I had one of those moments where somebody drove a dump trunk of entitlement right into my wall of rage the other day. It all started innocently enough, I was scrolling through Facebook and somebody asked an innocent enough question about word processing programs.
“What word processor should I use?”
Well, because everyone in the world is a mindless corporate shill (or at least, most of the people on Facebook), the majority of the uncontested advice was, “just purchase Word’s office suite.”
But since the person asking the original question claimed to be a writer, I decided to chirp in. Knowing that writers are usually broke, I offered the following sage advice:
“Naw, save your money, don’t purchase Word, just download Apache Open Office. It’s free and works exactly the same.”
Now, you’d think an innocent comment like this would be met with a “thank you, I didn’t know that there was completely free software that did exactly what the major software corporations charge you to do.” But NO! Instantly there was a whole thread of absolutely ridiculous comments about why you shouldn’t use Open Office.
What the heck people? Why do you insist on paying when there’s a completely functional free option?
Honestly, what’s the aversion to Open Office? Every time I go into a public school and the computers have Word instead of Open Office I become furious. Why are they spending money on a program when they can get Open Office for free–allowing them to use the funds for another purpose?
I’ve been using Open Office myself for the last 15 years or so and I’ve never had one issue. I’ve had novels accepted for publication with 4 different publishers and my articles have appeared in all kinds of print and online media. There has NEVER been an issue with one of my Open Office files. All you have to do is save your files as a .doc or a .docx and the publisher doesn’t know any different.
However, on this irritating thread, somebody chirped in, “Well, I’M a publisher, and we had so many issues with converted Open Office documents that we eventually had to ban them and all files that came from similar free programs.”
So right away there were about fifty things in this comment that made me furious:
- The bragging, smug, entitled attitude–Oh, you’re a publisher are you? Well, if you’re too much of an idiot to open a .doc file how good can you be at the rest of your job?
- You had issues? What issues? How did you know the files were from Open Office if they were .doc files?
- You “ban” work written on a “free” word processor? Do you just hate people who don’t have enough disposable income that they refuse to pay for a product they can get for free?
- You reject submissions based on the PROGRAM THEY WERE WRITTEN ON? So if the greatest manuscript in the world came across your desk, you’d reject it rather than cut and paste it into a Word file (assuming that’s the only processing program you’re competent enough to use)?
I did some looking and this “publisher” seemed to be a total joke. The covers were all sub-standard and most of the books had only 4 or 5 reviews. My guess is this Facebook person was just trying to inflate their own sense of importance.
But then I got to thinking maybe this wasn’t a real person at all. Maybe this was just a Microsoft robot that lives perpetually in “sleeper” mode until somebody suggests using Open Office online…then it springs to life and starts spewing out lies about imaginary problems.
I mean…seriously, is this the kind of world we live in? Is the narrative of truth so absolutely buried for the sake of profit? I guess it has to be to some extent otherwise schools would stop paying for Word when they can get Open Office for free. Don’t sit there and tell me schools get Word for free, or they got a discount. Sooner or later you have to pay Microsoft. They hit you with a sneaky renewal invoice 5 years down the road, and since the person who installed it for free was fired in some kind of romance scandal, the new hire just pays the invoice without question (this is a typical scam). Open Office is ALWAYS free! Use the free program! Get people on the narrative that the open source program available online is totally fine and let’s eliminate these paid programs altogether! It’s so much easier than the tremendous effort spent creating these false narratives. This conspiracy to discredit free stuff in exchange for NOTHING drives me crazy. Why do people violently defend expensive garbage online? What do they think, if they’re good little slaves the master will reward them down the line? What the heck is going on?
Download Open Office today and quit being an idiot/slave.