Open Source This, Mickeysoft!
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But I wanted to put a word processor on it, and I didn’t want to go digging for my USB CD drive (the HP is bigger than the Asus, but too little to have its own optical drive), so I just downloaded OpenOffice instead, since I’d been meaning to give it a try anyway. I used OpenOffice’s word processor to write my review of Ron Paul’s book, and I have to say I really liked it. It’s easy and intuitive, and it’s much, much closer to my beloved WordPerfect than to Word. Also, it’s free. I’d have to try it on something really long, like a law review article with lots of footnotes, to be sure how I feel, but I really enjoyed my testdrive. Using Word always feels like work. Using OpenOffice just felt like writing. And did I mention it’s free?

OpenOffice comes bundled with Ubuntu, and the latest version with the 8.04 upgrade I just installed is a dream. Enormously powerful, but very easy to use and understand. Also, the Mozilla apps – Firefox, and Thunderbird (for mail and contacts) bundled with Lightning (the calendar/pim) are wonderful. Beyond that, I am in the process of switching all my email over to gmail – I already use gmail servers for all my outgoing mail, and I have it rigged to download directly to Thunderbird for mail handling. Gmail has noticeably less spam, too.

I signed up for Carbonite online backups, and I liked that a lot, but unfortunately, it only works under Windows. I’m looking for something as simple to use that works for Linux now. I’m also making use of some of the other Google tools – the word processor and the online pim. I expect to see a lot of my data handling move into the Cloud over the next few years.

Note the one thing I’m not using – Microsoft products. I don’t really expect that to change. Why would I pay several hundred dollars – and submit to intrusive digital proctological exams of my computing capabilities and habits – when I can get as good, or better, products for a nominal cost, or even free?

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers!

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About Bill Quick

I am a small-l libertarian. My primary concern is to increase individual liberty as much as possible in the face of statist efforts to restrict it from both the right and the left. If I had to sum up my beliefs as concisely as possible, I would say, "Stay out of my wallet and my bedroom," "your liberty stops at my nose," and "don't tread on me." I will believe that things are taking a turn for the better in America when married gays are able to, and do, maintain large arsenals of automatic weapons, and tax collectors are, and do, not.


Open Source This, Mickeysoft! — 10 Comments

  1. I bought an iBook about a year ago, and decided that my inner Mac fanboy needed to be set free; that with this machine, I would, finally, have at least one of my decks free from anything remotely Redmond, so I went OpenOffice instead of that bloated, buggy BS that Billy Boy sells.

    Have never looked back.

  2. Andrew, I’ve had the same problem with Quicken and Linux – a real barrier, because both Quicken and Telechart (a subscription stock-charting program I use) are essential to me.

    I fiinally found a solution: A free Windows emulator called “VirtualBox” works like a charm on Ubuntu, and runs every Windows program I’ve thrown at it without a hitch – specifically Quicken and Telechart.

    Virtual Box finally made Linux completely usable for me.

  3. Oh, wait. I see. You want a free substitute for Quicken. Well, there are several open source possibilities, but almost all of them fall down (for me, at least) over the issue of online banking. None of them are very good at that, and none are as easy as Quicken to set up.

    At least none I know of. I haven’t researched the issue lately, though, so maybe there have been recent improvements I’m not aware of.

    But for those who want to use Quicken with Linux, my previous comment holds true.

  4. The problem with OOo is that it doesn’t support a lot of entrerprisy things. Where I work now, Office has been hacked at with a rusty axe until it provides all the document management we need. That’s not really possible with OOo yet.

    However, I’ve been writing my masters thesis for the last year or so on OOo writer, and it works just fine. The only problem is that there is no good visio analog for Linux. I’ve tried everything, and they all fail for one reason or another. This is kind of a big deal for me.

    I haven’t tried v3 yet, but I think it just went to public beta, and I’ve heard good things.

    Bill, you should look into Jungle Disk. It’s cheap to buy, storage uses Amazon E3, which is about 1-3 orders of magnitude cheaper than most other data storage plans, and has a more reputable name/history than other companies I can think of. It’s how I’ve been protecting my thesis for a about 2 months, and it’s cost me less than a buck for the storage.

  5. I carry OO with me as a Portable App everywhere I go. For the record, between Writer and Abi Word, I’ve been able to recover some corrupted Word files. Kind of odd that, but it works.

    I installed OO on my wife’s computer a few years ago when she wanted some office software. She hasn’t looked back once.

    There’s piece of financial software that I can’t recall right now that has versions native to both Windows and Linux; I think I posted it here once. Anyway, it isn’t free but it seems like a decent Quicken alternative.

  6. I tried to switch to OOo a couple years ago, and within a few days discovered that it could not do (or it was much more difficult to do) several functions that were essential for me in both Word and Excel. Just bad luck for me, I guess, because it is in general a pretty capable program. But I had no complaints with the suite otherwise.
    As for Linux, I installed it on my old laptop and continue to play around with it. I suspect I’ll move to the penguin in a year or two. Or sooner if the Quicken/Quickbooks problem is resolved to my satisfaction.
    I find it amazing that more people have not already sold their MS stock. I got rid of mine long ago.

  7. Quickbooks…? And how does it handle the Quicken data files? Last time I tried it, it would install and run Quicken, but when I tried to open my files they were garbaged.
    Well, I’ll take another look. Linux sure was fast and clean….

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