by Author David Carpenter

Published on

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Free Software for Creativity that you may not know about...

You don't have to use a Windows PC or a Mac to make music, videos, animations, or edit photos.

If you do use a Windows PC or a Mac, you don't have use the same software as everyone else.

Free and Open Source software takes a different approach to proprietary software producers, that respects a users freedom to inspect the code they are running on their machines and allows them to run it as they like. Most of it is also freely distibuted, so it's ok for you to give a copy of it to a friend!

So what does this mean in practice.

To me the biggest issue this can solve is affordable access to technology. A second hand, or repurposed machine, running (for example) Ubuntu Studio gets someone up and running without additional software or licensing costs. While newer faster machines always help, it can run on older, less powerful machines - you might not be able to record a full orchestra, but you can get started! and that means getting started in audio, video, photography, animation, and so on.

If you don't want a full studio, but just a few applications, then there are lots of Free and Open Source software choices that also work on Windows and Mac. I regularly use:

I have heard people say that you should be training young people to use industry standard software, and I'm not going to argue that point. Access to those tools however is an issue for many people, and if it's not accessible, then affordable accessible technology does provide a way for people to create, It also allows people to build transferable skills. Cropping an image is a skill, recording to a click track is a skill, etc, etc. If people understand those creative skills, then they should be able to transfer that knowledge to different tools.

And of course, this approach is not limited to just creative software. The operating system behind Ubuntu Studio is Linux (Ubuntu Studio is a distribution of Linux that includes additional useful software) - it's an alternative to the Windows or Mac bit of your computer, and there are free and open source programs that run on it to do your office work, watch movies, play music, programme, etc, etc. I use Linux as my everyday computing platform to get my work done, as well as to create music.

If anyone want's to talk to me about any of this, I'm more than happy to help.