Some of the commercial software like Photoshop are so expensive that an average user can not afford to buy it. Lately I am looking for some free or open source alternatives for windows programs and i was amazed with the range of programs available. Here i will list some of the open source or free programs as alternatives to windows commercial programs.
7-Zip is a open source file archiver program for windows. It supports packing and unpacking of 7z, ZIP, GZIP, BZIP2 and TAR format files and supports onlu unpacking of RAR, CAB, ISO, ARJ, LZH, CHM, Z, CPIO, RPM, DEB and NSIS. It provides better compression ratio than WinZip for ZIP and GZIP formats. It is an alternative to programs like WinZip
Audacity is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds.Audacity can be used to record live audio, convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs, edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, and WAV sound files. cut, copy, splice, and mix sounds together.
Blender is a open source free software for creating 3D animations. Blender can be used for modelling, UV unwrapping, texturing, rigging, skinning, animating, rendering, particle and creating interactive 3D applications. Blender has robust features et similar to programs like 3ds Max and Maya.
ClamWin is a Free Antivirus for Windows 98/Me/2000/XP and 2003. ClamWin is a good alternative to commercial software like Norton, McAfee etc. Clamwin features include High detection rates for viruses and spyware, Scanning Scheduler, Automatic downloads of regularly updated Virus Database, Standalone virus scanner and right-click menu integration to Microsoft Windows Explorer, and addin to Microsoft Outlook to remove virus-infected attachments automatically.
eMule is a open source peer to peer file sharing (P2P) client tool.
Feedreader is free desktop RSS aggregation tool. “Feedreader automatically downloads updates from your favorite Web sites. So, it eliminates the need for you to constantly monitor multiple Web pages, while allowing you to immediately identify and retrieve new articles”
FileZilla is a free, open source FTP client for Windows. It supports FTP, SFTP, and FTPS protocols. It has all the essential features required for a FTP client. The main features of FileZilla are Ability to resume Uploads/Downloads, Site Manager with folders, Keep Alive system, Timeout detection, Firewall support, SOCKS4/5 and HTTP1.1 Proxy support, SSL secured connections, Upload/Download Queue, Drag&Drop.
The best cross platform supported web browser available on the net, it doesn’t need any introduction and many of you might be using. The wide range of Firefox Add-On’s make this the most powerful browser for all types of users. Firefox is an alternative to Microsoft Internet Explorer.
GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) is free open source raster graphics editor for manipulating photos or images. GIMP is an excellent software and alternative to expensive photoshop, it is used for photo retouching, image composition and image authoring.
hugin is a open source easy to use cross-platform panoramic imaging tool. Using hugin you can assemble a mosaic of photographs into as complete immersive panorama, stitch any series of overlapping pictures and much more.
Inkscape is an open source vector graphics editor. Inkscape is a good alternative to commercial vector graphics tools like Corel Draw, Adobe Illustrator, Freehand or Xara X. Inkscape uses Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), an open XML-based W3C standard, as the native format. It can be used to create web2.0 buttons, banners, logos, icons etc. (see earlier review)
Juice is a free open source cross-platform podcast receiver application. It is used to download podcast media files, such as ogg and mp3s. Using juice you can schedule the podcast and juice will let you know when a new podcast is available. The downloaded files media files can be automatically copied to a digital audio player.
OpenOffice.org is the open source office suite similar to Microsoft office available to different platforms. OpenOffice.org is a collection of applications with the features similar to Microsoft Office. The Components include Writer, Calc, Base, Impress, Draw, Math, Quickstarter etc.
PDFCreator is a free program for creating PDF documents from windows programs. Once installed, it allows the user to select PDFCreator as their printer, allowing almost any application to print to PDF.
Pidgin, formerly known as Gaim is a multi-platform instant messaging client that supports many commonly used IM protocols. Pidgin is a free software and supports IM’s including Yahoo, Google Talk, Jabber, MSN, AOL, ICQ etc.
