Back

Open Source Alternatives to Popular B2B Tools

293 points11 hoursbtw.so
KronisLV6 hours ago

Some additional ideas:

  - Kanban - Kanboard ( https://github.com/kanboard/kanboard )
  - Analytics - Matomo ( https://github.com/matomo-org/matomo )
  - Content Management System - Grav ( https://github.com/getgrav/grav )
  - Knowledge Base - BookStack ( https://github.com/BookStackApp/BookStack ) 
  - Browser - Firefox ( https://github.com/mozilla )
  - Image Manipulation ( https://github.com/GNOME/gimp )
  - Observability Platform - Zabbix ( https://github.com/zabbix/zabbix )
  - Password manager - KeePassX ( https://github.com/keepassx/keepassx )
npteljes4 hours ago

Bitwarden for password manager also. They specifically endorse enterprise usage.

https://bitwarden.com/

xtracto30 minutes ago

Even though it is not as general as some of those, I think https://fineract.apache.org/ should be in the list: An Open Source Loan Servicing System.

executesorder665 hours ago

N.B. KeePassX hasn't been maintained since 2016!

Use https://github.com/keepassxreboot/keepassxc instead. (They are compatible)

dotCOMmie38 minutes ago

Looker / Tableau alternative - Redash ( https://redash.io/ )

Cthulhu_1 hour ago

There's one of those speech bubbles down below which you could probably use to get in touch with the authors, not sure if they will read this comment section.

deeptichopra6 hours ago

Great list, thanks so much. Will review these and add!

g19fanatic4 hours ago

app.keeweb.info for a great pw manager off of keepass too.. Its my goto for every platform!

skyfaller1 hour ago

Some of these "open source" options are not really open source.

- Outline uses the Business Source License 1.1, which eventually becomes open source (Apache 2) four years after each release. https://github.com/outline/outline/blob/main/LICENSE

- Invoice Ninja uses Elastic License 2.0 (ELv2), which allows you to host it for yourself, but not for other people. https://github.com/invoiceninja/invoiceninja/blob/master/LIC...

Source code available is not the same thing as open source.

xtracto45 minutes ago

Right, they should also note the "freemium" ones like Odoo, which has a botchered "Open Source" version vs the Enterprise version.

artemonster8 hours ago

Everytime I look into B2B software space (I am a complete outsider, btw), I see that here and there always pop up some new company, offering something similar to competitors and what can be stiched together using open source (and almost free, not counting the support) tools. How these companies thrive? Why customers keep buying new stuff, when there are solutions already to most of the business neeeds out there (and even free ones!). Is this still the case of idiot-managers doing decisions like "nobody was fired for buying IBM" (and now SAP, salesforce, <yourcompany>) or am I not seeing something? Genuine qustions, really interested.

pembrook6 hours ago

I think a good way to get an understanding of this is to start a company yourself.

You’ll quickly learn why businesses make the decision to pay for software instead of cobbling together open source.

Let’s say you’re a small, but growing company doing $2M ARR. You absolutely could run your email marketing using an open source tool hooked up to Amazon SES and save a thousand bucks a month over something like Mailchimp.

But the problem is, it’ll take you up to a week to get setup (thousands of dollars lost already) and then none of your employees will understand how to send emails with it (thousands of dollars wasted in training). Once they do understand how to use it, it will likely still be slower than a dummy-proof visual UI that has been battle tested on thousands of customers instead of an esoteric open source solution. If it wastes 8 hours of employee time per month, that’s another $1k a month lost.

Then when something goes wrong, which it always does, it’ll require expensive developer time (likely costing the company $1000-$1500/day per engineer all-in) instead of a simple support phone call.

And when you realize the open source version is missing a feature you need, you have to build it yourself, of which any trivial engineering task inside the company will cost at least $5k in employee time. Not to mention the cost to maintain the feature when the open source team breaks it with an update.

So, you’re already in the hole and losing money compared to Mailchimp.

This says nothing about the opportunity cost of engineering time that could have been spent serving your own customers, allowing you to generate more revenue.

