I became interested in open-source software in 2000, when I first learned Linux. My passion for it now is based on improved IT operations. Not having to worry about versions of software across an organization being out of sync because of licensing costs and management is so liberating. So many resources are wasted on tracking licenses and keeping up to date on purchasing new ones or determining what new equipment you can buy and how it impacts the software you own versus must pay to get upgrades for. Also, do you have to buy the new version of Microsoft software to be able to test it? What if you want to consider another product, do you have to buy those to test them? Licensing truly makes for a tangled web.
Enter open-source “free” software. Not all open-source software is free, but enough of it is that the terms are often used interchangeably. Download and try the programs. The cost is typically the time it takes you to learn them. Most are designed using accepted operating standards to lessen the learning and adapting curve for users. Each typically works with the data of commonly used programs, so adapting them into your environment does not typically force you to change the standards that you exchange documents with (ie docx and xlsx).
Linux is probably the best known Open Source software, but hot on its trails is Libre Office. Where various distributions of Linux typically serve as a replacement for Windows operating systems, Libre Office replaces “Office” applications like Word and Excel. Many successful apps like Libre Office are written with versions for Windows, Linux, and Macintosh. So even if you don’t want to switch to Linux, you can take advantage of Libre Office. Try downloading a copy to your computer and see what I mean
Want to give Linux a try? Start with YUMI, a free tool that you can use in Windows to find and download different Linux versions. You start with a simple USB thumb drive and YUMI will help you download multiple versions of Linux to try out. It steps you through the process and you then have a tool to start-up any computer with to try out Linux. Most versions are test-drive that you can use without impacting the existing installation of Windows with. I use it frequently since many Linux distributions are utilities I use to fix computers with. It can be a great tool to clean viruses off of your friends Windows computers with.
So what are you waiting for? Give open source software a try. Certainly you have better things to do with the money you are spending on vendors like Microsoft and Apple that try to lock you into their perpetual renewal systems that lock you in tighter every cycle.