Software Standards


Mandatory software is in boldface.

Recommended software is in regular face.

Optional alternative software is in italics. In-house support for these is limited.

Transitional only, not for final file output.

Limited support, no in-house tech support.

$ Proprietary, permitted but not officially supported by the company. Should be used transitionally.

Software Recommendations

Office Software

Office Suites

  • LibreOffice 5
  • Calligra


  • LibreOffice Writer 5
  • Writer
  • Calligra Words
  • AbiWord


  • LibreOffice Calc 5
  • Calc
  • Calligra Sheets


  • LibreOffice Impress 5
  • Impress
  • Calligra Stage


  • Dia
  • LibreOffice Draw 5
  • Draw
  • Calligra Flow

Office Database

  • LibreOffice Base 5
  • Base
  • Calligra Kexi

Math and Formulas

  • LibreOffice Math 5
  • Math
  • ZeGrapher
  • GeoGebra

Collaborative Editing

  • Nextcloud Collabora (DevNet)
  • Etherpad (DevNet)
  • AbiWord

Desktop Publishing

  • Scribus
  • LibreOffice Writer 5
  • Writer
  • Calligra Words


  • Calligra Braindump
  • Freemind

Desktop Email Client

  • Thunderbird
  • Evolution
  • Geary

Web Browser

  • Firefox
  • Chromium
  • Vivaldi
  • Opera


  • VirtualBox

Graphics Design

Image Manipulation

  • GIMP

Raster Graphics

  • GIMP
  • Krita (Calligra)

Vector Drawing

  • Inkscape
  • Calligra Karbon


  • Darktable

Image Conversion

  • Converseen

3D Design

  • Blender

Video Editing

  • Kdenlive
  • Shotcut
  • Pitvi
  • OpenShot
  • Roxio NXT Creator 2 $


Recording and Editing

  • Audacity
  • Ardour DAW
  • Apple GarageBand $†

Music Creation

  • LMMS
  • Hydrogen
  • Garritan $†
  • Apple GarageBand $†

Music Score

  • MuseScore


Text Editor

  • Geany
  • Atom
  • Visual Studio Code
  • KATE
  • Nano
  • Vim
  • Brackets
  • Emacs
  • Sublime $‡


  • Code::Blocks 16.04
  • Visual Studio Code
  • Atom
  • Geany
  • Vim
  • Anjuta
  • Brackets
  • CodeLite
  • Eclipse CDT
  • Emacs
  • Kdevelop
  • Netbeans
  • Sublime $‡

RestructuredText IDE

  • Atom
  • Visual Studio Code
  • Geany
  • Vim
  • Brackets

Python IDE

  • Atom
  • Visual Studio Code
  • Geany
  • Vim
  • Aptana
  • Brackets
  • Emacs
  • Eric
  • Pydev
  • Kdevelop
  • Spyder
  • PyCharm Community Edition $‡
  • Sublime $‡

Version Control Software

  • Git
  • Arcanist
  • Meld
  • Git Cola

Operating Systems

  • Ubuntu
  • Debian
  • Kubuntu
  • Linux Mint
  • Lubuntu
  • Ubuntu Studio
  • Xubuntu
  • Arch Linux
  • Fedora

Disallowed Software


This list doesn’t apply to open source contributors, although we strongly discourage it.

Why Disallow Software?

The idea of “Officially Disallowing” software for company use might initially seem to be overkill, but there is a logic to it. The decision is, again, not made lightly. In most cases, the software title in question contains security and privacy issues, bugs, or compatibility issues that make its use a significant business and development risk. In other cases, the software is disallowed on grounds of licensing issues. Paying several thousand dollars extra for commercial licensing is impractical when there is equivalent open-source software available.

It is worth noting that, while not the sole factor, drastic conflicts in business ethics were also taken into consideration. MousePaw Media is built around the conviction that educational and creative technologies should be accessible to everyone, not just those with a lot of money. Relying on corporations whose business practices are at stark odds with this ethic is, frankly, counter-intuitive.

Disallowed Software List

The following may NOT be used for company purposes, under any circumstances, unless otherwise noted or unless special permission is given by a supervisor. If you need more details, talk to Jason C. McDonald directly. (You are welcome to use these for personal reasons all you want.


No Adobe products may be used for development, due to licensing costs, file-type compatibility, and ethical concerns. (All useful Adobe products have an open-source equivalent in our present standards.) This includes Adobe Flash.


No Autodesk products may be used for development, due to licensing costs, file-type compatibility, and ethical concerns. (All useful Autodesk products have an open-source equivalent in our present standards.) This includes AutoCAD, 3ds Max, Maya, and Sketchbook.

Existing files may be opened with personal copies of Autodesk software for review and export purposes only.

