Your Open Source Office

The open source revolution is a game-changer in the business world, and also is of significant interest to self-sufficiency enthusiasts. SoftBaugh has released an article on open-source software to establish a baseline for future, more technical articles for small businesses. For self-sufficiency purposes, the (proprietary yet heavily vendor-subsidized) Raspberry Pi single-board computer is an important resource for open source projects, as is the Python programming language, which itself is purely open source. Getting comfortable with open source office tools, then Linux, Python and the Raspberry Pi, will help open the door to more interesting Raspberry Pi projects. A wide variety of self-sufficiency tools can be built around these, such as the field phone Morse decoder project, as only one of many examples.

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Another possibility to add to your OSS arsenal is KiCad.

Now that Altium fired most of their original developers, moved to China, and rapidly increased their pricing model such that you basically rent the software from them, a lot of people are making KiCad work.

There’s even a thriving open source community contributing libs for it:

(ed. Nice foreshadowing! We used Protel before it became Altium, and avoided Altium for exactly the reasons you mentioned. After evaluating many options, we decided on KiCad also. We’ve been working with KiCad for about four years now, we’re pretty happy with it.)