Software – your alternatives

Our choices are so often rather the same. The same food, the same holidays, the same hair style. When it comes to software, making the same choice may be costing you a pretty penny now that the major software companies are making it more difficult to avoid renting their software rather than buying it permanently. Here are some ideas for alternatives that provide a great service at a much lower price.

Email client: on your desktop you can read email using your browser or the pre-installed email client. On Windows in particular this Mail client is, well, painfully poor in its presentation and often suffers peculiar fits of distemper. EM Client offers a free license for their powerful yet friendly software. If you decide to pay for it, the cost will set you back but a tiny fraction of Microsoft’s Outlook.

Office suites offer word processing, spreadsheets and presentation maker. While Microsoft has recently slashed the support lifespan for their permanent license, WPS Office offers a fully features and attractive product in their free deal with the option to upgrade to their premium product. Other popular free office suites include LibraOffice and OpenOffice, but I prefer WPS’ more modern interface.

Desktop publishing is dominated by Adobe’s InDesign software. Looking slightly afield, Affinity Publisher is power and offers a permanent license for truly modest price. Affinity Publisher is also part of a wider suite of programs for design, photo editing and publishing. If you are cash-strapped then you might like to look at the free Scribus which has power tools albeit with a slightly older interface.

Photo editing is also dominated by Adobe, who offer a reasonable package of Lightroom and Photoshop for a cut price subscription. Among the crowd of alternatives, you might like to take a look at the powerful package of Luminar 4. By contrast, ON1 offers a newly AI-capable photo editing package designed to take much of the hard work out of editing your photographs.

Music editing Cakewalk, that venerable package from back when computers were young, is now alive and kicking… and free.