Four Free Software Alternatives To Popular (but expensive) Software Packages

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When my students bemoan the price of Microsoft Office or Adobe PhotoShop, I point out that there are open source versions of most productivity software that does just about all anybody could want and it's absolutely, no questions asked, free.  

In some cases, open source software has almost completed supplanted the paid version.  A case in point would be the browser.  Way back in the beginning of the Internet era you actually paid for your browser.  Free software such as Firefox (and many others) quickly changed the browser to free software.

Open Source software is developed by large foundations such as the folks that make Open Office or can be by an individual.  Either way, the software generally targets a commercial application, such as Office, and produce a free version (that doesn't infringe, of course).

Here are some of the best & most popular packages currently available with links to where you can learn more about the package and download as well.



OpenOffice:  A great replacement for Microsoft Office.  OpenOffice includes word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, etc.  It works pretty much the same as Microsoft Office and you should be able to launch it and begin working right away.  Click Hereto learn more.

FreeCad:  Can't come up with a few thousand bucks for AutoCad? Try FreeCad, an Open Source Computer Aided Design package that is very popular.   Click Hereto read a bit more and download. The download link is on the right side of the page about halfway down.

GimpShop:  A great, and free, alternative to PhotoShop.  It's not any easier to learn than PhotoShop, but you can't beat the price. Click Here to download. The download link is on the right side of the page about halfway down.

Audacity:  Audio recording software can be very, very expensive.  SourceForge, possibly the biggest foundation for open source software, has a great package for free. Click Here to learn more and download.

You can find lots of free resources online to learn how to use these packages or you can buy books/videos. 


erick99 posted Apr 27, 2012
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10 Comments
jpanddanielle
Nicely done :)
Let me be the first to throw a vote in the ring for Linux and its derivatives as an alternative to that, uhhh, other OS, haha!
Openoffice is every bit as easy to use as microsoft's office suite, and Gimp, uhh, let's stick with Erick's phrasing, no harder to learn than Photoshop!
jpanddanielle (rep: 96) posted Apr 27, 2012
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erick99
Rather than include Linux apps in this article, I am saving Linux for a separate article. I am thinking of focusing on Ubuntu as that seems to be the easiest for new folks, what do you think?
erick99 (rep: 17.2k) posted Apr 27, 2012
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encorez
all software is free, you need to go gangster....lol

old days it was called WAREZ now it is file-sharing...
encorez (rep: 9.96k) posted Apr 27, 2012
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Jameson99
I like Ubuntu a lot and I can run it from a flashdrive if I am working on a virus-ridden Windows machine and need to boot it into Linux.
Jameson99 (rep: 19) posted Apr 27, 2012
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erick99
I do that, too encorez :) Though a lot of the sites have dried up a lot. I can find just about anything on demonoid.ph (you can also use demonoid.me) though downloading can be slow. They are by invite only but if someone needs one just message me.
erick99 (rep: 17.2k) posted Apr 27, 2012
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encorez
I only leech a few mp3's on torrents.....and android appz and gamez...lol
encorez (rep: 9.96k) posted Apr 27, 2012
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nimrodboy3
great list..i've used audacity, gimp and openoffie before..good stuff.
nimrodboy3 (rep: 68k) posted Apr 27, 2012
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Acidbaby
HAHA WAREZ FTW
Acidbaby (rep: 6.83k) posted Apr 28, 2012
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encorez
^ I love those days, I had a warez webpage that linked FTP sites. All fun...
encorez (rep: 9.96k) posted Apr 28, 2012
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bbattag
Google docs usually does the job too, if someone doesn't want to download open office
bbattag (rep: 6.75k) posted Apr 29, 2012
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