The great thing about open-source is that you get access to some of the coolest software in existence for free. It might sound far-fetched though. Why would anyone build anything for free? But, believe it or not, there’s an entire community begging you to download their source code, and they won’t ask you for one thin dime. Here’s the best of the Best
OpenOffice’s little brother - LibreOffice. It’s a bit more stable, and it has almost all of the functionality of MS Office Suite. Thank goodness it’s free too, because Microsoft moved away from selling it’s Office suite program as a product. It’s now Office 365, billed annually. So, even if you’re a small business, the MS suite would cost you a minimum of $60 annually.
The office program can be customized to your liking, the calc spreadsheet program is full-featured, and it does macros too.
Evolution is the open source version of Microsoft Outlook. This program sets you up with an email management interface, calendar, contacts, notes, and tasks. Basically, it’s everything you need to manage your business or even personal life. It seems silly to pay for a program like this when it’s free, doesn’t it? The UI is really nice with Evolution - simple. But, it also doesn’t skimp on features. Whether you need POP or IMAP email functionality, secure network connections that are encrypted, or you need to set up email filters, this program has you covered.
It also has an intuitive search feature, allowing you to search folders and an automatic spam killer (using SpamAssassin).
The best part about this program is that, if you need to connect to Exchange,, there are tools to make this happen.
GIMP is one of the coolest free image editors out there. It offers features similar to Photoshop, though some of the tasks involved in certain editing procedures might require a few extra steps. But, make no mistake. This program is no slouch. Some of the best images and art on the net have been edited with this program.
Scribus is an easy and powerful way to create PDF documents. PDFs have become the default standard in professional documents. They’re also the standard for eBooks that are eBook reader agnostic. Pretty much any professionally finished document is formatted this way, and it’s easy to see why. It’s simple, beautiful, and easy to work with.
But, of course, you don’t want to pay Adobe’s prices to make your own. Now you don’t have to.
If you’re wondering what to do with the Vuze bittorrent client you just downloaded, try using it to get your hands on GNUCash.
It’s an open source accounting program that’s an excellent replacement for paid accounting solutions. It’s only a single-user tool, but it can easily manage the money in your small business. It uses the standard double-entry accounting scheme, with checking, savings, expenses, assets, liabilities, and more.
This is a tool that every business needs, but so few have. Many businesses just don’t want the added burden of paying for dedicated accounting software. Now there’s no excuse. Get it, and start keeping better track of your finances.
Audrey Brown is a whiz at useful computing. Whether she’s customizing computer commands, reorganizing desktops, or finding the best software options, she enjoys blogging about the tips and tricks to keeping productivity up for the everyday user.