150 MB License:
OpenOffice is an alternative to Microsoft Office which is free and well worth looking at. It an open source facility arranged by Sun Microsystems using the code and ideas contained in their StarOffice suite. This release comes with the intriguing tagline "Fit and trim", which to me suggests a slim but efficient program, but is that what it turns out to be?
Well, you can get hold of excellent and professional tools which contain among them programs which are very similar in function to Word, Excel and PowerPoint as well as a drawing program. There are also pretty extensive printing options, a simple to use letter organiser and a direct connection to external email programs.
The Word equivalent is called Writer and gives you the very handy option of exporting straight to PDF. Calc is similar to Excel, although it does have some interesting features while Impress is very much like PowerPoint and has a wide number of templates ready to use - both of these programs also let you save straight to a PDF format. Base is what you will be looking at if you want an alternative to Access and Draw is a graphics editor with desktop publishing features included. Math can be used for working with mathematical formulae if that is what you really want to do.
If you already have Microsoft Office on your PC then there is no real reason for you download this as well, as it offers a very similar package albeit it with a number of differences which are useful to varying degrees. However, if you don't have the Microsoft suite installed, or you hold some sort of grudge against it and are desperate to get rid of it, then OpenOffice 3.3 is probably your best bet. It's free, it's stable and it does everything you could reasonably ask of it.
Those who have used earlier versions of OpenOffice won't see many substantial changes on the current release, although you may notice the 'security options' tab on the file /properties section of the programs in it. The changes are mainly to be seen in the interfaces and in a few, selected improvements. For example, an easier to find and more intuitive print dialogue option.
OpenOffice 3.3 Beta System Requirements
256 Mbytes RAM
OpenOffice 3.3 Beta Operating Systems
Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 2003, Windows Vista, Windows 7