A friend of mine has decided to start writing again after a long hiatus. So in preparation for being a “starving” writer I decided to wean him off the Micro$oft habit (he can no longer afford it) and start him off down the road towards “Free Software” and choice.
My idea (as an opening bid) is to setup a laptop for hime, I will be running Ubuntu (we have talked about this before) and Open Office 2. OpenOffice 2.0 is arguably the premier free, open source office suite (no I am not getting into a debate on this one, alternate views can live in the comments).
It has a lot of similarity to M$ Office. But it isn’t identical and nor would we want it to be. M$Office has some real idiosyncrasies that I can live without in an ideal world. (I know because I setup my laptop to run with Ubuntu and Open Office as well).
So, knowing how to find and use some of these features which may not be where you expect to find them. Solveig Haugland (who runs a great resource called openofficeblogs) comes to our rescue with a post called Bridging the gap between Office and OpenOffice and explains how to use such OpenOffice features as the Draw tool, tabbed headers and footers (this is so much better than the Micr$oft Word way… well I think so). We also get how to custom create of colors (yes Bill there are more than 16 colours), how to share files and how M$ Office documents are compatible with OpenOffice.
I will let you know how he goes. So far he likes the Ubuntu Live CD and is finding Open Office more than meeting the challenge. Yes it can open his old Word docs and yes it can save them again. I would say he is about to away.
More news as it comes to hand.
Dont forget to have a look at http://www.openoffice.blogs.com/ as well
Update: My laptop is moving over to Fedora 5 for a while.