Sweet! Free open-source suites every IT manager should consider

The next time you come across a laptop or PC, pay attention to the operating system. Chances are it won’t be open source because closed-source platforms, like Windows and macOS, have captured the biggest portion of the PC client OS market.

Open-source OS programs like Linux constitute just a tiny bit of the market share, and with good reason – they still have a lot of catching up to do if they wish to compete with the likes of macOS and Windows as far as looks, feel, and functionality are concerned.

Even though Ubuntu and other distributions are a clear sign of progress, most companies are still not ready to set their employees up with an open-source OS. The employees themselves are hesitant to use such an OS.

Just because you prefer a closed OS, however, doesn’t mean your business cannot benefit from the large number of open-source software available. The best part is that most of these programs can be downloaded and run for free. But the question is, which programs are these and how do they allow you to run your business using software downloaded for free from online sources? Let’s find out.

Apache OpenOffice

free Open Source Suites

Apache OpenOffice is a reliable, mature product – one that was created as a single piece of software from the start, instead of being a mishmash of various software packages. Not only is this suite easy to use and consistent, it’s flexible as well – allowing what you learn from one application to be used immediately in another.

Such context-sensitive help allows you get the assistance you require, like opening any sort of document from an application. You’re also able to run Apache OpenOffice on every major computing platform, including macOS and Windows.

This suite consists of all the enterprise tools you might require, and one installation is all you require to harness its power. There are a ton of features to look forward to, and the number of extensions is extensive as well. New features can be tacked on at once in order to be utilized effectively.

Since this is an open-source suite, you can easily check the programs, and advise on bug fixes and improvements. You’re able to report problems and ask for improvements. If you’re used to commercial software and all its associated marketing and hyping, you’ll find OpenOffice to be refreshingly different.

The free OpenOffice suite is known for both its usability and functionality, and most of the credit goes to one component of this tool – the sidebar. This constitutes a side panel that showcases the properties of the selected object, or the clip art gallery, or the formatting and styles pane, or the document navigator.

Having them all in one place makes the whole setup highly convenient for users. In case the sidebar is not necessary, it can be tucked away or collapsed entirely with a simple click. OpenOffice has received various updates, making it more reliable and functional.


free Open Source Suites

An office suite not unlike Microsoft Office, LibreOffice is cross-platform compatible, which means that while it was written in Java, this suite supports many more systems, including Linux, OS X, and Windows. The design of this suite resembles the classic look of Microsoft Office, and this streamlined appearance works quite well.

This being a free open-source suite, you’re free to change and rebuild the program as per your requirements. As both the suite and its file formats are “open” in nature, you will always enjoy access to the source and will not be stuck with old legacy documents that open no more.

This suite is capable of saving PDFs without any hassle, and users can download it directly on their computer without submitting any kind of personal details. The files are light and install quickly. Another amazing advantage of using this open-source suite is you’re free to install it on as many machines as you want, and there’s nothing to prevent you from sharing this program with others.


free Open Source Suites

First released in 2004, BIRT has various applications, with the main ones being the BIRT Runtime and the Report Designer. Three extra components are also available, including a Chart Designer, a Chart Engine, as well as a Viewer.

These components allow you to develop and generate reports (no, they cannot write a love letter to your girlfriend, or write your wedding vows for you, either!) as standalone solutions. But with the addition of Design Engine API, which can easily be included in any Java/Java EE app, you’re able to add reporting features in your own apps.

The BIRT Report Designer is actually quite impressive, with rich features, a sturdy build, and solid performance. The usability of the program is marvelous, thanks to the intuitive user interface. One critical feature that sets it apart from other tools is that reports are published on the web. BIRT is cross-platform compatible and runs on macOS, Windows, and Linux.


free Open Source Suites

Calligra is a fantastic enterprise suite, laden with lots of features and applications (no, it does not come with bagels and strawberry cream cheese!), as well as a unique set of utilities. There are also two amazing tools that have developed a popular user base outside Calligra.

While there are some people who think that this office suite is unnecessary, the truth is, Calligra is a very mature suite that integrates perfectly with the open platform to provide an unparalleled experience.

The program can easily be distinguished from other free open-source suites thanks to the efforts of the developers to create versions that comply with the standards of embedded and mobile devices. While the desktop version provides users with access to fully themeable apps and a cool design, there are lots of other features to explore, each arranged carefully in sidebars.

While the final result is often a bit overwhelming, especially for new users, experienced professionals will be glad to see that this program makes life convenient for users by placing all the common features just a click, or at most, two clicks away. Not a bad deal when you are to keep things simple since you are somewhat distracted based on the fact that you just read the last few things to come out of LaVar Ball’s mouth! After you read those statements, it hard to focus on anything for a while!

Go for it!

A splendid open-source suite takes time to track down, but when you try to find one that comes free of cost, that’s when it becomes tricky. The list above compiles some golden options that every IT manager should know about and utilize to increase their productivity, options, and even save the company some funds.

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3 thoughts on “Sweet! Free open-source suites every IT manager should consider”

  1. According to their website and forum, Calligra has dropped the presentation portion of their package, as well as all Windows versions. They are not actually “supporting” Ubuntu either, just making the code available for you to compile into binary. Of the suites you mention, this would be the most difficult to implement in a cross-platform environment, and with few pluses other than a “new” vector-based add-on.

  2. Where is SSuite Office? The have a whole range of free office suites that will fit anyone’s needs. They even have an online office suite that runs directly in your web browser, no Cloud or Login necessary!

    Other than missing an obvious high caliber participant, nice list of free software. 🙂

    1. Benjamin Roussey

      Hey GeorgyPie. Hope all is well.

      Thanks for the comment.

      I must admit I have not used SSuite. I did a bit of a check, and the feedback suggests that their presentation software is difficult to use. I have used Apache Open Office Impress to create presentations, and hence can vouch that it gets the job done.

      Do you have any personal experience of SSuite’s presentation module? How easy (or difficult) is it to use?

      I hope your day is going well.

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