MS Office is now the bullseye

I’ve never smoked cigarettes but for a couple years now I’ve totally understood that addiction. I’ll tell you what mine has been: Microsoft Office. I’d do anything to get a hold of it in my past. I worked a deal a while back to buy some licenses from a vendor that I bought a lot of products through so I still use it. However, that was quite a few years ago and right now I’m seeing no compelling reason to upgrade to Office 2007. FYI, my wife’s new Macbook came with Office 2007 so I may play with it more there.

I’ve blogged a long time ago about my dependence on Microsoft Outlook and Access. I’ve been trying to find a way around them to little avail. Well, that’s what it would seem like but I actually have found solutions but I still have that Office monkey on my back. At home and for my consulting I work in Linux, Windows, and Mac and one of the major themes of this blog is working well in all three or whatever you’re given. Well, with my laptop I primarily boot into Linux, my desktop I primarily use Windows and and my wife is on a Mac. The rest of my systems are a mixture of the three except I run all Linux servers. So, for consistency at home and for offices I really want to run the same software throughout.

This is where I hit my crossroads. What are the solutions I found? Zimbra for Outlook, and Openoffice or StarOffice to replace Microsoft office. Just as a little background, when I originally decided to replace everything on my windows computer in Linux in 1999 I was excited about WordPerfect making a Linux version and I didn’t use Macs much. This brings me to the news.

Obviously, I’m not the only one on the quest because last weeks acquisitions and releases have really changed the landscape of my choices. First, Zimbra get bought by Yahoo to battle with Microsoft for the email client/server arena. Sun has made their long used program Star Office free for download and of course Google has bought up all the online productivity programs to take on office productivity.

Now, I’m not going to do a formal comparison but I have used all these programs in the recent past except for StarOffice (which actually spawned OpenOffice years ago). StarOffice was however on the system I had in 1999 with WordPerfect because it formatted some documents from Word better. Now, there are free choices galore. I use OpenOffice quite a bit on Linux and Mac but I have noticed some table layouts look really off. That said… That’s it.

As a IT guy I’m an agent of change and I can’t even tell you why I use Microsoft Office given the chance to do otherwise. I have briefly install Zimbra and I have to say it is the most beautiful email client ever. However, just when I was going to change over to it I stopped hosting my own email server and gave that to a web host. This may change my ability to use it but I definitely will have to revisit this since I found out how to sync it to my PDA.

I’m going to mark the blog as to be continued because I’m going to do a trial of using the other programs and give a more up to date comparison of what I like and don’t like. Even with the release of StarOffice as free I may have to exclude it though because it doesn’t work on Mac but Windows, Linux, and Sun PC’s. Also, I’m excluding Google because it’s strictly online and that would presuppose that you are always connected to the net (even though most times I am). That excludes them from my final choices but I believe I will include them in the comparison and maybe they will change my mind.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.