If you read my recent article “Using Linux at Work”, you'll know that I now function entirely on Open Source software for my day to day work, and quite frankly, so could most of the population.
However, one of the downsides to alternative, or even free software, is that it is not particularly well advertised, if at all, and hard to find. Unless someone installs it on your machine, or goes out of their way to tell you about it, you wouldn't know it even existed.
Tesco is the UK's largest retailer, and fourth in the world. So who better to try and market cheap, alternative software? Tesco has bought a whole range of software to market, in true Tesco style, with simplistic imagery and obvious brand names.
None of the software is made by Tesco, but is just re-branded. However, Tesco has chosen well respected software to re-brand and made the pricing very low.
Easy Record is made by Sonic who actually owns Roxio, and creates a lot of studio quality recording and authoring suites. Easy Record is priced at only £9.97 and is really good. It can burn Audio and Data CD/DVDs, burn from an ISO, rip Audio CDs to MP3, and copy media directly. It does pretty much everything you'd need to do, and it's fast and easy to use. There are a limited number of windows and you can even drag and drop files to it.
Internet Security and Antivirus & Antispyware are made by Panda Software, using TruPrevent technologies. Looking around the web, Panda has got a pretty good reputation. Antivirus & Antispyware is priced at £9.97, while the Internet Security package includes this and is priced higher at £19.97. This is only for a year's subscription, which can be renewed at the end of the year. Direct from Panda, the same software is £26.99 and £42.99 respectively. That's quite a saving!
Personal Finance is made by a company called Reilly Technologies, under the name of MoneyDance. It's a pretty good personal finance package, with good features and can import data from Microsoft Money or Quicken. At £16.97 direct from Reilly, the £9.97 Teso is offering isn't such a huge discount, but it's a saving nonetheless.
PhotoRestyle is made by Ability and originally called Photopaint. This usually costs £19.99, but Tesco wants £9.97. Unfortunately for both of them it's a horrible piece of software to use. Give me The GIMP anyday.
The final, and most important piece of software that Tesco is selling, is Complete Office which I will be concentrating on for this review. This is sold for only £19.97 and is a rebadged version of Ability Office which retails for £49.99. That's quite a reduction in price, and as we'll find out – it's quite a capable suite.