Guide

Open source business software

Examples of popular open source products and types

Whatever software your business needs - eg for word processing, accounting or running a website - it is easy to find an open source version. Many websites such as SourceForge host open source projects and are good places to look for new software.

Types of open source software

Some popular open source software for business include:

Open source office software

  • Abiword - word processing tool
  • Open Office.org - business productivity suite
  • Libre Office - business productivity suite
  • CiviCRM - customer relationship management
  • SugarCRM - customer relationship management
  • vTiger - customer relationship management
  • MySQL - database
  • Ingres - database

Open source accounting software

  • GNU cash - small business accounting and personal finance software
  • SQL Ledger - web-based enterprise resource planning system
  • Front Accounting - accounting and enterprise resource planning software
  • PostBooks - accounting and business management system
  • Compiere - accounting, CRM and ERP

Open source operating systems

  • GNU/Linux (various versions or distributions include Debian, Fedora, Gentoo, Ubuntu and Red Hat) - operating system
  • OpenSolaris - operating system
  • FreeBSD - operating system
  • Android - mobile phone platform

Open source website software

  • Wordpress - blog hosting platform
  • Alfresco (community editions) - enterprise content management system
  • Joomla - enterprise content management system
  • Drupal - enterprise content management system
  • Magento - ecommerce website platform
  • PrestaShop - ecommerce website platform
  • Apache - web server software
  • NginX - web server software
  • PHP - web application scripting engine

Open source browsers and communication applications

  • Juice Receiver - podcasting
  • Mozilla Firefox - web browser
  • Mozilla Thunderbird - email client
  • Pidgin - instant messaging
  • Zimbra - email and collaboration server
  • FileZilla - FTP client
  • MediaWiki - information sharing platform

Open source IT security

  • Smoothwall - firewall and security tools
  • Wireshark (aka Ethereal) - security application
  • KeePass - password management
  • Clam AV - antivirus software

Images/multi-media

  • GIMP - image processing/graphics editing
  • VLC - multimedia file playback
  • Ogg - open video and audio codecs
  • Blender - animation and video editor

Open source development tools

  • Ruby on Rails - rapid web application development
  • Eclipse - integrated development environment

Before downloading and installing open source software, you should carry out the same due diligence as you would for proprietary applications.

For more advice, see tips for selecting open source business software and read up on open source licensing and legal issues.