You can generate revenue to infinity, but can only cut costs to zero. For a growing company, time spent on cost saving over making new sales is likely time wasted.

xtracto36 minutes ago

Let me give you a counterpoint on this: non-developed countries (non 1st world countires?).

A startup in say, Mexico or LatAm will look at the OpenSource version of say Business Intelligence applications (Metabase, Superset in the link), then look at the commercial versions of them (Tableau, Lookr). With the price needed to pay for the commercial versions, the startup can hire 2 or 3 developers (at local rates) to do whatever improvements they need to the open source application.

Something similar happened to me with Jumio about 5 years ago: I wanted to use it. I spoke with their sales 2 or 3 times in 4 years. THe problem is that, every "verification" was costing more than $1 USD... for less than that cost, my company could hire 3 people a month to do manual verification and more (considering the cost of hiring + cost to the company, including Mexico's hefty employer costs). It never made economic sense to do implement automation.

typhonius2 hours ago

This is where the maxim of open source being 'free as in puppies not free as in beer/lunch' comes from.

I started my career in open source and still strongly believe in FOSS tenets, but enterprises are looking more to de-risk their projects and platforms.

Risk is reduced when you have a vendor you can hold accountable for issues in the product, hence making proprietary solutions (and sometimes open source but wrapped in enterprise support solutions) the only viable choice for a business.

Icathian2 hours ago

While I understand and generally agree with your points, I do find the idea of "holding a vendor accountable" to be more of a philosophy than something I've generally witnessed happen in real life. At some point that needs to stop being weighed on the scales when doing "build vs buy" math for any but the largest companies or most attentive vendors.

TechBro86152 hours ago

Not OP, but I think in this context "holding a vendor accountable" means "if the product sucks, you will stop paying them."

Andrew_nenakhov2 hours ago

Any luck holding Microsoft, Google or Apple accountable for issues in their operating systems?

+1
xtracto33 minutes ago
yakshaving_jgt4 hours ago

> If it wastes 8 hours of employee time per month, that’s another $1k a month lost… it’ll require expensive developer time (likely costing the company $1000-$1500/day per engineer all-in)

That's not universally true, of course. That money would buy you a week of developer time in most of Europe, and even a month of developer time in some developing economies.

pembrook3 hours ago

> That money would buy you a week of developer time in most of Europe

That's only true if you live in Poland and also ignore the all-in cost of your employees. A good rule of thumb is to assume 2-3x salary for the all-in cost of having a workforce.

wongarsu53 minutes ago

In Germany, the average Software Dev salary is about 50k€/year. That's a total payroll cost of about 60k€/year after taxes, social security etc., so around 300€/workday. Add some money for office space, equipment, overhead, etc, and adjust by factor of two in either direction depending on location and role.

Of course if you hire a freelancer, prices are very different and 1500€/day is very reasonable.

+1
yakshaving_jgt3 hours ago
fnomnom1 hour ago

if you look at the numbers raw it might be salary for a week but assuming your developer has stuff on his/her plate and this stuff actually will make you more money in the long run (why would they be employed by you otherwise?) its more than their raw salary and the cost of hardware and rent. opportunity cost.

yakshaving_jgt1 hour ago

I'm familiar with the concept of opportunity cost, but the question of whether to build or buy is highly context-dependant. As is so often the case in software development: it depends. Not all B2B tools are the same. Not all integration efforts are the same. Not all developer hours cost the same. Not every return on investment is the same.

jasode6 hours ago

>Is this still the case of idiot-managers doing decisions like "nobody was fired for buying IBM" (and now SAP, salesforce,

Enterprise software like SAP and Salesforce are gigantic comprehensive business process management tools for Fortune 1000 companies that can't be replicated by stitching together open source projects.

Even tech companies with expert domain knowledge of software programming like Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Google, etc all buy SAP licenses to use. Google recently switched from Oracle Financials to SAP. None of those tech companies are strangers to the open source ecosystem and yet they pay millions every year in SAP licenses.

Yes, a small business might be able to use an open source accounting package instead of paying $150 for Intuit QuickBooks. In contrast, no free software has the same scope and integration of SAP to save $millions.

