When was the last time you put down $200 on software? A talented geek might tell you “never.”
Getting free software doesn’t have to mean cracking or patching the software. The past decade of open-source software culture, along with today’s app economy, has given birth to excess fantastic alternatives to traditionally expensive software solutions. Often, free software is every bit as good as or even better than the paid for products.
Here are nine (9) of the most popular paid for software products, and their free alternatives:
Word Processing – OpenOffice: Free; Microsoft Office: $149.99. Microsoft Word has become a staple word-processing product both at home and at work. If you are in love with the Microsoft Office suite but do not mind a knockoff version, download OpenOffice. It comes with the same programs to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, all for free. It has nearly all the same functionality as Microsoft Office, but just a slightly looks different. With it, you can open documents that are meant for Office products, and also save documents so that they can be viewed by those who spent cash on Microsoft Office.
ANTIVIRUS – Norton 360: $47.99; Trend HouseCall Online: Free. Viruses are not fun, biological or digital. Whereas $50 virus protection software may be cheap compared to the cost of losing everything on your PC, you can scan your machine for viruses for free using Trend Micro HouseCall online, from any web browser. No download is required. If downloaded antivirus software is what you want, several antivirus companies offer free trials, but you have to be careful where you download. As ironic as it may sound, it’s easy to download a virus instead of the downloading the software itself.
FTP – CuteFTP Lite: $24.99; Filezilla: Free. Do you need a way to get your files up to your website server? CuteFTP is among the File Transfer industry’s leading software providers, but some traditional providers offer free alternatives with different capabilities. FileZilla is free, open-source, cross-platform FTP, SFTP and FTPS software.
MUSIC EDITING – Pro Tools 9: $599.00; Audacity: Free. Music publishing experts and producers know that Avid’s Pro Tools software produces some of the most professional cuts for 600 Dollars. Audacity, on the other hand, gives core music editing features even though without extras for free. For $5 per month, you can do all your music editing online with Indaba. You can even collaborate with other artists and make music together in the cloud. If you are a developing artist or audio engineer, use Audacity or Indaba to convert, record, slice, speed up, cut away and save a few hundred dollars.
VIDEO EDITING – Adobe’s Premier Elements: $99.95; Jaycut: Free. Adobe’s Premier Elements is the number 1 movie making software that is compatible with both Windows and Mac. But if you’re reading this article, my best guess is that you have access to the internet, which means you can cut and edit videos for free online with tools like Jaycut. Jaycut allows you to organise video clips, edit in/edit out all the details you need and publish videos to show how good you are at video editing.
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PHOTO EDITING – Adobe Photoshop 5: $699; Aviary: Free. Adobe Photoshop is the industry’s standard for photography editing, and it’s become one of the primary tools that graphic designers use for illustration and web design. Its principal barrier for many artists is the price. Fortunately for designers and photographers who are low on money, Aviary.com offers free tools online for photo editing and vector editing. Aviary makes use of layers and many of the same editing tools you will find in Adobe software.
CONTENT MANAGEMENT – WordPress: Free; Visual Studio: $11,899. The cost of managing a website content can get downright expensive. Free solutions might not work for enterprise businesses, but if you are running a blog or a website with lots of pages, then you should try out a free CMS like WordPress before you drop ten thousand on a big deployment. A customer service representative at Microsoft Dynamics describes their product, Microsoft Visual Studio 2010, which costs about $12,000, as being “similar to WordPress.” But if you are searching for the primary content management system, why not use WordPress? It is free.
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CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT – Insightly: Free; Highrise Plus: $49/month. If you Run a business without proper CRM it is hazardous, and there are a lot of possible options online to help, including Highrise, by signals. Highrise is a fantastic product, but if you’re running on a budget, have a look at the free professional alternative Insight.ly. Synchronise your email conversations and notes through Google Apps, organise your contacts, and track your customers and it’s all free.