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This is what we’re fighting for

In the grand scheme of things, I don't really care whether you use Linux, BSD, Mac OS X or even Windows - it's your call, and you need to be productive with your computer so use whatever suits you best. But please, please, please use OpenOffice.org rather than Microsoft Office. I know that OOo is missing some of the MSO features. And I know - oh, how we all know - that OOo makes lackadaisical caterpillars look nippy. But if you ever needed a reminder that there are bigger things out there, here it is - Microsoft has, so very generously, announced that if you buy the Home and Student version of Office 2007, they will let you have one language pack free, meaning that you can use Office in English and your own language without having to pay extra.

Yes, that's right: Microsoft wants you to pay extra if you hotdesk in a country such as South Africa, which has multiple official languages and could result in any of 11 different languages being needed. Normally, this wouldn't tick me off too much - after all, if you've paid to climb aboard the Microsoft treadmill, you should kind of expect to be ripped off at various other points as well. But I take particular exception to this campaign because it's being pitched as Microsoft the Magnanimous, the company which is so kind for letting you use the software you already bought in a multi-lingual country.

What I like about free software is British English. Not that I'm overly fussed about the American urge to destroy all Us, but I like the principle behind it - that everyone, including speakers of Aragonese, Inuktitut and Klingon, and yes, even people like the Brits, who Microsoft oppressed with Merkan spelling for years, can have their software in their language. I haven't even heard of half the languages that Ubuntu is being translated into but I'm grateful for all the incredible work those folks put into it. There are lots of languages that Microsoft and others ignore because there's not enough profit in it, and that's an easy win for free software.

So: "Blagodarya," Bulgarian translators. "Grazie," Italian translators. "tlho'," Klingon translators. "Thank you," British English translators. And "screw you," Microsoft.


Your comments

Bought Office 2007

Bought Office 2007 Professional Plus to complete a college assignment to use required program at home. Was shocked to find out I needed to pay for a language pack. You have to cough up unless you're writing documents in English, French or Spanish.

I tried to sell this point

I tried to sell this point to a language specialist school where the technician is pro Linux but the teachers weren't interested but yes, it's a huge advantage that I use every week.

I agree that this policy

I agree that this policy annoying, but seriously, Microsoft Excel is an absolutely excellent product. Ooo Calc is fine as it is, but for business applications, the wealth of support for MS Office massively outweighs the support for Ooo.

I'm a subscriber to LXF, and I have a laptop and a desktop running Ubuntu Hardy, but for work applications, Excel's the shizzle, surely?

Let me echo that: "'screw

Let me echo that: "'screw you, Microsoft!'"
Aaaaaaah, it feels soooo good!

English is not my native language / mother tongue, and I think I am in a good position to appreciate the need for localization and stuff. And I love to see Microsuck shooting itself on the foot. Here is a multinational monopoly (wow!) playing cheap tricks to squeeze some extra big bucks out of international suckers...

Let's hope this pushes the world a little bit farther from the Redmond beast.

Long live FOSS!

Office is good, but 90%+ of

Office is good, but 90%+ of people who use it could manage with OOo.
Office 2007 is a real step backwards in terms of usability and compatibility.Some of the changes are so counter intuitive, and there are more clicks to do the same job.
We use a mix of 2003, 2007 and OOo, and have real issues.
Whereas our OOo users can open anything from 2003 or 2007 our Office users have constant problems with moving files from one to another, and usability issues if they have to use another PC.

I have to be able to use and support all 3.

Vista isn't the only turkey MS can't sell at the moment.

I agree that the upgrade to

I agree that the upgrade to Office 2007 is, in some cases, a step backwards. Excel's charting functions always sucked, but they actually appear to have got even worse, which is particularly annoying, as I thought this was one area that they'd focus on improving.

However, I still stand by my original point, while my Mum is perfectly happy with Open Office for writing letters, for high powered analysis that's very quick to put together, Excel is more powerful than any of its competitors.

I would have thought the biggest threat to both MS Office and Ooo is Google Docs. I'm really impressed with how well Google Docs works for simple document and spreadsheet tasks.

>>please, please,

>>please, please, please use OpenOffice.org rather than Microsoft Office.

And if we don't obey ?? !!!!



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