Limerick, Ireland has embraced Free Software in a move that demonstrates a continued global shift away from vendor lock-in. Writing a lot has forced me to learn how to write efficiently. Again, Free Software came to the rescue in the form of Gedit and Notepad++ tabs.
Limerick Loves LibreOffice
Limerick is the fourth largest city in Ireland, and they have fully embraced the concept of Free Software. Limerick recently made the switch to LibreOffice on its government computer systems. It cited the needs to reduce costs and reduce vendor lock-in as the reasons for the shift. Limerick also turned to an open source email system, Zarafa, for its government email services.
Limerick follows a popular trend among companies and universities of moving away from proprietary software solutions. The trend appears to be spreading globally driven largely by the immense popularity of Android, PostgreSQL, Drupal, WordPress, and other open source solutions. I have never been to Limerick, but I would like to see this trend become more popular.
Writing in FOSS: Gedit and Notepad++
As a college student, I write a lot of papers. In my current class, I research and write two 1500 word papers a week. This has been quite a challenge, but it has forced me to become very efficient. I have had to developed many techniques to write high quality content as quickly as possible. Luckily, my years in the Free Software/Open Source world came to the rescue.
For the last year or so, I would just write a paper by opening up LibreOffice, creating the sections, and then going to town. This method worked, but it was slow and inefficient. I recently had an idea that came from my computer programming experience: why not take advantage of the tabs in Gedit(GNU/Linux) and Notepad++(Windows)? When I write a complex computer program, I typically break it up into manageable sections. A large paper is really no different. Instead of writing a paper as a big monolithic event in LibreOffice, my idea was to break the paper into sections as tabs in Gedit or Notepad++.
Here is an example. All of the papers that I write are in APA format. APA format generally has an Abstract, Introduction, Body, Conclusion, and References. I made each of these sections a tab in Gedit/Notepad++, and I then wrote them separately. The system worked fantastically well. For example, if I was writing the body section of the paper, I could quickly switch to the References tab to get one of my references for citation in the body. The system does a very good job of compartmentalizing the sections of the paper. Once all of the sections were done, I would simply cut and paste them into the LibreOffice document. In LibreOffice, I could then apply all of the formatting and run the spell checker.
The world of Free Software looks great. I recently had to write a paper on Pandora, the music streaming service. I had never tried it, so I signed up. I would have loved to have written about it, but it is not really Free Software related. However, it is a fantastic service. I am listening to it now as I write. I created a Basia Radio Station, based on my favorite female singer. If you want to learn the Pandora story on your own, it really is a great one. Very inspirational. Anyway, I digress.
Have a great week. I’ll see you in TLWIR 47!
Hillenius,Gijs. (2012, March 19). Limerick city council increasingly turning to open source. Retrieved from http://goo.gl/N2Rzg