Linked by David Adams on Sun 11th Jul 2010 19:43 UTC
Microsoft U.K. government staff suggested replacing Microsoft Corp. operating systems on computers with free alternatives in response to a call for ideas for Prime Minister David Cameron's cost-cutting drive.
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Bad Aftertaste
by xiaokj on Sun 11th Jul 2010 20:17 UTC
xiaokj
Member since:
2005-06-30

I don't like this: Politicians warming up to our ideas only when they are shackled by their exploding budgets instead of us winning by merits alone.

I mean, their budget problem had been institutional for so many years and only now have they decided that they had to change? And only because of that did they want to change? What did they think, that we are cheap imitations or what?

But I should seek solace in the fact that we are gaining ground, and I shall not let my emotions of pride take over strategic wins. May they finally realise that paying the Microsoft tax is not the only way to go.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Bad Aftertaste
by pabloski on Sun 11th Jul 2010 20:27 UTC in reply to "Bad Aftertaste"
pabloski Member since:
2009-09-28

You're right my friend, but you cannot pretend politicians get excited about how wonderful is linux from a technical point of view.

They only reason about GDP, deficits, bailouts. They need money now, so they have no more dollars to waste on microsoft tax.

Reply Score: 7

RE: Bad Aftertaste
by Kroc on Sun 11th Jul 2010 20:50 UTC in reply to "Bad Aftertaste"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

No, this is a management problem, as usual. This call for Linux is coming from people who have known this all along, who have been fighting for Linux all the time and have been ignored by ignorant managers who go with Microsoft every time.

Government technology is not chosen based on merits, it’s based on who gets the say, that’s all.

Reply Score: 14

RE: Bad Aftertaste
by kaiwai on Sun 11th Jul 2010 21:40 UTC in reply to "Bad Aftertaste"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

The interesting part is how they'll deal with the internally written applications, especially those quick and dirty solutions many of the ministries would have deployed and use VB/C# and other horrid solutions. I wonder, however, these will be addressed - will they re-write them to web based applications? licence Mainsoft's software to smooth the transition? the transition away from Windows is more complex than just a replacement for Windows plus a few other bits and bobs - its those little bits here and there that'll really cause problems. Big application suites are pretty easy to replace, it is the small internally written applications and macros that are the pain the ass.

Also another thing that needs to be understood is jumping into the Linux world isn't something you can do half-way; if you jump in you have to jump all the way and for the long term. Transitions from one platform to another cannot be taken lightly and will require re-training, re-writing, forming new relationships with new vendors (both software and hardware). I hope that when these ministries do opt to change their platform at they realise it isn't short term, it cannot happen over night and to look beyond the initial investment at the long term benefits of such a platform change.

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Bad Aftertaste
by Vanders on Sun 11th Jul 2010 22:57 UTC in reply to "RE: Bad Aftertaste"
Vanders Member since:
2005-07-06

I imagine the obvious solution would be to validate those applications on Wine. If they fail then you run then on Windows in Virtual Box: the Windows license was a requirement prior to switching to Linux so there is no net loss.

Edited 2010-07-11 22:59 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Bad Aftertaste
by kaiwai on Mon 12th Jul 2010 01:58 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Bad Aftertaste"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

I imagine the obvious solution would be to validate those applications on Wine. If they fail then you run then on Windows in Virtual Box: the Windows license was a requirement prior to switching to Linux so there is no net loss.


The trouble with that assertion is the fact that Microsoft has many governments on a select licensing scheme where they pay a yearly subscription; so even if they were to move to Linux they would still have to continue paying a subscription even though their primary operating system would be Linux. Ultimately their costs would double thus leaving them worse off if they just kept with Windows in the first place.

As I said, there is always Mainsoft but even then the transition isn't 100% guaranteed just like wine isn't a sure thing.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Bad Aftertaste
by Soulbender on Mon 12th Jul 2010 03:18 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Bad Aftertaste"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

The trouble with that assertion is the fact that Microsoft has many governments on a select licensing scheme where they pay a yearly subscription


So just cancel the select license. Or am i missing something?

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Bad Aftertaste
by kaiwai on Mon 12th Jul 2010 04:31 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Bad Aftertaste"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

So just cancel the select license. Or am i missing something?


Read the original reply about using Windows in a virtual machine, their existing licences cease once they cancel their subscription - if they're going to have to go out and buy several thousand new licences so that they can run a virtualised copy of Windows they might have well stayed with Windows in the first place.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Bad Aftertaste
by cerbie on Mon 12th Jul 2010 04:33 UTC in reply to "RE: Bad Aftertaste"
cerbie Member since:
2006-01-02

...but all those costs can be put at the feet of the next set of government officials, in a few years, after the current ones move on, and write books about their exceptional challenges, and how great they were at tackling them.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Bad Aftertaste
by kaiwai on Mon 12th Jul 2010 05:10 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Bad Aftertaste"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

...but all those costs can be put at the feet of the next set of government officials, in a few years, after the current ones move on, and write books about their exceptional challenges, and how great they were at tackling them.