Analogous situation with GIMP vs Photoshop. Why do so many pay for Photoshop when GIMP is free? Because as great as GIMP is... it is still missing many features that Photoshop has had for years. CMYK color support, layer effects, latest algorithmic filters, action macros without requiring script programming, etc.

This is the problem with most of these "open source alternatives to $TOOLS$" type of lists: they usually don't tell you what critical features are missing that prevent them from being realistic substitutes.

xvilka5 hours ago

Gigantic part of products like SAP etc (maybe the main part) is their integration with local standards and legislation in every jurisdiction the company operates. Yes, writing code that can substitute their products is probably easy. Knowing what exactly to write is hard, especially for multinationals.

Radim5 hours ago

I live on both sides of this divide, so maybe I can offer my 2 cents:

* Created & maintain Gensim and other open source, used by thousands of companies for free.

* Created & sell an (unrelated) B2B product.

Yes, I've had B2B prospects who thought they could "stitch my product together using open source".

These people are invariably either low budget & high-maintenance, or unsophisticated = don't realize how much work the "just stitching" part is. Plus how little the stitched-together-from-open-source part actually is of the whole.

Good riddance of the former – go ahead and use open source, god speed. Your time is free, mine is not. The latter often come back after being burned & learning the ropes.

Maybe it helps to think of it this way: savvy companies are much more risk-averse than your typical open source hacker. They price in risk into their decision making. So your assertion of "almost free" is the root of the issue: a business sees the lack of business scaffolding (stability, continuity, legal, management…) and thinks "Expensive! We'll have to do this ourselves! Headache! Liability! Extra cost!".

Sure, "free code" helps, everybody likes free, but the code is not the only consideration.

carschno3 hours ago

This sounds so familiar. I have worked in several startups that were commercializing NLP-based solutions for different problems. The approach of management (although relatively educated in the field, but obviously not knowledgeable in everything) was essentially expecting from their research engineers:

- look into state-of-the-art related to our problem - think very hard about how to apply the academic state-of-the-art to our problem - stitch a fully fletched software solution together

The problem obviously emerged reliably in the last step, which was supposed to take negligible time and should be done by more junior team members (because they were not smart enough for step 2).

The result was a bunch of prototypes running in production, and huge costs for keeping the whole thing somehow running.

hdjjhhvvhga8 hours ago

It's not so much about being open source or not, but rather how easy it is to set up, integrate and maintain. People know this so many companies offer their products as open source plus a nice hosted (usually marketed as "cloud") version for easy access. So your choice is between two clicks and paying a few bucks using company card vs. spending a few hours or in complex cases days dealing with setup, resolving dependencies, solving any problems that arise when you deal with any complex piece of software and so on. Moreover, you need to maintain it yourself, so again you have a choice of updating it with each new version to stay up to date, without any guarantee that there are no problems with each update, or withhold the updates - but then you risk either a security incident or delaying it so long that updating gets difficult. So for non-essential services it's a no-brainer, you just pay a bit and forget it. Especially if it's open source so in the worst case you can just migrate to a self-hosted solution as nobody holds your data (incl. configurations etc.) hostage.

It's quite different with core and expensive proprietary services though. In this case you better think and calculate everything precisely as you may regret going with a proprietary solution in the long run and switching can be painful.

rozenmd8 hours ago

I built a website monitoring service (last I checked, 191 alternatives on AlternativeTo).

Customers really really really don't want to have to run their own solution. They want to be able to pay someone to make the pain go away.

(https://onlineornot.com if you're curious)

TAForObvReasons8 hours ago

I personally feel that uptime monitoring, status pages and similar solutions should always involve a third party. You can run your own service, but you would have to trust your service to be working properly. And in the exact cases where uptime monitoring is relevant, you may end up facing issues with your own monitoring service.

snowwrestler2 hours ago

This question may be easier to understand in the general case: why don’t people do everything themselves?

Why don’t people paint their own houses? Why don’t people fix their own cars? Why don’t people sew their own clothes? Why don’t people cook their own food?

Of course a lot of people do do these things themselves! Just like a lot of people do use free and/or open source software tools.

