Sunday, September 23, 2007

REVIEW: Open Office Revisited

I just bought a shiny new macbook, and after some rather clunky experimentation with the demo version of iWork it came with, I downloaded NeoOffice. And...so far, so good :) It seems a little more stable than Open Office was on a PC, and so far, I am enjoying it.

I think the problem I had on my PC was that I kept trying to run Office too, and the import capabilities bugged me a little. On this Mac, I do not have MS Office and am only using NeoOffice. So, no worrying about the imports :) The rare time I need to share files with my computer at work, it's mostly text-based anyway, and even Open Office on a PC never had problems with that.

Granted, the transition has not been perfect. Any file involving tables imported a little oddly, and most of these will need to be fixed at some point. But this was a good lesson to me in being realistic. Is it a problem if complex graphical layouts do not transfer perfectly between MS Office and Open Office? In theory, yes. But how often will I really want to do that? The last time I made a file with any sort of graphic, it was a birthday card, and I printed it on the spot, at home, and never even saved the file. 99% of the time, I work with plain text, and the 1% of the time I use graphics, I do it on personal stuff that doesn't really need sharing.

I'm sure the file import/export features are among the top priorities for ongoing tweaking, and the problem will fix itself over time. So, I'm not worried. It'll get fixed. For now, I just have to handle the graphics-heavy stuff at home, I guess, and accept that my tables will have to be tweaked a bit. On the plus, NeoOffice on a Mac seems much more stable then Open Office did on a PC. No crashes yet! And a fairly good user experience, too. A few of the preferences still seem a little clunky to access (there has to be an easier way to add to the Gallery!) But overall, I am happy and I think I will enjoy using NeoOffice on my shiny new toy :)

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