Originally Posted by slugg
I must admit, your argument is a good one and I don't have much to say against it. Heck, I'll even agree with your point.
But specifically with a productivity suit in mind, I still stand by my opinion that MS Office is the way to go. It's just a lot more practical. I may be wrong, but that's just my opinion.
For exchanging files with other businesses you likely need MS Office, but one could get away with just a single license if they wanted. But in the grander scheme we should be striving to move towards more open products and data formats, not the opposite. MS Office has been one of the few areas in which proprietary formats have become the standard across all lines of business and that's a pretty scary prospect to me. I've already had multiple instances where a customer pulls out something akin to a 2 decade old MS Works (for Mac possibly) file and asks how to open it now. What are you going to do in 10 years when MS Office drops support for importing/converting Word 95 files? Do you spend the time to up-convert your files to MS' new format every few years?
A more common example that most likely burns someone every day is having a PDF version of a file but not the original. The only real editor for PDFs is Acrobat so now you're stuck spending a day looking for some free (and probably spyware filled) tool to convert the PDF to doc(x) or pony up the cash for Acrobat. How stupid is that?
The fact that our government is allowed to release documents in proprietary formats like that is utterly insane. How are they supposed to claim any level of transparency when the download page for various documents say that you need to install a proprietary Windows app in order to fill out some form? If the government released anything else that required you to pay any company a hundred or so dollars to use it people would flip, but for some reason this gets a pass.
Advances in this area are being made simply because of the proliferation of non-Windows systems, but there's still a ton of things that need fixed and that never entails buying Windows and Office. =)