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Open Office vs. Office?

November 16th, 2010

(Originally Posted October 21)

How much fun can you have for next to nothing?  My netbook project is an adventure in what you can do for only a little cost.  I initially purchased it as a PC to take on vacation.  I wanted something small, lightweight, and functional that was inexpensive.  The idea was not to take either my Dell D830 or the Mac Book which each cost quite a bit more and would cause more disappointment if they were lost, stolen, or damaged.  Enter the Toshiba NB-255.  At $285 it was just what I was looking for.

After it arrived from NewEgg I set up wi-fi,  and did a Windows Update then began loading it up with the “essentials”.  These were such things as Java, Flash Player, anti-virus, Malware Bytes, Adobe reader, and Win Zip.  Office would have been nice but Office 2007 costs $$$ and is a pain to use.  Open Office was free but would it work?

The installation of Open Office was quick and painless.  It fired up right away.  The smaller processor of the netbook wasn’t an issue.  The word processor wasn’t Word 2007 but who’s complaining?  It had the intuitive feel of Word 2003.  I was also impressed with the spreadsheet application.  Like Excel, it had built-in functions for more complex calculations such as calculating internal rate of return and other functions for finance, statistics, etc.  I have yet to create any presentations but it does play existing PowerPoint files.

So far I haven’t found any reason for paying Microsoft for Office.  In fact, the experience has started me thinking of loading Linux on it.  More about that later.  I have achieved the low-cost goal of the project but every day I’m feeling more and more like I would be disappointed if it were lost, stolen, or damaged.

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