Open source business software for GNU / Linux systems

business software

As many organizations, governments and administrations already do, using free and open source software means saving hundreds, thousands or millions of euros in licenses in some cases. Something that can be invested in R&D, improving facilities, personnel, and other types of investments that may be more necessary than the software itself. But economics is not the only reason to use open source software, there is more.

In this article we are going to make a great collection of all kinds of business software open source. Since many large companies are already using it and have seen the benefits of it, as well as some medium and small companies. It is the smallest ones that seem most reluctant to change and still tend to use Microsoft's Windows operating systems and proprietary software, either due to lack of resources for training and adaptation, lack of information, etc.

Advantages of using free and opensource software in the company

Open source logo

Free and open source software has many advantages, not only economic, over the use of proprietary or closed source software. Not only the total cost of ownership or TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) is lower or null in the licenses of free or open source software, but technologically it is sometimes superior to have a faster advance if the development community and the interest is great.

The company will also have provider independence, getting rid of variations in design, price, functions, etc., being able to even customize the product and compile it to create a more personalized tool without having to wait for the supplier to do it, if it does. The same happens with bugs or security problems, they can be corrected in a more direct way than in proprietary software, in which case you have to report them to the company or developer and wait for a patch to be released ...

Not only at the code level, open software is usually more flexible and it can be customized on a much deeper level. And above all, having a zero license price or a much lower value than proprietary software, open software allows the company to make decisions with less risk, since if they choose a certain software and then it does not adapt to their needs or it is not what they were looking for, they could replace it with another without too much or no economic damage.

Regarding security, we have already said that it can be patched without waiting for the developer to release the solution. But it is also important anonymity, guarantee your data and privacy, know what exactly the software is doing and that is impossible in closed source software. In free or open source, you can read and review line by line if you wish, having a clear idea of ​​what it does, but not in proprietary. And this when it comes to a company that may have customer data, patents, studies, etc., is frankly important.

Disadvantages of using free and open source software in the company


Although the advantages tend to outweigh the disadvantages, there are also some disadvantages to using this type of software in the company and one of them is the lack of guarantees Being altruistic or non-profit communities, although this is not always the case and although they do not have a guarantee, on many occasions, the software performs better than proprietary software with guarantees would.

On the other hand, there are not always unique solutions or integrated suites (best of suite) that satisfy all business areas and in some cases it will be necessary to have various software packages (best of breed strategy). Sometimes it is the company's own IT specialists or a group of contracted developers who must create interfaces that integrate everything in one so that it resembles proprietary solutions.

Sometimes you come across many open solutions that grow in number at a great rate, but do not mature enough fast being so fragmented, and this is a drawback that should be remedied by raising awareness in the community to come together instead of splitting up into small development groups and creating lots of redundant programs or meaningless forks instead of focusing on improving what already exists ...

You cannot generalize neither the advantages nor the disadvantages, sometimes there are proprietary solutions that are much better than open source alternatives, other times it is the opposite, etc.

Free or open source business software for GNU Linux

Entrepreneurs and Tux Linux

Once we know the advantages and disadvantages, we will move on to analyze by categories some of the solutions that currently exist for Linux environments. You will see that they are numerous, powerful and that they cover practically all the needs. I insist, although it is already quite well considered and they are numerous governments, and large corporations those who have opted for open software, such as NASA, CERN, Facebook, Google, Boeing, AMD, Nokia, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Amazon, Toyota, IBM, Cisco, Airbus, Virgin America, ESA, Tetrapack Grafobal , ACCEL Services, ...

In fact, a study assures that 98% of large companies already use open source software, but unfortunately, less than 30% collaborate in its development, a bad practice if we want these programs to continue their development. To make people aware of good practices and use, you have to start with schools. As Richard Stallman said, who we interviewed on this blog, closed software is like drugs, they offer you the first free dose at school, institute or university and then it will be difficult to avoid in your day to day or work ...

Of course to say that open software must be accompanied by an open operating system such as GNU / Linux, with the consequent improvement that this entails and the savings (eg: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro - € 199). Now, once we are aware of its use, these are the alternatives:

Office automation, communication and design:


Name (s Replaces Description
LibreOffice / CalligraSuite Microsoft Office Complete free office suites.
Evolution Microsoft Outlook Agenda or personal information manager
GIMP Adobe Photoshop Professional photo retouching.
Inkscape CorelDraw and Adobe Illustrator Vector drawing software.
Scribus Adobe InDesign and QuarkXpress Publication and layout of books.
Telegram /Ekiga/Gizmo/Tox Skype and Whatsapp VoIP and video conferencing.
Day Microsoft Visio Professional diagramming software.
Asterisk-PBX 3CX  PBX telephone system.
FreeMind MindJet MindManager Brainstroming and mind maps.
TimeTrex / hour Replicon/Tenrox Timesheet Time management.

