Excel 2007 has become a reality and we all have to deal with it. If you use it, I sympathize, it was probably installed on the machine for you by your hardware manufacturer or IT department. Regardless of how it got there, you need to deal with the policies implemented in it by Microsoft. One of the most troublesome for GoldMine users is the fact that Excel 2007 is no longer able to open or save a .DBF (dBase) file.
Given the widespread popularity of the dBase format, I question the wisdom of Microsoft’s decision here. Questionable or not, GoldMine users still have to find a way to take data provided by 3rd parties and create operable dBase files out of it in order to import it into GoldMine. What tool should we use? Some random tool found via Google? I think not.
OpenOffice 2.2 stands at the ready with solid abilities in the spreadsheet and basic database format arena. The Calc module (the OpenOffice equivalent of Excel) will not be losing the ability to parse various formats any time soon — quite the contrary, you can expect to see it become more and more flexible as time passes. All it takes is some programmer type to make it his or her pet project to add compatibility for format X to the OpenOffice project and, presto, OpenOffice is able to deal with that file type. That’s the beauty of Open Source projects.
I know, I know, listening to some open source advocates prattle on can approach the pitch of a certain recently deceased religious zealot. The overly-excitable folks aside, the beauty of the open source concept just can’t be beat: No sales-driven decisions and a potential development and QA community of 7 billion people — Redmond can’t touch that.