Software can be rather expensive and even if it isn’t it can still add up. If you have to install it on multiple computers and have to get a license for each computer, you just doubled your cost. Just between the four major programs I use, Office, Dreamweaver, PhotoShop, and NaviCat cost me close to $1200 to start. After that I just pay for upgrades but still that was $600 or so. That cost doesn’t include all the other software I need/use, a zip program, screen capture program, FTP program, a PDF program, to name a few. Those are also not cheap. But I guess that is the cost of doing business right? Wrong.
Although using software makes my job much easier a savvy entrepreneur like myself can’t spend several thousands of dollars on software. That is why I love Source Forge. It is a site dedicated to free and open source software. I have at least 15 programs on my computer that have come from Source Forge and I haven’t paid for a single one. Each one has a pay for alternative. An alternative that does the exact same thing. Here are a few that I use.
Microsoft Office: I use Open Office. Has all the same things.
Beyond Compare: A program to compare two files, folders, etc. I use WinMerge.
WS_FTP Pro: An FTP program to put files up on a server. I use Filezilla.
SnagIt: A screen capture program, I use GreenShot.
Outlook: I use ThunderBird and a few free plugins.
Photoshop: GIMP does the exact same thing.
WinZip: A program to zip up files, I use 7Zip.
Norton AntiVirus: I use ClamWin.
Not every software is going to be the same. SnagIt has a really nice interface and is user friendly. GreenShot is very simple and not as user friendly as SnagIt. It just doesn’t have the same interface. Does that mean it is a bad program? No. GreenShot does the exact same thing just in a different way. So I have a learning curve, like with any new software. On the flip side there are free programs that are much better than their pay for alternatives such as Open Office. Besides it being free, all those annoying program quirks that MS Office had, those quirks that made me yell “Why the hell is it doing that!?”, Open Office doesn’t do. Gran it, I’m a light user of Office, like most people but for 99% of everything I need to do Open Office does it. I rarely have problems dealing with files created in MS Office. The only problems I’ve had was with MS Office only features so like very advanced things that you can do in Excel. But that is the same for Open Office only features and MS Office.
The whole reason Open Office exists is Sun Microsystems didn’t want to license MS Office for its 42,000 employees so they bought a company that had similar software for $59.5 million, which was supposedly cheaper.
So the next time you need a piece of software, check out Source Forge for an alternative. Be sure to read the reviews to see if the program is good. If you find a good or know of a good alternative to pay for software, post it in the comments below.