If you are not utilising software for business purposes and if there is no big budget for software, toolsets and working environments it is often hard to make a case for software at normal prices. If you are a student you might get a good deal from the software developer but what other options are there?
There are illegal ways of obtaining software to work with but do you really want to risk your reputation on that? What if everybody did that? Then soon the software developing companies could no longer deliver good products and are likely to sue you if word gets around.
The better alternative for everybody to use applications for personal use or for early stages of a business and freelancing work is to go for open source and generally free software solutions. Often these are not a copy of a software but even a proper rival to licenced software.
So today I would like to introduce you to my list of useful and interesting software solutions that are absolutely free of cost. Whether the solution is running on your OS or is installed on a web server, they are really good alternatives for their commercial counterparts.
Vector Art and Illustrations
Audio Management and Media Player
Media Hub and Streaming System
Office and Productivity Suite
Light-weight Text Processing
Text / Code Editor
Transportation / Traffic Management
Enterprise 2.0 / Social Collaboration
Computer Algebra System
Internet Relay Chat Client
Point of Sales Systems (POS)
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
File Compression Client
IT Asset Management
Bug Tracking System
Data Backup and Synchronization
If you are using several workstations and not only a single terminal and maybe you are not connected to the internet (yes, that still happens) you might want to prepare yourself an USB thumbdrive with your favourite applications on it as a portable version, so they do not need to be locally installed to run. A great source for browsing and managing portable software is the platform PortableApps.com.
There are even some great solutions that are able to work only using your internet browser. Mostly these are backed up by cloud technology which should allow you to continue your work on any workstation as long as it is connected to the internet.
- Google Office Online (Productivity Suite)
- Microsoft Office Online (Productivity Suite)
- Prey (Device Protection)
- SimpleInvoices (Invoicing)
- Pixlr (Photo Editing)
Open source and other free software is often mature enough to prepare an output that is just as good as the product of a pricey commercial software. Sometimes however you might be depending on features, functions and quality that is only provided by a commercial software developer.
So while free options might not be the key to everything, you should at least check if they are an option for you. On the other side, even if you are an SME sized organisation, your needs might be served by a software that does not cost a fortune.
I hope you enjoyed my picks and please drop your favourite apps in the comments section below. I am looking forward to hear from you.
Photo credit: Halfrain / Open Source Initiative