Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Free Software

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Free Software

Proven way to maximize your business on a tight budget


The Lake County Economic Development Department offers numerous incentives to help businesses grow — rapid plan review inspections and approval; $2,500 job bonus tax refunds in enhancement areas; qualified high-skills new job $3,000 tax refunds; additional bonuses of $1,000 and $2,000 to offset part of an employee’s higher salary; and sales tax credits on building materials, manufacturing machinery and equipment and on power consumption used in manufacturing

Visit, click on “Business Support” and find the appropriate topic. Most incentives require little more than filling out an application.

But what if your needs relate to computer software? Where do you go when you’re still trapped in Microsoft Office 2003 (or 2007 or 2010) and lack the funds to purchase up-to-date software to produce impressive documents, spreadsheets, graphs and images to make effective presentations? What do you do when you can’t afford programs that can make your business run more efficiently?

There is a solution. It’s called “Open Source,” which means “free.” Legitimately free.

“Open Source is a development method for software that harnesses the power of distributed peer review and transparency of process. The promise of open source is better quality, higher reliability, more flexibility, lower cost, and an end to predatory vendor lock-in,” according to the Open Source Initiative published materials.

Translation: you can download various types of “open-source” software for free. You will not be charged royalties or fees, and the source code for that software is made available to others to be freely used, modified and shared.

How do you access Open Source? Start at or Google “Open Source programs.” You’ll find free software for accounting, document management, report servers and much, much more.

Finally, software life, liberty and the achievement of happiness will be yours from the successful pursuit of Open Source.

Editor’s note:
George Makrauer resides in The Villages and is president of the COMAD GROUP management consulting firm.

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