Since the turn of this year, the government in the Netherlands has been required to utilize open source software and the [ISO ratified] ODF format for reading, publishing and exchanging information, there is some flexibility, but when open source software is not used, special reasons have to be given. I think this is a really important and positive step to have taken, since forcing a move away from the closed world of Microsoft Office guarantees that the people, groups and organizations that cannot afford an expensive Microsoft Office license, or those who use an OS not supported by Microsoft are not forced to either miss out on the information or use a pirated version of the software. Open Office (OOo) is available free of charge to users of Windows, Mac OS X and the various flavours of Linux, both for personal and business use, supports all of your old .doc Word files and is at least as secure as Microsoft Office.
So why do so many businesses insist on using Microsoft Office? “Because our customers do.”, just isn’t a good enough reason, seize the initiative and be a leader for once. You might like it.
After thought: As a software developer, I can understand that if your customer specifically asks you to produce code that can be built using Microsoft Visual C++ that you are obliged to do so (-ish), but that doesn’t mean that you have to use Microsoft Visual Studio. Why not make use of a cross platform, open source, IDE like Eclipse or NetBeans and just use the Visual C++ compiler? Expanding your CV with such transferable skills must surely be a good thing?