It depends on whether you have a screwed up system like the United States where the public service is politicised to high heavens - in most mature OECD countries the public service operates at arms length of politicians with decisions being made independent of their political masters. There is a benefit to the politicians doing it that way though, when something goes wrong they come out scott free because they had no part to play in the fiasco.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Bad Aftertaste
by Spudd86 on Mon 12th Jul 2010 15:45 UTC in reply to "RE: Bad Aftertaste"
Spudd86 Member since:
2010-07-12

Well for .Net stuff there's Mono, also there's wine or winelib.

Reply Score: 1

Until they need support
by Phloptical on Sun 11th Jul 2010 20:35 UTC
Phloptical
Member since:
2006-10-10

What they're going to save on installing a free OS, is what they're going to spend on an army of uber-geeks to support the desktops once a problem arises. I don't mean to sound like I'm against Linux as a Desktop OS, but many enterprise customers want to pay for support contracts, and the thought of free equates to "cheap quality" and "you're on your own" when it comes to support.

Yes, flamebait I know, and I'm sorry for that.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Until they need support
by t3RRa on Sun 11th Jul 2010 20:39 UTC in reply to "Until they need support"
t3RRa Member since:
2005-11-22

Do you mean if they use Microsoft OS they do not need any technicians or they are free from any problems? Come on. Get real. For any OS they need some technical support anyway.

Reply Score: 9

RE: Until they need support
by kaiwai on Sun 11th Jul 2010 21:20 UTC in reply to "Until they need support"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

What they're going to save on installing a free OS, is what they're going to spend on an army of uber-geeks to support the desktops once a problem arises. I don't mean to sound like I'm against Linux as a Desktop OS, but many enterprise customers want to pay for support contracts, and the thought of free equates to "cheap quality" and "you're on your own" when it comes to support.

Yes, flamebait I know, and I'm sorry for that.


You do realise that there are these amazing organisations like Red Hat and Novell who offer enterprise support and consultation? yes, amazing and these upstarts have been around for quite some time!

Excuse my sarcasm but nothing irritates the crap out of me more than people who make the logic fail that you did - and the price for large enterprise customers is very low when compared to what Microsoft provides. Cost isn't the only consideration though, the lack of vendor lock in also adds savings that cannot be calculated via the usual accounting methods - as the old adage goes, accountants can tell you the cost of something but not the value.

Reply Score: 12

RE[2]: Until they need support
by nt_jerkface on Mon 12th Jul 2010 01:45 UTC in reply to "RE: Until they need support"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26


Excuse my sarcasm but nothing irritates the crap out of me more than people who make the logic fail that you did - and the price for large enterprise customers is very low when compared to what Microsoft provides.


On-site Linux support costs more and that is a factor that needs to be taken into account.


Cost isn't the only consideration though, the lack of vendor lock in also adds savings that cannot be calculated via the usual accounting methods - as the old adage goes, accountants can tell you the cost of something but not the value.


Switching to Linux doesn't come with a lock-in? What about dependence on Oracle for OpenOffice? There is also a lock-in to a smaller business software library.

I think a case can be made for installing OO on XP boxes instead of upgrading an older version of Office but completely switching to Linux is likely to incur costs rather than savings.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Until they need support
by kaiwai on Mon 12th Jul 2010 02:06 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Until they need support"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

On-site Linux support costs more and that is a factor that needs to be taken into account.


Based on what evidence? you throw that out there and provide nothing to back it up nor do you even take into account one can use Zenworks for large deployments thus just as simple as managing a network of Windows servers and desktops.

Switching to Linux doesn't come with a lock-in? What about dependence on Oracle for OpenOffice? There is also a lock-in to a smaller business software library.

I think a case can be made for installing OO on XP boxes instead of upgrading an older version of Office but completely switching to Linux is likely to incur costs rather than savings.


So stick with Windows XP and find yourself high and dry in a few years after support stops - excuse me but that sounds like the most stupid f-cking idea I've ever come across. While you're on the train of thought why don't you deploy Windows 2000 for sh-ts and giigles!

