Going the ‘Open’ Office way

After much deliberation, I finally got rid of my 60-day trial version of MS Office2007 and switched to open source software, namely, OpenOffice.org (yeah I know, the .org is part of its official name as well).

On a side note, I also got rid of Microsoft Works9 that came preinstalled on my laptop straight away and buried the installation CD deep.
In my opinion, Works is the most ridiculous office suite anyone could have thought of, and I guess the only reason people even use it is because it comes preinstalled on every computer you buy Windows with (along with a trial version of the current MS Office suite).

Now why am I moving to open source?
First and foremost: because its FREE!
I can’t imagine shelling out a good 75 EUR for the home (and “student”) edition of MS Office – whatever the hell that means; it ships with exactly the same version of Word and Excel as every other edition – the only differences being the other extras.

Secondly, because I’m not exactly an excel power-user – in fact the only reason I use a spreadsheet is for keeping track of my spending and managing passwords.
I really couldn’t care less for Macros or a Visual Basic editor outside work.

Even so, the incredible power of OpenOffice.org has completely blown me away; in fact there’s a whole bunch of things it does so much better than MS Office that I’m wondering why I didn’t use it all along. And why more people don’t use it.

If you’re one of those people who’re lugging around a pirated version of MS Office because you can’t afford the real thing and secretly wishing no one calls your foul, I’m talking to you.
I know your excuse: you think you’ve no other options – and you couldn’t be more wrong. And with extensive online support and instant (not to mention FREE!) updates, there couldn’t be a better time to switch to Open Source Software.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go install VLC player (everybody’s favorite open player), GIMP (an open source image editor that’s supposed to rival Photoshop) and 7-zip (open source archive extractor).


A New Beginning said...

Hmm back from vacation and back to work!Great!Thanks for visitn my blog and hope to read more of such interestn posts! Best

Anonymous said...

Way to go! I ditched MS Works on my Vista laptop a long time ago. Some of the open source software I use are GIMP (image editor), OpenOffice.org (gotta love the extensions!), Stellarium (planetarium), Celestia (travel the universe!), Scribus (desktop publishing), Pidgin (IM client), Firefox, VLC media player, Free Download Manager, Zotero (research tool), Lyx (LATEX processor), R and R commander (statistics software), 7-zip, GNUCash (Finance Management), WinDJview (to view .djvu files), PDFcreator (pdf driver), Jabref (bibTEX manager), GSView (to view Postscript files) and Songbird (media player)!

Anonymous said...

Oh and how could i forget Thunderbird with Enigmail!

Mohammed Musthafa said...

hey....well, VLC is familiar to me...but havent tried out the OpenOffice programs...whts so cool about them? wish u had a pro's and con's table or jus some pointers abt the use of OpenOffice....still, guess u're busy downloading now! thnks for the advice though...

Anonymous said...

i'm technically challenged. i don't understand such bhaari bharkam topics :-) My fault

-=A.R.N.=- said...

@A New beginning
Well not exactly "work"...I'm just reconfiguring my new computer (again).

Dude, you have a Vista laptop? Whatever happened to Ubuntu, Redhat and all the rainbow flavors of linux?

I don't use Pidgin because the only IM/voip I need is skype.
Also, I don't use Thunderbird because Y!mail (the standard free version) has no POP/SMTP support.

But I'm now cool with GIMP, 7-zip and VLC for now.

-=A.R.N.=- said...


All things being equal, I guess the single biggest advantage for open office is that its free; and you get perfectly good, legitimate software without having to pay an arm and leg for.
Also, I don't think I'd be wrong in assuming over 90% of all home/student users of MS Office in India run a pirated version.

In fact, the only reason I can think of to use MS-office is because formats like .doc, .xls etc. are industry standards; and OpenOffice natively works with them (which is not possible with MS-Works).

The other advantage is that you have loads of extensions for Open Office (which again are free, unlike MS-office)

No problem...not everyone digs tech.
The basic point is, if you are running a pirated version of MS-Office (for Word, Excel and stuff) and think you have no other choice (because its too expensive to buy), then close your eyes and download OpenOffice.
Simply the best free thing yet!

Shimmer said...

GIMP (an open source image editor that’s supposed to rival Photoshop)

ahaa!! thanx for the info :D, m off to google it :D

and thanx for ur views on onpen office :D. btw does it use less processor time than MS office 2007?? my XP * MS offce 07 * CS3 * antivirus s/w is killing my patience!!!! :P

-=A.R.N.=- said...

Yes! OpenOffice Calc opens spreadsheets a lot faster than Excel2007.
Though, I haven't compared Word and PowerPoint yet.

What antivirus do you use? I'd recommend Norton Internet Security2009. Its very light on resources.
And you actually have CS3?? Wow..that is one expensive software.

Anonymous said...

