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  • #2305067

    Consider Microsoft Office alternatives

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    by debate ·

    If your organization uses Microsoft Office, have you considered switching to a less expensive alternative? What experience have you had with alternatives to Microsoft Office? Share your comments about viable alternatives to Microsoft Office, as featured in the April 22 Government IT e-newsletter.

    If you haven’t subscribed to our free Government IT e-newsletter, sign up today!

    http://www.techrepublic.com/techmails.jhtml?repID=r001

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    • #3538009

      Reply To: Consider Microsoft Office alternatives

      by djent ·

      In reply to Consider Microsoft Office alternatives

      I have been a Wordperfect user since DOS ver 3.2. I have not found a compelling reason to switch and alot of reasons not to.

      • #3525942

        From Novell to Corel

        by jardinier ·

        In reply to Reply To: Consider Microsoft Office alternatives

        I think CorelWordPerfect Suite is great.
        I think Lotus Smartsuite is great.
        I think Star Office is great.

        I guess the problem revolves around compatiblity. If you are a single user, there’s no problem. If you have to communicate with others over a network, then it’s a different story.

        Apart from the above mentioned programs, there are of course other satisfactory “Office” type programs. As these other software manufacturers work towards making their products compatible with Microsoft, well I would like to see Microsoft get a good boot in the pants and have less dominance of the market.

        Each year MS issues an “Update” which is not necessarily any improvement on earlier versions, but carries more irrelevant baggage.

        I totallyfail to comprehend the logic of “Keeping up with Jones” with every update of software and hardware. Gates has to be reigned in. I hope network administrators will buy into this discussion, and tell us why Gates always calls the tune.

        • #3525900

          consumer driven

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to From Novell to Corel

          Gates isn’t “calling the tune” by putting a product on the market, the consumer is by buying it.

        • #3525089

          How silly of me.

          by jardinier ·

          In reply to consumer driven

          Thank you Maxwell for drawing attention to my silly remark.

          I assume the purpose of this discussion is to get a feeling of when and if there will be enough consumer demand to draw business away from Microsoft.

        • #3525977

          Sorry but I have to disagree

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to consumer driven

          God Gates is calling the tune here as he through his company prevents any Microsoft resellers from offering any alternatives and even goes further by trying to brain wash Microsoft Partners into believing that there is no other company which can supply computer software.

          Just look at the way all the resellers who offered Netscape where treated. Evnetually they where proved to be in the right but look at the cost is it any wonder that the MS resellers arn’t interested in even attempting to sell anything other than Microsoft.

          This is not consumer driven byt Microsoft Driven just walk into any computer store and see how many non Microsoft products are available when there is a competing MS product available. I suspose that when MS starts offering AV software that it makes, McAffee, Nortons and all the rest will disapear from the shelves as well.

        • #2686548

          Did anyone else wonder who really ..

          by hunkybuns2003 ·

          In reply to Sorry but I have to disagree

          After reading the first few e.mails,I was wondering if anyone else had the thought “was this whole discussion started by The BIG GATES ,himself… or by just HIS office help?

    • #3525907

      Open Office

      by tstaight ·

      In reply to Consider Microsoft Office alternatives

      Not everyone needs MS Office. We use Open office for approximately 50% of our users.

      The key to deployment is knowing your audience. Deploy Open Office for clients who need an Office Package, but are not power users.

      Another method we have used is the “Squeaky Wheel” method. Deploy Open Office by default. If the department complains, have them authorize the purchase of a MS Office enterprise seat.

      You would be surprised how often they do not follow through with the purchase. ($600 USD)

    • #3525901

      What amazes me is this…

      by tomsal ·

      In reply to Consider Microsoft Office alternatives

      The demand is OVERWHELMING from customers to be released from the Microsoft shackles that bind them, yet no one has come out with a alternative to Microsoft Office that is a true 100% alternative, not just word processing, spreadsheets and a drawingpackage.

      Why does no one offer a low-cost alternative to OUTLOOK? That is the ONLY reason I can’t switch my company from Office right now!

      Word processing and spreadsheet alternatives are a dime a dozen — sure that’s great, but when the mostvalued part of the office package — OUTLOOK, has no competition (at least without costing an arm and a leg) what are you too do to tear away from MS Office?

      My users love the features of Outlook like – tasks, calendar, contacts, sharing appointment schedules, etc. so much that if I would replace Outlook with a mail client that is “just a mail client” — they’d have my head on a plate.

      Someone told me about Lotus notes – yeah, but that is just groupware right? No spreadsheet, no word processor? Correct me if I’m wrong.

