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Consider Microsoft Office alternatives

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Does your organization use Microsoft Office or another productivity suite? What's your take on the viability of Microsoft alternatives? Share your comments about considering alternatives to Microsoft Office, as discussed in the April 6 Government IT e-newsletter.

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by djent In reply to Consider Microsoft Office ...

I have never considered M$ office as a viable alternative to Word perfect.

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Fair point, but...

by gddik In reply to

The title of the original discussion "Consider Microsoft Office alternatives" sort of misses the point, IMO.

The IT industry has let itself down badly by allowing proprietary data formats to dictate the software marketplace. If all data was subject to standards (and XML is perhaps finally leading us into this situation), then which office suite we use would be based on a whole different set of crieria, and the survivors would be based on quality, not the most successful marketing or exploitation tactics.

OpenOffice and StarOffice have grasped this principle well, and now offer a commendably high degree of compatibility with the leading proprietary data formats, but have addressed the "open" standards issue by using XML as its underlying format for its own "native" data files.

Best of both worlds... - and considering the low investment in acquiring these products, plus their cross-platform availability, I think MS may well have cause to be worried.

I have never used WordPerfect or its other stable-mates, but have used / still use Lotus SmartSuite. IBM seem to have acknowledged defeat in the office suite wars - Lotus is no longer being developed in the competitive sense, and is therefore a "dead" product with limited and diminishing data compatibility, despite, IMO, being an otherwise competitive package in terms of features.

Let data determine the rules of engagement, and let the software compete on strength and quality.

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What are the _other_ e-mail&calendaring etc. apps?

by Jim-MN In reply to Consider Microsoft Office ...

The author sez "If you need a Windows e-mail client that supports calendaring and group
scheduling, you're pretty much out of luck unless you're willing to change your e-mail back-end to something other than Exchange Server. If
you are willing, both Oracle and IBM offer alternatives."

Another obvious "alternative", tho I don't recommend it, is Novell's GroupWise. What others are missing from the list, please? I'm willing to change the back-end to anything.

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Why not GroupWise?

by gddik In reply to What are the _other_ e-ma ...

I use Novel''s GroupWise 6, and although I don't have to administer the system, I find it very functionally powerful. The user interface could do with a little improvement, but that's not to say that it's fundamentally bad...

Other factors, such as security and resilience, need to be borne in mind, and MS's track record in this respect leaves much to be desired.

Novell's acquisition of SuSe Linux bodes well for the development of cross-platform tools, and the sort of integration that won't be as easy or cost-effective with Exchange.

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Good points, but ...

by Jim-MN In reply to Why not GroupWise?

It's horribly non-standard and consistently mis-handles HTML messages.

It's almost impossible to export a received e-mail message to some standard format for archiving e.g. on a CD that doesn't require the _same_ _version_ of GW to read it later. It _is_ impossible to export more than one message in a batch.

It's impossible to configure all (or even a particular) GW user's client to always save a copy of Sent messages in a form that can be managed (cross-filed etc.) like any other received message.

It will Quit without reminding the User to Save a Draft (thus losing all the work).

The list goes on.

In other words, it's inexcusably stupid and irritating.

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Some Exchange alternatives are:

by jreidthompson In reply to What are the _other_ e-ma ...

a quick web search provides several Communigate/Communigate Pro based on HP OpenMail also -- see below Samsung Contact -- based on what was HP OpenMail Initially released in 1990, OpenMail software has been used by more than 60
percent of Fortune 1000 companies. As the only e-mail server apart from
Microsoft? Exchange to support a wide range of important Microsoft Outlook
features, OpenMail software provides a cost-sensitive enterprise solution
allowing deployment of thousands or even millions of users on a single
server. SDS has used OpenMail software as the basis of its own internal
communication system for five years, providing reliable communications
across the company?s 230,000 users.

etc, etc, etc

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There are no alternatives

by wordworker In reply to Consider Microsoft Office ...

Sorry to rain on the parade of die-hard WordPerfect users, and you open-source rebels, but there *is* no alternative to the MS suite. It's the standard, period. Going to submit documentation to the U.S. government to get your service or product certified? You've got to use Word. Want to share letters, documentation, and slide presentations with your business partners? Don't insult them by sending them WordPerfect or Lotus Suite files they can't open.

The overwhelming majority of users know how to use Microsoft Office apps and don't want to have to learn another set of products. And please, let's not turn this discussion into a "I hate Microsoft" mudfest. Whether you like MS or not, their product is the industry standard.

You'd have better luck trying to introduce a phone keypad with all the numbers in reverse order than you would trying to replace Office in U.S. business offices.

I'm not saying WordPerfect is inferior to Word; and if you prefer WordPerfect, you go right ahead and use it. But an acceptable alternative to Office? Not in our lifetimes.

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Very well said and all true, but ...

by Jim-MN In reply to There are no alternatives

... you left out the point that users of alternative software would say, "I can (easily learn and) use Open Office (or others?) and save in MS Word (or PowerPoint etc.) format and send to someone and they can't easily tell what I did; MS Office opens them just fine. Likewise I can read what they send to me. And by doing this I save a ton of money (and resist the evil Borg as well)."

What say you now?

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