List of Open Source or Free Software for Home and Business Use

Here is a list of some open source or free desktop software that you can use for personal use at home or at your business. Using open source software can save you thousands of dollars that you’d spend buying proprietary software. I’ve chosen software here that is comparable in ease of use, maintainability and upgrades to similar pay-for software. Keep in mind that the total cost of ownership includes more than just license fees. There will always be costs in time and/or money to install, maintain, reconfigure and upgrade the software over time.

Useful for most computer users:

  • OpenOffice.org – Productivity suite competing with Microsoft Office, includes word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, database and drawing software
  • Grisoft AVG Anti Virus (free for personal use only, not open source)
  • Mozilla Firefox – Web browser
  • Mozilla Thunderbird – Email client
  • GIMP – GNU Image Manipulation Program, an alternative to Adobe Photoshop. Also consider GimpShop and CinePaint.
  • 7-Zip – Decompresses and compresses files and folders. An alternative to WinZip.
  • JEdit – A powerful text editor

For relatively technical users:

The Free Software Foundation’s GNU Project has a large collection of open source software in a variety of categories. You will find things ranging from business productivity software to games there.

A web site called Open Source Alternatives helps you find open source software alternatives to well-known commercial software.

This list was inspired by my friend Karl Martino’s list of some software he uses.

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