By Ken Guest.
| :: New Users :: Alternatives to Windows Software|
|18 February 2013|
With additions suggested by various members of the ILUG and the
A version of this article has been reproduced on Groklaw
here) with full permission to reproduce.
As one of the ILUG members who helped out at our stand at e-Xpo
2001, I have fielded quite a number of questions (both 'live' and
via email) from people that would use Linux exclusively 'if
I pretty much intend for this page to grow over time - if you have
a question, or want to suggest better alternatives then by all
means please email me.
Compatibility with Microsoft Office.
Quite a number of people expressed an interest in being able to
read Microsoft files without having to boot into Windows.
AbiWord, StarOffice and OpenOffice are all rather good
software suites that can both read and create Microsoft Word, Excel
and PowerPoint files.
abiWord are good
alternatives for Excel and Microsoft Word respectively.
is one of the best Linux Email applications, it integrates email,
calendaring, meeting scheduling, contact management, and task
lists, in one powerful, fast, and easy-to-use application. There is
now a free Exchange Connector for Evolution, this provides a
working exchange client solution to replace Outlook.
Mozilla.org features Adaptive Junk Mail Controls, an RSS Reader, Global Inbox
Support, Saved Search Folders, Message Grouping and Privacy Protection.
kmail supports IMAP, POP3,
multiple accounts, powerful filters, PGP/GnuPG privacy, inline
attachments and more.
Zimbra is an open-source replacement for
Microsoft Exchange, for which paid support is available.
There are many levels and kinds of accounts packages that people
use. Some of these have equivalents for Linux and some have direct
At the personal level, there are GNUCash and AppGen's
MoneyDance. At the enterprise level there's AccPac.
The middle-ground, ie for small businesses, appears as though it
may be inhabitated by Sage and Tas Software - we spent some time
during the e-Xpo driving home the fact to representatives of these
companies that there is a genuine business need for them to produce
software that will run under Linux.
Accounting is another package that you may wish to consider.
It's 'fully functional' and runs on both Linux and Windows. It is
also good for stock-management (inventory and shelf) and has
multistore functionality as well.
accounting, inventory, point of sale, contact management, billing,
puchasing, and reporting all in one integrated web-based
SQL-Ledger is a multi-user
double entry web-based system. A full list of features
KMyMoney is another full
double-entry accounting software
package, for personal or small-business use which can import and
export Quicken's .qif files.
You may want to read Finances, Linux,
and Stuff... by Christopher Browne for other links and
information on other Linux based accounting software.
As far as DTP is concerned, I found Scribus, it is a very good open
source equivalent to Publisher.
I'd be inclined to give Open Office (as linked to above) a go as
Diagram Software - Visio
two good alternatives.
ERP + Contact Relationship Management software
SugarCRM is a commercially
Bricscad recognized as the number one alternative CAD platform for the DWG file format. It finally became available as a native Linux
version at the end of June 2010, initially, supporting two Linux flavors, Red Hat and Ubuntu.
LinuxCAD works as a perfect
alternative to AutoCAD. For Free alternatives to AutoCAD, there's
LinuxCAD. They both have
some limitations compared to the lastest version of AutoCAD, but
those limitations are going away as more people contribute to
the projects. If you truly want to help get people out from
under Autodesk's thumb, this is the way to go.
Commercial alternatives, which are probably more full featured,
include VariCAD, Cycas and IntelliCAD. All of these run on
Asked for an alternative to EndNote, these are some that I
RefDB is a concerted effort to provide most of the functionality of
commercial packages like Reference Manager or EndNote in a
platform-independent tool, targeting markup languages rather than
RefWorks is a web based bibliographic application that is about to add Open Office to its
compatibility even though it already works from the web site with Linux.
Graphics and Multimedia
Some people asked about graphics packages for Linux.
The foremost graphics app for Linux is called The Gimp.
xfig is another recommended
drawing program for Linux, as is PhotoGenics (which is commercially
available for Linux, AmigaOS and Windows.
InkScape is an SVG editor
like Visio, Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw etc.
I was asked if it's possible to use digital cameras under Linux -
GPhoto will let you transfer
photos to and from your camera.
There is a serious number of webbrowsers available for using under
Linux. Some of the more popular ones are Mozilla, Firefox, Konqueror and Opera.
Mozilla is one of the best; as a website developer I primarily
headers using the Live HTTP Headers plugin and make extensive use
of it's DOM Inspector. It also has a mail client.
FireFox is the new stand alone web browser from the Mozilla Project. It
is the most popular browser on Linux and is also available for Windows.
Instant Messaging Clients
Gaim The most popular
Instant Messaging client for Linux Supports all the most popular
networks in one client.
Kopete is also an excellent
Instant Messanger. It supports AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo, Jabber, IRC,
Novell GroupWise Messenger, Lotus SameTime, and more.
