This post is an introduction to a series of articles I wish to write in order to help creative people move to free technologies and get more freedom and control over their tools while still achieving top quality work.
Before starting with technical stuff, I would like to write a few words about myself and what brought me here. My name is Francois and I am the director of creative here at Purism, as well as a film maker and animator. About 2 years ago, I made a switch from proprietary to free and open source technologies for my entire work-flow. This move was originally driven by a wish to stop being fooled by the software and hardware that I use regarding their supposed obsolescence.
It all started with the feeling of being betrayed by my entire workstation. A software upgrade that I was pushed to do in order to keep my subscription and technical support, forced me to upgrade my entire OS for compatibility reasons. At this point, my aging but still very capable hardware started to feel very slow and almost useless. Ironically, I had no need for any of the new features from this upgrade. I simply had no choice but to upgrade.
Having not planned any financial resources to replace my hardware at the time, I felt very much stuck. I felt that my tools shouldn’t be fooling me this way and decide by themselves when they need to be replaced. Especially when they are still in great working condition. At the time I thought: If I invest in a new computer, when will this situation happen again? I have no idea because I have no control about it.
So instead of replacing my computer, I searched for a durable solution. I found an answer with free and open source software. Free software by definition, gives me that control. It gives me full control over my hardware and let me decide to renew my workstation based on creative needs only. It makes life easier when planning a budget for upgrades. Of course it doesn’t prevent hardware physical failure but with some fixable / upgradeable hardware, spare parts and good practice like backups, this has never been a real problem.
That transition to free software wasn’t easy and took me almost a year to accomplish. I installed a GNU/Linux OS on a spare partition of my hard drive and had to find capable alternatives to the professional software that I was using. I had that little voice always saying that “If it is not made by big corporation, it cannot be used in a professional environment”, but I wanted to see by myself how much I can do with free software.
I found many free alternatives and tested most of them. I kept the ones that suited my needs the best and had to get used to new user interfaces as well as re-learning most of the techniques I was familiar with. Especially with image compositing.
I was surprised to realize how feature-full, how stable and flexible some free and open source applications are in term of audio and visual creation. Of course we can debate on the user experience, ease of use, or OS integration but what I can say regarding my experience is that there is nothing that I was able to achieve with professional proprietary software that I cannot achieve with free software.
The transition itself is like jumping in the water on a very hot day. It feels cold and unpleasant at first, but as soon as we get used to it, it is so enjoyable!
The power, flexibility and freedom of free and open source software now combined with the speed and reliability of a Librem running them, gives me a very capable and professional platform for multimedia creation. With these new tools, I have been able to produce great quality work for Purism. I am also helping the Dev team to select the best multimedia software to be pre-installed in PureOS.
Being very happy with this move, I wish to help anyone who is looking for total control and freedom over their creative environment, to do the same.
I will give you tips and tricks and good practice with the software I use the most : Blender, Gimp, Krita, Kdenlive…
See you soon for the first post in the series! It will be about media trans-coding and free formats.
Thoughts? Send them to feedback(at)wp.puri.sm