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Open Standard

Posted on Apr 26, 2005 by Chung-hong Chan

The NeoOffice /J (NOJ, a fork of OO.o with native Mac OS X widget) installed in my office eMac is just a piece of toy software. I really try to convince myself to incorporate OO.o in my workflow to see if it can be a FOSS replacement to MS Office. I tried to edit one of my article in NOJ's writer, an OO.o equivalent of Microsoft Word. It works quite well as that .doc article had no image in it. One of the first drawback I instantly detected is the spell checker. NOJ had no spell checker and neither grammar checker built in. I can only come across this problem by improving my vocabulary and grammar.
I hope in the foreseeable future, the mainstream market can adopt OO.o as the de facto standard of office suite instead of MS Office. Nearly all universities in Hong Kong, included the University with the word "open", only accept students to hand in their homework in MS Office format. (One exception, one of the professor in my department accept pdf and I know he is a Mac user.) How much is MS Office anyway? One can either pay Bill Gates or finance the triad to do their homework.
The academia in Hong Kong should support open format like OO.o. The first step to take is accepting homework from students in Microsoft Word as well as OO.o format. If they started to advocate such a standard, students can instantly smell the goodness of FOSS. Most importantly, FOSS application is not longer limited to geeks.
I am not forcing you to use Linux or other opensourced OS. As an avid Mac user, I really know that it is not easy to use Linux as an everyday OS. Try the Ubuntu Linux Live CD! If you pop in this CD to your Wintel machine, it got some good quality FOSS software for your Windows machine. You can download this CD from here.


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