But a lot of people don’t do these things, at least not all of them, and probably not all the time. If you can think of the reasons you pay for things you might be able to do yourself, you can start to understand why a business does too. It usually comes down to opportunity cost and specialization—answering the question “how is my limited time best spent?”

input_sh7 hours ago

Not enough resources? I work as a sysadmin in an org that highly prefers self-hosting (paid or non-paid, doesn't really matter). I spend a fairly considerable amount of time on updating services, updating plugins for our services, making sure backups work, integrating our SSO, testing updates on non-live environments etc etc.

You can't just set it and forget it. When you approach a dozen or so self-hosted projects, you have to dedicate resources to keep everything running and up to date. Therefore, we consciously off-load some of the stuff to third parties — sometimes just for a couple of rough months, sometimes for far too long, sometimes permanently. It's far from being our only responsibility.

kilroy1237 hours ago

Interesting, I've always worked at places that prefer to pay someone else for the trouble and use a ton of third-party tools for all the things.

In the end, do you think the self-hosting route is worth all the trouble and costs?

input_sh6 hours ago

It's certainly cheaper to have a couple of sysadmins, but then again, it depends on how valuable is the stuff you're dealing with. Small web agency? Probably not. Supporting dozens of journalists (like my org)? Absolutely.

There are also trade-offs. A few sysadmins can't host emails against hostile (sometimes state-sponsored) parties like Google can. We can't roll out a better messaging service than Signal. We could roll out our own VPN, but if the goal is getting lost in the noise, you want a popular VPN, not routing journalists' traffic through unique IPs.

On the other hand, just Nextcloud and GitLab (two fairly common services) require about 10h/month if you don't want to be major versions behind or miss security patches in minor versions.

Irishsteve8 hours ago

Historically there has always been consultancies building 'bespoke' software for local companies. For example the CRM market usually had lots of local companies who built and maintained a CRM and would do add ons etc. for customers.

Fast forward 20+ years later, that type of work is essentially the SAAS apps you see popping up. It's not a very capital intensive business to sustain so with a few thousand customers you could have a pretty healthy company and continue product development / grow your customer base.

Why do people go for these new SAAS apps ? I've seen a few reasons

1) Pricing is somehow better 2) Integration and or support is more personal so the customer (usually a business stakeholder) prefers it. 3) Some specific feature exists that is important to the customer i.e ease of deletion for GDPR requests 4) CTO / CIO / Techie prefers it.

Why I've seen people not go with the open source alternatives is the same oul reason. Focus. If you've less than 30 people at your org, unless one of those tools has a specific team covering that area - it will just split focus and end up in a suboptimal setup and create pain points in terms of support.

Examples that come to mind, we used open source snowplow analytics because we had a data platform team that supported it and ran it full time. There was no cost with regards to the software, but certainly was with head-count to maintain, and evolve.

We used external newsletter services to inform customers about updates etc. in the product. We went with an external paid service because this didn't tie directly into a specific team and for 100 - 500 euro a month we got what probably would have cost 0.3 - 1.0 full time head count to keep a minimal service up and running (Which meant -0.3 to -1.0 headcount working on important things for the company).

dutchbrit8 hours ago

Competition is always good and sometimes one solution just fits a use case better than the other. When it comes to free solutions, you still need someone to update it and how stable are these solutions. How often are they updated with essential or nice to have features? How is the support?

Tajnymag9 hours ago

Open Source Browser Alternative: Brave

Really? No other browser comes to mind?

pratio8 hours ago

Haha yes, I didn't notice that firefox and chromium aren't mentioned at all

deeptichopra6 hours ago

Yep, sorry. Made more sense to remove the browser category, so I've done that now.

koilke6 hours ago

How about Bitwarden for password manager?

deeptichopra5 hours ago

Will review and add, thanks!

edhelas5 hours ago

Regarding the IM/Slack alternatives you can maybe consider adding Movim ( https://movim.eu/ ). Fully based on XMPP with plenty of features already packed in. It can easily be deployed on a simple web-server.

PS: I'm the author and maintainer

pratio9 hours ago

You guys are using cloudinary to server images it seems which is blocked by most adblocker lists because it's to serve video ads a lot. Assets seemed to be served under https://res.cloudinary.com/adaface so I can't unblock just your one company.

