How to choose freeware or free of charge open source application

OK, this is more then howto hopefully a usable list of applications I use instead of their commercial counterparts. It is also the recommendation for companies when they want to save money on licenses, therefore I choose only those applications/versions that can be used commercially.

The case:

Your department is short of money on buying that great application your colleague saw yesterday from his friend. You believe it should be helpful to obtain the licenses for such software, but your bosses say NO. It was not in the financial plan.

Sounds familiar? Yes, it happened to me, too. But I did not hesitate and tried to find the alternative.  The working alternative.

So, here it goes:

The goal:

Conditions and limitations:

Interesting findings:

Replacement table (click on any link to find the tool)

SW group sub-group Typical tool / leader of the market Free replacement application
Graphics (gfx)
Bitmap gfx Adobe Photoshop GIMP2, additional Gimpshop
Vector gfx (for DTP) Corel Draw
Adobe Illustrator
2D animation Macromedia Flash
3D modelling Maya, Rhinoceros Blender
Creation of 3D programms Panda 3D, Blender
CSS Topstyle3 Pro Topstyle3 Lite?, Morphon-CSSEditor
DTP Quark Sodipodi?
Panorama creation Panorama Tools
Scenery generation Terragen
Mozaics rendering Mosaic Creator
Booklet CD photoindex generator CDPhotoIndex
Image Viewer ACDSee, Zoner Picasa
imgSeek (searches by content of image)
CAD DWG Viewer Bentley View
DVD 2 DivX convertor DivX Create Bundle ?Dr.DivX 2 shall be OSS in Sep/2005
Office (productivity)
Word processor MS Word Writer

Spreadsheet calc. MS Excel Calc
Presentation MS PowerPoint Impress
Technical (engineering) drawing MS Visio


Project planning MS Project It was planned to be in v2
Personal DB MS Access v2
PDF creation Adobe Acrobat PDFCreator
Mind maps Mind Manager FreeMind
OCR ABBYY Finereader (it can be used to convert pdf into MS Word doc, supporting czech language)
Print filter (virtual printer - exact preview, always the same printer for MS Office docs [there is nochange of docs after printing], saves paper) Fineprint
SW Modelling
UML modelling Rational Rose, Power Designer ArgoUML
ERD modelling Power Designer DB Designer (only for MySQL, not very stable)
MAC (PowerPC) emulator PearPC
PC emulator VMWare, Virtual PC Qemu

coLinux (only for Linux distributions)

Bochs (usable only in certain cases)

DOSemu (only for DOS emulation)
Commodore 64, 128 and others WinVice
Browser Internet Explorer Mozilla Firefox

My extensions: Adblock, ImageZoom, googleBar, ForecastFox, Live http Headers, downThemAll, Print Preview, DictionarySearch, BookmarksHome, ScrapBook
Downloader Flashget Leechget, Net Transport
Email client Outlook Express Mozilla Thunderbird
FTP server WS_FTP Server, IIS FTP FileZilla server
Instant messaging ICQ, AOL, MS Messenger Miranda, Jabber
Whole web capturing Teleport Pro WinHTTrack, wget
Telnet, ssh SecureCRT Putty
SW presentations (flash demos on web - viewlets) Quarbon Viewlet builder Wink
RSS reader (web news) FeedDemon


Sage extension pro Mozillu

Mozilla Thunderbird
.exe .dll compression UPX
Audio sound - easy edits Soundforge Audacity
Screen as a virtual connected cam (driver) Camtasia studio (recorder) !!! please, I need to find such one !!!
CD/DVD burning Nero

Clone CD
Burn4Free, CDBurnerXP (+DVD to copy DVD9)
Web building Macromedia Dreamweaver Nvu
File manager Total commander

CD Audio copying EAC (cardware)
DVD player Cyberlink PowerDVD
Text editor EditPlus, UltraEdit, … Notepad++
Firewall - personal Kerio personal firewall? (not sure about the license though)
Jetico Personal firewall (needs better knowledge to setup)
.zip compression Winzip 7zip (
File access over html
Development Visual Studio .Net Sharpdevelop
DB Frontend Glom
SCM (source code management [versioning and group support]) Visual Source Safe, Clear Case, Perforce Subversion (why subversion, other comparison)
ERP   TinyERP (not tested yet, it just looks interesting)
XML Editor XML Spy XMLMind XMLEditor
Reporting / Business Inteligence Crystal reports Birt for Eclipse

Created by Radek Švarz

Oh, don't worry about the Google ads, I just want to see what is related on the market now. Yes free applications are not linked directly. That's because their hosting changes frequently and I don't want to handle broken links.

Legal blah:

Creative Commons License 2.5I don't take any responsibility for using this information. You can use it as you wish as long as you mention me as an author and the original URL (