A year ago, I bought a laptop that did not come preloaded with Microsoft Word. I needed a word processor and I didn't want to give Microsoft $200 for its bloated package of proprietary software, most of which I wouldn't use anyway. The first Word Processor I used was Word Perfect 5.1, with the blue text on a gray background, back when we thought it was cool to own a color monitor. My word processing needs have changed very little since then. Unfortunately, Microsoft has virtually monopolized the word processing market. Were there any other options?
I decided to try Open Office, or OpenOffice.org as it is now called. As the website proclaims, "OpenOffice.org is a multiplatform and multilingual office suite and an open-source project." Over the past few years, I have used a few different versions of Open Office and am about as familiar with it as most of us are with Microsoft Office: I use the word processer quite frequently for a number of different purposes, but I rarely use the other tools such as the spreadsheet. Thus, I will review only the Open Office Writer. Because Word has such an overwhelming market domination, all ratings are relative to Word.