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How about an Open Sourced office?

Open Sourced Notebook

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Open Sourced NotebookHow much does it cost you?

If you’re looking forward to start up a small business enterprise, investment happens to be a key concern. How much, how less and where exactly; these are the preliminary encounters.

Open source software has a lot of options for the business world, alongside the home user bandwagon. Apart from the other generic features, Open Source Software at times have a greater degree of customization as compared to their proprietary counterparts. This very fact is pretty evident with the fact that several large companies like — Google, Amazon, Yahoo, et al run their servers on Linux, again an Open Source OS.

The idea behind this article is not to force start you to follow the Open Source path, but to make you look at the same as an alternative before you shell out a few hundred or thousand dollars for a close
source and non-free product which does pretty much the same as it’s Open Source and free alternative.

Before we move on, I would like to clear out that free software and Open Source Software are two different entities, though they often come as a bundle!

Today, we shall have a look at a few Open Source Software which may just help you kick start your business.

Operating System

Fedora

The first need shall be to have a robust, secure and customizable operating system, both for the server(s) and the workstation(s). There are a lot of options available when it comes to Linux. Have a look at them at one of our previous posts – Which Linux distro is right for you?

I would recommend Fedora for free, or RedHat, if you can pay a bit for a great enterprise support. They have a cutting edge robustness and come with a lot of applications like OpenOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, etc. as pre-loaded, catering your major necessities.

Office Suite

The next big thing is an office suite which shall help you with word processing, spreadsheets, presentation, databases, vector drawing, mathematical formulas, etc. OpenOffice is the best of all under this segment.

Email/IM

Fedora

You’ll be looking for a good Instant Messaging client for your Internet chat and of course a good Email application for your official mail domain.

Evolution is one of the best email clients available as free and Open Source. It provides you with an integrated email, an address book and calender to mark your appointments/schedules.

Thunderbird is a another cool desktop email client from Mozilla. It supports great customization, easy search, and enhanced security and privacy measures that keeps your information safe.

Jabber is the best known open source instant messenger. Apart from generic chat features, it gives you the ability to have VoIP conversations and transfer files.

Productivity Apps

Simple Note-Taking. Powerful Ideas.They shall help your work get easier than otherwise.

Tomboy is one tool which I love a lot! It makes taking and tracking notes pretty easily. It can help people at work while looking for websites, emails or a few striking ideas during the day as they may jot them down by using Tomboy notes. One push and the Tomboy pops out!

Desktop search helps you find a document/email/note/music or a calender entry in a jiffy! Beagle is one such desktop search application which may help people at work. Thus making a disorganized desktop belong to an organized executive!

Though not always, but you might need to burn some DVD’s once in a while to backup your data. K3B shall help your business with an easy and free way to burn those disks.

Thinking of an sharing your desktop remotely? I know that’s a much desired feature in today’s connected world. RDesktop is a popular remote desktop client. It lets you share information remotely, or access your own workstation while being away from the office. What more, it can help interface Linux with desktops that are still running Windows!

PDF’s, you’ll need to read them every now and then! Evince provides an open source alternative to the propriety softwares, allowing you to view documents in a wide variety of formats in a much lighter and quicker way.

Imaging and Design

Gimp

Depending on the kind of work you’re involved with, you might need to edit a few images at times.

GIMP is the Photoshop of open source world, though it is not as feature rich and friendly as Photoshop. Though it lacks some of the more advanced productivity tools found in Photoshop, but comes without the frills or a heavy price tag!

Inkscape is a great open source program for vector drawing, with its capabilities comparable to those of Illustrator or CorelDraw.

Content Management

Wordpress

Once you look up to have an organized data flow in office, you need a Content Management System. We shall look for some good options under this segment.

Joomla! is an open source content management software (CMS), that allows easily upload and creation a variety of web pages. Features include page caching, RSS feeds, blogs, polls, website search, news flashes, making it a great tool for entrepreneurs doing business on the web.

Exponent is a good solution for the technologically challenged entrepreneurs. One can make great websites using Exponent. You don’t need to code web pages or manage site navigation directly. Instead, you can create a web page as you would see it on the web by typing, editing and rearranging the options in a window.

WordPress! I can not miss this. One tool that has changed the way people look into the web. A robust, neat and fast growing CMS built on php, which again is an Open Source scripting language. The kind of support WordPress has, both official and unofficial is matchless.

