Many users look for free alternatives to the most important and common programs, and they don’t always find a guide in which to find all those centralized alternatives. Therefore, in this article, we are going to show you everything you need to know about how to find the best free programs, the risks of software piracy, and some interesting resources that you will like.
Illegal Software: Its Risks
There are many users who directly or indirectly have entered the world of illegal software, either slightly or completely. It is a very common way in many countries to access programs without paying any type of license or subscription, but it is not without problems, although many do not believe it.
Making illegal copies of programs or distributing them is not only a crime (against copyright or intellectual property), but it also poses a very important risk, since many cracks or keygens could come with malicious code or camouflaged malware, and even the malware itself. The program you download could be modified for undesirable purposes for the user, from identity theft to keyloggers to hunt passwords, banking Trojans, etc.
Sometimes, if the pirated software is not infected, neither its crack nor keygen, etc., it is possible that the infection could come from the site where you download it, which are usually unreliable.
That is to say, this type of software, although it seems harmless, can be very expensive. What you save on a license you can lose in the form of lost files, theft of credit card or bank account information, password leaks, etc.
If you want some reasons not to use pirated software again, be it apps or video games, here are a few that should make you think:
- It is estimated that more than a third of the pirated software that is downloaded from P2P networks, torrents, or other web pages, is usually infected with malware. This can introduce ransomware, Trojans, or malicious code of any other type into your system. Therefore, it is a serious threat, and antiviruses do not always detect it. Also, in some cases to patch with the crack or the keygen, they tell you that you have to disable the antivirus, which implies an even greater risk in case of being infected. And remember, this is not only a virus that you run the antivirus and that’s it, but it could allow cybercriminals to access confidential or financial information, identity theft to commit crimes in your name, loss or destruction of data, etc.
- Malfunctioning is also another risk of pirated software, since modifying it, may after some updates or at any time it may stop working when you need it most. Something that should not happen with the original copies. Many of these keygens or cracks are detected by the developer and neutralized with patches or updates. In addition, they are not a guarantee that they will last as long as the serial or pirate license that you obtain estimates.
- On the other hand, there are legal and ethical issues, since you know that downloading pirated software is a crime, and the owner could claim money or impose fines if your identity is identified with the trace left on some download sites. That is why many use VPNs that do not respond to requests from the United States (DMCA).
- Impossibility of updating the product since, on many occasions, as I mentioned before, patches or updates can detect and prevent hacking techniques from being used, voiding the license. This implies that you will not be able to keep up to date with the new functions that appear for that software, with the corrected bugs or with the latest security updates.
- Economic problems for the developer. Some giant software companies, like Microsoft or Adobe, don’t have a problem with piracy as long as they continue to make huge amounts of money. On the other hand, for some small independent developers, piracy may mean that they have to stop developing. Some statistics indicate that every 1% increase in software piracy results in losses of approximately $40 billion and 150,000 fewer jobs worldwide.
Free alternatives to the most used programs
If you are looking for free alternatives to the software you commonly use, to avoid piracy, here are the best ones you can find, so you don’t have to bother comparing:
IMPORTANT: Keep in mind that we cannot put all the alternatives for all the existing software, since it would be quite an arduous task and this article would have to be updated frequently to add the new features that appear. For this reason, what I have done is choose the most used payment programs and put the best existing alternative for each of them. In addition, where possible, we have included free and cross-platform alternatives, so that they can be used on more operating systems. On the other hand, keep in mind that even if the statement is used to refer to specific software, the alternative is also valid for other similar software. For example, Norton Antivirus, its alternative can also be used for ESET NOD32, McAfee, BitDefender, Kaspersky, etc. That is, the title is only indicative.
Adobe Photoshop – GIMP
It is one of the best free alternatives to Adobe Photoshop. GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a free bitmap image editing program that works on Windows, Linux, and macOS, among others.
