Open Source Law Student
As I edge ever closer to the dreaded LLM territory, I’ve been giving increasing thought to an idea I had earlier this year re my computer needs on this course and whether using open source solutions is a viable option. Can a law student successfully get by with just free open source and cloud-based options and still turn in the multitude of essays and other work required? Would I really trust Open Office with my precious dissertation or, God help me, Google Docs? Is either option even man enough for the job? Given that the latter doesn’t even support the inclusion of footnotes, I think we can quickly answer that.
So as the world heads further and further down the path of the cloud computing paradigm, much has been made of whether the traditional desktop apps are already becoming obsolete. Opinions differ of course, though I think the consensus would fall on the side of ‘we’re not there yet’. Probably, not by a long shot.
I’m certainly very curious as to whether I can survive studying an LLM using just open source software, underpinned by a battery of online cloud-based services. I certainly don’t have the unwavering confidence to place all my eggs in the open source basket and will be dual booting with Vista. But that being the case, will I resist the temptation of resorting to the tried and tested commercial programs from Microsoft, Adobe and the rest? I think I can guess the answer but it still promises to be an interesting experiment. Albeit possibly a short one.
While I haven’t definitively decided on the programs and services I’ll be using, my proposed line-up looks something like this:
- OS: Ubuntu – Hardy Heron or Opensuse 11..... probably the former.
- Office Productivity: Open Office ...If I hate writer, there’s always Abiword I suppose .... :-\
- Email: Google’s Gmail – I’ve been using this since mid 2004 anyway!
- Calendaring: Google Calendar
- Web Browser: Firefox 3.x – again I’ve been using Firefox as my primary browser since early 2004!
Roll on September so we can get this party started. Or something like that! Sigh.