There is an incredible amount of business software available. Among these, there are many open-source business software options. A question that arises is whether these programs offer all features that are needed. The answer is yes. Open source business software does offer unlimited access to fully functioning business software. However, you do need a team member who knows how to install and configure them.
Much of the available software comes with a price tag, but there is usually an excellent open-source alternative available.
This article created by our team at Timezy compiles some of the most used open-source software, arranged by application. This list is useful for both businesses and individuals.
What Is Open-Source Software?
Open-source software is software without copyright issues. That means it can be edited, modified, and redistributed by anyone, without problem or prior permission.
It is often practical to edit or modify the software to meet the particular needs of an application, which is only permitted with an open-source option. Modifiable options are beneficial for accounting, data analysis, data recovery, and time management.
Any kind of software can be open source, depending on whether the developer decides to release the source code for free. In that case, anyone can download, modify, distribute it without paying any fee to the initial creator.
An advantage of open-source business software is its full customizability. The software can be adapted to the team’s unique requirements, provided one team member has the expertise to do so
However, open-source and free software does not mean that anyone can use it. The fact that it is open-source means that the lines of code and variations are freely available.
Integrated Open Source Business Software
Odoo combines project management, accounting, billing, inventory, manufacturing, and purchasing into one package. Odoo is open-source and the different modules work together harmoniously. This ensures an efficient information exchange.
Odoo uses what they call ‘extensible architecture’, which allows the user to add different features according to their needs. This integrated software package is a little hard to set up and implement. It does contain a point of sales app, which makes it very practical for retail stores and restaurants.
OFBiz is a Java-based multi-platform business package. It was developed by Apache Foundation. Its functionalities include accounting, CRM, enterprise, supply chain, and resource management.
The extensive online documentation and YouTube channel help the users get the best out of the software. Hence, it is a good choice for organizations with a small budget, or those that have customizability high on their priority list. It is compatible with any operating system that runs Java SDK, including Windows, Linux, OS X, and Unix.
iDempiere is a community-run project that finds its roots in ADempiere and Compiere. It contains CRM, ERP, and supply chain management solutions. It is a continuation of the iDempiere code but now includes the OSGi standards. It can handle multiple languages, currencies, accounting formats, organizations, so it’s a good option for international organizations with different sites.
The features offered include accounting, materials management, marketing, procurement, and sales. It is also Java-based but additionally requires PostgreSQL or Oracle databases. It is therefore compatible with Windows, OS X, and Linux.
Open-Source eCommerce Software
OpenCart is a free and open-source shopping cart that is easy to set up. It is most suited for small and medium-sized shops. It manages orders and supports different payment options, either in-app or through extensions. It also allows customers to write product reviews and ratings. Support is provided through the OpenCart community.
OpenCart can manage various shop locations. It allows administrators to set rigorous user permissions for users and user groups.
PrestaShop is a popular open-source eCommerce software option, due to its straightforward platform with many functionalities. It contains localization, marketing, product display, or export to eBay, taxes, and translation. Although the software is free to use, support and training are paid services.
Magento Community Edition
The Magento offers an Enterprise edition, which is a paid version, while the Community Edition is the free option. A customer can build his website using the Community edition, and then hire a developer to customize it to the business’ needs. The community behind Magento is large with 200,000 users, so much support is available. However, the Enterprise edition is much more robust.
Open-Source ERP & CRM Software
Freshsales helps businesses with managing contacts and developing customer bonding strategies. Freshsales includes email marketing, integration management, lead management, and phone and email support.
Dolibarr is an open-source business package with a practical and clean user interface. It’s aimed at smaller and midsized businesses. It includes tools to manage contacts, invoices, invoice orders, and payments.
This is a complete CRM suite offered by SuiteCRM. Its continually updated dashboard gives insight into the latest figures. This helps to have an understanding of the status of current projects, and the business’ cash flow. It unites customer service, marketing, and sales. The layout and format are customizable to suit all customer’s needs.
SuiteCRM is the open-source alternative to the popular SugarCRM and Salesforce. It offers most of the same features, besides Joomla integration.