      The open source community has a few solutions IN DEVELOPMENT or BETA — neither which does me much good NOW or in a production environment.

      • #3525850

        You Are Right

        by tstaight ·

        In reply to What amazes me is this…

        Unfortunately, much of the Open Source crowd hates M$ so much that they refuse to port products to Windows.

        Evolution is a perfect example of software that could be ported to a Windows environment.

        No one is just going to rip Windows off of the desktop and replace it with LINUX or Open source.

        The Open Source crowd should look at how Microsoft destroyed Novell and Netscape and learn.

        You win software wars by rendering your competition’s software useless. You do that by connectingto it better than your competition does at a better price / value.

        Open source is in an excellent position to put pressure on Microsoft. However, emotions always seem to get in the way.

        • #3525838

          Corel, Lotus suites

          by timeandspacebiz ·

          In reply to You Are Right

          I’ve been using such apps since the early 80s and have been CTO for 2 ad agencies. I have yet to see the MS app that I considered best of breed with the possible exception of Powerpoint. Even today, Wordperfect offers many ease-of-use advantages over Word and I vastly prefer Quattro to Excel. The Lotus Millenium suite products are also fine, but have GUIs that would take an MS user longer to get comfortable with. (FastSite is a nice, little, very basic Intranet builder) My main concern withCorel’s recent versions is the larger share of system resources they seem to need.

        • #3526499

          I have to agree here

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Corel, Lotus suites

          Corel like Microsoft is beggining to suffer vastly from code bloat and it is getting bigger all the time without putting much more in the way of fuctionality in. This is part of the reason that while I have copies of Word Perfect 2002 here I haven’topened the boxes yet as I actually like Word Perfect Office 8 Pro but as I’ve recently had to switch one of my computers to XP just so I can offer customer support I have noticed that version 8 doesn’t work properly well at least the spell checker doesn’t work under XP so I guess I’ll have to break open one of the boxes and install ver 2002.

          But I can’t help but wonder here just how much of this code bloat is brought about because of Corels obsesion with leading the pack and how much has been made necessary so it will operate correctly on XP. It could be that MS is dictating what needs to be added to the Corel Suite so it will continue to run on MS’s platforms.

        • #3525767

          Evolution is great

          by ghoyle ·

          In reply to You Are Right

          I would love to see Evolution ported to Windows. I use it all the time on my Linux box, and I would love to be able to use it on both platforms.

      • #3525818

        TomSal is right – better mousetrap

        by maxwell edison ·

        In reply to What amazes me is this…

        TomSal is right when he says, “yet no one has come out with a alternative to Microsoft Office”.

        (Microsoft anything, for that matter.)

        If someone were to build a better mousetrap……

        (Okay, someone make the mousetrap – rat – Gates connection.)

      • #3526210

        Move right away from MS

        by rbanfieldau9 ·

        In reply to What amazes me is this…

        You could consider moving right away from Microsoft and use Linux on the desktop, then you still have Open Office, and Zimian Evolution to replace Outlook. Query Zimian they may have a Windows version.

    • #3525777

      Application Concerns

      by firstpeter ·

      In reply to Consider Microsoft Office alternatives

      One of my major concerns in switching from the Office suite is customized applications. I currently build, deploy, and support multiple applications based in Excel (primarily), all of which utilize VBA extensively. I’m not familiar enough at this point with any alternatives to this approach, so I’m married to MS for at least the time being.

      In addition, Office seems to fit my needs (although it tends to go well ABOVE AND BEYOND what I actually need for the most part, and I’m QUITE sure I’mpaying for that…) and most of my clients utilize Office, so I don’t forsee a near-term move from it.

      I would be interested to know, however, what alternatives to Office there are out there that allow for extensive customization and application development (i.e., VBA solutions using the Office DOM). Any thoughts?

      • #3527229

        VS6

        by tstaight ·

        In reply to Application Concerns

        We use VS6 with a collection of standard com objects and CR. One install deploys the whole collection. We secure and deploy these in conjunction with SQL server. Therefore, we do not care what, or even if, an Office Package on the desktop.

    • #3525697

      Security?

      by marshall ·

      In reply to Consider Microsoft Office alternatives

      Anyone have any security problems with Star Office, Word Perfect or any other Office Suite? Seems like we are pushing out patches to over 500 systems every week to patch some hole in the OS or other Microsoft product (IE, Office, IIS, etc). It would be nice to not have to jump on such notice to fix this vulnerability or whatever.

      • #3526286

        Well I’ve been using

        by hal 9000 ·

        In reply to Security?

