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rashdanml

Free and/or Open-source Alternatives to many Common Programs

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Windows alternative: Linux or BSD

 

;)

Luckily for me, there's http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/202063-linux-distribution-choosing-guide/ 


Interested in Linux, SteamOS and Open-source applications? Go here

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(PS: no need to pardon a bump on this thread, we'll back you up if the powers get testy)

We won't. ;)

It's a legitimate thread maintenance bump after all, not just

a "OP wants more views" kinda bump, at least IMHO. 

 

Hm, well then, that sounds like a thread I need to take a look

at. :D


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I wonder whether at some point Valve will outsource a fork of SteamOS for desktop users. Something that comes with libre office and other programs which desktop users need, I could see the potential of such a distro and Valve will outsource it since it's outside of their area of expertise... Or they may just continue to rely on Ubuntu and other Debian based distros to attract desktop users to Linux.

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I wonder whether at some point Valve will outsource a fork of SteamOS for desktop users. Something that comes with libre office and other programs which desktop users need, I could see the potential of such a distro and Valve will outsource it since it's outside of their area of expertise... Or they may just continue to rely on Ubuntu and other Debian based distros to attract desktop users to Linux.

They probably won't have to outsource it themselves, a community developer might take it on and create a fork of SteamOS and maintain it themselves. That's basically how many distributions came about - people starting with Debian and created Ubuntu, which itself spawned many derivatives. 

 

Or they could just leave it as is and provide SteamOS with the necessary repositories to let the user decide how they want to set up the desktop. 


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I wonder whether at some point Valve will outsource a fork of SteamOS for desktop users. Something that comes with libre office and other programs which desktop users need, I could see the potential of such a distro and Valve will outsource it since it's outside of their area of expertise... Or they may just continue to rely on Ubuntu and other Debian based distros to attract desktop users to Linux.

I don't think you quite understand... steamOS desktop is just Debian. I don't get why everyone seems to think that Valve has made some amazing new OS that is completely different to all other versions of Linux (or even slightly different/better). Just take your favourite linux distro and install steam on it and you have a better desktop gaming experience than steamOS is (because big picture sucks for desktop use).


I don't work for Floatplane Media, so any Floatplane comments that I make are my own and may be incorrect or in conflict with the official view.

 

For Floatplane support, please use the wizard linked in this topic

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I don't think you quite understand... steamOS desktop is just Debian. I don't get why everyone seems to think that Valve has made some amazing new OS that is completely different to all other versions of Linux (or even slightly different/better). Just take your favourite linux distro and install steam on it and you have a better desktop gaming experience than steamOS is (because big picture sucks for desktop use).

If you bothered to read my full post you will see that even I mentioned that Valve may well continue rely on other debian based distros to attract desktop users. I am well aware that steamOS is not some magical distro it just comes with the correct proprietory drivers and some other stuff to make it ready for gaming out of the box. I am currently using Kubuntu, not steamOS.

 

I was merely posing a hypothetical question since despite the fact that there are other debian distros, steamOS seems to have got a section of Windows gamers interested in linux, purely because Valve is involved. And these guys may well try Linux if there was a desktop distro out of the box which had Valve's invovlment upstream. That may be one possible tactic to push Linux market share.

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I was bored one late evening so I then decided to mark this up in latex so it looks pretty :P

 