Personnel management, accounting, resources, logistics, sales:


Name (s Replaces Description
GNU RedFoX / Dolibarr / OpenERP + TinyERP (now Odoo) / OfiPro / Tryton Microsoft Dynamics / SAP / NetSuite Business management or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning)
Sugar CRM / dolibarr / Microsoft Dynamics CRM Commercial management and CRM solutions (Customer Relationship Management)
Alfresco /OpenProDoc Microsoft SharePoint Enterprise Content Management or ECM (Enterprise Content Management)
Simple Invoices / InvoicePlane / InvoiceScripts / Silver / Siwapp FreshBooks/ Billing systems.
Openbravo POS / Lemon POS / Floreant POS / Chormis POS AccuPOS / PointSalte / Epicor Retail Store / Retail STAR / POSitouch  Commercial space software.
OrangeHRM Halogen Software / iCIMS / Ascentis Human resources management.
OpenProj/Planner/ ProjectLibre Microsoft Project / Oracle Spring Project managers.
GNUCash / Money Manager EX Quicken Accounting.
ZenCart / PrestaShop /osCommerce Big Commerce / Volusion / Yahoo Merchant Electronic commerce
Pretty BPM Intellect BPM Business process management or BPM (Business Process Management)
NVU / Kompozer web design Adobe Dreamweaver/Microsoft Expression Web Web design.
Webalizer AWStats - Make reports of web pages.

Computing, cloud, web, security and technology:


Name (s Replaces Description
PostgreSQL /MariaDB Microsoft MySQL / OracleSQL Databases.
Apache Microsoft IIS Web server.
Subversion / Go /svn Autodesk Vault / Microsoft Visual Source Safe Version control.
WordPress Contegro/Sitecore CMS (Content Management System) or content manager system
Docker KVM/Qemu/Xen/VirtualBox VMWare/MS HyperV Virtualization and containers
Areca Backup / bacula / amanda NovaBackup / HP StorageWorks EBS / NetVault / Simpana Backup and Recovery Backups.
Endian Firewall Community / Spread Lite Check Point Security Gateway / SonicWall Network Security Appliances / Cyberoam Security Appliances Firewall systems.
Plant / E-Box Platform / ClearOS Windows Small Business Server Email and groupware.
ownCloud /Syncthing/SeaFile DropBox/Microsoft OneDrive Cloud storage.

Engineering and science:


Name (s Replaces Description
BRL-CAD / FreeCAD /FreeCAD  Autodesk AutoCAD Computer aided design or CAD.
KiCAD / Electric VLSI / FreePCB / gEDA / Icarus Verilog / KtechLab / Oregano / Verilator / Xcircuit SPICE / EDA environments for circuit design and simulation.
GNU Plot GeoGebra/Microsoft Mathematics Graphs of functions and data.
OpenFOAM /SU2/HELYX/REEF3D/Typhon Autodesk Simulation CFD CFD software (Computational Fluid Dynamics
QGIS ArcGIS Mapping software
TANGO Control System / SCADABR. SIMATIC WinCC SCADA system (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) and HMI (Human Machine Interface)
GNU Octave  /Euler/FreeMat/Scilab/Sage Matlab Mathematical software.
Astropy / Celestia / Cartes du Ciel / KStars / NASA World Wind / Stellarium The SkyX / Starry Night Dedicated software for astronomy and planetariums.
ADMB - Statistical nonlinear modeling software.
EICASLAB - Suite for forecasting.
Avogadro /Molekel/Open Babel/QuteMol Q-Chem / Crocodile Chemistry / ChemSketch Chemistry software.
CERNLIB - A series of libraries for physics.
Luxury /TeX Live (LaTeX) Authorea / Inlage / WinEdt TeX editors to create academic documents thesis technical books etc.

Health sector:


Name (s Replaces Description
GNUHealth SYSINF Hospital information management or HIS
CARET / InVesalius - Anatomical reconstruction software.
3D slicer View Imaging Medical image analyzer.
Moans - Biomedical oriented environment.
OpenDental - Software for dental clinics.

Please leave your comments, doubts, criticisms, contributions, etc. If you have a program to add or need some type of specific contribution for your company, do not hesitate to comment.

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  1.   edinson said

    Hey mister, did you mention the Mysql

    1.    Jimmy olano said

      If you name it, but by mistake they did not place the backslash in "Microsoft MySQL" -> "Microsoft / MySQL" since now MySQL belongs to Oracle uqe has kept the license open but we do not know for how long, hence we must use a MariaDB.

