What Open Source Alternatives are there for Popular Software Suits?

open source
Popular software suites are usually popular for a very good reason. They are either very useful or they are entirely indispensable for users of most computers. These programs often include multimedia programs, office programs, and graphical design programs. Some commercial versions of this type of software that people may be familiar with are Microsoft Office, the Adobe design suites (Photoshop, InDesign, Dreamweaver, etc), Quickbooks, and Windows Media Player (among many others).

Given the fact that many of these program suites are very expensive, the open source community has taken it upon themselves to create open source alternatives to the suites which are then distributed for free. Most of these open source alternatives are available for the popular operating systems including Windows, Mac OS, and the majority of Linux distributions (which themselves are primarily open source as well). While it would appear, at first glance, that programs developed by groups of developers not affiliated with professional or commercial establishments would be less functional, the opposite is actually true. Because these programs are being designed with the end-user in mind right from the beginning (and, in fact, they are being designed by such users themselves) there is a vast array of functionality that is provided with each individual piece of software.

The List

Below is a somewhat comprehensive list of common open source alternatives to popular closed source software.

Open Office : A powerful open source office suite and an alternative for Microsoft Office. It was developed by Sun Microsystems and was acquired by Oracle in 2011. It is still available though work has been discontinued on the program (officially).

Libre Office : Another open source office suite competitor. This is, to most, the best alternative available. It is free, comes with many modules (including a database program, a slide show program, a spreadsheet program, and a writing program [among others]). Firefox : An open source web browser developed by the Mozilla organization. Firefox is an extremely popular web browser and is highly customizable.

Pidgin : Pidgin is a messaging program that allows a person to control all of their social messaging from one platform rather than being forced to install multiple programs. A few of the messaging systems included with Pidgin are AIM, ICQ, Yahoo Messenger, and MSN messenger.

Azureus : An open source bit-torrent program. Lightweight, easy to use, and highly customizable. Azureus is a very popular program.

WordPress : WordPress is used for making websites and blogs. It is an extremely popular web development and content management system.

Drupal : Like WordPress, Drupal is a popular content management system.

ZSNES : An open source emulator for the Super Nintendo entertainment system.

Wine : Wine is a program available that emulates the Windows Operating system environment. It is used on Linux and Mac OS in order to emulate and install Windows programs onto these systems.

VLC Media Player : VLC media player is a multimedia player that can be installed on most popular operating systems. It is completely free and is extremely customizable and portable. It has a very low learning curve which makes it wonderful for new users. VLC also maintains enough options and advanced settings to keep audiophiles on their toes. One major benefit of the VLC media player is its low hardware and system requirements.


I can personally recommend a few pieces of open source software which I use both on Linux machines and on Windows machines. I use Libre Office as a replacement for the Microsoft Office Suite. I find that it had all of the functionality that I require, gets rid of some of the more bloated features that are present, and is able to handle all of the tasks that I need quickly and efficiently. I also use Firefox. Azureus, and VLC Media Player. There are a myriad of reasons to give open source software a try. The best part? They are free. Try them all and see which ones fit best on your systems!

Related topics

Is Linux a Viable Operating System for Home Use?
Are there Downsides of Open Source Software?
Which Linux Distribution is most User-Friendly?
What are the Benefits of Open Source Software?

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Edited by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )

Disclaimer: The suggestions in the article(wherever applicable) are for informational purposes only. They are not intended as medical or any other type of advice