The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

An Ace for Eight Seniors!
View All

Microsoft Office Replaced with Open Office

It’s a new year with new schedules, new students, and now a new program installed in all of the computers of Niles West. For many reasons, system-wide licensing Microsoft Office has replaced with Open Office, which is not as new to our district as students may think.

“[Open Office] has been installed on every computer for several years,” says chief technology officer Guy Ballard through a letter shared among the staff.

The most appealing reason is cost, according to Ballard. Microsoft Office has a licensing cost for every machine, and an additional cost of every upgrade, which would cost the district over $40,000 a year for more than 2,000 computers. Open Office is free, including upgrades.

“Between Open Office and Google Docs, District 219 has a robust, constantly upgraded, free suite of extremely powerful tools,” says Ballard.

“Open Office is a functioning equivalent to Microsoft Office, and it’s free,” says technician Ryan Scholl.

Open Office works identically on Windows, Mac, and Linux.  Since the class of 2014, upcoming freshman are provided with soon-to-be system-wide netbooks, which will allow them to run all open-source software, including Open Office.

‘Within three years, every student will have a computer installed with Open Office,” says Ballard.

Open Office will also open your Microsoft and Excel files. Additionally, for those who use PowerPoint, PowerPoint Viewer will be installed on all classroom and office workstations. Open Office is almost identical to Microsoft Office for composing, which provides easy adaptation for Microsoft Office users, said Ballard.

“We can report with confidence that the freshmen reported very little difficulty in adapting to and using Open Office during the 2010-2011 school year,” says Ballard.

“[Adapting to Open Office] is really easy. You get the hang of it pretty quickly,” says freshman Yiannis Papasotiriou.

Some of the upperclassmen and teachers disagree.

“[Open Office] is okay, but I still prefer Microsoft, because I’m used to the program,” says senior Monika Isaac.

“I’m a creature of habit, and I’m not familiar with the program. Honestly, I’m going to use Google Docs from now on,” says English instructor Paul Bellwoar.

For those in need of additional support, instructional videos are accessible through Atomic Learning.

View Comments (10)
More to Discover

Comments (10)

All Niles West News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • A

    A SeniorOct 2, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    It is not that open office is a bad thing but there are many problems with it right now.

    1st thing is all of the things the upperclass men has been with microsoft. This leaves us the painful obligation of switching our at home products and there fore are losing money for not being able to use our at home stuff at school.

    2nd Open office is a little confusing at first. While it is easy to learn how to use time is still being wasted here.

    3rd For the many who do not have a netbook or open office at home house- to – school work is almost impossible with out an online file converter.

    Sure this was a great idea but D219 left two of their classes hanging on a technology thread. It would of been better if it was a more subtle change like over the course of two years so by 2014 everyone would have been exposed to open office instead of forcing students to swallow and choke on various new products that we will not be using in college.

  • H

    HannahSep 30, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    Well, hey, if Open Office is free, then we’re saving thousands of dollars, right? I don’t think it matters in the long run. Besides, Microsoft is way overpriced.

  • F

    Former StudentSep 29, 2011 at 9:17 AM

    I have 4 computers that I use at home and in-school. They all have Open office and only one have Microsoft Office. Open Office is not that bad, it is actually a pretty good alternative for Office. It has some flaws that needed to be address but it’s free. Developers of Open Office does not earned anything from Open Office because they do not charge money for it. Sure, people are gonna argue about ads and stuff..fine but still MS Office developers earn their money from sales not ads. Of course, MS office is better because it has a dedicated, paid team to continue supporting the software.
    This is a good example of high marginal benefit and low marginal cost in Economics, the marginal benefit is that it is as good as MS office and the marginal cost is nothing…FREE.

    • S

      sen1o2 2012Sep 29, 2011 at 9:54 PM

      The key word in this is Former Student. I think you have to be a student again to see why the student body at Niles West is displease with Open Office. Maybe it works well for you, but it does not work well at west. My astronomy teacher made a test with mathematical equations, and she drew a line. The line did not appear on the test. We all were confused on the test. My trig and precal teacher had to write the problems out again because open office would not show what he wanted. I don’t think anyone’s opinion is fair (which includes administration or Mr. Ballard) unless they are sitting or teaching in class day in day out while using this inadequate word processing program.

    • F

      Former StudentSep 29, 2011 at 11:55 PM

      I’m not as old as you think! 😐 haha. I have tested Open office when I was there 1-2 years ago and It worked fine. I have not used it extensively since MS office is the dominant word processing software. As for your teachers not able to type out the problems on the test, I do not know how your teacher drew it or type it up. Sure I wasn’t there when these problems arose…all I am saying is that the district is saving money and it is one of the things they thought would save them money instead of cutting teachers/classes or whatever (not getting into this since this article is not about budget). Remember Open office is an open-source software which means it has some problems. It is not as stable as MS office but I think it is adequate enough to get the job done. I admit It has some flaws, such as if you have pictures on your document and you quickly print it out, it won’t print out the pictures because it did not load on the page (some problems that I have encountered). You and your teachers are not used to using it that is why these problems are occurring or it really have some problems. As I said before an Open-source software does not have a dedicated developers like MS Office and these problems may not be fix for quite a while. I am sounding like I am biased. I am an advocate for Open-source software. 😛 BUT…
      I am with you on this if these problems continue to happen and it hinders a student like you to learn, or in your case to pass a test then your teacher or you(the student body) SHOULD report this to the Principal or the Board about this problem. Open-source software is not good if it has some noticeable bugs/glitches/problems.

  • O

    oscarSep 20, 2011 at 7:37 PM

    I prefer Google docs

  • C

    Czarina LandichoSep 20, 2011 at 6:24 PM

    I personally am ok with Open Office because it’s almost the same thing as Microsoft word. On the other hand, I still would highly prefer using Google docs/microsoft for powepoints because the powepoint presentation software for Open Office has a very challenging setting that makes you screw up your work really easily.

  • Y

    Yianni PapasotiriouSep 20, 2011 at 12:32 PM

    I do agree with you Athena it is preaty easy to learn!

  • V

    VickySep 12, 2011 at 5:42 PM

    i like word better. open office has a number of problems.

  • S

    sen1o2 2012Sep 12, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    Honestly, I am done with Niles West. I am 100% glad to be a senior right now. My College Prep Class wasted too much time today because we couldn’t get Open office to work correctly. If it was not for my engineering class, I would never use a school computer. Niles West needs to learn when it is good to change something, and when something is better left the way it is.