Sun, Nov

James Bow Switches

Sun, Nov 28, 2004

Well, I haven’t switched from Microsoft to Apple. Yet. That would take a substantial infusion of cash that I just don’t have. However, I have taken a significant step towards turning my back on the inferior Microsoft product. I no longer use Outlook or Internet Explorer.

I’d rather not say how I came to be in possession of a copy of Office 2000, but I will say that it wasn’t download piracy. However, my situation was that I was locked into using Outlook 2000 for the rest of time. There was no way that I could afford the upgrades to Office 2005, much less Office XP or Office 2003. This realization finally led me to stop the madness of wanting the latest and greatest version of a product, even if the current product was perfectly usable (which Office 2000 was, for a long while).

But after downloading several security patches to Outlook and Internet Explorer, I am noticing some complacency from the good folks at Microsoft, and I’m not the only one. Over at Geek News Central, word is that the Bofra Worm has infected several websites, and it can get into your computer through infected popup ads using a security flaw in the latest version of Internet Explorer. This software is so adept that it can even skirt current anti-virus packages and flood your computer with so many pop-ups and unwanted programs that your system slows to a crawl.

Why should we be beholden to such a lousy service? Because Microsoft is a near monopoly? Think again. Think about Mozilla. This son of Netscape is out to avenge its father and its brought along such fine friends as Firefox and Thunderbird to do the job. You can download these pared-down programs separately or you can invest in the full-featured suite.

Between Mozilla and Open Office, you can now replace your word processor, your spreadsheets, your presentations, your browser, e-mail and schedulers with free, stable and powerful open-source programs. These fine pieces of software are fully compatible with the latest and greatest of Microsoft Office, and they have a substantial community going through every piece of code with a fine-tooth comb. The programs are going to stay up to date and secure, and at present, they are not nearly the targets of producers of malicious software that Outlook and Internet Explorer are. You’ll get all of the use of Mozilla and Open Office (especially when Open Office 2.0 comes out) that you’d get out of Microsoft, but you’d pay a lot less.

So, if you can find legally free versions of programs you use every day, that are up-to-date and compatible with all that is out there, and not have to rely on the whims and capriciousness of a near-monopoly, why would you stick with Microsoft? Why would I?

Now, if I can only find a way to remove Internet Explorer outright from my computer…

P.S. I’ve been able to defeat the Mozilla-freezes-my-computer problem that prevented me from switching to Mozilla beforehand. My eventual solution? Wipe the C:\ drive and reload Windows from scratch. Talk about an operating system that sucks…

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