78 Open Source Replacements for Expensive Applications

These open source applications replace expensive apps for home and business users, which in some cases can free you from the burden of monthly subscription fees.

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Back when Datamation first started making lists of open source software that could replace expensive proprietary applications, most commercial software came in a box and required a flat fee for purchase. These days, with the advent of cloud computing and software as a service, most applications require a regular monthly or yearly subscription.

Those subscriptions make it seem like software has become more affordable. After all, $10 or $20 a month doesn't seem like a lot. But when you add up those repeating fees, users often pay more under the new subscription plans than they did under the old flat-fee arrangements. If you use a lot of different applications, those fees can quickly add up. And it can be particularly hard to justify the expense for a piece of software that you only use once in a while.

Open source software offers an alternative to paying those high fees. And in many cases, the open source options are as good as or better than the comparable commercial, proprietary solutions. In fact, in the most recent BlackDuck Future of Open Source Survey, the top reasons why people said they use open source software were because of the features, freedom from vendor lock-in and the quality of the solutions. Price and total cost of ownership weren't even on the list. In other words, people are using open source because the software is so good, and the fact that it is free is just a side benefit.

The list below includes a variety of open source software for home users, SMBs and large enterprises. All of these applications can replace commercial products that can carry high prices. Even if buyers choose to purchase support or other services for their open source software, the open source options are generally much more affordable than the comparable proprietary solutions.

If you know of additional open source solutions that you believe should have been on our list, please feel free to note them in the comments section below.

Accounting

1. FrontAccounting

Replaces QuickBooks Plus ($50 per month), Sage 50c Pro ($439 per user per year or $44.08 per user per month)

Designed for small businesses, FrontAccounting combines basic ERP functionality with a fully functional accounting system. Key features include purchase orders, sales orders, invoices, general ledger, stock tracking, fixed asset tracking and more. Operating System: OS Independent

2. GnuCash

Replaces QuickBooks Plus ($50 per month), Sage 50c Pro ($439 per user per year or $44.08 per user per month)

Another good option for small businesses, GnuCash offers double-entry accounting with an intuitive checkbook-style interface. It can also track personal finances, and it can import QIF (Quicken) or OFX files. Operating System: Windows, Linux, macOS

3. TurboCASH

Replaces QuickBooks Plus ($50 per month), Sage 50c Pro ($439 per user per year or $44.08 per user per month)

This free small business accounting solution promises easy setup, support for multiple countries and currencies, support for multiple companies, comprehensive reporting, stock control and much more. Note that it requires free registration once you pass 150 transactions. Paid support is available. Operating System: Windows

Audio Recording/Editing

4. Audacity

Replaces Apple Logic Pro X ($199.99), FL Studio Producer Edition ($199)

A favorite with home Linux users, Audacity can record multi-track audio, capture streaming audio, digitize recordings from other media, import files, edit and mix tracks, and much more. It includes a long list of built-in effects, and it has detailed analysis tools for visualizing sounds. Operating System: Windows, Linux, macOS

5. Frinika

Replaces Apple Logic Pro X ($199.99), FL Studio Producer Edition ($199)

This Java-based tool offers "a complete music workstation" for creating any kind of music. To hear samples of music created and edited with Frinika, you can listen to the SoundCloud demos. Operating System: OS Independent

6. LMMS

Replaces Apple Logic Pro X ($199.99), FL Studio Producer Edition ($199)

Although its name originally stood for "Linux Multi-Media Studio," this music production tool now supports all the major operating systems. It claims to be "made by musicians, for musicians" and promises easy use. Operating System: Windows, Linux, macOS

Business Intelligence

7. Jaspersoft

Replaces Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition ($350 per named user or $51,800 per processor and up), Microsoft PowerBI Premium ($5,000 per month and up), IBM Cognos Analytics Standard ($10,100 per month and up)

Owned by TIBCO, Jaspersoft is one of the leading business intelligence solutions on the market. In addition to the free Community version, it comes in paid Reporting, AWS, Professional and Enterprise editions. Operating System: OS Independent

8. KNIME

Replaces Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition ($350 per named user or $51,800 per processor and up), Microsoft PowerBI Premium ($5,000 per month and up), IBM Cognos Analytics Standard ($10,100 per month and up)

Designed for developers, data scientists and regular business users, KNIME offers an open source analytics platform with multiple paid extensions that expand its capabilities. It can be used for many common BI and big data analytics tasks, such as churn analysis and prediction, social media sentiment analysis, credit scoring, energy usage prediction, outlier detection, recommendation engines and much more. Operating System: Windows, Linux, macOS

