Sep 23 2008

Ubuntu And Open Source Alternatives To MS Office

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 3:39 am

So, a week or so ago, I was having problems with Outlook, or more specifically Microsoft Word (which gets loaded in the background each time Outlook started as it was the default HTML e-mail editor). I tried a couple of standard approaches to fix the problem, and didn’t get very far. Having had enough of some of the bloat that has been added over the years, as well as losing my original receipt and product key for Microsoft Office 2003, I decided to finally try out OpenOffice properly. I’ve installed it in the past, and made sure it could at least cope with the sort of everyday requests home users would throw at an office suite (for when friends & family asked if their was a viable alternative), but this was a concerted effort to see if I could eventually take over all my work processes to this collection of apps. The basic formulas I was using in Excel seemed to transport over well, and nothing else seemed to much of an issue, so it looks as though it will stay on this installation for now.

Moving on, I decided to try out Thunderbird as a replacement for the e-mail functions (at least) of Outlook. As I still have a separate product key for Outlook (from my last few smartphones and PDAs), I will be keeping hold of it for contact & calendar synchronization with aforementioned devices; at least until I can see how solid alternative synchronization programs to Activesync are.

Finally, I rounded off the beginning of more new learning processes by (almost) properly installing a Linux distro – Ubuntu. I say almost, as it didn’t involve fiddling with partitions, I used Wubi to install the OS, which uses a large file on my C: drive as a virtual partition. That probably isn’t the correct terminology, but hope gives a good indication as to how it works. So far, no major problems, considering my previous Linux tinkerings on my own PC have been limited to live CD/DVDs, where a lot less configuration is required/possible. Other than the nVidia GUI for setting up multiple displays stubbornly initially refusing to grace my system with it’s presence, not too many problems so far. Obviously a lot of my old ebuyer bargain basement USB toys don’t have Linux drivers available, but as I’m not intending to switch to Ubuntu as my sole OS, this isn’t a deal breaker.

Oh, and just in case people didn’t bother reading the comments section to the Some News post, the picture was my way of imparting some VERY good news – Irina is pregnant, with the happy day predicted to occur some time around mid-February.
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