rss/
h4. Operating Systems
Linux, of course, is the operating system of choice.
* “Distrowatch”:http://distrowatch.com/index.php?language=EN :: Tracks all the linux distros.
* “Fedora”:http://fedora.redhat.com/ :: Redhat’s community driven distro.
* “Mandrake”:http://www.mandrakelinux.com/en/ :: The easiest to use disto.
h4. Under Development
* “Chandler”:http://www.osafoundation.org/ :: Personal Information Manager (PIM) intended for use in everyday information and communication tasks. Should be usable sometime in 2004. See “MIT Tech Review article”:http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/fitzgerald1103.asp for more information.
h4. More Open Source Software
* “Pricelessware”:http://www.pricelessware.org/ :: The best of the best in Windows � Freeware, as determined by the readers of alt.comp.freeware. A very good list.
* “Tinyapps.org”:http://tinyapps.org/ :: a guide to very small software for your PC. Whle all the programs are free, most don’t seem to be open source.
h4. OSS/FS Advocacy
bq. “The most revolutionary software, including the Internet, the World Wide Web, the most widely used Web server (Apache) and the most widely used language for active Web sites (Perl), were all developed by distributed freeware communities,” says Tim O’Reilly, founder of the computer publishing house O’Reilly and Associates, at a conference this summer focusing on the Perl programming language. “This makes distributed software development by freely cooperating networks of independent developers the highest form of one of the most significant human inventions.”