        Word Perfect Office 8 for 4 years now and the only patches that have ever been installed or for that matter made available all revolve around improving fuctioality rather than addressing any security flaws. Ther was one patch to update Netscape from4.6 or something like that to a new version and a couple of patches for some minor problems that arised when new MS OS became available but otherwise there arn’t any patches put out by Corel for the Word Perfect Office. In the 4 years that I’ve beenusing it I think there have only been about 6 patches put out and none of these where involved with security issues.

    • #3525671

      33% rule

      by admin ·

      In reply to Consider Microsoft Office alternatives

      When 33% of all of our partners switch, so will we.

      Those partners we have had that tried gave up soon. Everyone gets tired of the formatting errors, even between the MS Office packages much less third party.

      If there was a third party software that handled every format flawlessly with PERFECT conversion everytime from every format ever devised now and in the future we would drop the 33% rule 🙂

      Include Outlook, PowerPoint and everything else in this. Anyone here up to the challenge ofcoding this monster, I don’t even know where to begin! 🙂

      • #3526601

        I understand the 33% rule but

        by hal 9000 ·

        In reply to 33% rule

        What Office programs was your company using prior to Windoes nightmare 8 becoming available? As MS Office wasn’t then the most popular app on the market the then top selling word processor was Word Perfect the top selling D Base was Lotus 123 and soon and so on it was only when MS released MS Office as an OEM program that it became widely used as it was installed on most computers by default.

        Now that Corel is making available Word Perfect Office as an OEM product I have noticed that MS hasreintroduced XP Upgrade and Acidemic versions of all their programs {I know these where available before} but they are now pushing them in most advertising that they send out to their partners which they never did in the past. And it was in Novemberlast year that MS informed all its Australian Partners by e-mail that XP upgrade was being discontinued and it disapeared from all their current product litature and has been reintroduced just in the latest one but then again they are still showing Windows 98 as a current production version although they no longer support it with new Hot Fixes ect.

    • #3524929

      Well I can’t talk for anybody else

      by hal 9000 ·

      In reply to Consider Microsoft Office alternatives

      But as I have used Word Perfect since way back when there was an alternative to MS DOD I used to use DR DOS and I have constantly upgraded Word Perfect through all its incartantitions to Novell then Corel and now I have Corel Word Perfect Office 2002 Pro and I still fing it more advanced than the MS alternative. It was Word Perfect that first introduced the Showable Fonts, Mak It Fit opition and numerious others and from my experience it has always been ME Office playing catchup to what the Word Perfect alternative is. Currently I sell Corel Word Perfect Office on most business computers that I sell as it can have its native format altered to whatever like Word 97, Word 2000 ect and even RTF and these conversions go without any problems which is more than can be said for the MS alternative.

      What I now find interesting is that Corel is no longer sitting on their arses and are now providing OEM versions of their Office product so MS will now have some real competition as from most previous installs on new computers MS Office was the only OEM product that was available and this is why it got so big as it was cheep but it lacked some of the fuctionality that Word Perfect had. Only a few years ago Word Perfect was the biggest WordProcessor on the martket and it was only MS introducing OEM roduct that managed to knock it off that position but it has always been around as a force to be reconed with unfortantly however Corel when they bought it thought We have the Best Graph and now Office Programs the public will beat a path to our doors which of course didn’t happen as Corel didn’t advertise their products as previously they hadn’t needed to and they thought they could continue as normal.

      • #3526303

        P2

        by hal 9000 ·

        In reply to Well I can’t talk for anybody else

        However what I have found interesting is that in many offices that I go into and install a trial version of Corel Word Perfect Office they always want the program after they have actually used it as they find it better than the MS Office suite I am of the opinion that these people believe that because it comes with the computer it must be the best available and simply don’t know any better but when they get to actually use something different they grab the chance to switch to it as they find iteasire to use, better for their needs and more user friendly.

        But having said all that I’m still using Word Perfect 8 but I will have to open the box with the new version as the spell checked won’t fuction under XP but otherwise it runns perfectly without any glitches I wish I could say the same for MS Office.

        Then there always the good old Lotus suite and Lotus 123 was the standard Data Base program and everything since is only a copy of it and they are all backwards compatable with the original Lotus 123. How many other programs can say the same I have to use MS Office 97 just to be sure that any files that I e-mail out can be read at the other end as I’ve had some problems with XP Office being unreadable at some places where I send files like quotes or invoices. I use the Corel Word Perfect Office suite to create these documents and then change them into MS format and check them in what ever Office program is applicible then e-mail them I do this just so I know they will be readable when recieved but I still prefer the Word Perfect alternative.