As for your first paragraph, how are you dependent on Oracle? OpenOffice.org is an open source project that has Red Hat, Novell, Oracle and numerous individual contributors; there is nothing stopping the government, as they do for other projects, to setup a dedicated group of half a dozen programmers to address problems with OpenOffice.org for the whole public service. There is no 'vendor lock in' and as for 'smaller business software library' - you do know we're talking about enterprise customers not Bobby Jane's Toast Shop and her desire to have 100s of pointless widgets and applications. Are there few vendors? sure, but they're the vendors that actually count - who cares if there are 100 vendors on offer if only 10 of them are actually worth considering.

Edited 2010-07-12 02:08 UTC

Reply Score: 5

v RE[4]: Until they need support
by nt_jerkface on Mon 12th Jul 2010 06:30 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Until they need support"
RE[5]: Until they need support
by l3v1 on Mon 12th Jul 2010 09:49 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Until they need support"
l3v1 Member since:
2005-07-06

I didn't even bring up the issue of hardware. Multi-function printers have long been an issue with Linux.


Not from where I'm standing. We've always picked our m.f. printers after checking that they'll work with Linux too, and they do - and before you ask, yes, they are current models, not ten year old junk. In my mind that's not a problem, since if you buy stuff without researching your needs and constraints first, then you'll deserve what you end up with.

Reply Score: 6

RE[6]: Until they need support
by nt_jerkface on Mon 12th Jul 2010 17:15 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Until they need support"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

A government looking to cut costs isn't going to be buying new printers.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Until they need support
by lemur2 on Tue 13th Jul 2010 04:21 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Until they need support"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

A government looking to cut costs isn't going to be buying new printers.


So they won't be running Windows 7 then? Makes sense.

Reply Score: 2

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Open Office, in addition to being open source itself, is also based on Open standards. Thus you have Koffice, Gnome Office Suite, and others writing to that same standard for file formats. Those are not being written by Oracle and are continuing to improve.

Just like HTML wasn't doomed by Mozilla's code base, ODF's wouldn't be doomed by Open Office's. That's one of he great benefits of open standards, and one of the biggest reasons to *not* use MS Office.

But yes, there is a dearth of good quality Accounting software on Linux. But that is mainly due to the monopoly Quick books has on all platforms. Every small business I work with uses it.

If only there were some way to use it through an industry standard for rendering a markup language capable of hyper-link technology through a vast network of interconnected computers. This "information super-highway" of a network might allow this accounting information to be utilized in a variety of places on a variety of platforms, rendering it more valuable to small businesses than a self contained installation.

Oh well, I guess that's just a crazy dream I had due to too much late night guacamole.

Or maybe not...
http://quickbooksonline.intuit.com/finance-accounting-solutions/

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Until they need support
by nt_jerkface on Mon 12th Jul 2010 17:32 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Until they need support"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

Open Office, in addition to being open source itself, is also based on Open standards. Thus you have Koffice, Gnome Office Suite, and others writing to that same standard for file formats. Those are not being written by Oracle and are continuing to improve.


Continuing to improve yes but as of today KOffice and Gnome Office are not adequate alternatives to MS Office.


But yes, there is a dearth of good quality Accounting software on Linux. But that is mainly due to the monopoly Quick books has on all platforms. Every small business I work with uses it.


They don't have a lock on the market though. The problem is that there is a lack of open source developers that want to work on accounting software.

Reply Score: 2

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

I agree Koffice and Gnome Office are not as mature as Open office, but they do represent an open source community led effort to develop office software that absolutely can read & write the same files as Open Office, with perfect fidelity. In the event of a Oracle meltdown, it may be easier for companies to inject money/developers in these projects. Just as khtml was chosen as a base by Apple, rather than Mozilla. We've got options, I'm saying. Not every egg is in Open office.

I can only speak form my experience working with small businesses, but Quickbooks tends to dominate in the space. It would be very difficult for any other Accounting software to dislodge it: open or closed source, due to the difficulty in migrating data. In any case, its available on line now. So, it can be used on Linux.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Until they need support
by sorpigal on Tue 13th Jul 2010 11:22 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Until they need support"
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

Continuing to improve yes but as of today KOffice and Gnome Office are not adequate alternatives to MS Office.

You can't have it both ways. First you say people are "locked in" to OpenOffice, which is not true since the code base is not provided by only one vendor. Then when it is pointed out that OpenOffice uses standard formats that are supported by other programs you say "But they're not as good." Well, buster, you're right! But the fact remains that if some evil Oracle plot were to make OpenOffice unusable tomorrow without paying a huge fee any government with thousands of ODF files... would still be able to read those documents.

Now, maybe the formatting would not be perfect tomorrow but compatibility would improve over time and, importantly, there would be zero down time while you desperately try to get someone to pony up the cash for the now-pay OpenOffice.

