The Ultimate Guide to Open Source Software

The best open source downloads available for home users, enterprises, small business and other organizations.
Posted December 17, 2013

Cynthia Harvey

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For the fifth year in a row, Datamation is closing out the year with a big, big list of all the software we've featured on our monthly open source software guides. This year's list is the longest ever with 1,180 projects in 143 different categories from Accessibility to Wine and Beer.

We refreshed the list with all the new applications we've highlighted this year, and we dropped those that hadn't been updated in a while. Please note that the list is organized by category and alphabetically within each category — the numbers don't indicate rank or quality.

We hope you enjoy this year's end-of-the-year guide, and as always, if you know of other open source projects that you think we should feature next year, let us know in the Comments section below.


1. The Accessibility Project

Launched earlier this year, this site aims to provide information on making other websites accessible to people with a variety of impairments, particularly those who are blind. You can read the content at the link above; if you'd like to contribute, visit the project's GitHub page. Operating System: OS Independent


2. Edoceo Imperium

This Web-based application tracks quotes, work orders, invoices, contacts, customers and vendors, as well as offering double-entry accounting capabilities. It also integrates with Google Calendar and other apps. Operating System: OS Independent

3. FrontAccounting

FrontAccounting includes both accounting and basic ERP planning that are suitable for small businesses. It supports multiple languages and currencies, as well as multiple businesses. Operating System: OS Independent

4. GnuCash

This flexible accounting package tracks your small business finances with double-entry accounting, and it can also track your personal finances, including your investment accounts. It also now comes with an Android app. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, Android

5. LedgerSMB

Downloaded more than 57,000 times, this small business accounting package also incorporates some basic ERP and CRM functionality. Several third-party vendors offer commercial support and consulting. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

6. osFinancials

This accounting solution offers invoices, customizable reports, stock control, point-of-sale capabilities and much more. Because it's developed by a team in the Netherlands, much of the documentation and support is in Dutch, but English is also available. Operating System: Windows, Linux

7. TurboCASH

Another accounting package built for SMBs, TurboCASH features stock control, general ledger, accounts receivable and payable, reporting and analysis capabilities. The site offers a great deal of guidance for those new to accounting, including a book available for purchase. Operating System: Windows


Short for "Xiwa Is Web Accounting," this mature, Linux-only accounting program has been around since 1999. Key features include multi-user support, multi-company support, payroll, stock/investment tracking, reporting and more. Operating System: Linux

App Collection

9. OpenDisc

This project combines many of the most popular open source apps for Windows into one package. It includes LibreOffice, Firefox, Celestia, The Gimp, Inkscape, Dia, and many other very good open source progams. Operating System: Windows


10. ASSP

The self-proclaimed "absolute best SPAM fighting weapon that the world has ever known," ASSP sits on your SMTP servers to stop spam and scan for viruses. Features include browser-based setup, support for most SMTP servers, automatic whitelists, early sender verification, Bayesian filters, and more. Operating System: OS Independent

11. MailScanner

Downloaded more than 1.3 million times by users in 225 countries, MailScanner is a free e-mail security package for mail servers. It incorporates SpamAssassin, ClamAV and a number of other tools to block spam and mailware. Operating System: OS Independent

12. SpamAssassin

"The powerful #1 open-source spam filter," SpamAssassin uses header and text analysis, Bayesian filtering, DNS blocklists, collaborative filtering databases and other techniques to block spam. The project is managed by the Apache Foundation, and it's been incorporated into a number of other open source and commercial products. Operating System: primarily Linux and OS X, although Windows versions are available

13. SpamBayes

As you might guess from the name, this project offers a group of Bayesian filters for blocking spam. The site includes versions for Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Live Mail, IncrediMail, Thunderbird, Gmail, Yahoo Mail and others. Operating System: OS Independent


14. Nixory

Nixory removes and block malicious tracking cookies, aka spyware, from your system. It supports Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer and Google Chrome, and it won't slow your system while you surf. Operating System: OS Independent.

