Logic’s Last Stand

May 2, 2008

Yes, I’m cheap

Filed under: Computers, Freeware — Zurahn @ 1:42 pm

I am a strong proponent of the open-source model of software development, however odd that may seem from someone who intends to make a career out of coding. This model provides more competition, innovation, and dedication to functional software than the current model that is currently plagued with Microsoft’s debilitating monopolistic stranglehold.

I predominently use OpenOffice for an Office tool. I don’t have to use it much and it does its job well. However, for the sake of my own qualifications, I feel I should be versed in the most common software, which by far is Microsoft Office. Office 2007 comes highly recommended from a classmate, and I’d like to at least spend some time with it.

Trying to do so legitimately, now out of college, is rather problematic. Microsoft Office as a complete package, in Canada, costs $689. For Office Home & Student, it is “only” $179.99, however this does not include Microsoft Access, Outlook or Visio. Let’s see how much Access costs…$309, as does Word or Excel or any other program individually. There’s basically Home & Student if you only need the typical Word/Excel/PowerPoint combination, or Ultimate for anyone else.

The same excessive pricing is applied to Microsoft’s latest, least greatest operating system, Vista. First we have to sort out the different versions, there’s…
-Home Basic
-Home Premium

And for each, there’s either the upgrade or complete installation. Given the fact that installing XP is a pain because of the serial key maximum installations issue, as well as the need for both an XP CD and Vista CD, and the complications in hardware if you have hardware only supported on your Vista version, as well as questions as to what happens if you want to upgrade from 32-bit XP to 64-bit Vista, or XP Home to Vista Premium, and so forth, upgrade is not a very appealing offer.

This puts the barrier to entry at $199 for Home Basic, which doesn’t include Movie Maker (included on all versions of XP), or IIS (same), but perhaps most irritating, hardware limitations such as only 1 CPU or, 8GB max RAM for the 64-bit version. For most, however, it is a good option.

It’s again disconcerting to see the next level up, Home Premium, again forego an XP feature of IIS.

Perhaps I’m making too much of things, but it seems the ones to hurt most from these things are the most passionate users. If it weren’t for the existing market-share that demands knowledge of these products, I would not care. Instead, it’s not surprising that a quick search of Microsoft Office torrents yields results with 7700 seeders.

Most people relate the cost of a computer to the hardware, but there is a growing increase in terms of retail software that is tilting the scale in its direction for the contents of your wallet. Given I spent $150 on my current computer, you can imagine why I’m not very interested in a $700 software package.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to download the latest Ubuntu release.



  1. I don’t know what Access can do except make giant databases, thats all I learned in college from the introductory course.

    I’ve never heard of anyone use Outlook at home, although I do like a lot of the features at least in the workplace, I don’t know how much I’d use it at home.

    And I have no idea what the hell Visio is or does.

    Comment by Yar-yar binks — May 2, 2008 @ 4:49 pm

  2. Access is a database program. There’s a lot you can do with a database.

    Visio is for diagrams, I only listed as something I could use, as opposed to actual need for it to be included.

    Access and Outlook have long been included in Office, but as Microsoft crams in more random, mostly pointless programs (see: Groove), the cost of getting the whole package goes up, while these programs get buried. It’s getting into Photoshop territory for pricing, now — CS3 is $10 more than Office.

    Comment by zurahn — May 3, 2008 @ 3:04 am

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