Free and Open Source Software Alternatives

Photo and Video Editing

Microsoft offers a free a basic photo editor, Windows Live Photo Gallery for Windows Vista and 7 or Windows XP. You can organize your photos into albums, make edits and enhancements, and create panoramas, movies, slide shows, and more. Then you can share or publish them directly to websites and social networks like Facebook and Flickr. Editing features include auto adjust, cropping, red eye removal, retouching, noise reduction and color and exposure levels. You can also apply coloring effects, such as black and white or sepia.

If you want more advanced editing features like what Adobe PhotoShop offers, consider GIMP. It’s an free open source editor that runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux. It includes advanced editing features for photo enhancing and digital retouching. It’s compatible with a wide variety of image formats, including Adobe Photoshop (.psd) files.

If you’re looking for an advanced graphics editor, similar to Adobe Illustrator and CorelDraw, the vector graphics editor Inkscape is free, open source and a fine alternative. It supports the SVG format with features such as basic shapes, paths, text, markers, clones, alpha blending, transforms, gradients, and grouping. It also supports Creative Commons' metadata, node-editing, layers, complex path operations, text-on-path, text-in-shape, and SVG XML editing.

For video editing, Microsoft included the Windows Movie Maker in Windows XP. Though it was removed in later versions, they now offer the Windows Live Movie Maker for Windows 7. You can add videos, photos, and music as well as apply titles, captions, transitions, special effects, and credits. When completed, you can save and/or publish directly to websites and social networks (YouTube, etc.)

If you’re looking for a more advanced video editor, like Adobe Premiere, try Cinelerra. It’s a free open source program but doesn’t run in Windows, just Linux and Unix-like operating systems. This might be an initial letdown for Windows users, but this is a good opportunity to run a version of Linux (Ubuntu, for example) off of your machine via DVD or a flash drive.

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  • You forgot to mention Microsoft Security Essentials. It's worth mentioning because it's actually supported by Microsoft and it's free (as long as you have a genuine OS). :-D
  • LibreOffice would've probably been more welcome here than OpenOffice (because it's actually open source). :-)
  • I was wondering that to, but I'm really not familiar with Glary. It didn't even show up when I Googled for a free optimization utility before. I use CCleaner now though.

    Also, in the backup section, the Windows bacup tools aren't mentioned.
  • I'm glad to see that last line of this article. It's very refreshing to read it and know that there are actually people out there who care. :-)
  • The author of this articles confuses open source and free software.
    try wikipedia for the definitions
    True most open source is free (not all opens source is free). In this article I see mostly closed source free software.
    Change the article title cause it is misleading (or change job)
  • Three tools missing,

    Libre Office.
    Microsoft Security essentials.
  • Avast is a great product.
  • Yes Ccleaner, Libre Office, and Microsoft Security essentials are good options too. Just didn’t want this to be a laundry list of software. I wanted to give some details about each and couldn’t do multiple alternatives for each category.

    Only gripes I have about Microsoft Security Essentials is that it lacks sandboxing and password protection. But I do like they offer it to small businesses for free as well, on up to 10 PCs.

    Does CCleaner support batch uninstall? I love that in Glary Utilities. Also Glary offers the simple 1-Click Maintenance and seems to include a bit more additional tools than CCleaner: file shredder, undelete file recovery, file encryption, disk analysis, duplicate file finder, and file splitter and joiner.
  • nobody123456The author of this articles confuses open source and free software.try wikipedia for the definitionsTrue most open source is free (not all opens source is free). In this article I see mostly closed source free software. Change the article title cause it is misleading (or change job)

    Thanks for your comment. Your point is a good one and we are looking in to a more appropriate descriptor for the applications discussed in this article. Some of these apps do not meet the criteria for the literal definition of "open source" which we would do well to adhere to. Keep an eye out for the headline change and our editor's update/correction.

    Luckily, we're glad to take your advice about the definition of open source, but not insecure enough to change careers on your suggestion that we do so.

    Thanks for reading.

    Rachel Rosmarin
    Managing Editor, Tom's Guide
  • No mention what so ever of Paint.NET for a free image editing alternative ?! As already mentioned CCleaner or DriveImage XML, Freebyte Backup and I agree Open Source and Free are not the one and the same. Also have to admit I too had not heard of Glary Utilities much before.. and Libre > OO any day/time.
  • Apart from the packages already mentioned, Blender and Paint.NET would also be good suggestions.
  • I stopped reading your article when I saw no mention of Ccleaner, which is only the most reliable, straightforward no bulldang, easy, coherent, usable and free software out there. Get real.
  • libre office is better than OOO
  • Are people really this stupid on Tom's? Free and open source confuses you in the title so you'd prefer it said free soft ware and open source software so as not confuse your tiny brain? Do you get upset if you go to a bed and breakfast only to find out the bed is not made from a large stack of pancakes? Try one iota of critical thinking.

    Laughably no one has bothered to point out that software that requires one to purchase Windows is not actually free.
  • I'm a longtime Photoshop user. After reading this article, I downloaded GIMP. I have to say I'm pretty impressed with this product. For most applications, I can do in GIMP what I can do in Photoshop.

    GIMP provides 100% of the functionality 99% of the people out there require for image editing and composition. I'm pretty impressed with it so far.
  • spybot search and destroy cant beat it for preventitive measuere
  • i use ccleaner, spybot, and malware lite
  • gimp is awesome, blender rules for open sourced 3d program
  • panda 3d for game designing