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.


  • Long Live Open Source - BioRUST Forums |
    Long Live Open Source - BioRUST Forums

    [...] If you want more here are some other links..... 5 Free alternatives to Adobe products - insideTonic https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Li...SourcePrograms Open Source Alternative - Find Open Source Alternatives to commercial software OPEN SOURCE GOD: 480+ Open Source Applications Scribus :: Open Source Desktop Publishing for Linux, Mac OS

  • g. yniestra |
    g. yniestra

    Hello: nice trick to try to get you into buying this software that you advertise as FREE, is not such a thing, I did really believe it was free until, by coincidence the link to free is "broken" but the ones that sell it are always active, I do have Drewmweaver and I really wanted to try what tou advertise, an may be do some switch, but now I'm not only not coming back to it, I definitly will not recomend what you advertise, what a shame from your company, probably my opinion will not transcend but eventually it will hurt your business... thanks g. yniestra graphic designer

    ps; this is the link that, obviously, is broken to get "free" software... http://cvs.nvu.com/download/nvu-1.0-win32-installer-full.exe

  • Anuj Seth |
    Anuj Seth

    PAINT.net is a good replacement for GIMP!!


  • Tom Clarke |
    Tom Clarke

    Hi G. Yniestra - thanks for letting us know that the free link was broken. We've now fixed it. There was no 'trick': a link just changed... have a nice day!

  • Alexandru Strimbeanu |
    Alexandru Strimbeanu

    GIMP as a replacement for Photoshop?! You must be joking, have you ever tried to compare the two? GIMP first of all doesn't have CMYK support which means that you cannot design prints with it; GIMP doesn't calculate as well as Photoshop, i have tried different blurs and I can tell you that GIMP sucks compared to Photoshop.

    If all you do is change the colors to images, add text to them or other minor things, yes, use GIMP; but if you are working with advanced graphics nothing can replace Photoshop.

    Stop saying that GIMP is a replacement for Photoshop because it's not.

  • Tom Clarke |
    Tom Clarke

    Hi Alexandru - much of what you say is true (even if you could have said it in a calmer way!). There's no way that in an industrial setting, GIMP will ever perform to quite the same level as Photoshop.

    That said, you can get CMYK support via the popular plugin Separate+ and there are tons of other plugins which add similarly useful functionality to GIMP.

    Personally, I prefer the UI and reliability of Photoshop. But for the majority of users, I think it is fair to say that GIMP is a decent, FREE, alternative.

  • Realty Caffeine » Blog Archive » Technology Update |
    Realty Caffeine » Blog Archive » Technology Update

    [...] know how much I love free software. Here are some great tools for you that are really free. Go to http://onsoftware.en.softonic.com/5-free-alternatives-to-adobe-products/ and check it [...]

  • Alexandru Strimbeanu |
    Alexandru Strimbeanu

    I didn't mean to be rude and I apologize, the thing is that GIMP shouldn't be considered a Photoshop replacement because it is not. If you consider GIMP decent then Photoshop must be godlike.

    I never searched for a CMYK plugin because I didn't use GIMP that much.

    If the majority of users just limit themselves to GIMP then they don't even deserve to know about Photoshop. GIMP can't even be considered a stepping stone because it simply cannot process images the way Photoshop does.

    My personal advice is to just get Photoshop and learn it, that is if you want to create great things, if not, just stick to adding text on images.

  • Gil G |
    Gil G

    In all due respect, I believe that saying those limiting themselves to GIMP don't deserve to know about Photoshop is incredibly arrogant. Anyone who uses GIMP uses it because it's free...because, perhaps, they aren't a freelance graphic designer with a budget for a $700 program.

    Not all persons can afford the hefty price of Photoshop, and not all people condone the piracy of software, so this leaves a great deal of persons with few alternatives. I have been a graphic designer for years. I use Photoshop every single day and I understand the differences between PS and GIMP.

    Yet, all levity aside, I've never thought to consider GIMP users less intelligent than Photoshop users.

  • Marios Alexandrou |
    Marios Alexandrou

    The Photoshop vs. Gimp debate will likely rage on as long as the PC vs. Apple debate. People should use the tool best suited to their needs and situation. Is Photoshop great? Yes, it is. Do I even come close to using most of its features? No, not at all. In fact the latest version pushed so many photo processing features out of Photoshop that I now use even less of Photoshop's features.

