Why pay for software?

If your business relies on professional software you may be willing to pay for it. But in many cases "open source" software can be as good or even better, and at zero cost!. Freeware is software you do not pay for - ever - in any way.

Recommended freeware

As part of my work I'm continually using freeware applications and trialling new releases. Here you will find a list of what I consider to be the best and most reliable, with links to the best places to get them.

John's list of recommended freeware


Free Portable applications

Portable applications are programs that can run on your PC without installation. You can carry them around on a memory stick and use them on any compatible PC (ie almost any that run windows). They reduce problems with uninstalling software (you just delete them and don't have to worry about failed installs or incomplete uninstalls), they allow for extra flexibility in copying or moving software to different locations on a portable device or on a PC, and they help improve your privacy and security by running from portable devices like flash drives.

John's advice on portable applications

For now lets compare some examples of free and commercial "paid for" software.

You may need to use proprietary software for compatibility with clients or collaborators; but where you have a choice you can save cash by choosing open-source "freeware". Now there's plenty of free and open-source software out there but much of it is not worth installing.  However there is a core of genuine open-source freeware that is as good and in some cases MUCH better than expensive proprietary software. (see my lists above)

Purpose Proprietary example Open Source
Operating system Windows 10 Home Premium £110 Linux Mint
Office suite Microsoft Office Pro 2019 £420 Libre Office
Desktop publishing Microsoft Publisher £120 Scribus
Image manipulation Photoshop £120 ANNUALLY The Gimp
Diagrams Visio Standard £320 Dia or QCAD
Project management Microsoft Project £500 ProjectLibre
Finance management Sage Cloud Essentials £300 ANNUALLY Wave or ZipBooks
TOTAL £1890 £0