round-up Could your business be paying for a proprietary program when an open source alternative exists? Take a look at our guide as we count down the most popular open source products.
Much of the software suggested in this round-up came from sourceforge.net, known colloquially as the open source "phone book". Alternatively, you might want to look at Wikipedia's Free Software Portal. If you need software, it's well worth a look.
Although this round-up lists a range of the popular open source applications, it's far from exhaustive, listing only a small sample of the vast array of free applications available. If you have your own favourite open source application, please let everyone know in talkback.
Recent times have seen a steady increase in open source adoption, with analyst firm Gartner predicting that all businesses will utilise some form of open source software by the end of 2009. Meanwhile, Toshiba has been offering OpenSolaris on its laptops, and the OLPC laptop program has come to Australia.
Lotus Symphony is an office suite maintained by IBM. It is available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. It contains a word processor, a spreadsheet and a presentation program.
KOffice is an office suite developed for the KDE Linux desktop environment. It includes several office apps, plus a vector drawing program, an equation editor and project management software.
GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program, and it's a free image editing program. If you're looking into Photoshop but only use a fraction of its functions, GIMP may save you a lot of money.
Xpdf is an open-source PDF reader for a range of platforms including 32-bit Windows, Unix and Mac OS X.
Pentaho is an open-source business intelligence application that includes functions such as reporting, analysis, dashboards, data mining and data integration.
Sound and video editing
Audacity is software for editing and recording sounds with a broad range of features. It's a handy way to digitalise recording from meetings and other events for long-term storage.
MPlayer is a video player that supports a massive array of platforms including Windows, Linux, OS X and even Solaris. It also supports a broad range of video codecs and formats.
Cinelerra is a video editing platform for Linux.
KeePass allows you to store all your passwords in a highly encrypted central repository and then access them all from a single master password. This is a Windows program.
GnuCash is a small business financial and accounting software package that runs on a diverse range of platforms including Linux, Solaris, OS X and Windows.
Ubuntu is a popular Linux distribution with a focus on ease of use and installation. Versions of Ubuntu are named alphabetically after animals, with current stable version called Intrepid Ibex.
Fedora is the Linux distribution sponsored by Red Hat. It is reputed to be the distribution used by Linus Torvalds.
SUSE is a Linux distribution aimed at the enterprise, and supported by Novell.
Debian is a highly influential Linux distribution. It supports a vast range of computer architectures, but is not recommended for first time users.