60 Open Source Replacements for Communications Software

Open source software for blogging, file transfer, wikis, CRM, desktop publishing, email and much more.
Posted December 12, 2011

Cynthia Harvey

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By 2013, experts estimate that e-mail users will send 507 billion messages every day. Currently, the average person receives about 419 e-mails per day, with a little less than half of them related to work.

When you add up the time it takes to read and manage all that e-mail, plus time spent instant messaging, reading and writing blogs, and viewing and creating Web content, it's clear that digital communication is one of the primary uses for technology.

The open source community has created a wide range of applications designed to help people participate in and manage all that communication. A little more than a year ago, we put together a list of good open source communications software that can replace proprietary solutions. This year, we've updated that list with new information and new projects that can help you communicate with your colleagues, customers, friends and family.

As always, if you know of additional open source projects that you think should be added to our list, feel free to note them in the comments section below.

Blogging Platforms

1. WordPress Replaces: TypePad

Calling itself "both free and priceless at the same time," WordPress is the platform of choice for more than 60 million bloggers. It takes just five minutes to get up and running with your own WordPress blog, and a huge library of add-ons and themes makes it easy to customize it to your exact needs. It's also available as a hosted service throughWordPress.com Operating System: OS Independent

2. MovableType Replaces: TypePad

Used by companies like NBC, NPR, Wells Fargo, Oracle and others, MovableType is a blogging platform that can operate as a full-fledged content management system. In addition to the open source version, it also comes in a free pro version for educational institutions or businesses with up to five users, as well as paid pro and enterprise versions for larger organizations. Operating System: OS Independent

3. LifeType Replaces: TypePad

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

4. B2evolution Replaces: TypePad

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


5. Firefox Replaces: Internet Explorer

One of the most popular open source downloads of all time, Firefox offers excellent security, performance and personalization capabilities. Key features in the most recent version include the "awesome bar," app tabs, desktop and mobile syncing, integrated search and more. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, Android, iOS

6. K-Meleon Replaces: Internet Explorer

Because both use Mozilla's Gecko layout engine, K-Meleon and Firefox look and feel a lot alike. However, K-Meleon also lets you import your IE Favorites and Opera Hotlist, and it also supports mouse gestures like Opera. Operating System: Windows

Content Management

7. Drupal Sitecore CMS, Kentico

Used by Popular Science, New York Observer, The Economist, Harvard, MIT, the White House, MTV UK and hundreds of thousands of other sites, Drupal is one of the most popular Web content management systems available. It offers a huge list of features, and tens of thousands of modules and themes are available to help you customize your site. Operating System: OS Independent

8. Joomla Replaces: Sitecore CMS, Kentico

Currently, 2.7 percent of all websites on the Internet use the Joomla content management system. The latest version offers one-click updating, improved multi-language handling, batch processing of articles, auto-validation of form data and more. Operating System: OS Independent

9. Alfresco Replaces: SharePoint, Documentum, Open Text

This all-in-one enterprise content management app combines a Web CMS with document management, records management, and enterprise collaboration capabilities. Besides the open source community version, it also comes in a paid enterprise version or an on-demand cloud version. Operating System: Windows, Linux

10. DotNetNuke Replaces: Sitecore CMS, Kentico

Used by more than 700,000 sites, DotNetNuke is a mature ASP.Net-based CMS with lots of documentation, add-ons, and other help available. It comes in both free community and paid professional and enterprise editions, with training and other services also available. Operating System: Windows

11. AIOCP Replaces: Sitecore CMS, Kentico

The All In One Control Panel (a.k.a. AIOCP) combines content management with e-commerce management and a development platform for creating Web apps. Support and services can be purchased from project owner Tecnick.com.Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

12. Get Simple Replaces: Sitecore CMS, Kentico

Downloaded more than 90,000 times, this CMS offers great security, an extremely user-friendly interface, easy "undo," automatic backups and more. Because it's based on XML, it doesn't require a separate database, making it a good option for smaller organizations. Operating System: Linux

13. Liferay Replaces: SharePoint, Open Text.

Downloaded more than 4 million times, Liferay boasts that it’s the "leading open source portal for the enterprise." Commercial support, training and consulting are available through the site. Operating System: OS Independent

14. Magnolia Replaces: SharePoint, Sitecore CMS, Kentico

Used by many Fortune 500 companies, Magnolia offers fast and easy content publishing, scalability, flexibility and proven performance. It comes in fee-based enterprise standard and enterprise pro editions, as well as the community version. Operating System: Windows, Linux

15. MindTouch Replaces: Sharepoint, IBM Lotus

Used by Autodesk, Fujistu, The Washington Post, HTC, Novell and other companies, MindTouch claims to be "the world’s most popular open source collaboration platform." The "Core" version is available under an open source license, while starter, standard and enterprise versions are available for a fee. Operating System: Windows, Linux

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Tags: open source, Linux, open source tools

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