by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
Software CDs are made out of nonrenewable petroleum products, and are difficult to recycle, though there are ways of re-purposing them but...
They are placed in plastic cases, often of a polycarbonate type (jewel cases), stuffed into boxes with manuals, & all wrapped in even more plastic.
This can all be eliminated if you download the software directly from the company via the Internet instead of shopping for it at the computer software store.
You won’t have to drive, the manufacturers won’t have to ship to the stores, and you can relax. So go green and save resources, as well as time & fuel.
Once downloaded you can store the software, as a backup, on your hard drive, an external drive or you burn the software to CD. Some software that is downloaded, especially such as Linux operating systems come down the line, comes as an ISO, that is to say a CD disc image, and will need to be burned to a CD in order to be able to be installed. That way you also have a full CD, in the same way as if you would have bought it in the box from a vendor, with manuals in PDF and such.
There is a great deal of software out there anyway that you can even download for free, and that includes, as said, entire operating systems, such as the various Linux distros, complete office suites and other stuff.
Much of this, such as Linux OSs and the likes of Open Office office suite, and others, fall under the Open Source Software label while others are so-called “freeware”. The latter often is a restricted version of one to be paid for, or one where the pro-version has more intricate features which most users would never need.
Open Office, for instance, is a complete – bar Outlook and the newest kind of things – replacement for MS Office and it is free and you can install it on as many computers as you wish, even for commercial use without committing any felony.
Then we have The Gimp: a replacement, basically, for Adobe Photoshop. This program is reckoned by many expert users to be superior in many aspects to Photoshop bar the fact that it does not have postscript output. Again, this program is free. Ever looked at Photoshop's prices?
None of those can be bought in a box and all are to be downloaded. Saves money and the environment.
Foxit PDF is a lovely PDF reader that is superior to Adobe Reader in many aspects, not alone for the fact that with Foxit you can highlight and annotate PDFs and it will retain those alterations.
PDF Creator is a free PDF making software that, though not having all the features of Adobe Acrobat, suffices for most people's use. It is used as a virtual printer and creates PDFs as good as the commercial packages. I have yet to discover whether it has the locking facilities that Acrobat has but then it does not cost me hundreds of dollars.
Open Office has a one-click PDF maker built in but it does not compress the data as well as does the stand-alone PDF Creator and therefore, personally, though it is nice to have the one-click facilitiy in Open Office, I tend to go round the slightly longer way – when not using Linux – of using the PDF Creator as a virtual printer to make the PDFs I need.
This is just a very small example of the material that you can download and that you do not even have to pay for. But whichever way; the recommendation is: download rather than get on CD. You then have the freedom to put it on CD at home but...
by Michael Smith (Veshengro)