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Package of free programs for performing the design work
In the conditions of global financial crisis it is necessary to find and use officially-free software.                                       

The basic feature of current financial crisis is that it has most of all struck on the advanced firms. Really, as in Russia long time counterfeit operating system Microsoft Windows was used, on it the majority of employees the advanced firms anyhow using the computer technics has learnt to work. Now, when requirements to use of the licence software have become tougher, dependence on the basic dollar component of the software products necessary for habitual work of users, becomes the most notable in view of a strong rate fluctuation of dollar.

Now the primary goals are, first, continuous process maintenance, secondly, restoration of volumes of production in unit of time and, accordingly, profits for it.

The decision of the first problem is based on search of such free programs which do not demand conversion training of users. The decision of the second problem – introduction of innovative technologies and expansion of commodity markets. The last is possible thanks to expansion of a site of the company, increase of its competitiveness as within the limits of global crisis when profits of all companies fall, profits of the web companies which are engaged in advertising in the environment the Internet, grow. Development of innovative production is put on shoulders of IT-departments of the companies and owners of the enterprises.

It is necessary to notice that in the conditions of crisis collective work is very important. And it can be promoted by introduction of quality standard ISO 9001-2001 and the corresponding software package for teamwork of users through local (in case of the unallotted enterprise) a network.

To definition of the list of programs necessary for designers we will apply ideology ISO 9001-2001.

The basic process of the firm performing design works, output with the maximum quality (konkurentno-capable), the maximum volume, the maximum profit (the minimum expenses) is.

Let's consider subprocesses with which it is possible to allocate.

Let's consider quality management system.

First, free vector editor Draw from package OpenOffice for the analysis, documenting and reorganisation of difficult business processes (paid analogue – the tool of modelling Platinum BPwin).

Secondly, free web services of search systems for search of qualitative programs with the least (free) in the cost, design works necessary for performance.

Thirdly, free web services for advancement of a site of the company in the environment the Internet. We will consider responsibility of a management.

For planning – free program Time Line (paid analogue – Microsoft Project).

For the analysis from outside managements – free the editor of spreadsheets Calc from package OpenOffice (paid analogue – Microsoft Excel from package Microsoft Office).

Let's consider process of improvement of professional skill of employees.

First, free Internet browser Internet Explorer which is a part of an operating system.

Secondly, free utility DjVu-Browser for viewing of electronic books in format DjVu.

Thirdly, free the manager of PDF-files KPDF (paid analogue – Acrobat Reader). We will consider processes of life cycle of production: the processes connected with the consumer, designing and working out, estimating, safety and the decision of auxiliary problems.

Let's consider the processes connected with the consumer.

For marketing free the post client Microsoft Outlook which is a part of an operating system, for convenient multiuser work – free Thunderbird (paid analogue – the Bat), free the editor of web-pages Writer from package OpenOffice for editing of pages of a site of the company (paid analogue – Microsoft FrontPage from package Microsoft Office), free a control system of a content of a site of company Joomla and free means of creation and demonstration of presentations Impress from package OpenOffice (paid analogue – Microsoft PowerPoint from package Microsoft Office).

For preparation of contracts free text editor Writer from package OpenOffice (paid analogue – Microsoft Word from package Microsoft Office) and free graphic editor GIMPshop for raster images (paid analogue – PhotoShop).

For management of the equipment (designing and working out): paid server operating system Windows Server 2008 Small Business (since 2009 Windows Server 2003 is not on sale), including delivered together with it of the driver for management of server components, paid operating system Vista Business (since 2009 Windows XP Professional is not on sale) on workplaces, including delivered together with it of the driver for management of components of the personal computer, “free” the software for work with the digital photos, delivered together with the digital camera, “free” the software for the scanning, delivered together with the scanner, “free” the software for the press, delivered together with printers and plotters, “free” the software for the automatic telephone exchange, delivered together with automatic telephone exchange, and also free program K3B for burning CD and DVD on device CDDVD RW (paid analogue – Nero).

