How to Find Free Alternatives to Popular Software Programs

There are a number of expensive software programs that we use every day. If you're thinking about getting a new computer, or you need new or upgraded programs to do something, you can save a lot of money by using free software. There are a number of great free programs available, and the open source community puts a lot of effort into creating an excellent list of programs. However, some companies will distribute free software with the intention of delivery malicious programs, be it adware, spyware or viruses. Here are some good ways to find what you need.

First, go to
In the upper right hand corner, under the heading "Search", type in the name of a popular non-free program that you are looking for an alternative to. After typing the name, hit the enter key on your keyboard. In the example in the image, I use Microsoft Office.
Find your program on the list and click on it.
Under the heading "Open source (Program) alternatives", find a program that looks right for you. Make sure that the program is available for your operating system before downloading! If the operating system is crossed out, then it is not available for that system.
After clicking on the program that interests you, follow the links to download.
Another option is to do a Google search for phrases like "Photoshop GPL alternative" (without the quotes). GPL stands for Gnu Public License, and is a common license used for free open source software.

Copyright 2009 by Michael Nehring