      Point aside my congratulations for this report, it does not lose validity in time now that we are conducting our investigation of 2017, thank you.

  2.   pau said

    And to replace GoogleDrive, dropbox etc ... what do you recommend?

    Thank you very much!

    1.    luizja said


    2.    grogro said

      Try Syncthing. It's a bit weird (not complicated) to set up at first, but it's fancy. You are taking time!

  3.   pepper said

    I would add the mapping software like Qgis which is up to ArcGIS / IDRISI

  4.   Juan said

    Well, I miss a presence control. Something that the employee logs in when entering and leaving the company. Is there such a thing?

  5.   pqco said

    In Finance Money Manager Ex. Much better than gnucash

    1.    Isaac PE said

      Thank you very much for the contribution. It is already added. Well, not to repeat, the same thing that I have answered to other comments that have suggested software that is not ...

      A greeting!

    2.    Carlos Davalillo placeholder image said

      It was also missing to add software that can replace Autodesk Inventor and ANSYS. Before I could use ANSYS on Linux and now I can't (or don't know how to install it). Anyway, this type of program is extremely useful and a free version is urgently needed.

  6.   Zoobee said

    VirtualBox, QEmu, Xen and KVM are not free software?

    1.    bl said

      Yes, VirtualBox, QEmu, Xen and KVM are Open Source.

    2.    Isaac PE said

      Hello, yes they are.

  7.   Oneself said

    That you have not mentioned dolibarr as ERP has a crime ...

    1.    Isaac PE said


      As I have answered to another comment, when you start writing the post you cannot be in everything and there are many categories and software to analyze. Of course you always miss one, that's why I asked you to leave the comments with contributions, criticisms, etc. So thanks, I've added it.

      A greeting.

  8.   Diego said

    SugarCRM is free software?

    1.    Isaac PE said

      Hi Diego,

      SugarCRM is open-source licensed

  9.   Gabriel said

    Facturascripts is a free Spanish billing and accounting SW project that is doing very well and is in full swing:

    1.    Isaac PE said

      Thanks, added. Keep in mind that when you start creating the article you are looking for information and you cannot be in everything. In fact, surely there are many more to go ...

  10.   Miguel Muñoz said

    The ERP section is a bit of a mess. One is Odoo (formerly OpenERP), another is Tryton, and another is RedFoX GNU. For more information about Odoo:

    InvoicePlane would be missing, the simplest and most agile program for invoicing for SMEs and freelancers.

    1.    Isaac PE said

      Thank you very much Miguel, you are right. I made a mistake in the table format and entered a comma to separate and it went to the fret ... Fixed.

  11.   Alberto said

    A missing software is GNU Plot to create graphics from plain text files with data (for dashboards for example)

  12.   Jose said

    In mathematical software R.

  13.   Johnny said

    Your post is very good, I have a doubt, there is an application to be able to set up a cyber cafe with Ubuntu, there is an application that is used in windows that is »Cyber ​​Control» there is an alternative for that application because the one that gives that program for Linux It says: »The linux client does not support user accounts or coupons.»

    Thank you

    1.    Isaac PE said


      There is a distro called CyberLinux, although I think it hasn't been updated since last year. It is based on Ubuntu and is especially for Internet cafes.

      There is also an alternative to CiberControl called Uwimbux Cyber ​​Linux, although I also doubt if it is still in development.

      Greetings and thanks for your interest!

      1.    Johnny said

        Thanks for helping me clarify my doubts, I was looking for the alternative application but I could not find the official page of Uwimbux Cyber ​​Linux. I don't know if the version that the other page gives me will work well in Ubuntu 15.10.

  14.   Aldo German (@ al2german) said

    OPEN Coffee -

  15.   Vicen said

    QLANDKARTE. geographic information systems (GIS) applications

  16.   jot said

    Hi! Someone know of free software for administration of estates for SMEs? And what would be the best and most used? Thanks!

  17.   blush said

    What do you recommend for an after-school sports and educational services SME?
    Thanks in advance.

  18.   Raul Hernandez R. said

    Good morning, excellent contribution, the more I use Linux the more I like it, some time ago browsing in forums I found a list of software for Linux and I decided to publish them on my website, you can consult this list at:

    I hope it will be you useful.


  19.   Carlos Lopez said

    OpenERP is Odoo, and so free it is not because you have to pay the same, in the end you end up tied up with them because if you do not pay they block you and the information is in their possession, personally I recommend dolibarr it is much better and it is really free ...