Network and Server Management

Zabbix

When we talk about communication within an office, we need to look at the network management. Let’s figure it out the open source way!

Asterisk is a PBX (Private Branch eXchange) software that can facilitates an easily and cheaply control of the telephone system in your office. It works with both VoIP telephony as well as generic telephone systems with the addition of some inexpensive hardware. It has some great features which you might get on heavy shelling of cash, otherwise.

Zabbix Zabbix lets you easily monitor and track the status of network services, servers, and other network based hardware. If your business needs to track and report status on network systems, Zabbix’s easy-to-use mapping and graphing visualizations shall by no means disappoint you.

Apache supports a large number of web servers, worldwide, in an open source fashion. It provides some of the most widely used and stable HTTP servers available . It supports a lot of features including virtual hosting, SSL and TSL support, custom log files, proxy module, etc. It can be used as a secure server for web pages or to safely share files across the Internet.

Miscellaneous

GNUCash

GnuCash helps you keep track of your finances easily and efficiently. This free tool allows you to track bank accounts, stocks, income and expenses with a lot of features to create reports, make calculations, schedule transactions, etc.

SureInvoice facilitates an easy system for creating and managing invoices. You will find it useful in time entry, automated invoice generation, customer self-service, etc.

These were a few inevitable tools for your office from the Open Source world. I would like to repeat that OSS is an alternative to the propriety softwares, you may not necessarily stick to them or follow an OSS regime.

Stay tuned for more!

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29 Comments

  1. i think we can also use Windows Live Mail
    it's not open source but it's free.
    i have one question
    end customer want a
    (a) free software
    (b) open source software
    (c) a and b both
    looking forward for your answers.
    what about the other things that small business owners have to think like support cost

  2. i think we can also use Windows Live Mail
    it's not open source but it's free.
    i have one question
    end customer want a
    (a) free software
    (b) open source software
    (c) a and b both
    looking forward for your answers.
    what about the other things that small business owners have to think like support cost

  3. Please also check the open office support price it's
    1xTechnical Support for only $19.99 !!!
    so we have to also pay for support.
    nothing comes in free everything has cost associated with it.

  4. Please also check the open office support price it's
    1xTechnical Support for only $19.99 !!!
    so we have to also pay for support.
    nothing comes in free everything has cost associated with it.

  5. @priyankeshu: Thanks :)

    @Raseel: Good find!

    @Ajay Pathak: I guess you jump into comments before reading and understanding what we try to convey in our articles. Firstly, window live mail is a great software, we never criticized it. But if you go deep, it runs only on windows, which comes with a heavy price tag. Secondly, what an end user wants is purely his/her discretion. One size doesn't fit all. If you look into the article once again, we talked about customization thing. Thirdly, how many times did you write to Microsoft or the MS word support team for any kind of support? I am not sure about you though!
    Lastly, I never wrote anything about twitter/friendfeed/gmail in the article! I would again request you to read and understand the article before jumping into the comments section and firing comments at random. needless to say, I also mentioned that free and open source are two different things which often come bundled, not always!

  6. @priyankeshu: Thanks :)

    @Raseel: Good find!

    @Ajay Pathak: I guess you jump into comments before reading and understanding what we try to convey in our articles. Firstly, window live mail is a great software, we never criticized it. But if you go deep, it runs only on windows, which comes with a heavy price tag. Secondly, what an end user wants is purely his/her discretion. One size doesn't fit all. If you look into the article once again, we talked about customization thing. Thirdly, how many times did you write to Microsoft or the MS word support team for any kind of support? I am not sure about you though!
    Lastly, I never wrote anything about twitter/friendfeed/gmail in the article! I would again request you to read and understand the article before jumping into the comments section and firing comments at random. needless to say, I also mentioned that free and open source are two different things which often come bundled, not always!

  7. Excellent post!

    It is always valuable this kind of information as people are worried about their info, with open source applications you own the info, you can move to another application without much problems, with closed/commercial applications you are at that big company will... If they decide to change the format, then you have to upgrade, and most of the times is not just the application, but the hardware too.

  8. Excellent post!

    It is always valuable this kind of information as people are worried about their info, with open source applications you own the info, you can move to another application without much problems, with closed/commercial applications you are at that big company will... If they decide to change the format, then you have to upgrade, and most of the times is not just the application, but the hardware too.

