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Students can save hundreds of dollars on software for classes. Photo: Connor Allen /UVU Review

As students gear up for a semester of studying and endless assignments, a majority of them are doing their coursework on computers. However, there is one problem: the software often required for these activities is expensive.

 

Fortunately for UVU students, there are many options that can cut down on these costs – these are open source software.

 

Intrepid computer programmers design open source software for everyone, for free. An open source programmer sees a public need and fulfills it. Whether that need is photo editing, design, word processing or even an operating system. OpenOffice.org is an example of an open source alternative to Microsoft Office, the world-famous productivity software.

 

“Open Office provides more options than many of the other writing tools that I have used on computers,” said Cody Barnes, a Pre-Engineering student.

 

Many students benefit from open source software alternatives and many more can. There are a bevy of sites that deal with open source software. One of the more popular websites is CNET, which has a wide variety of open source software as well as free trials for commercial software.

 

OSALT.com is overall the best option for open source software on the web. From their homepage, just type in the name of the commercial program needed. The website will bring up all of the alternatives for that program as well as descriptions, reviews, tech specs and download links.

 

Open source software is an effective substitute but it does have some drawbacks. The main drawback comes from its open source nature. With no commercial backing, there may be limited tutorials and the software may be harder to use in general. Luckily, this is the exception rather than the rule.

 

The bottom line is that there is always another way to get assignments done other than commercial software.

 

By John Carlsen
Science and Technology