Open Source Alternatives to InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator

*This is a follow-up to Blog #1 for R541 Instructional Development and Production Process, my graduate course with Indiana University-Bloomington’s Instructional Systems Technology program. 

I just spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to figure out how to download and run open source alternatives to Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign, but I prevailed! If you are a Mac user (and at this point I’m sure I could help my PC colleagues too) and interested in saving some money trying out new software for R541 (or any project for that matter), consider the following:

-Have you updated your OS to Mavericks? If so, Mavericks apparently wipes all X11 installation (what you need to run these programs) so be sure to download XQuartz.

-Once you download and install XQuartz, open it, close it, then restart your Mac to complete the install.  This is critical to the success of all the other programs running (and the step where I lost too many hours not doing this).  Open XQuartz again after the restart before downloading and running the other programs.

-For an open InDesign alternative, download Scribus 1.4.3.dmg drag the fountain pen icon to your app folder and launch. You’ll also need to download Ghostscript 9.10 in order to print whatever you create. Then check-out the Scribus wiki.

-For an open Photoshop alternative, download GIMP 2.8 10p2.dmg drag the canine icon to your app folder and launch. Then check-out the Meet the Gimp Collective Knowledge Wiki.  

-For an open Illustrator alternative, download Inkscape 48.2-1 Snowleopard dmg drag the ink icon to your app folder and launch. There is a lull when the program opens for the first time due to the font cache. Then check-out Inkscape wiki.

And in case you want to create some screencasts, try a free alternative to Camtasia by downloading the free version of Screencast-O-Matic.

Hope this helps! Feel free to add your new, favorite open source/free software in the comments.


One comment

  1. Hi Ronda, I like Audacity which is a great alternative to Camtasia. You can’t record screen but its great for capturing audio and many of our faculty members use it to record short podcasts for their students. As far as possible we try to advocate open source software since its free and readily accessible to our faculty. Plus with some, the learning curve is not that steep so its easy for us to get them started and have then run with the programme on their own.

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