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OOoSwitch: 501 Things You Want to Know About Switching To OpenOffice.org from Microsoft Office

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As Microsoft Office users are converting to OpenOffice.org in droves due to a wide difference in price and no onerous licensing or restrictive installation and activation requirements, this timely guide to making this switch helps MS Office users get up to speed quickly. With the goal of preventing Office users from becoming bogged down and spending a lot of time learning how OpenOffice.org's functionality differs, this book allows them to accomplish what they can already do in Microsoft Office with their new office suite. Covered are the installation and configuration of OOo, file compatibility, exchange, and layouts. Writer, Calc, Impress, and Draw are also discussed as replacements for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Paint along with hundreds of tips on using them in day-to-day work. The capabilities of OOo Math are demonstrated, as is the OOo application programming interface.

The term software refers to programs run on a computer. A program is a series of instructions written in a programming language; a process is then applied to turn that program code into an executable program you can run. Traditionally, when you install a program on a computer, you have only the executable result, not the actual program code. The code is considered a valuable commodity and is protected by the software company as intellectual property. With open source software, both the executable program you install on your computer and the program code used to create the program are available to the public. Open source software is often referred to as “Free Software.” In some cases, as with OpenOffice.org, the software may in fact be free of charge, but the term “Free” actually refers to the lack of restrictions on the software, not to its price.

The average user has no need for the program code, but having it freely available often means changes and improvements become available faster than with traditional, proprietary software. Any user is free to change the program code or to hire someone to do so, and can then use the changed code without further obligation. If a user decides to distribute the changes, he or she is required to make the changed program code available, as well.
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