Here are 10 of the best and most popular open-source programs to get you started.

Here are 10 of the best and most popular open-source programs to get you started.

1. Mozilla Thunderbird – This email product is produced by the same gang behind web browser Firefox. It works in the same manner as Microsoft Outlook, gathering a number of different email accounts in the same application. But with a number of different add-ons and extensions, Thunderbird can be customised as much as an individual or business wants.

Equivalent – Microsoft Outlook Express $94 – $180

2. GIMP – Top visual editing programs like Adobe InDesign and Photoshop cost a pretty penny, but this open-source alternative can do nearly everything.

Equivalent – Adobe Photoshop $149 – $1489

3. GNUCash – This accounting program implements a double-entry bookkeeping system. The program features small business accounting facilities and even portfolio management. Similar to Quicken.

Equivalent – Quicken Quickbooks $28 – $1178

4. OpenOffice – Similar to the Microsoft Office suite, it includes programs for word processing, spreadsheet development, PowerPoint production and database management. Supports “.doc” programs, the default, and most popular, file type used in Microsoft Word.

Equivalent – Microsoft Office Suite $368

5. Picasa – Developed by Google, this photo-editing software also organises a computer’s photos into a single library, making it easy to locate lost files. Users can also create web albums and make edits similar to Adobe Photoshop.

Equivalent – Adobe Light Room $158 – $478

6. WordPress – This blogging application is partly responsible for launching the blog phenomenon across the web, making it easy for anyone to create a blog online and update it frequently.

7. Joomla – This is one of the better content management systems online, but has the added benefit of a large user community, constantly solving problems and adding improvements.

8. OSCommerce – This commerce and online store-management program that, while basic, provides most of what an online business would need to get going. Sets up features such as PayPal, etc.

9. LimeSurvey – An online survey application that allows users with little coding knowledge to create, develop, publish and collect responses to surveys.

10. PhpBB – A forum package software application that allows the easy creation of forums for a website. Like most popular open-source packages, the script has a community of developers constantly fixing bugs and improving features.

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