Corinne McKay’s blog contains a useful post about free and open-source resources for translators. I have posted a comment to her post, but I’m re-posting it here because I think it’s relevant to this blog.
Perhaps Linux “live CDs” are a good option for Windows users who have doubts about switching to Linux from Windows and do not want to alter their system’s partitions, settings etc. I have tried Knoppix and I think it’s a good choice if you want to get a taste of Linux without getting into trouble.
One aspect that I would like to point out is the choice of your main translation environment tool TEnT. If you are a professional translator and if you spend a great deal of your time working with such a tool, perhaps choosing the platform Linux, Mac, Windows first and then choosing your TEnT as a consequence might not be your best option, since your choice will be very limited on certain platforms.
My suggestion is to gather as much information as possible about TEnTs and choose the one that best fits your and your clients’ needs, and then choose the operating system as a consequence of that.
Wordfast Pro, Heartsome and OmegaT are good tools, but, like all other TEnTs, they have limitations. Perhaps choosing a commercial tool that works on Windows instead of Linux might be a better choice if you notice that this makes you more productive. Of course some commercial tools look expensive at first sight, but what you really should consider is your productivity and why not? fun in using the tool.
Any initial saving you make by using an inexpensive solution no matter if this is open-source, commercial, shareware, etc. will be wasted if this solution is noticeably less productive than another product that has a high purchase price but that will perfectly pay for itself in the long term.