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31 May 2008

Free Software Alternatives

By CC-Staff

Introduction

This article is going to show you how you can accomplish tasks with similar or even better software. Why spend money on software when there are alternatives for almost every single category of applications that is being used on a daily basis?

There are many programs out there that can do the job for free, but not a lot of people have heard or wanted to try the alternatives. Granted there is a lot of popularity behind name brand software that comes from Microsoft, Symantec, Adobe and more, but how many people have heard of OpenOffice, AVG, and other products to do the same tasks?

I do beleive that people sometimes think that if it's free that its not that good, or there is some type of catch to it. Granted there are tons of shareware and freeware files, but we are going to look at files that are completely free and provide a great alternative to spending hundreds of dollars for similar software.

Office Suites

It is a well known fact that Microsoft Office has been the standard in Office Productivity Suites for a while, with tons of features built in and no matter where you are there seems to be Microsoft Office installed on a computer whether it's at home, work or school. There competitor, not free which is Corel Office, the more affordable office productivity suite made by Corel which offers the same types of programs that comes with Microsoft Office.

Did you know that there are free alternatives to Microsoft Office and Corel Office? Interestingly enough, there are two main free products out there that can do the same job and are even compatibile with the latter's formats when it comes to documents. Two of the main competitors are OpenOffice's OpenOffice suite and 602 Pro Software's PC Suite. These two are amongst the most popular free office productivity suites out there. Both of these products fully support MS Office's formats and will allow you to modify and create documents that can viewed and used on any of these office suites.

Antivirus Software

There are also few alternatives when it comes to completely free software to protect your computer. The big 3, Symantec's Norton Antivirus, McAfee Antivirus Software and PandaAntivirus are the most used antivirus products today. These products will protect your email and your computer in real time from viruses, hoaxes and trojans while the latter two come with a free firewall with their product to make sure your computer is not open to attacks from hackers. All these companies claim to protect your computer but can a free alternative do the same?

As stated before, there are not too many free antivirus programs out there. One such free program recommended to users is Grisoft's AVG Free Edition. AVG Free Edition is a basic antivirus program without all the bells and whistles but will do the job and also comes with free virus updates! The downside is that it doesn't come with technical support. Unlike their commercial competition there is no yearly service charge to continue updating your software after a year. Another free antivirus program is AntiVir from Free-AV.com. This program allows updating of the virus definitions for free and also comes with realtime monitoring like their commercial competitors.

Firewalls

Firewalls have been increasingly used within the past two years. Whether you have dialup or broadband, not having a firewall could be disastorous. There are many firewalls out there from Zonealarm Pro, McAfee Firewall and the list goes on. But there are quite a few freebies in this section. ZoneLabs produces their commerical product ZoneAlarm Pro and also has a free version, ZoneAlarm. ZoneAlarm is the most popular free firewall for the past few years. There are also other free ones to try such as Agnitum's Outpost Free, and Kerio Personal Firewall just to name a few.

System Maintenance Tools

This is one thing a computer should not be without, system maintenance tools. These tools can be anything from cleaning the Windows' registry, to deleting useless files and what not. The Software Corner has reviewed many of these programs, but there is a rarity in finding one that comes as a complete solution for free. You can download individual programs to do the same job.

Programs like Norton System Works comes with every practical cleaning and maintenance program for your computer and so does McAfee. There are also dozens of other commercial products that do the same but only varies on their functionality. But here we will take a look at free alternatives to maintain your computer in a clean and goodworking order.

As stated before there are not too many free alternatives for maintaining one's computer without spending money or reading guides from the internet,(The Software Corner has some guides showing how to rid useless files), but here are some free programs that I think a computer should not be without.

For registry cleaning, I would suggest getting regclean which is a free program. There are also other freeware tools that can help you maintain your computer and you can download some from this site or check on searchengines for more programs.

CD Burning Software

There are only 3 major players when it comes to purchasing cd burning software and that is Nero, CloneCD and EasyCD Creator. They cost about the same thing and well they do come with a lot of functions. All of these programs also burn DVDs for those who have a DVD burner! All these programs support a wide range of CD burners and each of the respective programs have advantages and disadvantages. But the question is are there any free CD burning products?

Well the answer to this question is yes. CDBurnerXP Pro allows you to do a lot of functions such as burn ISOs and is capable of erasing CDrws, Rip Audio Cds and much more. Well there is a downside that it might not support your burner, so you should check up on their list to see if your burner is supported or not.

Conclusion

This article shows to people that there are good free programs out there on the internet that can do the same task as a commercially available program but without that expensive price tag. Although you do still pay for your OS, looking at and trying free alternatives of popular products could save you a lot of money in the long run and many freeware authors usually give free upgrades to the latest version so you are up to date, unlike commmercial software.

Article provided by:

Canadian Content Staff
Email: technology @ canadiancontent.net
http://www.canadiancontent.net/tech/

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