But let's not even walk down this fantastic avenue. If Oracle were to close off OpenOffice development tomorrow and decree "StarOffice only from now on," what would be the effect? Diddly-squat! The Go-OO people would smoothly take over; meanwhile, mirrors of the source and binaries exist already. The existing and future users would still have a license under the same terms as now. Oracle can go and fuck themselves however they like, we don't need them. We are not locked in to them. They simply *can't* prevent the free use of OpenOffice, even if they wanted to.

So, our government which uses OpenOffice keeps using it and meanwhile compatible software is improved. When they feel like it they switch again.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Until they need support
by MamiyaOtaru on Mon 12th Jul 2010 07:58 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Until they need support"
MamiyaOtaru Member since:
2005-11-11

well, one could look at Munich. http://www.osor.eu/studies/declaration-of-independence-the-limux-pr...

The total cost for the proprietary solution were calculated to be 35 million Euro, against 37 million Euro for GNU/Linux (both including all costs beyond the solution itself, such as personnel and training costs, over five years). While the proprietary solution was deemed to be slightly more cost-effective over the full period, the strategic advantage of being free to take its own IT decisions led the city council to decide in favour of the migration to GNU/Linux.

So that's nice and all, but it's more expensive (though long term that may change). There are other benefits of course, but considering that the UK is talking about this as a cost saving measure the higher projected costs for Munich's migration (which have risen, here the figures as of four years ago: http://news.cnet.com/Munich-fires-up-Linux-at-last/2100-7344_3-6119... ) should be taken into account.

One can obviously quibble with figures and talk about how it would be cheaper if X and Y or whatever, but the case of Munich shows it is not a clear-cut case of open source = savings, and since savings is the driving motivation behind this latest proposal, one has to look at it with a critical eye.

And one can't ignore retraining costs. Users are idiots. The slightest thing different means retraining. Lost productivity in the meanwhile (and training costs) are likely to compare with the cost of a few Windows licenses. Obviously I don't have figures for this (just experience with users), but that's why I linked the Munich stuff.

In short you can talk about other perceived benefits and that's great but I don't think you can smugly assert that money will be saved and talk down at anyone who disagrees (or isn't as sure about it as you are)

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: Until they need support
by sorpigal on Tue 13th Jul 2010 11:25 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Until they need support"
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

The Munich thing was quite a while ago now and it must be said that a lot has changed, some of it as a direct result of contributions by people working on the project. Much of the infrastructure that they had to struggle to build would be easier (read: cheaper) to set up today.

I don't know how much that kind of thing factored in to their estimate, though.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Until they need support
by dylansmrjones on Mon 12th Jul 2010 02:06 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Until they need support"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Do you have sources for your claim that on-site linux support is more expensive than on-site support for any other solution?

There is no dependency on Oracle for OpenOffice. Also ODF-documents are not tied to OpenOffice. If Oracle screws up, one can switch to another ODF-compliant office suite.

There will be initial costs when switching to GNU/Linux or *BSD but these are small compared with the cost savings acquired following the transition. There is also initial costs when switching to Windows from GNU/Linux or *BSD, but no cost savings to get afterwards.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Until they need support
by nt_jerkface on Mon 12th Jul 2010 08:20 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Until they need support"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

Do you have sources for your claim that on-site linux support is more expensive than on-site support for any other solution?


Linux admins charge more than MCSEs.


There is no dependency on Oracle for OpenOffice.

You are dependent on Oracle when it comes to the development of OpenOffice. There are numerous conversion issues that Oracle hasn't addressed, but let's pretend that such problems don't exist in favor of open source ideology.


Also ODF-documents are not tied to OpenOffice. If Oracle screws up, one can switch to another ODF-compliant office suite.


Like what? Koffice? It isn't close in functionality. And please don't list a bunch of OO forks like GO-OO where they basically make a few tweaks to the latest version.


There will be initial costs when switching to GNU/Linux or *BSD but these are small compared with the cost savings acquired following the transition.


That's an article of faith.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Until they need support
by Kroc on Mon 12th Jul 2010 10:14 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Until they need support"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

Linux admins charge more than MCSEs


That's because owning an MCSE isn't worth anything. Linux admins tend to have actual skills.

Edited 2010-07-12 10:15 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Until they need support
by nt_jerkface on Tue 13th Jul 2010 01:09 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Until they need support"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

http://tmrepository.com/trademarks/linuxmakesyousmart/

MCSE wages compared to Linux admins are the result of supply and demand, mainly from the preponderance of MCSE training programs.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Until they need support
by sorpigal on Tue 13th Jul 2010 11:27 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Until they need support"
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

http://tmrepository.com/trademarks/linuxmakesyousmart/

MCSE wages compared to Linux admins are the result of supply and demand, mainly from the preponderance of MCSE training programs.

