Sunday, May 11, 2008

Open Office 3.0 Beta

I downloaded and installed Open Office 3.0 Beta yesterday. This morning I began the evaluation process. Here are my thoughts and opinions - for what it is worth:

  • The install was very easy and quick, and I was not required to restart my PC.
  • Navigation in Writer, Calc and Impress are similar to the Microsoft products. The learning curve here was small. (or similar to that of XP or 2003 to 2007)
  • The Draw tool was a bit tough to figure out at first, but once I did - I find this to be a valuable piece of the Open Office suite.
  • I was able to easily transfer files back and forth between Open Office and Office 2007, 2003 and XP. (see cons below for follow-up testing)
  • The first two times I attempted to save a file in the Text program - it locked up on me. After I restarted my machine, I noticed improved speed in the program. So, while a restart is not required after installation - it seems to improve performance.
  • While simple text and data transfer between Microsoft and Open Office wasn't an issue, trying to transfer Clip Art and Shapes from Office 2007 to Writer created layout issues. The font colors and style changed as well as the location of a few pieces of clip art.
  • There some formatting issues once you create a document, spreadsheet or presentation in a Microsoft product, open it Open Office and then attempt to resave it back to the appropriate Microsoft format; however, I believe this is something that will be resolved once they full version is released.
For someone like myself who doesn't use Clip Art or Shapes in Office 2007, this is an easy decision. Open Office offers the ease of use, functionality and compatibility any standard user could ask for. Obviously, the advantage goes to Open Office with the price point as well.

I now plan to follow the footsteps of a fellow CIO in KY and test Open Office for our students. We will begin this summer by installing Open Office on all new labs and mobile devices purchased. Once the beta testing has met our expectations, we will look to roll out Open Office on a larger scale.

I give Open Office 3.0 Beta an 8.8 out of 10.


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