\documentclass[12pt,a4paper]{article}\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}\usepackage[left=1in,right=1in,top=1in,bottom=1in]{geometry}\usepackage{hyperref}\author{rashdamnl}\title{Free and Open-source Alternatives to Common Programs}\begin{document}\maketitle\section*{Introduction}With the advent of SteamOS, a good portion of gamers will likely switch to using it for their gaming needs. It won't really be long before more games start supporting Linux natively; newer games will definitely be supporting it as early as 2014, older games are constantly being ported over. Gaming on Linux is gaining momentum, but what about other productivity tools? Windows is still the king of OS's due to the wide range of applications natively supported, from Office to Graphics tools to 3D modelling, CAD/CAM and many other areas. Most of these applications are proprietary and closed-source and won't run on Linux natively.\\ The purpose of this topic is to highlight some of the many free and/or open-source alternatives to many proprietary Windows programs. Free doesn't necessarily mean open-source, and that difference will be highlighted where applicable. Open-source software isn't restricted to Linux only - many of them can be cross-platform. Many of them can also be cross-compiled from Linux source to run on Windows. Proprietary alternatives are only included for programs that are both low-cost and worth paying for.\\One caveat to be aware of: The programs listed are merely alternative options to proprietary tools. In some specific cases, they won't act as replacements for the paid programs, due to paid programs having a vastly superior feature set. However, for the average user, the free alternatives are more than adequate. I personally tend to look at what people have done using the free alternative and compare them to the paid option, comparing their capabilities and not their specific feature sets. Of course, this may change in the future, due to the open-source nature of most of these programs: the necessary functionality can be added in my anyone.\\So, let's begin!\newpage\tableofcontents\newpage\section{Microsoft Office}Perhaps the most widely used and adopted set of tools for productivity. There are, however, more than a fair share of free and open-source options that are on par with Office, with one key exception: the free alternatives aren't capable of saving to .docx or any of the newer Office formats, but they are capable of reading them. That's not a major problem though: it's recommended to use the older .doc format due to being easier to work with. PDF is also a far superior format for sharing documents.\subsection{Open-Source}\begin{enumerate}\item OpenOffice.org - This is usually the first option to come to mind, and it's been around for a while. Contains all of the replacement tools for Office. However, as some of you already know, it's somewhat lacking in features. Cross-platform.\item LibreOffice - a fork of OpenOffice, with a wider range of features, and is more updated. I personally use this instead of OpenOffice and it's amazing. Cross-platform.\item KOffice/Calligra Suite - Built into KDE. It may be possible to install it as a standalone application with the necessary dependencies. Contains a wide range of tools for everything Office related. Some older versions of KOffice is available on Windows.\item TexLive - Alternative for MS Word. Specifically useful for Scientific documents (LaTeX).\item WPS - Formerly known as Kingsoft Office, WPS is a newly updated version. Runs on iOS, Android, Windows and Linux, and capable of working with .docx and .xlsx files (compatibility and formatting issues aside). Exports to PDF as well, much like LibreOffice. \end{enumerate}\subsection{Freeware/Online}\begin{enumerate}\item Google Drive - Can't say much more. Full range of Office tools online, seamlessly synced between devices. Google has also been promoting QuickOffice, which is a set of tools available on Mobile devices with Drive integration. \item SkyDrive - Microsoft's own set of online Office tools, similar to Google Drive. \end{enumerate}\newpage\section{Adobe Photoshop}High up on the list of productivity tools used by graphics designers and digital painters. \subsection{Open-source}\begin{enumerate}\item GIMP - widely seen as the best Photoshop alternative on Linux. It is also cross-platform. \item GIMPshop - Similar to GIMP, both open-source and cross-platform.\item Krita - part of Calligra Suite. It's primarily a digital painting program, which Photoshop is capable of. Linux only, with an experimental version available for Windows. \item Scribus - Specialized tool for creating publications. Cross-platform. \end{enumerate}\subsection{Freeware}\begin{enumerate}\item Paint.NET - An advanced version of MS Paint, but contains many of the basic features found in Photoshop. Available on Windows only, as it depends on .NET Framework.\end{enumerate}\section{Abobe Illustrator}Perhaps the best Vector-based graphics tools. Photoshop has some vector capabilities, but Illustrator is far superior.\subsection{Open-source}\begin{enumerate}\item Inkscape - great replacement for Illustrator. Cross-platform as well.