Word Processors (It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

Word Processors (It Was a Dark and Stormy Night . . .)

Sorry, but at some point I just had to use that famous opening from Edward George Bulwer-Lytton's "Paul Clifford" (written in 1830). Those famous words "It was a dark and stormy night" were made even more famous (infamous?) by Charles M. Schulz's Snoopy, that barnstorming, literary beagle. It just seems fitting, considering this chapter's topic—word processors.

Word processors run the gamut in terms of complexity, from simple programs that aren't much more than text editors to full-blown desktop publishing systems. Users coming from the Microsoft world are most likely to use OpenOffice Writer, part of the OpenOffice.org suite.

OpenOffice.org is actually the free sibling of the commercial StarOffice suite. When Sun Microsystems decided to open the source to StarOffice, it became another boon for the open source community, not to mention the average user. OpenOffice became the free version of this powerful word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation graphics package, and StarOffice became the corporate choice. Both of these are full-featured office suites, and users familiar with Microsoft Office will feel right at home with the similarities.

You might well be wondering what differences exist between these two sibling suites. The great difference is the price. For anyone with a reasonably fast Internet connection (or a helpful friend), OpenOffice is free. StarOffice, on the other hand, will cost you something for the boxed set. Included with StarOffice is documentation and support as well as additional fonts and clipart. That said, you'll find that it is still far less expensive than the Windows alternative.

If you are following along and using the KDE desktop, you probably also have KWord at your disposal. Then, as I hinted, there are the others. We'll talk about a few of them at the end of this chapter.

Trivia Time

It may interest you to know that this book was written using OpenOffice.org 1.1.3 as well as the beta release of OpenOffice.org 2.0.

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