PC Pro, 01-12-2011, The alternatives to Microsoft
Submitted to PC Pro Magazine.
Dear sir, Recently I received an email from an association I am on the mailing list of which amounted to little more than an advert for Microsoft software. This annoyed me enough to write a reply, but the reply I received back made me realise how many people think that windows is an integral part of a desktop or laptop, and that without it, the computer will not function. Likewise the assumption all office based software must come from Microsoft. Put bluntly, this is not true, there are several non-Microsoft Operating System choices available, the best known is Apple's Mac OSX operating system which runs on Apple's own hardware. Linux is also a good alternative, but it is hard to find it pre-installed for various reasons related to Microsoft's monopoly enforcing policy. Likewise, alternatives to Microsoft Office exist, but the way we have been conditioned to refer to a "Microsoft Word document" or an "Excel Spreadsheet" when we just mean a text document or spreadsheet is both insidious and illuminating. Insidious because we no longer think what we are saying, Powerpoint has almost become a regular noun when we just mean a presentation and illuminating because it shows how Microsoft's marketing and publicity machine tries to condition what we say. Whilst we also might say a "Transit" sized van, the alternatives to Ford are all around us to see. For both Operating Systems and Application Software, plenty of non-Microsoft alternatives exist, and I would urge potential buyers of laptops and computers to ask what alternatives to Microsoft the vendor can offer and an explanation if they don't have any. Yours Sincerely, Andrew