\item LibreOffice Draw - part of the LibreOffice package. Cross-platform. \item Karbon - integrated into KDE in the Calligra Suite, making it Linux only. However, there are ways of installing KDE packages on Windows. Should be able to install it without KDE with just the dependencies. \item Xara Xtreme - Looks to be an excellent Vector-graphic editor. Available on Linux and Windows. \end{enumerate}\newpage\section{Adobe Premier/After Effects}These two are generally combined as each performs a specific group of tasks. Premiere focuses on editing, while After Effects focuses on compositing and visual effects. Most open-source options combine these features into a single application - which is great.\subsection{Open-source}\begin{enumerate}\item Cinelerra - perhaps the best option available. There are two versions, a community maintained one as well as an official one. The community version is called cinelerra-cv and is available on most Linux distributions. Not cross-platform afaik.\item Kdenlive - Similar feature set to cinelerra, but more along the lines of Premiere. Kdenlive is available on Windows through a VM image. \item OpenShot - Another option instead of Cinelerra. Primarily on Linux, but can be cross-compiled on Windows with the right set of tools (Cygwin, etc). \item Avidemux - Cross-platform and open-source. Very simple video editing, and encodes in multiple formats. \item LiVES - Available on Linux and OS X. Similar feature set to Cinelerra. \item Blender - primarily a 3D modelling program (will go into more detail below), but includes a non-linear video editor. Runs on python, which is cross-platform. \end{enumerate}\subsection{Freeware}\begin{enumerate}\item Lightworks - there's a free and premium version available. The free version is free forever. So far, Lightworks is Windows only. The Linux version is in beta.\end{enumerate}There are many other free video editors out there. A Google search will reveal at least 10 other options.\section{Autodesk Maya/3ds Max, Cinema 4D}3D modellers have perhaps used these applications. In fact, Cinema 4D's R15 was just released (as of October 2nd, 2013).\subsection{Open-source}\begin{enumerate}\item Blender -  I'm not even going to bother mentioning other options for now, as I have yet to find an option that beats it. There are plenty of projects out there done using Blender (Sintel is a perfect example of a short movie made entirely in Blender). It does everything you could possibly expect from it, along the lines of Cinema 4D and all of the other paid applications. Best of all, it's free and fully open-source.\end{enumerate}\section{Corel Painter}Perhaps the best digital painting tool out there. Has the widest range of brushes, painting media, etc.\subsection{Open-source}\begin{enumerate}\item Krita - mentioned it already. One of the best free digital painting applications available. Has excellent support for Wacom tablets. \item MyPaint - similar to Krita. Cross-platform. \item Alchemy - more of a niche program. Great for random sketching, doesn't have an undo function. \item Gimp Paint Studio - Set of tools integrated into Gimp to provide digital painting tools, brushes, etc. \end{enumerate}\section{Development Tools/IDEs}Microsoft's Visual Studio is probably one of the most common proprietary options, with development environments for C, C++, C\#, among many others. On the OS X side, there's Xcode for developing in Objective-C. This section will list some of the alternatives to using the paid programs.\subsection{Open-source}\begin{enumerate}\item Eclipse - In my humblest opinion, one of the best IDEs available. Free, completely open-source and extensible through plugins. I've personally set my installation of Eclipse to work with Python, C, C++, Java, Android, and PHP/MySQL, and that's barely scratching the surface of the amount of development environments that can be integrated into Eclipse through plugins. \item Code::Blocks - Another open-source IDE primarily for C++, but has a plugin system to easily extend functionality. Cross-platform. \item Netbeans - free and open-source, comes default with the Java Development Kit, as an optional addon. It does support development environments for multiple languages. \item XAMPP - Web development environment. There are far superior options such as Vagrant, which creates a Virtual Server and sets it up as a development environment. There are many other AMP (Apache, MySQL, PHP) stacks, as well as other options that use Nginx instead of Apache (eg: WPN-XM)\end{enumerate}\subsection{Freeware}\begin{enumerate}\item Programmer's Notepad - Supports syntax highlighting for multiple languages. Windows only. \item Visual Studio Express - The free version of Visual Studio. It's perfect for people who want to get started developing on Windows. Naturally, Windows only. \end{enumerate}\subsection{Proprietary}\begin{enumerate}\item Sublime Text - Technically paid, but a free, unlimited trial is available. It is cross-platform, and widely regarded as one of the best Text-based development environments. \item IntelliJ - Specifically for Java and Android development.\end{enumerate}\subsection{Cloud}This is a pretty unique category, as there are literally dozens of cloud-based IDEs for various languages. I'll try my best to highlight some of the best ones based on languages supported. Feel free to link me to any Cloud IDEs you know of and I will add it to the list.\begin{enumerate}\item Cloud9 - Code anywhere. Free and subscription available. Doesn't appear to have language restrictions. \item Codenvy - Free and premium subscriptions available. There are free premium packages if you plan on developing open-source projects (the way I interpret it). \end{enumerate}\section{FRAPS/Dxtory, Xsplit}By far the best video recording and streaming tools available. However, there are more than a fair share of free and open-source options.