Open source office software is has gotten pretty good over the past decade or so; I got through grad school with OpenOffice (now known as LibreOfifice), and in my estimation was no worse off when it came to exchanging files with classmates than were friends with different versions of Word. Now, reader dgharmon writes "Writer has at least twelve major advantages over Word. Together, these advantages not only suggest a very different design philosophy from Word, but also demonstrate that, from the perspective of an expert user, Writer is the superior tool."
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