The power and ease of OpenOffice

My 73 year old father never ceases to surprise me. He continues to work in his retirement years and is never afraid to start at the beginning. He works as a commercial real estate broker and recently took a position at a broker’s office in Beverly Hills, California. I often help him out with computer issues and on his first day in the office, seated in front of a new computer, he called up to say “how do I open the Excel files I brought with me from home ?”

So, I patiently walked him through finding Microsoft Office on the computer only to find it was not installed. He then asked, “where can I get Excel cheaper than $229 ?”

The answer was simple, I walked him through downloading and installing OpenOffice.


* Download time: 12 minutes over a LAN


* Install time: 10 minutes – about five mouseclicks and perhaps twelve words to type


Total time to become productive: Less than 25 minutes

Would someone care to calculate the time and cost to use Microsoft Office?



    1. drive to the store at +$3 a gallon,
    2. park (neither activity a pleasant experience in Los Angeles)
    3. find the CD on the shelf
    4. stand in line
    5. pay!!!!!!!!!
    6. drive back to the office
    7. open the shrinkwrap (toss into the nearest landfill)
    8. validate the product is not counterfeit
    9. insert the CD
    10. install the product
    11. put the CD and license in a safe place in case you ever need it again

start working!

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7 thoughts on “The power and ease of OpenOffice

  1. Cheapskates…you and ur dad!
    There is a difference between ‘good’ and ‘good enough’. You get what you pay for.

  2. OpenOffice has been very reliable for me.
    If you wish to comment, please be courteous and spell check you entry prior to submission

  3. Jonathan: You have graphically highlighted a real-world, compelling reason to avoid paying the Microsoft ransom. Congratulations to your Dad for having the courage to walk the road less travelled.
    – Mark

  4. Doesn’t ‘good enough’ indicate that any more resources spent would be a waste? Depends on your definition of ‘good enough’ I guess.
    I’ve used Open Office 2.0 for a few weeks now and I have no complaints at all. It was a bit scary to jump initially, but I just ran them side by side (training wheels mode) for a few weeks prior.

  5. I have been using OpenOffice 2.0 for quite some time now and it works fine.
    I sometimes copy-paste content from the web to prepare notes. MS office used to crash a lot trying to render the formatting as well. That actually prompted me to try OpenOffice and I’ve never looked back.

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