OpenOffice and the road to legality

So I’m tired of using pirated software. I like the idea of giving money/support to well-coded and well-designed pieces of software that actually do what I want them to, rather than “stealing” whatever is considered the standard application. The first to go was Microsoft Office. To be honest, I technically have a license for Windows XP Pro and Office XP Pro because of my last job. But if I can get away without it, I’d rather do that. So in comes OpenOffice. It’s free, it works, it reads Microsoft documents, it’s stable, oh yeah, and it’s free. I like it.

I like it so much that I even converted my regularly used Excel spreadsheets to its native format. My reason is that I really like the concept of using a compressed XML format for office documents over the incoherent randomness that is a Word or Excell format. I feel silly, but I’m actually excited about using it. I’ve even installed it at work so I can play around with it more and begin an extensive investigation as to whether or not we could use it as our standard Office application. Soon it will be featured on my girlfriend’s laptop and my parents’ computer. Please go and check it out.

This was supposed to be a very short post, because I really just want to start commenting on the various programs I’m starting to use everyday. I already posted about buying Winamp Pro and DivX is popular enough that it doesn’t really need my endorsement (although I will mention that if you want to do real encoding, spend the $20 for the Pro version). But there are smaller programs out there that work really well and very few people seem to know about them.

I’ll go into more depth later, but let me just list my current application roster:

  • Office Suite – OpenOffice
  • Web Browser – Mozilla Firefox
  • Mail Client – Mozilla Thunderbird
  • Instant Messenger – Miranda IM (the jury is still out – I haven’t customized it much, and the free version of Trillian might work just as well)
  • RSS Aggregator – SharpReader (there seems to be a memory leak in the one I was using, I’m just testing the new version now)
  • Media Player – Winamp (although I’ll admit that I still use Windows Media Player for Video 😛 )
  • Ftp Client – FileZilla (far superior replacement for those still stuck on LeechFTP)
  • Telnet/SSH Client – PuTTY (of course!)

Well, I think that’s everything for now. Feel free to comment on any of my choices, ask question, or offer suggestions.