Microsoft Office – LibreOffice
LibreOffice is an office suite similar to MS Office, but it is completely free, open source, and available for various platforms such as Windows, Linux, etc. It has compatibility with native Office formats and has alternative programs such as Writer (Word), Calc (Excel), Impress (PowerPoint), Draws (Visio), Base (Access), and Math.
Adobe Audition – Ardor
Ardor is free and open-source software that allows for MIDI and multitrack recording, for sound editing. This software can run on Linux, macOS, and Windows operating systems.
Adobe Premiere – Shotcut
Shotcut is quite interesting video editing software that can work on cross-platform, such as macOS, Linux, and Windows. And, despite being free and open source, it has nothing to envy others.
Autodesk AutoCAD – FreeCAD
FreeCAD is computer-aided design software that can create 2D and 3D designs, but it’s totally free and free, as well as running on Windows, Linux, and macOS. This software is quite powerful, and you can have a working environment similar to SolidWorks, AutoCAD, etc. In addition, it is modular, so you can add plugins to get more features.
WinZIP/WinRAR – PeaZIP
PeaZip is a totally free compression and decompression program. It can run on Linux as well as Windows, and has its own native file format called PEA, although it recognizes a total of 226 extensions, including ZIP, RAR, 7z, xz, zip, gzip, LZMA, ACE, etc.
Camtasia – OBS Studio
OBS is the acronym for Open Broadcaster Software, a complete screen recording studio, in addition to allowing other sources such as the webcam, to be able to create your videos to upload them to streaming platforms or for live streaming. It works on Windows, macOS, and Linux.
EaseUS Partition Manager – GParted
GParted, or GNOME Partition Editor, is a partition editor with which you can create, delete, resize, inspect, copy, and format partitions. In addition, it supports a variety of partition table types, GPT, and MBR, as well as a multitude of file systems. Live can also work on Windows and macOS, and not just on Linux. The supported formats include btrfs, exFAT, ext2, ext3, ext4, FAT16, FAT32, HFS, HFS+, NTFS, Reiser4, ReiserFS, UFS, XFS, ZFS, etc.
EaseUS Todo Backup – Clonezilla
Clonezilla is free and open-source software that allows you to create backup copies or clones, like an image of the operating system or a partition, in addition to being able to recover the system from that backup copy. You have it in Live mode and it is quite powerful.
EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard – TestDisk/Photorec
TestDisk/Photorec are forensic utilities that allow the recovery of accidentally lost or erased data. They are very powerful, and they work for both Windows Linux, and macOS.
Adobe InDesign – Scribus
Scribus is a page layout program like Adobe InDesign is. It can work on Linux, macOS, and Windows, and it is totally free and open source. In addition, it has great support for graphic formats, in addition to SVG, it handles a large number of fonts, and it has quite practical functions such as CMYK color manipulation, etc.
LastPass – KeePass
Keepass is a complete and robust password management system. This password manager is very secure and will allow you to always have access credentials stored in an encrypted database at hand. It is completely free and has clients for many operating systems, including mobile devices.
Norton Antivirus – Avast
Avast is an antivirus software that is distributed completely free of charge, although it also has paid versions. This software is developed in Europe, specifically in the Czech Republic, so it is more reliable than others developed outside our continent. In addition, it has versions for Windows, Linux, macOS, and Android.
VMWare – VirtualBox
VirtualBox is completely free virtualization software. It was developed by Sun Microsystems, now part of Oracle Corporation. It is available for macOS, Linux, Windows, etc. It is quite practical and functional, so it can be a perfect alternative to VMWare Workstation.
Finally, you should know that you have many resources to help you with this topic, not just this blog. You can also consult pages like the Swedish AlternativeTo where you can find alternatives to all kinds of software and for the different existing operating systems, Windows, Linux, macOS, and even for mobile devices with iOS/iPadOS and Android…
To make use of this resource, you just have to follow these steps :
- Go to the web link.
- In the search engine at the top right, enter the name of the software to which you want to find an alternative.
- Click on the magnifying glass to start the search.
- You will see a list with the alternatives found, and if they are paid, free, for the type of operating system on which they work, etc.