I actually use a whole repertoire of OS's :) ..in fact I just finished a great book on FreeBSD and am looking to deploy it soon. I have Ubuntu EEE on dad's netbook; Win XP, Arch and Ubuntu on the home PC with Arch being the default, and the only reason Vista's on the laptop is because it came with it by default. I'll scrap it completely the moment I stop receiving free updates :) .

You should really check out 'Meet The GIMP" at http://meetthegimp.org/

-=A.R.N.=- said...

I guess the only reason ANYONE has vista is because they come preinstalled on laptops...I don't know a single person who voluntarily upgraded.
Anyway, I'm looking forward to Windows7: MS promises a 15sec boot time which alone seems to merit an upgrade.

Shimmer said...

Hehehehehehe :P

who said i bought CS3 :P

all hail torrents :D

Meet The GIMP" at http://meetthegimp.org/ // hm ill c dat :)

-=A.R.N.=- said...

Ah, I figured just as much! :D
Its too overpriced anyway...

Cva said...

You know what i got a Testing version of Windows 7. It looks cool and it works in my good old laptop. I installed and tried everything it has cool GUI. The Saddest part is i don't have much time to work with it. And all my programs are not compatible with it. So, Right now it is in my hard disc but i hardly boot in to it.

-=A.R.N.=- said...

you know what? I just missed a free upgrade to Windows7 (which comes out this oct) because I bought my new laptop a week too early!!
Dell website now advertises that all laptops bought on/after 26jun are eligible, and I got mine on 17jun.


Anonymous said...

Salaam Alaykum !

Glad to see you are back ! I recieved an e-mail from Khaleel who told me that you met. That must have been awesome !

I've 'really' been using OpenOffice.org for around 4 years and I love it ! Especially that you can export presentations to HTML or SWF and play them anywhere !
Other OpenSource products I am using on my brand new Vista Laptop - (Yes the very same you recommended) are:

Firefox, Inkscape, Filezilla, 7zip, VLC, GIMP, Emacs, and Mozilla Prism.

Propriety Freeware I prefer: Avast Antivirus and Aptana Web development Studio.

The reason, I haven't installed Linux yet is that some of the hardware is still not supported. Heck - even Vista has limited support for my trackpad !

-=A.R.N.=- said...

Yeah, finally got to meet the guy...after like what - 8years? Wow, time flies. Realized how much people change - and still remain the exact same person I knew.
Had great fun.

So you headed over to Europe or the MiddleEast (or even India) anytime soon?

And abt "proprietary" freeware, you think Avast is good enough? I didn't want to leave my anti-virus to chance (or freeware!), so I got Norton2009.

Anonymous said...

@A.R.N. I don't blame you. I think one should always use software they trust will do the job for them.

I've been using Avast for many years now - I think it was around 2003 when my McAfee 2002 subscription expired and I did not want to purchase another copy !

Avast has been extremely reliable for me especially when browsing the web and in cases where I land on a page that pushes a suspicious file/trojan. It immediately notifies you and aborts connection just to that web-site.

So far I've never had any virus issues. Even if you don't want to update the program - atleast update the database !

The only annoying fact about Avast is that you require a registeration key - which is free anyway - but it is good for 14 months after which you need to register again and obtain a new key.
I think they should just get rid of registeration for Home users.

How long can you keep your Norton2009 updated ?

Anonymous said...

@A.R.N. About travelling across the Atlantic - no I've not got any plans yet - Although I am yearning to perform Umrah sometime soon Inshallah.

Otherwise I'm still planning to vacation within Ontario.

-=A.R.N.=- said...


My Norton copy is valid for one year...which is not bad considering I only paid 20EUR for it (was on sale).

Let me know of your Umrah plans when they materialize, inshaAllah I need to go for Hajj too.

Darshan Chande said...

Visiting your blog after a long time and it's real good to see you writing posts about software too, especially, this one.

I also advocate open source softwares. Just a few months back for the first time I installed OpenOffice suite in my PC and I wonder why the hell people would use MS Office which costs such big! I am yet to try Gimp though.

You did not mention about open source OS, though. Have you tried Linux? A friend of mine was talking about it the other day. The Fedora version of Linux is such great that had it come a decade back today Microsoft would be nowhere to be seen. Seems like we should try it, what say?

-=A.R.N.=- said...

@Darshan Chande
Actually I'd write more on software...but from experience I've seen these aren't quite so popular

OpenOffice is good enough for the regular user...however for the workplace I guess no one can still beat MS...after all, OO doesn't come with an email server like Outlook Exchange Server, and wouldn't support huge global address books over a network.

GIMP is also pretty good...except that its a bit steep on the learning curve.

As for Open source OS, I already pre-ordered MS Windows7 (I couldn't stand Vista) so at least for now I guess that's not on my cards for a while