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A Month Without Microsoft Office

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OSS

Back on August 3rd, I installed the Beta 1 version of Windows Vista on my work desktop. That meant reinstalling all my applications...but I didn't have a copy of Microsoft Office handy. So I installed a beta copy of OpenOffice.org 2.0--the leading open-source office suite--figuring that it could serve as a stopgap.

More than a month later, I'm still using that OpenOffice.org beta to do my everyday work...and it's been a remarkably smooth experience, especially considering that this is a pre-release product running on a pre-release operating system. I've wrangled lots of Word and Excel documents in OpenOffice.org's counterparts (Writer and Calc, respectively), and as far as I can tell, the only tip-off that my colleagues have noticed is that my documents have funny icons rather than the universally-known Office ones.

I've also been paranoid in the past about third-party suites' ability to truly handle Microsoft file formats without glitches. But so far, Writer and Calc have thrown every document I've thrown at them with panache, including some pretty complex spreadsheets.

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