Q

OSS alternatives to proprietary desktop apps

Open source apps and software expert Bernard Golden recommends Firefox and OpenOffice 2.0 as two open source alternative to proprietary Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer.

We moved engineering to Linux years ago but management still needs Windows. This is primarily because of Word, Project and PowerPoint compatibilty issues when exchanging data with customers. Our financial app also requires IE and Windows. Can you suggest equivalent, open source apps?

The obvious open source alternative to Microsoft Office is OpenOffice. It is very workable for everyday users. However, documents (especially Excel) that make use of advanced macros sometimes don't work very well in OpenOffice, although it is much improved in the 2.0 version. You could look at that.

For apps that are written to work only with IE, it's very tough to run them under Firefox or other open source browsers. You can test with Firefox or the others to see if there's compatibility.

This was first published in September 2006

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