15. Hijack This

Downloaded more than 1.2 million times, Trend Micro's Hijack This provides you a report of your registry and file settings so that you can more easily spot and remove spyware and malware. Note that in order to use this tool effectively, you'll need to be a fairly knowledgeable user. Operating System: Windows


16. ClamAV

This tremendously popular anti-virus engine has been incorporated into numerous security products and calls itself "the de facto standard for mail gateway scanning." The open source version runs on UNIX or Linux mail servers, but the website also offers a version called Immunetfor individual Windows PCs. Operating System: Linux

17. ClamTK

ClamTK makes ClamAV a little bit easier to use by providing a graphical interface for the anti-virus engine. Like the original ClamAV, this one runs on Linux and scans "on demand" only, not in real-time. Operating System: Linux

18. ClamWin Free Antivirus

Based on ClamAV, ClamWin protects more than 600,000 PCs from viruses and malware. Note that unlike most commercial anti-virus packages, ClamWin does not offer an on-access real-time scanner; in order to scan incoming files, you'll need to save them and then run a scan manually before opening or running the files. Operating System: Windows

19. P3Scan

P3Scan provides anti-virus and anti-spam protection for mail services only (not Web surfing). With it you can set up a transparent proxy server. Operating System: Linux

20. Rootkit Hunter

This no-frills tool scans for rootkits and other malware on Linux system. While it does not provide live or scheduled scanning, the Web site explains how to set up your system to scan daily. Operating System: Linux, Unix

21. Viralator

Still getting the occasional network virus even after you install anti-virus software? Viralator supplements the existing anti-virus software on your proxy server to block malware that might otherwise slip in when users access free webmail accounts. Operating System: Linux, Unix


22. Celestia

If you've ever wished you were an astronaut, give Celestia a try. It allows you to see the skies as they would appear at any point in time from any point in the known universe. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

23. KStars

Similar to Stellarium, KStars lets users view "up to 100 million stars, 13,000 deep-sky objects, all 8 planets, the sun and moon, and thousands of comets and asteroids." It also includes a number of tools helpful for amateur astronomers, such as an observation list, an FOV editor, a sky calendar, supernova alerts and a glossary of technical terms. (Note that in order to use KStars on Windows, you'll have to download KDE for Windows.) Operating System: Windows, Linux

24. PP3

Science teachers often need to reproduce star charts for use during class lectures, as well as for handouts and tests. This app works with LaTeX, to simplify the process of creating star charts for use in presentation slides or for printing. Operating System: Windows, Linux

25. StarChart

StarChart describes itself simply as a program that "draws maps of things in the sky." Like PP3, it does a good job of producing high-quality star charts for study purposes. Operating System: Linux

26. Stellarium

Many planetariums use Stellarium to power their presentations, but you can also use it at home. It will show you the position of heavenly bodies as seen from any point on earth at any time. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

Audio Tools

27. Amarok

This full-featured music player integrates with a wide variety of Web audio services. The latest release adds an updated interface, a new visualization tool, smooth fade-out when pausing music, enhanced MusicBrainz tagging and improved power management. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, iOS

28. Aqualung

Aqualung's claim to fame is gapless playback, in other words, no awkward pauses between adjacent tracks. It supports most audio formats and plays CDs. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

29. Ardour

Ardour is an advanced, professional-grade digital recording, editing and mixing tool. It supports most hardware and offers features like flexible recording, unlimited multi-channel tracks, unlimited undo/redo, easy import and export, tools for creating video soundtracks and more. Operating System: Linux, OS X

30. aTunes

This Java-based music player and manager displays complete information—including lyrics—for the song currently playing. It's a good option for users with particularly large music collections. Operating System: OS Independent

31. Audacious

Audacious is very light on system resources, making it possible to play music and do intensive computing tasks without sacrificing performance. The interface is basic and very easy to use. Operating System: Windows, Linux

32. Audacity

A perennial favorite among Linux users, Audacity makes it easy to record and edit multi-track audio. It's ideal for hobbyists who want an intuitive product that also includes some of the high-tech features you would find in an application designed for professionals. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

33. AC3Filter

This audio decoder and processor filter allows media players to play AC3 and DTS audio tracks from movies. It also allows you to mix audio tracks and adjust sound quality. Operating System: Windows

34. Bluemindo

Bluemindo "aims to provide a very simple audio player." It's customizable, Web-oriented and available in multiple languages. Operating System: Linux

35. CDex

Downloaded more than 45 million times, CDex is a very popular tool for extracting the digital data from audio CDs and converting it to an MP3 or other compressed formats. It supports many different encoders and multiple languages. Operating System: Windows

36. Cdrtools

For those who are comfortable working from the command line, CDRtools is a collection of apps for converting and recording CDs, DVDs and Blu-Ray. Under development since 1996, this is a mature tool that has been around a long time. Operating System: Linux

37. cdrtfe

This utility can burn data discs, audio CDs, XCDs, (S)VCDs and video DVDs. It provides the same functionality as CDRtools, but runs on Windows. Operating System: Windows