For creation of drawings (designing and working out): paid package Autocad 2008 ( free viewer Volo View for viewing, reviewing and the press), a paid package KOMPAS ( free KOMPAS-3D Viewer), free package Blender (paid analogue – 3DS Max), free vector editor Draw from package OpenOffice (paid analogue – Microsoft Visio from package Microsoft Office) and, at last, “free” own workings out.

For estimating (designing and working out) – paid budget program Smeta.RU.

For safety (designing and working out): first, complex protection against spies and monitoring in real time for base free antispy Spyware Terminator integrated with free by antivirus ClamAV, and also free utilities for search and neutralisation of viruses from programs Kaspersky, Nod32 and DrWeb, secondly, free the built in means of an operating system for reserve copying of the data, thirdly, free the archiver 7-ZIP with possibility of protection of archives the password and enciphering of names of files for work with widespread rar-archives, free built in an operating system archive manager for work with zip-folders (paid analogue – WinRar), fourthly, free cleaner CCleaner, and, at last, the paid software for work with the electronic digital signature.

For the decision of auxiliary problems (designing and working out): free the manager of graphic files XnView (paid analogue – ACDSee), free Internet pager QIP (paid analogue – ICQ), free dictionary QDictionary (the paid translator – PROMT).

Let's consider measurement, the analysis and improvement: monitoring and measurements, the analysis of the data and improvement.

For monitoring and measurement: the paid Adviser Plus, free web help system the Adviser Plus, free a web- and local directories GOST standards and building norms and rules, free the control devices of the traffic built in operational server system, free the editor for creation and editing of formulas Math from package OpenOffice (paid analogue – Mathcad), a set free utilities for the calculations which are carried out at designing.
For the analysis of the data: free a control system of databases Base from package OpenOffice (paid analogue – Microsoft Access from package Microsoft Office), free means of the analysis of visiting of a web site from company Google.
For improvement: first, for warning actions free the text editor the Notebook and the graphic editor Microsoft Paint, a part of an operating system, for preparation of detailed instructions of the user who is hung out on workplaces, secondly, for correcting actions – free the standard office programs which are a part of an operating system (system restoration, a disk defragmentation, disk clearing) and free means of remote connection to a desktop, a part of an operating system.

Let's consider management of resources: for management of the personnel – paid 1C:Salary and Shots, for management of an infrastructure – “free” the software for management subnets the local computer network, delivered together with switchboards and switches, for management of the finance – “free” Internet system the Client-bank and paid 1C:Enterprise.

Following step is introduction of the chosen free programs. The basic difficulty at the given stage – psychological inertia of the users trained in work in paid programs, i.e. attempt of the decision of daily working problems by habitual methods by means of the counterfeit software.

Let's compare paid and free analogues of programs.

Let's reduce characteristics of paid package Autodesk 3Ds-Max (about 200 000 rbl.) and free Blender in the table.

