September 28, 2010, 10:56 AM — Giant software companies like Microsoft have gotten where they are today by charging high prices for their products, and many enterprise users simply accept those costs as part of doing business.
Times have changed since the early days of desktop computing, however, and there are now many more alternatives to those pricey packages--including options that are not only free but also open, meaning that users can modify and customize them to suit their own needs.
If you're tired of exorbitant software costs and the vendor lock-in that tends to go with them, then consider some free, open source alternatives. You'll save a bundle, and you'll wonder why you didn't make the switch sooner.
1. Instead of: Microsoft Windows
There are many reasons to choose Linux over Windows today, not least of which are cost and security. Linux is increasingly an excellent choice for business, and the many distributions to choose from mean there's something just right for every company. Pick one and give it a try--you don't have to change anything on your desktop computers to check it out, and it could save you at least the $119 cost to upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium.
2. Instead of: Internet Explorer
The browser arena is increasingly competitive, so options abound. Microsoft's Internet Explorer may seem free, but that's only because it's bundled with Windows.
3. Instead of: Microsoft Outlook
For e-mail, widely used Microsoft Outlook is a frequent source of security problems. Several free packages offer easy-to-use alternatives.