Free Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) Alternative to Proprietary Software.


Free Libre Open Source Software solutions are changing global IT and the way IT professionals, research institutions, and businesses operate. In a typical open source project, researches are conducted within the community, and when the core product is build, an eco-system is created around it. The full benefit of an open source project is then share among those willing to use the final product either in test-dev environment or in production if the product is very mature. The beauty of Open Source Projects reside mainly on its open nature, but also its community driven efforts to build a secure and bleeding edge software solution. Start ups, Medium and Large Entreprises, as well as Schools, Universities, and Government Institutions are now considering or already using open source software as a viable solution for their IT Infrastructure. According to the Open Source Initiative an open source software must comply to the following:

  • Free Redistribution: The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the software.
  • Secure: The program must include source code.
  • Derived Works: The license must allow modifications and derived works must be redistributed under the same terms as the license.
  • Integrity of The Author’s Source Code: The license may require derived works to carry a different name or version number from the original software.
  • No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups: The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.
  • No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor: The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor.
  • Distribution of License: The rights attached to the program must apply to all to whom the program is redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license by those parties.
  • License Must Not Be Specific to a Product: The rights attached to the program must not depend on the program’s being part of a particular software distribution.
  • License Must Not Restrict Other Software: The license must not place restrictions on other software that is distributed along with the licensed software.
  • License Must Be Technology-Neutral: No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual technology or style of interface.

The main focus of this article is to introduce a list of Open Source SOftware that may be an great alternative to proprietary software. Proprietary software are most of time costly (license fees), less secure (vendor locked in), and less open.**

Open Source Alternatives to Proprietary Software:

Disclaimer: The following list of Open Source Alternatives is not intended to be an exhaustive list, but a comprehensive list to help you choose the best open source application that will replace a proprietary software.

Operating Systems
Proprietary Software Free and Libre Open Source Software
Microsoft Windows
Released by Microsoft Corporation.
Community Enterprise Linux Operating System is the perfect clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It is a free and perfect for Server OS.
A Linux distribution, composed primarily of free and open-source software, packaged by the Debian project.
Apple OS
Released by Apple Inc.
Scientific Linux
A Linux distribution produced by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). It is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and aims to be as close to the commercial enterprise subscription we can get with Red Hat.
A general purpose operating system built on top of the Linux kernel, supported by SUSE.
SME Server
An Open Source OS for small and medium enterprises. Based on CentOS, it focuses on security, and ideal for web, file, email and database servers.
A Unix-like operating system developed by the University of California, Berkeley.
Raspberry Pi Operating Systems
Proprietary Software Free and Libre Open Source Software
A Linux distribution based on Arch Linux, designed primarily for hosting web sites and services on cheap ARM-based devices such as Raspberry Pi, Cubieboard, or BeagleBone Black, with plans to expand to other platforms such as x86.
A Linux distribution based on Debian and optimized for the Raspberry Pi hardware.
A Linux distribution for low-cost ARM platform such as the Raspberry Pi. It is a remixed version of the Fedora GNU/Linux distribution and therefore contains software packages from the Fedora Project.
Snappy Ubuntu Core
A Linux distribution based on minimal Ubuntu image and optimzed for the Raspberry Pi hardware.
Cozy is a Personal Cloud OS that can be run on a Raspberry Pi. It is based on the Raspbian image and provide web services such as file sharing, calendar and contacts synchronization, application sharing, and more.
YunoHost is a Server Operating System based on Debian, and can be run on a Raspberry Pi.
Cloud Operating Systems
Proprietary Software Free and Libre Open Source Software
A derivative of Chromium OS (and by extension Gentoo), CoreOS is designed to simplify deployment of containers in clustered environments. It focuses on automation, ease of application deployment, security, reliability, and scalability.
Project Atomic
A minimal Operating System based on RHEL and designed to host Docker appliances.
Apache Mesos
An Operating System Kernel for the Datacenter. It was first developed by the University of California, Berkeley, then became a top-level Apache Foundation project in 2013.
