Apr 182007

I’m considering doing some independent contracting, and am looking at lowering the upfront costs for software. As an exercise, given quality commercial software, what are the most viable free (beer) alternatives?

  • General Productivity: Microsoft Office  (Office 2007 rocks) -> OpenOffice (note from OpenBSD portathon – “many stupid bugs fixed, amazing it works on linux (as usual, by luck).”
  • Diagramming: Microsoft Visio -> Dia and Graphviz.  I do love Graphviz…
  • Video Documentation: TechSmith Camtasia Studio -> Wink.
  • Documentation Repository: Microsoft SharePoint -> WordPress (maybe Docuwiki). As an aside, if  Wordpress and WordPress MU started including LDAP support in base, adoptability would jump overnight, since Windows Active Directory (and other, lesser LDAP) environments could instantly use it.  As another aside, why didn’t the Dublin Core people release a reference implementation in SQL-92, which the whole world understands?  Dublin Core would be ubiquitous now….  Honestly, in Qualified DC, can you have an Alternate Title without a Title?  How would that happen?  Can you have a record consisting of only a date? Where was I?  Docuwiki frustrates me, but it’s the standard wiki for doc.
  • Host Monitoring: For smaller environments, commercial options include IPSwitch’s What’s Up Gold and IP Sentry, among others.  The free monitoring option of choice would be Nagios, whose simplicity is its brilliance.

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