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The new Word on the street is going cheap

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I see Microsoft has introduced the latest incarnation of that lumbering omnibus application Office, of which the word processor Word is an integral part. Recent reviews suggest that it is really much the same as before, and just as expensive. OK, so there have been improvements, but not, surely, worth the hefty upgrade price. As with Windows XP I suggest you wait for the next version of either to emerge to see how locked in you are to the other. Remember that you have to pay a licence for every version those courteous gentlemen from FAST find on your computers. Should they raid you.

I mention cost because I have been trying out a new version of another omnibus office application called OpenOffice. Recent reviews for this have been enthusiastic. It does much the same as Microsoft Office - and it can read all the various MSOffice file formats.

Amusingly, delightfully even, it is several hundred pounds cheaper than Office, at precisely nothing, nada, nix. You can pay 50 quid for it under its other name, StarOffice, a special deal developed - yes, it's true - for corporate buyers who couldn't get their heads around acquiring a major application that was free. Furthermore, you pay nothing for it even when you install it on all the computers in the office. Word, at least, is truly compatible as I have just noticed from an accidental glance up at the toolbar: what I am using now (and had fondly imagined was Word) is actually OpenOffice. OK, so I haven't got my head around its word count, which does not naturally fall to hand. Its search (rather than search and replace) is crap and, doubtless, there are other differences from Word, but it looks pretty great to someone who has just found themselves using it.Same too with the Excel lookalike.

Check out a nearby site with Google and download it.

Or, as I did, buy a CD-ROM with OpenOffice for Linux, Solaris and Windows from The Linux Emporium at www. linuxemporium. co. uk.

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