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      Tech Talk: Free software for students, home, office

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Everybody likes to save a buck. But, buying back to school supplies doesn't make it easy on the wallet, especially when it comes to the skyrocketing cost of computer software students may need.

      However, there are free alternatives. As the open source software movement gains steam, companies invest big dollars in alternate solutions that are sometimes better than the mainstream.

      WACH Fox technology correspondent Stephen Miano of That Computer Store in Irmo offers some tips:

      - Open Source software is software that is freely available with its base code, allowing people to freely modify or improve it.- Popular open source software suites include Open Office, Firefox, Ubuntu, Chromium, Wordpress, Audacity, Gimp, Blender, Android, and others.- Open Source does not always mean totally free, as there are still often licensing and copyright considerations to adhere to.- Some open source software such as Firefox is fast becoming more popular than the closed software they compete against.- Open Source software often allows for a global community to offer input, making bug fixes and development changes faster. - Many government, education, private, and public sector businesses are moving to open source software to help offset rising budget costs, and save money.