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An Open Desktop on the Cheap

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by: Guest
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Okay, so you have this old computer system hanging around and you're not quite sure what to do with it. Maybe you're a small company and you think disposing of it might be a waste yet the idea of paying an extraordinary amount of money in new software licensing isn't appealing. Perhaps you're an individual and you want to pass along your old laptop to one of your kids. Maybe you're a non-profit and need to make use of every resource you have. Regardless, you have a very simple need: you want this computer functional so that it's easy to use, can browse the Internet, edit common office documents, instant messaging, and can read email - and you don't want to pay an arm and a leg to do it. Certainly it can't be that hard to turn this old worthless machine into something useful again?

And in fact, it's not. Here's a practical approach to creating an Open Desktop using free solutions that you can download today from the Internet.

1. Operating System. Download Ubuntu Desktop Edition.

2. Internet Browser. Download Mozilla FireFox.

3. Productivity Application. Download OpenOffice.

4. Email Application. Download Mozilla ThunderBird.

5. Instant Messaging Application. Download Jabber.

A full 32-bit operating system, Ubuntu is quick and easy to install, performs better than Microsoft Windows ®, and you don't need a degree in computer science to be able to use it. It comes with a familiar graphic user interface and a friendly wizard-driven setup process.

OpenOffice is a free productivity suite capable of handling word processing, spreadsheets, database, and presentation graphics, and is fully compatible with Microsoft Office ® documents.

Meanwhile, ThunderBird is a simple to use email client that has similar capabilities to Microsoft Outlook Express ®.

Mozilla FireFox and OpenOffice comes with Ubuntu so no extra downloading is necessary; you can get the latest versions by downloading them directly from their respective websites after installing Ubuntu.

Finally, Jabber is a cross-platform instant messaging solution. Use Jabber if you have multiple instant messaging accounts with the likes of Google Talk, Yahoo! IM, or MSN Messenger to bring all of that messaging into one place.

Through installing these applications in the order presented, you can turn that doorstop of a computer into something useful again. Bear in mind that the Open Desktop won't be able to run some of your favorite Microsoft applications, but if you want something that connects to the Internet and performs some very rudimentary functions, this configuration is easy to implement. We'll see you online!

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