Saturday, April 19, 2008

Personal milestone: I'm now MSOffice free

I finally got around to flushing MSOffice off of my home systems. It was an old copy of Office 2000 which I'd picked up at the time I'd also picked up one one and only copy of Windows 2000. I replaced it with OpenOffice 3 Beta (DEV300 M7), which has been in the news for a few months now. My office is seriously considering it as a parallel alternative on both Macs and Windows XP systems in order to better allow the creation of proposals and white papers across multiple authors, a task that we've discovered MSOffice doesn't seem to be all that good at. The original MSOffice installation would stay because the company has a site license for Office Standard.

If there is a hole in the OpenOffice suite it's the lack of an equivalent to Visio. Microsoft didn't develop Visio, they bought it. For personal use OpenOffice is more than adequate, especially when I need to share documents between Windows and Linux on dual-boot machines.

This makes the second major open application I've switched to that is supported by Sun. The first is NetBeans (now at 6.1 RC1). I also use Java 6 pretty heavily, and come to think of it, now that Sun owns MySQL, I find I'm using another Sun application. I've been keeping an eye on Open Solaris/Nevada/BeleniX as well. I'd like to think I could use Nevada in place of Linux, but I have no desire to find the necessary hardware drivers, or more importantly, do without hoping that they'll appear. Perhaps at some point in the future OpenSolaris will be mature enough to use on modern hardware, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

The latest Linux distribution releases are all carrying OpenOffice 2.4.0. It would be nice of distributions would make OpenOffice 3 available when it's finally officially released, rather than make you perform a complete version upgrade to get the latest OO. I wonder if Mandriva will allow that to happen.

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