\subsection{Open-source}\begin{enumerate}\item Open Broadcaster Software - capable of streaming to Justin.tv, Twitch.tv and other streaming sites. Optionally, it'll also record to the HDD using a range of compression settings. While it is open-source, a Linux version currently doesn't exist. There is plenty of interest in a Linux version. \item GLC - The Linux FRAPS. GLC is a bit tricky to install, but is excellent on Linux. Needs to be built from source. \item Yukon - Similar to GLC. Needs to be built from source. \item SimpleScreenRecorder - Name is self-explanatory. Supports desktop and game recording, as well as streaming to Twitch.TV and other streaming services.\item Twitch Streamer - A minimal shell script designed to stream directly to Twitch. Captures from the X server directly. \end{enumerate}\subsection{Freeware}\begin{enumerate}\item FFsplit - a free streaming software available primarily on Windows. \item MSI Afterburner - one of the best free options for recording gameplay. \end{enumerate}\section{Media Players}Everyone needs a media player, whether it's combined or just for music.\subsection{Open-source}\begin{enumerate}\item VLC - easily the best media player available. Also capable of recording the desktop and there's also the possibility of a video editor being added later on. Supports Bluray with some workarounds. \item MPlayer/SMPlayer - along the lines of VLC. Cross-platform.\item aTunes - iTunes equivalent on Windows and Linux. \item Amarok - feature-rich media player. \item XBMC - great open-source media player, capable of all types of media. Particularly good for an HTPC setup. \item Audacious - open-source and available on many Linux distributions. Also cross-platform.\item Clementine - cross-platform and open-source music player. \item Plex - media streaming option along the lines of XBMC, but designed to run as a server. Ideal for a centralized media server and streaming to multiple devices (Mobile, PC, HTPC, etc).\item Windows Media Player classic - plays a wide range of formats, specifically rmvb (RealPlayer). Simple and easy to use interface. A great alternative to VLC media player, but is Windows only despite being open-source.  \item Banshee - Open-source and cross-platform media player. Great replacement for iTunes (supports iPod syncing). \item Apollo - A music player for Android. One of many options on Android.\end{enumerate}\subsection{Freeware}\begin{enumerate}\item Foobar2000 - IMO, one of the best and most configurable music players.\item Winamp - This is only included because it's one of the more popular options. I personally would not recommend it, as it is more bloated compared to other options. \item KMPlayer - Free media player on Windows. \item iTunes - self-explanatory. Windows and OS X only, with alternatives above for Linux. \item MusicBee - Free Music player available on Windows. \end{enumerate}\section{Gaming}This section is perhaps no longer needed due to SteamOS. However, for games that don't run natively on Linux (and ignoring Steam's in-house streaming option), here are the best ways to get games running on Linux:\subsection{Open-source}\begin{enumerate}\item WINE - The easiest way, supports a wide range of Windows applications and Games. Check the AppDB for specific issues with some applications. Generally, anything rated Gold and above in their database will run well. \item PlayOnLinux - essentially WINE, but with a simple GUI to make managing Games easier. Also supports various Windows applications. A full list of supported software is on their website. \end{enumerate}\subsection{Proprietary}I know the topic says Free/Open-source, but I feel like this deserves an exception:\begin{enumerate}\item Crossover - basically a paid version of WINE with better support.\end{enumerate}\section{CAD/CAM/CAE}Stands for Computer Aided Design/Manufacturing/Engineering. Prime examples of proprietary software are: SolidWorks, Unigraphics NX, Catia, ANSYS, Pro Engineer, AutoCAD, among many more. The following is a list of free and open-source alternatives. \subsection{Open-source}\begin{enumerate}\item FreeCAD - the perfect AutoCAD and Solidworks replacement. \item OpenFOAM - The best open-source alternative to ANSYS tools (primarily used for numerical simulation in Structural and Mechanical Engineering). \item Scilab - excellent replacement for MATLAB (which is cross-platform, while still proprietary). Scilab is the free and open-source equivalent based on Python.\item Octave - very similar to Scilab and MATLAB. \item Scipy - a python extension specifically for scientific and simulation-based calculations. \item CAElinux - Should really belong in a section of its own, as it's an entire distribution built around CAE. \end{enumerate}\section{Torrent Clients}The most common ones are BitTorrent and uTorrent, among others. Most of these clients are free, but aren't open-source. Some of them are more bloated than others. The following is a list of free and open-source clients.\begin{enumerate}\item Deluge - Great torrent client. I used it briefly; supports extra features through plugins. Cross-platform.