A Way Out

As a Christian we know that using illegal software is unrighteous. It is theft. If you take one year to develop a fully functional well tested software, using all your brain power and precious time, will you want someone to get it just RM5 and you don’t even earn a single cent from that RM5? Of course not, right? The bible says, “Do to others, what you want others to do to you.”.

Living in this country, illegal software is so prevalent. Even though, government has enforced much action to be taken, they are still out there for you to get it, so easily. The difference is too big, just RM5 you can get a bunch of softwares worth up to RM10,000. Indeed, a big temptation to Christian. Besides this, there is another issue. The original software is expensive. A software price can cost more than a brand new pc! Example, Window XP Pro OEM version costs RM500 which is half a price of a new pc. Also, there aren’t many retail shops to get original software, especially window operating system. Many do not realize that OEM version is only entitled for those who are buying a new pc.

Being an IT student and as a Christian some many years back, I have already started to think about it. I feel bothered by myself using illegal software because of the earlier question. But, what can I do? It is too much money to buy all original softwares for a student.

But, I still want to pursue to do what is right. So since then, I began to do to find solutions. And, finally I got it. The solutions is to use freeware or open source softwares.

The first column are all the freeware or open source software you can consider to use to replace the paid softwares which is at the second column. The third column I divide it into 2 main categories of usage: Corporate and Home. Actually, there are many softwares free for home use but definitely not for corporate use. So, do check their website for confirmation and for any latest changes.

Freeware / Open Source SoftwarePaid softwaresFree forDescription
UbuntuMs Window XP/VistaHome * and Corporate useThere are few open sources Operating System (OS) besides Ubuntu. But, I think Ubuntu is one of the most user-friendly, just like Window XP.
OpenOfficeMs OfficeHome and Corporate useIn Open Office, Writer is like Ms Word; Calc is like Ms Excel; Impress is like Ms PowerPoint in Ms Office.
AVGNorton AntivirusHome use only
KerioZone AlarmHome use onlyFirewall
We-BlockerTo filter pronography
SpybotHome and Corporate useCan scan and clean up spyware.
AdwareHome use onlyCan scan and clean up spyware.
7ZipWinZipHome and Corporate use
GIMPPhotoshop or Fireworksfor graphic design
HTMLKitDreamweaverText Editor
AceFTPWS FTPto upload or download your files.
RegcleanClean up your registry
MySqlSQL Server 7 or Ms AccessDatabase
WinMergeUsed during Implementation stage in Software Development

* Home use is another term for Personal use or Non-Commercial use.

The above are just some of the freeware or open source softwares I’m using. There are more out there.

Question: I am buying a new laptop now. The vendor asked if I would like to have Window Vista Home version or Professional version. Which version should I get?
My Answer: Normally if you are classic ASP or .NET developer, you might need IIS which is available in Professional version. And if your pc or laptop will be used in a corporate network, you should buy Professional version. Otherwise, you can just get a Home version.

Question: Where can I get all these freeware or open source softwares?
My Answer: You can easily download the latest version from or from their website. They will even send a CD to your home for free. Example, Ubuntu. I went to their website and send my information and requested for a CD to install Ubuntu. Within two weeks, I received the CD and it is all free!

Question: I have downloaded Open Office and tried to use it. But, how come it is not the same like Ms Office and not easy to use?
My answer: I know that you might have some difficulty to use Open Office compare to Ms Office which you have been using all your life. But, I think this is because you are not used to it yet. But if you hang on there for a little while, you will get comfortable with it. Actually, with Open Office, example Writer, you can save your file as .doc (an extension for Ms Word). Same goes to other file type like .xls (an extension for Ms Excel) and .ppt (and extension for Ms PowerPoint).

Last but not least, say no to illegal softwares. It is stealing. And God does provide a way out (1 Corinthian 10: 13).

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