It is the start of a new year and what better way it is to save money especially on software for home and business use. Previously I brought Microsoft Office in order to use Word, Excel, Power Point, and Access software for personal and office work. It started to be expensive to pay $400 - $500 Office license for each computer so the last few years I been having just 1 or 2 computers with Microsoft Office and the rest use the free Open Office.
Open Office is an open source clone of Microsoft Office with their latest version as 3.0. Their Writer program mimics Microsoft Word, Calc mimics Excel, Impress mimics Power Point, and Base mimics Access. Open Office programs can open and edit the Microsoft equivalent programs or save it as a pdf file or publish as a web page. The program is about 400MB, and can be download for free or pay a fee of about $10 to have the program burned to CD and send to you.
Personally I only use the Writer and Calc program to edit Microsoft Word and Excel files because I am still more comfortable with Word and Excel but plan to spend about 5 hours a week for the next two months using Open Office. It is hard to justify paying $500 for a software for each computer when the average user only use about 10 percent of the functionalities. Imagine having an office with 30 or 40 computers and paying a big licensing fees for software that many agent don't use. I would rather save the money and use it to generate business.
Open Source and free used to mean not high quality programs and no support. These days it isn't true and some of these programs have updates more often and are usually more reliable such as Linux, Fire Fox, and Open Office. You can read more about my Fire Fox and plug-ins blog here. I am acutally doing some review on a few more Open Source programs this month such as GIMP for image manipulation (Photoshop clone) and Blender for 3D.