Wednesday, April 15, 2009

OpenOffice -vs- MS Office

Many people ask us IT people why they should pay over $300 for Microsoft Office. While education breaks can save you at least $100, it's still an expensive piece of software.

Some of the alternatives available come down to some tired suites that I won't go into, simply because they are just that - tired - however there is one that is not only free, but development is more steady and security is high.

The PRO's of OpenOffice:
  • It works for 99% of you out there. Really!
  • It's 99% compatible with Microsoft.
  • It provides stuff free that you wouldn't dare even try with Microsoft Office
  • It works on all current modern operating systems, including OSX, Linux, Windows 98-Windows 7.
  • Its not as tightly integrated with the Operating system and other office components, making it less susceptible to malware, virus and other cyber attacks.
  • It's FREE - So, well, it's not marketing the same and doesn't get the same high fives that Microsoft gets for the same features.
  • It's FREE - SO theres some user interface differences that seem alittle less polished. It's getting better every version, but it could use alittle more polish occasionally.
  • It's not Microsoft Office, therefore that Excel spreadsheet the IT deparmtent made that tracks your time and costs for you instead of buying a real application for doing so WILL NOT WORK HERE. Raise your hand if your situation sounds similar. I see 5 hands... Out of 120,000. Thats what I thought.
  • It't not as deeply integrated as Microsoft Office. So, stuff doesn't pop back and forth between applications quite as easily. Raise your hand if you actually knew how to do some of those nifty address book things from Outlook to Excel and back... Ya, 2 hands this time. Just what I thought.

If your kid is in need of an Office suite, and its not a requirement by the teacher/professor to use Microsoft Office, by all means give them OpenOffice! If you have a small office that doesn't do programming, by all means, OpenOffice! If you are an IT firm or small/mid size office that needs specialized programmed tools inside of say Word or Excel type applications, you CAN GO EITHER WAY, but there will be more ubiquity with Microsoft Office, more tools and more people to ask for help with issues.

Then again, I would tell the IT staff to learn programming with OpenOffice. It's safer.

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