If you’re not familiar with Open Source, read this overview at the Open Source Initiative, http://www.opensource.org/. In a nutshell, Open Source is a development method that allows for collaboration among talented designers, developers and programmers, and offers shared access to source code and permits redistribution under licenses that meet the Open Source Definition. The Open Source community is truly amazing, and this development method often results in applications that surpass their commercial counterparts in quality and usability.
Some of my favorite Open Source offerings are:
OpenOffice – I use it exclusively for all of my word processing and spreadsheet needs.
Joomla! – I love Joomla! This is a terrific, very powerful, content management solution. It’s easy to learn and allows web developers, even one-man studios, to painlessly offer content management to their clients. Try the online demo – you’ll love it!
These are just a few Open Source offerings. You can find more at SourceForge.net, just one of many sites where developers post their projects.
While you’re out there collecting all of these great Open Source apps, don’t forget to donate to the Open Source Community!