Skip to main content

This ChatGPT alternative is free, open source, and available now

The first open-source AI chatbot in the vein of ChatGPT has arrived, and it’s come at a particularly helpful time. ColossalChat is a powerful alternative that uses an RHLF pipeline similar to OpenAI’s GPT-4 model that powers ChatGPT, and it’s available for immediate use.

ChatGPT, of course, remains the premier AI chatbot and keeps plenty busy. But I just tried to log in now and found it was at capacity and, therefore, unavailable. This is a common problem with the service. ColossalChat, on the other hand, is wide open and ready to use for free.

A ColossalChat poem about ChatGPT appears on a MacBook screen.
A ColossalChat poem about ChatGPT appears on a MacBook screen. Photo by Alan Truly

This new AI chatbot can write code, respond intelligently to requests, and converse like OpenAI’s solution. You can try it out at for free, and you don’t even need to log in or create an account.

A quick test of ColossalChat’s safeguards revealed that it has some, but it is more relaxed than ChatGPT. It didn’t want to talk about bombs, yet it did share advice about cheap cigarettes.

According to a Medium post by one of its developers, Yang You, ColossalChat’s Coati large language model is based on LLaMA, Meta’s open-source large language model, then refined to respond in a way that is more like ChatGPT. In fact, You exclaims that ColossalChat is “the closest project to the original technical route of ChatGPT.”

LLaMA can be used directly if you can build the project on your computer. However, its results won’t be quite as engaging as those of ChatGPT or Colossal.

RHLF is an essential feature of ColossalChat and ChatGPT. It means reinforcement learning from human feedback, similar to how animals are taught to perform tricks. When the AI response is appropriate, it’s rewarded, which helps the network understand human preferences.

It’s too soon to know if ColossalChat is comparable to ChatGPT’s latest release, which used GPT-3.5 and could only process text. OpenAI’s latest update brings multimodal input, allowing images to be uploaded to help visually inform the chatbot about what you are trying to do or the question you are asking.

Microsoft’s BingChat is another ChatGPT alternative, and it uses GPT-4 for text input and responses. Bing Chat can also generate images now, via a feature called Bing Image Creator.

It’s unlikely that ColossalChat will surpass ChatGPT in breadth or capabilities, or in popularity, but it’s good to have alternatives, especially when ChatGPT hits capacity.

Editors' Recommendations

Alan Truly
Computing Writer
Alan is a Computing Writer living in Nova Scotia, Canada. A tech-enthusiast since his youth, Alan stays current on what is…
Google’s ChatGPT rival just launched in search. Here’s how to try it
Generative AI in Google Search.

Ever since Microsoft started integrating ChatGPT into Bing search, alarm bells have been ringing at Google. Now, though, the tech giant has started rolling out its own generative artificial intelligence (AI) tool for users as part of its bid to retain its search crown.

In a blog post, the company explains that the new feature (called Search Generative Experience, or SGE) is part of Google’s Search Labs, which lets you test out experimental ideas in Google search and provide feedback to the company. Google says its generative AI will “help you take some of the work out of searching, so you can understand a topic faster, uncover new viewpoints and insights and get things done more easily.”

Read more
Nvidia GPUs see massive price hike and huge demand from AI
Nvidia RTX 2060 Super and RTX 2070 Super review

It feels like we’ve only just emerged from the debilitating graphics card shortage of the last few years, but a new report suggests we can’t breathe easy just yet. Could a new GPU shortage be on the horizon, or are consumers safe from a return to another nightmare scenario?

According to DigiTimes (via Wccftech), Nvidia is seeing a huge surge in demand for its chips due to the explosion in artificial intelligence (AI) tools like ChatGPT. Nvidia offers a range of graphics cards that excel at AI tasks, including the A100 and H100, and the company is reportedly struggling to keep up in the wake of such massive demand.

Read more
Is Apple making its own version of ChatGPT? It seems that way
AI assistants compared with ChatGPT.

Apple is likely working on some kind of answer to ChatGPT and generative AI -- because of course it is. It would have been safe to assume that without evidence, but now we have some solid proof that Apple is starting to take AI seriously.

As noticed by TechCrunch, Apple currently has posted 28 AI-related jobs in May alone, and 9to5Mac points out that there's a total of 88 open jobs at Apple that are somehow related to AI. That's a lot, especially considering the hiring freeze that was instituted earlier this year.

Read more