Last modified: Friday 19 November 2004 (D. Quah)

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Software tools for the weightless-economy frontier

(Sure lots of software tools collections already exist out there. I have put here those I think useful to applied economists. For the curious, yes, I do all my work on GNU/Linux.)

The Open Source Software movement describes some of the underlying ideas here. Also of interest might be the Halloween documents. Neal Stephenson provides, as usual, amusing and useful insights in an essay In the beginning was the command line, different from the book Cryptonomicon proper. (As a convenience for the reader, the uncompressed text for the essay can also be read here.)

Technical economic research relevant for Open Source Software concerns intellectual property rights, individual incentives and corporate strategies, productivity, and the weightless economy.

[Sites and pages move; I have no control over that. When you find an out-dated link below, please let me know. Even better: tell me the new URI to which a link should be updated.]


  • XEmacs (Open Source text editor and app development system [email reader, Web browser, database manager, ...])
  • GNU Emacs (Open Source extensible, customizable, self-documenting real-time display editor)
    Useful EmacsLisp packages (some might already come with an *Emacs distribution):
    • Email reader VM (Retrieves mail from local spool files or remotely via POP and IMAP, displays and sends MIME messages, ...)
    • Email- and news-integrated contacts database BBDB
  • ImageMagick Graphical image manipulation
  • The TeX printed word
    Most GNU/Linux distributions will already have TeX installed. If not and you're using Red Hat, grab and install tetex[...].rpm from a nearby archive site.
  • AbiWord Open Source wordprocessor (here because people keep attaching MS Word documents in email as if everyone should be able to read them)
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader++

General reading and information

Economists and GNU/Linux

  • James MacKinnon's review of Linux for economists (PDF) (PS)
  • Steve Ambler's list of annotated GNU/Linux links
  • Chad Jones's minimalist listing


Numerical and econometric Apps

  • Octave: Numerical computations (similar to Matlab)
  • tsrf [Danny Quah's econometrics shell]
  • XLispStat [Luke Tierney's statistics package]
  • The R Project for Statistical Computing
  • Gnumeric Open Source spreadsheet (see comments under AbiWord above)

Linux OS, GNU, and X

(Elegant image due to Charles Barrasso above)

General Linux Apps

The collection is huge. I have put here explicitly only the apps that I use regularly and that don't fit naturally elsewhere on this page.
  • The Open Source Development Network (gateway to Linux and other Open Source collections)
  • Open Source software development. Community repository of code and applications
  • Open Directory collection of Linux software collections
  • Fresh RPMs
  • freshmeat
  • Ice Walkers
  • Ximian Evolution workgroup and personal information management (even syncs Palm Pilot/Handspring Visor)
    1. Outport exports MS Outlook information (for use with evolution or others)
  • Office suites
    These read and write (Micros*ft) Office documents.

    1. Sun's Office suite released under the GNU Lesser GPL
    2. GNOME Office suite (Open Source word processor, spreadsheet, calendar, PIM, ...)
    3. KDE K Office suite (Open Source word processor, spreadsheet, database, presentation, vector drawing,...)
    4. Office suite, Star Division: StarOffice from Sun Microsystems
      • Download (Register, then choose a site closeby [i.e., in an appropriate timezone])
  • CommuniGate Pro (ESMTP, IMAP4, POP3, Web E-mail server)

File and Directory Sharing. Music, Images

[Respect both the law and its provisions for fair use]

Danny Quah,

LSE Economics Department
Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE

Copyright © Danny Quah 1999 - 2005