Microsoft software isn't all bad.
But it's expensive, it compromises your privacy,
and it's not as good as it's cracked up to be.
Good news: there are alternatives!
Microsoft doesn't have a monopoly... but they do a good job of making it look like their technology is the only viable option. It seems you can't buy a computer without buying a lot of Microsoft software preinstalled... the price of which goes to pay for all those empty "feel good" ads for Big Software.
But alternatives are out there. Higher quality alternatives, less costly alternatives, more free alternatives. In a free society with a free market you can seek out information, compare, and choose what works best for you. That sometimes puts you out of step with the Joneses. But like poet Robert Frost said... taking the road less traveled really does make all the difference.
This site provides information - a quick and incomplete intro - about alternatives to Microsoft products and services. You've heard the slick pitches from Microsoft, so this site tells the other side of the story... actually the other sides. Click the Microsoft icons above to see information about some of the alternatives to each product. (If you don't speak Geek, click on the grey glossary links for a pop-up English translation and explanation.)
The items on these lists are flagged with micro-icons to indicate why each was included:
Some of the alternatives can be direct replacements for Microsoft's products (which doesn't necessarily mean they're the best), with the same functions and features. These are convenient if you're just looking for something similar.
Many of the alternatives are better, usually more stable, better-designed, or simply more powerful. They're sometimes a bit different from Microsoft's products, but that's usually a good thing; they're worth the learning curve.
Alternatives are often less expensive, or even free. But don't mistake this for "cheap". Some of the world's best software has come from volunteer programmers motivated by the challenge of solving problems, for themselves and others.
Some of the alternatives actively challenge Microsoft's dominance of the software industry, either by providing software for non-Microsoft operating systems, by promoting the use of open standards which Microsoft doesn't control, or even just putting cash into companies that provide Microsoft with real competition.
Comments? Suggestions of other alternatives to include? Send them in, to "contact me at rzero dot com" (without the spaces)
Microsoft has been involved in some rather shady dealings over the years, and some of their tactics are downright harmful to both consumers and our industry. For more info, see "What's So Bad About Microsoft?".
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