Revisiting the topic of Office versus OpenOffice.Org

Revisiting the topic of OpenOffice.org versus Microsoft Office and some of the comments, thoughts and feelings of readers.
Written by Dan Kusnetzky, Contributor

In my post, Goodbye, OpenOffice.Org. I'm going back to MS Office, I commented on the interoperability issues I had experienced that can be attributed to my choice to use OpenOffice.org on my production systems. Although OpenOffice and its cousin NeoOffice worked well, I kept learning of formatting problems seen by recipients of documents and presentations.  These problems, of course, never showed up on my system when I looked at those same documents and presentations.

When those little "irregularities" became the topic of discussion of my company's Senior Team meeting, I knew that the tool had become a liability and I went out that day and purchased Office 2008 for Mac. I've not, by the way, heard a single complaint from my colleagues since that change over. I've been able to easily read documents and presentations sent by 451 Group subscribers or suppliers of IT hardware, software and services.

I haven't, by the way, totally abandoned OpenOffice.Org or its cousin NeoOffice. They're still useful when I'm exchanging documents with folks using those products.

The response to my original post was illuminating. Hundreds of comments were posted on ZDnet and I received an amazing number of Emails. Some felt strongly enough that they tracked down my telephone number and called to express their thoughts and feelings. I must admit, I was rather surprised by the strong emotions behind some of those responses. I guess that some people see their chosen software as a religious experience rather than pieces of software.

Here is a quick summary of the major themes of those messages:

Comments Response
Dan, you're an idiot and have no idea what's good for you and your company. Let me enlighten you and show you the error of your ways. It is nice to know that so many know in detail our needs, the availability of skills and the operational issues we face on a daily basis. I was amazed by the generousness and knowledge demonstrated those readers.
Thank you for highlighting an issue my company had. We wanted to like OpenOffice.org, but had production or usage issues. OpenOffice.Org is a great office suite. It is not for everyone however. Those who can use it, enjoy a lower cost of software acquisition. They may, however, face higher costs of administration.
Microsoft is evil. You must be on their payroll in some way. While Microsoft has subscribed to some services my company offers, they don't call the shots on what we write, our analysis or our opinions. The company is just one of many subscribers.
You must be in OpenOffice's pocket.  This was part of a clever viral marketing campaign to create brand awareness for them. OpenOffice.org isn't a subscriber. It hasn't engaged my services at any time in the past. I've met one or two of the developers at conferences, however. They appear to be nice people.
I'm thankful to everyone who took the time to read the post and offer their insights, feelings and comments.

Editorial standards