In order to conduct business operations with effectiveness and efficiency, or even certain home and hobby functions, often a powerful set of software can be an essential asset. Workers everywhere need the right programs in order to competently compose documents, create dynamic presentations, maintain accurate spreadsheets, and monitor extensive databases.
Towards these purposes, Microsoft regularly releases their Office brand suite of software. Their applications include Word for word processing, Excel for spreadsheets, PowerPoint for presentations, and Access for database engineering. These premium products offer the latest, professionally developed, premiere sources of workplace software available.
However, a number of free alternatives have emerged over the years, including Open Office. Open Office is a community-supported freeware set that features open development and backwards compatibility with Office files. Since it has no price, yet offers very similar functionality to the original Microsoft versions, it presents a rather compelling case to substitute the potentially expensive Microsoft Office software with the free Open Office versions instead.
As is often the case in life’s situations, the truth is a bit more of a gray area than the simple black-and-white issue of which is better. There are some advantages to sticking with Microsoft, and some advantages to trying Open.
The Benefits of Microsoft Office over Open Office
Stability: Although Open Office boasts a “secrets-free” approach to its code development, the cost of allowing all users to suggest improvements and tweak the source is that updates are more constantly released yet with less testing, thus resulting in an increased likelihood for inconsistency, and the potential for lapses in security. Microsoft is the “big-box” bad guy to some people, but it is difficult to argue against the effectiveness of using a larger, more qualified team to produce their premium software.
Standard of Learning: Open Office obviously derives much of their functionality from their Microsoft counterparts, indicating a desire to remain with the recognizable, standard appearances and operations of the Microsoft suite. The fact remains that Microsoft Office may have set the standard for how programs should look for word processing, presentations, spreadsheets, etc. They remain the programs that more people already know, and thus can effectively pass along in teaching.
Professionalism: While such open-source programs may be receiving more users and thus gaining more respectability in the workforce world, the mark of professionalism still belongs to the Microsoft programs. Open Office, for the moment, is still relegated to the domain of rank amateurs, as larger corporate offices opt for the Microsoft components for their systems.
The Benefits of Open Office over Microsoft Office
Price: The biggest, most provocative advantage that Open Office provides is the absolute free cost of use. Without paying a cent, any computer user can download the software programs and use them freely, without even any annoying ads that demand donations or similar catches.
Openness: Because the source coding is completely transparent and available for public view and review, skilled users can offer suggestions, tweaks, fixes, and improvements at any given time. This, in addition to some of Open’s unique features such as their cross-platform Styles function, gives Open Office a more fluid, dynamic, cutting-edge feel.
Compatibility Power: One wise option that Open Office gives is that its programs can open from and save into Microsoft Office files. This means that people using Open can use files from other users, even if they used Microsoft instead, and any saved results can be open by anyone. This certainly helps an Open user ease into a relevant working environment, or maintain relevancy with software-engineering peers.
Like Microsoft versus Apple or other computing-related rivalries, Microsoft Office versus Open Office is a hot item of debate, one that will assuredly hold loyal partakers on both sides of the decision line.