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So what's the office suite of choice for these new Macs?

We'll see if our town decides to fund the tech refresh I blogged about last night. I think they just might, though, which means they all need to be installed and loaded up with software.
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Written by Christopher Dawson on

We'll see if our town decides to fund the tech refresh I blogged about last night. I think they just might, though, which means they all need to be installed and loaded up with software. Some of the software is easy: teachers have already identified their "killer apps" (reading, math, and language applications) and iLife meets whatever multimedia needs the schools can throw at these machines.

Office software is another story, though. iWork has received fine reviews, but I don't have any personal experience with it (nor does anyone on staff). It's not free, but licensing costs aren't too bad. OpenOffice works on the Mac, but only under X11 (Aqua development is ongoing, but not there yet). Of course, there is Office 2008 for the Mac, but licensing costs are steep and ZDNet's review of the product can be summarized as

Microsoft Office for Mac 2008 is pricey; saves work in new file formats by default; Excel drops Visual Basic support; features don't match the depth of those in Office 2007 for Windows...Office for Mac 2008 may be the best pick for business users, but most people can get by with less costly alternatives.

Online applications like Zoho and Google Docs are maturing quickly, but also aren't ready for primetime. NeoOffice/J is now available, but hasn't received the glowing praise that OpenOffice has found from Linux and Windows users. So what should we use?

Is iWork as slick as it looks and suitable for K-8 use? Or do we break down and still throw money at Microsoft for Office 2008? Talk back and let us know your experiences.

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