The 7 Best Free Open Source Programs To Replace Commercial Windows Software

Today there are many free open source software options, and often cross-platform alternatives to costly Windows software. In this article MakeUseOf has summarized the most important free open source alternatives to standard commercial Windows programs.

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KingLizzle2540d ago

Windows Live Mail isn't commercial software. In fact it is a free (and rather functional) alternative to Outlook.

toaster2540d ago

In this day and age, nobody should have to use Microsoft's crapware. There are better alternatives to everything Microsoft.

The same can be said with Adobe.

Apocwhen2539d ago


Which products are better than Office and Visual Studio?

Being Anti-MS is one thing but not all their products are crap.

CyberCam2539d ago (Edited 2539d ago )

How many users actually use MS Office to it's fullest extent? Libre Office is a great app for average everyday user and 80% of business users too, they fall into the same category as well!

Visual Studio... really? That's a developers suite for... wait a minute, Microsoft's proprietary OS!!! Wow, some people?

BTW... these FREE apps are great alternatives to PAID (usually very expensive) apps. Why paid for expensive software (in these hard times), when you can get a FREE app that does what you NEED to accomplish.

Purchasing all the proprietary counter parts to these apps can cost approx. $600 to $800, which is crazy to spend for the average user... Unless of course you pirate your software and you just like the extra bling for show?

I've use everyone of these apps (also their paid counterparts) and all the free ones are amazing to use, even without the bells & whistles the paid apps have, they get the job done... period!

I will agree that M$ have come a long way from the crap software they use to make back in the 90's, I use to struggle half the time, with their unstable apps & OS!

Dramscus2539d ago

Google docs has everything office has and more.
Plus it's online, and is constantly being updated with nev features.

Apocwhen2538d ago

Sure, there are plenty functional free apps, I never said there wasn't. But they're not better.

I wouldn't dream of paying retail prices for MS software for development, that's what MSDN subscriptions are for (which are also free to MS certified companies).

Of Course VS is proprietary to Windows, why would it not be? It's there own software for their own platform, just like xcode is for the MAC OS and how you can only develop for iPhone and iPad with a MAC.

And with Windows installed on nearly 90% of PC's in the world it makes sense they would only target support for their own platform, they own it.

mcstorm2539d ago

Apart from 7zip I would not use any of them and why use windows live mail when you have outlook 2010. I was a big believer in using Linux rather than windows a few years ago but MS have really turned things around over the last few years any I now have a MS setup at home that for me works better and alot less hassle to setup than using Linux or Apple.

CyberCam2539d ago (Edited 2539d ago )

That's great... many of the developers/publishers love people like you. You're willing to pay large sums of money annually for incremental additions. Which is just a waste of money.

Unless, again as I said above, you're one of those crooks that pirate your software. In that case you're a thief and your opinion is void... if you don't, then my apologies for the accusation.

Dramscus2539d ago (Edited 2539d ago )

Thats sad. Linux is just better. It can be made into everything windows seven is and more.
It just takes some elbow grease and TLC. Which is what linux is all about. If you want it easy buy an os.

Though specs wise I con never see my way past using anything but linux now. After I installed arch linux last time my ram use dropped to about 400mb after kde starts up. Windows seven is over a gb, and you can't even say there's a graphical difference because kde is pretty high end graphics and pzazz wise.

CyberCam2539d ago (Edited 2539d ago )

I'm in total agreement with you Dramscus! I've been using linux since 1996. I've used all the big ones, from RedHat to Ubuntu!

However, I don't judge anyone that prefers M$ Windows, sadly most don't know any better and in most cases I feel sorry for them when they come to me with their issues.

I've switched many people/business over to linux over the years and I can say that 99.9% are happy they made the switch. As for business... all have raised the level of productivity & reduced down time since moving from the M$ software scheme! More productivity = more dollars earned!

I will say this about M$... they do keep me busy & working all the time, without them I'd be twiddling my thumbs supporting Unix & Linux!

mcstorm2539d ago

At the end of the day we are all different. I work in IT so I am not a novice in computing and I know what Linux apple and Microsoft offers and for me MS offers more. I tried the Linux rout at work as I said but its was just too much messing about to get everything to work. That is why I took the MS rout and got a windows home sever and just upgraded to 2011 and out of the box it is by far the best on the market and everything is just easy to setup and works out of the box. SO at home my server holds all my videos and music that streem to my 360 and ps3 out of the box as well as backs up my pcs as well as my WP7 that is able to access all my data on the go. So for me it all works and works very well for what I need it to do. Yes it cost me money to get it all up and running and there are free alternatives out there but it is not as clean cut as the system I have settled for.

