The Kilkenny Voice Archives: Free Software (9th July 2008)

Elf Knows IT


Free Software

Why pay for software when you can get it for free?

There is a free alternative for just about any application you use on your computer, such as Open Office to replace Microsoft Office, GIMP to replace Adobe Photoshop, and even free operating systems to replace your Windows OS on your PC, such as Linux.

Free Software can be mainly put under 3 different headings:

Freeware: Software created and distributed to the public to use at no charge. Usually over the internet. 

Open Source: Free software of which the source code, the code used to write the software, is available free to the public to use, modify and redistribute the code how they wish.

Shareware: Generally shareware is not free, but there is a form of shareware which is free for non-commercial use.

Where can all this free software be found?

The internet is flooded with open source software, but a great place to start is SourceForge ( this is the home of nearly all open source projects on the internet. On the home page there is a section titled Browse Software, you can choose to browse by category here, and it’s all free. All software you will find on SourceForge is Open Source.

More hot spots for free software:


Next time you need software, instead of buying it in a shop, look online. It will save you time, and money!

Ask the Elf

I have been using the same e-mail address for about a year, and never had a problem with spam or junk e-mail, but lately I have been getting swamped with it, I’m using Eircom web-mail as my e-mail service, Why did the spam only start now? And how can I stop it?
John K

Going a year without any spam is an accomplishment, not many people would have the comfort of that! There is a number of reasons why spam could start flooding into your inbox all of a sudden. The usual culprits would be:  

  • You posted your e-mail on some form of a web message board or forum. 
  • You joined a newsletter, some newsletter lists are listed to the public on some sites, not a lot but some do.
  • You have your e-mail showing to the public on a social networking profile.
  • Just unlucky!…Spam bots usually fire out e-mails to a string of addresses, such as [email protected] then [email protected] and so on, and when they receive a hit back from a certain address they know it’s valid and they keep sending to that e-mail

There is certain steps you can take to combat the spam.

Eircom currently offer a paid service, E-mail Protector for €2 / month, and the first two months free. More information is available on the Eircom home page (

If you don’t want to be paying for this service, which I think you shouldn’t considering it’s a problem of everyday life, you can switch your e-mail provider to Google’s Gmail ( or Microsoft’s Hotmail ( Both have good free spam/junk blockers built in.Find more answers, and ask your questions at:

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