With the current squeeze on research budgets, we are all looking for ways to make grant money stretch further. One significant recurring cost is the price of licences for basic software. I don't mean the exciting specialist software developed specifically for your research. I am talking about the dayto-day software that is essential but unexciting. This is the software that changes little over time, but needs updating every 2 or 3 years. The cost of this software can add up to thousands of pounds across a laboratory, but it is often ineligible for inclusion on research grants. Luckily, much of this commercial software can be replaced by free substitutes. In this article, I suggest a package of free alternatives to the typical contents of a laboratory computer.

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