16. Programmers Notepad:
Programmer’s Notepad is the free, open source, text editor for programmers.
some of the features of Programmers Notepad: Code Folding/Outlining, Docking tool windows, Excellent external tool support with user-configurable output matching, Export to HTML (using CSS) and RTF, Word Wrapping
Scribus is an open source desktop publishing (DTP) application. It has some nice page layout features and can be used as an alternative to Adobe PageMaker, QuarkXPress and Adobe InDesign. “It can also create animated and interactive PDF presentations and forms. Example uses include writing small newspapers, brochures, newsletters, posters and books.”
Sunbird is open source desktop calender application from Mozilla foundation. Sunbird is a cross platform, open standards application built on Mozilla Toolkit.
Thunderbird is the open source desktop email application from Mozilla foundation. Thunderbird has the best features in the industry. “Thunderbird 2 features many new enhancements to help you better manage your unruly inbox, and stay informed. Thunderbird 2 scales to the most sophisticated organizational needs while making it easy to find what you need.”
20. VLC Media Player:
VLC Media Player is a open source media player from VideoLan project team. It is the best media player available in the net, it plays almost any file format available. It also supports streaming protocols. It is a good alternative to different media players.
Update: More Free Apps (40+ Free Windows Apps For You)
gr8 list.. half of them are the default apps on my windows system 🙂
will try out rest of them..
glad you liked the list
Benedict Herold says
Wow.. you featured two of my favorites 😉 BTW, Great List!
Brown Baron says
This is a great list. I’m sure those who are looking for open source apps will be happy to find the best ones in one place.
Yepp, thanx for the stumble
Skip Bifferty says
I am looking for an open source program that will help me make video cds.
Great list. Quite a few of this apps are everyday necessities for me.
Welcome and thanx for commenting, glad that this list is useful for you
Great list, I liked most of them. Stumbled. 😀
Wow! Great list!!! I use most of the software listed here.
It’s not open source, but Google Desktop for search and Google Earth are (almost) necessary additions.
VLC is great but what about Media Player Classic? It’s a lot smaller and it has all the same features as VLC.
I’d say the priorities are a bit mixed up, but the list is good.
Great List. I have already tried 7 out of the 20. I’m gonna try the rest.
Serge K. Keller says
Good list, but a word to the wise: FeedReader is free as in beer, not as in speech, at least for version 3.x. A 2.x version still exists, though, and *that one* is truly open source.
great list of needful things thanx bro!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Definitely a solid list of stable staples of software. Most on this list have a portable USB equivalent too.
Great stuff, I use about half of it regularly. I would have mentioned
that Open Office handles MS doc, xls, and ppt files. Thanks to this,
Open Office (plus Thunderbird) renders the entire MS Office suite
obsolete. One gotcha when handling doc files in Open Office: Save
these in Open Office format, then do your conversions (back) to MS
formats only when required to send documents to MS Office
inmates. Repeatedly editing and saving the same file in an “alien”
format can allow format errors to creep in.
Wao! Some of them are my fav apps in Windows Vista. 😀
Awesome list! It’s a great start point for me with this blog. 😀
Shankar Ganesh says
Cool list.. I love most of them.
Madhur Kapoor says
Nice list buddy . I have to try a few softwares listed here .
complete list that covers all range of software, great one
i like it when you picked hugin 😀
*subscribed ! 😉
dans review says
Great list ive used all of these bar one at some time or another.Theres heaps more as im sure you know,i love finding great fre\share wares if you ever want more for a new list or whatever please email me.
Great list RAM, nice work.
A couple alternatives to items on the list.
#16 Notepad instead of Programmer’s Notepad.
#20 MPlayer instead of VLC
Everything else on the list is great!
Greg O'Byrne says
Here is a list of lists I put together all about free open source applications.
It’s good to see a list like this. I usually bookmark these sort of compilations so that I can refer less open source inclined friends to them.
great work and great list. you should break them up into categories and rank the top 5 in each category. for example… top five free email apps…top 5 video editing/converting apps…top 5 blah blah apps. great job though. STUMBLED!
Also for image editing, check out Pixel. It’s not free but 38$ ain’t a bad price for a good image editor. Works on Windows,Linux,Mac…..
