I’ve really enjoyed using OpenOffice/StarOffice lately. I discovered that like other great open source projects they have extensions. StarOffice is built upon OpenOffice but has some commercial add-ons. Normally you have to pay $80 for StarOffice but you can get it free in the Google Pack. I’ve installed a number of the extensions including the blog publisher, google docs import/export, writers tools and professional templates. All but one of those extensions is free. The next version of OpenOffice will include most of these extensions and an Outlook replacement.
I really like OpenOffice for blogging because it generates very clean HTML. Lots of my clients type up changes to their website in MS Word and then paste it in to the content editor. This can cause so much grief when trying to format content correctly because MS includes all kinds of junk when content from Word is converted to HTML.
I have to give credit where it is due. Microsoft has a really great product in Office 2007. I’d love to see OpenOffice jazz up the interface as Microsoft has done. Office 2007 is expensive especially if you want anything other than the basic package. There is one compelling new software program in the suite called OneNote. For students, teachers and writers it is an excellent program for taking notes and recording research. It however is only found in two different versions. The truncated but modestly affordable Home and Student version and the Ultimate version. This is really, really annoying because I’d love to pick it up for the faculty at the college.