A list of open source and free software programs to replace existing business apps for free. It's pretty amazing that you could spend $60,000 on software that you could get for free. If you're paying for software for your startup - you're OVERPAYING.
We've put together a list of the best. From social networking and communication tools to productivity and security software, you're bound to find the right tools that'll help get your business rolling. Software is an integral part of any new business. With free software, it's hard to make the wrong decision, until scaling demands a bigger and better solution (which may STILL be free).
Luckily for savvy entrepreneurs there is a ton of free and open source software out there to save you money when you are in boot strapper mode and need every last dime for growth. Managing your own business is a juggling act full of needs--you need to keep ahead of the competition, build a marketing strategy, secure financing and meet budgeting goals. Here's the tools we'd use to do it.
Review: The business data you have on your laptop is priceless, and you need to protect it. Adeona is the first Open Source system for tracking the location of your lost or stolen laptop that does not rely on a proprietary, central service. There's no need to rely on a single third party, and no one besides the owner can use Adeona to track a laptop.
Review: ClamWin is a Free Antivirus for Microsoft Windows 98/Me/2000/XP/2003, a perfect alternative to Symantec Norton AV and McAfee Virus Scan. ClamWin features high detection rates, scheduler, automatic download of virus database updates and a plug-in for Microsoft Outlook.
Review: Heidi is an advanced security tool (for Windows), which allows you to completely remove sensitive data from your hard drive by overwriting it several times with carefully selected patterns.
Review: GanttProject is a free and easy to use chart based project scheduling and management Java application that serves as an open source alternative to MS Project. With this tool you can print your project charts, generate PDF and HTML reports, and exchange data with Microsoft Project and other spreadsheet applications.
Review: Using a sample business plan will enable you to quickly and easily complete your plan in a matter of hours rather than weeks. All plans are fully complete including comprehensive financial forecasts with startup costs and a detailed marketing plan. Choose your industry and get your business started today.
Review: Keep on track with the people aspect of your company. OrangeHRM allows you to stay on top of human resource issues such as managing personal information, tracking employee attendance, creating recruitment guidelines and company defining guidelines for your company. A must have system to keep your business and its staff on track.
Review: Although limited in function than other paid edition software applications, TimeTrex Standard Edition gives you the basic tools to perform essential payroll duties. The free edition includes source code, community forum access, scheduling and attendance modules and of course, a payroll module.
Review: 100% Open source CRM software. Ideal for small and medium businesses, with low-cost product support available to production users that need reliable support. Its capabilities include sales force automation, marketing automation, activity management and calendaring.
Review: Manage customer billing for free. From creating, printing and emailing invoices to keeping track of payments, accounts and recurring invoices, Express Invoice Professional Invoicing Software lets you do all the essentials.
Review: Expecting to generate and interact with a large volume of email in your business? Mailman, the GNU Mailing List Manager, manages electronic mail discussion and e-newsletter lists. Not only is Mailman a free software application, it’s also integrated with the web.
Review: This tools helps you create online forms for free. By using their HTML form builder you can create impressive forms.
Review: With Magentocommerce you can control the functionality, look and feel of your own online store. Sell your products in multiple currencies, offer flexible shipping options and provide payment options with multiple payment gateways including PayPal. Perfect for startups looking to meet a budget.
Review: For both personal and business use like Quicken 2009, GnuCash is flexible enough to track bank accounts, stocks, income and expenses. GnuCash features inlcude, double-entry accounting, small-business accounting, financial calculations stock/bond/mutual fund accounts and scheduled transactions. Based on professional accounting principles.
Review: Word processing applications are essential to budget into any business, and your can’t get any better when your document creation application is for free. Similar to MS Word, AbiWord has all the document creation features you need. Suitable for a wide variety of word processing tasks.
Review: OpenOffice provides a great alternative to existing commercial office suites. It comes with word processor (Writer), spreadsheet (Calc), presentation (Impress), drawing and graphing tool (Draw), tool for creating equations and formulae (Math) and finally a database tool which also build reports and forms (Base). All components are multi-platform and multilingual and free to download.
Review: The Gnumeric spreadsheet is part of the GNOME desktop environment: a project to create a free, user friendly desktop environment.
Review: With Ashampoo Burning Studio Free anyone can burn files easily without registering or paying for it. It starts up reasonably fast without splash screens and long loading times. All operations are selectable from the main menu such as options for burning a new disk or updating an existing one. Great for creating product demos and audio samples.
Review: For the entrepreneur in the music industry looking for easy to use tools, you can find a cost cutting, high quality recording software application at http://audacity.sourceforge.net/. Audacity is free, cross-platform open source software for sound editing as well.
Review: DataVision is an Open Source reporting tool similar to Crystal Reports. Reports can be designed using a drag-and-drop GUI. They may be run, viewed, and printed from the application or exported as HTML, XML, PDF, Excel, LaTeX2e, DocBook, or tab- or comma-delimited text files. The output files produced by LaTeX2e and DocBook can in turn be used to produce PDF, text, HTML, PostScript, and more.