  • Tom |

    Wow...I actually AM a graphic designer with the budget for a $700 dollar program and I still PREFER Gimp. I used Photoshop ever since Photoshop 4 and I got very good with it. I stopped using Photoshop at CS (even though I briefly tried CS2 and CS3). Why did I stop? Because I started spending more time with Gimp. I have found that it actually DOES process images better than Photoshop. The ability to write python scripts and create my own filters makes it WAY beyond Photoshop for me. Having a programming background might be why I prefer Gimp, but I can tell you that with the proper tweaking and plugins, Gimp processes images better than Photoshop.

  • Oscar |

    Nvu is now replaced from a fork of the project called Kompozer, please note


    @g. yniestra

    So are you retarded or what? What are you talking about? What trick, are you stupid? You have to thank people who post alternatives, expecially for retarderd like you, who really don't deserve to show "Graphic designer" in their signature. What a shame, such idiots should be banned from internet and computers. I'm totally sorry for the author of the post, really.

  • Tom Clarke |
    Tom Clarke

    Hey guys, let's all calm down a little bit. Please don't insult each other any more as I don't think it's a very helpful way of making your point.

    @Oscar - thanks for the Kompozer note.

    @Tom - interesting points about image processing and Python scripting in GIMP. This is what I'd also read elsewhere... in terms of extensibility, open-source apps will always offer that sort of edge that you don't find in proprietary software.

  • Sylvester Stallone |
    Sylvester Stallone

    What's up with all the GIMP hate speech Alexandru? GIMP may not be as powerful as Photoshop, but IT IS a replacement for it. I can do practically everything that Photoshop can do with the GIMP (perhaps using other free and open-source supplemental tools). I pay $0, you pay $699 (and I get an application that is almost as good and powerful as Photoshop -- Please note the ten virtual lines under the word "almost", so please don't give me your "Photoshop is superior" speech because I'm not saying that GIMP is better).

  • Sylvester Stallone |
    Sylvester Stallone

    Replacement = Alternative = whatever you want to call it. You get the idea.

  • Paul |

    Avidemux is NOT an alternative to Premier. It may be an aid to file conversion but it ends there. No timelines, No true editing. If you have used Premier, Avidemux will leave you seriously wanting.

  • Paul |

    Re: GIMP.

    Way to crashy to trust and I've installed it on many pc's to see if it was an isolated issue. Good try but needs improvement.

  • Paul |


    Any attempt at creating free alternatives to the price gouging leaders is a step in the right direction. Positive and negative feedback is required to direct change however, the infantile rantings accomplish nothing.

  • Peter Knight |
    Peter Knight

    Kompozer is a better choice than NVU - similar, with more features.

  • rodney right |
    rodney right

    I love reading some of the dumb posts on these freeware websites. First of all GIMP is a free alternative to Photoshop. Nobody said it was better or even equal, but for the thousands upon thousands of casual users, GIMP is the better choice. Photoshop's price will keep most people from ever even trying it. Photoshop is, no doubt, an excellent product. I used it for awhile and realized it was a waste of money for my purpose. I would bet most people have no real use for photoshop. I switched to GIMP and am able to do everything I want. The hundreds of plugin's available answer almost every comment people raise about the limitations of GIMP. The nayayers here most likely have spent their salary on a copy of Photoshop and are now feeling the pain of knowing that there is a free alternative to their product. Funny!

  • Bill Vincent |
    Bill Vincent

    And the link is still broken:)

  • jasmine celion |
    jasmine celion

    Nice post thanks for sharing it jasmine celion cool-hotstuff.blogspot.com

  • Tom Clarke |
    Tom Clarke

    The link to download NVU has been fixed (several days ago!). The correct link is: http://nvudev.com/download/nvu-1.0-win32-installer-full.exe

    But, as Oscar & Peter say, Kompozer may now be a better option.

    @Paul - thanks for your comments re: Avidemux. Duly noted.

  • theone |

    the gimp is the best, but hard to learn

  • Adam Whiles |
    Adam Whiles

    I like Gimp and Photoshop, but I find that Gimp can be hard to get used to as far as the layout and ease of use goes. I'm not saying that Photoshop is easy but if you are used to using Photoshop you may find there is a bit of a learning curve to using the interface. If you have never used Photoshop then Gimp is surely a great product plus it's free. Photoshop is a high priced piece of software but is worth the money you spend. Just my 2 cents...

