Free Web Tool Friday:

Though our office is about as “in the cloud” as we can make it, we still find that we use the traditional versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint on our office desktops from time to time. But did you know that there’s a free alternative that is as good or better than the Microsoft Office Suite?

It’s at, and it’s a complete software suite you download and use on your PC. It includes all the programs you’d expect for writing letters, doing spreadsheets, and presentations. I’ve used it, and I find that the OpenOffice version of PowerPoint (“Impress”) superior to Powerpoint.

How this great software came into being is a long story, but it started out as StarOffice, which was then worked on my Sun Microsystems, and later Oracle. It’s now a purely open-source project and over 500,000 people have contributed to building it over the years. You can download and use it right away and it’s worth a test-drive.

Here’s the fine print at 3 is free software. That means you are free to download it, free to install it on as many PCs as you like, free to pass copies to as many people as you like. You may use for any purpose without restriction: private, educational, public administration, commercial… Free, really free.

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