Free Alternatives to Commerical Software

Web Based Free Alternatives to Commercial Software

A UK firm is offering free web access to open source tools. This takes away the pain of installing some open source tools. The project is called Bamboo Toolbox and is available here:


The Campus Technology magazine has featured it in an article:


Standard Software - Public Windows PCs

  • ActiveState: Perl and TCL -- already can be freely distributed to Windows and Linux.
  • Adobe: Acrobat Reader, Flash Player, Shockwave. -- license to distribute can be obtained from Adobe for both Windows and Linux.
  • Allele A1 -- Test/Wine. free to distribute, Windows/Mac only. May be able to use Wine on Linux.
  • Artemis -- already free to distribute for Linux, Windows.
  • Artstor -- Test/Wine + Check with vendor re: distribution (cannot distribute freely ATM). Need to check w/ Artstor if we can do that. No version for Linux -- check Wine.
  • ATLAS.ti -- Test/Wine. Free trial available. Does not work on Linux. Check Wine. Confirm w/ company if trial can be distributed.
  • Audacity -- already free for Mac/Win/Linux.
  • Blender -- already free for Mac/Win/Linux.
  • Charges 2000 -- Test/Wine. May be able to distribute. Does not work on Linux - check wine.
  • ChemBioDraw -- Alternative needed. Windows only with some Mac apps. Commercial. May be able to work with Wine but cannot be distributed freely.
  • CMAP Tools -- free. Win/Linux.
  • Cn-3D (NCBI) -- free Win/Mac/Linux.
  • DAO -- bundled with XP SP3 and above, windows only, but if apps don't run on windows, not needed.
  • Data Desk -- Alternative needed. Win/Mac. commercial.
  • DL Recorder -- Windows only. Alternative: Audacity.
  • EndNote -- Alternatives exist: some are web-based subscriptions, some are open-source programs.
    1. Zotero (see http://guides.middlebury.edu/zotero) -- Windows/Mac only. Cannot distribute freely.
    2. JabRef - Java-based reference database for Win/Mac/Linux. Stores references in the popular and common BibTeX format. Similar layout to EndNote. WARNING: Compatibility problems with Endnote import / export. Learn more here: http://jabref.sourceforge.net/
    3. For more options and details, see Citation and Style Guides.
  • EViews -- Alternative needed.
  • Express (USA Express) -- Test/Wine. Free. Need to see if it works with Wine.
  • FatePC ???
  • FTS (Financial Trading System) -- Alternative needed. May be able to emulate in DOSBox but cannot distribute freely.
  • GenMAPP. Alternative available - evaluate. may be free/open source, though created with visualbasic. May be able to run with Wine. A Java-based alternative is available. Need to evaluate. http://www.genmapp.org/FAQ2.html#mac
  • Geometer's Sketchpad -- Alternative needed. Win/Mac. Commercial.
  • GeoSim -- Test/Wine. may be free to distribute. Windows only. May be able to run under Wine.
  • Gnuplot -- free. Win/Linux.
  • Google Earth -- free. Win/Mac/Linux
  • GS View -- free. Win/Linux.
  • Hyperion Interactive Web Client (plugin) -- not needed for courses, though Linux version exists. May be able to distribute client software, but not really needed ATM.
  • IGOR Pro -- Alternative needed. Win/Mac. Commercial.
  • iTunes and QuickTime -- Test/Wine OR Alternative needed. Win/Mac. Free - may be able to distribute, need to check with vendor.
  • Language School Software Pack (see #Language_Support_Software below).
  • Maple -- Alternative needed. Runs on Linux but is commercial.
  • Mathematica -- Alternative needed. Runs on Linux but is commercial.
  • MathType -- Alternative found. Evaluate. OpenOffice has an equation editor. Scientists tend to use LaTeX.
  • MDL Chime -- Test/Wine. Check with vendor re: licensing. Commercial, but may be able to distribute. http://ariadne.mse.uiuc.edu/Info/Chime/chime_linux.html
  • MestReC -- Alternative needed. Runs on Linux but is commercial.
  • Microsoft Office -- Alternative found. OpenOffice (http://openoffice.org) - robust & stable office suite, most Office features, can load & save MS Office file formats, very similar to Office 2003 in layout & functionality.
    • Strengths of OpenOffice over MS Office: better support for style-based formatting, "save to PDF" feature included by default, better auto-recover documents.
    • Weaknesses: no new shiny layout, formats .doc files imperfectly, some advanced features missing.
  • Mike's Bikes ????
  • MPEG Streamclip -- Test/Wine. Can distribute freely. Also see alternatives: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_video_editing_software.
  • NetLogo -- free and runs on Win/Mac/Linux.
  • Nvu -- free and runs on Win/Mac/Linux.
  • OCR Software -- Alternative found. Evaluate. See http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=linux+ocr  AND search tesseract GUI linux.
  • OpenBabel. Free. Win/Mac/Linux.
  • OpenPerl IDE. Free. Win. For Linux see Eclipse, jEdit.
  • OR Tutor ???
  • PCGets. Need alternative. Commerical. Win/Linux. If it's a must, see Wine for emulation. http://www.doornik.com/products.html
  • PC-ORD. Need alternative. Commercial. Win. If it's a must, see Wine for emulation.
  • PDF Creator. Can be done via Cups in Linux and PDF creation is supported on Mac out of the box.
  • PopCycle - Test/Wine. Free. May be able to distribute. Check with the author. http://faculty.washington.edu/herronjc/SoftwareFolder/PopCycle.html
  • Protein Explorer - Alternative found. Windows only. See alternative at http://www.umass.edu/microbio/chime/pe_beta/pe/protexpl/
  • Putty -- ssh is built-in Linux and Mac, not needed.
  • Python -- free Win/Mac/Linux.
  • R - Win/Mac/Linux. Free.
  • RasMol - Java based. Win/Mac/Linux. Free 
  • SciFinder Scholar - web based (search for SciFinder in our Databases A-Z list for login instructions)
  • Second Life. Test/Wine. Win/Mac. Free, but closed-source. Need to check with vendor if we can distribute it.
  • SPSS 16. Alternative found. Win/Mac/Linux. Commercial. Need to test alternative: PSPP (http://www.gnu.org/software/pspp/)
  • Stata SE. Need alternative. Win/Mac/Linux. Commercial. Can be run via terminal services - consider.
  • Stellarium. Win/Mac/Linux. Open Source.
  • Swiss PDB Viewer - Test/Wine. Win/Mac. http://spdbv.vital-it.ch/wine.html
  • TeXnic Center -- Alternative found. Kile and teTeX. http://www.ces.clemson.edu/linux/latex.shtml#kile
  • Viewer Lite (Accelersys) -- Alternative needed. One option is jMol. See http://mailman.ic.ac.uk/pipermail/chemweb/2003-May/001402.html
  • Vim. Win/Mac/Linix - open source.
  • VMD. Win/Mac/Linix - open source.
  • WinEdt - just use Kile or teTeX.
  • WinHaze -- Test/Wine. http://vista.cira.colostate.edu/improve/Tools/win_haze.htm
  • WinSCP. Just use FileZilla for Linux.
  • Write-N-Cite -- Alternative found. Lots of alternatives. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_reference_management_software
  • Xming -- X is at the core of most Linux distros.

