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Get Legal - Get OpenOffice.org

Is your office software legal? According to figures published by Microsoft, 35% of the software in the world is thought to be counterfeit or otherwise illegal.

After years of unofficially tolerating piracy as a means of securing market share, Microsoft is now going on the offensive to make sure copies of it's software are legitimate.
  • It has just bought a software company specialising in detecting what software is installed on PCs.
  • It is now using the internet to put piracy detection software into copies of MS-Office on people's PCs.
  • around the world, the Business Software Alliance is setting up schemes to prosecute offenders - for example, in the UK it is offering large cash rewards to anyone who informs against organisations.
  • Microsoft's licence agreements are complicated - it's easy to break them by mistake.
If you have a copy of MS-Office at work, at school, at home - are you sure where it came from?

Fortunately, there is a completely legal and free alternative. OpenOffice.org 2 is a fully-featured office suite, similar in functionality to MS-Office. OpenOffice.org 2 does everything you need: word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and much more. It can even use MS-Office format files (.doc, .xls, .ppt), so you don't need to re-type your work. What's more, it does things MS-Office does not, such as create pdf files to give to other people.

If you can use MS-Office, you can use OpenOffice.org 2. Studies have shown it is ten times cheaper to move to OpenOffice.org 2 than it is to upgrade to MS-Office 2007.

A poll has indicated 86% of users would prefer to try OpenOffice.org 2 rather than buy MS-Office 2007.

So what are you waiting for? It costs nothing to try. If you like it, OpenOffice.org 2 costs nothing to use for as long as you like, wherever you like. Peace of mind at no cost.

Get legal. Get OpenOffice.org

All in all, I'm quite happy with OpenOffice.org. The switch from MS Office to Open Office.org is an easy one. The program inside OpenOffice.org are set up pretty much the same as Othe ones in Office. After using it for a little while, the few changes there are made more sense to me and ended up being seeming a little more intuitive to me. And since OpenOffice.org is capable of opening and saving files in Office formats, you don't need to worry about having to recreate your documents, or worry about your documents being compatible with someone who is using Office. OpenOffice.org also allows you to export your files as .pdf files. With Office, you need to pay extra for that plug-in.

Anyway, I'm slowly moving over to a more Open Source outlook on software. Not only is it going to save me money, but I feel a little better knowing I'm not "stealing" software. I do still have a little bit of a way to go before I'm completely legal, but I'm working on it.

So, what other open source software am I using right now?

  1. I'm switching over from Photoshop CS to the GIMP. If you're already familiar with Photoshop, then you're mostly familiar with the GIMP. There's a tiny learning curve as not everything is handled the exact same (layers, for example) but in general they have the same features.
  2. I've used IrfanView for quite a while as a slightly more than basic image viewer. With it you can view, optimize, convert, scan, print, create slideshows and so on, with almost any image format available. It's not really open source software, but it is freeware.
  3. GnuCash is a program I bumped into recently, but haven't had a chance to test. It's an open source accounting program similar to either Quicken or Quickbooks. The newest versions add support for small business accounting. I should mention that right now it's not available for Windows, but is available for *nix versions and Mac's.
  4. I've been using AVG Free Edition for a couple or more years now. It doesn't bog down your system anywhere as much as Norton or McAfee products and I have had one whole virus on my computer in the years I've been using AVG. And I've explored many a questionable website in search of keygens and pirated software. AVG is another piece of software that isn't open source, but is freeware.
  5. Operating systems are another group of highly pirated pieces of software. How many people who's computer didn't come with XP are actually running XP? Or any other version of Windows? I am now spending more time in Ubuntu than I am in XP. One bonus to that is that the various versions of Linux are more secure and less prone to viruses. Another bonus is the fact that they're fully functional operating systems and are less costly than XP. Ubuntu is free, and there are other free ones out there as well.
    The only issue I'm having with Ubuntu is that I can't get my media players to connect to my music across a network.. and that's more because I know nothing about connecting to SMB servers. Once I learn how to set up a good Linux file server that XP and OS X (because Mel bought a 'new-to-her' iBook) can connect to, I'll switch the file server over to Linux and no more issue. :)
    I think the main thing that is keeping the Linux OSs from going completely main stream is that they're not easy enough to use and setup for your average computer user. If they went mainstream then I'm quite sure many software manufacturers would make more software that ran natively in Linux.... but I digress... :o)
Anyway, open source software is good... pirating is bad. Mind you, until they make a version of Guild Wars that runs on Ubuntu, I'm kind of stuck using XP. Heck... I may even need to buy a legit copy of it... Click the OpenOffice.org button up there, read about it, and then install it on your computer. I think you'll like it. :o)

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14 comments or Leave a comment
corwinok From: corwinok Date: May 3rd, 2006 12:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Got a couple questions for you, since I've been out of the open source loop for a while....
Does open office plan to add support for the XML-based file formats added in Office 2003? I've been using those at work, even generating word documents on the fly from our website.
And is there a windoze port of GNUCash yet?
evanescenced From: evanescenced Date: May 3rd, 2006 01:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Well now that was quick! I posted that what... a second before you replied??

