Chapter 9. A Free Office Suite

Have you ever purchased car accessories from a dealership? If so, you know that these can be some of the most expensive items you ever get for your car. Floor mats can cost several hundred dollars, a rear spoiler on your trunk close to a thousand, and a stereo system can run from a few hundred to more than a thousand, depending upon its features.

What some people don’t realize is that they can get the same accessories elsewhere, for far less money. Those floor mats will cost only $30 or so from an AutoZone. An aftermarket rear spoiler, painted to match your car’s color, is half the price you’d get from the dealership. And as for the stereo, you can get better quality and brand selection from Circuit City or Best Buy at a fraction of the cost.

As you might guess, the same is true in the world of computers. Just like with cars, there are alternatives to purchasing from the computer dealer. For example, you can buy your memory from a third party such as Crucial (http://www.crucial.com) and get a low-priced, high-quality product. But what’s the alternative to the ubiquitous Microsoft Office suite that comes with so many new computers?

The answer is the OpenOffice.org office program. This office suite is entirely free, both in price and in the openness of its code. You can use it right now on the Move CD, or download it from http://www.openoffice.org for use on another computer. It runs on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, and Solaris (a Unix operating system). ...

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