Wednesday, 5 April 2006 2.0 help

If you think can't hold a candle to Microsoft Office, then this lady could convince you otherwise. Solveig Haugland's blog is loaded with example of things you can accomplish with this open source office productivity suite. You'll be surprised, I'm guessing. I know I was (and still am, actually).

[ Training, Tips, and Ideas ]


dzul said...

Have you tried the software? Is the file created compatible with MS Office? If not, what I think is the most needed feature if they want more user to use their product is make the file created using the software so that it can be opened by MS Office. Unless, the user living in the world independent from MS Office or the file is strictly for private or limited use then that won't really matter.

rollie said...

Have I tried the software? Yes, in fact I'm using it all the time presently. I'm happy to report the latest version OO 2.0 is a much better performer than its predecessor. The interface is slicker with more options and more similar-to-Office look.

Are the files compatible with MS Office? Yes, and this is one of the main reasons why people ought consider using OO. It's not 100% compatible, especially if your document has complex tables etc. Still, for common documents, OO will get most of your needs covered.

With OO you can covert your documents - letters, slides, spreadsheets, HTML documents - easily into PDFs. Office only added this feature recently. I find feature incredibly useful for sharing documents

I use OO because I want to help people understand that you can basically meet most of your working needs without using Office. OO is a rather good alternative for common users. A large number of Office features like Smart Tags are not critical, 'must have' features for the common users. For basic use, OO would probably suffice.

OO isn't perfect as well. There are some problems like the poor anti-aliasing handling of graphics in its presentation software, Impress and its rather unfriendly (IMHO) way of handling colours and colour swatches (palettes).

The mentality of the common users here is that if they don't have Office, they don't see the need for a computer. And since the actual price of Office is in the hundreds, they normally go for the pirated version.

What worries me most is not the dependency of the people on Microsoft, but their dependency on pirated software. They don't see any alternatives to this and continue to (as what I commonly refer to as) 'feed the pirates'. The losers are the users and the software business, and only happy party is the pirates, swimming happily in the money they plundered.

I wish people would shift their mindset a bit and realise that if we continue to rely on pirated products, we are actually killing our own local software industry, among other ill side effects. Office used to be a 'must have', but now we have choices. Unfortunately, not many are aware of them. And because pirated stuff is extremely cheap, some even refuse to care (without pirates, they feel like 'drowning', probably). I hope software like OO can help remedy the situation.

dzul said...

Hmm, the "PDF conversions" feature is pretty nifty. Yeah what you're saying is true, but still I think here in Malaysia, unless you're somewhat computer savvy person, I don't think people would consider using any alternatives to the mainstream softwares even if it is free and much better than the mainstream softwares. Unless, it is forced by people "above" them. What I mean by this is like for example, the goverment decided that offices in gov related bodies must use OO or on smaller scale, an organisation that implement the usage of OO in their offices. Well, that's the way that I see it.

Last time, my auntie, a teacher bought a computer that only come with OO. She's just a normal end user that use it to do work related task. Since the computer didn't come with MS Office, she just use OO to do things that she needs. But later she had no choices but to ditch OO and install MS Office because problems like the school computer didn't have OO installed, so. the files that she created using her comp couldn't be opened and she couldn't print it using the school printer. And then the files she shared or passed to her colleagues couldn't be opened and edited since they don't use OO and it is incompatible with MS Office at that time.

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