Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Beating the Software Blues

I've been a professional Adobe user for decades, having done DTP since before there were even GUIs like Windows and Mac OS, back in the dark ages when drawing a straight line for print required encoding a string of arcane DOS commands 80 characters long.

I've used Photoshop, Freehand, and Illustrator since their debut, and diligently studied every upgrade, and purchased a number of them over the years. I've also taught them at several colleges and even to the graphics and advertising departments of Pacific Press, western Canada's largest newspaper publisher.

Thus you can understand my disappointment when I spoke with Adobe Japan's president directly about a wholesale purchase of CS2. At the time, it cost me about 1,600 bucks, if I remember correctly - a significant outlay for a freelancer just opening his business in a foreign country. Said president conveniently neglected to tell me they were announcing the roll out of version 3 in less than a month.

That incident has always left a bad taste in my mouth. And now that the Adobe suite costs a cool US $2,600 US, I'm even less inclined to throw more of my hard-earned money at them.

In search of more economical alternatives, I found the following software, all of which comes at the amazing price of absolutely free:

Nitro PDF Reader (Acrobat Professional)
Gimp (Photoshop)
Inkscape (Illustrator)
Kompozer (Dreamweaver)
OpenLaszlo (Flash)
Scribus (Indesign)
Audacity (Soundbooth)
Windows Movie Maker (Premiere)

Because these packages are supported by the open source community, there's also a dizzying number of add-ons, plugins and filters that add to their power immeasurably.

As for Microsoft Office, there's Open Office

Farewell Adobe, it's been good to know ya. But you were one ruthless, gold-digging whore. Don't let the door hit you in the ass and all that....

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