Peer to Peer Clients
Mldonkey Supports a
number of peer to peer searching and downloading methods Can be
used by a wide number of front-ends. BitTorrent and EDonkey are also supported
Firewalls & Internet Security
AntiVir Personal Edition - this is a German package which is free for personal use.
Also, you should read up on ipchains
Amaya is a highly
recommended editor from the w3 organisation.
An easy web page editor/creator built into the Mozilla suite
NVU A project developing on the
Mozilla Composer code Powerful standalone web page editing
Known to produce very clean html when used carefully/sparingly!
Quanta Plus is a
quick-turnaround webpage editor, you do need to know your HTML
though as Quanta Plus is not WYSIWYG.
It has been possible to burn CDs under Linux for quite sometime,
but it really has gotten very easy to do with the likes of the
There is also K3b. It really is
as easy to use as any Windows CD writing software and has a nice
setup wizard that will configure just about everything for you. The
only commonly created format that it doesn't handle yet is DVD
Video. Foreign disc image support is a bit limited (only bin/cue or
Ogle is a
good DVD player for Linux.
The Videolan project
includes both a player and network streamer Can play most
popular/common audio and video formats
Xine Straight forward and powerful
MPlayer It is usually
possible to configure MPlayer to play any video format Includes
mencoder for converting video formats.
If you are looking for an equivalent to iTunes, I definitely recommend amaroK.
XMMS is virtually a clone of winamp.
3D Art Modellers
LinuxArtist.org may list
other alternatives and other appropriate links, especially on their
ideas on which Linux based software should be used as an equivalent
to Bryce, these were suggested by members of the ILUG:
There are also sections on Freshmeat.net that should be of
MuSE is a very good sequencer.
For score editors, try RoseGarden and
Fluid Synth is a good
Audacity Simple but
useful audio editor, equivalent to Wavelab
Ardour Record, edit and mix
Use (some) vst plugins under Linux
non linear editor: Heroine
Kino DV Video
Editor, provides support for firewire video cameras
video from virtually any format to most formats
Prepare DVD Video discs (including menus etc.)
Terminal Server and Remote access (terminal sessions)
The K-12Linux Project is the
best Newbie place for Linux and LTSP. Also look into Linux Terminal Server Project and
Examine NX for X over 9600
baud. Tarantella is a well
established and mature option.
Good applications for programmers looking to make a switch are:
KDevelop is one of the best
Linux IDEs. Anjuta is
another good IDE. Glade is a
good user interface designer for GTK+ applications. The Qt
development environment includes QDesigner, which is simply
GUI access to scripting languages can be had as well. There are
projects to add GTK+, Qt, and KDE support to languages such as Perl
and Python, and there is a lot of development going on in with KDE
scripting language for rapid KDE development. It is called
Eclipse is an IDE built
with java and using plugins to support many features. Basis for
PalmSource's own Developers Suite
Graphical FTP clients:
GUI CVS Clients
Asked if there were any non-command-line CVS clients that could be
used under Linux, I immediately thought of LinCVS.
There are other such clients listed on the cvs
Censorware / Webpage Filtering.
I haven't cause for using censorware myself, but the question was
raised by a father of two that he would like to use something
equivalent to NetNanny to ensure that the coarser side of the
Intenet wouldn't be discovered by his children.
DansGuardian seems to
pretty much fit the bill here and is free for non commercial
As far as technical details are concerned, DansGuardian works by
filtering out webpages based on content rather than on what the URL
of the page is. It can also filter out files based on not just the
file extension but also on the files mime-type.
QTParted supports creating,
formatting, moving and resizing all common partition types.
Family Tree Software
I've had good experience of using geneweb,
which is a web application for all
There is also the GRAMPS Project and other
Update [8-Jan-2007]: The newly developed The Linux
Equivalent Project website is worth having a look at too. As is the
Open Source Help Desk List.
A Serbian/Croatian language version of this article by Anja Skrba is available from Webhostinggeeks.com.
Dual Booting Linux and Windows
About the author, Ken Guest.
You might like to add Sugar CRM (http://www.sugarcrm.com/) under the CRM section. We've been using it for the last few weeks and find it very functional
The Tarantella company mentioned (terminal Services type functionality) has now been purchased by Sun Microsystems and they continue to promote and support this software. The software is now called "Secure Global Desktop". Functionality is unchanged and the s/w will sit on a miserly piece of hardware supporting many users. It sits on Linux or Solaris (SPARC) or Solaris (x64, ie Intel or AMD). Backend connectivity is just the same, to Windows Server, Linux, UNIX and Mainframe. This software is incredibly easy to install & use and a full demo license can now be downloaded from www.sun.com and go to their download page. I have a handy guide for things to do before you install (saves loads of effort). If you need to provide access outside the firewall remember that you will need an X509 cert as the browser connects via HTTPS from an external source.
Zimbra is an open-source replacement for Microsoft Exchange, for which paid support is available.