MP3 File Format

Due to licensing and patent concerns, the MP3 format may NOT be used for any audio.

EXCEPTION: A copy (NOT the master) of the audio may be saved as an MP3 for compatibility with third-party services and software. Distribution in MP3 is only allowed if the distribution platform strictly requires that format.

Microsoft Edge

Due to concerns over Microsoft’s Terms of Service (see Microsoft Windows 10), Microsoft Edge is NOT to be used under any circumstances for company purposes, including (but not limited to) accessing the staff network, company-commissioned web design, or accessing any website for work-related reasons.

Microsoft Internet Explorer

Due to serious security and performance issues, Microsoft Internet Explorer is NOT to be used under any circumstances for company purposes, including (but not limited to) accessing the staff network, company-commissioned web design, or accessing any website for work-related reasons.

Microsoft Outlook

Due to licensing, glitches, and security issues, Microsoft Outlook is NOT to be used for accessing company email accounts or calendars. Additionally, employees may not forward their company mail to an Outlook account.

Microsoft Office

Due to some ODT compatibility issues, and a lack of in-company training and support, Microsoft Office is NOT to be used on any company documents. The exception to this rule has been removed.

Microsoft Visual

Due to platform limitations and poor backwards compatibility, the Microsoft Visual platform and all of its elements are officially disallowed.


Visual Studio Code is completely separate from the Microsoft Visual platform, and is therefore allowed.

Microsoft Windows

See “Microsoft Windows Ban” below for details.

Microsoft Windows 10

See “Microsoft Windows Ban” below for details.

Trimble SketchUp (formerly Google SketchUp)

Due to licensing costs, SketchUp may only be used for internal idea drafting.

Microsoft Windows Ban

Due to serious privacy and security concerns, Microsoft Windows is banned to varying degrees for all company work.

Affected Versions

  • Windows 10 (Total ban)
  • Windows 8/8.1 (Partial ban)
  • Windows 7 (Partial ban)
  • Windows Vista (Partial ban)

Ban Details


Windows 10’s Terms of Service give Microsoft permission to access and use any and all of your personal data without warning for virtually anything they see fit, with how they worded their legal documents. More information in this article.

Recent updates to Windows Vista-Windows 8.1 give Microsoft that same level of access on those operating systems. Even if Microsoft is responsible with this ability, it creates a massive security hole.

Microsoft Windows 10 may NOT be used for any company activity or purposes, including accessing the staff network, under any circumstances. This is a Total Ban.

Both the Total and Partial bans forbid checking company email, accessing the staff network, and other company activities on these operating systems.

The ban is in full effect as of November 1, 2015.

What is BANNED in both partial and total bans?
  • Accessing the staff network in any capacity from within Windows in any form.
  • Checking out ANY company-hosted Git repositories.
  • Using a Windows-hosted VirtualBox (or other VM) instance of Linux for company work of any sort.
  • Accessing and modifying files for closed-source company projects (such as Word4Word) on affected versions of Windows.
What is PERMITTED in partial bans?
  • Checking out company-maintained GitHub repositories.
  • Accessing and modifying files for open-source company projects.
  • Building and testing Windows binaries and intallers of open-source company projects.
  • Generating Git patch files for open-source company projects.
  • Accessing a Linux computer via a secure desktop sharing setup. (Permitted, but not encouraged.)
  • Using a Linux-hosted VirtualBox (or other VM) instance of Windows for personal and permitted company work.
Will we still be supporting Windows Vista/7/8/8.1 in release?

Yes! Many schools use these versions of Windows. As such, we will “officially support” them for the forseeable future.

What about Windows XP?

Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft, and no longer receives updates. As such, Windows XP and earlier are not part of the ban, nor do I forsee them becoming part of the ban. However, I do strongly advise caution when using these operating systems online, as they are extremely prone to viruses and other attacks. Please access the staff network via Linux instead whenever possible, and simply copy files over to your Windows XP VirtualBox.

Can I use a VirtualBox of Linux in my Windows account for company work?

No. The Linux installation on a VirtualBox is still storing files on the Windows machine. Additionally, internet is passing through Windows. Your Linux installation MUST be installed directly on a hard disk, and it must exist separately and boot independently from Windows.

May I still use Windows for personal use?

Of course - we don’t dictate your personal life. While I recommend evaluating whether using Windows is essential, given the extremely high risk of your files and personal information being stolen, the choice of whether to use, and how much, is ultimately up to you. Some people just need Windows for that 5% of stuff that Linux cannot do. :)

If you have questions about some use of Windows not listed here, assume “no” and contact IT for additional information.

If you need help installing Linux on your computer, either as the only operating system or as a dual-boot with Windows, please contact IT.