Sold on Open Office.org

icon1 flick harrison | icon4 Feb 4, 2009| icon3

penguin open office

That's a figure of speech, of course, because Open Office is the FREE alternative to Microsoft Office.  I've been toying with it in Ubuntu on my XO laptop, and then installed it on my Mac G5 once I realized that X11 (the interface for Linux apps) came pre-installed on OSX 10.5.  I like that O.O. opens .doc and excel files, so I've been trying to migrate all my office tasks onto Open Office.

But two factors that I discovered today sold me ultimately on it, despite some conversion troubles.*

One is the little tools at the bottom of a document window, that allow you to switch between selection modes and text-insertion modes.  That means your cursor can select a word here, then a word there, and either cut, copy, or format them all at once. There's a few other options as well.

The other big factor is the Canadian dictionary plug-in, which I've been unable to get happening in Word.  Game over.  Open Office wins.  Word accepts Canadian spellings, but refuses to correct U.S. spelling.  I.e. it will accept labour, but refuses to reject labor.  I notice WordPress is doing the Canadian thing on this blog, which I must have activated somewhere...

So - the score is:

Video editing - apple all the way

Video convert - mpegstreamclip (open source)

DVD burning - toast (mac only)

Office  - Open Office (open source)

Internet - Firefox (open source)

Mail - Mac Mail and Thunderbird (tie between mac and open source)

Music - Itunes (mac) - with Audacious (open source) in the starting gate for testing.

Open source is gaining fast.

*My novel, for instance, will remain in Word indefinitely, because the chapter-numbering fields and a few other complicado dinge are refusing to translate correctly, but new projects are O.O. all the way.  At least until someone is paying me to edit my novel, at which point I might have a swing through it on O.O.

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