Sunday, April 30, 2006

OpenOffice.org adoption: Microsoft does their part

If you haven't heard (and even if you have) Microsoft is adding MS Office to their Genuine Advantage program. As reported in Ars Technica, Microsoft is taking the "nagware" approach.

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20060427-6687.html

If the company thinks your copy of Office is pirated, you may receive balloon messages on your screen like this one:
This copy of Windows is not genuine.
You may be the victim of software counterfeiting
You'll also be blocked from updates and new releases. OK, fine, except that I remember the issues Microsoft had with their Windows Genuine Advantage initiative when it rolled out.
Surely I can't be the only one who remembers that they had to turn around and defeat the Genuine Advantage test because of false positives that locked out many paying customers!

I'm not sure I want to deal with that headache. In fact, I know I don't. If Microsoft were purposely trying to drive their users into the arms of their competitors, this would be a good way to go about it. As it stands, Office97 has been just fine for most of Microsoft's users since for the last 9 years. There hasn't been a reason to upgrade until now.

The question is, what will you upgrade to? Or, as Bill Gates used to say, "Where are you going today?" To the latest version of MS Office? Well, maybe, but even looking past the expensive price tag, you've got a bit of a steep learning curve ahead of you. Microsoft has been doing major surgery on the user interface, and not everybody likes the changes.

Fortunately I don't have to deal with that mishegoss because I'm one of the many who've switched to OpenOffice.org. It gives you all of the features you need... word processing, spreadsheet, drawing, presentation graphics, and databases. With no acquisition costs, no licensing hassles, and no Genuine "Advantage" headaches. It reads and writes Microsoft Office file formats, although I personally prefer using the accredited standard OpenDocument format files over the legacy MS Office proprietary formats.

One other nice thing about this is that, unlike Microsoft Office, OpenOffice.org runs on Windows, Linux, and on the Mac, so you've got no issues with cross-platform compatibility. Not only that, but OpenOffice's layout is more like your current office suite than Microsoft's "upgrade" is! Wow, easier to learn, cheaper to deploy, no legal hassles at all... what's not to like?

Download and install OpenOffice.org today.

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