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Posts Tagged ‘Open Source’

Office alternatives offer better performance, no-cost Open Source license

March 6th, 2011 No comments

OpenOffice.org LogoTired of paying exorbitant licensing fees every time you install or upgrade bloated, unstable software? Here are a couple of Office alternatives that won’t cost you a dime.

The best known of these is OpenOffice.org. OpenOffice.org (OOo) began as StarOffice, developed by Star Division and acquired by Sun Microsystems in 1999.

The OpenOffice.org suite is composed of Writer, a word processor similar to Microsoft Word or Word Perfect; Calc, a spreadsheet similar to Microsoft Excel or Lotus 1-2-3; Impress, a presentation program similar to Microsoft PowerPoint and Apple Keynote; Base, a database management similar to Microsoft Access; Draw, a vector graphics editor similar to early versions of Corel Draw and Microsoft Visio; and Math, a tool for creating and editing mathematical formulae.

OpenOffice.org can read and write all popular file formats, including .doc, .xls, .ppt, etc. It can also read and save .docx, .xlsx, .rtf, .txt, .csv and more so you don;t need to concern yourself with file compatibility.


OpenOffice.org Start Screen

OpenOffice.org Start Screen

A feature of OpenOffice.org that I really like in the “one click” creation of PDFs from Writer and Calc. Another is the ability of Impress to export to .swf so that a presentation can be viewed on any computer with a Flash player installed.

OpenOffice.org is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. There is also a Mac-only fork called NeoOffice which contains most of the features of OpenOffice.org.

Don’t think that OpenOffice.org is a “cult” application only used by the anti-Microsoft crowd. Wikipedia says, “OpenOffice.org and StarOffice had secured 15-20% of the business market as of 2004. The OpenOffice.org web site reported more than 98 million downloads as of September 2007. OpenOffice.org 3.x reached one hundred million downloads, just over a year since its release.”

OpenOffice.org is released under an open-source licence (the LGPL), which means it may be used free of any licence fees, for any purpose: private, governmental, commercial, etc. Once acquired (either as a free download or as a CD) it may be installed on an unlimited number of computers, and may be copied and distributed without restriction. OpenOffice.org supports extensions, allowing users to add on extra functions easily from an extensions repository. This is a key differentiator from the competition.

Again quoting Wikipedia, “studies have shown that OpenOffice has reached a point where it has an “irreversible” installed user base and that it will continue to grow.”

Quoting Wikipedia one more time, “The source code of the suite was released in July 2000 with the aim of reducing the dominant market share of Microsoft Office by providing a free and open alternative; later versions of StarOffice are based upon OpenOffice.org with additional proprietary components. The OpenOffice.org project is primarily sponsored by Oracle Corporation (having acquired Sun Microsystems). Other major corporate contributors include Novell, Red Hat, IBM, Google and others.”

AbiWord LogoIf you’re just looking for a simple, but very powerful word processor that is Open Source (free) and will run on Windows, Mac or various Linux flavors, AbiWord may be just the ticket.

AbiWord is a free word processing program similar to Microsoft® Word. It is suitable for a wide variety of word processing tasks.

AbiWord allows you to collaborate with multiple people on one document at the same time. It is tightly integrated with the AbiCollab.net web service, which lets you store documents online, allows easy document sharing with your friends, and performs format conversions on the fly.

What use is a Word Processor when you can’t share your documents with your friends? AbiWord is able to read and write all industry standard document types, such as OpenOffice.org documents, Microsoft Word documents, WordPerfect documents, Rich Text Format documents, HTML web pages and many more.

Choose one of these Open Source solutions that meets your needs and you’ll be humming along free from those expensive proprietary licenses.

WordPress, Joomla! lead among Open Source CMSs again – even better solution for manufactured housing websites

January 23rd, 2011 No comments

The Water and Stone 2010 Open Source CMS Market Report is now available. According to Water and Stone, “The Big Three – WordPress, Joomla! and Drupal – remain firmly in command of the market,” and “WordPress has taken the lead in brand strength after a strong growth year.”

What does that mean for MH manufacturers, retailers, community owners/managers and suppliers? It means they will be around for a long time to come. And that means superior support for the software your website runs on – IF you’ve chosen one of the market leaders.

Orange Cat offers it’s clients development on the WordPress and Joomla! platforms as we feel they offer most power and flexibility in Internet marketing. Drupal is a popular alternative to Joomla! but we feel Joomla! offers our customers more options, templates and plugins and a more vibrant support community.

WordPress is the simplest of the three to administer and recent upgrades have added enough features where we can now consider using it in a wider range of customers applications.

You can download the Water and Stone 2010 Open Source CMS Market Report here.