The package Autodesk 3DS Max 9 SP 2 Blender 3D 2.45
The price 5 000$ It is free
The annual subscription, technical support Yes Is not present
Platforms Win Win, *nix, Mac
The free training version (PLE) Is not present It is not accessible
The demoversion (Trial) Has given It is not accessible
Languages French, English, informal russification Set, including Russian, but English – the best
Switching of languages Is not present All included
Popularity in manufacture Very high Low
Novelty of technology of a kernel Old Old / updated
Time for training < 2 months < 3 months
Technical support for one user Low / Good Communities
The interface Style CAD, without excesses and powerful Not as in the industrial standard, but can be more intuitively clear
The documentation Good Good
TOP import / the export, necessary in the industry
3DS It is very good It is good
COLLADA It is very good It is very good
FBX It is very good It is very good
OBJ It is very good It is good
VRML / X3D VRML 97 VRML 1& 97
Point Oven The plug-in 90% the worker
DXF It is very good It is bad
IGES It is good Is not present
STL It is very good It is good
Output compositing RPF RLA EXR EXR
Rendering (image reception on model)
Rendering Internal, mentalray Internal
Quality Excellent Good
The necessary plug-in for rendering Vray Yafray / Indigo
Quality with a plug-in Excellent Very good
Textures Baker Very good Good
The package for the industry with the greatest functionality (are accessible only in the most expensive assemblages)
Utilities for animation (IK, Char Rig, Bones, Controller, Blending...) very good Good
UV tools (Unwrap, Pelt...) – a plug-in for simplification uvw-meppinga very good Excellent
Painting Is not present Low
Modelling Excellent Good
Modifiers Excellent Good
NURBS Low Low
Dynamics / Rigid bodies Very good Very good
Soft bodies Very good Very good
Hairs Very good Good
Cloths Very good Good
Particles It is excellent It is good
Fluids Is not present Very good
Compositing Is not present Yes
Nodes-Based Workflow Is not present Is not present
Nodes-Based Materials Plug-ins Yes
Nodes-Based Compositing Is not present Yes
CG shader / Games It is excellent Yes
The higher unique characteristics Biped
ParticlesFlow
3DRT
Sculpting
Video edit
Programming by means of scripts Good Very good
Scripting language Maxscript Python
Working out in language C/C ++ Good Very good (the code of the program opened for changes)
Vue 6 xStream plugin It is not enough Is not present
Lacks The price, absence of new possibilities The interface / the documentation
Use for creation of films
The package Standard Standard with a small number of scripts
The price 5 000$ it is free
Use for design projects
The package Standard Standard
The price 5 000$ It is free
Use for training and students
The package Standard Standard
The price 5 000$ It is free
Scopes
Visualization (VIZ) / Design, design works It is excellent It is good
Films It is good It is bad
VFX / Motion It is good It is good
Games It is excellent It is bad
Web design It is bad It is good
3D in real time / a virtual reality (VR) It is excellent It is very good
The user communities and popularity
North America It is excellent It is good
Europe It is very good It is very good
Russia It is very good It is good
Asia It is very good It is bad
Let's compare characteristics of paid package Adobe PhotoShop (about 40 000 rbl.) and free package GIMPshop.

Let's consider work with photos.

In GIMP there is enough quite good tooling of colour correction: curves, levels, a mixer of channels, posterization, a ton saturation, balance of colours, brightness-contrast, decolouration.

By means of filters, tools, masks and layers with different types of imposing (only 22) it is possible:
  • to delete defects like a dust on a matrix (a stamp, a medical brush);
  • to simulate use various color filters;
  • crop photos;
  • to level the filled up horizon;
  • to clean the distortions brought by optics;
  • to correct prospect;
  • to carry out cloning of objects with the prospect account;
  • “to pull out” the lost detailed elaboration in shades and many other things.
Let's notice that management of colour is realised.

Let's consider drawing:
  • some drawing tools;
  • freely scaled brushes;
  • support of graphic tablets.
Let's consider screen filters.

Additional possibilities on correction of images throughout all work are realised in the form of screen filters. Them concern:
  • gamma correction;
  • contrast correction;
  • imitation of different types of daltonism;
  • management of colour.
Let's consider the adjusted interface:
  • floating palettes are easily grouped and will rearrange;
  • full change-over of keyboard combinations, mouse actions, and also an input equipment like Griffin Powermate is possible;
  • any menu can be transformed into freely moved window (GNU/Linux/UNIX).
Let's consider automation.

Absence of means of an automatic recording of scenarios is compensated in GIMP by a great number of languages on which it is possible to write scenarios: TinyScheme (differently Script-Fu) and Python (both complete with the program), Perl, C#, Java (experimentally, a project part gimp-sharp), etc.

By means of these tools it is possible how to write interactive scenarios and modules for GIMP, and to create images completely automatically, for example, to generate “hurriedly” images for web pages in programs CGI or to carry out package colour correction and transformations of images. For batch operation of images nevertheless packages like ImageMagick is better approach.

It is necessary to underline that package GIMPshop has been developed specially for users Adobe Photoshop on purpose to simplify migration:
  • menu points correspond to menu Photoshop;
  • the keyboard combinations Photoshop used by default;
  • the MDI-interface (the expansion placing windows with images in one window) is used.
Let's compare menu Adobe Photoshop and GIMPshop.