True but irrelevant. Go look up these figures: How many Linux admins do you need for a network of 500 workstations and 5 servers running Linux? How many MCSEs if the computers all ran Windows? Now, which is actually cheaper?

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Until they need support
by lemur2 on Mon 12th Jul 2010 10:51 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Until they need support"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"Also ODF-documents are not tied to OpenOffice. If Oracle screws up, one can switch to another ODF-compliant office suite.


Like what? Koffice? It isn't close in functionality. And please don't list a bunch of OO forks like GO-OO where they basically make a few tweaks to the latest version.
"

http://symphony.lotus.com/software/lotus/symphony/home.nsf/products

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SoftMaker_Office
http://www.softmaker.com/english/of_en.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WordPerfect_Office
http://www.corel.com/servlet/Satellite/us/en/Product/1207676528492#...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Docs

There are other options as well, apart from OpenOffice itself and KOffice, where one can enjoy full, proper support for ODF format.

Edited 2010-07-12 10:55 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Until they need support
by nt_jerkface on Mon 12th Jul 2010 17:57 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Until they need support"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

There are other options as well, apart from OpenOffice itself and KOffice, where one can enjoy full, proper support for ODF format.


A government, not a business could conceivably convert all archived documents and require all new documents to be created in ODF but there is no way that such an effort would save the government money.

As for KOffice it is not a full alternative to MS Office. It's more of an Office light.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Until they need support
by lemur2 on Tue 13th Jul 2010 04:15 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Until they need support"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"There are other options as well, apart from OpenOffice itself and KOffice, where one can enjoy full, proper support for ODF format.
A government, not a business could conceivably convert all archived documents and require all new documents to be created in ODF but there is no way that such an effort would save the government money. "

That is precisely why I excluded KOffice from the list of suites I pointed out: Symphony, Softmaker Office, Wordperfect Office and Google Docs.

As for KOffice it is not a full alternative to MS Office. It's more of an Office light.


This ignores the real-world outcomes of organisations that have moved to FOSS solutions, saving themselves millions by so doing:

http://www.osnews.com/permalink?433230

These examples of migrations to FOSS solutions nicely rebut your unsupported assertion that organistations would not save any money.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Until they need support
by Phloptical on Tue 13th Jul 2010 23:55 UTC in reply to "RE: Until they need support"
Phloptical Member since:
2006-10-10

You seem to think that the enterprise, as a whole, actually gives a rats arse about vendor lock in. Most of them actually WANT vendor lock in. In fact, lots of companies pay good money to make sure they are, in fact "locked in". For example, how many times have you heard people talk about "We're a VM Ware Shop" "We're a CISCO shop" "We're a Lotus/Domino shop" "We're an SAP Shop"? "We're a Solidworks shop" What do you think that is? Lock In.

My "fail logic"? lol Really? Give me a break. If you've ever worked in a corporate IT environment, you'd know that ideology has no place in it because those who sign paychecks and sit on Mahogany Row, #1 don't care, #2 think IT is a waste of resources, anyway (until something goes down) and #3 just want to read emails, surf the web, look at powerpoint presentations, and excel spreadsheets. They could care less that their IT directors are sticking it to the man, keeping it real, and giving a propietary software company the finger just for the sake of doing so. We have to daily remind our top brass why they can't run Outlook and have to deal with Lotus Notes everyday. Now we'd have to add, "What's this Ubuntu, why can't I have Windows on my laptop?" My entire department would be fired the same day if I give the chief-muckity-muck friggin Red Hat on his laptop, and expect him to use it.

A small global company like mine couldn't deal with the transition to Open Office. And believe me, if there's anyone in my organization who wants it to happen more, it's me. I would love to spend my time planning for a global transition to Open Office for the next 5 months, but the fallout would never end.

Anyway, the road to the Linux OS has to begin at home, and not in the workplace. Then you'll get your adoption.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Until they need support
by phoenix on Mon 12th Jul 2010 02:01 UTC in reply to "Until they need support"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

What they're going to save on installing a free OS, is what they're going to spend on an army of uber-geeks to support the desktops once a problem arises. I don't mean to sound like I'm against Linux as a Desktop OS, but many enterprise customers want to pay for support contracts, and the thought of free equates to "cheap quality" and "you're on your own" when it comes to support.


Only if they treat a Linux station like a Windows station, meaning a fat-client with a local harddrive and local Linux install. In that situation, you're no better off than using Windows.

