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yukichan
08-12-2006, 05:21 AM
Ok so this guide is about free and free / open source software. I will update it as much as I can with screen shots and download information with detail descriptions of each piece of software. IF anyone has any opinions or additions to what is posted please do so ^^ epically if you have used the software listed. So why free software? well simple, to compete it has to be better than the commercial equivalent to stay afloat.

My first pick is Open Office. Open Office is what it says, an open source alternative to Microsoft office. It includes most of the functions of Microsoft office yet it is smaller, faster, can run natively under Linux, Windows, and Solaris, is more stable, and is free.

Here is the main website http://www.openoffice.org/

http://img53.imageshack.us/img53/3353/installnn6.jpg

Here is my detailed info on the excellent suite of applications:
Open Office includes many apps to help with productivity:
Writer: a word processor (replacement of MS word)
Calc: spreadsheet application (replacement of Excel)
Draw: a plan layout tool (replacement for info path)
Impress: a presentation tool (replacement for power point)
Base: a database tool (replacement for access)
Math: a formula editor
http://img158.imageshack.us/img158/2433/op2vc7.jpg
On top of that it can open most Microsoft files from MS Office so you can have compatibility with those who have yet to switch
http://img158.imageshack.us/img158/8688/writerjo9.jpg
This shows writer, a word like application part of Open Office. It is fairly easy to use and has plenty of documentation for new users. It has the same functions as word yet seems much more polish in how objects are inserted in a document, they go the exact place you want without having to mess with the object much. In this case I tried using clipart of my own and it work very well. Once working with images, extra options become apparent on screen like in word. The app seems less bloated then its Microsoft equivalent, taking much less time to start from execution.
http://img158.imageshack.us/img158/4059/impig9.jpg
The presentation application works almost like power point, once again object can be inserted with out as much fuss as power point. The interface is easy to use and again comes with plenty of documentation.

With most of the writing tools throughout Open Office one will notice spell and grammar checking like in MS products. The context sensing in both spell checking and grammar checking are slightly better than the Microsoft versions. I am only showing a very small amount of the functionality and included software in Open Office so you can get a feel for what it does. In the end if you need an office application then I would recommend you try Open Office. It is free and full featured.

You can snag the latest copy at: http://download.openoffice.org/
The latest version of the date posted is 2.0.3
Platforms: Windows 98 or better, Solaris, Linux, and Mac OS X
Don’t want to install this and still want to try it? Or how about place it on your flash drive and take it to school or the office? The portable flash drive / non install version can be had at (windows version) http://portableapps.com/apps/office/suites/portable_openoffice (note: this is one version behind then the install version but should be the same in most respects)

You may check to see system requirements here: http://www.openoffice.org/dev_docs/source/sys_reqs_20.html