Sometimes you just don’t have the budget to get the software you need, so here is a list of the best free alternatives. Obviously, you usually have to make some form of sacrifice to the features or usability but let’s take a look at a few free alternatives to the paid/common software.
Openoffice - An alternative to Microsoft Office, this software offers most of the functionality of Microsoft Office and works with the office formats. Unfortunately, it does look a bit dated and doesn’t have a lot of the features that office has. it’s great for editing spreadsheets, creating documents and producing presentations. A great alternative if on a tight budget but I do prefer Office just because of the full integration with each other a much better user interface.
Audacity – this is a great audio editing program. don’t expect to be using soft synth samples or MIDI mapping but it is great for basic EQ controls, merging audio and splitting/cutting audio. it also sports some effects such as pitch control. You can even save in MP3 format using the free LAME plug-in. If you want a full suite for editing/creating music, I recommend Cubase, Prologic (mac only), Sony Soundforge or Adobe Audition.
iTunes – One of the best and most commonly used audio programs out there. Full integration with the itunes store to purchase music. It has plenty of cool features such as the ‘Genius Mix’ which finds similar music to that found in your library. Even if you don’t have an ipod, this is a great program that is easy to use, not too resource hungry and useful for buying music. Of course, the best reason to get this is the fact that it is 100% free!
FLV Player – This is a no-nonsense program. All the fancy looks and features have been removed to make the program itself small in size and light on your computer. This is to make more resource available for your video files. Who wants fancy 3D icons and animated menus? This will allow you to view full 1080P with no problems at all. It supports nearly any video file with nearly all audio/visual codecs included and makes the most important feature – the ability to sit back and watch your favourite video, the priority – not fancy menus and options.
Blender – An extraordinary software similar to 3DS MAX, Autodesk MAYA and Cinema 4D. All these programs cost a small fortune. This costs absolutely nothing. Granted, its not something you can download and make a ten minute animation with straight away. It takes a lot of learning but there are plenty of tutorials and guides online. A film created with this won many awards for the best animation. just look at what is achievable.
GIMP – A great alternative to Photoshop. Again, this is completely free and would be suitable for those who like to dabble in photo editing but not willing to dig into your pocket. It has most of the features of photoshop and can give great results. Again, I don’t think it’s anywhere as good as photoshop but a great alternative none-the-less.
AVG – The free version offers great basic protection. It gives a good antivirus and spyware protection, it is very resource-lite and detects nearly all viruses. It constantly updates itself to keep up with all the latest threats. It’s not as good as paid software such as Norton or Mcafee but it is still a good piece of software to have.
Ubuntu – A whole operating system – free of charge! This is one distribution of Linux and is a good alternative to Windows, it uses very little resources and is very customizable. Unfortunately, you can’t use many programs on it. mainly, the free alternatives such as Open office rather than Microsoft office. Recommended for machines used merely for web browsing or for sole use of GIMP or Blender for example. this is commonly found on servers due to the reliability, customizability, price and resistance to most viruses.