You and your Left-Handed Software

Day after day, or at least once a week, we discuss the following topics at work lunch:

* structure programming or object-oriented programming;
* java or languages ​​in .NET;
* questions of how many people go around the world programming 'untitled' which generates horrifyingly handcrafted pages that will never ever validate a standard;
* web browsers;
* free software.

We don't usually come up with any special solutions, because we always get stuck in the same phrases:

«I want to be paid for what I do»

«you and your left-handed software«

I suppose you have noticed that in my work environment there is an important atmosphere windowser. Not bad, because we are oriented to use the operating system that uses the highest percentage of users who surf the web (and will eventually consume the applications we develop). We also usually assume that these users use IE.

Despite this, we have at our disposal (if we want to use it, and it is preferred that we do so) many small applications to fulfill specific tasks, for example, tools to view PDF's, FTP clients, PDF printers, even office software (yes ... the OpenOffice).

Personally, when I install some specific software (free or not) I pretend that it meets two basic requirements: do what you have to do and do it fast. I am not very interested in the name, or who developed it, I am mainly interested in the functionality.

Let's go to a concrete example: I want to see a pdf. What should I use?

Adobe Reader : yes, I'm going to see the pdf, and also the little ruler, the options to rotate it, zoom in, the update messages, the multiplicity of pages utilities, again the update sign, the search options, and finally the happy one update sign ... again.

SumatraPDF: used to view pdf's. And that's it. I can zoom, rotate, select text and voila. It does what it has to do.

And what is the difference?

That the SumatraPDF it doesn't bother me every other day, it installs and does its job without disturbing me.

The same thing happens to me with browsers. It is preferred and mandatory that some of the tasks we carry out are done using IE, and many sites (luckily less and less) are highly compatible with IE and not as compatible with other browsers.

When it is not necessary to use IE, I use Safari (for Windows, of course) and I am often asked "why do you want Safari?", To which I answer: because it goes fast, it does not crash and it does not bother. IE7 hangs, is extremely slow, and is less intuitive than Windows Vista inclusive.

If you look at the discussions we have, there are very deep questions. Do I use a program that does what it has to do or do I use this one that everyone uses? Do I install this free software that surely has one or more developers behind it, with the possibility of reporting them the inconveniences and suggesting improvements, or do I use this other one that I am going to have to crack but that everyone uses, and I stick to the possible future versions to cover my expectations?

What is preferable, three small programs that fulfill their function or just one that does a little of everything?

What do I prefer to do, use a software that a developer gives me for free and gives me the possibility of obtaining the source code to improve it, expand it and correct its errors, or I crack this software that other developers probably charged to develop or hope to obtain profits from it by providing support and selling it to cover the man-hours it took to develop it?

I do not know what you will believe, but I, from my little place, try to spread free software as much as I can. I don't know if I will be able to help, and I honestly hope one day to develop something that will serve many, to provide it for free and for which I will be recognized. : D

Meanwhile, I fight every day so that my desktop is a little more full of free applications.

I already got rid of the Adobe Reader.

Will I be able to get rid of Windows?

: A humble tribute to Krzystof Kowalczyk, who likes to do things very simple and useful! :)

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  1.   master666 said

    Regarding the last question, I hope I can do it but I do not think that in the very near future, the dark side is very strong and deeply rooted. I find that it is better to have several programs, each one to its own, and not a behemoth that takes time to load and eats up resources just to see a file, for example. Free software applications are generally small, fast, light and do the job, with no add-ons that you will never use and that you cannot remove. Hold on to free software.

  2.   f sources said

    Big Kowjakfjagkajn!

    In the case of PDF there is something for everything, for example, Adobe with its Reader has support for PDF with sound and with fillable fields, but most do not need all that.

    Perhaps it is better to have a small software that does what I always need, and then and only if necessary I install the other or better, I install a module that fulfills that function.

    The same thing happens with office suites in Linux, you have at your disposal from an OpenOffice Writer (very complete) to an Abiword (it does what most of you need).

    Now that I think about it, Free Software people have always thought about this matter, not like Windows where it seems that people develop great programs with the intention of being standards.

  3.   Nacho said

    There it happens as with Nero, from when I used windows. Yes, it has zillions of silly ones, yes, it is the complete milk, but ...
    a) it monitors your system (That is, it sticks with the Norton of cakes to see who sucks more ram)
    b) then you have to reconfigure with which each file is opened, there are already 30 minutes spent silly
    c) then, when push comes to shove, he will dispatch the CDs to you in pairs
    In other words, if a recording suite fails in the basics ... What good is it to me that it has nonsense and even above it takes a long time to load?
    For that, some freeware recording program, and ready ...

