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Not every IT departent can afford expensive licenses for software that only covers a small part of the curriculum, so here is a guide to the genuinely free alternatives to commercial software and most are open source too. All of the software on this page can run on a Windows PC. You might also want to view my presentation to BETT on this.

What about Linux?

One of the big differences between a Windows PC and Linux is that on a Linux PC the software repository is built in and so all you have to do is have a look at the menu of programs to find more programs to install. A lot of this software is also available for Linux along with a lot more Linux specific solutions. A good distribution is Ubuntu>>

Mac Software

The best place for Mac Software is to head to the Mac App store. There is plenty of free software and it is rated and categorised for you. Another well organise list especially for those with older version of Mac OS is: http://opensourcemac.org/

Windows Software

Office Software
Libre Office and Open Office provides an excellent alternative to Microsoft Office with nearly all the functionality required. Open Office is maintained by Oracle and Libreoffice is maintained by non-profit group the Document Foundation.
Get Libre Office Here>>
Get Open Office Here>>

Drawing Software
Inkscape provides a good alternative to Illustrator and again open source freeware. Dia provides a more technical approach and is useful for technical diagrams. Don't forget the draw program included in Libre and Open Office.
Get Inkscape Here>>
Get Dia Here>>

Photo & Painting Software
The GIMP is a handy solution for editing photos. It has quite a lot of the features of Photoshop. Another solution for Windows is paint.net Hugin is also excellent for panoramics and has a number of specialist effects.
Get The Gimp Here>>
Get Paint.net here>>
Get Hugin Here>>

Web Design
Please do not use Microsoft Office for Web Design, it really is not a realistic experience. One free alternative is KompoZer. You might also want to consider a Blog, which includes basic design and hosting. You can also see the tutorial page at KompoZer. There is now also the newer Blue Griffin.
Get Blue Griffon here>>
Create a Blog Here>>

Mindmapping Software
Freemind provides a good alternative to commercial packages. Xmind became open source. It is a little slower than Freemind, but graphically it draws nicer mindmaps. A good tool if you plan to share your Mindmaps in presentations. There is a premium version with additional features.
Get Freemind Here>>
Get Xmind now>>  

Screen Recording Software
Instead of buying expensive screen recording software there are two alternatives. Firstly you can press "PrtScr" and paste your screen into any Windows package or for video you can use. CamStudio.
Get CamStudio Here>>

3d design software
Google Sketchup is an excellent utility for quick 3d drawings.
Get Google Sketchup Here>>

Blender is a good alternative for creating 3d models and animations.
Get Blender Here>>

For interior design there is SweetHome 3d
Get Sweethome 3D here>>

Sound Editing Software
Audacity is great for editing sound and free too.
Get Audacity Here>>

Game Design Software
Scratch from MIT is an easy way to get started on designing games. Game Editor allows you to make more sophisticated 2d games and Microsoft Kodu allows you to make simple 3d games with a fixed range of characters.
Get Scratch Here>>
Get Scratch Educator Resources Here>>
Get Game Editor Here>>
Get Kodu>>

Quiz Creation
Eclipse crossword is great for making online and offline crosswords. Very useful for the classroom. Hot Potatoes enables you to create quite a wide range of puzzles and quizzes and includes online hosting if you want it. Languages Online giveaway a great set of quizmakers.
Get Eclipse Crossword Here>>
Get Hot Potatoes Here>>
Get Languages Online Tools>>

Cartoon Making
Libre Office, Open Office and Scratch all have features that enable animation, but these tools are also useful. Cartoon Story maker includes a large number of templates to make it easier to make cartoon strips. Monkey Jam helps you to make traditional stop motion animations.
Get Cartoon Story Maker>>
Get MonkeyJam Here>>
Get Pencil Animation Program Here>>

Notation Software
Musescore is a great solution to take away frustration of drawing notes by hand.
Get Musescore here>>

PDF Tools
Adobe Reader is the official reader fully featured version for PDF files and on Windows 7 includes the ability to search PDF files with the Windows Search tool. Sumatra PDF is a lightweight alternative to the official Adobe PDF Reader. It is also quicker than Adobe's official reader. Open Office and Libre Office have excellent function for creating PDFs and would be my first choice, because it provides bookmarking and linking functionality. PDF Creator F is a good alternative if you need to create PDFs from other applications. Calibre helps to organise all of your ebooks and converts to various formats, but please be aware it can be a resource hog.
Get Adobe Reader Here>>
Get Sumatra PDF Here>>
Get PDF Creator>>
Get Calibre>>

Accounting Software
GnuCash allows you to track bank accounts, stocks, income and expenses. As quick and intuitive to use as a checkbook register, it is based on professional accounting principles to ensure balanced books and accurate reports.
Get Gnucash here>>

Project Management Software
GanttProject is a project scheduling and management tool which also offers resource management. Even importing and exporting Microsoft Project files is supported.
Get GanttProject here>>

Molecular Graphics Visualisation
Visualises molecules in Chemistry.
Get Rasmol Here>>

Typing Tutors
There's plenty of typing tutors out there, but here are two good solutions. BBC Dance Mat Tutor is for younger children and is an online app for teaching typing and Rapid Typing Zone is a downloadable app for typing.
BBC Dance Mat Tutor>>
Rapid Typing Zone>>


More Software

Useful place to find Open Source Software

Open Source Living
Got some good resources on this site.