Open Office – Free Office Suite

Surely telling folks about Open Office is an utter waste of time. Everyone knows about it already.

More important than telling people it’s out there is convincing people to try it. I’m not saying Microsoft Office sucks – it doesn’t. But Open Office, for me, simply fits better. It’s open source , meaning the source code is included with the compiled version. Microsoft Office does not include the source code (commercial programs, in general, do not), it’s impossible to see how the program was created, and collaborative development is not encouraged (actually, it’s not possible). Open source software includes the source code to encourage users to modify and improve it, leading to a more innovative product over time.

Open Office is cross-platform. That means you can use it in Windows, Linux, Sun Solaris, Mac OS, etc.

Open Office is free. You can download updated versions for free, any time you’d like. You can make as many copies as you like. You can install it on as many computers as you’d like. It’s compatible with Microsoft Office and most other major office suites. It’s complete, meaning it includes spreadsheet, presentation, graphics, database, and word processing elements.

Buying a version of Microsoft Office that includes everything Open Office includes for free would cost hundreds of dollars.

But what do end users think about it? Only people who can’t afford Microsoft Office use it, right?

I have a copy of Microsoft Office; I uninstalled it over two years ago and it sits gathering dust on my desk (no, you can’t have it). I use Open Office exclusively (for my productivity software). I thank Microsoft for their efforts, but Open Office performs suitably for me. I can read and edit all my old Microsoft Office documents and any document I create can be read and edited by Microsoft Office users.

The most common thing I hear is, “I don’t know how to save documents so other people can open them in Microsoft Office. It’s just too troublesome.”

“‘File – save as’ is a wonderful thing to learn,” I respond. My other response? “Tell people to quit using Microsoft Office and download Open Office. Then nobody will have to worry about it.”

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