Open-Source Data Management Software
Penthaho is owned by the Hitachi group. In their own words, Penthaho is a “comprehensive data integration and business analytics platform.” Large companies, like BR, Caterpillar, Halliburton, and Nasdaq, are among their customers. It is powerful software that can join large amounts of information from different sources. It handles data from Hadoop, analytic, NoSQL, and relational databases. Penthaho then uses the information to generate interactive analyses and visualization reports. It prepares a dashboard that gives a quick overview according to the specific organization’s needs.
Pentaho is available as a paid version, but there is also an open-source option downloadable from the Community website. In a separate deal, the company offers various paid services. These include a 30-day trial, certification, consulting, custom visualizations, tech support, and training.
Adminer is a Database Management System (DBMS). The minimalist design focuses on the feature set, performance, security, and UX. The fact that it is minimalist is shown by its small size and that everything is concentrated in one single PHP file.
Adminer comes with a diverse set of built-in features and themes. The user can do all operations within the PHPMyAdmin environment. The advantages are better performance and MySQL support, and a cleaner user interface.
The Elastic stack
The Elastic Stack is a suite that combines a couple of open-source applications. The combination of apps is made in such a way that data from any source can be used, no matter the filetype.
It has real-time analysis, search, and visualization functionalities. The developers offer The Elastic Stack as “Software as a Service” (SaaS). Alternatively, it can also be installed on-site.
Open-Source Email Management Software
Email software like Microsoft Outlook has the benefit of having to check only one place for all your inboxes. Mozilla offers its open-source email client in the form of Mozilla Thunderbird. Mozilla is also the company behind the popular web browser Mozilla Firefox.
Many features and add-ons are available for Thunderbird that help to manage email more efficiently. For example, it has a built-in calendar that can be linked with emails that require action. Thunderbird helps the user to stay up to date with the news with an RSS reader. It is easy to install, set up, and customize. It is one of the most used email programs among Linux users because it comes with so many options and features. It is also included in many other distributions.
Mailspring is a customizable email client that can be used across different platforms. It is designed to increase the user’s work output and deliver a better emailing experience.
It has a modern-looking user interface. Keyboard shortcuts, click tracking, and other features make work more efficient.
Open-Source Finance and Accounting Software
GnuCash is a professional accounting program, which helps the user to keep track of bank accounts, incoming money, and expenses. The accounting principles aid to keep the books and financial reports correct.
TurboCASH gives you the very same features as Quickbooks, (which costs at least $150) for free.
TurboCASH is thus an interesting option for smaller and medium-sized businesses. It has a general register and the option of posting a transaction into a different account and generating financial reports. It has built-in support for 80 different tax administrations, including the US’s and UK’s.
This is an open-source DBMS that is easy to use, especially for web applications. The features in CUBRID are designed to help with data organization and are especially well suited for large datasets.
CUBRID is optimized for OLTP and assures availability, high performance, scalability, and stability. These qualities are essential for those applications that are crucial to the continuity of a company. CUBRID is easy to install and has a convenient graphical user interface for developers.
Akaunting is a free online accounting software option for businesses or personal use. It is an interesting choice because it is completely free. There are no additional charges or paid upgrade options. This is a free alternative for Freshbooks.
It has many features, including invoicing to manage deposits and transfers. Akaunting is available as an externally, or internally hosted option.
Open-Source Customer Service Software
OsTicket is an online customer support platform that is easy to use. It can generate tickets from emails, phone calls, and webforms. These tickets are then compiled for easy support management.
HelpdeskZ comes with a customizable dashboard, which gives an overview of the current processes. It is simple and comes with many helpful features. To streamline the emailing and messaging process it has an automated pipeline feature. It is offered in various languages, which is useful for international organizations.
Helpy is a self-service support software. With the help of this program, self-service help can be set up. In this way, customers can find the answer to their own questions, without needing to speak to anyone.
Open-Source Content Management Software
WordPress is the undisputed leader in open-source CMS. It started as a blogging platform and has grown into a powerful CMS. WordPress is behind more than 35% of the sites on the Web. It has a large community of users and developers that offer support. WordPress offers many themes to design a website. The choice of 55,000 plugins helps to add a variety of different functionalities.