\item Transmission - Same as Deluge, free and open-source. Runs on many Linux distributions. \item rtorrent - Generally installed through the repositories of whichever distribution. Terminal based, very simple yet powerful. Optionally, rutorrent can be installed to give it a web-based interface. These two are a very popular choice for a dedicated server running as a Torrent box (frequently referred to as a seedbox). \item qBittorent - Cross-platform and open-source. \item Tixati - Heard about this one more recently. Runs on Windows and Linux. \end{enumerate}\section{Instant Messaging/Chat programs}Not really a category that needs to be included, as most are free. However, not all are open-source. The only proprietary paid program I know of is mIRC, which is a commonly used IRC program. Some alternatives to mIRC:\begin{enumerate}\item Hexchat - an improvement over xChat. Cross platform (Windows, Linux) and open-source. Lots of features. xChat Aqua is an option for OS X.\item Irssi/Weechat - minimalist IRC program. Not suited for everyone, but has a clean interface, and fun to tinker around with. Weechat is similar to Irssi.\item Pidgin - mutli-protocol chat program. Supports IRC as well as many other common ones: Windows Live, Facebook, Jabber, Google Talk, AIM and many more.\item Jitsi - similar to Pidgin, has some nice security features.\end{enumerate}\section{Email Clients}This section contains tools that run from within the Linux terminal, and don't exist as a standalone application. Nevertheless, they are quite powerful when used correctly.\begin{enumerate}\item Mozilla Thunderbird - probably one of the most well-known email clients. Cross-platform. \item Claws Mail - An open-source email client for Linux. Cross-platform. \item Mutt - Terminal-based email client.\item Squirrel Mail - Personally used it to set up an Email server on a dedicated server (Kimsufi 2G), works wonderfully. Simple web interface for checking email.\end{enumerate}\section{Linux Terminal-based Tools}This section contains tools that run from within the Linux terminal, and don't exist as a standalone application. Nevertheless, they are quite powerful when used correctly.\begin{enumerate}\item Vi/Vim - excellent text editor for Linux. Comes pre-packaged with many Linux installers.\item Nano - also comes pre-packed with Linux installers. \item Emacs\item cmus - Terminal-based music player. \item Mutt - Terminal-based email client.\end{enumerate}\section{Antivirus}Generally not a problem for Linux due to its security features; however, there are some open-source and free options available for Windows, OS X and Linux. I haven't used the open-source ones below, so I cannot comment on its effectiveness. Nevertheless, I'll list them for people to try out.\subsection{Open-source}\begin{enumerate}\item ClamAV - Available as source code for various Linux distributions. \end{enumerate}\subsection{Freeware}\begin{enumerate}\item Avast - free and pro versions available. One of the most recommended free options. \item AVG - same as Avast. Personally find it to be a bit bloated.\item Microsoft Security Essentials - comes built into Windows 8, available for Windows 7 as well as other Windows OS's. \item Malwarebytes - Anti-malware software. \end{enumerate}\section{PDF Tools}The following section contains software used to view and manipulate PDF files (annotations, editing PDFs, combining, etc).\begin{enumerate}\item PDFCreator - print to PDF, among other features. \item Bullzip PDF - A printer driver which can be installed to print any document type as a PDF. Particularly useful for obscure file formats that can't be converted directly to PDF. \item SumatraPDF - A free PDF and ebook (.epub, .mobi) reader. \item Evince - A replacement PDF viewer that supports other file formats. \item Xournal - free and open-source software specifically replacing OneNote or other Journal applications. Supports tablet PCs, and is able to annotate PDFs. \item Stylus Labs - So far, of the Journal applications I've tried, this works the best in terms of writing performance. Xournal had an input lag that I noticed on Windows, not sure how it runs on Linux. Saves as .html files, with optional PDF export. Quite the quirky website design too. \item PDFLite - PDF Viewer and printer (converts multiple formats to PDF). Source code is freely available for compiling on Linux. \end{enumerate}\section{Miscellaneous}This section contains mostly things that don't fall into the above categories, generally free. Some of them are cross-platform. Some of the summaries below may not be very accurate, so correct me if I'm mistaken. I've only used a couple of them in the past.\begin{enumerate}\item 7-zip - Everyone should have this, everyone should love it. Much better features compared to winzip and works with many different compression formats.\item KeePass2 - encrypts and stores all of your passwords.\item Xming - view/run X (Unix/Linux) based programs on Windows.\item Cygwin/MinGW - Linux environment on Windows, can be used to compile programs from source on Windows. More involved, so usually ideal only for the tech savvy. Nice to have though, for people who want to tinker.\item PuTTY - Simple SSH Client. Good for managing servers via command line.\item Filezilla FTP - One of the best free FTP clients. Believe it also has SSH built in, but never used it.\item Ghostscript/Ghostview - viewer/interpreter for Postscript, a programming language for creating vector graphics.\item TrueCrypt - one of the best free disk encryption. Has automatic and real-time encryption of data. \end{enumerate}\section*{Conclusion}I haven't personally used many of the above applications, but it's a starting point for people interested in making the jump to Linux or SteamOS. Some of these options are a bit more involved to get running, but don't be afraid to get your hands dirty! It's an immense learning experience, and well worth learning.\end{document} 

