Mac.AppStorm recently posted an interesting article called 15 Free Alternatives to Popular Mac Software. Although the article is aimed at Mac users, many of the free apps are cross platform, and work on Windows and Linux as well. It’s a great read.
Here is a summary of the alternatives, with a few comments from myself. It’s definitely worth reading the original article, which has lots of screenshots. Which do you use? And which commercial apps are definitely worth the money?
- Photoshop Alternative: Seashore. Seashore does basic image editor, and is only available for the Mac. I tried it when I first moved the the Mac, but preferred to stick with the GIMP, which is more powerful and available on all platforms.
- AppZapper Alternative: AppCleaner. I haven’t really tried any uninstallers since moving to the Mac. Is AppCleaner the one to use?
- Parallels/Fusion Alternative: VirtualBox. I love VirtualBox, and have used it both on Linux and Mac to run Windows and various Linux distros.
- Linkinus Alternative: Colloquy. I’ve never been a big IRC user, so I’ve never settled on a favorite app. What do you recommend?
- Transmit Alternative: Cyberduck. I like Cyberduck—and it works on Mac and Windows—but to be honest I tend to use the FTP client built into the file manager I’m using at the time.
- Concentrate Alternative: Isolator. Concentrate and Isolator both help you to focus on your work by dimming and blurring everything on your screen except the current app. I definitely understand the dangers of distraction, but this sort of solution has never appealed to me. How do you maintain focus while working?
- InDesign Alternative: Scribus. I don’t deal with print much anymore, but I love Scribus, and have used it for many years. For simple page layout jobs I tend to just use OpenOffice Draw.
- Pages Alternative: OpenOffice. If you’re an OpenOffice.org user, keep your eye on LibreOffice. LibreOffice is OpenOffice.org, but is controlled by an independent foundation (similar to Mozilla’s), while OpenOffice.org remains controlled by Oracle, who bought Sun Microsystems. Most developers have moved to LibreOffice, and it will be interesting to see how it improves under the new arrangement.
- CoverScout Alternative: Album Artwork Assistant. I’ve only just started using iTunes again after a very long break, and I’ve just started looking for some album art solutions. I’ll start with Album Artwork Assistant, but are there any others I should try?
- CoverSutra Alternative: Bowtie. These are minimal apps that control iTunes. I download a lot of podcasts, so just tend to leave the iTunes mini player open. Do you use an app to enhance your iTunes experience?
- MainMenu Alternative: IceClean. I install Ccleaner on all my Windows-using client’s computers, but really found the need for a system maintenance tool on the Mac. I might check out IceClean later today.
- DaisyDisk alternative: DiskWave. These apps show you where your hard disk space vanished by showing you where your biggest files are. Every now and then this sort of app has saved my sanity—I’m downloading DiskWave now.
- Illustrator Alternative: Inkscape. I love Inkscape and have used it for years. It’s definitely the best open-source vector graphics editor I’ve found.
- TextMate Alternative: TextWrangler. I used TextWrangler for quite a while after switching to the Mac, and it’s a great app. But I found myself more at home with the free Komodo Edit, though it does start up slower. I recently tried Gedit (the default text editor for Linux’s Gnome desktop environment), but found it very crashy on the Mac.
- Coda Alternative: Aptana Studio. I’m not much of a coder, but I tried Aptana Studio many years ago on Windows, and it seemed OK. But we need feedback from real coders. What do you think of it? Are there better alternatives?
Thanks a lot for the list, AppStorm. Which alternatives do you use?