Standard Software - Public Macintosh Computers

The following software is standard (available) across ALL of our Public Macintosh Computers. The software applications that are most popular are outlined in bold.

Language Support Software

Standard Computer Classrooms and Labs

The following computer classrooms/labs have only the standard software outlined above:

  • Music Library Carrels
  • Davis Family Library Carrels
  • RAJ

Specialized Computer Classrooms and Labs

In addition to the standard software bundle, the following computer classrooms and labs have specialized software. Locations with Macs are shaded.

Software Alternatives
Adobe Acrobat Pro 9 Combination of cups-pdf, OpenOffice and web-based forms via Drupal or Google Docs. Regarding wine integration: http://appdb.winehq.org/appview.php?appId=847
Adobe Bridge CS4 Digikam, GTKam, F-spot, Rawstudio, Gimp with raw plugins, http://ksvichaar.blogspot.com/2007/06/camera-raw-editors-for-linux.html
Adobe Dreamweaver CS4 Nvu
Adobe Flash Pro CS4 None that are equivalent. Some options: Mainly: http://www.openlaszlo.org/

http://f4l.sourceforge.net/, http://www.ktoon.net/, http://www.pencil-animation.org/, http://www.salasaga.org/

See also:

Libraries and CLI tools: http://www.m2osw.com/sswf.html, http://swfmill.org/, http://www.swftools.org/, http://www.libming.org/

Related notes:

Adobe Illustrator CS4 Primarily http://www.inkscape.org/. Also http://www.xaraxtreme.org/ and http://www.skencil.org/
Adobe Indesign CS4 Primarily http://www.scribus.net/
Adobe Photoshop CS4^ http://www.gimp.org/ and http://www.gimpshop.com/
Use http://www.xnview.com/ for resizing, basic retouching, conversion.

Alternative to MS Paint: gpaint.

DVD Studio Pro
Final Cut Pro
Final Cut Express
Google Earth PRO  
Graphing Calculator  
Kaleida Graph
Logic Works
Sibelius http://musescore.org/en/download
Soundtrack Pro
Spartan 08

^ Adobe ImageReady has been discontinued by Adobe.

Main Sources for Free Alternatives to Commercial Software

Selection of essential free alternatives to commercial software

Most computers need a set of software to be productive. This section is meant to address this minimal set of software.

Note: Discussion on recommended browsers has been intentionally omitted, though Google Chrome is an interesting option, providing built-in PDF and Flash player support.

Antivirus and Security (PC Only)

File Backup and Recovery

  • Dropbox (hands down - and see, it's listed second - it's that important)
  • YamiPod (copying your music from your iPod to your computer - note the emphasis on your

Office Software Suite (word processing, presentation, spreadsheet)

Web Design Software

In theory, with Drupal, our Blogs and this Wiki, there's less of a need for a standalone web design software. Nevertheless, we list the following web design software:

Communications (Email, Chat, Video and Audio Conferencing, File Transfer, VPN, desktop sharing/remote desktop)

  • Webmail (hey, it is free for us and compatibility-wise beats every free email client).
    • FileZilla for PCs and Cyberduck for Macs (please try to avoid using FTP and insist on Secure FTP instead)
  • vpn.middlebury.edu
  • For desktop sharing, the built-in tools Microsoft Remote Assistance and Apple's Screen Sharing are recommended. TeamViewer is an option, and has had several security certifications, but it does route your (encrypted) traffic through their servers. Skype is an option, too.

Digital Media Playback, Organization and Editing

  • Picasa (for photo organizing and basic picture editing)
  • MS Paint (or Preview.app for Mac) for basic annotation and format conversion (e.g. BMP to JPEG or PNG)
  • Gimpshop (for advanced photo editing)
  • Scribus (for desktop publishing and layout - e.g. poster design)
  • Inkscape (for vector graphics) 
  • Audacity (for audio recording, conversion and basic editing)
  • Community Clips for PCs and QuickTime X for Mac (screencapture)
  • MiddMedia and MPEG Streamclip, QuickTime X (for video conversion)
  • VLC (for viewing just about every video under the sun and the moon)
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