Proprietary Software that have no worthy FOSS alternatives!

Whenever some proprietary software becomes famous for how good it is, you will eventually find open source projects, that are supposed to be an alternative to this proprietary piece of software.
Sometimes it becomes obvious, that those open source alternatives become even better than the original software, they were initially trying to imitate and then replace. There are also open source projects, that were not directly inspired by any proprietary counterpart and yet they are always compared with proprietary software of the same type. Here Gimp, Blender, Calibre, CDBurnerXP and similar software comes to my mind.
Other times some alternatives fill out the gaps that the proprietary software does not deliver, to, for example, deliver extended features that are not available or blocked behind a paywall on the proprietary counterpart.
Now, in my opinion, most of the time I see FOSS alternatives trying to be an alternative, yet they simply do not deliver. They simply cannot get to the level of feature-richness and even more so usability of their proprietary counterparts. Usability and everything regarding UX is often the huge culprit when you want to use a FOSS alternative for a proprietary products.

Of course, the reasons for this are quite obvious: most of the time, these open source projects are made by a group of hobby developers, not being paid a pennty to deliver. I think everyone can understand this from a developer’s point of view. Nevertheless, from a purely user-driven perspective, this does not change the fact that these software applications do not deliver up to the users’ expectations. Sometimes you just need that extra bit of usability or that special feature to make the software worth your time.

Since we hear all the praise (rightfully so) for open source software on this forum and mainly focus on this topic, I want to again balance the ship to the dark side a bit; I want to gather software, that simply has no worthy FOSS alternative on earth. It simply does not exist or was never published.

To make things transparent and not just make it seem like these proprietary software applications are blindly “the best”, I want to accompany every item with a list of reasons, why no FOSS alternative can compete with them.

If you find this idea interesting and want to contribute, please post your suggestion for software that fits into the list. It must be explained as detailed as necessary, so everyone can understand why this specific piece of software is, up to now, unmatched in the FOSS world.

Of course, you can also dispute the items in the list, though a dispute must obviously feature at least a single FOSS alternative, that is absolutely worthy. (I hope you will find alternatives to the software I add, I am looking for alternatives since years and simply could not find worthy ones!)

So here is the list, starting with the software I know to be unmatched:

Virtual CD

An image file manager, that manages ISO-like files of all categories.

  • Has an extensive set of features and is therefore suited for professional use.
  • Features ALL major proprietary image formats. Nero, Alcohol 120%, etc. All formats are supported.
  • Can create a very extensive variety of images from physical disks. You can make real RAW, exact and 1-1 copies of disks.
  • Has so many features regarding virtual drive creation, quirk preferences; you can define every single type of temporary and output folder manually. You can basically define everything manually.
  • You can host your own image server, that comes with this software.
  • You can implement scripts that run on each burn/copy or generic operation.
  • It has even bonus features, like creating bootable disks and flash drives. These are not part of the main features, even though the main feature list is already HUGE.
  • Image management is extensive: You can make categories, use different folders, sort all images the way you like, etc. Everything from within the application.

I could probably go on and on with the list, but I think this is enough.
There is, to my knowledge, not a single FOSS alternative software, that comes even close to this masterpiece. Not even remotely close. Never ever. All FOSS alternatives have at max perhaps 10% the power and feature-set of this one. Of course, some uses can be achieved by using different stand-alone FOSS products, like e.g. dd to rip a disc 1-1. Though, I think I do not need to explain how dd is not comparable to creating an image with this software.


A file recovery software.

This is the only software I know that can recover files from ReFS formatted drives. I did not even find proprietary alternatives that are able to do this. This is the only one that I know is working with ReFS drives.

Steelseries | Logitech

These are examples for software applications for expensive customizable hardware, like mice and keyboards. There are more proprietary software for different hardware, but these 2 are enough as examples.

IF there are open source alternatives, they do not work, are shitty and buggy or are extremely outdated. For example, Logitech has a single extremely outdated FOSS alternative, that does not work anymore.


A UX-focused Git platform.

The closest and best alternative that I know is Gitea and I like this alternative. However, I do not know any FOSS or even proprietary Github alternative that is on the same level of perfection as Github is. I think Gitea is the second best UX-focused Git platform in existence, yet I think it only get’s to perhaps 70-80% of what Github achieves. Github is simply the most perfect Git platform, from a feature-set and usability perspective. Not talking about price-performance ratios here, obviously.


A multi-file checksum generator.

I almost couldn’t find any information on this software, but I assume it is proprietary software, as it is mentioned as “freeware” everywhere and I cannot find the source code for this.

This is quite a handy tool, that generates SFV and similar files. It has lots of features considering it is a checksum generator and can go advanced generation and verification, for example, by selecting tons of files or folder, or search for files by patterns. All this can be done with this software.


A convenient hash calculator.

This software is free for most users and it is amazing. It features TONS of different has algorithms (which I love), is conveniently placed in the “Properties” menu of each file and is so easy and painlessly to use. It is great. I use it every day and I never found a FOSS alternative that is even remotely close to this amount of UX and usability. It’s the best hash calculator for single files, that I know of.

TeamSpeak 3

Voice chat focused on gamers.

I think I do not need to explain much. The best FOSS alternative available is mumble, but it is buggier, has a much less friendly UX and has many features not available or that are hard to use.

  • you cannot label channel visitors
  • you cannot set easy per-channel permission for users, because it is convoluted
  • you cannot password protect channels (yet)
  • voice detection is way more flaky in Mumble, than in Teamspeak
  • TeamSpeak has tons of plugins, Mumble has less

There are other points that slipped my mind, but I think the ones above should be enough to file this case.

IntelliJ Idea Ultimate

Hands down the best Java (+ derivatives) IDE in the entire world. Nuff said.