Great effort though, seems similar to github awesome lists. I use https://github.com/topics/awesome to always get the latest ones

arcturus179 hours ago

Damn, I just built a web app that uses Cloudinary for image management and storage… Is this widely known? I use an adblocker and never saw the issue in dev.

pratio8 hours ago

Not sure, I use pi-Hole and it haven't manually added it there. https://github.com/anudeepND/whitelist/issues/56. It seems that they've added it to the whitelist, maybe you know someone in your network that uses pi-hole and can verify.

pratio8 hours ago

But as you can see here, Cloudinary supports serving ads, So it'll be present in the private lists that are being used by a lot of ad-blockers. https://cloudinary.com/documentation/video_player_ads_moneti...

fnomnom1 hour ago

s3 is also used to deliver ads. so do you block *.amazonaws.com ?

SylvieLorxu5 hours ago

Why is Matomo not in the Analytics category but listed below "Check out alternatives to popular commercial products"? Matomo is Open Source too?

(Also, "Open Source" is not the opposite of "commercial")

deeptichopra5 hours ago

Fixed this, thanks!

mhd56 minutes ago

I bet you could put "Libreoffice Calc" into most of those categories…

vsnf9 hours ago

It would be helpful to list what you consider to be the primary commercial solutions in each category. A lot of these categories I am unfamilar with by name but would understand if I saw some concrete companies or products listed alongside them.

deeptichopra9 hours ago

Yep absolutely!

We already have that. For eg: https://www.btw.so/open-source-alternatives/slack-alternativ...

vsnf9 hours ago

Yeah, I noticed that actually. The search bar is pretty good at recognizing the principal competitors.

But when I go to, say, https://www.btw.so/open-source-alternatives/api-documentatio..., no where on that page does the word "Swagger" appear. Same story for https://www.btw.so/open-source-alternatives/business-communi... and Slack.

It seems like you already have the data, so it would just be a matter of finding the right UI for it.

Edit:

Now that I look real closely, I see in a tiny box on each alternative what the each thing competes with. I guess that works. Kind of obscure, though.

pinky078 hours ago

You mentioned Odoo in CRM, but Odoo has apps in a lot of extra categories (that are not yet listed): - ERP: https://odoo.com (alternative to Ms. Dynamics, SAP) - Website Builder: https://www.odoo.com/app/website (alternative to Wix, SquareSpace) - POS: https://www.odoo.com/app/point-of-sale-shop (alternative to VendHQ, LightSpeed) - Kanban & Project: https://www.odoo.com/app/project - Human Resources / HR: https://www.odoo.com/app/employees (alternative to SuccessFactors, BambooHR) - Manufacturing - MES: https://www.odoo.com/app/manufacturing - Invoicing: https://www.odoo.com/app/invoicing (alternative to bill.com)

throwaway7446787 hours ago

Odoo (core) is indeed open-source, but some of the apps (modules) you mentioned are part of the "Enterprise" which require you to buy a licence.

Disclaimer: happy (paying) Odoo customer!

pinky074 hours ago

No, all the apps above are part of Odoo Community. (So, open source)

typhonius2 hours ago

You're missing Drupal, one of the largest open-source CMS' in the world.

Terretta1 hour ago

Also TextPattern, oldie-but-goodie:

CMS: https://textpattern.com/about/

Plugins: https://textpattern.org/

This site’s curation is … eccentric. :-)

dinedal4 hours ago

It's weird that Node-RED is listed as closed source software? But it is open source? https://github.com/node-red

deeptichopra4 hours ago

Thanks for pointing this out, fixed!

majormjr2 hours ago

It's also marked as not self hostable despite the comment above mentioning it running on Raspberry Pis.

npteljes4 hours ago

Would be nice if the icons showed the product name on hover.