Still in Beta but works better than most, and the interface feels more at home for old PS users.
Here all is nice list but i am Fan of Firefox
Re. 16. Programmers Notepad:
Take a look at PSPad. It rocks. http://www.pspad.com/en/
I’ve looked at so many source code editors that I can’t remember them all. This one is excellent. It is highly configurable with context sensitive syntax highlighting and clip libraries (all customizable), context sensitive tools and help for the specific language you are coding in. A built in browser for previewing output and on and on…
I’ve seen other editors for $200 that don’t provide the functionality that PSPad does for free. Amazing.
@christopher, i reckon that’s been done allready, I think it was cnet or something that made that list, huge comilation which included both online and offline apps, named winners in each category and so on. I am far too lazy to find you a link tho, so you are on your own.
What is Open Source? says
As much as I love VLC, I recommend using mPlayer. It’s got a better interface and more features. Plays everything, just everything.
Great list and it covers a wide range of usability and need rather than covering products for a specific need….
Atishae Web Pvt Limited says
Great List! We have been using many of these and I have tried one of the 2 new ones you introduced me to already!
Since this is about opensource, I may also put in that our company has just launched an initiative to provide free QA for Opensource projects. We have received requests from a few great projects already and still have room for a few more. Feel free to write to us and recommend projects that could benefit from systematic QA of their product.
Please visit: for details.
Great list! I have a suggestion in the Virtual Machine category (I didn’t see any on the list):
VirtualBox from http://www.virtualbox.org
VMPlayer from http://www.vmware.com
Some of the main differences between those two are:
– Format of created disk images
– VirtualBox can create new Virtual Machines
– VMPlayer only plays back Virtual Machines (you can hack the configuration file and install your own OS, but it is not a documented feature of VMPlayer)
– VMPlayer can import a couple of other formats
You may check this site http://www.k3b.org/
Thanx for commenting, there is no priority in the list, i arranged them alphabetically
Thanx for the update
I agree with you on OpenOffice
thanks for the support
I will add them in the next list
That would have been better may be next time
i will check pspad
i will check these
David Mackey says
Great list. Though I would add Paint.NET to the list. Its a great general graphic editing app.
Thanks for the info, i will feature it in next list
Great list. I already use most of them and couldn’t live without openoffice.
thx for stumbel
Another windows open source program you may find useful is ZScreen.
It allows you to take region/window/full-screen screenshots, upload them via FTP, and put the URL in your clipboard in one keystroke.
Be careful when installing not all are free from from toolbar addons and advertisements read the licences before installing for example PDFCreator installs a toolbar into your browser.
How did I missed this cool post!
Awesome collection. Thanks a lot!
Hello, does anyone know of a stable mp3 converter? I don’t want to edit the file, I want to change the bitrate from the higer 192 to the standard 128. Thank you everyone!!
Great list, thanks.
A process and executable database of the processes owned by you.
Includes a graphical tool to analyse process usage. The process data can be presented of a point in time or quantity by minute, hour, day and month. Processes that have not ended yet are included.
Identifies executable files.
I was using so many of these open source apps that on my XP machine that one day I asked myself, “Why am I even using Windows?” So I started using Ubuntu. Now I run all the same apps only in Linux. Not going to go for Vista. Nope.
barÄ±s (turkey) says
heoÄ±nÄ±zÄ± Ä± fuce you
Harry Barracuda says
For a more comprehensive list, try http://www.osalt.com
gr8 compilation !!
awesome list… thnx alot.
good stumble tks
I enjoyed reading your list of twenty Open Source. The Blender appealed to me, for I am building a website and have little technical skill, but would like to try some movement, just a little. I liked other things on the list, that could help me with content or managing my content.
Cricket is best played in cricket stadium not tennis court. therfore, Open Source programs are best to be used in Open Source Operating system i.e, GNU/Linux.
It is incredible how I can save more space by switching to 7zip and get rid of WinZip. I am using most of the Open Source listed above and all of them have been very reliable.
Firefox and VLC player is a must have.