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3 Open Source Design Apps: The Pro, the Novice and the Trainee

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The advantages of open source software really become evident when it comes to using design applications. This category of software is one that not everyone needs -- that is, unless you need software to help you create illustrations for Web design or print publication projects.

The Linux OS has a bevy of design apps that go head-to-head against hallmark design applications for the Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) Windows and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) Mac OS X platforms such as Adobe Illustrator CS5, Adobe Freehand, CorelDraw Graphics Suite X5 and Microsoft Visio. I am not referring to standard intro-level drawing apps with variations of "Paint" in their names.

Three Linux apps -- Inkscape, OpenOffice Draw and Xara Xtreme -- come fully loaded with professional-strength tools to handle on-screen illustration tasks.

You will need to spend some time with each of these apps, however. Deciding which one works best for you will take familiarity and hands-on practice.

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