While closed-source operating systems such as Windows and Mac OS may still dominate the OS market, not everyone can afford the high costs that they entail. For small- and medium-sized enterprises where every penny matters, taking advantage of open-source software such as Ubuntu’s Linux is a good bet to boost productivity and cost effectiveness. The fact that open-source softwares have evolved to become somewhat user-friendly and sleek also helps a good deal.
A number of open-source office productivity suites are available in the open market. The term implies that users can download these softwares for free, without having to pay a subscription fee. However, services and support are generally not available in these free versions, but can be availed of at a small additional cost. The good thing is that many of these open-source softwares are compatible with Microsoft Office file formats such as .doc and .xls, which is a plus point.
We review here four open-source systems that you can avail of:
1. Apache OpenOffice: An open-source suite that is a comprehensive suite for Windows, macOS, and Linux, it allows various functionalities such as word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases, and so on. It has been developed over years of open development process, and now allows users to freely report bugs and suggest enhancements. The best part is that is it user-friendly and can be learnt very quickly and is applicable on Windows, macOS, and Linux systems.
2. Open Document Foundation's LibreOffice: Another powerful office suite, its feature-rich and clean interfaces have a number of applications such as Writer (word processing), Calc (spreadsheets), Impress (presentations), Draw (vector graphics and flowcharts), Base (databases), and Math (formula editing). It is compatible with document formats such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Publisher. It is free and can be shared, modified, and used by anyone. It can be used for Windows, macOS, and Linux.
3. NeoOffice: For Mac users, NeoOffice provides a great office suite based on the OpenOffice office suite. It allows users to view, edit, and save OpenOffice documents, LibreOffice documents, and Microsoft Word applications such as Excel and PowerPoint documents.
4. GnuCash: A finance and accounting application that works on Windows, macOS, and Linux, it helps small businesses easily track bank accounts and income and expenses using standard accounting concepts. Book balancing and financial reporting are now a breeze with GnuCash, since it works equally well on Windows, macOS, and Linux.
5. TurboCASH: Designed for small and medium businesses, it helps tax calculations and reporting for the US and the UK. It also allows business-as-usual financing tasks such as ledger maintenance and posting transactions into accounts.
6. ADempiere: It is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) app that offers accounting, manufacturing, material, finance, human resource, project management, and maintenance management features. It runs on multiple platforms such as Windows, macOS, Linux, and Unix.
7. SugarCRM: The community edition works on Windows, macOS, Linux, and UNIX as a comprehensive CRM application, including modules related to sales force automation (SFA), marketing, and customer support and service.
8. AsteriskNOW: An open-source communication software designed for Linux, it utilizes the FreePBX administrative GUI.
9. Wordpress: Though it initially started off as a blogging portal, it has evolved to become a full-blown content management portal. Various widgets and plug-ins make it a versatile platform, especially since it powers about 20% of the top 10 million sites on the Internet.
10. OpenCart: For small businesses looking to establish an e-commerce presence, OpenCart is a great shopping cart resource. It offers services such as order management, payment gateways, product reviews and ratings, and great support.
Each of these open-source tools can add great value to your business by enabling and empowering you to independently carry out your core tasks to their optimum levels.