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Free and Open Source Software Alternatives

Summary

We discussed some freeware and some open source alternatives to popular paid software titles. Here’s a summary of our recommendations:

Antivirus and Security: avast! Antivirus, Comodo Internet Security, AVG Antivirus Free Edition
Office: OpenOffice.org (OOo)
Email: Thunderbird
Calendar: Sunbird
Cleanup and Optimization: Glary Utilities, Windows Check Disk & Disk Defragmenter
Backup and Recovery: DirSyncPro and Box.net
Photo Editing: Windows Live Photo Gallery or GIMP
Graphics Editing: Inkscape
Video Editing: Windows Live Movie Maker or Cinelerra

We touched on the major categories. Remember, there are thousands of more alternatives out there.

You can search for alternatives in the SourceForge directory, where most open source projects are listed. You can also search osalt.com (standing for open source as alternative) for a commercial product and it will list similar alternatives.

Download.com is a good place to search for freeware and shareware. But to prevent wasted time, carefully search for and read the fine print and limitations on the vendor’s website. You don’t want to configure and learn a new program just to find out in thirty days that the majority of the features will become inactive unless you’re willing to pay.

Always remember, don’t try to download or use pirated software. It’s illegal, unfair, and unsafe!

  • army_ant7
    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
    Reply
  • army_ant7
    LibreOffice would've probably been more welcome here than OpenOffice (because it's actually open source). :-)
    Reply
  • army_ant7
    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.
    Reply
  • army_ant7
    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. :-)
    Reply
  • 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)
    Reply
  • Three tools missing,

    Ccleaner.
    Libre Office.
    Microsoft Security essentials.
    Reply
  • ubercake
    Avast is a great product.
    Reply
  • egeier
    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.
    Reply
  • Tomsguiderachel
    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)Nobody--
    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
    Reply
  • phate
    LibreOffice >>> OpenOffice

    http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2011/04/oracle-gives-up-on-ooo-after-community-forks-the-project.ars

    Open Office is dead.
    Reply