School districts should switch to OpenOffice.org instead of paying all that money for MS Office. I use OpenOffice.org Writer as my main word processor, and it does everything I need it to do. School districts must pay somewhere between $50 and $100 for MS Office for each and every computer in the school.Â Every time the school replaces those computers (usually every 2-4 years), there will probably be a “new” version of MS Office that has tons of “new” features that no one will use, but the school district will still pay for.Â Â Â This adds up to a lot of money.
On the other hand, OpenOffice.org is free!Â Even if you believe that OpenOffice.org isn’t as good as MS Office, it’s hard to argue with that price.Â As school budgets become tighter and tighter due to rising energy costs, health care costs, or new requirements under NCLB, OpenOffice.org will look better and better.
As I said, I’ve used Writer extensively, and I have no complaints. On the other hand, Impress (the PowerPoint clone) isn’t yet up to Powerpoint’s maturity. However, it’s close enough to get the job done. I haven’t used Calc (the Excel clone) much, but I bet the performance perfectly adequate, if not outstanding.Â Plus, OpenOffice.org is becoming more and more mature with every release.Â They’re only on their 2.0 release right now, where MS Office 2007 is their 10.0 release.
Someday soon, I believe, all students will be given a personal laptop for school use.Â I’ll talk more about this in a later post, but just think about how much it will cost for a MS Office license of each of those machines.Â $$$$$$$$$
Tradition and continuity are really the only reasons that schools are still buying MS Office, but not for long.
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