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Open source alternatives to commercial software

Maybe you are in the market for a specific program but don't want to shell out huge amounts of your hard earned money. Especially during this fun economic upheaval. Maybe the commercial program you are using doesn't do everything you want it to do, and right now you are using a couple of programs to finish your task. Maybe you are a teacher looking for games or tutorial software for your classroom that wont strangle your budget or come out of your own pocket. Or, you are just a curious person with not much to
do today.

Well, that is what this article is for. To help you find those open source programs and allow you to download them free and legally. And today, we are going to talk about two websites that can help you immensely in your search.

Open Source Alternative is your one stop shop for comparing open source software to commercial software. At the top right hand corner of the home page, there is a search box. In that box, type in a commercial program you may want but cant afford. Chances are, the search will bring up alternatives that do just about the same thing your pricey commercial choice does. For example, if you wanted to see if there are any alternatives to Adobe Photoshop, type in Photoshop in the search box. The search result screen comes up and it lists 10 matches. Now, it doesn't just give you open source matches, it also lists other commercial programs as well. In the list of results, you will see a green dot next to some of the results, and a red dot next to others. The green dots are your open source, and red dots are your commercial.

Once you have found your results for your search, this list gives you quite a bit of info on each possible match. It tells you what operating system it will work on, a description of the program and its uses, the quality of the software (for example, if its a top notch comparison to the commercial version or not), and other bits of info. You can click on the name of the software and it will take you to that softwares home page where you can read up, research, and ultimately download if you wish. This is simplicity at its finest. Stop in and check out the site.

Once there, also check out what is being said about that site by other websites and magazines. This can tell you if its worth while to be on the website or if they truly know what they are talking about.

This is a link to Open Source Alternative's In The News page.  A list of articles mentioning this awesome website.

Alternativeto is another place where you can go to find alternatives to over priced commercial software. This site not only can show you some cool open source for your computer, but it also offers mobile cell phone apps, too. So you have a bunch of goodies to read here if you are tech curious. Once at the home page of Alternativeto, you will see at the top 5 tabs to choose from. You can choose one tab to cut down the searching and reading, or remain on the 'ALL' tab and simply type in your commercial softwares name in the search box directly below the tabs. Now, simply doing a search wont always bring up all the alternatives out there. The difference on this site is that it brings up similar programs, not necessarily open source. One thing it does do that is nice is it allows the site users to rate the search results. Each result you get, you do have the ability to find an alternative for it, by clicking the link below the icon and description for that specific result. It simply states, "Find alternatives to...".

Again, while on Alternativeto.net, be sure to check out what is being said about them in other publications. Simply look for the links to articles about this cool site on the bottom right under "Said About Us"

Donating to the community that made your open source software choice helps greatly as well. It keeps the creators working and updating the very software you downloaded and are now depending on. Help them help you.

Use common sense when downloading. Research, check your system to make sure it can run the software, and use trusted anti-virus software. Good Luck.
 

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