First off, thanks for reminding me I forgot to mention GnuCash isn't available for Windows yet (that I've seen). I'll have to edit that into my post.

As for OpenOffice.org supporting XML-based file formats of Office 2003 all I have is this quote followed by my suspicions.

Microsoft has stated that a design goal for its formats was 100% compatibility with the existing base of documents and formatting used by its customers. Microsoft states that the OpenDocument format lacks support defined for the complete set of functionality in Microsoft Office applications, so any converter that saved into OpenDocument format would necessarily be lossy... OpenDocument developers claim that they used a variety of systems' capabilities, including Microsoft Office, as their basis; Boeing in particular worked to ensure that OpenDocument could fulfill the role of a "universal" format that could express any other formats' capabilities. No technical analysis is publicly available that confirms or refutes the claim.

Damn LJ for putting a limit on the length of my reply... my reply is continued in a new comment... sorry.
evanescenced From: evanescenced Date: May 3rd, 2006 01:03 am (UTC) (Link)
According to Brian Jones, since "both formats are open and documented, it is possible to create a transform (or filter) that goes between the two. The interoperability problems will start to come up if there are features that are present in one application but not present in the other application." While he says it's possible, he seems to be trying to avoid saying MS will be doing. My guess is they won't on their own. That means it'll be up to other developers, like those at OpenOffice.org, to make those filters. I suspect that in order to maintain a "universal" document format, OpenOffice.org will create those filters.

Of course the MS Legal Dept. may have something to say about that:
Microsoft may have patents and/or patent applications that are necessary for you to license in order to make, sell, or distribute software programs that read or write files that comply with the Microsoft specifications for the Office Schemas.
You are not licensed to sublicense or transfer your rights.

Now that I'm done not answering your question, here's a link to a post in Brian Jones' blog in which he spends a lot of time talking about Office XML functionality and the new formats for Office 2007. You'll probably find some interesting info in that post and the comments to it. Heck, you may be interested in the whole blog. :o)
corwinok From: corwinok Date: May 3rd, 2006 01:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, man :)
evanescenced From: evanescenced Date: May 4th, 2006 01:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Thought you'd also like to know something I got in an email today:

1 May 2006: The International Standards Organisation has today
approved the standard file format to be used worldwide for the
storage of files produced by office software (word processor
documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, etc.). For the
first time in the history of computing, software users will be
guaranteed that they will be able to use their data in any compliant
software package, both now and in the future. The point of an open
standard is that any compliant application can use it.

Of course, the file format in question is the Open Document Format developed by OpenOffice.org. :o)
corwinok From: corwinok Date: May 4th, 2006 04:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Most excellent
From: intothebreach Date: May 3rd, 2006 01:20 am (UTC) (Link)
How funny, my bro was just telling me a little while ago that he's getting a cracked copy of Office and would I like it too?
evanescenced From: evanescenced Date: May 3rd, 2006 01:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Nothing like Office on crack. :P
(Deleted comment)
evanescenced From: evanescenced Date: May 3rd, 2006 06:40 am (UTC) (Link)
So why not order free Ubuntu CDs? No need to worry about downloading them then.

If you use the one of the "standard" orders you can get 5 PC CDs, or 1 PC, 1 64-bit PC, and one Mac CD, or you can get 10, 3, and 2, or 20, 3, and 2, or.. .well, you get the idea. And the cost? $0 per CD and $0 shipping. You just need to sign up for a free Launchpad account.

Speaking of Ubuntu, have you checked out Kubuntu (which uses KDE rather than Gnome) or Edubuntu (which is aimed towards classroom use)?

evanescenced From: evanescenced Date: May 3rd, 2006 06:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh... and I thought Mandrake was now Mandriva?
evanescenced From: evanescenced Date: May 3rd, 2006 06:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Sorry... I'm tired... I also meant to mention the Ubuntu Live CD. If you like, and I can find a place to upload it to, I'll make an .iso that you can download and burn yourself. Then you can try it without having to worry about installing it...
(Deleted comment)
evanescenced From: evanescenced Date: May 3rd, 2006 11:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Basically LiveCDs are versions of the software that run right off the CD without having to install anything. You put the CD in, reboot and boot from the CD. You enter a few settings and it "installs" into memory and you've got your very own running version of the software. Of course, when you take the CD out your computer goes back to the way it was before (unless you're silly enough to make changes to your hard drive while you're running the LiveCD :P)
psychojello From: psychojello Date: May 3rd, 2006 04:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
My copy of Office and Norton are both legal and paid for. Well, not the Office. I got that free from Microsoft!
evanescenced From: evanescenced Date: May 3rd, 2006 06:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was supposed to be getting a legit copy of XP Pro from Microsoft for the cost of shipping. A certain someone loaned me her credit card (I put money in it) to pay for the shipping charges and then she went out and maxed it out before it could be processed. So MS cancelled the order. :(
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