Many of you are probably already aware of my new discovery, but there might be a few out there who don’t know about OpenOffice and I would like to share my excitement with them. In a blog earlier week, I lamented the fact that I did not know how to convert Word documents into pdf files and asked if anyone could steer me in the right direction. Lee, Nate, and Tippi all replied with good suggestions and I thank all of you. According to Lee, all one needs to do is google for pdf converter. Sounds easy enough. Tippi suggested a site called cute pdf that works nearly instantaneously. Nate recommended OpenOffice, which reminded me that I had read about this site some time ago and forgot to look at it. So, off I went to http://www.openoffice.org/.
Last week would have been a better time to download this free office suite because I needed a spreadsheet program for the 611 class, but did not have one so I had to create tables. Now, thanks to Nate’s suggestion, I have a spreadsheet program called Calc, which is similar to MS Excel along with Writer, a word processing program similar to MSWord that has built-in capabilities to convert files to pdf format; Impress, a presentation program comparable to MS PowerPoint; Base, a database program akin to MS Access; Draw, a vector graphics program like CorelDraw; and Math, which is comparable to MS Equation Editor and serves as a tool for creating and editing math formulae. I just wish that I had known about OpenOffice.org before I spent too much money on MS Works Suite 2006 which has three programs, Travel Planning, Personal Finance, and Home Organization, that I have yet to use. My daughter needed Word and a couple of other programs before she went to college and so I purchased this one because the less expensive, more useful one was out of stock and we were running out of time. An especially nice feature of OpenOffice. org is that it is there when you are and one need not be concerned that an application might be out of stock.
OpenOffice.org does ask members to contribute in some way to keep the open-source project cost free and to offer a high quality product. For the most part, these requests are painless. Participants and members may contribute in the following capacities: Programming, Quality Assurance, Writing, User Experience, Language Communities, Marketing, Graphics and Art, Helping Users, and Monetary Donations. More information about these matters may be found at: http://contributing.openoffice.org/index.html
At the moment, I am planning to help in the marketing category. Some of the ways that I can help include telling people about OpenOffice. org, giving them copies of the software, and encouraging them to visit the website to take part in the Community. I can also subscribe to the mailing list. Additionally, I can invite a speaker from the organization to speak at school assemblies, teachers’ meetings, clubs, conferences, etc. to spread the word and invite participants. Further, I can attend conferences and keep my eyes and ears open for requests for new features and enhancements.
The pros and cons of OpenOffice.org are addressed at: wikipediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenOffice.org. Some of the issues are technical and involve Java Runtime Environment, speed and memory issues – all of which sound complicated to me, but I think I will take time to read up on them in the future.
OpenOffice.org is the biggest open source project in the world with over 7.5 million lines of code and hundreds of programmers and volunteers working all over the globe. OpenOffice.org’s motto is: “Whatever you do well – do it for Open Office.org.” I am inspired to help with this project because I like the idea of people working together to help each and to keep corporations from getting our last dollar.