- Business and Employment
Free Business Software With Easy Installation
Avoid the high cost of business software - Free is best
There is now a very large amount of free business software that is available to handle nearly any function. By careful research and installations, a business may be able to run a comprehensive suite of applications entirely for free. These are not applications with limited abilities. They are complete software applications that have extensive sets of abilities. By installing the most popular free software applications, a business is also able to develop an operational infrastructure that is easily supported, has the capacity to handle any size of data and which can be customized as desired.
The capabilities of free business software is nothing short of amazing. Just a few years ago, extensive development efforts by teams of highly qualified, (and expensive), programmers were needed to get such capabilities. Now practically anyone can install free business software and get it configured with ease. This frees the business to spend money on those areas that will have a direct return on investment. More importantly, it allows small businesses to set up quickly without suffering a crippling capital outlay during the first few months of operation.
Also of interest to business people is the level of support available for free software. In this regard, the free applications have better support than many of the commercial products. This is due to the fact that the source code is freely available as well. Dedicated programmers can explore the basic core of the application and find obscure faults that give people problems. With commercial applications, the source code is protected and not available. As well, the support is liable to be difficult to obtain, expensive or both. Many thousands of people are available on forums dedicated to each of the free business software applications that you might consider.
OpenOffice Document Processing Software
Word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and more
OpenOffice is a set of free business software applications that allow users to create word processing documents, spreadsheets, graphical presentations and drawings. It also has a database component for more advanced uses. All of the components are free and are available on a wide range of computer systems. OpenOffice has been installed over 100 million times and is actively supported by 100 developers and a user community of 750,000. It is used by businesses, educational groups, non-profit organizations, governments and regular computer users seeking quality software. OpenOffice has been free for over 10 years. During that time, a number of significant upgrades have continually added to the functionality and usability of the software. Today, OpenOffice is as capable as the commercially available equivalents. In addition, users find that support is much better than what commercial software provides.
The active user community supports the software in an open and collaborative process. Testing is accomplished by dedicated individuals with a wide range of abilities and experiences. Software problems are usually identified and resolved quickly. Because the software source code is freely available, major problems can be analyzed by the user community with direct attention to the problem area. This is practically impossible for commercial software as they must protect the perceived value of the application by limiting the source code to as few individuals as possible.
Amazon Organizational Aids - What to buy instead of software
With the money your business saves on software, you can afford to buy some additional items to help generate revenue.
ProjectLibre is a free software application that provides project management aids such as:
- task definition, estimating and scheduling
- resource definition, assignment and reporting - for staff and fixed materials such as equipment
- critical path analysis
- project base analysis and alternative simulations
Using ProjectLibre, a project manager can create a comprehensive plan. This allows for subsequent data entry of progress on tasks. Many reports such as schedule performance, resource utilization and costing can be generated at will. The free business software application is very helpful for general project management use. Those with experience with commercially available products will find ProjectLibre to be very similar in appearance and operation.
Paint.Net - Free Graphic Design Software
Build logos and more quickly
Paint.Net is a free business software application that can be used to design custom logos and drawings. It is primarily used for the creation of artistic images for Internet use. It can create JPEG and PNG file types for direct use on the Internet. Additional file formats allow various specialized functions such as raster drawings. It was primarily designed to be a more capable replacement of the standard paint application that shipped with most computers but has grown to include many more features. A large development community has added additional modules to the free business software application that allow specialized treatment of colors, text and shapes. These modules may be installed as required and used as desired.
Wordpress Content Management Software
A great Internet content solution
Wordpress is a free business software application that can be used to quickly generate an Internet web site. It allows the creation of customized pages which can easily be linked together. Various options are available that allow posts to be added to blog pages. These may allow general comments from Internet viewers as appropriate. The software is usually provided as part of the Internet server configuration. While many businesses subscribe to a web host for their Internet site, some choose to install their own web server. Often the subscription is available for a very low monthly fee which includes free business software like Wordpress and many other capable applications. Wordpress has a large user community and extensive documentation. Many tutorials are available that allow people to quickly learn how to get a web site running using Wordpress. As needs change, Wordpress gives a business the ability to modify the look of the company web site with ease. Many Wordpress themes are available for free or at a very reasonable cost. These give additional control of the web site to the business. Themes, such as "Thesis", may greatly assist in the categorization of web information or with the use of designs that differ highly from the standard Wordpress look.
Wordpress Internet Site
The wordpress.org site allows you to create an Internet blogging site that uses the Wordpress content management software. This is a free service that gives you much of the functionality of a paid site. You may upgrade your account for a fee which unlocks more of the Wordpress features. This would allow you to install your own Google ads or use your own domain name, for example.
MySQL - Free Business Database Software
In addition to the database application that is installed with OpenOffice, businesses may want to consider using the MySQL database. This multiuser application provides extensive data storage abilities using the industry standard "Structured Query Language", or "SQL". This database is often preconfigured on many Internet server applications and can be put to good use quickly. A graphical user interface is provided that allows tables and relationships to be specified with ease. The database provides many features found in commercial applications such as foreign keys, constraints, triggers and much more. Available for free, it is supported by a large user community that seeks to expand the use of the database. While the database is free for general use, an enterprise edition is available for a minimal cost. This gives businesses additional features such as active monitoring, incident support and replication. Priced by the server per year, rather than by user, the cost of the enterprise edition is usually a fraction of the cost of commercially available products.
GIMP Image Processing Software
As an alternative to expensive image processing software, GIMP is available free of charge. The name is an acronym for General Image Manipulation Program. GIMP is open source software and it is available for many operating systems such as Windows, Apple and several variations for the UNIX world.
What to do with your free business software
Focus on business operations
After installing free software, you can concentrate on actually operating your business. The (potentially) thousands of dollars saved are available for other purposes. What should you do? Historically, the price of purchased software was only the beginning of the business computer expenses. Staff or contractors were required to setup, customize and use the installed software. This is still the case, even with free business software. You can now focus your payments on customizing content that directly benefits the business. An effective approach is to install the free business software needed for operations and to use it to organize, present and enhance the operational data.
So what has changed, besides the savings of initial capital? You have gained much more control of your computer environment. You have a large group of professionals available in the specific areas of most concern to your business. You aren't locked in to a particular vendor's line of applications. Your applications are optimized to perform published business functions and are free of hidden code. As an added bonus, you have free access to thousands of helpful proponents of each application that can assist with questions or problems that you might have.
Many commercial applications are designed to protect the revenue of the publishing company. They have large sections built in that monitor computer usage in an attempt to determine unauthorized use. Many have internal functions that constantly scan the computer for signs that show the software has been re-installed without proper payment to the software company. Legitimate businesses become affected by such hidden code since it reduces the overall effectiveness of the software. Of course, the list price of the software must include a small payment towards such internal functions. Another major revenue source for commercial software companies is product support. Ongoing payments of thousands of dollars are often required to receive regular upgrades and fixes to encountered problems. Many of the support payments are based on the number of users of the software. This represents an increasing cost to an expanding business.