5 Top Open Source Software Alternatives for Small Business

Most of us need a similar basic set of software: Web browser, office suite, financial software, graphics editing, and backup software. You don’t need to fork over big money for any of these — instead, try these excellent free-of-cost open source alternatives.

Some of these titles are cross-platform, some run only on Linux. (Please read 5 Top Linux Computer Vendors for Small Business for a good introduction to Linux, and why it’s valuable for small business owners.) All of the software discussed in this article is completely open, which means no malware or annoying adware, and your data will never be trapped in a closed, proprietary file format.

Open Source Software for Small Business

1. Web Browser

The top Web browsers are Google’s Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Opera, and Mozilla Firefox. Chrome worries privacy advocates because of Google’s famous data-mining capacities, and IE has both privacy and security concerns. Chrome is also a key tool in Google’s role as self-appointed Internet cop, and sometimes it throws up big scary false malware alerts.

Firefox browser; open source software for small business

Figure 1: The Firefox Web browser

open source data backup software for small business

4. Office Suite

open source image-editing software for small business

Carla Schroder is the author of The Book of Audacity, Linux Cookbook, Linux Networking Cookbook,and hundreds of Linux how-to articles. She’s the former managing editor of Linux Planet and Linux Today.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

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