Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Microsoft nags you to dump Office.

As reported by Mary Jo Foley today, Microsoft is adding the "Genuine Advantage" nags to Microsoft Office. In case you've been living under a rock, "Genuine Advantage" is the anti-piracy measure that debuted in Windows XP. The one that mistakenly tagged large numbers of users as pirates and cut off access to their machines. Now it's a kinder and gentler "Advantage" that just sits there and nags you when it erroneously identifies you as a thief for having spent hundreds of hard-earned dollars on a program that has no real advantage over the old version.

Fortunately, we don't even have to put up with the nag. OpenOffice.org is a terrific replacement for Office. It won't cost you anything, it does what you need, and it's 100% completely, totally nag-free. And guilt-free, too. As OpenOffice.org is Open Source, you use it to your heart's content and even give it away. No fees, ever. And OpenOffice.org works just fine whether you're using Windows, MacOS, or Linux.

Speaking of Linux, most distributions ship with KOffice, which is just fine (though I tend to like OpenOffice.org better, though KOffice is arguably more complete. Sorry, Windows users need not apply). If you're in a more proprietary mood (but still into Open Source), then IBM has it's new Symphony office suite available for the low, low price of free. It doesn't come with everything that OpenOffice.org has to offer, but it's bundled with Lotus Notes 8, which makes it a really compelling alternative.

And all of these packages utilize the well-established ODF standard for document formats. Microsoft Office doesn't even support Microsoft's own OOXML.

Microsoft is doing it's part to promote Open Source. With the new "Genuine Advantage" feature, you have yet another reason to "just say no" to overpriced hypeware.

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