Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Microsoft owns the office suite market. No arguing that these days. Lotus has fallen into obscurity, still used religiously by a small group of loyal accountants, and Corel sells very little of its Word Perfect, and Quattro Pro offerings compared to Word, and Excel.

Corporations have recently been the target of license auditing by Microsoft, receiving letters that they are in violation of their licensing agreements if they have gone beyond the number of licenses they purchased. I am not condoning pirating of these applications, but Microsoft's scare tactics have many people heading in a new direction.

When I first saw the predecessor to OpenOffice, it had come with a copy of Caldera Linux, and was called Star Office. It was clunky and bloated, but got the job done, as this was long before there was any other Linux office suite that worked at all. The windows version was available free for personal use, and was scary enough to avoid. Then Sun purchased Star, and made a parallel open-source offering called OpenOffice.

The newest version is impressive. Impressive enough that more and more people, including corporate users, have been using it in place of Microsoft Office. The transition is not perfect since OpenOffice is not an exact clone of MS Office, there is a small learning curve, but all functionality is there. There are even a few things that it does better. It comes with equivalents for Word, Excell, Power Point, and Access. The only thing missing is an Outlook clone, and for those people running newer versions of Exchange, Outlook Web Access is usually enough these days.

Give it a try! Available for Windows, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, and MacOS.

Click Here to Download