60 Open Source Replacements for Audio/Video Tools

Open source tools for file sharing, multimedia, audio and video editing, file conversion and more.
Posted September 13, 2011

Cynthia Harvey

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Most computer users are spending much more time these days viewing and creating multimedia content. According to comScore, 85.6 percent of online Americans (178 million people) watched video online in June 2011, and they spent an average of 16.8 hours each watching those videos during the month. In addition, Nielsen reports that the number of people watching video on their smartphones and tablets has increased 41 percent since last year.

But it isn't just video viewing that's growing—more people are also using their PCs and mobile devices to listen to music. Earlier this year, Steve Jobs announced that 200 million people have iTunes accounts.

In keeping with this trend, the open source community has created dozens of projects to help you create, find, edit, organize and manage your audio and video files. Here are 60 of the best open source tools that can replace commercial audio/video software.

As always, if we've missed some that you think should be on the list, feel free to add them to the comments section below.


1. Blender Replaces: AutoDesk Maya Suitable for professionals, Blender is a free open source 3D content creation suite. It includes tools for 3D modeling, shading, animation, rendering and compositing. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

2. Art of Illusion Replaces: AutoDesk Maya This 3D modeling and rendering software isn't as full-featured as Maya (or Blender), but it's capabilities are robust enough for beginners and amateurs. The interface is fairly easy to use and it has good online documentation, including some tutorials. Operating System: OS Independent.

3. K-3D Replaces: AutoDesk Maya Another 3D modeling and animation option, K-3D claims it "excels at polygonal modeling, and includes basic tools for NURBS, patches, curves and animation." Like Art of Illusion, it's suitable for amateurs. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

4. Pencil Replaces: ToonBoom Software Pencil lets you create traditional 2D animations using your computer. It's best for home users and hobbyists who love the look of the old-school cartoons. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

Audio Players

5. Songbird Replaces: iTunes This open source iTunes alternative lets you play audio files, manage your music collection and sync across PCs, Macs and Android-based smartphones and tablets. It also features an integrated music store from 7digital, concert notices and ticket purchase, and links to photos, videos and other related information on the Web. Operating System: Windows, OS X, Android.

6. Amarok Replaces: iTunes KDE's audio player and manager integrates with a number of Web services, including last.fm, Ampache, Magnatune, MP3tunes, EchnoNest and others. Other unique features include dynamic playlists, bookmarking and more. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

7. Aqualung Replaces: iTunes Aqualung's claim to fame is "gap-free" playback of consecutive audio tracks—which is particularly nice when listening to concert recordings. It plays CDs, podcasts, audio streams and most types of audio files. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

8. aTunes Replaces: iTunes This Java-based application plays CDs and audio files, helps organize your music and rips audio CDs. The interface is fairly basic, but it includes features like karaoke playback, shuffle, repeat, tag editing, playlists, and more. Operating System: OS Independent.

9. Jajuk Replaces: iTunes Aimed at users with large music collections, this powerful audio playback and management tool has been called "the most powerful jukebox out there" by critics. You can download it or using right from the Web interface. Operating System: OS Independent.

10. Jukes Replaces: iTunes Now more than a decade old, Jukes was designed for people who liked to keep their CD collections on their hard drive—back when that was an unusual thing. The interface is basic, but easy to use. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

11. CoolPlayer Replaces: Windows Media Player Because of its lightweight size, CoolPlayer offers "blazing fast" performance. Although it does offer some playlist capabilities, this is really just an audio player, not a full audio collection manager. Operating System: Windows.

12. Zinf Replaces: Windows Media Player Another playback only app, Zinf describes itself as "a simple, but powerful audio player." It supports most types of audio file,s as well as streaming audio, and it integrates with MusicBrainz. Operating System: Windows, Linux.

13. Moosic Replaces: iTunes If you prefer your software without a GUI, Moosic might be right for you. It's a simple, client-server jukebox program that runs from the command line. Operating System: Linux/Unix.

Audio Recorders and Editors

14. Audacity Replaces: Sonar X1, , Sony ACID Audacity offers everything most amateur musicians and producers will need to get started recording and editing their own audio tracks. Its capabilities include pitch change, tempo change, spectrogram node, noise removal, import and export of various file types, unlimited undo and a library of built-in effects, like echo, phaser, wahwah, reverse, and others. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X.

15. Frinika Replaces: Sonar X1, , Sony ACID In addition to recording and editing your music, Frinika also helps you make music with a built-in synthesizer and midi support. The website includes a number of screenshots and demos so that you can see it in action. Operating System: OS Independent.

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Tags: video, Linux downloads, audio, open source apps

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