If IntelliJ is a Java IDE, then Eclipse is the piece of shit that is attached to your boot, after you walked around a dog park for too long. That is how far apart the best IntelliJ alternatives are from the original.

There is no FOSS alternative to IntelliJ Idea Ultimate. Not even remotely, when looking from a parallel universe. Nothing matches this one. If you even mention “Eclipse” or “NetBeans” or whatever, up to the guillotine with you!!

If you are not a Java/Kotlin developer and don’t know what I am talking about, then I can summarize the reasons for this position like this:
IntelliJ Idea Ultimate supports all major frameworks with suggestions, etc. The IntelliJ suggestions are famous and the best on the market. Even Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code implements them to a certain degree. When you code with IntelliJ, all the dirty work is done by the IDE. You only have to think about the logic of the program, nothing else. No weird bullshit. IntelliJ will clear the path for you.

Well, writing this took long enough. Perhaps this should be enough for now. I’ll be happy about constructive feedback!

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Hang the Traitor!

Just joking...

Of course, there is proprietary software that is better than the FOSS alternatives. Many of the commercial software houses would go out of business if they hadn’t an edge on certain products. Actually, I find it far more surprising that FOSS programs are sometimes almost equally good or even better than their commercial counterparts.

However, I cannot really add much to this list. I only wonder why GitHub is on it. As far as I know, GitHub is a platform (owned by Microsoft) based on the FOSS software git, developed by Linus Torvalds.

For a long time (until they changed their policy and open sourced it - kind of), MS Visual Studio would have been on my list as the best IDE for C++.


Git is only the VCS tool. Nothing else. Github is all about management, user and developer engagement, issue and bug tracking, discussing new features, managing pull requests, etc…

It’s like a “frontend” for Git.

For example, there is an old one (I think it’s called cgit) that is so ugly and unusable, I wouldn’t be able to use it. Here an example:

This is absolutely atrocious and pretty much undefinable. I cannot and do not want to use such platform.

If we consider GitHub to be a web application rather than a platform, you’re totally right: It’s the best one there is in this area.

OK, I think I put here DVD Architect.
It’s a DVD/Bulray authoring software originally from Sony, nowadays it belongs to MAGIX.
I have versions of it starting from 5.2 up to 7.0. Because of stability I still use v6.0, the latest Sony build.
I did not find anything in the FOSS world, that can:
-Create/edit menus
-Have multiple audiotracks in the project for different languages
-Have mutliple subtitle tracks for different languages
-Put a flag for CSS, so the replicators include it
-Export DDP from the project, as most of the replicators expect this format.

For a project I prepare most of the stuff using FOSS software, but the final assembly requires DVD Architect.

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@kovacslt what about

Perhaps, it lacks one or two features (I don’t know), but it is very feature rich and dead easy to use. I created a lot of DVDs with family videos with it.

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Yes, I know DVD Styler.
It lacks key features, when it comes to somewhat professional, or commercial.
For simple tasks I already used DVD Styler, just for the sake of it… and I liked it, I still have it installed.
But it’s not the right tool when it comes to a DVD to replicate with CSS applied (it’s crazy, but most disks intended for mass replication require this, because of some stupid laws), and if the replicator doesn’t accept an .iso file.


I get it. However, I wouldn’t consider the implementation of completely useless but still annoying copy and reproduction restrictions, like the Content Scrambling System a killer feature for an application.

I had to look up what the DDP format is (for everyone else as ignorant as myself: DDP stands for Disk Description Protocol and is a file format which is used for unknown reasons by professional replicators for mass production of disks). For final consumers, it is irrelevant. However, there is an open source program able to produce these files:

I don’t know how stable it is. As the disk market is already almost dead, I bet that development will soon cease completely.


Thanks @Mina, I’ll look into this!

devede - FOSS does great and would give DVDStyler a run for its money.

K3B has this protocol I’m pretty sure of it. Once you have the right codecs you can pretty much rip any DVD. libdvd-pkg has to be installed separately, in order to watch and rip DVDs, then you have to configure it by putting in the configure command, then Bobs your Uncle and Fannies your Duck you’re able to rip any encrypted DVD.

So just like DVD-Shrink but better and faster. Use Handbrake, K3b, to rip them and write them to disk with K3b, or Brasero. I’ve done loads of ripping with these two. DVD-Styler is a good tool as is DeVeDe. Used to download films from Torrents and make them up through DeVeDe and play a game called find the play button that I shrunk down on the title screen.

@clatterfordslim I haven’t found it. However, you’re addressing a totally different issue than @kovacslt: He spoke of creating master files for industry grade production whilst you’re speaking of ripping DVDs for backup and home entertainment use.

My list would have to include CorelDraw…

Sure there’s Inkscape, and it has nearly all, but NOT ALL, the features of CorelDraw… the main one I miss from Corel is multipage documents (but there are many more - it’s bitmap tracing is much more sophisticated than InkScape’s).

Been using CorelDraw for nearly 30 years since Windows 3.0…

I know “professionals” probably use Adobe Illustrator on a Mac, and I’ve tried it on PC (Windows) version, but Corel seemed so much better I never really gave Illustrator a look in…

And - having said the above - I no longer use CorelDraw, because I no longer run Windows on anything - and InkScape can do everything I want (but I miss multiple pages!).

I looked again into the FOSS authoring tools, now including OpenDVD Producer -thanks to @Mina for mentioning it.
The best of, the winner, the most flexilble tool among them is definitely DVD Styler.
I’ll still keep DVD Architect as my main tool for this type of job. Apart from DDP output, there are lots of nuances I can do with it, the others lack. Managing subtitles, using DVD scripts work here.

For discs that are not meant for some mass replication I’d recommend DVD Styler from the FOSS gallery. Regarding features it beats the others, and personally I find it the most usable.