Available as a freely available self-hosted tool or a fee-based hosted solution, BeanBooks is one of the better open source accounting programs available today. Best of all, you're not required to run this with Windows whatsoever. The OS you use to connect to the BeanBooks server is up to you.
OwnCloud is another example of taking back your data from proprietary lock-in software models. Install and host yourself, or have someone else do it for you. Either way, you're not required to run Windows to enjoy this web-based software. Firefox or any other standard web browser provides you with instant access to an OwnCloud server with the appropriate connection.
Both of the above examples are applications that are considered web apps and aren't locally installed software titles. And to be frank, they're addressing direct shortcomings with locally installed software titles for the Linux platform – accounting and collaborative office suite functionality.
As much as I might wish to see locally installed Linux applications become preferred over those locally installed legacy Windows apps, the fact is, this isn't going to happen any time soon. And I believe this is an area that web applications can be of some help.
Can web-based applications win out in pushing more businesses over to Linux desktops in the future? The short answer to this is yes, but not because it's a better experience. The reason why web application adoption will continue to mature is because of cost and control, not user experience. In addition, I see this adoption expanding more with schools and governments than with home users.
No matter what the future holds, I'm a die-hard fan of locally installed applications. Not because they look better or are more stable, but because they don't require me to constantly maintain an Internet connection.
Call it a cry for personal freedom from the cloud if you want, but I call it freedom of choice as to where I store my documents and pictures. And from my perspective, locally installed Linux applications are more than enough to handle what I throw at them. I just wish the rest of the world could see it this way as well.
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