    Just like the openoffice, go ... where the abiword + gnumeric is ... take off the nonsense.


  4.   N @ ty said

    Just like Nacho, he has an incredible amount of wonderful utilities ... but if I want to record an image, I have to give it 19587 laps until I find the option. That is not useful to me ...

    That's why I use the InfraRecorder, which is free and works fine.

    @Bachi: I know that I am acting badly using my beautiful pirated Office, it is true, but I would rather buy it out of my pocket than using OpenOffice ... I find it really bad for the use that I give it, which does not mean that it is useful to others.
    At least on this I agree with my co-workers :)

  5.   bachi.tux said

    I think that you have to have certain premises or principles when it comes to "moving" (it is not necessary to change the Operating System) to Free Software.

    One must be aware that there are not 100% profit multinational companies so that every so often they release a Private Software and want to make it a standard. A Photoshop is not the same as a Gimp, but let's look at it from a broader point of view: GIMP makes it under a GPL license, and Adobe under a Private License, paid, and without support for other platforms (and don't come with the "Miraculous" Wine).

    We must reconsider when using SL, because (strictly speaking) it is not the same as SP. That appearances, that versatility, that the availability of platforms on which you can run ... well, we can find one or a thousand nonsense, which is irrelevant.

    I have chatted with users who like to use Brasero more than K3B, and others who prefer to pay for the Linux version of Nero instead of using SL and free (in this case).

    On tastes the colors ... But we can also mention that a lot of SL is Multiplatform: on the office PC, I have the Office 2007 Suite (it is paid for by the company) and OpenOffice at the same time. I use MSN, but at the same time I use Pidgin because it is multi-protocol. Anyway, there is a solution and that is to get to know SL little by little as an alternative to the SP that so many live on.

    In my case I would like to emphasize something that happens to me: there is nothing more satisfactory than using a free program knowing that you are not evading any law ... From there to what is done with that SL, is another story.

    PS: I'm waiting for comments like "what if ... but with Adobe I don't do things like in GIMP" ... "Nero is the best Recording Suite" ... "Free Software is useless" ... etc.

    Greetings and a very good entry.

  6.   f sources said

    @ N @ ty: Did you try the new OpenOffice 3?

    The software is varied and is made for different needs, but sometimes users think that there are better programs than others.

    In my case I don't need Windows Office especially but I know how functional it is. Hopefully some of us can touch on that issue, it has been much discussed, especially last year the issue of document standards (OOXML vs. ODF) and that has to do directly with Office.

  7.   Juan C said

    Everything goes in the mentality of each one. "Since I don't know much about computers, so I only use word (or nero, or IE)." Everything is in people's heads.

    For a few months I have been talking to my friends about the advantages of Linux and its free programs and they have accepted them wonderfully. The fact is that the 3 people to whom I have installed linux, have allowed it out of necessity, that is, because their hardware could not support running windows and that they could open more than 2 programs at the same time. Those who have current hardware are not interested in going through the comforts supposedly offered by proprietary software (the one they already have installed_).

    Everything is simply a matter of needs and fashion.

  8.   dark hole said

    What needs are details, it can do it… almost everything from Microsoft Office .. But they are details .. Now… Have you seen what is new in OpenOffice 3.0? Actually, they have only announced that it has a native interface in Mac OS X ... But, what it does have and almost no one comments, are those details .. Which are actually SOOO good ...

    Unfortunately, version 3 in Spanish has not yet been released, although they will not be long, for now they can use an RC 4.

  9.   Javier said

    the truth is that you are right, for my part I prefer Opera to firefox or konqueror
    for these 4 reasons:

    When I used it on windows it was the only browser (I only knew firefox and IE) that did not result in annoying bars

    It does not matter what I use I will always have it at my disposal

    The mail client and the irc that it brings are great and they make things much easier for me

    I don't have to add extensions to it, all the functions I need are f4 away

  10.   N @ ty said

    You're welcome Daniel, did you see how useful?
    I also hope to buy the notebook to install it ... uh ... Debian, who knows.

    A huge greeting :)

  11.   Daniel said

    Thanks for the sumatra, it seems to me much more efficient than acrobat, and I can load it on the usb and see the pdfs at the university or in a cyber, excellent.

    Now, on the subject, I do not totally switch to Linux for the simple reason of the games (now I am playing) and because I am not the only one who uses the pc, I hope that by the end of the year that I can buy the laptop, leave the games aside and use linux completely, I'm really tired of looking for cracks and serials for everything.