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We'll start with the questions, followed by the verbose narrative behind them:
There are often discussions or debates about which software programs are better for certain purposes or functions. For example, AutoCAD Civil 3D vs Microstation, or PCSWMM vs. HEC-GeoRAS, or TR-55 vs. HEC-HMS, or… you get the idea. Largely, these comparisons are between software programs that are within the same general category, 'paid, proprietary' or 'free, publicly available'. I'm interested in getting some discussion going about free or very cheap, preferably open-source software.
There are many reasons why someone might want open-source software as opposed to proprietary software, including but not limited to:
I have had a personal fascination with open-source software for the above reasons, largely the first. I'm starting my own business now, and while I would happily continue using AutoCAD Civil 3D and the associated Autodesk programs, the cost ($2,000-2,700/year) is a major overhead expense for a new business with unknown workload and income. This is also just one of many software programs/platforms I'm likely to need. Free alternatives are often barely classifiable as "alternatives" since they don't perform near the same range of functions.
Anecdote: I had an older MacBook I needed to "refresh" with a format and reinstall. I decided to switch it to a Linux operating system and go open-source with all the software. After the initial installation, all seemed great. Day 2, I had trouble with a basic website because the web browser didn't have whatever it needed to play some basic video. Unlike the mainstream operating systems, it wasn't as simple as "click to install." As I started to research the steps necessary to get my most basic web-browsing to work, I quickly realized I needed more "free" time or computer knowledge than I had. I asked a knowledgeable friend, and he told me a friend once told him "Linux is free, as long as your time is worthless." I reformatted and installed the Mac OS again.
Sorry for the long delay in response! I've been meaning to jump back into Collaborate, but keep allowing other priorities to hold my time. And thank you.I've been meaning for a while to spend some dedicated time and energy learning the HEC suite, specifically RAS/GeoRAS and HMS. Ah, time... Abundant in its raw form, rare in its "free" form.I've also only played around with QGIS a little, but the learning curve was kind of steep, in good part because I wasn't even really proficient, or literate, in ArcGIS first.Your idea for several small/er companies or individuals sharing a license is a GREAT idea. Let's keep that in mind. The fees for some of the software I use in my work are heavy, and only even affordable for the organization I work for part-time because it's non-profit, and the Autodesk AECC suite is $99/year instead of $2,700/year or whatever the "retail" subscription rate is. I couldn't afford as an individual starting a company to have any of the software I normally use.
I like DesignCAD 3D Max $150 one-time (2D version is $60) which reads and writes Autocad files. It started life as a DOS program so it's been around for a while. Has quite a different interface and design approach, but in a couple of days you get used to it. I run it on my Mac Pro under Parallels but it needs a lot of resources for decent performance (as does Acad). The 2D version is probably better in this regard. Here's a link to some native Mac drafting programs but I have no experience with them them.
Regards / Derm
------------------------------James Wood M.ASCEDermod Wood Assoc. LLCPittstown NJ------------------------------
------------------------------James Wood M.ASCEDermod Wood Assoc. LLCPittstown NJOriginal Message:Sent: 01-18-2021 10:08 AMFrom: Ari DanielsSubject: Software Options/Alternatives – focus on open-source
Ah, yes! I often forget about the "smaller" additions to the list. I use 7-zip because it's the one that works. And I use OBS any time I have do a screen capture to illustrate a process for someone. I'm not proficient with it, and don't really know yet now to dial in the proper settings to get what I'll call "appropriate" file sizes on my videos, but it works, reliably, seems like it's actively maintained and developed, and of course, free!
OH! I almost forgot ProjectLibre for project management, particularly scheduling and resource allocation. It's a mostly-there open source/free substitute for Microsoft Project. It's good for most projects of small to moderate size, though the resource balancing functionality is pretty consistently the part that people find lacking.