We run across lots of different ways to do work... and avoid work. When it comes to computers and software, we've probably seen it all. Here are some great solutions that we have seen over the last few months. We encourage you to try them, and support them - if you like them. Tested, and approved... These are great!
For E-mail and Newsgroups we suggest that you investigate Thunderbird by Mozilla. It is absolutely free and is completely configurable with Themes, News Readers, and Spell Checks. Best of all, there's a release for every operating system... Windows, Linux, Unix, Solaris... You name it! It is a great alternative to Outlook Express, or Outlook.
For Web surfing we suggest that you investigate Firefox by Mozilla. This browser is absolutely free and has many more features than Internet Explorer. You can have multiple sites open, in one window - which is a feature called tabbed browsing. It also renders websites better than Internet Explorer. Best of all, there's a release for every operating system you can think of! You will not be let down by this Internet Explorer replacement.
As an Operating System, similar to Microsoft, we suggest that you investigate Ubuntu or Gentoo. And, in that order. If you are interested in trying out linux without modifying your current system, try knoppix! If you are interested in more of a substantial solution, perhaps you should try a "Virtual Machine." A virtual machine will create just that, a virtual machine that lays on top of your current operating system. It's free and a great way to learn. Download the VMWare Player and your choice of linux distribution. We might even supply some alternatives for you to download here. They will become links as they are preparedThere are releases/flavors of Linux for all platforms. They are all absolutely free, though some users who experience the value and money saved, contribute to the programmers. Many of the Windows applications will also run on the linux platform. The community which surrounds linux is very helpful and understanding. Before you take the plunge, understand what you are doing. Let us know if you need help.
We at Immersi have chosen an Open Source project to support, and it is based on the KDE Desktop for linux. Which, is soon to be showing up on Windows platforms as well. We are supporting the following projects by supplying hosting at DreamHost:
Koffice: One of the less mature office suites for linux. It, however, does have the greatest potential to grow into a fully functionally and fully integratable solution. With a little more help, this office package could be an easy replacement for packages such as Microsoft Office or Open Office... It has database abilitiess, project timline abilities, graphical abilities... all sorts of abilities. Very interesting to use, and it won't take two hard drives to hold it.
Kpdf: a great solution for reading pdfs. Much more trim than the Adobe PDF reader, this reader can do almost anything! And, once again... Open Source. Which means it's free. Check it out.
kdesvn-build: the best way to build the latest KDE source code, with the least amount of effort. This script was coded by the infamous "mpyne." Ok, perhaps no so famous, but he should be.
KmPlayer: a up and coming fully functioning media player for KDE.
DreamHost: is by far the best host on the internet. Why worry about the security issues, upgrades, and quirks of running an e-mail server, MySQL server, and all that other "stuff." They can take care of it all for you, and do it on the smallest of budgets. Check it out!