Why Pay $600 Office??

december 28, 2002

For all of you who don't know: Microsoft Office XP Professional costs $600. If you don't want MS Access, you can get Microsoft Office XP Standard for a mere $450. I use Office XP at work and it works fine for the stuff I do there, but when I went on a search to find an alternative to paying $600 (or even $450) for an office package, I turned up a real gem that does all of the stuff that Microsoft Office XP does, but for free. What package am I talking about? To start off though, I want to comment on something. Linux is great and I like the idea that there is a free OS out there, especially an industrial strength free OS for servers. And that is just what Linux is good for: Servers. When mom and pop, or even grams fires up their computers though, they will expect Microsoft Windows (or some flavor or sort to come up) -- of course that is unless they are smart and got a Mac, but that's a whole different story!

The reason being is that mom and pop would like to use the mainstream stuff out there that's not available for Linux like Quicken, etc. But when it comes to word processing, I think that an alternative to Microsoft Office would be OK if it could read/write MS Office formatted files.

That is where [url=http://www.openoffice.org/" target="__OOo]OpenOffice.org[/url] steps in. This is the free brother of Sun Microsystem's [url=http://wwws.sun.com/software/star/staroffice/6.0/" target="__SO]StarOffice[/url]. The only missing feature is the database and technical support. So what's it got and what makes it so great?

Easy, it's got all the major features of Microsoft Office XP Standard: A word processor (Writer), a spreadsheet app (Calc), HTML editor (HTML Editor), and presentation application (Impress). And it has a vector drawing application (Draw) thrown in for good measure.

While the applications have the major functions of Microsoft Office, there are no real frills with the package