OpenOffice 3.0 shows that you don't have to pay a bundle for a great office suite — in fact, you don't even have to pay a penny (this review is based on the beta version of the suite). OpenOffice 3.0 is a free, open-source software suite that provides most of what anyone could want in an office suite. OpenOffice 3.0 includes a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation program, database, drawing tools, and maths equation editor.
Although it doesn't include all of the high-end features and the slick user interface of Microsoft Office 2007 (for the PC) and Microsoft Office 2008 (for the Mac), it will handle just about any job you need done.
If you're not working in an enterprise that has standardised on Microsoft Office, you should think twice before paying full freight for Office, and give serious consideration to OpenOffice 3.0 - at least when the final version is released.
OpenOffice 3.0 beta comes with six applications: the Writer word processor, Calc spreadsheet, Impress presentations program, Base database program, Maths equation editor, and Draw graphics program. Even as a 147.9MB download, though, it's still svelte compared to Microsoft Office.
Last week I asked for help understanding the circumstances under which one of these packages is distinctly preferable to the other. As of this June 8th this had drawn 142 comments from which I concluded that:
I've probably written a dozen or more times about how I think that OpenOffice is the killer app of free, open-source software, and is the software suite that most worries the folks at Microsoft while empowering more and more regular people every day ... but that I have little call to use it myself. That has changed.