Cons of Open Document Formats
The largest con of switching your document formats to an open standard will most likely be the need to switch office suite software. The good news in this switch is that it is most likely the least painful of the application switches you may ever have to undergo. The interface team at OpenOffice.org has tried their hardest to make their interface as common-sensical as possible, and at the very least, the switch is a free one, as all the applications I have linked you to are free applications. May I suggest, as you download them, that you try out both OpenOffice and Lotus Symphony, for the interfaces are slightly different from one another and you may find yourself preferring one over the other.
A second con of switching is going to be the same for any switch: you may be the only enlightened individual you know. Here is a test of your free will and commitment to open standards and preventing data lockout. It can be frustrating trying to be open with your data while everyone else is staying closed, but that doesn’t make closed formats a good thing. This is not some silly notion, this is your data, which has more importance than many people seem to think.
Imagine if you sent out a document and someone cannot afford the software needed to view that document. Is it right to prevent users from accessing information based on what they can afford. It is false to assume in this day and age that everyone can read everything on their computer. Especially certain groups such as students who most likely have limited access to funds to be spent just so they can, “open files.” Thankfully because OpenOffice is free, this does not have to be the case, but with other formats, you may soon find out that it is.
With the doom and gloom behind us, let’s move onto the pros of switching.