However, if you move to a diskless client setup, where every filesystem is an NFS mount from a central server, then Linux really shines compared to Windows. You only need 1 OS install. You only have to manage 1 set of software. You can upgrade 200 workstation in 20 minutes. Your desktop computer becomes a $200 appliance that can be swapped out in under 5 minutes.

Then, you only need a handful of IT people to manage the servers.

Our IT department has 13 members (1 helpdesk, 1 distance learning programmer, 1 programmer, 1 network tech, 1 electrician, 1 hardware tech, 2 elem techs, 4 secondary techs, 1 video conferencing tech) and 2 managers. We look after 50 remote sites, over 5000 Linux desktops, and a very very small number of Windows stations. Actually, it's basically just the helpdesk team that looks after those, since it's only the server you have to worry about, there are no moving parts in the desktop.

IOW, if you look at what Linux (or BSD or anything non-Windows) can do in a networked environment and don't treat them like standard fat clients, then you can do some amazing things and save *A LOT* of time and money.

Reply Score: 11

RE: Until they need support
by l3v1 on Mon 12th Jul 2010 09:46 UTC in reply to "Until they need support"
l3v1 Member since:
2005-07-06

going to spend on an army of uber-geeks to support the desktops


First, you sound like MS apps & sw wouldn't require an army of support staff to operate. Second, which sounds better: paying more for one company, or paying less [or nothing] for another company and spend a bit more on support staff - which means more jobs and in the long run lower dependence on a single company. From a politics point of view the second sounds like a winner.

Reply Score: 3

Not likely
by vivainio on Sun 11th Jul 2010 22:02 UTC
vivainio
Member since:
2008-12-26

I don't see this happening just because "someone suggested it". Move like this requires stronger drivers than just cost savings; the real savings probably wouldn't materialize until much later.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Not likely
by Vanders on Sun 11th Jul 2010 22:59 UTC in reply to "Not likely"
Vanders Member since:
2005-07-06

Move like this requires stronger drivers than just cost savings


Not in the current economic situation it doesn't.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Not likely
by Laurence on Sun 11th Jul 2010 23:19 UTC in reply to "RE: Not likely"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

"Move like this requires stronger drivers than just cost savings


Not in the current economic situation it doesn't.
"


Even in the current economic situation as the sort term costs for switching to Linux would be more expensive:
* retraining non-technical staff
* retraining IT staff
* rebuilding thousands of workstations
* testing thousands of applications
* and the massive amount of man hours wasted on red tape, meetings and project management.

And lets not forget that the current workstations already have XP licences - so it's not as if they have to pay that much at the moment.


The real saving in switching to Linux will be the long term. But governments (and particularly Britain's local and national governments) are notoriously bad for taking the long term plan - regardless of how much smarter and/or cheaper it works out.


Having worked in local government for many years, I really can't see this change happening. At best it will be a consideration, but more likely it's nothing more than a "pie in the sky" idea.

Edited 2010-07-11 23:23 UTC

Reply Score: 7

RE[3]: Not likely
by deathshadow on Sun 11th Jul 2010 23:40 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Not likely"
deathshadow Member since:
2005-07-12

I was going to post this big long rant, but you covered everything I was going to say.

Of course with my experiences with linux as a desktop OS, I don't see it as a good long term plan either given what a total tinkertoy it remains with every application stuck in 'catch-up' mode or being pale comparisons to their commercial counterparts.

Reply Score: 0

v RE[4]: Not likely
by nt_jerkface on Mon 12th Jul 2010 08:41 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Not likely"
RE[5]: Not likely
by sorpigal on Tue 13th Jul 2010 11:39 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Not likely"
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

It's a shame when people moderate based on disliking the stated opinion. FYI, I voted your negative posts up until I started replying.

Note to mods: Mod up if you like it, that's okay, but don't mod down just because you don't like it! Mod down when something is *off topic*, *patently offensive or vulgar* or when it is *clearly just a troll*. Jerkface here, as wrong and deluded as he is, has been posting well written opinion pieces which are debatable enough to not be inherently trollish. Flamebait, maybe.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Not likely
by ssa2204 on Mon 12th Jul 2010 09:17 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Not likely"
ssa2204 Member since:
2006-04-22

I was going to post this big long rant, but you covered everything I was going to say.

Of course with my experiences with linux as a desktop OS, I don't see it as a good long term plan either given what a total tinkertoy it remains with every application stuck in 'catch-up' mode or being pale comparisons to their commercial counterparts.


Agreed. What we have here are people that think there are actually alternatives, because as you say some "tinkertoy" application was made, that is in fact playing catch up. Problem here is that some of the catch up is still years behind, and/or barely functional

What we have are ignorant people that think something with 3% of the functionality can easily replace what simply works. The idea of replacing an Active Directory domain with Linux is just asinine. I just find it incredible to think that that continuing piece of shit called Open Office could be anywhere compared to MS Office.

