10 open source software alternatives for the new year

Open source software can help you become better organized, more productive, more secure, and even healthier.
137 readers like this.
Multi-colored and directional network computer cables

Open source isn't just for techies. On your desktop (regardless of your operating system), on your phone, and in your business, open source software can help you become better organized, more productive, more secure, and healthier. Best of all, you don't need to worry about the shackles of proprietary licenses.

Throughout 2019, Opensource.com's team of Correspondents and community of writers have highlighted top-notch open source alternatives to proprietary software. Take a quick look at the best 10 of those articles.

In Intro to Corteza, an open source alternative to Salesforce, Dennis Arh introduces us to Corteza, a powerful and flexible customer relationship management (CRM) system. Dennis outlines what Corteza has to offer, then walks us through how to install and configure the system. While Corteza might not pack all the features of the bigger closed source CRM systems, it's more than enough for the majority of users.

Opensource.com Correspondent Chris Hermansen whips up an overview of a half-dozen instant messaging apps for mobile devices in Choosing an open messenger client: Alternatives to WhatsApp. While each of the six apps has its strengths, Chris recommends Signal for "its open-by-design approach, its serious and ongoing privacy and security stance, and having a Signal app on our GNOME (and Windows) desktops."

In 5 social media alternatives to protect your privacy, privacy advocate Dan Arel walks through several open source replacements for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger. Dan also shares how he cut his ties with those privacy-crushing services without losing touch with the people who matter. His approach might work for you, too.

You don't need an expensive application like Adobe Acrobat to work with PDF files on the Linux desktop, as I show in Two graphical tools for manipulating PDFs on the Linux desktop. These tools are simple, but they pack a lot of punch and take care of most of your PDF manipulation needs.

In How to create an automated calendar with Google Apps Script with open source on top, Correspondent Dan Barker explores how to manage conference submissions by stitching together a Google Sheet with Google Calendar using a script he wrote. OK, the services Dan's script interacts with aren't open source, but you can grab that script from Dan's GitLab repository and modify it to your heart's content.

In 4 open source apps for plant-based diets, Correspondent Joshua Allen Holm uncovers some mobile apps that can help you plan meatless meals, shop more effectively for the ingredients for those meals, and find vegan and vegetarian restaurants nearby. As someone who's shifting to a more plant-based diet, I can see myself using a couple of these apps in the near future. And that they're available on F-Droid is a bonus.

I dive into a very useful spreadsheet editor that's built for collaboration in Get going with EtherCalc, a web-based alternative to Google Sheets. If you're of a technical bent, you can run your own instance; otherwise, you can use one of several hosted editions. EtherCalc does take a bit of getting used to, but if your needs are simple, you'll find (as I did) that it's a flexible tool.

Opensource.com's Seth Kenlon examines CBZ and DjVu: Open source alternatives to PDFs. This pair of digital archive formats can do everything PDF can do but are easier to manipulate. Seth also shows how to use command-line tools to create archives in the CBZ and DjVu formats and, with DjVu files, offers some advanced tips and tricks.

I explain how a good open source application can exist quite nicely in a proprietary environment in Organize your information on the Mac desktop with nvALT. In this article, I discuss how to how to manage notes and more with this very useful tool. What makes nvALT all the more attractive to me is that plain text is at its core, so it's a solid fit for my workflow whenever I'm working in MacOS.

In Getting started with Pimcore: An open source alternative for product information management, Dietmar Rietsch introduces a tool for businesses of all sizes to manage, mold, and share data about their products. In the past, I worked for a company or two that specialized in this type of software. It's great to see an open source alternative that's as flexible, polished, and easy to use as its closed source cousins.

These articles give you a taste of the open source alternatives to proprietary software that are out there. Are there any substitutes for proprietary software that you think we should cover in the coming months? Feel free to leave a comment or, better yet, submit an article proposal.

That idiot Scott Nesbitt ...
I'm a long-time user of free/open source software, and write various things for both fun and profit. I don't take myself all that seriously and I do all of my own stunts.

1 Comment

These alternatives are all very nice and I use mostly open source software myself, but convincing others to use it – that's hard work.

All friends I recommended F-Droid to just shrugged their shoulders. The Google store is a click away...

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License.