Tons of Free Software

2010 August 21
by J Storlie

How much money can you save with free software alternatives?

How much money can you save with free software alternatives?

Have you ever purchased software, only to discover that a year later they’re releasing a new version? If you want to keep up with the times, you need to buy it all over again, right?
Wrong.

Here’s a secret (OK, it’s not really a secret) You can use open source software, which is free and it works just as well as the expensive version.
With open source software, you can replace the following expensive programs
  • Microsoft Windows $200
  • Microsoft Word $140
  • Microsoft Excel $140
  • Microsoft PowerPoint $140
  • Microsoft Outlook $140
  • Microsoft Access $140
  • Adobe PhotoShop Elements $70
  • Quickbooks $125
  • Peachtree $130

(prices are from Amazon.com)

Free Software Alternatives

Open Office can replace Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access.  It also has the ability to do desktop publishing.  I haven’t come across anything that I couldn’t do using Open Office, and you can’t beat the price.

As a bonus-Open Office can save files in a .doc or .xls format, so that you can share them with your sucker friends who paid full price for Microsoft’s version. You can also use the Open Office software to open Microsoft files that people send you. So you really are not always limited by using these freebies.
While Open Office does not have an email option to compare to Microsoft outlook, you can download Mozilla’s Thunderbird which is also free to use.  Chances are you will not even notice the difference and the fact that it is not a Microsoft program.  A lot of people don’t even use a desktop mail program, so it wouldn’t be a big deal.
Apache Server is another popular software program that can replace other HTTP web server systems.  It is designed to work on Unix type systems, as well as Windows, NetWare and several other platforms.
For those that do not want to pay for Microsoft Windows, you can get Linux which is an operating system for your computer.  All the code is available for you to use as well as to modify and redistribute as you feel necessary.
If you do a lot of photo editing, and are coveting Adobe Photoshop but your wallet cannot handle it, you may want to look into Paint.net.  This is another free program that should do many of the same things as Photoshop, but will not cost you anything. Gimp is another open source photo editing software that works similar to Photoshop (even down to downloadable brushes) but doesn’t cost a thing.
With so many people posting videos to YouTube these days, you may need something that will do sound or video editing for you.  Instead of buying some expensive program, try downloading Audacity for sound editing, and using Windows Movie Maker for your video editing needs.
If you want an accounting program for business or personal use, before you run out and spend hundreds of dollars buying Peachtree or QuickBooks, check out TurboCash. It’s totally free and even integrates with OSCart and ZenCart, if you’re using it to track sales for your online webstore.
Remember- no software is perfect.  It’s important to be aware of your needs for integration, functionality and compatibility. The beauty of free software is that if you don’t like it, you didn’t waste any money on it.  The drawbacks… well, that’s for you to decide.  Research the products before you download, to be sure the publisher is reputable and that other users are happy with it.

Free Software Resources:

Open Office
GIMP
TurboCash
Mozilla Thunderbird

Wikipedia has links to several free open code software programs.

So- which free software alternatives are your favorite? Which ones do you love, which ones do you hate? Which one are you surprised that we left out?

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