Every year the list gets shorter. This time I have eliminated the lite and free alternatives. The purpose of the list is simply to compare the official prices, when declared. Perhaps I will create a new list for freeware. In this moment I am not very excited by the idea. I am deeply convinced, instead, that the best freeware available is still SwaN-MR. It's not terribly old, but it doesn't run on any computer currently for sale. I am saying that the situation is terribly worse that it used to be 10 years ago. I understand that it can be a problem for a student, but let's face the reality: is hardware free? Why should software? If you already believe that commercial software is evil, then you are mentally well prepared and happy to survive without ANY software or to write it by yourself (I am open to collaboration!). In case you think that it's fine to spend for software up to the half of what you are spending in hardware, you will find, following the links, something as cheap as €50.
Generally speaking, I think that commercial NMR software outsmarts the corresponding freeware, yet there is no correlation between price and value. For example, I prefer the free SpinWorks over the futureless Nuts. Even if TopSpin offers more value for money than VNMRJ, they are both clearly out of market. Those prices cannot be justified by brand value alone. Historically Bruker has been a weak competitor until recently (TopSpin was their first truly quality product), while the reputation of Varian has been declining markedly. They used to have the best software, but it was so long ago that it's only a cause for regret, today. The high prices can be justified only because there's a lot of money circulating in the NMR field. A few people, I suspect, buy the ultra-expensive products (those not listed) without even considering the cheaper alternatives here below. I don't want to hide the luxury. The list points to all the web sites that report a price. If you pass me more links, I will insert them. My personal advice is, however, to buy an expensive program only if it contains a vital feature that can't be found elsewhere. Even in this case, first contact the other makers and verify if they plan to implement the missing feature. It's more likely, however, that you'll ask this question the other way round: the less expensive programs are normally richer in functionality.
I understand that people are so frightened by the idea of learning something new that they are ready to pay whichever figure for the program they already know. What they don't realize is that their future needs can grow. What if tomorrow they need 20 or 30 licenses? Will they still afford them?