Monday, March 19, 2007 the alternative to MS Office

For Windows, Mac and Linux: a free office suite program is both the name of a program, and the website you can download it from. The software is an open-source, cross-platform Office Suite that is comparable to Microsoft Office. It has versions that work with Windows, Macintosh, and Linux/Unix, and it's available free of charge.

Here is a link to recent review by Anne Krishnanof at Linux Insider, of the latest version:

OpenOffice: More Pros Than Cons     An excerpt:

[...] Users tend to love it. Reviewers across the Internet give OpenOffice thumbs up for being just as good as office suites by Microsoft and Lotus. They always point out the price is right when you consider that the 2007 version of Microsoft Office for individuals ranges from US$150 to $450.

OpenOffice offers many of the same applications as Microsoft Office, including a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation program and database, rivaling Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access. It also includes a drawing program and an equations program.

The software looks and feels like Microsoft Office, and it can read and display most files created in other programs. According to one reviewer, it also does just fine saving documents that can be read by the proprietary programs.

You can download the program from or order it on a CD to run on Windows, Linux or Mac operating systems. You can even run it from a thumb drive, meaning you can carry the programs with you and use them on any computer you choose.

There are catches to OpenOffice, depending on how you want to use the programs, but not any related to this being an open source project. Like any software, OpenOffice has some things that it does better than others, and some features it lacks altogether. [...]

It's a good review that is also honest about possible shortcomings, like the lack of office-wide calendar sharing and other things that I don't even need.

It's ideal for my work situation, an office in an RV Park. I use it for business correspondence, Memos, creating stationary and park forms, and it also has desktop publishing capabilities which come in handy for creating signs and making advertising brochures.

I use both Linux and Windows XP, and I can use the same OpenOffice files on both operating systems, which is very convenient. There is no license fee to pay, and I can install it on as many computers as I want. If you haven't got an office suite yet or are looking for an option to MS Office, you may want to check it out.

Related Links: 2 - Product Description
Get more details of it's many features here. Also links to more screenshots.

Why the Office Format Wars are Not Over
A good article by Glyn Moody at Linux Journal, explaining why it's NOT over (despite what Microsoft says) and what is at stake. Training, Tips, and Ideas
A blog devoted to OpenOffice training, tutorials, and discussions. Updated regularly, its an excellent resource for the power user.

For Linux AND Windows... FREE
A prior post of mine, about Openoffice and a book that helps people make the transition to it from MS Office.

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