Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Should the gov't fund software development?

DIGITAL WORLD - Who's afraid of OpenOffice? Not the government of Israel, which will once again fund development of the Hebrew OpenOffice project. But to judge by some of the online comments reacting to this news, there are lots of Israelis who are afraid of Oo!

OpenOffice (http://www.openoffice.org), as everyone knows by now, is the free, open-source office suite, an alternative for many people (including yours truly) to Microsoft Office.

Writing in English as I do, I work mostly with the US English version of Oo (and its Mac brother, NeoOffice), generally using the word processor component of the suite, and occasionally building a Powerpoint-style presentation using Oo's Presentation component.

Now, this is not a story comparing the abilities, plusses and minuses, or other competitive aspects of the MS Office/OpenOffice issue - you can find reams of data about that in your friendly local Google search box. For most of those who have worked with both programs at one time or another, that battle was resolved a long time ago - depending on individual experience, need, disposable income (can you afford MS Office) or level of ethical commitment (do you refrain from pirating expensive software, especially if several perfectly good alternatives are available). For me, Oo works great; I haven't had compatibility issues for years, with everything I produce in OpenOffice readable and editable by those using MS Office, and vice versa. As far as I'm concerned, the war is over - and I (and my wallet) won!

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