Ubuntu Core
An Operating System based on Ubuntu and optimized for small hardware devices and Cloud infrastructures.
An open source operating system designed for the cloud. Built from the ground up for effortless deployment and management of virtual appliances, with high performance and extreme manageability in mind.
Cloud Management Systems
Proprietary Software Free and Libre Open Source Software
Amazon Web Services
Cloud computing platform powered by Amazon.
Apache Cloud Stack
An Open Source Cloud Computing software for creating, managing, and deploying Infrastructure Cloud services. It uses existing hypervisors such as KVM, vSphere, and Xen for virtualization. In addition to its own API, CloudStack also supports the Amazon Web Services API and the Open Cloud Computing Interface from the Open Grid Forum.
An Open Source Cloud Computing software for managing public and private Cloud infrastructures.
Microsoft Azure
A Cloud computing platform and infrastructure created by Microsoft Corporation.
A Cloud computing platform for managing heterogeneous and distributed data center infrastructures. The OpenNebula is used to build and manage private, public and hybrid implementations of Infrastructure as a Service.
An Open Source Private Cloud software that is fully-compatible with Amazon Web Services.
Domain Name Servers
Proprietary Software Free and Libre Open Source Software
Bind DNS
The most widely used DNS software on the Internet. It provides a robust and stable platform on top of which organizations can build distributed computing systems with the knowledge that those systems are fully compliant with published DNS standards.
A lightweigh and somewhat secure Domain Name Server written by Sam Trenholme.
Mail Transfer Agents
Proprietary Software Free and Libre Open Source Software
An Open Source Mail Transfer Agent used to route and deliver electronic mail. Postfix attempts to be fast, easy to administer, and secure.
A Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) developed at the University of Cambridge for use on Unix-like OS.
WebMail Clients
Proprietary Software Free and Libre Open Source Software
Microsoft Exchange
Released by Microsoft Corporation.
A Free and Open Source modern, fast, and intuitive email client with user-friendly encryption and privacy features.
A Web-based IMAP client with an intuitive user interface.
Released by Zimbra, Inc.
A simple, modern, and fast Web-based Email Client with complete support for IMAP and SMTP protocols, including SSL and STARTTLS. It also has a modern user interface that can handle large number of email accounts.
Vteddy Webmail
An Open Source Business Mail Manager with many Business features and Customer Relation Management Tools.
Web Servers
Proprietary Software Free and Libre Open Source Software
Internet Information Services
Released by Microsoft Corporation.
A lightweight Web Server built with security in mind, both in code and in features, preventing common web application attacks such as sql injection, cross-site scripting(xss) and CSRF. It has been developed by Hugo Leisink.
A high performance HTTP and reverse proxy server, as well as a load balancer and IMAP/POP3 proxy server.
Apache Web Server
Apache httpd was launched in 1995, and has been the most popular web server on the Internet since April 1996. The aims of the project is to provide a secure, efficient, and extensible server with the latest HTTP standards.
Database Servers
Proprietary Software Free and Libre Open Source Software
Oracle Database
Developed by Oracle Corporation.
An enhanced, drop-in replacement for MySQL Database Management System.
The world’s most advanced Open Source Object-relational Database Management System.
Microsoft SQL Server
Developed by Microsoft Corporation.
Perconna Server
An enhanced and drop-in MySQL replacement. Perconna Server has been optimized for cloud computing, NoSQL access, and modern hardware such as SSD and Flash storage. It has been downloaded more than 1,400,000 times.
The most widely used Open Source Relational Database Base Management System.
File Hosting, Syncing, and Sharing
Proprietary Software Free and Libre Open Source Software
Product managed by Dropbox, Inc.
An Open Source cloud storage system with advanced support for file syncing, privacy protection, and teamwork.
An Open Source Cloud Platform for hosting, syncing, and sharing files, medias, and events.
Google Drive
Operated by Google.
