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$79.99 (Included in the iWork bundle)

I love Pages- I bought it the day it was released. For good or ill, there is nothing like it. It really began as more of a simple layout tool. You could do word processing in it, but it was really about making printed documents beautiful. Since then, the word processing has been improved considerably.

The file format is a nasty, compressed xml file that references embedded media objects. The files can’t be opened in anything else. And thus the only one I’ve been able to ever e-mail Pages files to is my wife. I don’t know anyone that has it. Some probably do but I just don’t know it.

To migrate, your best best is to export to Word documents. I searched around and found an AppleScript script to batch convert Word documents into Pages or PDFs or something. I rewrote it to do the opposite, batch ditching Pages. If I find it I will definitely post it.

One feature I love in the iWork apps was the slick image masking. Hopefully OpenOffice devs can figure that out soon.

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A big player in the open source community, OpenOffice is included in every Linux distribution I know of. It's integrated fairly well and has an extensive feature-set.

After exporting Pages documents I was able to open them fine in OpenOffice, with the caveat that if you've gone crazy wth layout in Pages, it will not come through as you expect.

ThinkFree Mobile

A non-free alternative is ThinkFree office which happened to be giving away free copies of it's Mobile (notebook) version when I was switching. It's a Java based app, but you'd never know it. It's very nice. A little odd at times. But in some cases there may be features you need that you can't find in OpenOffice.

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