Free, Open Source Alternatives to Expensive Programs

Wish you could create vector art in Adobe Illustrator, edit videos in Sony Vegas, or just play a game of Halo 2 on your PC, but can’t afford the programs? We’ve all been there, and it sucks, honestly.

Thankfully, there’s a whole genre of software comprised of free solutions to the otherwise costly mainstream alternatives. This magical genre is called Open Source.

After the break are a few programs that you may find useful, with often just as many features as the costly alternative.

Microsoft Office » OpenOffice

The free and open productivity suite.

Autodesk 3ds Max » Blender

The open source, cross platform suite of tools for 3D creation.

Adobe Photoshop » GIMP

The GNU Image Manipulation Program, for X Windows systems.

Adobe Illustrator » Inkscape

The vector graphics editor.

Techsmith Camtasia/HyperCam 2 » Camstudio

The free alternative for recording on-screen video.

Sony Vegas/Adobe Premiere » Jahshaka

The world’s first OpenSource Realtime Media Playback and Visual Effects System.

Trillian Pro » Pidgin

The multi-protocol Instant Messaging client that allows you to use all of your IM accounts at once.

Halo 2 » Sauerbraten

The singleplayer (2 game modes, savegames) and multiplayer (12 game modes) first person shooter.

Guitar Hero » Frets on Fire

The open source Guitar Hero alternative.

vBulletin » phpBB3

The most widely used Open Source forum solution.

Microsoft Windows » Ubuntu

The free, Debian derived, Linux-based operating system, available with both community and professional support.

By far, the best resource for Open Source applications is SourceForge.net.

15 thoughts on “Free, Open Source Alternatives to Expensive Programs”

  1. NO Free Lunch in this world. You need to know How the money is generated.
    Have you ever though Why They are giving these free !!
    Hope you get what I mean.

    This is just a way to keep users data / Spyware / Security holes / Ugly Marketing practices / Sell them after a year / Poorly coded softwares.

    When you need productivity You need to pay.
    I worked with open source model for 3 years. And found this is just a gimmick.

    1. If you think Unbuntu, Gimp, Blender or even Openoffice (which is now called Libreoffice) are gimmicks, then I have no faith in your judgement.

      Blender easily rivals software costing thousands and has many professionals using it and continues to gain in popularity.

      Gimp is very powerful and with the latest update can be used instead of Photoshop for everything but the most demanding image editing projects.

      LibreOffice (openoffice) also does everything most people need in an office suite.

      Unbuntu is gaining in popularity along with Linux every day. With even Valve software recoding Steam to run on the OS.

      I can personally assure anyone that none of the ones I mentioned have anything resembling Spyware or security problems in any way.

      Sounds like someone works for one of the companies that can't compete with open source to me.

    2. Uhm, no..

      First of all, money is not “generated”, there’s a fixed amount. Because if anybody would generate their own money, it would loose value until it wouldn’t be worth anything..

      You’ve probably worked with a crapware company, probably as a janitor / receptionist / lawyer, etc.. , and can’t make the difference between open source software, freewares and crapwares.

      Putting something like an adware, or spyware within an open source software is utterly stupid and futile, since anybody has access to the source code. It would only take a couple of days before someone that has even the most rudimentary coding experience makes a build without that crap. Which is why your affirmation makes no sense..

      And “poorly coded software” ? really ? Just last year, I used the open source JUCE library, which is probably one of the most elegant, well coded piece of C++ code I’ve seen in a long while !!

      And ugly marketing marketing practices are just a symptom of a bigger problem. A problem entirely unrelated to open source software..

      The last time I modified an open source program and published the modification with the code, it wasn’t because I wanted to scam people, it was because I needed those modifications and thought it might be useful to someone else. That, and I didn’t care about selling the modified software. Besides it had a very limited audience, profits would have been negligible, and selling something as simple as a sound extractor for game files would have made more than one frown at the thought of paying for that..

      If you want free lunch go to some homeless shelter, not on the Internet, you silly person..

      Also, 4 years dredge 😀

  2. Hidden 10:06 am on December 12, 2009 Permalink

    are you working for microsoft, adobe or the like? 🙂

    windows is full of security holes, spyware, and bugs. I don't pay for anything, that was open source in the past

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  4. Why go opensource when you can just pirate everything opensource programs are pretty awful and never used one that could replace its licensed counterpart.

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