This is such a idiotic argument to begin with, it is like deciding that the VW Beetle would make a good workhouse for a construction team. Yeah, theoretically this will work, but.....

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Not likely
by dylansmrjones on Mon 12th Jul 2010 02:13 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Not likely"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

* retraining non-technical staff
* retraining IT staff
* rebuilding thousands of workstations
* testing thousands of applications
* and the massive amount of man hours wasted on red tape, meetings and project management.


These costs are the same kind of costs as you have when upgrading to a newer version of MS Office or Windows. And the retraining is grossly overestimated in regard to non-technical staff. Actually it is much cheaper to retrain non-technical staff to OpenOffice from Office2003 than it is to retrain the non-technical staff to Office2007 from Office2003.

Retraining the IT-staff can be quite expensive, but there are other and cheaper solutions. And planned correctly the expensive will be self-financed in less than four years. Considering how much money is wasted on inefficient proprietary solutions due to incompetent planning there is simply no basis for claiming particularly high costs for switching to GNU/Linux or *BSD.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: Not likely
by kaiwai on Mon 12th Jul 2010 04:45 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Not likely"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

These costs are the same kind of costs as you have when upgrading to a newer version of MS Office or Windows. And the retraining is grossly overestimated in regard to non-technical staff. Actually it is much cheaper to retrain non-technical staff to OpenOffice from Office2003 than it is to retrain the non-technical staff to Office2007 from Office2003.

Retraining the IT-staff can be quite expensive, but there are other and cheaper solutions. And planned correctly the expensive will be self-financed in less than four years. Considering how much money is wasted on inefficient proprietary solutions due to incompetent planning there is simply no basis for claiming particularly high costs for switching to GNU/Linux or *BSD.


I would argue that the retraining cost of the IT staff would be minimal; part of their job entails keeping up with the latest trends and constantly up-skilling. I've yet to go into a IT setting where at least half the staff isn't dabbling or using Linux full time on their computer at home with some sort of server/client setup. About the only thing you'll want to do in the case is maybe formalise the education to fill in the gaps but I don't see it being all that complex to be entirely honest.

The biggest problem I see is moving templates, macro's and so forth over to OpenOffice.org but like anything there will be some initial pain and suffering - as long as you keep your eye on the end target you'll pull through the transition ok. The problem is that far too many projects are given up on half way through because it is 'too tough' - which is pretty disappointing if you ask me.

Reply Score: 3

Ridiculous
by MeatAndTaters on Mon 12th Jul 2010 05:28 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Not likely"
MeatAndTaters Member since:
2005-11-16

Have you ever actually been inside a business? You're going to go tell the Accounting department that you're taking away Excel? Are you nuts? This is so ridiculous it sounds like Slashdot circa 2001.... StarOffice, yeah! ApplixWare, yeah!

HR just LOVES getting resumes in .odt format. What the hell is this? Move to the back of the employment line, Junior.....

Reply Score: 0

RE: Ridiculous
by kaiwai on Mon 12th Jul 2010 05:36 UTC in reply to "Ridiculous"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Have you ever actually been inside a business? You're going to go tell the Accounting department that you're taking away Excel? Are you nuts? This is so ridiculous it sounds like Slashdot circa 2001.... StarOffice, yeah! ApplixWare, yeah!

HR just LOVES getting resumes in .odt format. What the hell is this? Move to the back of the employment line, Junior.....


Amazing how you're yelling and screaming at me whilst ignoring that I was not the original poster in this subthread - but hey, a moron called "MeatAndTaters" with 6 posts in 5 years screams sock-puppet account. Do us all a favour and take a high dive into a shallow rock pool.

I never said it was a drop in replacement for every circumstances but you do realise that ever business is different and each have a unique set of requirements - but hey being a smart c-nt seems to be more in tune with your massive ego.

Edited 2010-07-12 05:39 UTC

Reply Score: 4

v RE[2]: Ridiculous
by MeatAndTaters on Mon 12th Jul 2010 06:11 UTC in reply to "RE: Ridiculous"
RE: Ridiculous
by Calipso on Tue 13th Jul 2010 12:50 UTC in reply to "Ridiculous"
Calipso Member since:
2007-03-13

resumes should be submitted in PDF anyway

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Not likely
by Laurence on Mon 12th Jul 2010 07:34 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Not likely"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26


I would argue that the retraining cost of the IT staff would be minimal; part of their job entails keeping up with the latest trends and constantly up-skilling. I've yet to go into a IT setting where at least half the staff isn't dabbling or using Linux full time on their computer at home with some sort of server/client setup. About the only thing you'll want to do in the case is maybe formalise the education to fill in the gaps but I don't see it being all that complex to be entirely honest.

