Open (Source) Anyone? List of Useful Open Source Alternatives to Applications you pay for

Open source tools are taking more dominance than before. There are loads of good applications that are available easily and can perform and even replace many commercial applications we are used to running daily.

Most current Open Source projects are also available free of royalties and fees, leading to the confusion around the commonly used term `free software’.
Ah!!  Regrettably the English language does not have separate concepts for free-of-charge and free as in unconstrained; other languages are better equipped to describe the difference between `freedom’ and `free of charge’ (libre vs. gratis).

TUX - Open Source Penguin
TUX - Open Source' Penguin

Here I have tried to compile a list of useful open source applications for the most common tasks we tend to do regularly.

  • Ok, so you are a business analyst or a process/ mapping expert and MS Visio has been your tool for daily survival, check out Dia 0.96. It’s open source software that can do almost everything that Visio can. It can save and export also to different formats. Now how bad is that for a dime or none?
  • Money Honey – Ok you’ve been used to MS Money or Quicken, paying cash to manage your cash using software. STOP. Introducing GNUCash 2.3 it allows you to keep track of your daily expenses, accounts, vendors, projects. It has industry standard plug-in and API and if your bank supports it, it can easily connect to your bank and update the information.
  • If you feel like an artist with the power of Photoshop and want an alternate open source version hunt  for Gimpshop.2.2.11. It’s a hack made on top of Gimp that creates an UI similar to that of Photoshop, including layouts, icons and brushes. So getting around is easy. But, there’s a downside. It may not have all the features of Photoshop as Gimpshop is based on the Gimp feature set.
  • Wanna get what you see – Check out the WYSIWYG Web editor Quanta  Plus 3.5. It’s a great tool for quick and effortless web development.  It is steadily taking on the bigger players in this space and that too at a fractional cost, if you care spend etc. It has great plugin that also includes a PHP debugger.
  • A rose for UML – StarUML is a great open source UML application. It supports UML 2.0 and lets you work with all related diagrams. This application is easily extensible through modules using COM based plugin architecture. Wanna import from Rational Rose – StarUML can so that.
  • Burn Baby Burn – InfraRecorder : An easy to use CD/DVD burner application. Support for all different and major formats. It has a pretty simple interface and with a few clicks you can have that assorted collection of love songs you always wanted. The icing on the CD is that it’s available in 2o languages and its 64 Bit version runs on Microsoft Vista.

So what next ? This is just a starting point. I firmly believe that there are more potent apps that can thwart the dominance of commercial apps. Do you know of any? Let us all know and the enlightment continue.

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