38. Clementine

A fork of Amarok, Clementine boasts a fast and easy-to-use interface. It plays audio CDs, locally stored music, streaming Internet radio and podcasts. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, Android

39. CoolPlayer

Designed to be super fast, CoolPlayer is extremely light on system resources. It doesn't have all the advanced music management features in many other applications, but it does play most audio formats. Operating System: Windows

40. DeaDBeeF

Named for a magic number used in debugging, DeaDBeeF aims to be the "ultimate music player for GNU/Linux." It also now comes in an Android version. Operating System: Linux, Unix, Android

41. Decibel

Similar to Bluemindo, Decibel is a simple audio player without other features like content tags and CD burning. Its modular structure makes it easy to disable any unwanted features to free up resources. Operating System: Linux

42. EasyTAG

EasyTAG allows users to view and edit the tag fields on MP3, MP2, MP4/AAC, FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, MusePack, Monkey's Audio, and WavPack files. It includes a tree-based browser and CDDB support for manual and automatic searches. Operating System: Windows, Linux

43. Free:ac

Its name is short for "free audio converter," and free:ac can transform CDs or digital audio files into MP3, MP4/M4A, WMA, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, AAC, WAV and Bonk formats. It's optimized for multi-core systems, making it particularly fast, and it also runs from a thumb drive. Operating System: Windows

44. Frinika

Java-based Frinika calls itself a "complete music workstation software containing sequencer, midi support, soft synthesizers, audio recorder, piano roll/tracker/notation editing and more." It's another good option for home users. Operating System: OS Independent

45. Hydrogen

Turn your Linux/Unix system into a full-featured drum machine. The latest version includes a sample editor, time stretch and pitch functions, playlists, a director window with a visual metronome and more. Operating System: Linux

46. Jajuk

Popular with reviewers, Jajuk makes it easy to sort, search and view large audio libraries. It combines an intuitive interface with advanced features, making it suitable for both light users and power users. Operating System: OS Independent

47. Jukes

Designed for DJs and "serious music lovers," Jukes began life as a Windows application called "Put Up Your Jukes." It's since been re-written and released for multiple platforms, but it hasn't been updated in a while. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

48. Juice

Juice makes it easy to capture and listen to podcasts, any time, anywhere. It includes a directory of thousands of online podcasts, so it’s also easy to find the one you want. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

49. KMid

This KDE app plays both Midi and karaoke files, making it easy for you to serenade your sweetheart. It includes a piano player interface and also accepts input from external keyboards. Operating System: Windows

50. LAME

Although LAME stands for "Lame Ain’t No MP3 Encoder," the first line on its Web site states, "LAME is an MPEG Audio Layer III (MP3) encoder." It was intended as an educational tool for those interested in improving the speed and quality of MP3 files. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

51. Linux MultiMedia Studio

Designed as a free alternative to FL Studio, LMMS allows users to create melodies and beats, synthesize and mix sounds, and arrange samples. It works with MIDI keyboards and comes with a lot of built-in plugins, presets and samples. Operating System: Windows, Linux

52. Mp3dj

This Java-based app also supports audio files only. Use it to search, browse and play your MP3 collection from any Internet-connected device. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

53. Mixere

An older project that hasn't been updated in a while, Mixere boasts a simple, spreadsheet-style interface. It offers similar capabilities as Mixx, but it isn't quite as advanced. Operating System: Windows

54. Mixxx

Designed for DJs performing live, Mixx boasts a powerful mixing engine that supports most popular audio file formats. Other key features include iTunes integration, BPM detection and sync, and support for more than 30 different MIDI controllers. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

55. MOC

Simply select a directory, and the MOC (Music On Console) audio player will play all files in that directory. Supported file formats include MP3, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, Musepack, Speex, WAVE, AIFF, and AU. Operating System: Linux/Unix, OS X

56. Moosic

This music player caters to those who prefer to operate from the command line and does not have a GUI. It's a client-server application that plays most common audio formats. Operating System: Linux/Unix

57. MP3Gain

Tired of constantly adjusting the volume when playing MP3s? MP3Gain uses statistical analysis to gauge how loud songs sound in the human ear, and then modifies the volume appropriately without degrading the quality of playback. Operating System: OS Independent

58. Mp3splt

Mp3splt is an audio utility that does just one thing—it lets you cut mp3 and ogg files into smaller files and rename them. It’s especially useful if you need to split an entire album into individual tracks. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

59. MuseScore

There’s no need to spend hundreds of dollars on software that creates sheet music. MuseScore makes it easy to “create, play and print beautiful sheet music,” and it’s absolutely free. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

