I'm a strong supporter of open-source, freeware and SaaS (Software as a Service). We have recently switched half of our company's computers into MacBook Pro. Here are a list of software that we installed (or not installed, if we are using SaaS) for common office tasks on all MacBook Pro. Most of them work on Windows as well since we were previously living in that world.
|Photo credit: Toni Cuenca
Text document, Spreadsheet: OpenOffice (Free)
Presentation: Keynote (USD19.99). We previously used OpenOffice for presentation.
E-mail, Calendar, Address Book: Google Apps (Free for 10 users)
Anti-Virus: None, however we do run as Standard User instead of Admin on our MacBook. We previously used Avast on our Windows computers.
I am a strong advocate for Google Mail (part of Google Apps) as I have used Microsoft Outlook/Outlook Express, Mozilla Thunderbird and some webmail solutions, but nothing come close to Google Mail, in the sense of uptime and functionality (multi tagging is one of the most amazing features).
Ever since I switched over to Google Mail couple years ago, I no longer need to download e-mails and attachments for five to ten minutes every morning. I no longer need to constantly back-up my e-mails, and I no longer need to delete some indexing files in Thunderbird or Outlook just to get the e-mails working again. And of course, I no longer needed to duplicate an e-mail just to fit them into two separate folders. And not to mention, a search that really works!
Google Calendar is my first exposure to shared calendar couple years back and now I couldn't understand how I could have lived so long without it. We also use it to reserve meeting room (by creating a calendar that automatically accept invitation if it is not busy for every meeting room and have corresponding calendar invited if meeting room is needed).
Google Contact is the centralized repository of all my contacts. Before iOS/Android era, I was a strong supporter of Sony Ericsson and I sync'ed all my contacts from my phone to my laptop using software provided together with the phone. I took the pain couple years back to manually transfer all the contacts into Google Contact and now I sync my Blackberry, iPhone, iPad and MacBook Pro address book to Google Contact using Exchange. Any update in any device will update the rest automatically over internet via 3G/Edge/WiFi. The reason for sync'ing MacBook Pro address book is mainly for offline purpose and for other apps that work with address book.