Open Source Web and Graphic Design Programs

The cost of many professional software applications or investing in an online design degree to get a professional on staff to solve your software needs can be astronomical for business owners. Even businesses that require only a few web or graphic changes are confronted with the prices of software suites, like Adobe, that offer countless uses for the professional web or graphic desinger, but may seem like a huge investment when it comes to simple graphic manipulations or website changes. Largely due to these costs, people and businesses are turning to a more cost-efficient solution in order to fulfill their web and graphic needs: the use of open source software.

Beyond being free, open source software enables the user to view the code that was used to create and compile the program. While this may be of little to no concern for many people who just want an economical solution to high-cost software, by keeping the source “open” to the public, the possibilites for editing the programs and adapting them to the needs of individuals or businesses are numerous, giving more control over how a company's business runs through its various channels.

Open source programs and applications are available for all types of computer and Internet applications. Many websites run on open source applications like WordPress or Joomla, both of which can help eliminate the need for a standalone web editing program as they provide easier solutions to website maintenance. If a web editor is still needed, then programs like Bluefish, Amaya or KompoZer (formerly Nvu) both provide the necessary framework for computer-oriented website design, development and updates. Replacing graphic programs like PhotoShop or FireWorks with open source software is established through programs such as Gimp (or GimpShop) or the web-based Picnik. Illustrator, a program for computerized illustration, can be replaced with Inkshop for animation, Pixen gets great reviews.

The downside to many web or graphic design open source programs and applications is the lack of motivation to provide technical (and customer) support. Because programmers are not compensated for their time and effort through the sale of the software, technical support tends to be the lowest priority. If there are questions about the software and how to operate it, or any technical issues, much of the support provided is through community-based forums and other discussion sites on which other users impart their experience regarding a problem with the software. Many times, these community members are willing to help provide solutions, but there can be a risk of running into trouble with people who, intentionally or not, give bad advice that can have catastrophic effects on a computer, website and business.

For the economically-minded business, web or graphic designer, a suite of open source tools can be the solution to eliminating overhead costs while still providing professional web or graphic design. With the abundance of open source programs available, even the pickiest of web or graphic designers can have a fully-functional, professional tool for design that allows for higher profits, incredible designs and maybe even a little computer-based rebellion in the face of the corporate world.

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