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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Spice up Windows - replace it with Linux; part 3

In my previous posts I stated that I'd like to help people to spice their system and move from Windows to Linux. But we all know that it cannot be done in an instant. I started to explain the process in last posts. This time I will explain the 3rd step: Spicing up Office/Production applications.

For many, such applications include:

  • Word Processor application (for writing documents)
  • Spreadsheet (for simple calculations such as IRS reports)
  • Presentation application (for business people among us - for creating presentations for their bosses or customers, for the rest of the crowd - for watching those nice nude vacation photo stripes with great music.
  • Some graphical tools, for building flow charts, graphs and similar things.
  • Reading PDF files (and even creating them)
  • Money/account management utilities.

I'm sure there are many others. If you know them, please send feedback to me and I will update this list. We will do our best to cover what we have at the moment.

Here we go:

1. OOO Writer - a very good Word Processor. It is a part of an open source project OOo (, and for many many many people it covers all their needs for an application for creating documents. Whats good, as a bonus, it supports Word's document format (almost perfect), so you could use it for exchanging document with you friends who still not decided to move to better platform.

2. OOO Calc - a very good spreadsheet program. It is also a part of an open source project OOo, and it definitely covers much of the needed features in spreadsheet application. It also supports Excel file format which allows you to work with such files if one of your friends haven't moved to other software yet.

3. OOO Impress - a very good presentation program. It is also a part of an open source project OOo, and it definitely covers much of the needed features in presentation application. It also supports PowerPoint file format which allows you to work with such files if one of your friends haven't moved to other software yet.

4. OOO Draw - is a program for creating sketches, diagrams, and simple graphs. Its a part of an open source project OOo, and it also covers many of the features requires for simple diagrams creating and flow charting. While not much used by home users, it can drive great value to an office user.

5. PDF Reader/Creator - this is one great thing in all systems. Don't mind about reading PDF files too much - they are readable in every system. It doesn't even matter that much, which application you would use, because for general purpose PDF reading is application independent, and can be done in all applications - and it will look the same.

For creating you can use OOO Writer - it can import (save) your document as PDF file.

6. Accounting - I've inserted this here, because it has to do with productivity applications. I personally found that for me actually using a spreadsheet for all accounting is much easier and faster (So you can use OOO Calc). But for many who want to try specific application, I'd suggest checking one of the following:

As you can see, I strongly recommend to install OpenOffice suite of office applications. It will give you the benefit of integrated applications, the joy of using open source (and free) software and easy transition from that other application because of similar interface.

In addition, I will just mention that for the word processor functionality, there's another option:
Abiword - it is an open source word processing application. It is also works with Word format files, and it is lite and sufficient for many tasks. I would choose Abiword over OpenOffice if it was the only type of productivity program I needed. It is much smaller and subjectively faster.

I hope that list I gave will cover you basic needs. If it doesn't, let me know and I will help you find the applications that fill the need you seek to fill.

After you install aforementioned applications, use them. It is important to leave older application aside, just in case. But use these new ones to get used to them. I hope you will find those application easy to use and transfer your data to new applications.

Next time I will explain how do we remove Windows with fun.

Feedback is greatly appreciated.


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