SQL

Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Apple FileMaker

Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet (Google’s parent), Amazon and Facebook dominate the tech landscape. Their dominance is so broad they account for more than 20% of the S&P 500.

There are many things to admire about Apple’s hardware and software. Apple make great looking (albeit expensive) hardware. Over the years key successes include the iPhone, iPad, iPod, and the MacBook Air. The company designs its own hardware and software. This gives them the power to make an operating system and suite of apps that are tailor-made and optimized for their hardware. Apple also operates the Apple Music and Apple TV media distribution platforms.

Mac OS X is Apple’s proprietary operating system for its line of Macintosh computers. Its interface, known as Aqua, is highly polished and built on top of a BSD derivative (Darwin). There’s a whole raft of proprietary applications that are developed by Apple for their operating software. This software is not available for Linux and there’s no prospect of that position changing.

In 2020, Apple began the Apple silicon transition, using self-designed, 64-bit ARM-based Apple M1 processors on new Mac computers. Maybe it’s the perfect time to move away from the proprietary world of Apple, and embrace the open source Linux scene.

Apple FileMakerFileMaker is a cross-platform relational database application from Claris International, a subsidiary of Apple.

A relational database matches data using common characteristics found within the data set. The resulting groups of data are organized and are much easier for people to understand.

FileMaker integrates a database engine with a graphical user interface (GUI) and security features, allowing users to modify the database by dragging new elements into layouts, screens, or forms.

FileMaker is proprietary software that’s not available for Linux. What are the best free and open source alternatives?


1. MySQL

MySQL is a multithreaded, multi-user SQL database management system (DBMS). The basic program runs as a server providing multiuser access to a number of databases.

MySQL offers a powerful transactional database engine. Features include complete ACID (atomic, consistent, isolated, durable) transaction support, unlimited row-level locking, distributed transaction capability, and multi-version transaction support where readers never block writers and vice-versa. Full data integrity is also assured through server-enforced referential integrity, specialized transaction isolation levels, and instant deadlock detection.


2. MariaDB

MariaDB Server is one of the most popular database servers in the world. It’s made by the original developers of MySQL and guaranteed to stay open source.

MariaDB seeks high compatibility with MySQL, ensuring a drop-in replacement capability with library binary parity and exact matching with MySQL APIs and commands. It includes a new storage engine, Aria, an alternative to MyISAM that intends to be the default transactional and non-transactional engine.


3. PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL is an object-relational database management system (ORDBMS) based on POSTGRES, Version 4.2, developed at the University of California at Berkeley Computer Science Department.

It has more than 20 years of active development and a proven architecture that has earned it a strong reputation for reliability, data integrity, and correctness. It is the most feature-rich robust open-source database.


4. SQLite

SQLite is a C-language library that implements a small, fast, self-contained, high-reliability, full-featured, SQL database engine.

Features include:

  • Transactions are atomic, consistent, isolated, and durable (ACID) even after system crashes and power failures.
  • Zero-configuration – no setup or administration needed.
  • Full-featured SQL implementation with advanced capabilities like partial indexes, indexes on expressions, JSON, common table expressions, and window functions.
  • A complete database is stored in a single cross-platform disk file.
  • Supports terabyte-sized databases and gigabyte-sized strings and blobs.
  • Small code footprint less than 600KiB fully configured or much less with optional features omitted.

All articles in this series:

Alternatives to Apple's Products
Apple BonjourBonjour is an implementation of zero-configuration networking; technologies that includes service discovery, address assignment, and hostname resolution.
Apple Boot CampBoot Camp is a utility that comes with a Mac which lets users switch between macOS and Windows. The utility also guides users through non-destructive disk partitioning.
Apple CompressorCompressor is a video and audio media compression and encoding application with support for common formats.
Apple FaceTimeFaceTime is a videotelephony product for making video and audio calls. FaceTime forces many to stay locked into a proprietary world.
Apple FileMakerFileMaker is a relational database application with a graphical user interface and good security features.
Apple Final Cut ProFinal Cut Pro is a series of non-linear video editing software programs. Log and transfer video, edit, process the video, and output to a wide variety of formats.
Apple GarageBandGarageBand is a line of digital audio workstations for creating music and podcasts offering a complete sound library.
Apple NumbersKeyNote is a simple and elegant presentation software that's part of the iWork productivity suite.
Apple Logic ProLogic Pro is a Digital Audio Workstation and MIDI sequencer providing software instruments, audio effects and recording facilities for music synthesis.
Apple MailMail is a simple email client offering the ability to send, receive, and view email with good organizing capabilities.
Apple MainStageMainStage is a music application designed for use in live performance. This software lets you run a live rig. Transform your keyboard, guitar, or vocal performance with an enormous collection of plug-ins and sounds.
Apple MessagesMessages is instant messaging software for sending messages, images, videos, and documents. There's location data and stickers.
Apple MotionMotion creates and edits motion graphics, titling for video production and film production, and 2D and 3D compositing for visual effects.
Apple NumbersNumbers is a spreadsheet application which uses a free-form “canvas” approach that demotes tables to one of many different media types placed on a page.
Apple PagesPages is a word processor that's part of the iWork productivity suite. It's marketed as an easy-to-use application that allows users to quickly create documents.
Apple PhotosPhotos is a photo management and editing application. Organize your collection into albums, or keep your photos organized automatically with smart albums.
Apple SafariSafari is a graphical web browser which uses the WebKit and Nitro engines. It's the default web browser for Macintosh computers.
Apple ShazamShazam identifies music, movies, advertising, and television shows. There’s nothing more annoying than hearing a new song not knowing the identity of the artist.
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