Free and good stuff

Recently a colleague at work asked me about ‘a wordprocessor’ for her computer. She was about to get ripped off by some ‘computer-guru’ who was about to dent her account to the tune of £190 for a brand new Microsoft Office 2013 suite. Don’t ask – it was some botched job on her computer. It made me think a lot and do some research on ‘wordprocessors’.

But before I move on, you’ll have noticed that so far I’ve put ‘wordprocessor’ in single quotes. The reason for this, is because there are a lot of folk out there who still think of ‘wordprocessor’ as a machine (i.e. hardware). This concept got lodged in the minds of people from the days of Amstrad and IBM. I’ll go no further but to say that ‘wordprocessor’ today is almost entirely a software concept (aka ‘application’). And software for those who don’t know, is a set of electronic instructions (that you cannot normally see) which tells a computer (a multi-functional machine) what to do.

You seem to be in an awful rush – just calm down. We’ll get to the ‘Free and good stuff’ in a minute. Chrysst!! Why is everybody in such a mad rush, when it is me who’s in a bigger rush than most people. I mean it’s only a few lines of text. Okay.. a picture is worth ‘a thousand words’. 2013_05_28_libreofficeKeep calm. You can double-click on the image in this post to get a larger view. It is Libre Office. To be more precise it is the wordprocessor part of Libre Office.

This is a free wordprocessor from Libre Office, which is a suite of good and free software. Immediately many who read this wish to know if it is as good as Microsoft office. The qualified answer is – yes. For the vast majority of people who use Microsoft Word (a wordprocessor), they will notice almost no difference in the basic use of this. Why? Because most people who use MS Word do little more than type in text, add some tables, do some basic formatting and page-numbering etc. That’s about all you really need to do to publish a whole book!

Some more intermediate users may wish to use Styles, advanced paragraph formatting, insertion of images and embed objects etc. But I kid you not, if you just need something simple and basic for everyday use Libre Office 4.0 is the thing to get.

Libre office also has a Spreadsheet and Database thingy and some other good stuff. Go read about it. Please.

So what does Libre Office not have. It doesn’t have an email thingy to send and receive emails. There are still loads of people who need that email software that works like Microsoft Outlook or Windows Mail. I rarely use email software. But it’s not about me.

For free and good email software just download Thunderbird and use it. Need help Google and YouTube are your friends (not me).

At this point more than 50% of you are expected to be biting your nails and thinking:

  1. Who is this guy?!!
  2. Is he an IT expert?
  3. Does he know what he’s talking about?
  4. If it’s free surely it can’t be any good?
  5. Why should I trust this over Microsoft?
  6. Why is the government not using this stuff, instead of giving my taxpayers money to Microsoft?
  7. Is this a trick – how come I don’t know anybody who knows this stuff?
  8. Is it full of viruses?
  9. Will I be hacked?
  10. Will I get porn in my email and advertisements for cialis or penis enlargement?

Those who know me by now, will know that I intend not to address any such questions. If you’re that paranoid about it, just leave it off.

Those who are willing to try the software can click the links, download the software and try them. I’ve tried them and they work fine. I’ve had no issues to worry about in using the software. If you’re very worried, pay Microsoft for your peace of mind. It’s that simple.

[But just to be on the safe side, I am unable to vouch for the complete safety of any software you may use from any third party source. So, if your computer goes bust sue the supplier of the software, not me!]

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