  9. @Praval Singh
    Thanks for your response.
    can you kndly please tell me how many users customize their software as compare to Developers ?
    is it a Good idea to software's are free but not open source. but if any developer require the source code then he/she can buy the source code under some terms and conditions.?
    I love free software but not think much about their source code unless and until i really need it .
    can give some feedback on this
    i am looking forward for your answer.

  10. @Praval Singh
    Thanks for your response.
    can you kndly please tell me how many users customize their software as compare to Developers ?
    is it a Good idea to software's are free but not open source. but if any developer require the source code then he/she can buy the source code under some terms and conditions.?
    I love free software but not think much about their source code unless and until i really need it .
    can give some feedback on this
    i am looking forward for your answer.

  11. @Chris: The website mention that it offer both the versions - open source and propriety.(Source:http://www.sureinvoice.com/tour/index) However, their open source page doesn't have the download link! Thanks for pointing out.

    @Inge: Thank You!

    @Denis: Thanks and nice compilation at your end! Impressive indeed :)

    @Ajay Pathak: I fail to understand what you want to say, despite you hrowing more than 5 comments on this post, already! You started with "What does an end user want? Free, Open Source or both". Now having explained you the diff b/w them and my point in the article, you seemed to have moved your stand asking how many users customize softwares as compared to developers! Whose stand are you in? A user is more concerned about using a software, a developer on the other hand need not always use it, he cares to develop/modify it. So how can you compare these 2 perspectives? I would once AGAIN repeat : Free and Open Source softwares are NOT the same. Please refer to Wikipedia before you shoot your next comment. Lastly, I am not yet sure of what are you trying to figure out or make us understand. Please try to be precise and pin-point your queries, rather than beating round the bush!

  12. @Chris: The website mention that it offer both the versions - open source and propriety.(Source:http://www.sureinvoice.com/tour/index) However, their open source page doesn't have the download link! Thanks for pointing out.

    @Inge: Thank You!

    @Denis: Thanks and nice compilation at your end! Impressive indeed :)

    @Ajay Pathak: I fail to understand what you want to say, despite you hrowing more than 5 comments on this post, already! You started with "What does an end user want? Free, Open Source or both". Now having explained you the diff b/w them and my point in the article, you seemed to have moved your stand asking how many users customize softwares as compared to developers! Whose stand are you in? A user is more concerned about using a software, a developer on the other hand need not always use it, he cares to develop/modify it. So how can you compare these 2 perspectives? I would once AGAIN repeat : Free and Open Source softwares are NOT the same. Please refer to Wikipedia before you shoot your next comment. Lastly, I am not yet sure of what are you trying to figure out or make us understand. Please try to be precise and pin-point your queries, rather than beating round the bush!

  13. Excellent post! I like it when people spread the word about OSS.
    I would like to call your attention to an Asterisk alternative: FreeSWITCH. It is extremely scalable and very powerful. It can also do 48kHz VoIP, which is quite a feat these days. BTW, a special OSS shout out to the xiph.org guys for making OS codecs.
    -MC

  14. Excellent post! I like it when people spread the word about OSS.
    I would like to call your attention to an Asterisk alternative: FreeSWITCH. It is extremely scalable and very powerful. It can also do 48kHz VoIP, which is quite a feat these days. BTW, a special OSS shout out to the xiph.org guys for making OS codecs.
    -MC

  15. Just Poking my nose here and their.As I always do..
    Interesting that some one is promoting,
    Nice to Read.
    Good Guys You are doing a great Job.

    One Comment to Mr. Singh
    Kindly Be polite. That's Great you know. But Many of the guys don't know about the subject. Hope Its doesn't hurt some Nice Hearts.
    Any Way Keep the Good Work Going.

    Enjoy..

    Alok Tiwari
    India

  16. Just Poking my nose here and their.As I always do..
    Interesting that some one is promoting,
    Nice to Read.
    Good Guys You are doing a great Job.

    One Comment to Mr. Singh
    Kindly Be polite. That's Great you know. But Many of the guys don't know about the subject. Hope Its doesn't hurt some Nice Hearts.
    Any Way Keep the Good Work Going.

    Enjoy..

    Alok Tiwari
    India

  17. The concept of creating Open Sourced free office will prove to be very efficient for small biz. But that does not mean it cannot be adopted by big biz

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