        • #3526296

          P3

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to P2

          What I find interesting also is that all my staff prefer this program as well and most of them when they started with me insisted that MS Office was the way to go but as they use Word Perfect they don’t use MS Office anymore and currently all my present staff are of the opinion that Corel Word Perfect Office Pro is the only way to go but they also want to include Lotus Organiser as well as currently there is nothing as easy to use in any of the available Office Suites.

          So I gues I would say that we use Corel Word Perfect almost all the time with Lotus Organiser and only open MS Office to actually check that anything that we e-mail out is readable in the MS format as we find MS Office only a backup to our main programs.

          But what is interesting is that a 4 year old version of Word Perfect still has more fuctions than the latest version of MS Office. As I haven’t bothered to actually open the boxes of Word Perfect 2002 yet I can’t say how well it performs but from the trial versions that I’ve copied to the business computers it looks even better than the older version 8 and has even more fuctions that arn’t included in XP Office but perhaps they will be included when MS bring out their new Office suite in a few months but I still think that MS is always playing catchup to the competition and that they don’t actually develop any new fuctions unless the oppersisition already has them.

      • #3527232

        Reply To: Consider Microsoft Office alternatives

        by djent ·

        In reply to Well I can’t talk for anybody else

        Wordperfect lost their grip on the market by underestimating the adoption of windows and left a void that MS Word filled. File compatability can be addressed by converting files to Adobe Acrobat files.

        • #3526989

          Please vindicate.

          by jardinier ·

          In reply to Reply To: Consider Microsoft Office alternatives

          Perhaps you could vindicate your statement by providing the release dates of the first Windows versions of Word and Word Perfect respectively.

        • #3456115

          Sorry but your wrong with this one

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Reply To: Consider Microsoft Office alternatives

          Word Perfect was available as a Windows 3 X version very shourtly after Windows was introduced I still have the cardboard strip tha whent across the top of the keyboard one side had DOS shortcuts and the other side had Windows Shortcuts. A dedicatedWindows version was avalable from Version 6 which became available in the same month that Windows 95 was released not the other way around.

          Where Word Perfect has fallen down is in the marketing as first Novel bought it intergrated it into an Office Suite and promptly did no advertising. They then sold it on to Corel who where of the opinion that as we already have the industry standard in graphics programs customers will beat a path to our doors wanting Word Perfect which of course they didn’t as by then Microsoft had made their Office Suite available as an OEM installation at about 1/2 the price of the retail version. Corel continued on with only a retail version and failed to advertise it dismilaly I can remember going into the Australian Corel Office and telling them that I had loaded Word Perfect Office onto a business computer for trial purposes and they whent balistic complaning about copyright violations ect. After putting up with this nonsence for over an hour I then asked”I guess that this means that you don’t want to sell me a 250 machine Site Licence?” I now have trial versions of all Corel Products sent to me as they become available to load onto any computer that I want to and I sell a lot of the Word Perfect Office Suite this way.

          I still maintain that Microsoft is playing catchup with Word Perfect as have a look at Version 8 of Word Perfect and Office 97, Word Perfect has {Make it fit} MS dosen’t Word Perfects Fonts are available across all Windows Applications MS arn’t Word Perfect had Showable fonts Microsoft Office didn’t the list just goes on and on.

        • #3456110

          P2

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Sorry but your wrong with this one

          Word Perfect never lost the plot it was the owners that lost the plot as they never tried to advertise the product but hopefully now as they are making it available as an OEM version {only 5 years too late} it will compete directly in the market place with the MS alternative. Already Dell is installing it on their prebuilt systems in America so how long do you think it will take to replace MS Office as the top Word Processor on the market again?

          Buy the way the Borlean DBase is better than the MS alternative and WP Presentations works better than Power Point also every application in the Word Perfect Office Suite converts cleanly to the MS format which is far more than can be said for the MS product.

        • #3455871

          Reply To: Consider Microsoft Office alternatives

          by djent ·

          In reply to P2

          Ms Word for Windows 3X was available long before WP 5 for windows, also word was sold for $100 upgrade to capture WP converts. The joke was that Word for windows was so bad I never could understand why it caught on, slow and unstable. Pound for pound WP still has Word beat all to hell. As for concurent document use, I have yet to find anyone that wants to do this. Just more curb feelers for baby buggies.

