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:
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.
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.
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.
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!