Although it takes time and effort to get familiar with Drupal, it is a favorite CMS among developers. The main philosophy behind it is to aim for optimal efficiency and security. Drupal does not rely on third-party developers for plugins, but it comes itself with support for speeding up web pages. It also comes with many essential security features, which makes it popular among governments.
Joomla is a very popular content management software. Many different kinds of businesses use this open-source option. It provides full control and is easy to use. It does not require special plugins or themes to manage RSS layouts, user permissions, or other essential features.
Open-Source Photo and Video Editing Software
For years the gold standard for image editing has been Adobe Photoshop. GIMP is the closest you can get to this for free.
GIMP supports automatic photo enhancement, filters, and layering. It is an easy tool for making graphic designs. It has several programming languages integrated. The large open-source community offers many plugins. The wide range of plugins makes GIMP a powerful image editor. The versatility makes it possible to use GIMP files in other editing software, like Inkscape, Scribus, and SwatchBooker.
Shotcut is a video editing program that is available under an open-source license. It showcases the success story of the open-source concept. It started as a simple program with a very basic interface. Now with the help of a development community, this has much improved, with dockable panels, an intuitive timeline, and other tweaks. These efforts have transformed Shotcut into a free video editor that can compete with paid suites like Adobe Premiere Pro.
The features incorporated into Shotcut range from simple cutting and splicing to color keying and grading. The main advantage is also that all effects can be added without loss of video quality.
pix is a tool for viewing, editing, and organizing images. It handles a variety of formats, like BMP, GIF, ICO, JPEG, PNG, TGA, TIFF, and XPM. It can also process HDR and RAW files.
It allows adding comments to images, scaling, sorting out duplicates. Images can be processed into slideshows, transformed into JPG without loss of resolution, as well as many others.
Open-Source Communication Software
Zulip can be used across different operating systems. It offers help in building personalized integrations. One such integration is with GitHub, which allows linking back to the pull request using the Zulip marker.
Zulip can be used across different operating systems and it offers help in building personalized integrations. One such integration is with GitHub, which allows linking back to the pull request using the Zulip marker.
AsteriskNOW is limited to Linux, but it is easy to install. It features an IP PBX with the free PBX administrative graphical user interface. Digium is one of the sponsors behind AsteriskNow. This company also offers a paid version of the PBX.
Elastix is similar to Asterisk, but with added fax, instant messaging, and email functionalities. The added features come from other open-source projects. It also includes call recording, fax-to-email, softphone support, virtual conferencing, and voicemail.
Open-Source Project Management Software
To keep a project running is not an easy task. There are many tasks involved, managing personnel, budget, and other resources. Milestones and deadlines must be met. Many companies rely on Microsoft Projects to manage their projects. The cost per license is $620, and for most smaller businesses, it is unnecessarily complex.
OpenProj is a free option. It has most of the same capabilities and features as Microsoft Projects. It can create Gantts and PERT charts, breakdown work and resource structure, and more. It is easy to get familiar with because it is similar to Microsoft Projects.
Project Open is an award-winning enterprise-class management program. Its popularity is shown in the number of downloads, one million. It offers professional service automation and IT service management.
Project Open is available in four different versions, of which the Community version is free. The free version offers features that will satisfy the needs of most small and medium-sized businesses. The next level is the Profession edition, which adds financial reports, LDAP integration, and tech support. The third version is the Enterprise edition. In this version audit modules, one-time passwords, and SAP integration are included. The most complete package is the Extended edition covers added support.
TaskJuggler is simple to install and free. It makes complex projects simpler by using a set of libraries and commands. Individual tasks can be scheduled manually or automatically. It highlights and resolves conflicts in planning. It provides visualization of timelines, resource assignments, and budgets.
This is a powerful and serious management aid. Customizable features include reporting, cost and revenue planning, and risk and communication planning.
OrangeScrum is another open-source project management tool for small and medium-sized businesses. Google Material Design formed the basis for the interface of Orangescrum and it was further developed on CakePHP. It has many useful features. Some of these are calendar view, email notification, Google and Dropbox integration, Kanban view, milestones, resource use, task list, and weekly usage report.
