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Open Office - free alternative to Microsoft Office

Open Office - free alternative to Microsoft Office

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In a recent thread a lot of readers praised Open Office, the free Open Source alternative to Microsoft Office. At 193mb it's pretty big to download over the net. But it's currently available with the February 2006 edition of Computer Shopper magazine (DVD version).

I bought a copy and loaded it on this morning. There's a word processor, database and spreadsheet. So far it looks great - just like Excel!

Small point: it's rather buried away in the DVD. To install it: Toolkit-Office-Open Office-Install-Setup.exe

David Carter

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By dahowlett
06th Jan 2006 17:49

The issue many are overlooking
I'm not a fan of OpenOffice - in its current form. It shows promise and the fact Google/Sun are playing with this is interesting.

The argument Office is standard and only £100/seat doesn't hold up for me. Office is proprietary - MSFT just fought a bitter battle with the State of Massachusetts over their decision to take on open source file formats. And lost. Expect more battles of this kind.

MSFT has promised to make its file formats 'open' but we've yet to see that happen. If they do, AND Vista is more than consumer lipstick AND Office 12 comes out on time AND is moderately bug free, then the game could change. But others are moving on while MSFT tries to get its stuff out the door.

MSFT licencing is a constant battle, precisely because it represents a significant pro-rata cost when you take into account the servers, desktop and other MSFT specific stuff that has to be paid for to run this stuff. Especially once you include things like MS Exchange for email (which is becoming redundant anyway).

I cannot believe James is serious about quality. It is precisely because MSFT has so many quality problems that we see so many vulnerabilities in its software. Many analysts are deeply concerned about this and those same concerns are still with us in the run up to Vista/Office going gold.

Yesterday, there was concern about how MSFT is limping towards a solution for the WMF vulerability.

Vulnerabilities can't be ignored because we're talking about a suite not a single app.

I will concede that familiarity plays a significant part in decisions. Except when you see how Vista + Office 12 are radically different, then it makes people stop and think. But and here's the killer, some MSFT insiders think Office 12 might only get 50% uptake by 2010. If true then what are the alternatives and who's using them?

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By AnonymousUser
07th Jan 2006 10:10

I always thought that
the reason that MS products appeared to be so vulnerable to attack (resulting in a stream of security updates) is a direct result of its commercial success. The "attackers" concentrate their efforts on the product that is used by 90% of the consumer population. Other products are no less vulnerable in principle, but of no interest to the hackers. Once their popularity improves that might change. If you get Open Office, is there a proactive route to obtaining regular updates as security flaws are identified?

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By NeilW
07th Jan 2006 12:35

Licence management
MSFT licencing is a constant battle, precisely because it represents a significant pro-rata cost

It's not the cost of the licence that matters. It is the management of licences over time - particularly when you have a plethora of different software throughout the organisation, all of which need updating and altering as time moves on. Licence management is a significant expense in anything but the smallest operation, often requiring a full-time team of software managers.

NeilW

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By dahowlett
05th Jan 2006 14:34

Is this the start...?
Is this the start of what you see as a 'convulsion' David? OpenOffice has been around for ages, it's only just starting to get mainstream attention.

People will inevitably draw comparisons between OpenOffice and MSFT Office suite. I won't go there - except to say I'm not overly impressed.

What I will say is that OpenOffice serves as a metaphor for what is happening right now but which isn't the endgame.

This is the first real salvo in what will IMHO be a fascinating struggle between Microsoft, the open source community and those that are riding open source and the services that can be built for all it's worth.

I downloaded OpenOffice over DSL as I expect many others will do. Just leave it to go while you grab lunch.

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By AnonymousUser
06th Jan 2006 15:22

not convinced
OpenOffice does look like it has some interesting features, like the equation editor.

But I'm not convinced it really provides much over MS-Office, since the latter is only £100 a seat in basic form anyway. MS support and updates are second-to-none, it's totally standard and well proven.

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By Anonymous
06th Jan 2006 13:59

Problem for VT users...
...For those of us who use VT accounts Open Office is not compaible.

If it was I would certainly be using it!

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By David Carter
06th Jan 2006 16:38

let's give it a go
Dennis, no not a convulsion. But I think we need to encourage some healthy competition to keep Microsoft on their toes.

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By tomtrainer
13th Jan 2006 16:14

James Pearce
Did you say "MS support...[is] second-to-none"? I didn't know they did support?

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