Today I want to talk about software.
A while back, I heard John Irving on ‘Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me‘ revealing that he now writes all his work on paper, with pen and ink. I think I’d find the transition difficult, I’ve become so used to typing, and cutting and pasting. And then there’s the amazing suite of reference tools that are right at hand when you work on a computer. What would I do without my online dictionary, thesaurus and encyclopedia? Without the Gooracle? I work at my old laptop, with an Intel Core 2 processor, running the Ubuntu OS. So I guess that makes me a bit of a computer geek. And I confess it freely.
I started out on Ubuntu a long time ago, when everything had to be done on the command line. Regrettably, I never took the time to learn the damn thing, just enough to get the job done. I was not a true geek, you see, just an ornery cuss who resented the duopoly that was controlled by Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. I wanted an alternative and I tried several flavors of Linux before settling on Ubuntu.
So I was right there, riding on the opening fringes of the Open Source Movement, an initiative I supported fully then, and still do. Open Software is not free; it’s cooperative. You pay what you can. The goal is to make the development tools, software for learning and doing, available to all, and benefit by the work that is done by all. You create the biggest pool you can of really bright and dedicated people, all working together for the good of everyone. Yes, even for those who don’t get it, and are in it for a free ride, because ultimately, and this is the big secret of life, everything works to the good. That’s the law.
I’m quite proud of the work I did on the technical aspects of the book – formatiing the interior and cover for CreateSpace and I want to share with my readers how I managed this important task. You see, I was determined to do this without spending any money. I wouldn’t (couldn’t afford to) invest in myself, to risk actual cash against the hope that people would actually pay a couple of dollars for what I produced.
So here’s my short list of necessary software.
Operating system – Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
Graphics editors – Inkscape and the Gimp
Text editor – OpenOffice Writer
The one thing I had to buy was a decent camera. Oh, and my laptop. I got both for about a hundred and fifty dollars.
Currently I’m looking to produce a how-to video on cover design for CreateSpace using Ubuntu, so I’ve begun the search for a screencaster.
We’ll see how that works out.