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Open source for hard times

Friend of the blog Erica Zeidenberg, who represents the good folks at Palamida, has been flogging an "open source job hunters toolkit," filled with open source programs you can use, free, in your job hunt.

Friend of the blog Erica Zeidenberg, who represents the good folks at Palamida, has been flogging an "open source job hunters toolkit," filled with open source programs you can use, free, in your job hunt.

(This classic photo from the last Great Depression was done for the WPA by John E. Allen Inc.)

Of course, if there are no jobs you can't hunt anywhere. But maybe if you get yourself a used Netbook and find an old stick memory sitting around, you can load these offerings as you head out for the real open road:

1. OpenGoo is the open source Web office that lets you collaborate with your fellow jobless and organize that people's revolution we have all been waiting for. Compare it to the student version of Microsoft Office.

2. Scribus is the open source desktop publishing program for Linux that will help you get out those flyers telling other homeless people where the demonstration is. Compare it to Adobe Illustrator.

3. TextPattern is a flexible content management system that also helps you publish standards-compliant Web pages that print nicely. The revolution deserves a good Web site.

4. GIMP, the GNU Image Manipulation System, is great for resizing or extracting bits from pictures like the one above. I use it all the time. You can use it to virtually link the President to the workers' enemy of the moment. Compare it to Adobe Photoshop.

5. Kino is a cool video editor for Linux. You can use it for that revolutionary film you have been planning, "Triumph of the Geeky." You can compare it to Final Cut Pro.

6. Pidgin is the universal chat client that gets you over all those proprietary walls erected by "the man" so you can communicate between cells. It even supports custom smileys, so if you want to add a Che Guevara beard to yours go right ahead.

7. Mozilla Thunderbird is the e-mail client I use here at ZDNet Open Source. It's a good replacement for Microsoft Outlook Express, plus you can add-in features like a calendar so you won't be late for the revolution.

8. KPresenter is the presentation piece of the KOffice suite. This will let you demo your revolution so it won't be confused with those of splitters like the Judean Peoples' Front or People's Front of Judea. That would be very embarrassing.

9. Amarok is an open source music player, an iTunes replacement, which will be one of the 15 projects honored with a booth at CeBIT next month. If you can't dance to the revolution what is the point?

Anyway, good luck, and we'll see you on the road. Unless President Obama can pull off a real economic recovery. In which case you're all invited back to work.