60. orDrumbox

Java-based orDrumbox includes features like auto-composition, poly-rhythms, an unusual arpeggiator, automatic sounds/track matching, custom softsynths, lowfi rendering and more. There’s a “lite” online version so you can try it out before you download. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

61. Qmmp

This simple, skinnable audio player supports dozens of audio formats. Its name stands for "Qt-based multimedia player." Operating System: Windows, Linux

62. Radio Downloader

If your favorite online radio station only offers streaming content, you can turn it into a podcast you can listen to any time with Radio Downloader. It comes with built-in support for BBC content and a helpful "favourites" tab. Operating System: Windows

63. Rhythmbox

Inspired by iTunes, Rhythmbox is a music management system designed for the Gnome desktop. Key features include easy search and sort, visualizations, Internet radio, CD playing and burning, playlists and more. Operating System: Linux

64. SoX

The "Swiss Army knife of sound processing programs," SoX can convert audio files to and from most file formats and add special effects. It’s a command line program, so you’ll need to be comfortable working without a GUI to use it. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

65. TEncoder

Based on FFMpeg, MEncoder and MPlayer, TEncoder is a multi-threaded multimedia converter that supports most file formats. It can run up to eight processes simultaneously and can run two passes to improve quality on converted files. Operating System: Windows

66. TuxGuitar

TuxGuitar lets you create and playback tab scores. Features include multi-track display, auto-scroll, effects and import/export to popular audio file formats. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

67. WaveShop

Lightweight WaveShop boasts “bit-perfect” performance, meaning that samples aren’t changed unless necessary. Noteworthy features include unlimited undo, normalizing, fading, sample rate conversion, audio generation, plug-ins and peak, RMS and spectral analysis. Operating System: Windows

68. xwax

This app is a vinyl emulator that allows DJs to "scratch" digital tracks as if they were on vinyl records. Supported features include needle drops, pitch changes, scratching, spinbacks and rewinds. Operating System: Linux

69. Zinf

Zinf offers a simple audio player with powerful capabilities. It supports a wide variety of file formats, and a number of different interface themes are available. Operating System: Windows, Linux



Short for "Advanced Maryland Automatic Network Disk Archiver," AMANDA allows organizations to backup their networks to tape, disk or optical media. A company called Zmanda now sponsors the project and offers cloud-based backup based on AMANDA. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

71. Areca Backup

While AMANDA offers network-based backup for businesses, Areca is a good option for home users backing up a single system. Key features include encryption, compression, delta backup support, filters, as-of-date recovery, email reports and more. Operating System: Windows, Linux

72. BackupPC

This enterprise-grade network backup solution offers fast performance with minimal I/Os. It uses pooling and compression to minimize the size of backup files, and it offers advanced management features for IT administrators. Operating System: Windows, Linux

73. Bacula

Designed for enterprises, this network backup solution offers highly advanced capabilities and claims to be the most popular open source backup solution available. A group called Bacula Systems offers paid support for users who want it. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

74. Clonezilla

Clonezilla's developers originally envisioned this app as a free replacement for Norton Ghost. It offers backup, recovery and cloning capabilities for networks or standalone systems with multicasting available in the SE edition. Operating System: Linux

75. Create Synchronicity

At just 220KB, this backup tool for home users is exceptionally lightweight and fast. It supports multiple languages and includes an easy-to-use scheduling tool. Operating System: Windows

76. FOG

FOG is a networked-based cloning tool that can backup Linux and Windows systems to a Linux server. It's powerful, easy to use, and scalable with the ability to back up 2 to 20,000 systems. Operating System: Linux, Windows

77. Partimage

Partimage can back up standalone systems, networks or disk partitions. According to the website, it's advantages include its fast performance, destination flexibility, fast and simple restores, and no recovery of deleted files. Operating System: Linux

78. Redo

Aimed at home users, Redo Backup and Recovery boasts very simply operation and bare-metal restores that take as little as 10 minutes. It's a very popular option that's been downloaded more than 750,000 times. Operating System: Windows, Linux

79. UrBackup

This client-server backup software promises backups that don't interfere with your current work and fast restores. It includes a Web interface to simplify the process of setting up your backup server. Operating System: Windows, Linux

Big Data Tools

80. Avro

Apache Avro is a data serialization system based on JSON-defined schemas. APIs are available for Java, C, C++ and C#. Operating System: OS Independent

