Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Endless Testdrive

Over on the right-hand side of this page is a new icon that says "Keep the Car." This is a new promotion from OpenOffice.org, in response to Microsoft's Office 2007 (or 8) test drive program (IE and ActiveX required, sorry). The point is, of course, that OpenOffice.org is available right now, and is forever free.

I use OpenOffice at work to read Microsoft Word and PowerPoint documents when I'm on my Linux box. For Excel spreadsheets I usually use gnumeric. And it works fine for that. In fact, if everyone used OpenOffice, there'd be no problem. But when I want to present something to the higher-ups at work I used Word or PowerPoint on the Mac, because that's what they use and OpenOffice doesn't supply the same bells and whistles that PowerPoint does.

If I could change this, I would, but this reliance on the Mac/Microsoft Office package goes all the way to the top of the organization, well beyond where I work. I'm never going to have enough power to change that.

But if we start using OpenOffice.org for everyday presentations, in email, etc., ("Oh, it didn't display well in PowerPoint? Well, I used OpenOffice to create the file, and it's free. You can get it from http://why.openoffice.org/.") then it'll be like the way Arlo said at the end of Alice's Restaurant:

You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he's really sick and they won't take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony, they may think they're both [nerds] and they won't take either of them. And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in [using OpenOffice.org] and walking out. They may think it's an organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said fifty people a day walking in [using OpenOffice.org] and walking out. And friends they may thinks it's a movement.

P.S. Thanks to Ron Pegoraro (Washington Post) for pointing out the new OpenOffice.org ad.