Its been a while since I did a computer-related post. For those of you who didn’t read my old blog, I’m kind of a computer geek. I used to try to put up something every week or so about computer-related topics. Kind of fell out of that routine for a while, but something that happened to me last week prompted this post.
I purchased a computer from an online store several years ago and along with the purchase was included a copy of Microsoft Office 2003.
I have since upgraded computers, but still continue to use Microsoft Office 2003 on my computer as it is a decent program and suits my needs for presentations and word processing.
I was content with using Office 2003 until I got an updated message via Microsoft’s “validation” process telling me that, after six years of use, Microsoft’s powerful computers and the company’s due diligence had finally determined that my copy of Microsoft Office was … not valid. The serial number that is on the sticker on the CD that came with my computer from the store was really a serial number for a large corporation and somehow Microsoft knew that I didn’t work for the large corporation. I got a countdown of how many days were left until Microsoft was going to tell its Office programs to mark all of the programs I purchased as “not genuine.”
Microsoft recommended that I contact the store that sold me the program and “ask for their help” to ensure that the copy of Microsoft Office I purchased was genuine. Of course, since so much time has passed, the receipt for the computer and software I purchased is long gone, so I have no way of proving that I actually purchased the software – other than the disk and serial number sticker which I have kept.
How absolutely thoughtful and diligent of Microsoft. Create a “Genuine Advantage” program and make users install it. Have your program call home to check the serial number on my software for the past 4-5 years and certify that the software I purchased is legitimate. Lull me into a false sense of security. Then all of a sudden, after I have long discarded the receipts for my purchase, change your mind and then insinuate that I’m a software pirate, leaving me no way to prove otherwise.
But never fear. Microsoft had the answer to make sure that I was “protected against vulnerabilities that may exist in non-genuine copies.” I could “learn more” by clicking on a button in the “not genuine” notification. The link took me to a Microsoft store where Microsoft would gladly let me drop an extra $499.95 to purchase a “genuine” copy of Office Professional 2007 … at least for the next six years until Microsoft’s powerful and diligent computers could determine that the copy I purchased now was not valid and provided me with a button I could click to go to a Microsoft site where I could spend $1500 to purchase a “genuine” copy of Office Professional 2013. Oh, and you can do a search on eBay and get the same Microsoft Office Professional 2007 software for less than $100, but Microsoft’s powerful and diligent computers forgot to mention that.
So I did what every self-respecting person who purchased “not genuine” copies of Microsoft Office would do.
I told Microsoft to go pound sand.
I was going to install an old copy of WordPerfect office that came with another computer I purchased (who knows what Corel’s computers would say), but then I went to OpenOffice.org and looked at their latest office suite. I’ve tried out previous versions of the OpenOffice suite and the functionality of the programs were adequate, but lacking for my purposes.
I installed the beta version of OpenOffice 3.2 and have been using it for about a week. This program rocks. The developers of OpenOffice have really made a lot of great improvements. I haven’t tried Microsoft Office 2007 (and won’t be doing so), so I can’t and won’t compare Office 2007 to OpenOffice 3.2, but the OpenOffice suite has a good 90% of the functionality of Office 2003. You can open any Microsoft Office documents and save everything in Microsoft Office format as well so that those people who still want to pay large licensing fees to use Microsoft Office are still able to open the documents.
Oh, did I mention that the OpenOffice suite is free? As in pay nothing?
If you’re in a government office, a university, or any other business and spending money on Microsoft Office licensing, you should really reconsider your investment. OpenOffice 3.2 is prime time and there is a low learning curve for the transition between Microsoft Office and OpenOffice.
This link goes to the OpenOffice site where you can download the software. The latest version (3.0) of the suite has been downloaded 100 million times in the past year, so they have to be doing something right. I downloaded the Version 3.2 beta which means there may be a few bugs, but it is close to what the updated version will look like.
As a disclaimer, I have no financial interest at all in the OpenOffice platform. The above link goes to OpenOffice.org’s home page and has no tracking code. I am receiving nothing from them for this post.
It’s just a good program. Try it.