Open Source Alternatives to Commercial Software

How lovely! Are you looking for an open source alternative to all the commercial software on your computer? Wondering how you’re going to switch to Linux when all your boxed applications run on Windows? Float over to , an directory of open source applications to commercial apps.

There are featured applications on the front page, but mostly the listings are divided into categories including business, databases, Internet, graphics, etc. I went and checked out the business listings. The listings start with popular commercial software — apps listed in this category include Adobe Acrobat, Crystal Reports (!), and of course thousands of Microsoft products. There’s also a listing of open source software underneath that. (The commercial apps have red icons, the open source have green. How subtle. Snirk.)

Pick a commercial app and you’ll get an overview of the product, along with a note of the platforms on which it runs. (Note: several platforms are listed, the ones not supported are crossed out. This is a little confusing at first.) Then you’ll get alternatives to the commercial product. For some listings there are multiple alternatives — Crystal Reports actually had four listed alternatives. Alternative listings have Web sites available as well as platform listings. There is a rating system installed, but most of the software I looked at didn’t have ratings.

I have a couple of nitpicks with this site. First of all sometimes an alternative is listed that I wouldn’t really call an alternative. I love Mozilla, but is SeaMonkey really a potential substitute for Dreamweaver? I also found myself missing Web service listings, which is really outside the scope of this site. (How about a sister site? FreeWebBasedAlt or something.) Maybe sometimes an OS software package is the solution, and maybe sometimes something should just done through the Web.

Extensive listings here though; I learned about a lot of new software. Absolutely worth a look.

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