As I said its each to there own if you like Linux or Apple as your main OS then thats fine as it works for you but the MS option works best for me.

CyberCam2539d ago (Edited 2539d ago )

Agreed with some of what you said. However M$ Home Server is NOT the best on the market, due to licensing fees for extended amount users!

For me I use Zenytal Server (E-mail, Web, FTP, SSH, Samba PDC & Linux NFS, DNS & Firewall) in a 2 server cluster... which is FREE (and unlimited users)!!! It just doesn't get any easier than that, all browser based configuration. For my DLNA I do a quick apt-get MediaTomb... again FREE and every single piece of hardware that supports DLNA can stream all media.

The best part is I haven't touched those servers in over a year! I just build them and forget them!

mcstorm2539d ago

I had not heard of Zenytal Server but from what I have just read about it sounds interesting. But whs2011 dose not have a user limit but has a 10 pc limit but i only have 4 pcs at home anyway. I agree WHS was not the best on the market but have you tried whs 2011? imo big improvement on whs and it works out the box this is why I decided to upgrade to it instead of any other free or paid for server. Plus with having the new silver light plug in it means my bro who is in uni at the mo can log into my server remote and play any video or music on the fly via its web site again out of the box.

But I will cerate a VM of Zenytal Server and have alook at it to see if it offers me any more then whs2011.

CyberCam2539d ago (Edited 2539d ago )

I stand corrected... the licensing fee is not user based, but workstation/PC based. And No I have not used whs2011... personally I nor my clients have a need for it, but I did test out the original... yuck!

That Silverlight plug-in sounds like a neat feature, but I can replicate that feature with Zenytal... it just takes a user name to be created and some ports on the firewall to be opened. It would take me 2 minutes using a web browser. Or I could use VPN tunneling which is just as easy!

The great thing about Zenytal is that it's scalable & the hardware requirements aren't outrageous! One of my clients has it running on a P4 for an internal web server. I also have another customer running it in a 8 server cluster!

All 30+ of my business clients have at least one Zenytal server (whether they are or aren't a M$ windows shop). Also, anyone that asks me for a home server, that's what I build them... usually using an old PC they have lying around!

Speaking about free software... I use want I consider the best firewall solution, "pfSense". I install that baby on embedded hardware and wa-la, your own little cheat Cisco clone! That is the most rock solid firewall solution, it's fantastic!

mcstorm2538d ago

Your setup sounds very good and that is my only gripe about WHS2011 is it needs a x64 processor and 2GB of ram where the old WHS only needed a p3 with 256mb of ram but I have a high end pc as my server but this is because I download and convert all my Videos to Divx so all my media devices can read them and having a high end pc lets me rip alot of videos alot quicker then using a slow pc but one of my mates have just got a low end low cost HP server box for £220 and installed whs2011 onto it and it is all running fine.

If you have a x64 pc around not being used download a free demo of WHS2011 and have a play about with it as you will be suppressed how well it has been done and because it is running on Windows Server 2008 R2 there are alot of free development tools that work on all Windows Servers that can be installed onto WHS2011. It may not be the right way for you to go but I would defo give the 30 day trial ago because it may even make you do a search for some software for your server that you never thought it had. And I am defo going to have a look at Zenytal to see what it can do.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 2538d ago
frelyler2539d ago

Watch out M$ will put a hit out on your butt for this type of article. Dirty bastards when it comes to the idea of someone using anything but Windows.

Fallouts2539d ago

and so far it looks like a total of........

3 ppl care..

windows for me, thank you very much... you ppl go mess around with those garbage software.

Peaceful_Jelly2539d ago (Edited 2539d ago )

Dude! GiMP, LibreOffice, 7-Zip and Thunderbird are really great software! It is like paying for using IE9 while FF it's free, that's the kind of performance we are talking about here. Like, seriously... You have no idea.

Fallouts2539d ago

you are actualy right i have no idea.. dont know much about pc other then turn it on off and check my antivirus that i hope i installed right to begin with.. lol