Open Source Software is software that is free to use and has it’s source code publicly available. You can even modify the software to your specific needs if you like. The programs are often collaborative projects of large groups of developers. In this post we will give some examples of open source software that you can use for your business. Wouldn’t it be nice if you can run your business without paying for software? Well, you can! The following programs are all 100% free.
Operating System: Linux – Ubuntu
Let’s start with the most important software on a computer, the operating system (like Windows and MacOS). Linux is an operating system, founded by Linus Torvalds in 1991. Linux is used on personal computers, smartphones, website servers, cars, home appliances and many other devices. Back in the days you had to be familiar with programming to use Linux, but now Linux comes with very user-friendly interfaces. One of the most used versions of Linux is called Ubuntu. As you can see on the screenshot, the interface feels familiar to most other operating systems. It comes with all the standard software you need for browsing the web, e-mailing, playing music & video’s, text editing and so on. You can take an “online tour” at http://tour.ubuntu.com/en/
Documents & Spreadsheets: LibreOffice
Besides an operating system, you also need programs that enable you to browse the internet, e-mail, view images and write texts. LibreOffice is an “office suite” with programs for word processing, spreadsheets, slideshows, and other common office applications. If you want to compare it to Microsoft Office, the most import programs are:
- Writer – resembling Microsoft Word
- Calc – resembling Microsoft Excel
- Impress – resembling Microsoft PowerPoint
- Base – resembling Microsoft Access
LibreOffice can be installed on Windows and MacOS. Linux versions like Ubuntu have LibreOffice already installed.
You can find information and download the software on: https://www.libreoffice.org/
Building Websites: WordPress
In addition to the operating system and office, you might also need software to build a website. WordPress is the most popular software for building sites and roughly powers 30% of websites on the internet (~60 million websites). Pretty much all hosting providers offer WordPress installation without any additional costs.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software: Vtiger & SuiteCRM
Finally, you might want to consider using customer relationship management software if your business employs more than 1 person. Commercial software like Microsoft Dynamics or Salesforce can be too costly for a small business. Fortunately there are very good open source options available. You can try their online demo’s for a look and feel of the interfaces.
Demo: https://suitecrm.com/demo/ (username: will / password: will)
Demo: https://demo.vtiger.com/ (username: demo / password: demo)
Conclusion: Open Source Software
As shown above, you can use open source software programs for various parts of your business. We would love to hear your experiences with these programs, or any other open source software. Please leave your comments below!