  • DrFreemanstein |

    I have been using GIMP for a few years now and I have to say I love it! I have not had the opportunity to use PS for any length of time though (being on a tight budget and not wanting to use a cracked copy), so I cannot really say anything on comparison, other than what I learn from trying to follow PS tutorials with the GIMP. As a learning process, this can be fun and really rewarding, as often you have to think around a step that might use a particular tool or layer-style, and use what GIMP offers to try and achieve similar results. It doesn't always work well...but most of the time it works well enough!

    One thing I really do with the GIMP had is PS's warp tool! That's usually the biggest stumbling block for me, so...If anyone knows of a good plugin to replicate it, I would love to give it a try!

    Oh, and on the subject of GIMP being a bit slow and crashy...for the very latest and most stable versions, try it on Linux. After all, it is a Linux native program and has to be ported to Windows which can sometimes lead to bugs. There was a big one a few versions back when the windows version would often crash if I just created a new canvas, and to get around it I had to open an existing image, delete all layers and resize to get a blank canvas. Tried it on Linux during that same version...no problems at all!

  • Seethi |

    I use GIMP, because I cant afford to buy Photoshop. And GIMP is not a replacement for Photoshop but a freeware alternative (Tom clearly said) for those designers who cant afford PS. GIMP is a great tool but has to go miles before it catches up with PS and I am sure it will.

  • mrgrimm |

    I've been a long time user of Photoshop, GIMP, and Paint.Net, and while I still use Photoshop the most, I've mostly abandoned GIMP for Paint.NET.

    I don't need the extensability that others might however. I just use Paint.NET for cropping, resizing, adjusting levels or curves, etc. Quick single-image processing. Photoshop is for more advanced artistic endeavors.

  • David Mackey |
    David Mackey

    Mmm...Yeah, Flash is a major hole in open source software. Probably the closest you are going to get is actually Microsoft's Silverlight.

  • Tom Clarke |
    Tom Clarke

    @David - well, except that Silverlight is totally proprietary. SMIL, while not exactly usable yet, does provide the possibility of a truly open media framework for the web.

  • Alternativas a productos de Adobe |
    Alternativas a productos de Adobe

    [...] lista me encuentro en el blog de Softonic en ingles, donde nos presentan 5 alternativas gratuitas a productos de Adobe. Y es que no siempre los [...]

  • 5 Alternativas a los productos Adobe | Javier Neri |
    5 Alternativas a los productos Adobe | Javier Neri

    [...] Adobe, pero igual también se que existen algunas alternativas a estos productos y en el blog de softonic nos publican 5 alternativas gratuitas a productos de [...]

  • T |

    I designed my website header with GIMP :p It was fun and not a bloatware like photoshop (takes more time than my granny)

    Seriously is $600 worth wasting for photoshop, GIMP is powerful and I can nearly do much better with it. Its time to enter into open world, thanks to wide community support.

    The big corporate companies are trying to milk us. Its time to rage a war. Use free open source software if possible.

    I have seen many web designers using cracked version of photshop, dreamweaver and fireworks for making website layouts and wordpress themes. But is it justified ? Why don't you switch to GIMP. I hope that you wont be penalized for using pirated software (someone from adobe fined a hell lot of money from a institute near my town for using illegal copies of photoshop )

  • JulioHM |

    I don't wanna be a pessimist, but NVU does not even compare to Dreamweaver! Macromedia did a crazy-ass-execellent job creating Dreamweaver... unfortunately, I haven't seen anything comparable in the Linux world.

    NVU is fine.. not bad.. but not quite there yet.

  • drofnas |

    Don't forget about Adobe Illustrator, which I use all the time for my web design work. The free alternative to that is Inkscape (http://www.inkscape.org/). It in no way has all of the same "features" as Ai, but it sure has enough to make some very nice vector illustrations.

  • Niklas |

    You forgot the great free open-source alternative to Adobe InDesign!


    And a free one instead of Adobe Ilustrator, the Open Source free vector graphics editor Inkscape


  • smartguy |

    Excuse me, but PhotoShop IS godlike.

  • Lance |

    I do not agree that NVU is an alternative for Dreamweaver. It's a mere attempt to make a open-source WYSIWYG editor that turned out to be a disaster and a code-destroyer.

    A better substitute might be Notepad++ that at least has syntax highlighting feature, but since it's not WYSIWYG, I'm not sure if it belongs to this category.

  • David |

    Right, a lot of people keeps hammering the GIMP saying it's not an alternative. I highly disagree, possibly because Photoshop (adobe) can spend millions in Research and Development and hire developers. GIMP in this case have to rely on whoever has knowledge in image processing, which I have found it a bit rare to find.