Pydio (formerly AjaXplorer) is a mature Open Source software solution for file sharing and synchronization. With an intuitive user interfaces (web / mobile / desktop), Pydio provides enterprise-grade features to help you maintain your privacy and control your data.
LibreS3 is a robust Open Source replacement for the Amazon S3. It provides many features such as file syncing, data deduplication and replication.
Media Publishing Platform
Proprietary Software Free and Libre Open Source Software
Provided by Google.
A decentralized Web application platform for hosting and sharing photos, videos, and other medias in an environment that respects our freedom and independence.
A web application for serving and sharing media files (images, audios, videos).
Provided by Yahoo!.
Piwigo is a photo gallery CMS with a great mix of simplicity and functionality. It is built by an active community of users and developers, and has extensions that make it easily customizable.
A media oriented CMS, ideal for personal websites of artists, illustrators, designers, photographers, film makers, and musicians.
Web Analytics
Proprietary Software Free and Libre Open Source Software
Google Analytics
Powered by Google.
A leading Open Source web analytics platform that gives you valuable insights into your website traffic. It is currently used by individuals, companies, and governments all over the world.
Open Web Analytics
An Open Source web analytics software that you can use to track and analyze how people use your websites or applications.
VoIP and SIP Servers
Proprietary Software Free and Libre Open Source Software
The World most widely adopted and used Open Source framework for building Voice over IP applications. Asterisk is used to power IP PBX systems, VoIP gateways, conference servers and other custom VoIP solutions. It is also used by small and large businesses, call centers, carriers, and government agencies.
A Multi-Protocol Soft Switch capable of routing and interconnecting with popular IP-PBX and various communication technologies such as SIP, H.323, and WebRTC.
Kamailio is a SIP Server capable of handling thousands of calls. It can be used to build large VoIP servicing platforms or to scale up SIP-to-PSTN gateways.
Ostel is a tool for having end-to-end encrypted phone calls. Use it with client application such as Jitsi, CSipSimple.
XMPP Servers
Proprietary Software Free and Libre Open Source Software
Released by Isode Ltd.
An XMPP Communication Server that can be used in all major platform. Its development goals include low resource usage, ease of use, and extensibility.
Highly optimized and extremely modular XMPP Server. It supports clustering out of the box.
Jabber XCP
Released by Cisco.
A real time collaboration (RTC) server licensed under the Apache License. It uses the widely adopted Open Protocol for instant messaging, XMPP. Openfire is incredibly easy to setup and administer. It also offers a solid level of security and performance.
Designed from the ground up to be the building bricks of highly critical messaging systems, ejabberd is written in Erlang and is cross-platform.
Instant Messaging, Video & Voice
Proprietary Software Free and Libre Open Source Software
Powered by Microsoft Corporation.
An Open Source multiplatform application for voice, videoconferencing and instant messaging. It supports several popular instant-messaging, telephony, and encryption protocols such as XMPP, SIP, OTR, ZRTP. It also has a built-in support for IPv6, NAT, and DNSSEC.
An Instant Messaging, video-conferencing, and communication tool that takes your privacy seriously.
Content Management Systems
Proprietary Software Free and Libre Open Source Software
A free and feature-rich Enterprise class Open Source Content Management Systems. TYPO3 CMS has some unique features such as its innovative Content Management Systems, its powerful PHP Template Engine, and its rock-solid PHP Framework that make it a great option for websites of any size.
A free and Open Source Content Management System built on top of the Zope application server. Plone is as an Enterprise CMS and used by the FBI, the Brazilian Government, the United Nations, and many high-profile public sectors.
VPN Servers
Proprietary Software Free and Libre Open Source Software
A fully fledged and secured VPN solution. It is capable of traversing NAT connections and firewalls.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) daemon that uses tunnelling and encryption to create a secure private network between hosts on the Internet.
Intrusion Detection Systems
Proprietary Software Free and Libre Open Source Software
A powerful Network Intrusion Detection System that can be used to collect network measurements, conduct forensic investigations and traffic base lining, and more.
