Microsoft no longer supports Office for Mac 2019. They no longer sell or support anything under the Office brand. No more standalone software. They want you to buy a subscription to Microsoft 365. So now every time I open an MW Word document, I get this little error message telling me that the software “needs updating” — an error message that now will never, never go away. They really want to annoy me into buying an MS 365 subscription.
But the subscription model for software doesn’t work for everyone. It most certainly doesn’t work for me. First of all, subscription software costs more — way more — for low-level users like me. MS 365 costs $100 a year. I bought MS Office 2019 for something like $125 and used it for 5 years, so MS 365 is about four times as expensive. Second, even though MS 365 uses an open file format, I don’t trust Microsoft. It would be all too easy for them to decide to emulate Adobe — when you stop subscribing to Adobe’s software, you lose access to all your work. Third, I actually don’t want my software constantly upgraded to the latest version with all the bells and whistles, I just want to use the same software version that I know and with which I’m comfortable, and with which I’m most productive. Fourth, I have subscription fatigue: I. Don’t. Want. Any. More. Subscriptions.
And finally, the only part of Microsoft’s office suite I really use is MS Word. So if I want to escape Microsoft’s evil clutches, all I need to do is find an alternative word processing program.
I’ve been working down the list of word processors. I’ve tried Scrivener and Nota Bene, but both products are too specialized for my needs. Both Google Docs and ApplePages both strike me as not quite ready for prime time; they certainly don’t meet my needs. I skipped over many other word processors, including Nisus Writer and Apache Open Office, because they appear to have such a small user base that I don’t trust them to be around for a long time.
I’ve finally gotten around to LibreOffice. So far, it does what I want it to do. It has an installed user base of about 200 million (small compared to MS Word’s 1 billion, but still…). There are some things about LibreOffice that annoy me, but so far it’s less annoying than MS Word. I like that it’s free and open source, and because I’m a regular user of GIMP and WordPress I’m accustomed to the quirks of open source software development communities.
I think I like LibreOffice enough to invest the hours needed in order to become as productive with it as I currently am with MS Word. I’m actually relieved at the prospect that if I can get fluent with LibreOffice I’ll never have to use MS Word ever again. I’ve always hated Word, I just felt stuck with it.
Even though I’ve always hated Word, I’m mightily resentful that I’m being forced to learn how to use a new word processor. For no good reason except that the corporate executives at Microsoft need to support their lavish lifestyles on the backs of their customers.