        • #3455842

          The concurent document use comes

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Reply To: Consider Microsoft Office alternatives

          About because the people and companies still using Word Perfect have to make their files readable when they send them electronicily to another business for any purpose. It is not so much to use both programs together but to be able to read one file on the other program. Lets for argument sake say that you where a writer who wrote everything in Wodr Perfect because you believed that you could use it better tehn MS Word. You finish your book or whatever and then send it to your publisher who usesMS Word and the file can’t be converted without loosing all the formatting so your publisher has to employ someone to reformat the whole book again in MS Word. This process is fairly counter productive and expensive. However Word Perfect can save its files as MS Word files and you don’t lose whatever formatting you employed when you created the file but the great pitty here is that the MS Word can not convert the WP file into a readable Word format without loosing all the formatting that was originally done in WP. This is where it is necessary to be able to convert documents across form different native formats and not to use them at the same time on the same computer.

        • #3526518

          Reply To: Consider Microsoft Office alternatives

          by djent ·

          In reply to The concurent document use comes

          Let me elaborate on the phrase “concurent Use”. Two or more users editing the same file at the same time. Now MS touts this as wonderful function, for who I ask. I don’t know anyone that does this. I also understand file compatibliity and formating loss in translation but any publisher that doesn’t have a variety of word processor apps inhouse is either amature or foolish.

        • #3526501

          OK I see what your getting at

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to The concurent document use comes

          I agree that this isn’t much of an advantage and I’ve personally only seen it used in Power Point where different people make up different slides but then again this isn’t strictly speaking concurent use either is it? But what M$ are touting as a massive breakthrough now particuarly with Excel is that different people can use various aspects of Excel to perform differnt fuctions from the people inputting data to various other people anerlisering the data base and these linkds can be live links that constantly update the end results as new data is added to the data base. Big Deal every office program that I’ve ever seen used already had this fuction and MS actually pinched it from the original Lotus 123. But the Lotus version worked better anyway. However as Lotus has now gone the way of the dinasor after IBM bought it I suspose it’s a moot point unless IBM rerelease it when they get their new Linux System working and have the remains of Lotus as an embeded application which is conceiable.

          IBM has already had their fingers burnt with the OS2 Warp OS which worked so much better than the Windows OS but as there was no software available it was doomed from the start, I think IBM have learned from their previous mistakes and are going to take this onboard when they eventually get around to releasing their own Linux OS.

        • #3526500

          Actually I’ve looked up

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Reply To: Consider Microsoft Office alternatives

          My old books here and your wrong Word Perfect 5.1 was a DOS application and Word Perfect 6 was available in either DOS or WINDOWS Versions and it became available in August 1995 shourtly after Windows 95 became available although my copy of Word Perfect 6 for Windows has an earlier copyrite date so it appears that it was finished and ready for sale before MS got their act together and got Windows 95 to work to the level that it did when they released it and it was then preety basic. I actually got the Windows Version by mistake because I wanted the DOS version and the then Word Perfect Distributers said try it for a month and if you still want the DOS version we’ll send you a copy. Well I got used to the Windows version and never looked back. Just a side note here Corel has Word Perfect available as a Linux Application as well so if a business is considering switching to Linux they already have a word processor that most of their staff should be farmilar with without having to relearnStar Office or Open Office which are both preety easy and are real no-brainers anyway. But they do have the alternative if they require it.

          So not only could you dump MS Office but you could also dump MS Windows and still have a word processor that is quite common and an OS that actually works properly and most end users would not realise the difference it they where to use a system set up like this.

        • #3455860

          Precise dates.

          by jardinier ·

          In reply to Sorry but your wrong with this one

          Actually Word Perfect version 5.1 for Windows was released in 1991, and Version 5.2 in 1992.

          And how do I know? Because I have an original copy of 5.2, which contains documentation referring to 5.1.

          These programs were designed to run on the earliest version of Windows, 3.0

    • #3455848

      Actually I find this one funny

      by hal 9000 ·

      In reply to Consider Microsoft Office alternatives

      Particuarly as almost every comment has been in favour of the MS Office product.

      I also notice that on different links there are at the very least 2 discussion groups going that are attempting to explain how to use various parts of the MS Officeprogram. If it’s so easy to actually use why are these discussions running?

      I realise that MS Office is currently the most used Office App in the industry but it isn’t the most user friendly one available the question we should be asking our selves here is not how MS Office is so popular but WHY as it’s full of glitches and often fails to work as described in the books if you actually take the time to read them? How many of you would willingly go back to Windows 95 and put up with all the problems that it had? The one thing about MS constantly updating their OS/Software is that they will eventually get it to actually work as they describe it in their manuals and hopefully the disclaimer “This product may not fuction as described” will disapear from the MS manualls when they finally get their software to work as they designed it to.

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