In this article, we will walk you through some of the best free and open-source software for small businesses.
Many businesses use proprietary software and are not aware that free and open-source alternative software is available at no cost. It gives you the freedom to download, modify, and distribute the software without paying any fee to the developer.
Open-source business software keeps your costs down, particularly when you have a tight budget for information technology. You will look for free and open-source software to meet your requirements.
Linux Ubuntu is a free and open-source Linux-based distribution based on Debian and powered by millions of desktops around the world. It is developed and maintained by Canonical.
All the essential applications, like an office suite, browsers, email, and media apps, come pre-installed, and thousands more games and applications are available in the Ubuntu Software Center.
Customization is one of the major advantages of Ubuntu or any other Linux desktop operating system.
Linux Mint is a free and open-source operating system based on Ubuntu. The main purpose of Linux Mint is to produce a modern, elegant, and comfortable operating system that is both powerful and easy to use.
It is one of the most popular operating systems when it comes to desktop Linux distributions. If you are a Windows user and want to migrate to Linux, it is the best option to start with because it will give you a familiar start menu similar to the Windows operating system.
Google Chrome is by far the best internet browser available right now and has around 65% market share amongst all the browsers. When it comes to library extensions, this is the biggest strength of Google Chrome.
No other browser will provide you with the same number of third-party features. The downside of Google Chrome is that it eats up lots of memory and has some privacy issues as well.
Mozilla Firefox is another great internet browser and one of the fastest around, and it consumes fewer resources. It offers some great security and privacy features; it comes as a default internet browser with a Linux Distro.
Like Google Chrome, it also has a massive library of extensions. If you want an internet browser to consume less memory and provide great security features, go with Firefox.
LibreOffice is a free and open-source software that is free to use for personal and commercial purposes. It is the best alternative to the Microsoft Office suite of software and comes as a default office application with the Linux Distro.
LibreOffice includes Writer (word processing), Calc (spreadsheets), Impress (presentations), Base (databases), Draw (vector graphics), and Math (Formulae Editor).
Apache OpenOffice is a free and open-source office productivity suite that includes a word processor (Writer), a spreadsheet (Calc), a presentation application (Impress), a drawing application (Draw), a formula editor (Math), and a database management application (Base).
It is one of the best alternatives to the Microsoft Office suite.
Acrobat Adobe Reader DC is the best free PDF viewer for viewing, printing, signing, and annotating PDF files. It is a cross-platform application, so you can create PDF documents on one computer and view them on another.
It helps you open large files with ease, with more features available in the paid version.
VLC Media Player is a free and open-source cross-platform multimedia player that is massively popular and completely free to use, and when you have this application, there is no need to install any media player.
The biggest advantage of the VLC Media Player is that it supports almost all media extensions.
GIMP is the free and open-source cross-platform GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP). It is packed with professional-quality features such as fine-tuning snaps, creating your artwork from scratch, customizable brushes, image enhancement tools, filters, and a huge number of plugins that make this application the best alternative to Adobe Photoshop.
When it comes to free photo editing software, GIMP is the number one choice for many users. The only drawback is that it has a steep learning curve.
Audacity is a free and open-source cross-platform audio editor. The application lets you mix, import, edit, and combine sound files.
It also comes with editing functions to produce high-quality sound. What makes Audacity popular is its ease of use, great features, support for massive plugins, and good community support.
OBS Studio is a free and open-source cross-platform streaming and recording application that helps videographers capture and mix audio and video to create visuals, including text and images.
It has a slow learning curve, but once you understand how to use this application, you will love it. Especially if you want to record a lecture or screen recording.
Shortcut is a free and open-source cross-platform video editor that helps add audio, video, and edit virtual effects.
The best part of the application is that basic features such as keyframing on time, importing video, cutting, slicing, adding transactions, titles, and effects can all be accomplished by using drag and drop or in a few clicks.
Blender is a free and open-source 3D creation suite. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline: modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing, motion tracking, video editing, and 2D animation pipeline.
It is the best alternative to Maya.
Mozilla Thunderbird is a free and open-source cross-platform email client and one of the best alternatives to Microsoft Outlook. With many add-ons and themes, it is highly customizable.
You can integrate your Google calendar schedule tasks and meetings into Thunderbird and view them on your Android email application.
It supports IMAP and POP accounts, and if you want to use a Microsoft Exchange account, then you need to buy the Owl for Exchange extension.
ProjectLibre is a free and open-source project management software alternative to Microsoft Project. Its paid cloud version will be coming soon. It has been downloaded 5,200,000 times on all 7 continents and 200 countries, winning the InfoWorld “Best of Open Source” award.
Its key features are Gantt chat, Earned Value Costing, WBS/RBS chat, Resource Histograms, and Network Diagrams.
VirtualBox is a free, open-source general-purpose hosted hypervisor for x86 hardware developed by Oracle Corporation. Virtual Box supports cross-platform operating systems and can be installed on Windows, Linux, macOS, Solaris, and OpenSolaris.
If you are running the Windows 10 operating system and want to install Ubuntu, you can install VirtualBox and install Linux as a guest operating system.
It is very useful for developers, programmers, system administrators, or personal computer users.
FreeCAD is a free, open-source, and cross-platform parametric 3D modeler made primarily to design real-life objects of any size.
It is not only a free open-source product but also very good 3D modeling software. Key features of FreeCAD are Open CASCADE Technology, Parametric Model, Modular Architecture, Sketcher, Rendering, etc.
nanoCAD is a free and open-source 2D design and drafting CAD-based software, an easy-to-use CAD application that delivers a great user experience.