 

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Sorry for the necro boys, but I think this needs to be pinned.

 

I was looking for it and only by chance remembered what it was called in search. Would help out a lot of people if it was more accessible to people that don't know about the thread.

 

@colonel_mortis

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Thanks @rashdanml for the thread and suggestions. I will def try some of them.

I think only a small percentage of gamers will use steam os though. Not many. Why would I dual boot/reduce the usability of my computer cuz of a OS?

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this will come in handy fora lot of people.... good job!


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Mixxx - Open source Linux DJ/MP3 Mixing applications. Replaces Tracktor DJ or Virtual DJ.

LMSS - Open source Linux music creation application. Replacement for FLStudio.

Also Skydrive is now called Onedrive.


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VMware Workstation should be added, the free alternative being Oracle's VirtualBox


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is there a reason why potplayer isnt on the list?

 

if somone wonder why I use it, its because win 10 does not have media player, and I didnt want to use vlc. and potplayer was the one I found on the net. 


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Since Adobe Reader has changed for the worse into a hideous white monster that burns my eyes out of my skull, I have been looking for an alternative that has at least these options:

 

  • Dark interface or minimum interface design
  • Ability to adjust the color of the background and font
  • not so bulky so that I can have it side by side to another window

 

Unfortunately an alternative doesn't seem to exist on Windows. I love the basic document viewer in Ubuntu, it is just what I need; lightweight, customization enabled and easy to use. Is there anything like that I can use on Windows? I really detest Adobe Reader DC. :(


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You know, Hitfilm 3 Express is a very capable video editing and compositing software, though it having a free and paid version. (I use both, btw)


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I really neeeeed an alternative to After Effect, I want to learn motion graphic.

I know that Blender is usable, but I want to see if there's another solution...  ;)


Imma noobz, using Linux, my hands on pulse, waiting for curves, 'cos commit isn't proof, but being kind is a move.  :P 

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Since Adobe Reader has changed for the worse into a hideous white monster that burns my eyes out of my skull, I have been looking for an alternative that has at least these options:

 

  • Dark interface or minimum interface design
  • Ability to adjust the color of the background and font
  • not so bulky so that I can have it side by side to another window

 

Unfortunately an alternative doesn't seem to exist on Windows. I love the basic document viewer in Ubuntu, it is just what I need; lightweight, customization enabled and easy to use. Is there anything like that I can use on Windows? I really detest Adobe Reader DC. :(

Foxit reader may work as an alternative. I think it has a dark theme. Not sure if it can adjust text/background colour though. 


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