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A layman guide on free ware and low cost software, introductory guide to Inexpensive Serious Software

ST Fan's Guide to Inexpensive Serious Software

Sources of Free Software

Beastie wih load of FreeBSD software, BSD Daemon Copyright 1988 by Marshall Kirk McKusick.  All Rights Reserved. Permission to use the daemon may be obtained from: Marshall Kirk McKusick 1614 Oxford St Berkeley, CA 94709-1608 USA or via email at One safe and easy way of getting free software is thru computer magazines and books. Most computer magazines these days bundle one or two CDs with every issue. Usually these CDs include software featured in the magazine, shareware or trial version of software that you can upgrade to the full version, games that have only the first few levels that hopefully you get hooked and upgrade to the full version, etc. Commercial software that are about one version behind the current version in the market are also offered free with some magazines. Many people pay hundreds of Ringgit for it and would still be using it even after several new versions were released. For example I received Print Shop Pro Version 5.0 a few years back as a gift from my wife and until today I am still using it happily. The current version of PSP is Version 8; it has a few cool stuffs but I can live without it. Currently I use the more powerful GIMP or GNU Images Manipulation Program for most of my graphics and digital photo needs.

Computer books and the "How-To" books are other sources of free software where you can find many versions of Linux and programming software.

THE STAR August 05, 2003

One of my favourite source of free software is from The Star Newspaper's IN-TECH CD. The Star newspaper publishes this CD yearly with a whole year of In-Tech pullout burnt into this CD. Besides being a source of free software you also get a CD with lots of reference materials in it too. You can find many software and tutorials on many computing subjects on this CD. Several of the software that I used to create this web pages came from this IN-TECH CD. This includes MAX's HTML beauty++ME, StarOffice5.2 and WS_FTP LE. Unfortunately The Star newspaper discontinued the production of IN-TECH CD in December 2002. However you can find bundle CD with useful software in many local computer magazines now.  

Software from these magazines, books and newspaper CDs are the easiest way to get free software and many are tested by the publishers before being burnt into CDs. It saves you the trouble and time of downloading them from the internet. However the time it takes for them to test and review the software before collecting, publishing and burning them into CDs means that the software will not be the latest. If the CD doesn't provide the software you need, there are still plenty of other software you can find on the Internet that will meet your needs. You can search for it using your favourite search engine like Yahoo!, Google and Altavista, etc. Download and FTP site such as Tuscow, Rocket Download and many others have a freeware site that you can search for the software you need. My favourite is ZDNet. In this web site you can find many good software and ZDNet even provide a rating and user review. Some of the software that I obtained this way are GIMP, Kerio Personal Firewall, Jump in to Free Software! Notetab Lite, Images Navigator, etc. Before you download any software take precaution and install a good Anti-virus system on your PC and take time to learn and understand how to use it thoroughly.

If you are serious about free software you must check out Free Software Foundation's website at to see what they do and who they are. GNU is the brand name of the software under Free Software Foundation and GNU website is at Most of GNU software are for Linux and UNIX however many good ones are being ported to Windows platform. OK, now you know where to find all these goodies come let's jump in!




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