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A Powerful and Free Office Suite

Written By: Stephen Bucaro

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A Powerful and Free Office Suite

By Stephen Bucaro

Open Office is a free open-source office suite that not
only competes with Microsoft Office, but can open and save
Microsoft Office file formats. It was created using code
developed by Sun Microsystems for their Star Office product.
Open Office includes a word processor, spreadsheet,
presentation manager, drawing application and several
other applications. There are versions for Windows, Linux,
Mac, and Solaris.

Open Office is easy to use because the interface is
similar to other office suites. Naturally, the first thing
I had to try was the drawing program. Within seconds I was
able to create 3D textured text and complex textured 3D
objects.

Why switch to Open Office? Because now is the time to free
yourself from Microsoft’s Monopoly. If you are not prepared
to jump right to Linux, Open Office makes a good transition.
You can work with Microsoft Office file formats in Open
Office. Then when you switch to the Linux, you can continue
to work with Microsoft Office file formats in Open Office.

At the OpenOffice.org website, www.openoffice.org, there
are links to download version 1.0, and version 1.1 beta2.
Version 1.1 adds PDF and Macromedia Flash export; DockBook,
PDA offic-file formats, and flat XML and XHTML.

When you click on the link to download a version for your
operating system, you are taken to a chart of FTP servers
hosting the download. For example, if you are located in
the USA you would click on the Indiana U link.

If your operating system is Windows, you download a 60 MB
zip file. With a 56K modem, it might take three hours to
download. You’ll need a zip file extraction utility to
uncompress the download. The most popular zip file
extractor for Windows is WinZip. You can download the
WinZip trial version from www.winzip.com

The Linux version comes in a 70 MB “tarball”. With Linux,
you can open a terminal window and use the “tar” command
to uncompress the download. Both versions come with an
easy to use setup program. If installing on a multi-user
system, like Windows 2000 or Linux, make sure you are
logged in with Administrator rights before you install
the program.

During installation, Open Office may inform you that it
can’t find a Java runtime environment. Certain features
require a Java Runtime environment to function. I don’t
know what features those are (not the 3D textured graphics)
You could go to Suns Java Website, java.sun.com, to
download and install the Java Runtime environment before
you install Open Office.

You can continue to work with Microsoft Office file
formats without the excessive cost and frequent crashes.
Open Office is easy to use and you can even create 3D
textured text and complex textured 3D objects. Download
this powerful and free open-source office suite today.
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