Adobe Photoshop Edit menu
Adobe Photoshop Edit menu

GIMPshop Edit menu
GIMPshop Edit menu

Adobe Photoshop Image – Adjustments
Adobe Photoshop Image – Adjustments

GIMPshop Image – Adjustments
GIMPshop Image – Adjustments

Adobe Photoshop Image – Rotate Canvas
Adobe Photoshop Image – Rotate Canvas

GIMPshop Image – Rotate Canvas
GIMPshop Image – Rotate Canvas
Original Gimp Tools GIMPshop Tools
Original Gimp Tools GIMPshop Tools
Let's compare characteristics of paid package Microsoft Office (MSO) (version Ultimate – nearby 34 000 rbl.) and free package Open Office (ООо).
1. Configurations of packages
Structure Ooo is fullest that provides users with all necessary toolkit in office work.
2. The review of possibilities of independent studying of packages and their interfaces are tabulated (see more low).
2.1. The interface
MSO 2007 has completely replaced the interface: system of the main menu replacement on “tapes” that demands full conversion training of the user “from zero” as enters a control system of the program which completely distinct from is used in world practice. Experience of the user in work with the previous versions MSO will not help with development MSO 2007. ООо keeps the traditional approach to formation of working space in office package. It is necessary to underline its logicality at grouping of functions in the program menu. The user working earlier in other office packages, will not have difficulties in development ООо. Considering the described difference in appearance of office packages, we will compare functionality of interfaces. Text registration (some variants of underlining, semiboldface, italics, semiboldface italics, some variants of deletions, the top and bottom indexes, a shade, a contour, an engraving, all lower case/capital, hidden and as various text effects) are in both packages. OOo, in difference from MSO 2007, gives extensive possibilities for application in text documents of mathematical calculations (in tables and in the text).
2.2. We will bring a preliminary result.
OOo – the full, informative interactive documentation of the user and the instruction with listing possibility. MSO 2007 – the interactive inquiry based on references which contains short instructions answering general questions of the user. OOo gives excellent contextual menus (accessible on pressing of the right button of the mouse), allowing quickly to get access to functionality according to a current problem. OOo keeps the concept “all on a place” according to which all tools are grouped together according to a current problem that facilitates their use. Interface MSO 2007 offers only sets of the most simple functions. Sets of ready decisions given by the Inquiry are rather limited and primitive. Search in the Inquiry of almost any term gives out more than hundred references the majority from which do not concern business. Thus, it is obvious that ООо is more convenient for independent development and understanding of principles of work.
3. A word-processor
3.1. Features
OOo 2 Writer and Word 2007 give a similar set of functions for editing of texts. OOo processes the big documents from hundreds pages with rather difficult formatting, tables containing set, formulas, illustrations and other objects is better. From comparison of possibilities for creation of professionally issued documents (see the table more low) it is concluded that ООо surpasses MSO 2007. At MSO 2007 there are no means for creation in the document of difficult operated sections, independent tables of contents for separate parts of the document (for example, for each chapter). It is impossible to make indexes for all objects which are in the document. Management of inserts and graphic objects in MSO 2007 strongly lags behind from ООо. In any place of the text document probably to take advantage of all functions of a spreadsheet. MSO 2007 similar feature has no. ООо possesses features for moving of paragraphs, heads of the document, points of lists with subparagraphs (with automatic renumbering). Reviewing in MSO 2007 is similar ООо.
Work with versions in MSO 2007 is based on comparison of two files. The user should choose the original and the version manually. At opening of two files the third is compulsorily created – a hybrid file in which both documents merge. Thus, it is almost impossible to conduct work more than with two files. There is no possibility automatically to create versions and to give to them comments.
Actually versions in MSO 2007 name comparison of documents. Thus “versions” in MSO 2007 is a substitution of concepts. In ООо work with versions is opposite. At inclusion of the given function, the document version remain in one file. Preservation can be made manually during any moment, or automatically at document closing. Each version is called, and can be commented. The quantity of versions is not limited. All them it is possible to see and compare all versions among themselves in any order. Thus at the disposal of the user is as also function of comparison of documents — two different files. Thus, ООо gives deeply thought over feature works with versions, comparison of documents and reviewing.
3.2. Formatting
In MSO are present “Styles”. All of them, it is not dependent on the name, belong to one type – to style of the paragraph and are auxiliary means of formatting. Aiming of all interface MSO 2007 on manual formatting of the text. Hence, the handwork volume, at formatting of documents, remains very big.
In ООо styles are a basis of formatting of the document. Their five types: style of the paragraph, style of a symbol, style of insert, style of page, style of the list.
Combined use of all 5 types of styles gives almost unlimited possibilities on management of document registration. The package interface gives the expanded control facilities styles. Use of styles in ООо considerably reduces volume of manual formatting and accelerates creation of documents.
4. Spreadsheets
Spreadsheets Excel on functionality are very similar with OOo. Both programs have flexible options with hundreds built in functions. As OOo has API, independent of language, addition process of feature very much becomes the simple.
5. Means of preparation of presentations
PowerPoint 2007 gives possibilities similar with OOo. In addition has the expanded functions of drawing which allow the user to create more operated and flexible presentations.
6. Work with databases
OOo gives powerful tools for creation of interfaces to databases. Masters help to create tables, forms, reports and inquiries. For preservation of forms, reports and inquiries it is used HSQL a format which provides preservation of this data in a uniform file. Database Access is present only at edition Professional of package MSO 2007.
7. HTML and Web publications
OOo 2 simple processing HTML and references URL has the expanded functions on creation HTML of a code.
8. Interoperability
Interoperability – ability of system to interaction with other systems. Recently all is more seriously realised a problem of the inherited documents. Now, when all information is stored in electronic form, standards of storage of documents have crucial importance for their long-term storage when programs creating them become outdated. ООо it was initially created as a product working on all popular platforms (both hardware, and program), and not just Windows. The greatest value has been given a format of documents. As a format of files ООо uses a format which is international standard ISO/IEC 26300:2006. For the decision of a problem of the inherited documents in powerful filters for documents MS Office OpenOffice.org are included. ООо and MSO 2007 support a considerable quantity of graphic formats.
9. System requirements
ООо occupies on a disk of 330 Mb. In OpenOffice.org each module at start slightly increase consumption of system resources. MSO 2007 Professional at installation on Microsoft Windows demands from 1.5 to 3 Gb of free space on a disk. Each started application demands additional memory.