Review: As the most widely customizable browsers online, Mozilla has a large community of users developing innovative and useful extensions for you from which you can pick and choose. Develop your own and make your browsing experience limitless.
Review: Depending on the type of products you’re promoting, you may need advanced rendering software. Blender is the free open source 3D content creation suite, available for all major operating systems under the GNU General Public License.
Review: Gimp is a versatile graphics manipulation package. Perform photo retouching, image composition and image authoring as if you were in Adobe Photoshop. It can be used as a simple paint program, an expert quality photo retouching program, an online batch processing system, a mass production image renderer, an image format converter, etc.
Review: As an open source 2D vector graphics editor, Inkscape supports all of the standard vector drawing features you find in similar commercial products.
Review: The free alternative when it comes to screen captures. Create screen captures easily and then share them with others on Flickr, Screencast.com, via email, and IM clients. Capture a window, pane or region by clicking and dragging, then mark it up with text boxes, arrows and highlights.
Review: Mozilla’s Thunderbird 2email application is more powerful than ever. It’s now even easier to organize, secure and customize your e-mail while on a business budget.
Review: ClockingIT is a free hosted application that keeps track of all your tasks and the time you spend on them.
Review: If you need to do more than the most basic of archiving tasks with the Windows zip tool, you're out of luck. 7-Zip comes to the rescue. It offers you considerable power over compressed archive creation and extraction, including several different archive formats and compression methods. and levels, and lets you create encrypted, password-created archives. The interface is quite configurable, and can even create a two-pane view, which is rare in archiving programs.
Review: UltraVNC is a powerful, easy to use and free software that can display the screen of another computer (via internet or network) on your own screen. The program allows you to use your mouse and keyboard to control the other PC remotely. It means that you can work on a remote computer as if you were sitting in front of it.
Review: Bacula is a set of computer programs that permits the system administrator to manage backup, recovery, and verification of computer data across a network of computers of different kinds. Bacula can also run entirely upon a single computer and can backup to various types of media, including tape and disk.
Review: With Spiceworks, you can manage an entire IT network starting with a single download. Spiceworks provides you with software, network and PC inventories, network monitoring, asset reporting and Helpdesk & IT Portal—all in a single application. An essential program for any business looking to go big.
Review: Ubuntu Linux is one of the latest and most successful new linux distributions. Ubuntu is originally derived from the well-known Debian distribution, but has added a lot of new functionality. One of Ubuntu's main goals is to increase usability when Vista just doesn’t cut it.
Review: PuTTY is a client program for the SSH, Telnet and Rlogin network protocols used to run a remote session on a computer over a network. PuTTY implements the client end of that session: the end at which the session is displayed, rather than the end at which it runs. So you can work on a machine as if you were sitting at its console, while actually sitting somewhere else.
Review: This thoroughly cleans out your web browser, Recycle Bin and temporary files, registry, unnecessary third-party application trash, and much more. Running CCleaner on your system promises to free up space, keep your computer running smoothly, and protect your privacy. It's also very fast and very easy to use.
Review: MySQL is an incredibly popular free, open-source database server that runs efficiently with fewer resources. With MySQL, you can save time and money maintaining and handling a high-volume Web site on more than 20 platforms.
Review: If you want a cost-cutting professional and reliable blogging platform, WordPress is the choice. With a self-hosted WordPress blogging tool with plug-ins, different design themes, cross-blogging communication tools, spam protection and more, you can get connected with your clients and help promote your company in a personal way.
Review: Asterisk is a complete PBX in software that runs on BSD Unix, Linux, and Mac OSX and provides all of the same features offered by top of the line hardware-based PBX. Asterisk supports VoIP, works with almost all standards-based telephony equipment and offers computer-telephony integration.
Get your company connected for free.
Review: ooVoo is the next evolution in online communication. A simple way to have a face-to-face video chat with business colleagues, no matter where they are in the world.
Review: As the site says: “Kexi is Open-Source integrated data management application, a long awaited Open Source competitor. It can be used for creating database schemas, inserting data, performing queries, and processing data. All database objects - tables, queries and forms - are stored in the relational database, making it easy to share data and design”.
Review: Make your company website stand out with content made from Open Source Flash. This project is a compilation of every open source Flash tool you’ll need for creating quality multimedia content for free. From IDE alternatives, utilities and Flash applications to frameworks, debugging tools and Flash players, you can find it here.
Review: If you’re looking for a robust, commercial quality and free source code alternative to an HTTP (Web) server without Microsoft, Apache HTTP Server 2.2.11 has the features and flexibility you’ll need. It works with modern operating systems like UNIX and Windows NT and current HTTP standards.
Review: With Xenu’s Link Sleuth you can verify links, images, frames, plug-ins, local image maps, style sheets and java applets. Additional features include an easy to use interface, partial testing of FTP and gopher sites and the ability to re-check broken links.