I have always been a big fan and supporter of Open Source software. Considering the limited technology budget and resources we have in most schools, we should examine Open Source software option before spending a lot of money for purchasing commercial software. One of the Open Source software I recommend highly for students, teachers, and schools is OpenOffice. OpenOffice is a great productivity suite for those who could not afford Microsoft Office.
OpenOffice is free to download, use, and distribute. It was previously known as StarOffice before it became an open-source project in 2000. OpenOffice is available for many different operating systems including Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Solaris. It supports the OpenDocument standard for data interchange. It is a multi-lingual (more than 60 languages), integrated productivity suite, and contains all of the same components as Microsoft Office, as well as others, OpenOffice comes with OpenWriter – a word processor, OpenCalc – a spreadsheet , OpenImpress – an electronic presentation, and Draw – a drawing package.
Most importantly, OpenOffice is a fully featured office suite compatible with Microsoft Office, Word Perfect, Lotus and other office applications. It can read and save files in Microsoft Office formats, like .doc for word processing files, .xls for spreadsheet files, and .ppt for power point. Also, OpenOffice Base can read table structure and data from .mdb (Microsoft Access) files. In addition, there is a portable version of OpenOffice. You can install the entire office suite in your jump drive so you can take all your office applications, documents, and everything you need to work with them wherever you go.
OpenOffic is very easy to learn and use particularly if you have used Microsoft Office before. If you have never used OpenOffice, why not give it a try. You can download it at www.openoffice.org. You may be able to help your schools, colleagues, and students save a lot of money from buying an expensive office suite.