I’ve been using Linux for quite some time.  But one of the products I had no need for was the office products.  As I remember back now, the only time I ran Writer was by mistake, and as soon as it loaded, I quickly closed it and moved on to my next task (which was usually development in C++).

A few weeks ago I needed to write a document and email it.  Sitting in my home office on my L shaped desk, in the center sits my wide screen LCD, keyboard, mouse; all which control two main Linux boxes the file server and my desktop, Kubuntu Feisty.

To the left of my LCD I typically place my laptop from work (WinXP).  For some reason unknown to even me, I clicked in KDE and opened Writer rather than switching over to my laptop and knocking out the document in Microsoft Word.

I typed away at the keyboard, selected a few words, bold, etc and went to save the document.  This is where I paused.  Hmmm…should I save it as a MS Word document so I can exchange it with my laptop? This is when I saw … export to PDFI did later decide to save it in the open document format supported by Writer.

I don’t know about you, but in the past my prior companies have purchased Adobe Acrobat or a PDF plug-in to allow us to save documents to PDF from MS Word.  I am using Office 2003 currently at work, and I do not have the plug-in.   I have Project Managers at work on my team, who use MS Project…and adding the “Save as PDF” costs more money for my company.

OpenOffice Writer has the PDF built in.  How awesome is that!?!

Today my son, who is nine years old, needed to type a book report.  Typically he uses the WinXP/Game PC, running WinXp to play on.  He sat down on my Kubuntu desktop PC, found Writer and typed his book report, saved it and asked me to print it when I got home for him.  (I had not configured the printer since I re-installed Feisty Beta two days earlier).

I was so surprised when my wife told me he used my Linux office computer, I had to go ask him what he thought.  I started in with the usual questions…did you have any problems, any questions, find it confusing…? The answers were quick to the point, “No Dad…I typed my report saved it and left it open for you to print.”  He looked at me dumbfounded.  Why is dad excited and asking me these strange questions?

Ten years ago, I never imagined my son would use a free office product on Linux to write his school paper.  I am very excited how far Linux has matured?


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