Popular Open Source Applications for Small Businesses

Open source applications and online services have been generating a lot of buzz over the past few years. Many of the open source alternatives are formidable contenders to the major liscensed software programs and services out on the market. Depending on the nature and circumstances of your business, bringing in open source apps may be a cheaper and more practical option to shelling out hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars in liscensing fees for the commercial versions.

Here is a list of the some of the most popular open source apps divided into categories. Most of these options are available for free, while some offer additional support and service packages at a cost:

Accounting Software

  • TurboCASH. – A powerful fully-featured, multi-user accounting system.
  • GnuCash. – A personal and small business accounting software

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

  • SugarCRM.– Probably the most well-known, and powerful, CRM open source options. It is better suited to bigger businesses, however.
  • Daffodil CRM.– Full-featured CRM application
  • ConcourseSuite. – Formally CentricCRM, it is a “front office application suite to integrate Customer Relationship Management (CRM), web content management and team collaboration capabilities into a single, easy to user web application.”
  • vtiger.– Easy to use CRM software. Good option for smaller businesses.

Office Suite/Word Processing

  • Open Office. – Full-featured office suite, compatible with all other major office suites including MS Office
  • The Fifth Element.- Full-featured office suite, compatible with all other major office suites including MS Office
  • AbiWord.– Word processing software, easy-to-use version of MS Word.


  • Thunderbird. – Open source, cross-platform email and news client developed by Mozilla
  • Pegasus Mail. – Less well-known email system, but offers plenty of features and easy-to-use format


  • Photofiltre.– A full-featured image and photo editing program; a good Photoshop alternative
  • Paint.NET. – A solid image and photo editing program; a good Photoshop alternative
  • The GIMP. – the GNU Project’s excellent image manipulation program.
  • Blender 3D.– Richly featured 3D content creation and animation program. Check out the features and gallery section.

Point of Sale Software

  • Openbravo POS. – Popular Point-of-Sale application designed for a wide range of retail businesses.
  • NolaPro POS. – A Web-based accounting, inventory, POS, and business management suite.

Business Tools/Apps

  • Asterisk.– IP PBX software
  • AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition. Anti-virus, anti-spyware program for Windows XP and Vista
  • Freemind.– Mind mapping software
  • Google Pack. – Download a bunch of Google applications/tools, such as the Chrome web browser and Goggle Apps, in one shot
  • Opera Browser.– A fast, secure web browser. There’s also a version for smartphones.
  • Mozilla Firefox. – A fast, secure web browser; a good alternative to Internet Explorer.
  • Web CEO– A collection of powerful SEO tools
  • CCleaner – A system optimization, privacy, and cleaning tool
  • PDF Creator – Convert documents to PDF format

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