I've been playing around with Open Office and I've decided to give it a try full time. Open Office is a free, open source office suit. It includes a word processor, spreadsheet, database, mathematical equation editor, and drawing program.
In order to give Open Office a fair shot I'm going to see if I can drop Microsoft Office for a full month. I'll not use Microsoft Office at all. The only caveat I'll place on this is I won't let my experiment have a negative impact on my teaching. All my old files are in Microsoft format, so we'll see how Open Office (or Neo Office on my Mac) will handle them.
I have a couple of reasons for trying this. The first is the version of MS Office for Mac OSX does not run natively (it runs in Rosetta, an emulator) so is often slow and sluggish. Additionally, I haven't been very pleased with the transition to the Mac version of MS Office. It's not exactly the same, but is close enough to drive me crazy. So, I figure this is the perfect time to switch programs.
A second reason is it's free and if I never have to buy MS Office again I would be very happy. I've been using Google Docs (Writely) a lot lately, but find I still need to have a wordprocessor and spreadsheet on my computer.
The third reason is the size of MS Word files. I was playing around with Open Office today and saved a file in the default format. It was 13kb, when I saved the same file in MS Word format it was 71 kb!!! This is outrageous. I'm tired of lazy programmers telling me memory is cheap. I'd prefer they write more efficient programs and file formats.
At a minimum I'll stop using MS Office for the next month to give Open Office a fair shot. After that I'll review it here and hopefully I'll dicide I'm not going back.
Tags: Open Office, Open Source, education, falconphysics