It is available in both free and paid versions; to use the free version, register with nanoCAD and you will receive a free license via email.
It does support the industry-standard DWG (.dwg) format, used by AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT, and hundreds of other CAD applications.
GnuCash is personal and small-business financial-accounting software, freely licensed under the GNU GPL and available for GNU/Linux, BSD, Solaris, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows.
Designed to be easy to use yet powerful and flexible, GnuCash allows you to track bank accounts, stocks, income, and expenses. As quick and intuitive to use as a checkbook register, it is based on professional accounting principles to ensure balanced books and accurate reports.
Notepad ++ is one of the most popular free text editors for Windows operating systems that allows very good coding experience.
It has features that include syntax highlighting, code folding, and limited auto-completion for programming, scripting, and markup languages, but not intelligent code completion or syntax checking, document mapping, and loads of plugins.
BleachBit is a free, open-source disk space cleaner, privacy manager, and computer system optimizer available for Windows and Linux operating systems and in command line mode for macOS users.
With BleachBit, you can free cache, delete cookies, clear Internet history, shred temporary files, delete logs, and discard junk you didn’t know was there.
It also includes some advanced features, such as shredding files to prevent recovery, wiping free disk space to hide traces of files deleted by other applications, and vacuuming Firefox to make it faster.
Everything is a free, lightweight desktop search software for Windows operating systems that can quickly search files and folders by name.
This tool will be very useful when you want to find a file to delete, move, or use but don’t know where the file is located.
TreeSize Free is a free disk space analyzer tool that supports Windows operating systems. It helps you to find folders that are taking up the most space on your computer hard disk.
You can use this as a hard disk cleanup tool. Graphical analysis provides a quick visualization of disk space usage. It is also available in a portable version, so you don’t have to install it on your computer.
WinMerge is a free and open-source difference and merging tool for Windows. It can compare both folders and files, presenting differences in a visual text format that is easy to understand and handle.
WinMerge is highly useful for determining what has changed between project versions and then merging changes between them. WinMerge can be used as an external differencing and merging tool or as a standalone application.
PDF24 is a collection of many useful tools for solving PDF-related problems. If you want to convert PDF documents to Word, Excel, or vice-versa, to merge and split PDF documents, to extract, move, and delete pages, convert PDF into images, and extract images from the PDF, all of this is absolutely free.
When you are dealing with PDF conversion to other file formats, then this is a very handy tool to have and many people don’t know about this software.
7zip is a free software and open-source file archiver utility that allows users to create compressed files or extract compressed files in multiple formats. 7-zip is a very lightweight and handy tool that supports various file formats.
It has a high compression ratio in 7z format with LZMA and LZMA2 compression.
Dia is a free and open-source cross-platform software for drawing similar to Microsoft Visio. It supports more than 30 different diagram types, such as flowcharts, network diagrams, circuit diagrams, database models, and more. It can read and write several different raster and vector image formats.
Rufus is a utility that helps format and create bootable USB flash drives, such as USB keys, pen drives, memory sticks, etc.
It can come in handy when you need to simply format a USB drive, install an OS on a machine that lacks a CD/DVD-ROM drive, or when you need to boot an operating system temporarily without the intention of actually installing the media.
FreeFileSync is a free and open-source cross-platform software for folder comparison and synchronization that creates and manages backup copies of all your important files.
It determines the differences between a source and a target folder and transfers only the minimum amount of data needed.
OpenKM is an Enterprise Content Management Software, often referred to as a Document Management System (DMS). There’s a lot of literature about document management terms like DMS, EDRMS, or CMS, which are usually more influenced by marketing rules than objective reasons.
The OpenKM Community Edition is 100% free, which is ideal for small businesses with a few users and small repositories. It includes basic features such as workflows, OCR, and version control. It can also be integrated with any TWAIN scanner and accessed via mobile devices.
Calibre is a powerful and user-friendly cross-platform free and open-source ebook manager created by Kovid Goyal. It’ll allow you to do nearly everything, and it takes things a step beyond normal e-book software.
Clonezilla is a free and open-source disk imaging, disk cloning, data recovery, system deployment, bare metal backup, and recovery software.
It is available in three types, such as Clonezilla Live, Clonezilla Lite Server, and Clonezilla Server Edition.
Clonezilla Live is suitable for single computer storage media, whereas Clonezilla Lite and Clonezilla Server Edition are suitable for massive deployment and can simultaneously clone 40 computers.
Macrium Reflect 8 is one of the most powerful free disk cloning and data backup programs available for personal and commercial use.
Its interface is a little complex, but it is easy to use once you are familiar with it. Its features include creating an image of a running operating system, differential imaging, restoring a non-bootable system, direct disk cloning, browsing backups contained in Windows Explorer, and booting back up in Hyper-V virtual machines.
Ashampoo Burning Studio Free is your fast and hassle-free disc burner. Burning Studio is a feature-rich and dependable burning software with everything you need to burn and back up data, rip music discs, create audio discs, or burn existing videos, like MP4 files and photos, to Blu-ray and much more! With its intuitive interface, the program is also ideal for beginners, who’ll achieve great results fast.
Follow our post on free and open source software for your laptop or desktop computer.
There is a wide variety of free and open-source software available for commercial use. The above list includes some of the most important ones. If you learn how to use them, you don’t have to buy the expensive software.