Alternatives to Microsoft

I’ve been a Mac user for 20 years. It was the first personal computer I bought, and I stuck with it, even when it looked like Apple wouldn’t be able to stick around itself.

I’ve also been a Microsoft user for that long. But that relationship hasn’t been as gratifying as the one with the Mac. It’s always seemed to me that Microsoft considered Apple a rival, and while it had to develop software for Macs, it did so only grudgingly.

Lately, I’ve been having trouble with my version of Microsoft Office. Specifically, with Word. Macro viruses contaminate every Word document I write, which is a real pain when I have to share them. I clean the docs with Virex, a good anti-virus software for Macs, but the problem shouldn’t exist in the first place.

The solution? Open source software. It’s free, it relies on public feedback for continued upgrades, and it’s usually better than the commercial software it replaces.

I’ve replaced Micrsoft Word with the open source word processor Abiwrite. It’s lean, not bloated. It’s fast. And it saves documents in Word format, should you need a Word document for work purposes, or sharing with others.

I prefer Abiwrite to another good open source program, NeoOffice. As its name implies, NeoOffice comprises a whole office suite, including a word processor, spreadsheet, database, presentation and drawing programs. But Abiwrite “feels” sleeker.  It’s become my word processor of choice.

I’ll write on other open source software from time to time, but meanwhile, you might find your own.  Open your favorite search engine, type in open source software and your OS, either Mac or PC, and see what comes up.  I’ll bet you’ll find one–or several–that do a great job for you, and at the right price.

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