Get a free office suite, help charity

When you download SoftMaker FreeOffice for Windows or Linux, the developer will make a donation to betterplace.org. What's not to like?

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

I love a good win-win.

From now until December 24, you can get SoftMaker FreeOffice for Windows or Linux absolutely free. And when you do, SoftMaker will donate 0.10 Euros to betterplace.org, which raises funds for a variety of worthy worldwide projects.

So what the heck is SoftMaker FreeOffice? As you may have guessed from the name, it's the free version of SoftMaker's commercial office suite. It provides word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations, all with an interface that closely resembles Microsoft Office 2003.

Speaking of which, FreeOffice is fully file-compatible with Microsoft's suite, though it's slightly hobbled when it comes to the newer DOCX, XLSX, and PPTX formats: it can open them, but not save to them. That's one limitation that SoftMaker hopes will drive you to upgrade to the newer Office 2012 Standard or Professional (which are priced at $79.95 and $99.95, respectively).

I think that's some brilliant marketing on SoftMaker's part, and something I wish other software vendors would emulate. After all, older versions aren't generating any revenue for them, so why not give them away?

That said, FreeOffice should prove more than adequate for folks with basic office-suite needs, and you get a full, unrestricted license, no strings attached. In other words, the software is yours to keep forever. And there's no pesky shovelware or nagware, either.

To get it, click through to SoftMaker's Load and Help landing page, click the orange Download Here button, and then click the red Download button. Choose your version (Windows or Linux), then provide your name and e-mail address. SoftMaker will send you the serial number necessary to activate the program. (Mine arrived mere moments after I submitted it.)

I've actually used FreeOffice on and off over the years, and have found it a fast, compact, capable suite. If that sounds like something you could use, why not grab it now and help a worthwhile charity at the same time? Like I said: win-win.

 

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