Since it was released into the wild last month, there have been 10 million downloads of Version 3.0 of the OpenOffice office suite, or close to 300,000 people per day.
I am a big fan of freeware and I took great joy in the day I uninstalled Microsoft Office and replaced it with OpenOffice. Being able to use nimble, free software that could be saved in either Linux or Microsoft format meant that I had no reason at all to keep the software of the animated paperclip on my hard drive. I used the space saved to expand my music collection.
Regardless of its success, it is a constant puzzle as to why more Africans and Kenyans are not using OpenOffice. Why are we shackling ourselves to proprietary software when we could be using something that is not only open-source but also free?
It may be laziness because Microsoft Office comes preloaded on some Windows machines, or people may be reluctant to try software that seems unfamiliar. But isn’t all software unfamiliar when you first use it? OpenOffice is not actually that difficult to get to grips with, and anyone familiar with Microsoft’s offering will find adjusting to the GUI very easy.
So if you have 440MB to spare and you’re interested in using an alternative to the usual office suites, download OpenOffice today! You have nothing to lose but your dependence on a certain software monolith.
[Image by iBuffet]