Office and Document Management Open Source Software
OpenKM offers solutions for companies of any size to manage their documents. It is very popular because of its power and efficiency. It allows employees to share and collaborate on documents with coworkers. It features categorizing, and search functions, as well as a smart text-to-speech converter.
LibreOffice offers much of what Microsoft packs into Office 365 and is the most complete free option for productivity suites. LibreOffice contains options for creating and editing documents, spreadsheets, presentations, databases, diagrams, and mathematical formulas.
Also, LibreOffice has a large community supporting development. Regularly new tools and features are added. In one of the latest versions, for example, a QR generator was added.
ONLYOFFICE is a free office suite that is completely compatible with Microsoft Office. On top of that, it enables the user to create and manage documents online and to collaborate with others. It has a calendar, and mail and project management tools.
ONLYOFFICE offers Saas or on-site installation. The clients get additional web services, including Alfresco, Nextcloud, and SharePoint.
OpenDocMan is a very useful document management system. It is also distributed under the GPL, which allows anyone to modify it to their needs. The setup is easy and the interface is uncomplicated. The simplicity and ample freedom make this an attractive choice for individuals and businesses.
Any filetype can be added to OpenDocMan. Managers or IT staff can set permissions by individuals or by group, or delegate permissions to whoever they choose.
Open-Source Cloud Storage Software
Perkeep started under the name Camlistore (Content-Addressable Multi-Layer Indexed Storage). Perkeep offers services and solutions for data modeling, searching, storing, and synchronizing. It makes stored information accessible from any device. It should be noted that Perkeep is not for the beginner, but requires some technical background.
Cozy is a young company that offers personal clouds. They claim to offer data storage, syncing, and sharing in the way the customer wants. Their mission is to help clients organize their life and make it more productive by automating routine tasks.
Open-Source Time Tracking Software
Successful project management depends on the efficient and complete execution of individual tasks. That is true for any kind of task. Knowing how long a task takes for completing is invaluable information. Time tracking software is therefore a handy tool. One of the most convenient ones is eHour.
eHour is web-based and ideal for companies for determining the time employees spend on a certain task. It can create multiple projects per employee, as well as multiple workers per project.
Rachota is a small timekeeping app that has been developed for different platforms. It consists of a timer that keeps track of a specific task. The app creates tasks and times the time spent. Reports can be exported as CSV, HTML, or TXT files. These reports show how efficiently the time was used and how productivity can be improved.
The app does not need to be installed, so it can be run from, for example, a USB drive. It is a JAVA based program, which means it can be used on different devices and operating systems.
Charm is a new timekeeping program. It works across different platforms. It can create tasks and subtasks and controls the time spent on them. It is a very simple tracker with basic reporting. Weekly or monthly reports can be exported as XML.
Open-Source Web Design Software
Many modern businesses are online, so with so many choices for the customers, a professional website must stand out from the rest. To create and design a sharp and beautiful website there are several open-source options available and OpenElement is outstanding.
OpenElement has an intuitive UI and almost anything is editable. It makes use of managed code, various page layers, which makes designing an easy task. It provides styles and element packs. OpenElement supports HTML5 and CSS3.
Brackets is a free web design program that makes designing a website easy. It is especially suited for web designers and front-end developers. It is a lightweight, but powerful piece of software.
The interface is familiar to any web designer. It gives real-time previews, which allows the programmer to see the website while working on it. With this help, Brackets is also very useful for coding exercises.
Mobirise is a web design software for creating mobile websites in particular. Mobirise can make landing pages, online portfolios, and resumés. Even without experience or knowledge of HTML/CSS, making an outstanding website is fast and simple.
Ending thoughts on open source business software
This article provided an extensive list of open-source business software.
The open-source principle is attractive for starting developers. It allows them to gain experience, to show their skills, and to work on large global programs. For more experienced innovators, it creates opportunities too, for participating in these projects.
The customer benefits too. It gives access to customized solutions at a low cost.
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