It???s easy to understand why you might be drawn to the allure of
free software. After all, it is free and free is always a good
price to pay. But before you plunk down your hard-earned no money
and possibly put your business at risk, consider the following.
Most of the free software that you will find is not supported.
There will be no one at the other end of the software. What does
this mean to you and your business? It means that if you have a
technical support issue and you need help fast, that help will be
hard to find, if you are able to find help at all.
Some of the more popular free software does have available user
supported help groups. These are groups of users who congregate
out there in Cyberspace and are sporadically available to provide
assistance to others. You can always try to send an email message
to the developer if you can find the developer. But because of
its very nature as a FREE item, no one is under any obligation to
help you with your issue, quickly or otherwise.
It???s also important that you understand the motivation behind
developing free software. First, there are some programmers who
just have too much time on their hands. These individuals will
just create free software to give them something to do.
Programmers are notorious problem-solvers, and creating software
is a great way to accomplish this.
Some developers create software and offer it for free out of the
goodness of their heart. Hard to believe in this day and age, but
it happens. And there are other programmers who get a feeling of
altruism when they create software. They offer it for free with
the hopes that the masses will marvel at their creation.
Other software developers, notably in the Linux world, write and
distribute free software under GNU or Open Source licenses. And
some of these packages are popular, mainstream and 100% free. The
workhorse, Apache Server software program, is a good example of
However in the case of most windows-based free software, (except
for the good-hearted programmers mentioned above), there most
often is an ulterior motive for giving software away for free.
Some free software packages have advertising engines which rotate
banner or text ads while you are using the program and, while
some of them are quite forthright and honest about this, others
deliver their advertising bomb through Trojan horse back doors
which sneak onto your computer without your knowledge. In most
cases, this simply results in unwanted advertising that you have
no idea where it came from, but in other cases you could very
well end up with software that???s designed to steal your
passwords, financial info or worse.
Some of the more popular free software for your business,
including Open Office which, unbelievable as it may seem, is an
almost complete free replacement for the MS-Office package,
including a spread sheet and a word processor, has no strings
attached. It???s just free.
FreeCRM.com, a web-based customer relationship management
program, offers absolutely free fully-enabled accounts for small
businesses. Larger businesses, with multiple employees requiring
access to the system, pay just a nominal fee.
So to sum this up -- here???s some free advice. If you are thinking
about using a free software program for your small business, fire
up your Internet, go to Google and look up the name of the free
software. You will find everything you need to know, both the
good points as well as the bad points, about that particular
package. Then decide whether it???s right for your needs.
Copyright © 2005 Cavyl Stewart. Get more software tips, strategies and recommendations by signing up for my Exclusive 100% free, 100% original content ecourses. Visit: http://www.find-small-business-software.com/free-ecourses.php