9. Pentaho

Replaces Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition ($350 per named user or $51,800 per processor and up), Microsoft PowerBI Premium ($5,000 per month and up), IBM Cognos Analytics Standard ($10,100 per month and up)

This comprehensive data integration and business analytics platform is owned by Hitachi. It comes in multiple paid editions, and information about the open source community version can be found at community.pentaho.com. Operating System: Windows, Linux, macOS

10. SpagoBI

Replaces Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition ($350 per named user or $51,800 per processor and up), Microsoft PowerBI Premium ($5,000 per month and up), IBM Cognos Analytics Standard ($10,100 per month and up)

Now partnered with Knowage, Spago BI offers enterprise-grade business intelligence software. It has a very active user and developer community with frequent events and learning opportunities. Operating System: OS Independent

Business Process Management

11. ProcessMaker

Replaces IBM Business Process Manager (Pricing on request, often $25,000 or more)

ProcessMaker aims to help businesses improve their efficiency. Its well-known clients include TNT, Sony, Mozy, Telefonica, Bridgestone, Libbey, New York City Transit and others. In addition to the free Open Source edition, it also comes in On-Premise Enterprise and Cloud editions. Operating System: Windows, Linux

CAD

12. BRL-CAD

Replaces AutoCAD ($185 per month or $1,470 per year and up)

This constructive solid geometry (CSG) system has been used by the US military for decades. Under development since 1979, it's a collection of more than 400 tools for CAD design that have been. Operating System: Windows, Linux, macOS, others.

13. FreeCAD

Replaces AutoCAD ($185 per month or $1,470 per year and up)

Suitable for home users, experienced CAD professionals, programmers and teachers, FreeCAD is a parametric 3D modeler for designing objects of all kinds. Key features include modular architecture, import/export to many file formats, sketcher, robot simulation, drawing sheets, rendering module, architecture module, patch module and more. Operating System: Windows, Linux, macOS, others

Customer Relationship Management

14. CiviCRM

Replaces Sage ACT! ($269.99 per user or $25 per user per month and up), Microsoft Dynamics 365 ($210 per user per month),Salesforce.com Sales + Service ($100 per user per month and up)

Designed specifically for non-profits, CiviCRM handles constituent management for more than 10,800 organizations. Support and development assistance is available through third parties. Operating System: OS Independent

15. ConcourseSuite

Replaces Sage ACT! ($269.99 per user or $25 per user per month and up), Microsoft Dynamics 365 ($210 per user per month),Salesforce.com Sales + Service ($100 per user per month and up)

Java-based ConcourseSuite includes tools for sales, marketing and customer service, helping to build a 360-degree view of customers. While open source versions are still available, note that the most recent version is free only for up to five users. Operating System: Windows, Linux, macOS

16. openCRX

Replaces Sage ACT! ($269.99 per user or $25 per user per month and up), Microsoft Dynamics 365 ($210 per user per month),Salesforce.com Sales + Service ($100 per user per month and up)

This "enterprise-class" CRM boasts features like role-based security, audit trails and unlimited scalability. It installs easily on a Web server or cloud service, and the latest version includes Docker support. Operating System: OS Independent

17. SplendidCRM

Replaces Sage ACT! ($269.99 per user or $25 per user per month and up), Microsoft Dynamics 365 ($210 per user per month),Salesforce.com Sales + Service ($100 per user per month and up)

Designed for Microsoft users, SplendidCRM integrates with software like SQL Server, Microsoft Report Builder, Exchange Server and Office, as well as HubSpot, Marketo, ConstantContact, iContact and QuickBooks. It comes in multiple free and paid versions, all of which can be deployed on-premise or in the cloud. Operating System: Windows

18. SugarCRM Community Edition

Replaces Sage ACT! ($269.99 per user or $25 per user per month and up), Microsoft Dynamics 365 ($210 per user per month),Salesforce.com Sales + Service ($100 per user per month and up)

SugarCRM claims to be "the world's most open, flexible and developer-friendly software." It also sells commercial software based on the open source components, and it claims to have the highest Net Promoter Score of any major CRM vendor. Operating System: OS Independent

19. vTiger

Replaces Sage ACT! ($269.99 per user or $25 per user per month and up), Microsoft Dynamics 365 ($210 per user per month),Salesforce.com Sales + Service ($100 per user per month and up)

With more than 4.5 million downloads, vTiger says that it is the "#1 open source CRM software." It also offers cloud-based paid software in Sales, Help Desk or All-in-One editions. Operating System: Windows, Linux, iOS, Android


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Tags: Linux, Open Source App, open source replacement, linux software


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