10 Best Free and Open Source Alternatives for Paid Software

Check out free alternatives to paid software.

By Ajoy Kumar 13 Min Read
Free and Open Source Alternatives for Paid Software

If you are looking for cheaper options to the commonly used software, then you have landed on the right page. We have compiled a comprehensive list of the best free and open-source alternatives to paid software. These alternatives not only help you save money but also offer powerful tools with comparable features to their paid counterparts.

From productivity suites to graphic design software, there is a free alternative available for almost every type of application. Discovering these alternatives will not only expand your software options but also help you make informed decisions about the tools you use in your daily tasks or projects.

Free and Open Source Alternatives for Paid Software

Here’s a helpful list of essential software that you’ll be using on a daily basis. We’ve also included links to installation guides for each of the software to make the process as smooth and easy as possible for you.

1. Linux

Ubuntu Interface

In the world of operating systems, Windows has long been the most popular choice. While some users purchase a legitimate version of Windows, others resort to using pirated copies due to its high cost of around $199.

But did you know that there is a free and open-source alternative to Windows? It’s called Linux and it has a wide range of distributions such as Ubuntu, Mint, and Kali Linux. Not only is Linux free, but it is also highly customizable and secure. It is no wonder that Linux is also widely used in servers.

If you are new to Linux, you can try it out by installing Ubuntu on Windows 11 using VirtualBox. So why spend money on buying an operating system, when you can use Linux for free?

Download Linux


GIMP Interface

GIMP is a free and open-source Image Manipulation Program available for Linux, macOS, Windows, and other operating systems. It allows us to perform nearly every task we desire with our photos. In addition to editing photos, it can also be utilized to design graphical elements such as logos and icons.

If you are seeking the best alternative to Adobe Photoshop, then we highly recommend GIMP. It boasts a user interface similar to Adobe Photoshop and offers comparable tools for editing photos.

You can further enhance your productivity and the functionality of GIMP by adding third-party plugins. Check out how to install GIMP on Windows 11 for more information.

Download GIMP

3. LibreOffice

LibreOffice Interface

LibreOffice is a highly versatile, free and open-source office suite designed to cater to the needs of users across different platforms, including Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. The software is developed by The Document Foundation and is designed to offer a range of powerful tools for creating, editing, and managing documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more. In fact, LibreOffice is considered by many to be the best alternative to MS Office, as it offers all the tools and features that MS Office does, but without the hefty price tag.

One of the most impressive features of LibreOffice is its ability to open and edit documents that were initially prepared in MS Office. This means that you can easily switch between MS Office and LibreOffice without any compatibility issues. In other words, you can take advantage of all the benefits that LibreOffice has to offer without having to give up any of your existing MS Office files.

If you prefer to purchase MS Office, you can do so, but it requires a monthly subscription. The cost of MS Office varies depending on the plan you choose, and you can check the price of MS Office on the official Microsoft website. However, for those who are looking for a free and reliable alternative to MS Office, LibreOffice is an excellent choice that offers exceptional value for money.

Download LibreOffice

4. ShotCut

Shotcut Video Editor

If you are a YouTuber or video producer, there is a good chance that you are searching for a video editor to edit your videos. Shotcut is a free, open-source, and cross-platform video editor available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS.

It supports all video and audio formats, and you can even edit 4K videos smoothly if you have good hardware. Shotcut doesn’t just provide you with trimming and splitting; it has a whole host of features.

The features of Shotcut include video compositing across video tracks, auto-rotate, color correction, wipe transitions, overlay, text, and the most advanced feature, which is typically only available in paid software: chroma key. You are getting this feature for free with Shotcut. The Chroma key allows you to change the background of your video, but you have to shoot the video against a green background.

Download Shotcut

5. Audacity

Audacity Interface

Sound production has always been a popular career choice for creative individuals. Sony Sound Forge is known to be a top-of-the-line software in this field, but unfortunately, it is not free. This can be frustrating for many people.

Fortunately, there is a fantastic alternative available: Audacity! Audacity is a free and open-source audio editing software that works on all major operating systems, including Windows, Mac OS, and GNU/Linux. It is an easy-to-use, multi-track audio editor and recorder that allows us to remove background noise, add sound effects, amplify, and edit our audio.

