Microsoft Office for Linux is good news

Written by
Date: 2013-02-17 21:00:35 00:00

Today I have found this post. It states that almost no linux users care about Microsoft Office coming to Linux. At the end in the conclusion the author says:

I guess you can call me a skeptic when it comes to Microsoft Office for Linux. I just don’t see the need for it, and I see comparatively few Linux users that would want to pay for it, and use it. No doubt that there are a few die-hard Office users who would buy it, but I think the vast majority of Linux users would shrug their shoulders and ignore such a release.

It think this is wrong, I do see the need of Microsoft Office for Linux. Most PC users do not care about Open Source, do not care about the philosophy behind software. They only care about having the job done, and having it well done.

We the Linux users have a lot of options that can replaces Microsoft Office, maybe even do a better job for most of us, but what happens when your co-worker, client or supplier sends you a Excel spreadsheet full of macros, that you need to use? In that case you just can't "translate" it to Libre Office or any other suite and get the same functionality. You need to boot up Windows, and open Microsoft Office and work with that document.

Linux community have a lot of purist guys, who support free software and nothing else. That is great, but if all of us act the same way, Linux fate is to be only used in Universities or Schools, or maybe as side project for someone.

The vast majority of PC users are not software engineers, or PC experts, most of them are Lawyers, Doctors, Accounting professionals, and the like. For those people, it is not important if the source of the software is publicly released or not, most of them does not even know the difference, and that is OK.

For those professionals, what is really important is to be able to use the computer as a tool to accomplish a task, they do not want to deal with the hassle of having to import or export documents, they do not want to deal with different formats. For them a letter is a Microsoft Office document, and nothing else.

If we want to have them using Linux (and we want, more about this later) we will have to give them the tools they need and Microsoft Office is one of the the most important.

Talking about having more Linux users. We need to increase the number of users because the more we are, the more tools we will have available. It is just like having Steam coming to Linux, Skype releasing the last version of its software for Linux at the same time they does for Windows or Mac.

Think on that architect who needs to have AutoCAD or MiniCAD available for Linux to be able to switch to Linux. That architect can't waste time dealing with import, export or convert documents from one format to another to be able to finish his job on time.

So if you are an Open Source Software purist, and you can deal with Open Source software only, then I am really happy for you. I fully support you and I will be glad to see more people like you. That does not mean we all, including purists, should not understand that in order to have our beloved Linux grow, we need to attract a lot more users. The only way to do that is to not only not opposing to have closed source software available for Linux, but even helping that software to be available for the users that need it.

Last year we finally got good games on Linux with Steam, and someone managed to have Netflix working on it too. This is good for Linux I have read a lot of comments on Linux blogs talking about how they will finally managed to erase Windows because they now can install their games on Linux. I am sure more people will manage to erase Windows if Microsoft Office is available for them on Linux than the people to will erased it because of Steam coming to Linux.