Free iLife 09 alternatives

January 30th, 2009

Apple’s iLife 09 might be the biggest upgrade to iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand iDVD and iWeb since the software suite launched, but what if you only want one app. Or don’t want to pay for them at all? There are plenty of free alternatives to ilife. We’ve rounded up the best ones here, and they’re all free!

iPhoto alternative
Picassa
As iPhoto replacements go, this is pretty much perfect. OK, so it won’t recognise faces in your snapshots, or plot them on a map, but it will organise the contents of any picture library, and work with almost any digital camera. You can also edit photos, create slideshows and upload them straight to a Picasa Web album. It also works on Mac, PC and even Linux. Did we mention it’s free too?

GarageBand alternative
Audacity
OK, let’s fess up. Audacity is never going to replace GarageBand 09 for teaching you how to play an instrument, and it’s much more complex than Apple’s streamlined interface. What it will do, however, is serve up full multi-track mixing and recording, as well as comprehensive editing and even effects.It also supports plugins, so you can add functionality. You’ll need to bring your own instruments though, since Audacity can’t emulate them like GarageBand can.

iMovie alternative
Clesh and ZS4
Editing video to an acceptable standard with free software is difficult. In fact, replacing iMovie without a budget is nearly impossible. Nearly, but not quite. Have a look at Clesh and you’ll find an online video editor that accepts your uploaded clips, lets you chop them into shape and then export them, or keep them online for others to see. For more power, check out the ZS4 Video editor. It’s completely free, and will even handle video files in HD formats.

iWeb alternative
Blogger and WordPress
If you want to build a website, there’s no need to splash out on the new version of iWeb. Google’s Blogger service will do all the hard work for you, with tons of themes to choose from, and an interface so simple you’ll have an online presence in minutes. Want something more substantial? Check out WordPress. You can add extra features by installing free plugins from an army of coders. We love WordPress so much, it’s powering Electricpig right now!

iDVD alternative
Sizzle
So you want to make DVDs, but you don’t want for fork out for iDVD? No problem. Download Sizzle, and you’ll be bashing together fancy-looking shinydiscs for nowt. Despite being written years ago, the app crafts neat looking menus, complete with soundtracks and can add subtitles, chapters and pretty much anything else you’d find on a standard DVD. You’ll need to provide your own graphics, but everything else is taken care of.

iTunes alternative
Songbird
OK, so iTunes isn’t really part of iLife, and it’s a free download whether you buy iLife or not, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an alternative. And what an alternative you’ve got in the shape of Songbird. It’s made by the same group of coders behind Firefox, and pulls all your music together into one handy library. But that’s just the beginning. It also supports live Last.fm scrobbling, lets you customise the interface, add hundreds of plugins and even buy concert tickets.

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