Eight compelling reasons why you should not even think of using Office 2007

Already using Office 2007? Or at least entertaining the idea of buying and installing a copy of it? (Note: These questions are addressed even to those who have acquired or will acquire Office 2007 the black market way.)

Unless you’re in an environment that doesn’t provide you control over the machine you’re using, don’t even think of acquiring Office 2007 because:

  1. Its default formats (.docx for Word, .xlsx for Excel, and .pptx for Powerpoint) cannot be read by machines running previous versions of Microsoft Office. If you’re an OpenOffice user, you’ll be unlucky as well.
  2. The ‘open format’ adopted by the office suite, called OOXML, has been pushed by Microsoft as a document interoperability standard that is in contrast to the already existing standard called Open Document Format (ODF). Indeed, OOXML is another embrace-extend-extinguish strategy of the Microsoft: Embrace the principle of interoperability, add some features like documents’ accessibility to programmers, and eventually make open source office suites unnecessary or irrelevant.
  3. There’s a deep learning curve you’ll be into because the user interface has radically changed. This is despite the fact that the new version is found to be more useful in a business environment.
  4. It requires a fairly higher-end machine and forces one to upgrade to at least Windows XP Service Pack 2. It means an additional expense.
  5. It is prone to viruses because it’s running only under Windows.
  6. Like its predecessors, Office 2007 is proprietary. You cannot modify it in accordance to your needs, nor can you redistribute it. If you’re a concerned social activist who wants to identify with the free and open source movement, Office 2007 (and any other version, for that matter) is certainly not for you.
  7. You hate software piracy and you are not rich enough to buy at least the Basic Edition (which unfortunately does not have Powerpoint, Access and Publisher and cannot be upgraded to a higher-level package).
  8. It’s the product of a software leviathan, which amasses wealth from out of (re)creating and selling patented softwares, which must be as free (as in freedom) as knowledge and information.

For the technically inclined, read this article by Stephane Rodriguez showing why OOXML sucks.

There is no better way to produce virus-free documents that can be freely shared with others than to use softwares that comply with the open document format. I use OpenOffice.


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