5 Free alternatives to Adobe products

Tom Clarke


The Gimp logoAdobe are behind some of the most important technologies and applications in modern computing. Much like Google and Microsoft, it’s difficult to imagine a normal working day which doesn’t involve using at least one of their products. Blog posts like this beg the question – can you replace your Adobe apps with a free alternative? I say yes: why tie yourself to what is often very costly, proprietary software when there are great open-source and freeware options?

Adobe Photoshop – free alternative: The Gimp

Yes, The Gimp does get wheeled out fairly often for lists of free applications but that’s because it’s really good! With tons of functionality and the ability to use filters and libraries designed for Photoshop, The Gimp rocks.

Adobe Dreamweaver – free alternative: NVU

NVU (pronounced ‘N-view’) is a free, open-source WYSIWYG web design application. It gives you the option to work in a design layout or edit your html directly, and is generally credited with producing pretty clean, reliable code.

Adobe Premiere – free alternative: Avidemux

Widely regarded as the best free video editing application available, Avidemux features support for a large number of file types and advanced scripting capabilities. It’s also a joy to use and is more than powerful enough for home users.

Adobe Reader – free alternative: Foxit PDF Reader

Who can be bothered waiting for the splash screen to disappear as this bloated beast starts up? Feature creep has begun to cripple Reader so switch to a free (if not exactly open source) option: Foxit. It’s much faster.

Adobe Flash – free alternative: SMIL

This is one for the more technically capable. Flash is, undeniably, a key technology on the Internet. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL) offers many of Flash’s capabilities to anyone who can take the time to start using it. It hasn’t really caught on yet but with the support of W3C, it’s certainly worth keeping an eye on.

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