UPDATE: The development community behind OpenOffice.org has created LibreOffice, which I now recommend instead of OpenOffice. Grab the latest version from libreoffice.org.
Friday saw the release of the first release candidate of OpenOffice version 3, the free and open source alternative to Microsoft Office.
The last thing an auctioneer needs when starting out or outfitting employees or workstations with new computers is to have to pay upwards of $200 for a copy of a piece of software when a clearly sufficient and arguably superior alternative is available.
OpenOffice includes Writer and Calc, alternatives to Word and Excel, respectively. Their functionality is above the basic needs of word processing and number crunching. We’ve been using Calc for inventory uploads for quite some time. The only piece of Writer that we’ve had trouble with is the mail-merge. For that process, we still have to dust off a copy of Microsoft Word.
Version 3 of OpenOffice brings a visual refresh, not to mention full-on support of Microsoft Office 2007 OOXML file formats – those annoying .docx and .xlsx formats that everyone complains about when you MS Office 2007 users forget to use save-as before you email.
OpenOffice.org is a great alternative to Microsoft Office. It’s like different brands of cars. The gear-shift may be in a different place, but a Ford and a Chevrolet both go forwards and backwards at about the same speed. If you’ve driven a Ford all your life, you may feel a little different for the first hundred miles in your Chevrolet, but it’ll take you where you want to go.
OpenOffice.org is open source and runs on Windows, Mac and Linux.