Thursday Apr 24, 2014
Free Alternatives to Costly Software
Written by Frank Johnson   
Tuesday, 22 May 2012 02:25

Small and medium enterprises often spend thousands of dollars on purchasing software and applications for their systems. Though paid for software is always considered sophisticated and effective, there are several free alternatives that you can use without compromising on the quality of work on your systems. Frank Johnson delves into a few good options that you can use in your office.

Tired of spending huge amounts on applications and software? With the improvements in operating systems and software tools, a number of applications and software have evolved and these do add to your efficiency on computers. At the same time, rising expenditure on IT tools can become a substantial part of your total costs and affect your Profit and Loss accounts adversely. This is exactly where open source software and applications prove helpful.

Here are a few helpful options (all for free) that you can consider for the machines in your office:

Open Office and Libre Office:  Microsoft Office is the most popular applications package for most computers. But when you seek the functionalities and features of those apps without the price tag, Open Office is the solution. This open source office suite has a very effective word processor with tools closely similar to the ones in MS Word. Open Office also allows users top open and edit files that were initially created in MS Word or MS Excel. Another free office suite that can be considered by small and medium enterprises is Libre Office. It is a powerful suite that works not only with open source GNU/Linux operating system but also Windows and Macintosh. With Libre Office, you get six feature-rich apps and these can take good care of all your document production and data processing needs. The apps include Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math and Base.

Picasa: When you think in terms of photo editing tools, Adobe Photoshop is the first thing that comes to mind. Undoubtedly, this is one of the best photo editing tools and gives several options to optimize pictures for best. The only damper however is its cost. Photoshop is also the most costly photo editor that you can come across – not a good choice if you are trying to keep those costs to minimum. The alternative is Google’s Picasa. The open source photo editing tool by Google offers all the typical options used for editing photos. So you can easily crop, resize and adjust the colors of your pictures. It may not be as powerful as Photoshop but does get the job done when you simply want to optimize your photos and improve their look. What’s more, Picasa is much easier to work with than Adobe Photoshop, thanks to the simple ways in which its tools have been configured.

Filezilla: The ones who upload their files manually to websites look for effective FTP software package. CuteFTP is the name that instantly comes to mind. But the price tag does not allow most small businesses to install it on their systems. The open source solution for file transfer protocol package is Filezilla. It closely matches the performance of CuteFTP and does not cost a penny. Filezilla can work on any operating system. It comes with a simple, straightforward interface that allows you to check all of your local files as also the ones that are already on the server. With this you can easily make quick changes. Filezilla helps you with SFTP, FTPS and standard FTP uploads.

Audacity: A free sound editing tool that can be used to edit almost any kind of track. The beauty of Audacity is that it has a very simple user interface and even a novice or amateur can employ it to edit music files. This open source sound editor can be used to splice, edit and record sounds in different audio formats. It also allows you to control the tempo of the track in case you want to speed it up or slow it down. The interface for Audacity is very basic even though it has all the tools that you require for working with an audio file. Thanks to its simplicity, Audacity is widely used for podcasting.

Anti Virus Software AVG: Computers need to be protected well against malicious programs, malware and spyware. These are typically installed on a system through websites and emails. So the computers with any Internet connection need to have some form of anti virus program. Before you decide to spend dollars on purchasing Mc Afee or Norton, consider the effective free options for virus protection. AVG is one of the commonly used antivirus software solution and has been protecting millions of computers in offices and homes. AVG not only protects your machines against viruses but also provides regular updates on its versions. It is one of the most powerful and effective security tools that you can use for a computer and it can be downloaded fro free from the official AVG website.

If cost savings are on your mind, do not hesitate to opt for open source software and free alternatives to costly applications. There are many more that you can check on the Internet.

About the Author:Frank Johnson is a regular editorial contributor on technology products and services and business operation tips that help small to mid size enterprises.  To know more about free alternatives to expensive software, you may interact with him here

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