A high performance Network IDS, IPS and Network Security Monitoring engine.
Disk Encryption
Proprietary Software Free and Libre Open Source Software
Symantec Drive Encryption
Released by Symantec Corporation.
A utility used to conveniently setup disk encryption based on DMCrypt kernel module.
A File based encryption tool with support for GNU/Linux, OS X, and Windows.
Social Networks
Proprietary Software Free and Libre Open Source Software
Provided by Facebook, Inc.
A set of Open Source Services and Frontend code that developers can drop into their mobile or web application to quickly enable user and group communication. Buddycloud helps developers quickly add messaging and social networking capabilities to their applications without being locked into a proprietary solution.
A distributed and contextual Social networking application designed with privacy, decentralization, and freedom in mind.
Provided by Twitter, Inc.
An activity stream server that does most of what people really want a social network server to do. is really designed from the ground-up as a lean and mean developer tool for creating a social networking server with simple APIs.
A Social Publishing CMS, ideal for online community management. It runs on traditional LAMP Stack Servers.
eCommerce Software
Proprietary Software Free and Libre Open Source Software
An open-source content management system for e-commerce web sites. Magento eCommerce platform gives you the tools you need to build a complete eCommerce solution.
Spree Commerce
An Open Source e-commerce solution based on Ruby on Rails. Spree actually consists of several different gems which are: spree_api, spree_frontend, spree_backend, spree_cmd, spree_core.
Abante Cart
A completely free eCommerce application that is powered by latest Internet technologies and concepts, such as HTML5, Bootstrap, Jquery, AJAX, MVC, API and more. AbanteCart software is equipped with many out of the box enterprise grade features at no cost and is proven to run by small to large size eCommerce websites.
A feature rich eCommerce Software developed with the latest Internet technologies and concepts, such as HTML5, CSS3, Bootstrap, Jquery, MVC, and more.
Project Management Tools
Proprietary Software Free and Libre Open Source Software
Microsoft Project
Released by Microsoft Corporation.
An Open source replacement of Microsoft Project. It has been downloaded over 1,400,000 times in over 210 countries. ProjectLibre was awarded ComputerWorld’s “Best of Open Source” software.
An Open Source web application for project planning, monitoring, and control. It has a rich web interface which provides a desktop like user experience.
Tuleap Open ALM
An Open Source Software development and Project management tool. It is suitable for traditional Application development, Agile Development, and IT Project management. Tuleap is being used by big companies, innovative SME, FLOSS projects and Research Centers.
An awesome Project Management and Collaboration tool. It helps you organize projects, teams, documents, and tasks in one place.
Accounting and Banking
Proprietary Software Free and Libre Open Source Software
Released by Intuit, Inc.
A personal and small-business financial-accounting software, licensed under GNU/GPL and available for Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, BSD, and Solaris. Powerful and flexible, GnuCash lets you track bank accounts, stocks, income and expenses.
A free personal finance software and money management system. It is designed to be easy to use and display in details your personal finance.
Productivity Tools
Proprietary Software Free and Libre Open Source Software
Microsoft Office
Released by Microsoft Corporation.
WPS Office
A powerful and simple Office suite with a comfortable interface developed by Kingsoft, a Chinese software company. It is compatible with Windows, Linux, iOS and Android OS. It includes free word processor, spreadsheets and presentation software.
A powerful office suite with a clean interface and powerful tools that let you unleash your creativity and grow your productivity.
Developed by the German company SoftMaker, FreeOffice is a complete Office suite with a word processor, spreadsheet, and a presentation application.
An open source Office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, databases, graphics, presentations, and more.
World Atlas and Maps
Proprietary Software Free and Libre Open Source Software
Google Maps
Powered by Google.
OpenStreetMap is a map of the world built by a community of mappers that contribute and maintain data about roads, trails, café railway stations, and much more, all over the world.
Marble is a virtual Globe and World atlas that helps you find your way and explore the world. It is the swiss army knife for maps.