Let's result analytical tables.

Let's consider configurations of packages.
The module MSO 2007 OOo 2.x
Standard Professional Small Buisness
The word-processor Yes Yes Yes Yes
The tabular-processor Yes Yes Yes Yes
Presentations Yes Yes Yes Yes
Databases !!!!!! ~ Yes !!!!!! ~ Yes
Graphic editor !!!!!! ~ !!!!!! ~ !!!!!! ~ Yes
XML Yes Yes Yes Yes
XML-forms !!!!!! ~ !!!!!! ~ !!!!!! ~ Yes
Editing HTML Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tools of developer Yes Yes Yes Yes
Editor of formulas Yes Yes Yes Yes
Price $400 $500 $450 $0

Let's consider possibilities of independent studying of packages and their interfaces.

Let's compare help systems:
OOo 2.x MSO 2007
An icon emerging in the bottom corner. Gives out the developed practical recommendations. Unobtrusive. The animated character who is giving out the elementary recommendations. It is persuasive.
The interactive inquiry
The interactive program of the help.
Search in keywords and text-through search.
Bookmarks.
The clear description of functionality. Instructions.
Search in keywords and text-through search.
Ask a question for help reception.
Step-by-step instructions.
Mode online/oflajn.
Search on the Internet.
The user's guide
The user's guide on 500 pages in an easy approach.
Set of printing directories and short managements from various publishers
The basic introduction information including the review of possibilities and advantages.
The web-inquiry
FAQ (the basic information on a product instruction plus).
The support forum includes support sections, the information on support and resources on training.
The knowledge base.
The help center will organise hundreds articles, FAQ, instructions distributed on problems and products
Notes and helps
Yes, and also the expanded helps Yes, and also display of hotkeys
The master of import of documents and templates Word, Excel, PowerPoint.
Official documents on a site
Is absent

Let's consider the interface.