Also, no MS Office / Google Drive alternatives? ONLYOFFICE works great in this space, with MS Office format compatibility, online editors, file sharing, nice integrations with Nextcloud and a myriad of other cloud solutions.

https://www.onlyoffice.com/

For MFA, as for example a Yubikey alternative, Solokeys could work.

https://solokeys.com/pages/enterprise-orders

zajkowskimarcin7 hours ago

Great list, thanks for sharing and gathering! As people said, form to add suggestions would be great. E.g. we're using Umbraco CMS (https://umbraco.com/products/umbraco-cms/) for most of our content managed enterprise solutions and would be awesome to see it listed there. Many many more in my head as well, so might help curating it and growing it for the good of us all looking for OSS alternatives!

deeptichopra6 hours ago

Added Umbraco. Let me know if you have other suggestions!

dgb236 hours ago

Under Content Management System there is OctoberCMS listed.

Their LICENCE.md:

https://github.com/octobercms/october/blob/develop/LICENSE.m...

Not sure if this counts as open source. Around here there is a stricter notion of what open source means I think.

deeptichopra6 hours ago

Thanks! Removed October CMS, and added https://github.com/wintercms/winter

rapnie7 hours ago

It looks like this startup is going to monetize findability, ease-of-installation, and hosting of quality open-source alternatives.

Would be very cool if either some of the revenue of their service would go to the projects they offer this way, or if they at least drew prominent attention to how we might offer that to the project ourselves.

In other words, offer commercial services that are truly in support of (F)OSS and not just benefiting and exploiting it (tragedy of the commons, etc.)

thunderbong8 hours ago

No Kanboard under 'Project Management. Or Tiddlywiki. Actually, no wiki software at all.

Also, is this really B2B? Are browsers B2B softwares?

tompazourek5 hours ago

FullCalendar is a GUI component, not really a proper alternative to something like Google Calendar. These are different things IMHO...

But anyway, nice list, thanks for sharing.

soumyadeb7 hours ago

A correction. RudderStack is an open source project/product and is an alternative to Segment. The website lists other marketing analytics products as alternative to RudderStack. They are related but not exactly same.

(Founder of RudderStack here)

deeptichopra6 hours ago

Yikes, my bad. Have listed RudderStack as open-source now. :)

kevinak6 hours ago

An open-source alternative to Retool is Budibase - https://www.budibase.com/

Edit: It was apparently already on there.

foxbee6 hours ago

well, the Github link is broken. For viewers, it should point to:

https://github.com/Budibase/budibase

deeptichopra5 hours ago

Thanks for pointing this out. Fixed!

pbreit8 hours ago

An exhaustive list is totally useless. The question is the handful of options that are credibly viable.

deeptichopra8 hours ago

We've narrowed it down to just the top 2-3 options in each category. :)

Wronnay6 hours ago

"Open Source Alternatives to Kanboard"

-> Kanboard is a open source software, so that title doesn't make sense

deeptichopra6 hours ago

Fixed!

antman9 hours ago

Nice, is there a form we can submit others? Also, no code db: Seatable

deeptichopra8 hours ago

That's a great idea- will add.

Will also review Seatable.

For now if anyone has a recommendation, please let me know here. We'll review and add.

robjan9 hours ago

Is this curated based on experience or some metric?

deeptichopra10 hours ago

Hello! In an effort to support the open source community, we’ve curated 200+ open source alternatives to tools that businesses require in day-to-day operations.

Robotbeat10 hours ago

I think freeCAD probably is a better fit for CAD software than Blender.

deeptichopra10 hours ago

Thanks for letting me know, adding freeCAD right away. :)

markcartertm9 hours ago

Was surprised grafana is not listed?

deeptichopra9 hours ago
meepybub7 hours ago

FYI, the github link on each product page does not work. Also, it would be a useful feature to see the license each product has without having to go to it's github and scroll down.

deeptichopra6 hours ago

Thanks for pointing this out- fixed the Github link issue. It shows the license under the "Github Activity" section.

dragosbulugean4 hours ago

GitBook is not open source.

deeptichopra3 hours ago

Thanks for pointing out, fixed!

parthvader9 hours ago

Great list! A form to submit more alternatives should be useful!

andreacavagna6 hours ago

making it open-source and submit pull-requests will be awesome, and sort of making sense with the purpose of the website

deeptichopra6 hours ago

That's a great idea- will add. For now if you have a recommendation, let me know here!

jld896 hours ago

What about OpenBravo ?