While free stuff is appreciated by companies of all sizes, no-cost software is especially attractive to SMBs since they tend to have fewer dollars to throw at IT than their bigger brethren.
So we especially liked this TechNewsWorld article, which offers a list of nine free business software applications, ranging from time sheet management to search engine optimization to systems management. (We wonder why they didn't go the extra mile and come up with a 10th application, but we digress...) One of them, an accounting app, is even from -- surprise -- top software monopolist Microsoft.
The article also covers a couple of important caveats: Look for free apps that offer solid support through a distributor like Red Hat and/or an open source software community with lots of active projects. Some applications offer a free subscription for only a limited length of time. Others may require costly customization and training.
Though it's important to be aware of these issues, don't let them scare you off, advises IT Business Edge blogger Lora Bentley. The choice between open source and traditional software could become considerably less complicated for SMBs as vendors like Red Hat tailor offerings to them.