Moreover, we can download and install plugins or libraries to add extra functionality. Audacity supports the import and export of all audio formats, such as MP3, ACC, and WAV. However, to export in MP3 format, we need to download the lame_enc.dll.

Download Audacity

6. Thunderbird

Mozilla Thunderbird Interface

If you are looking for an open-source alternative to Microsoft Outlook, then Thunderbird is preferably the best choice for you. Thunderbird is an email solution from the house of Mozilla that was launched in early 2004.

Mozilla successfully meets the overwhelming response from the dedicated email client. However, the company is not focused on this email client because they know that they will fail to make an impact on an industry like Firefox.

This is an open-source application that is available for Windows versions. Thunderbird offers a lot of features other than the email client. It includes a calendar, check client and even the user can handle RSS feeds.

Download Thunderbird 

7. LibreCAD

LibreCAD Interface

In the field of architecture, AutoCAD has been reigning supreme as the go-to software for digital illustration for several years. However, the biggest drawback of this application is its price which has been increasing over the years. As a result, aspiring professionals who wish to enter this field need to shell out a considerable amount of money to access this software.

But, hold on! We have a more affordable and equally efficient alternative – LibreCAD. This software can seamlessly replace AutoCAD, enabling you to carry out almost all the tasks that you can do in AutoCAD. The best part is that LibreCAD is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems, making it easily accessible to a wide range of users.

Moreover, LibreCAD is designed to work with existing AutoCAD documents, which means you can effortlessly modify all your existing AutoCAD files. So, if you’re looking for a more cost-effective solution without compromising on quality, LibreCAD is definitely worth a try.

Download LibreCAD

8. Blender

Blender Interface

Autodesk Maya has been a noteworthy 3D design software application for many years now. However, with its growing popularity, the application has become quite expensive. So, if you have a dream to design 3D animations, you will have to spend a lot of money to begin designing in the first place.

Blender is free and open-source software. With Blender, you can create animation files, visual effects, VFX, and even intros and outros for your YouTube videos. It is developed by the Blender Foundation and is written in C++ and Python.

Blender, however, can be an ideal choice for you instead. You can use it on whichever operating system you own, and more importantly, it is free to use. Now, it may not have an extensive library like Maya, but it has features that will help you test-drive your 3D skills. Therefore, you should give Blender a try.

Download Blender

9. Krita

Kirta Interface

Krita is an excellent alternative to Photoshop, and it has gained popularity among digital artists and illustrators due to its versatile platform, intuitive interface, powerful tools, and customizable brushes. With Krita, you can create stunning artworks, and its active community provides ample resources, tutorials, and plugins to further enhance its capabilities.

Despite offering users a plethora of features, the software is completely free. There is also a paid version of Krita available for professionals, which is rich in features and exclusively built for top-notch photo editors.

Krita’s commitment to open-source principles ensures that everyone can access it, regardless of their financial situation. This not only fosters a supportive community but also encourages collaboration and innovation within the digital art realm.

Download Krita

10. Lightzone


Are you on the lookout for a cost-effective alternative to Adobe Lightroom? Look no further than Lightzone – a feature-packed app available on Windows, Mac, and Linux. With its intuitive interface and user-friendly features, Lightzone is sure to impress you from the get-go.

One of the most exciting aspects of Lightzone is that it comes with a price tag of zero – yes, it’s completely free to use! The app offers all the essential tools that you need to organize, cull, and edit your photos with ease, making it a popular choice among amateur and professional photographers alike.

But that’s not all – the export quality of Lightzone is even better than Lightroom’s. With its 16 unique segments, you can add a dynamic touch to your images that will make them stand out from the crowd. So why wait? Try Lightzone today and experience the magic of photo editing like never before.

Download Lightzone


Users now have the opportunity to access free and open-source software that can replace the need for expensive paid software. These options provide similar features and functionalities to their paid counterparts, including productivity tools and creative software.

What’s more, these alternatives are open-source, which encourages collaboration, innovation, and community support. This leads to continuous improvement and customization. However, it is essential to note that these software alternatives may not be suitable for everyone.

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He is a prominent tech writer with over six years of experience and the founder of TheCoderWord. He delivers high-quality content revolving around troubleshooting and how-to guides for Windows, Linux, macOS, Chrome, and more.
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