Sunday, March 05, 2006

Why Line Bill Gates' Pockets? Part 1

Note: This entry appeared in my original blog, "Home|Work"

I spent a portion of my day on Friday setting up an installation of OpenGroupware for my wife and I to use to coordinate our schedules. Yes, I know, as my wife has pointed out, we could just get a large calendar and put it on the fridge, but where would the fun be in that? In the process of setting it up though, I began to reflect on all the free software that is available out there on the 'Net.

A few years ago, a friend of mine, Murray Zetterholm, who runs a bookstore in Ann Arbor, Crossroads Bibles, Books, and Gifts, was telling me that he would really love to be able to install Microsoft Excel on every computer in his office. I think he had about four computers at the time. The problem was, he said, that it would cost too much to buy a copy of the software for each computer. I pointed him to OpenOffice.org, a complete office suite, including word processor, spreadsheet, presentation software, and even a database program. All of these can open the equivalent files from their Microsoft Office counterpart.

Are they exact copies? No. Are they close enough for most peoples needs? You bet. In fact, the only real problem I have is that, like their counterparts, the OpenOffice.org applications have so many features, that I can get a little lost sometimes just trying to do something simple. If you are in need of an up-to-date office suite and don't feel like shelling out for the most recent version of MS Office, you just might want to check it out.

More tomorrow on this topic. In the meantime, do you have any favorite freebies on the Web?

1 comment:

Murray Zetterholm, PMP said...

Originally from "Home|Work" blog.

I have found OpenOffice to be very good, not perfect, but very good. It works particularly well for individuals that do not already know the MS counterparts. I have had no problem reading files created by OpenOffice in Word or Excel, or vice-versa. I'm sure it is not the right solution for everyone, but for environments with multiple computers and no money, it is great.