81. BigData

This distributed database can run on a single system or scale to hundreds or thousands of machines. Features include dynamic sharding, high performance, high concurrency, high availability and more. Commercial support is available. Operating System: OS Independent

82. Chukwa

Built on top of HDFS and MapReduce, Chukwa collects data from large distributed systems. It also includes tools for displaying and analyzing the data it collects. Operating System: Linux, OS X

83. Flume

Another Apache project, Flume collects, aggregates and transfers log data from applications to HDFS. It's Java-based, robust and fault-tolerant. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

84. Hadoop

Apache's Hadoop project offers distributed processing of extremely large data sets and is popular with organizations that operate cloud environments. Well-known users include Yahoo, Amazon, eBay, AOL, Facebook, Google, Hulu, Spotify and many others. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

85. HPCC

Developed by LexisNexis Risk Solutions, HPCC is short for "high performance computing cluster." It claims to offer superior performance to Hadoop. Both free community versions and paid enterprise versions are available. Operating System: Linux.

86. Lucene

The self-proclaimed "de facto standard for search libraries," Lucene offers very fast indexing and searching for very large datasets. In fact, it can index over 95GB/hour when using modern hardware. Operating System: OS Independent

87. MapReduce

Originally developed by Google, the MapReduce website describes itself as "a programming model and software framework for writing applications that rapidly process vast amounts of data in parallel on large clusters of compute nodes." It's used by Hadoop, as well as many other data processing applications. Operating System: OS Independent.

88. Oozie

This Apache project is designed to coordinate the scheduling of Hadoop jobs. It can trigger jobs at a scheduled time or based on data availability. Operating System: Linux, OS X

89. Solr

Solr is an enterprise search platform based on the Lucene tools. It powers the search capabilities for many large sites, including Netflix, AOL, CNET and Zappos. Operating System: OS Independent

90. Sqoop

Sqoop transfers data between Hadoop and RDBMSes and data warehouses. As of March of this year, it is now a top-level Apache project. Operating System: OS Independent

91. Storm

Now owned by Twitter, Storm offers distributed real-time computation capabilities and is often described as the "Hadoop of realtime." It's highly scalable, robust, fault-tolerant and works with nearly all programming languages. Operating System: Linux

92. Terracotta

Terracotta's "Big Memory" technology allows enterprise applications to store and manage big data in server memory, dramatically speeding performance. The company offers both open source and commercial versions of its Terracotta platform, BigMemory, Ehcache and Quartz software. Operating System: OS Independent.

93. Zookeeper

Formerly a Hadoop sub-project, Zookeeper is "a centralized service for maintaining configuration information, naming, providing distributed synchronization, and providing group services." APIs are available for Java and C, with Python, Perl, and REST interfaces planned. Operating System: Linux, Windows (development only), OS X (development only)


94. Argentum

Web-based Argentum tracks clients and billable hours, as well as generating invoices for you each month. Installation assistance, commercial support and a hosted version are also available. Operating System: OS Independent

95. jBilling

Downloaded more than 120,000 times, jBilling claims to be "world's leading open source enterprise billing solution." It's particularly good for subscription-based billing, and notable customers include Deutsche Telecom, Constant Contact and Rackspace. In addition to the free version, paid support and services are available. Operating System: OS Independent

96. Simple Invoices

Popular with small companies and non-profits, this browser-based invoicing system aims to be easy to use. Host it yourself for free or contact one of the third-party hosting providers listed on the site. Operating System: OS Independent

97. Siwapp

This invoicing app tries to be simple, straightforward, comfortable, useful, pretty, flexible, productivity-oriented, secure, supported and usable anywhere. Plenty of screenshots and a demo are posted on the site so that you can see how it works before you download it. Operating System: OS Independent


98. B2evolution

This blog platform/content management system can support multiple blogs, multiple domains and multiple authors. It's extensible with skins and plug-ins, and the site offers a demo and links to sample sites. Operating System: OS Independent

99. LifeType

With built-in multi-user authentication and multi-blog support, LifeType offers a blogging platform suitable for large enterprises. Key features include anti-spam filter, mobility support, integrated media management, easy installation and more. Operating System: OS Independent

100. Nucleus CMS

It bills itself as a Content Management System, but in reality Nucleus is primarily a tool for setting up a blog and hosting it on your own server. Features include a built-in commenting tool, URLs optimized for readers, and multi-lingual support. Operating System: OS Independent

101. WordPress

Used by more than 60 million bloggers, WordPress is one of the best known blogging applications available. You can download the software for free and host it on your own Web server or you can use the hosted service available through Operating System: OS Independent

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