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by Kendra Dalin
Novell Connection Magazine – October 2006

Here’s an excerpt:

With more than 400 million users, Microsoft Office demands attention: it is unarguably the most popular office productivity suite and arguably the de facto standard for word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software. The separate components–including Word, Excel and PowerPoint–that Microsoft first bundled and released in 1989 were shining examples of solid software. Both then and now, these separate software components together form what few people would disagree is a good product.

Perhaps expectedly, you pay a high price for Microsoft quality. Microsoft Office, which contributed US$11 billion to Microsoft’s revenue in 2005 and accounts for 60 percent of the Redmond giant’s profits, is significantly more expensive than any of its competitors. (See Volume licensing prices aside, Microsoft Office Standard Edition retails for $399?that’s $100 more than competitor Corel WordPerfect Office, $200 more than IBM Lotus SmartSuite, and $399 more than (For a detailed comparison of office productivity suites, see

Unless your IT budget is far, far bigger than most, I can only assume that you have more important things on which to spend your limited funds than an office suite. Perhaps the time has come for you to open your mind and consider a change. But change to what?and why?

Sending in the Canary

This is the first article in a series designed to show you one suite that might be worth considering, at least in part because you have little to lose: is available free of charge from the Web site of the same name. Available under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL), can be used wherever and however you choose. (See GNU Who?) If you like it, you can copy it and pass it along to friends and family or distribute it widely among students or employees. Doing so is not only legal?it’s encouraged.

Read the complete article here

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