Open Office v. Microsoft Office

This week a fellow member of the faculty where I work suggested that our use of Open Office with students was actually prohibiting those students from getting employment when they left our school. The colleague went on to say that they had been laughed out of a regional transition coordinator’s meeting when they mentioned that we use Open Office with our students. I’m curious if you’ve got any information regarding the acceptance of Open Office vs. Microsoft Office and whether students are more or less likely to find employment as a result of using one rather than the other. In my mind they’re so similar that there is no substantial difference. If you’ve never heard of Open Office I have provided a link to their site where you can download it for free. It works on the Windows, Macintosh, Unix and Linux platforms. I think it’s a great product, but apparently some of my colleagues think I’m out of the loop.

I’ve been teaching and working with low income students for nearly twenty years and Open Office is one of those products that levels the playing field for low income children. You can tell I’m prejudiced I know. I need some help and I’m counting on you to help educate me or educate my peers.

I personally prefer Open Office to Microsoft Office and I routinely recommend it to my customers and still will despite this disagreement. I’d appreciate it if you’d be willing to provide information for me in this discussion and if you can send or leave a link on this blog I’d really appreciate it.

6 Replies to “Open Office v. Microsoft Office”

  1. I’ve been using Open Office for a couple months now and I like it just fine. A while ago I got fed-up with IE 7.0 and started using Firefox, and that good experience led me to Open Office.

    I have a client who needs me to use their SharePoint website, and that is not compatible with Open Office – so I have to use IE and MS Office for that. Also, Quickbooks Online Edition is hard-coded for IE, so I keep it around for that.

    But if you can operate one product, you can operate the other. THey are substantially the same from a user’s perspective.

  2. At the DOE site that I work at we only use Microsoft Office. I do not know of anyone being turned down because of that. But would not be surprised that we would prefer new employees have a working understanding of Microsoft Office.

  3. I use both MS Office and OpenOffice. They are both good products. I recommend Open Office to businesses, non-profits, and individuals who don’t have the resources to purchase Microsoft Office. I have found too that Open Office is more compatible with the different version of Microsoft Office than Microsoft Office is with itself.

  4. Actually, I prefer to see, not one program, but flexibility. Someone who can use Word but not Word Perfect will have difficulty doing the level of formatting that my work requires. While I have not worked with Open Office at all, since most of my work is in the major formats, I wouldn’t be too concerned about someone whose major experience was with a different platform, provided they were willing to learn the ones I need them to work with.

    When I started editing, I did so in WordStar (which I still think is one of the best programs ever from a publication standpoint.) Anyone remember that one? (And yes, I can probably still program in both Basic and Pascal.) Having just revealed my propensity for painting programs on cave walls, I’d be positively intrigued by a candidate who could not only use open sourced software, but also actually understand how it works and read code.

    I would be interested in talking to that regional coordinator to find out what their actual concerns were. Certainly, I could see where some proficiency tests might be better finessed with a knowlege of a specific program. That’s why I bought “Microsoft Word for Dummies” when I needed to learn that program for a previous job. What kinds of jobs are we talking about?

  5. I’ve been using OpenOffice for – must be nearly 4 years now – and Star Office before that. There is really so little difference between them and MS Office that I can’t see any problem for students converting from one to the other. Certainly it was far less of a learning curve than it was when I had to convert from Lotus to MS back in ’99!

    I’m a great enthusiast of OpenOffice – especially some of its lesser-known bits & bobs, like the truly excellent HTML editor, which some people never really discover. I prefer Writer to Word, somehow, and there’s really no practical difference between Calc and Excel – neither of them is the joy to use that Lotus 1-2-3 used to be 😉

Comments are closed.