06 December 2006

Another reason to use OpenOffice Writer

MS-Word is suffering “zero day” attacks right now. I’m happy to have installed an answer a few days ago — but not from MS.

An African student boarding with a relative needed a word-processor, but the computer he was allowed to use had a spreadsheet, presentation program & Works. No real word processor. So I pulled down & installed the answer.

Not without difficulty, since this was an XP machine. I needed an Administrator password & didn’t have one, so I pressed F8 on boot & added an Admin user to do the install.

I don’t know how happy this will make the OpenOffice people, but this bloke, after using Writer for ten minutes, asked me how I’d been able to install Word so quickly. He’s not dumb (quite a bright bloke, actually), but he’d never noticed an alternative.

He was very happy when it read in a broken .DOC file, too & that it could produce PDFs without any extra software.

Apparently, some fellow students had been able to uncover submissions from their peers to redeploy for their own advantage, but he reckoned they’d not know enough to do that with a PDF.

The unbroken .DOC file instantly saved him several hours of typing, which he appreciated despite being a very patient man.

It turned out that many of the machines at his college sport StarWriter. He’d noticed the new name, but hadn’t thought more about it, since he didn’t use it as more than a glorified typewriter & the work he’d done in StarWriter had been acceptable to his tutors (who presumably also had StarWriter) without questions or apparently even blinking.

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