More on Office Alternatives
By Jim Scheef
Believe it or not, I had more material for my presentation at the February General Meeting that I did not get in—or plain forgot about—so here it is.
More on OpenOffice
I believe I mentioned a book on StarOffice/Open Office. That book is StarOffice 6.0 Office Suite Companion, by Solveig Haugland and Floyd Jones,
published by Sun Microsystems Press. While the current version isStarOffice 8, this book gave me a good start
using OpenOffice 2.0, which is what I demonstrated. If you will recall, StarOffice is the ‘for pay’ version of OpenOffice is published by Sun Microsystems, Inc. StarOffice includes a few additional features for its $69.95 download price.
Another book is Point & Click OpenOffice.org, by Robin Miller, published by Prentice Hall. This book is newer (2005) and specifically covers OpenOffice, so it might be a better choice. I have not seen it, so I can’t say for sure.
There is a “portable” version of OpenOffice. Portable means that it can be installed on a USB “thumb drive” and run without installation on a host PC. This and a bunch of other portable applications can be found on www.portableapps.com.
The last thing on OpenOffice is pure fun. There is a Star Wars game embedded in OpenOffice Calc as an “Easter egg” – which means that it’s hidden for you to find. You can find information on this and other Easter Eggs at www.eggheaven2000.com.
ThinkFree Office update
The ThinkFree web site now gives you 30Mb of free online space to store documents (up from 20Mb). I find this application extremely interesting, even compelling. It is capable, works well and is available on any computer with a fast Internet connection that will allow you to run Java. This may not be true in places where you need it most, like the computers in a public library. (I’ll check this point in a few area libraries, because now I’m curious). Unfortunately, it is still limited to Internet Explorer, so Mac and Linux users will have a difficult time.
Yet another alternative
Is OpenOffice still too complex and bloated for your tastes? Try AbiWord, another free word processing program. AbiWord is not part of a suite and, naturally, there is a portable version. The web site is www.abiword. com. AbiWord has its own document file format which uses XML. To answer your next question, yes, it can open Microsoft Word doc files and can write files in rich text format (which Word can read). Like OpenOffice, AbiWord has versions for Windows, Mac and Linux. So far, that’s all I know about it, but I intend to give it a try.
Thanks for your comments
I really appreciated the comments I received after the presentation, especially the complimentary ones <blush>. If I promised more information on something thats is not covered here, please let me know (email@example.com). And let Jamie Yates, our program chairman (vpprograms@dacs. org), know what you would like to see at future general meetings.