Are you on Cloud 9.99?

Software companies are ditching retail sales and pushing consumers to digital rentals – but some people have other ideas.


A few years ago if you wanted to buy a film, an album or a piece of software you went to a shop, paid your money and took it home.  Now media and computer companies want us to rent their stuff digitally from ‘the cloud’.


You pay your yearly fee and get instant access to their service.  They limit the risk of piracy, keep you as a customer and if you don’t want to pay any more, they can also turn everything off.


But if you don’t want to rent, what are your options? Thankfully there are various groups making open source software that’s free to use – no late fees apply.


Here are some examples to get you started and give you some inspiration.  Remember that before you download anything do your research and make sure it’s right for you and you have a good anti-virus in place.




Compatible with Word, Excel and PowerPoint, LibreOffice allows you to write documents, create spreadsheets and put together presentations. (I used to use another version of this called Open Office.)




Thunderbird is an email client (a bit like Microsoft Outlook) created by the same people that make the Firefox browser.  I used this on an old PC and now have it at home on my Mac.


GIMP (Mac)

An alternative to Adobe’s Photoshop, GIMP has lots of features but is accordingly a bit complicated.  If you know what you’re doing when comes to image editing, jump in. (Windows)


Another painting program, this one is simpler and easier to use than GIMP.   It was actually started as university project and meant to be a free replacement for Microsoft Paint.  Who said students were layabouts?

There are 5 comments for this article
  1. Euroffice Customer at 1:51 pm

    Tez – all I did was download it, then follow the prompt to drag the Thunderbird icon to the Applications folder. This was a couple of days ago. Of course I can’t guaratee it’ll be the same for you.

  2. Euroffice Customer at 1:50 pm

    There was always something special about getting the latest Pink Floyd album and studying the incredible artwork that came with it, now it’s been replaced by downloads it doesn’t quite have the same appeal 🙁

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