Why do people buy MS Office again?
I’m building a computer for my son – IBM ThinkCentre M50, 3ghz, 2gb, 80gb. It came with an XP professional license so that’s the base to which I applied Service Pack 3 RC. Then what?
Well I have ‘built’ (loaded software on a blank hard drive) a lot of computers in my time. And generally speaking, I can say that free software is better – not just cheaper but better – than the expensive spread. I define “better” as “less likely to piss you off while installing and using.”
Big difference in installation. OpenOffice? 5 minutes flat from a single 130mb file versus around 30+ minutes for the whole menu with MS Office 2007. Foxit Reader? Beats the living crap out of Adobe’s bloated buggy reader and it weighs in at just over two megabytes. Firefox? I’ve seen an IE7 install take a half hour and several reboots but Firefox took less than a minute from a file less than six megabytes. Notepad++, RealAlternative, XnView… not only install faster than their commercial counterparts but work faster and with less trouble.
And in use these programs all do what they’re supposed to do without hiding necessary functions under tons of buggy inscrutable crap. Yet people are afraid to use software that they didn’t buy in a box at the store.
Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer (who is actually Darth Vader’s little brother and Dick Cheney’s cousin) says that free software isn’t “innovative”. Wonder what kinds of drugs I’d have to freebase to be able to understand what the hell he’s talking about?