I mentioned in a post previously that I didn't like what Powerpoint was doing to presentations. In fact, I have actually abandoned Powerpoint entirely even
for the few slides I do use in favor of the presentation package from the
free Open Office applications suite.
This package, which has really come into its own with the version 2
beta, opens and writes MS Office applications and is a pretty good
substitute, sometimes better, occasionally worse, for MS Office.
stress testing the whole package this winter, plus Thunderbird for email and of course Firefox
on which I am already sold for browsing, as a way to begin migrating
our company to having no MS Office at all. I am tired of paying
hundreds of dollars per seat for applications that overwhelm and
confuse my employees. Because of our need to interchange files with a
number of other entities, we need to be able to work with .xlw and .doc
files, so this makes for a nice solution for us. My experience has
been very very good so far - let me know in the comments if you have
experience with these products.
Update: Thanks for the comments, keep them coming. I continue to have very good luck in my stress testing. Thuderbird is great, except that the spam filter sends to many good mails to spam - I would like the control to dial it back a notch. OO Writer is good, with only some small formatting changes on tables from MS word. I actually find its formatting and outlining tools better than MS word, and like the built in export to pdf. The excel clone is working fine, and I can hardly tell the difference between the presentation package and powerpoint. I have not played with the equation editor yet, but my daughter likes the draw package. I had trouble with the database, but I find it is always hard to migrate to a new DB. I never was able to switch from access to filemaker, and everyone tells me that filemaker is easier but I just got used to doing things in access.
One of my worries about migrating this to my employees is that many of my managers are computer noobs, and tend to go out and buy excel and word books from Barnes and Noble when they get the computer on the first day. There are no such reasources for Open Office, and it is different enough from MS Office that the books don't really apply well.