Time to Consider OpenOffice

Now is the time to seriously consider using OpenOffice as an integral part of your desktop operations. There are 3 strong reasons for this. We start with Reason 1 in the screenshot below:
This is a screenshot of the new Base desktop database module in which is head and shoulders better than the Access module especially since BASE supports many popular databases database natively (Adabas D, ADO, Microsoft Access, MySQL), or any database through industry-standard ODBC and JDBC drivers. It also supports any LDAP compliant address book, as well as common formats such as Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Windows, and Mozilla. This is the cornerstone of a version of Open Office that is not just free but easy to use and in many respects more powerful than Microsoft Office. You owe yourself a look see – if just for your own home computer use because Open Office reads more Microsoft Office file format than Microsoft itself.

Second Reason: Office 2007 Presents Major Learning Curve

I have read countless stories on how IT shops are delaying on using either Linux or other desktop software that rivals Microsoft offerings. Inevitably the issue comes down to “the cost of retraining users”. This oft cited problem despite the lower intial and ongoing costs and ease of use of rival software. Well now Microsoft has provided a more level playing field – Office 2007 will have significant changes to the interface and will represent substantial learning costs. See for one, eWeeks take on these conversion and retraining costs confronting Office 200x shops. In short, you are going to have significant retraining costs – so why not consider a broader range of options.

Third Reason: OASIS ODF-OpenDocumentFormat XML versus Microsofts Open Office Formats

Start here to read the controversy over the OASIS versus Microsoft Open Office XML formats. There are two key problems with Microsofts Open XML format – details of implementation and trust. There are a number of licensing and control of future changes to Microsofts Open Office that leave all the power in Redmond as opposed to the open processes available through OASIS which is a open organization with multiple small and large vendor participation. Second, there is the simple issue of trust. Nearly 8 years ago Microsoft promised to fully implement the then existing JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and DOM standards in Internet Explorer. As of today we are still awaiting major moves to meet those standards andWeb developers will get to cool their heels until the end of this year. And even then Redmond will fall short of W3C DOM, JavaScript and CSS standards.

In effect, Microsoft has used its monopoly power to abuse and disregard standards. One of the chief causes for the silos of information that have persisted throughout the PC era has been Redmonds intransigence on establishing and adhering to standards on Office file formats. This means that intechange of data in Office documents is always a source of frustration and friction in sharing throughout an organization even if it adheres to a Microsoft Office only usage pattern.

Why ? Because the various versions of Office always have file format changes and old versions of Office cannot read and sometimes exchange data with the latest versions. And a second problem is that data now needs to move to and from mobile, PDA, Server, and other data sources more than ever before and there simply is not a uniform medium of exchange other than XML – and as we have noted that is subject to final control in the case of Microsoft Open Office XML by the company with the worst record for standards conformance on the desktop. Buyer Beware!

So consider one of the most attractive alternatives for home and office usage – Open Office.org.

(c)JBSurveyer 2006