Free = good

Thanks to the helpful comments below, I’m now using decent, free calendaring software for Mozilla. With the installation of the Mozilla Google bar, I’m pretty much free of any Microsoft software, other than the OS itself. This wasn’t something I really set out to do. I have no personal or philosophical beef with MS. It’s just that they have made it very difficult and expensive to manage their office software. Its just not worth it. I don’t want to dick around with activation, CD keys, and installing previous versions just to install the version I want. Abiword, Open Office, and Mozilla are easy to install and, more importantly, I can just download it whenever I need it. MS probably doesn’t have to worry about Linux taking over the home just yet, but they should start getting worried about Office. Changing an OS is a big deal. Changing an application is easy.

Office is the big cash cow for MS and there is no way they will be able to sustain the margins they have been getting on it. There is nothing that a new version of Office has to offer. We’ve come about as far as we are going to with Word Processing. 99% of the people only use a few features in any of the Office applications.

Any future business I start will NOT use any MS Office applications. There is no need for it. Its expensive and the upgrade cycle is just insane. (I’m writing this update on Mozilla btw)

Having come this far with open source software, I suppose the next question is, why not go all the way and use Linux?

  1. I don’t find the file structure of Linux very intuitive. Perhaps I should say, it ‘s different enough from Windows that I didn’t get it in the very few times I’ve tried to install software on Linux.
  2. World Watch doesn’t run on Linux. (There might be a decent equivalent out there, but I’m unaware of it)
  3. No MSN Messenger, no AIM, no Yahoo Messenger. I currently use Trillian to organize all my IM clients.
  4. Games, however, this isn’t as big of a deal as it used to be.
  5. Weatherbug. I like having the current weather on my toolbar. Again, there might be a Linux equivalent of this, but I’m unaware of it.
  6. Networking. I get running a LAN on Windows, but I haven’t the foggiest on how to do it with Linux. One thing I could do is move my MP3 server to Linux. That might be the first actual working thing I try Linux with.

While I’m not ready to make the Linux leap yet, I’m to the point where I can make a finite list of things I’d need to switch. All the problems with Office also apply to XP, but to a lesser extent.

By Gary

3 dimples. 7 continents. 130 countries.

3 replies on “Free = good”

I guess with a post on this topic someone has to do the obligatory comment that you should at least consider OS X. Sure, it’s not all open source, but since you already said it’s not a political issue with you that won’t matter.

If you’re moving away from M$ apps you’ll actually dramatically INCREASE the number of applications available to you, especially since you’re someone not afraid of your computer (so a lot of the *nix ports of things won’t scare you off).

Proteus for OS X is almost as good as Trillian (and getting better). I also hear Fire is a good multi-IM client.

A lot of the built-in apps will replace some of the random apps you now have (I hear WeaterPopAdvance is a good menu-bar weather tool for OS X), and the scope of freeware/shareware/commercial software for OS X continues to surprise me, given the reputation.

I’ve also found OS X is giving me a good excuse to learn a lot of command line operations without being dependent on them.

Actually, I have. I can’t go to the Mall without stopping in the Apple store and I’ve seriously considered getting a Mac.

But there is one problem. Its expensive. Which is the entire point of this exercise. (Free = Good)

I’ll give Apple credit for what they’ve done right. Moving to a BSD core was a good move, and I think that the web has really rendered a lot of software incompatibality moot.

Nonetheless, I don’t see OSX solving the fundamental problem. Also, a move to Linux doesn’t require the purchase of new hardware, and a move to OSX would.

I’d start a business with it, but I don’t know if I’d migrate an established business. With a new business, you can just make sure to hire computer literate people who can manage their own machines and really cut down on the cost of IT.

I’m not a zealot about this, I’m just a cheap ass.

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