Technology is supposed to make life easier—but sometimes it seems like all the bells and whistles are just making us shell out more money each month. For example, more and more appear premium softwares. Unless your company is willing to sponsor a subscription, most of us just don’t have the extra cash lying around to drop a few hundred dollars on a whole suite of software, no matter how helpful they would be to us.
Luckily, there’s another way. Thanks to the talents of participants in the open-source communities of software development–there are some free alternatives to some of these pricey pro platforms. Almost all of these are free for Windows, MacOS and Linux operating systems. Also exist alternatives in any software category , and most likely they offer all the features you need and may be easier and safer to use.
In today’s post we have highlighted 5 best free alternatives to expensive software, that can keep your wallet from going on an unwanted diet.
The list can not start unless we mention “GNU Image Manipulation Program” or GIMP for short. It’s feature-rich, powerful and with just a little work, can work pretty much exactly like Photoshop when you need it to. It lacks some of the professional workflow features of Adobe’s package but is otherwise packed with similar tools and options (from brushes to layers) to take your image editing to the next level. The interface is a bit intimidating and can take some getting used tom but if you really want that Photoshop feel, there’s a theme that makes GIMP mimic the Photoshop Interface.
Virtually everyone needs to install an office suite in order to access documents, presentations, and spreadsheets. In fact, it’s impossible to do anything in a professional capacity without Microsoft Office. Even if you didn’t manage to “borrow” a copy from work or school at some point, though, you don’t need to pay for the whole suite. But do not worry, there’s always a solution.
Libre Office, the best free, non-web-based alternative office suite, has improved dramatically since the bare-bones first version was released. The redesigned Libre Office can open, edit and save Microsoft Office documents, and even looks good while doing it.
As with GIMP, it works across Windows, Mac, and Linux machines. IIn fact, it’s not quite as slick as the suite from Microsoft in terms of looks or operation but chances are if you need a particular feature then LibreOffice will have it.
It’s hard to find a video editing tool that’s both good and free, especially compared to common at-home tools like iMovie or professional-grade tools like Adobe Premiere. However, if you are looking for an alternative, DaVinci Resolve, which started life as a complex (and expensive) color grading tool, picked up video editing features a few years ago.
DaVinci Resolve is a program that started out as a color grading tool but is now morphing into a very capable editor too, available for Windows and Mac. In fact, the learning curve is a bit steep, but once you figure it out, you’ll have a video editing tool that’s almost as good as the fancy ones, without any of the debt.
If you’ve been using Garageband or Audacity for your audio recording and editing needs, it’s time to branch out. LMMS isn’t quite up to the same industry standards as Pro Tools, but if you’re not doing professional audio work, it should be more than sufficient.
LMMS (originally Linux MultiMedia Studio) is a fantastic, open source, cross-platform, GarageBand-esque music production application you can download for free for Windows, Mac, and Linux. From sequencing, composing, mixing, and editing to effects mixing and built-in instruments for effects, loops, and other sounds, it’s all there in LMMS.
You can compose tunes, mix tracks, add effects, and much more besides: it’s one of the best pieces of production software full stop, irrespective of it being free to use.
If you’re interested in 3D modeling, 3D printing, or 3D animation, Blender is your tool of choice, at least to get started in the field. It’s not as versatile as programs used in professional studios, but it’s enough for your essential needs. Blender also does a decent impression of After Effects, if you just need to add basic special effects or do some post-production editing.
It can be a little tricky to make sense of at first but we will try to help you. This free ebook from Wikibooks is a great tool to help you learn Blender.
There are plenty of other open source alternatives for various paid applications, but these are the main ones which most people can and will want to use. We would be grateful if you will share with us, in comments, what other open source applications do you use in place of paid software.