Let's consider the basic functions of the interface.
Function OOo 2.x MSO 2007
Formatting. Broad-brush observations Dialogue styles and formatting.
Concentration of toolkit on preliminary planning of formatting and automatic registration of the text by means of styles
The panel of formatting Smart-tags allow the user to choose formatting options.
Concentration of toolkit on manual formatting in process of typing.
Ways of access to program functions The Stylist, Gallery and the Navigator do documents completely operated. Especially simplify work with the big documents.
Access to all functions of a package through panels of problems, the main menu, the contextual menu, hotkeys
The plural panels of problems operating styles, an insert of images, work with the text, opening of files etc.
Panels of tools By default contains 67 panels of tools Are replaced on “Tapes”
The main menu Yes, adjusted Is absent. It is replaced on “Tapes”
Adjusted panels of tools Yes Are replaced “Tapes” with adjustment possibilities
Difficult panels of tools Yes Yes
Dropping out menus Own and adjusted Are replaced “Tapes”
The menu by the right button of the mouse Yes, the structure depends on a context Yes
Hotkeys Yes Yes
Functions Drag&Drop Yes Yes
Registration copying Yes Yes
Display of not printed symbols Yes Yes
Auxiliary means for migration The package converter of documents from format MS Office, documentation on migration, autopilots (help at development of new functions). Filters for the previous versions MSO and other products Microsoft
Navigation at work of the big documents The Navigator. Gives full access to all objects of the document: to headings, tables, inserts, images, OLE-objects, bookmarks, sections, hyperlinks, references, indexes, notes, graphic objects. To files in the compound document. Instant transition to any page of the document and any object. Management of properties of objects from the Navigator. The navigator is the independent panel and work with it does not change appearance of the document. Two modes. The scheme of the document and Structure. Display hierarchy of headings.
Transition only on document headings.
The input in the Structure mode completely changes appearance of the document.
Autofigures Yes Yes
3D-styles Yes Yes
3D-effects Yes Yes
Word Art Yes Yes
Import from the scanner Yes Yes
Compatibility with format XForms Yes
Change of style of registration Yes Yes
Document sending on E-mail Yes Yes
Automatic transformation of the sent document to other format Yes
Restoration of files Yes Yes
Support XML Yes Yes
Export in PDF Yes Yes
Drawing Yes Yes
Polnoekrannyj a mode of viewing/editing of the document Yes Yes
The special mode for people with the limited possibilities Yes

Let's consider autoreplacement and autoformatting functions:
Function MSO 2007 OOo 2.x
Autoreplacement of typing errors Yes Yes
Autosubstitution Yes Yes
Auto formatting Yes Yes

Let's consider document protection:
Function MSO 2007 OOo 2.x
Possibility of protection by the password Yes Yes
On document opening Yes Yes
On editing Yes Yes

Let's consider support of macroes:
Function MSO 2007 OOo 2.x
Basic Yes Yes
Python Yes
JavaScript Yes
Record of macroes Yes Yes

Let's consider integration with an Internet browser:
Function MSO 2007 OOo 2.x
Opening for viewing of documents in a browser Yes Yes

Let's consider special possibilities:
Function MSO 2007 OOo 2.x
Recognition of hand-written input Yes
The screen keyboard Yes Yes
Voice recognition Yes
Reading from the screen Yes Yes
The control and navigation by means of the keyboard Yes Yes
System colour schemes Yes Yes
System options of colours and fonts Yes Yes
Possibility not to print a drawing Yes Yes
Support of technologies of the help Yes Yes
Not flickering cursor for text allocation Yes Yes

Thus, free packages Blender, GIMPshop and Open Office are the best free replacements of paid packages 3Ds-Max, PhotoShop and Microsoft Office accordingly.


Sources:
B. Saint-Moulin. 3D softwares comparisons table [http://www.tdt3d.com/articles_viewer.php? art_id=99]
Announcing GIMPshop. Comparison Screenshots. [http://plasticbugs.com/index.php?p=241]
Comparison of possibilities OpenOffice.org 2.x and MS Office 2007 [http://viralform.viralmama.com/?q=print/37]

Date: 03/03/2009

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