Open Office 3: The Spread of Open Source
The long awaited Open Office 3 has just been released and it has caused openoffice.org's servers to be overloaded. The open source software is, for those of you who do not already know, a free alternative to Microsoft Office. This is build 9358, RC 4, of Open Office 3 and has been named the final version of the program as reported by crn.com. After its release last week, one of my coworkers went to download the program to check licensing information, but the site was too busy for him to access the download. It seems his predicament was shared by many other people who were eager to obtain a copy of the new suite. The popularity of open source is definitely growing, and in this instance it looks like demand exceeded supply (in terms of bandwidth that is). Open Office has grown to a point where it has become a formidable competitor to Microsoft Office in market share and in features.
From what I have heard and read about so far it seems that this release of Open Office has been improved greatly, making it a great time for anyone considering adopting to actually do it. Open office is capable to open Microsoft Office 2007 applications, which makes it worth it right there. There are many other free Office readers out there, but the quality of this suite will make it stand out from all the others. Other features such as an improved Spell Check in Writer have been added. The GUI has also been made more presentable, although still not as fancy as Microsoft Office, which can be a good or bad thing depending on how annoyed you are by GUI.
In an article I wrote two weeks ago, the current economic situation is making it even more beneficial to migrate to open source software. The high traffic for Open Office 3 is proof that more people are adopting open source software. Microsoft has even given kudos to Open Office, saying that it is a bigger competitor than Google Apps. As to whether that is a direct compliment to Open Office or indirect insult to Google Apps is up for interpretation, but regardless Open Office is getting more and more attention from the public and commercial companies. With recession looming, free software should be looking very appealing compared to proprietary software.
People's resistance to change is hindering open source adoption. Even though there are many benefits to open source, the majority of people are still hesitant to change their software and learn the new program. But Open Office really tries to make the shift as easy as possible. Being able to read Microsoft Office documents and emulating many of their features reduces how much a person has to learn if they want to switch over. With the ease of adoption, open source benefits, and low cost, now is really the time for Joe the Computer User to try open source, starting with Open Office.