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  • Tuesday, 23 February 2010
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Website of the Week

Website of the Week — AlternativeTo.net

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Time again for our Website of the Week, when we showcase interesting and innovative online destinations.

This week we feature a site that helps you explore options when you're unhappy with a computer program you're using now, or maybe need new features, or just can't afford the popular, name-brand product.

"AlternativeTo.net is like a social software website that helps people find alternatives to applications for Mac, Windows, Linux and also web applications," says the site's co-creator, Markus Olausson.

Unlike most software guides, where you can look for programs based on a category, AlternativeTo.net is organized by program name.

Look for Firefox and find different web browsers. Or try Photoshop and find alternative image editing software, including other commercial programs, plus free and open-source alternatives.

Olausson says the programs are chosen and rated by the users of the site.

"The users on our site, they are by far the most important part of the site. The users, they suggest what applications should be on AlternativeTo.net, and they also suggest what applications should be alternatives to those applications."

This is a site that can be really helpful if you're looking for different features than your current program offers. Possibly you're feeling guilty about using an illegal copy of some expensive program and want to find a free alternative.

Or maybe you're switching platforms - from Windows to Mac or Linux, say - and need to replace a familiar application with something that will work on your new setup.

Or maybe the answer is, like Google Docs, in the cloud. Cloud computing is when the software application and maybe your data, too, sit on a distant server, not on your own computer.

"Some people want to use web applications or online applications, as we call them. That's another reason to use the site. For us it was a natural step to include cloud applications, because we're using many of them ourselves."

The site just launched a few months ago, but Markus Olausson already says he plans to expand into mobile applications, so people can find alternatives to programs they use on their smart phones.

Alternative software applications on AlternativeTo.net, or get the link to this and some 250 other Websites of the Week from our site, VOAnews.com. 

Website of the Week

Website of the Week

Care to suggest a Website of the Week? Email us with your recommendation to: OurWorld@voanews.com.

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