I have been hearing a bit of buzz from people about OpenOffice again, so I went and tried OpenOffice again (and I really tried to like it). The last time tried it (almost 2 years ago) I refused to Microsoft Office for a month in order to really get used to the interface and commands in OpenOffice. In many scenarios, OpenOffice still peforms well for basic tasks and a few advanced tasks like embedding documents (spreadsheets and charts into Writer, the word processing app). The last time I tried OpenOffice I had to admit I was still having a tough time making a ton of distinction between Office 2000 (which I was using at my client site and Office 97). This time things were a bit different for me. I having been using Office 2003 long enough now I can clearly make a distinction on why Office 97/2000 are not good enough. The killer app that was missing from OpenOffice (and previous version of Microsoft Office for that matter) was SharePoint.
I have a limit on my e-mail box and getting several large attachments throughout the week is like a denial of service attack on my Inbox. In addition to some of my customers aggressive mail filters making it difficult to send and receive some attachments at times. You can say what you want but the ease of use and integration in the Office 2003 System, which includes SharePoint to share documents makes for a compelling solution. I am really looking forward to Office 12 and the integration of Groove into the platform, and offline capabilities as well. I hear all the time people saying Office 97 is good enough, I think that is true if you are doing the same thing you were doing eight years ago, the reality people are not the same thing from eight years ago, staffs are shrinking and people are being ask to create manage, more information in less time. I am of the mindset that there has to be a better way and I am always looking for solutions to make the tasks I did eight years ago easier to manage, find and share. Using OpenOffice for me was like using Office 95 with the "Save As PDF..." function built in, OpenOffice is still not good enough.