As applications become more powerful and sometimes more complicated, their price tends to increase or if the price is already high, new features are added to keep the price level rather than reducing the price. However, just like with the no-cost Linux alternative for operating systems, you have no-cost alternatives for applications. Open source applications are very abundant and have features of the more costly commercial applications. And believe it or not, some of these applications are available in either Linux or Windows versions.
As anyone who has purchased a Windows PC or laptop or has installed Windows on an existing machine, the applications that are shipped with Windows are very simple and in most cases do not meet the consumers needs. Take Notepad or WordPad as two examples. Notepad is a very basic, text-based word processor. It does not have any of the features you would expect from a word processor. Wordpad, which does include some of the more abundant features, still falls way short of expectations. You could go out and purchase Microsoft Office. For the most part, you won’t be dissatisfied with your purchase, however you can expect to spend over $100 unless you can qualify for a student discount or you can purchase a low-cost copy to use at home through your job’s home-use program. Instead, you could download and install OpenOffice which is available on line at no cost. The latest version is compatible with the latest Microsoft Office and has its own versions of most of the Microsoft Office applications, including a full-featured word processor, spreadsheet and database application, plus a few more. Even if you decide that you need to use Microsoft Office at home in order to fulfill your business needs, instead of purchasing a license for every computer in your home, you could install OpenOffice on all of your additional PCs and laptops. If you are considering installing Linux, OpenOffice comes pre-installed in many versions of Linux. Simply go to OpenOffice.org to check it out.
While most of the Open Source applications are designed for Linux, if you search for Open Source Windows applications, you may find additional applications that would normally cost you quite a bit of money. Open Source is a great way to reduce your application costs, however if you really like the application and would like to see more features added later, there is always the option of donating to the developer so they can continue to deliver newer versions.