As August comes to a close it is time for millions of children and young adults to return to school. In preparation, parents empty their wallets for a variety of necessities: clothes, shoes, backpacks, notebooks, pencils, calculators, etc. But with one common back-to-school item parents and students often overpay by $100, $200 or more. In many cases parents can save money by using open source equivalents of commercial application software. For example, Apache OpenOffice is a desktop productivity suite -- absolutely free -- that can be used instead of Microsoft Office.
Open source software is software that is made available to the public at no charge, free to use and copy. Those who know how to program can even freely modify the software if they want. The Apache Software Foundation is a non-profit organization whose charitable mission is to publish open source software for the public to use. That's what we do. One program that we publish that is especially useful to students is Apache OpenOffice, the free and open productivity suite, for Windows, Mac OS and Linux, including the tools that every student needs: a word processor, a spreadsheet and a presentation editor.
Ten Reasons Use Apache OpenOffice for School
- OpenOffice is free. Commercial alternatives cost $100 or more.
- Because it is free you can install OpenOffice on all of your computers without any additional charge. Commercial products make you pay extra for the ability to install on multiple computers.
- You can install and use OpenOffice, with no subscription fees -- ever. Updates are free as well.
- School districts, by using OpenOffice in the classroom, can save money in their budget, but also allow their students (and their parents) to run the same software at home for free. This is the open source advantage.
- OpenOffice works the same on Windows, Mac OS and Linux. You are not trapped in a single operating system.
- OpenOffice speaks your language. It is available in over 20 languages, with many more translations in progress.
- You can run OpenOffice from a USB-stick and so work everywhere using your personal
settings, even if OpenOffice is not yet installed on your friend's PC.
- There are over 1000 document templates for OpenOffice, free to download, including many templates designed for education.
- OpenOffice is extensible with 100's of free extensions that you can download.
- As an all-volunteer open source project we welcome students, teachers and parents interested in helping us develop the next great version of OpenOffice. Learn new skills and gain valuable experience working on an open source project, while helping to improve the tools that you use yourself.
You can download our latest release, Apache OpenOffice 4.0, here.