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Loving the Linspire Desktop - page 2

Linspiration

  • August 30, 2004
  • By Drew Robb

Basic Small Business Applications
Although you'll find tons of software online that runs on Linux, most sites don't provide enough easy-to-understand guidance on which tool does what. Linspire takes a different approach. It comes preloaded with only the most basic applications on its installation disk or on the download. The good news is that these programs are enough for most users to get down to business. The applications include:

  • OpenOffice Productivity Suite �The Linux alternative to Microsoft Office. This gives you a decent word processor, spreadsheet, presentation and drawing program.
  • Google Search Engine � another basic tool for finding information on the Internet.
  • CD Creator � While it would be nice to afford backup software, the reality is that most small businesses don't backup their data. This CD creator makes it a piece of cake to burn CD's so you have your most important data available in case your computer dies.
  • An Instant Messaging Tool � Don't be put off by instant messaging's reputation as a teenage toy. Many large corporations use it as a quick way to stay in touch on business matters.
  • MySIPphone � This software lets two or more people make Internet phone calls to each other. The calls don't cost anything if you call someone using the same (or a similar) application, and calls to regular phones are inexpensive with no taxes or monthly fees.


The Linspire Desktop
The Linux-based Linspire operating system is inexpensive, simple and straightforward.

 MySIPphone
Use your computer to make free, Internet phone calls with Linspire's MySIPphone software.
Linspire also includes a spam/pop-up blocker, a firewall, RealPlayer media player, an MP3 player, a few games, Micromedia Flash Player and a video player.

If you want more applications, just click on the desktop icon labeled CNR to go to Linspire's Click-n-Run Warehouse.

It offers about 2000 additional applications for free download. Like Linspire, CNR organizes applications into categories such as Audio & MP3, Business & Finance, etc.

For instance, if you like PhotoShop but don't like the price, click on CNR's Multimedia & Design category and then select Image Editing. There you'll find a great freebie called Gimp. Clicking on the Gimp button both downloads and installs the software on your desktop.

Alternatively, if you click on Business & Finance, you get a choice of nearly 100 free goodies to choose from:

  • Desktop Publishing: Scribus � a page layout program similar to Adobe PageMaker, QuarkXPress or Adobe InDesign.
  • Accounting: Budget � a budgeting and money management program, and Linux General Ledger does a great job on business accounting and bookkeeping for personal, small business and client write-up.
  • Project Management: Planner � a project management program that can help build project plans and track the progress of a project. It supports various charts and includes a calendar module.

You'll also find your choice of calculators, spreadsheets, word processors, presentation programs, personal finance software, charting, databases, barcode generators and time management tools.

Most of these resources are free though a few, such as Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Star Office, will cost you.

Here's the catch you've no doubt been waiting for. CNR costs $49.95 per year for unlimited downloads.

For SMBs on a tight budget, SourceForge offers hundreds of free Linux operating systems and thousands of free applications. Pretty much everything you can find in the CNR warehouse, in fact.

But for small businesses that don't have the tech savvy or the time to tinker with configurations and want to keep their tech really basic, Linspire will pay for itself in the amount of time it saves you. Fast downloads and easy to find-and-install applications � what more could you ask for?

Drew Robb is a Los Angeles-based freelancer specializing in technology and engineering. Originally from Scotland, he graduated with a degree in geology from Glasgow's Strathclyde University. In recent years he has authored hundreds of articles as well as the book, Server Disk Management by CRC Press.

This article originally appeared on the JupiterWeb site SmallBusinessComputing.com.

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