Sunday, September 7, 2008

Free and Commercial Office Suite Alternatives

Modern computing can hardly be done without office suites, that is, word processor, spreadsheet, presentation etc. The market for office suites today is dominated by Microsoft Office. The problem is its too expensive and so resource-hungry that it can't run on old computers. For Linux enthusiasts like me, the main disadvantages of Microsoft Office are its inability to run on Linux or any other open-source operating system.
So I began searching for alternative Office software I can use instead of the evil product from Microsoft. Here we go.

1. OpenOffice.org

Undeniably the best free office suite, OpenOffice.org is an open-source office suite that well integrates each office components such as Writer, Calc and Impress. It is freely available for download for Windows, Mac and Linux.

2. IBM Lotus Symphony

After unpopular Lotus SmartSuite, Lotus has shifted its focus on developing a new office suite based on OpenOffice.org technology. The interface looks a lot clean and attractive. You should give it a try.

3. Hancom Office

Best office suite for users of Asian languages, Hancom Office is developed by Korean software company, Haansoft. With good support for Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages, Hancom Office also processes English language well, of course. But its awkward English user interface may intimidate English speakers.

4. Thinkfree office

Another product from Haansoft, Thinkfree Office is made with Java. That means it can run on Windows, Mac and Linux without a problem. However, since it runs on top of Java, it may not run so effectively. There is also Web version of Thinkfree Office that you can access and use with your Web browser such as Mozilla Firefox. This means Thinkfree has a potential to become a big player in the coming Internet-oriented computing era.

5. Lotus Smartsuite

This is a very fine product that deserves attention. Now nobody seems to use it and it's being forgotten. It shouldn't be, but sadly it's true. You can still try it. It is sold very cheap on the Internet. Its major flaw is that it doesn't seem to support Unicode although it claims it does.

6. WordPerfect Suite

Still surviving office suite for niche users like lawyers and professionals, WordPerfect Suite also has good functionality. Its main strength is its wordprocessor WordPerfect.

7. Microsoft Office

You are forced to use it simply because everybody else uses Microsoft Office and hands you documents in its proprietary format. What a sad reality. Of course, you don't have to use it, let alone buy it. Use OpenOffice.org instead. Just tell your friends and colleagues to use OpenOffice.org or Lotus Symphony. Petition your school and government to use OpenOffice.org. Take action, please.

In summary, my clear choice is OpenOffice.org. I should master OpenOffice.org and make a transition from other office programs to OpenOffice.org.

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