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An Alternative to Windows (14 Aug 2004)
When I plugged in my Wal-Mart machine and hit the power button, I got a look at an alternate future that ought to be fueling Pepcid sales among Microsoft executives. The computer featured a glamorous new desktop screen and sophisticated control panels, help menus, and audio tutorials. I was instantly able to connect the machine to the Internet, where I downloaded-free of charge-open-source equivalents of the Microsoft Office programs I use every day: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Internet Explorer. The free software may not have all of Office’s bells and whistles, but the version of it I chose, Open Office, does everything I need it to do-including saving files in Word format.
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