    People should appreciate the efforts the GIMP Team has put together on what we have today, that is GIMP 2.4, and soon its upcoming version 2.6.

    I would like to mention the GIMP does has a learning curve, as many other programs does, you can't just spend an hour or a day and say "bah, it doesn't have X or Y thing"

    Also check, http://routecafe.com/blog/2008/03/20/the-gimp-compilation/ Layer effects such as drop shadow, bevel and emboss and other things covered.

  • a_shrimp |

    Any real alternatives to Adobe Premier, not to be rude but I have tried Avidemux several times after reading similar lists. I've been disappointed numerous times when Trying to import and export movies. Is there such a thing as a free video editing software that doesn't completely suck boiled eggs or is the windows side of the world stuck with Windows Movie Maker as the best alternative?

    P.S. I found this site via stumbleupon and I will never thumb up or thumb down, because it didn't help me, but it will be useful for anyone else.

  • The Dude |
    The Dude

    I had absolutely no idea that there were free (and good) versions of Adobe software. Thanks for the list.

  • MrNord |

    Open Source alternatives to existing commercial software are pure goodness. The programmers working on them are modern day heroes and the only ones who CAN fight the big corporations like Adobe and Microsoft. Open Source can't be bought, will always improve, and will always be free.

    Open Source may not be as good as some commercial products, but it will ALWAYS set the lowest standard. The faster these programs develop the faster we will get newer, better and faster technology.

    So if you CAN, use these programs and tell everybody about it, you will add to the future and keep the big corporations on their edge, keep them working for you! for free.

    Only my 2 kronor (swedish currency)...

    Found this thrugh Stubleupon...

  • staven k |
    staven k

    gimp is good but it sucks on the mac platform ( crashing constently due to a poor port of the app to the mac platform

    also who didint already know about all of these? and when is there going to be an open source alternitive to adobe after effects? thats the one i use the most!

  • spiderlakejerry |

    As a longtime user of GODLIKE programs..I morn the loss of some of the great ones; Lotus 123, WordPerfect Dbase3 Etc. All of these programs were killed when Sweet Old Bill Gates packaged MSOffice with one of his Windows Creations. Ths intregration of the programs with the GUI solved many incompatiability problems and the stand alone programs died.

    Photoshop (PS) seems to be running for it's life... New Upgrades seem to hit the stores before the previous upgrade has had a chanch to be tested.

    Microsoft's 7 is due next year and that may well be because of the rumor that Google is going to offer a free Operating System (OS)as well as on line storage for all OS files.

    My Point is that we may love a program or two but in the end we don't make the major decisions, we just pay our money and use what they sell us.

    My last point is the PS Has thousands of features that a hipshot photo taker like my will ever use. And then there is Imageready; does anyone use that?

    For my money Gimp has everything I will ever need.


  • JRWhyte |

    These are good alternatives to consider. Every day appear more and more free option to commercial software programs. You can use OpenOffice save documents, presentations and worksheets as PDF files. OpenOffice has an extension that you can use to make small changes to PDF files.


  • www.birblog.org |

    Thank you

  • Zoltan Till |
    Zoltan Till

    PDF XChange Viewer is much better than Foxit Reader.

  • ksbalaji |

    I am one of those millions who are not designers. Thanks to Linux, GIMP and other free alternatives, I know what photo editing, designing, etc., are. If GIMP charges nothing for introducing me to this photo editing world, then I would pay not more than 2 cents for a slightly professional thing, for which I have no use at all. As rightly said, these free wares set minimum standards for anyone dreaming to milk the professionals. In my part of the world, professionals rarely pay through their nose. They manipulate the most competitive applications skilfully to get their things done. If not for anything else, we could at least feel thankful to all the proprietary software companies for their pioneering work and their hefty price tags which prompt creation of good freewares. Also it might take quite some time before anybody comes up with really original free pioneering software! Till then these proprietary software companies deserve to survive and flourish. Let the so called professionals feed them.

  • Kyle |

    Solution: Thepiratebay.org

  • Free Alternatives to Adobe Apps « the geekery blog |
    Free Alternatives to Adobe Apps « the geekery blog

    [...] 5 Free Alternatives to Adobe Products Posted in Audio and Video, Freeware, Graphics and Images, Open-Source, Software. No Comments » [...]

Your avatar
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next