Monday, May 10, 2010

A liberation, of sorts...

Good old Microsoft.
Late last week, I fired up my laptop with the intention of doing some work. I'd recently installed Windows 7 and I had found the upgrade a pleasant experience. It is much easier to find your way around than when using Vista, and it is better looking than XP. But I digress. It was time to press my nose ever so gently to the grindstone. I gathered my thoughts, shuffled some papers, made a cup of tea and went to load my word processor. Not there. I looked around, followed links, clicked my icons... nothing. I was most disappointed to eventually discover that, after taking advantage of the 'Vista to Windows 7 upgrade' offer, that my laptop no longer included the free office suite, Microsoft Works, or Microsoft Mail. These free base-level equivalents of Outlook and Office respectively have served me well on my second machine, and I was dismayed that not only were they not included in Windows 7, but that this fact was not pointed out in huge red letters on the front of the upgrade disk.
I could have chosen to install my versions of Office/Outlook 2003 onto the laptop and continued in that vein, but such was the depth of my annoyance that I decided to look elsewhere for alternatives. Besides, those programs are pretty big and I am trying to keep my laptop as light as possible.
After some searching, I discovered Mozilla Thunderbird and Open Office; both are non-Microsoft products that are available online for free. I have been happily using Mozilla Firefox for some time, and I use Open Office on my Linux Eee PC. So I had some idea of what I would be getting.
Open Office and Thunderbird are easy to find, simple to download, and a breeze to install. They run well, and are straightforward and pretty. And Thunderbird is a pretty cool name.
I can't believe I've waited this long.
I am still running a largely Microsoft-based environment on my desktop but it won't take much, one tiny glitch, one moment of frustration, before I consider switching there too...
The truth is out there. You just have to look for it.

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