Open Source Has Features
I use many Open Source software tools in my day-to-day life, but I know I could use more. Right now I use PHP, Apache, MySQL, Drupal, WordPress, and may others, mostly related to my website design business. About six months ago I switched to FireFox from Internet Explorer, and that is probably the one I use the most for everyday life.
One that I have not tried until now is OpenOffice. I just figured I didn't need it since I already have a copy of Office 2000 that I bought at a student license price and want to get all the use I can out of. But then I came to a problem that Word 2000 couldn't handle.
A client put some images he'd taken with his digital calendar into the Word document and sent it to me. I knew the hi-res versions were in the file because the .doc file was a hefty 7MB. Opening Word, I tried to get the images out into PhotoShop so I could save them and put them on the website. You'd think a right-click on a photo would give a nice "Save As..." link, but no cigar. The best option was to copy to the clipboard, and when pasted into PhotoShop, it got me only a 300-pixel-wide photo with something like only 256 colors. In other words, it was totally unacceptable.
Then the thought struck me: I be OpenOffice has it! Basically, OpenOffice is a totally free, open-source version of Office. And if Word has that setting in there so that you can't copy somebody else's photos, OpenOffice probably has the workaround to get the images out becuase open source people like free access to everything.
Sure enough, I was right. I downloaded it from their site in a couple mintues, installed it in five minutes, and immediately had the Word file opened in OpenOffice. Although there wasn't a handy "Save As..." link like I hoped, their copy function worked. Pasting into PhotoShop gave a beautiful 2000-pixel-wide photo that will definitely be enough to put on the site.
Thanks, OpenOffice. For the uninitiated, if you get a new computer and don't want to buy Microsoft Office, download OpenOffice really quick and you're set to go. I'll keep playing around with it, and probably soon I'll switch over. Of course, if you have the finances, it is very helpful to support the work of the OpenOffice programmers, but it's not required.