I wish that was the case, but government contracts are amongst the lowest paid work around.
So IT roles within the government I work tend to be split into two camps:

* highly specialised consultants who are heavily paid but generally only employed for the duration of any given project

* and in house IT staff who are under-paid, over-worked, and often the dregs of the IT sector (as any sane person who loves IT gets fed up and leave the public sector to more engaging roles with better pay)

Staff like the former will be little help once the transition to Linux is complete as they'll be too expensive to keep around.
And staff like the latter are unlikely to be the same Linux-curious employees that you'd experience in many private sector IT departments.


I know I paint a negative picture of government employees and I'm making a number of generalisations. Obviously there's good and bad employees in every company, but the general trend I have experience is definitely true to the above.


The biggest problem I see is moving templates, macro's and so forth over to OpenOffice.org but like anything there will be some initial pain and suffering - as long as you keep your eye on the end target you'll pull through the transition ok. The problem is that far too many projects are given up on half way through because it is 'too tough' - which is pretty disappointing if you ask me.

This is true.
But not just macros, Access databases, bespoke VB6 applications, etc.

It's not impossible to port all of this across, but it's not cheap nor a quick process.

As much as I'd love to see government lose it's dependence on Microsoft, I also have to concede that it just doesn't make any sense at the moment.

What I'd prefer to see is the expensive Windows Sever infrastructure moved over to Linux (or BSD even). There is more likely to be savings there than on the workstations.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Not likely
by kaiwai on Mon 12th Jul 2010 22:08 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Not likely"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

I wish that was the case, but government contracts are amongst the lowest paid work around.
So IT roles within the government I work tend to be split into two camps:

* highly specialised consultants who are heavily paid but generally only employed for the duration of any given project

* and in house IT staff who are under-paid, over-worked, and often the dregs of the IT sector (as any sane person who loves IT gets fed up and leave the public sector to more engaging roles with better pay)

Staff like the former will be little help once the transition to Linux is complete as they'll be too expensive to keep around.
And staff like the latter are unlikely to be the same Linux-curious employees that you'd experience in many private sector IT departments.

I know I paint a negative picture of government employees and I'm making a number of generalisations. Obviously there's good and bad employees in every company, but the general trend I have experience is definitely true to the above.


But you are correct though - although I do find some skilled individuals in the public service where the stability of the job offsets the lack of pay. On the other hand, however, in New Zealand the public service pay isn't too bad - funny enough part of the improvement in incomes in the private sector has been the result of public service pay going up thus pushing up the market rate.

This is true.
But not just macros, Access databases, bespoke VB6 applications, etc.

It's not impossible to port all of this across, but it's not cheap nor a quick process.

As much as I'd love to see government lose it's dependence on Microsoft, I also have to concede that it just doesn't make any sense at the moment.

What I'd prefer to see is the expensive Windows Sever infrastructure moved over to Linux (or BSD even). There is more likely to be savings there than on the workstations.


True, OpenOffice.org does lack features in a lot of features that the Office system provides by Microsoft - I hope, however, now that Oracle has purchased it that we'll see a big push forward to creating a more complete and integrated package that really leverages their server side technologies. I am hopeful because it is Oracle's only way to really compete with Microsoft is for it to provide the same sort of end to end solution which Microsoft provides.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Not likely
by nt_jerkface on Mon 12th Jul 2010 08:10 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Not likely"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26


The biggest problem I see is moving templates, macro's and so forth over to OpenOffice.org but like anything there will be some initial pain and suffering - as long as you keep your eye on the end target you'll pull through the transition ok. The problem is that far too many projects are given up on half way through because it is 'too tough' - which is pretty disappointing if you ask me.


There are word templates and excel macros that will turn to garbly gook in Open Office. Some of these templates and macros cost tens of thousands of dollars to develop

Real Estate is an area where such templates are used extensively and you would be crazy to push the typical RE business into switching to OpenOffice with the expectation that they convert all their custom legal templates to odf.

Your typical Real Estate agent will piss away the cost of MS Office at a couple business lunches.

If you want to push open source then that is fine but drop this silly notion that it is in the best interest of every business to switch.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Not likely
by lemur2 on Mon 12th Jul 2010 11:06 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Not likely"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

If you want to push open source then that is fine but drop this silly notion that it is in the best interest of every business to switch.


Clearly switching office Suites is not in the best interests of some parties for some use cases.

One could sensibly only claim that it would be in the best interests of, say, 80% of users of Office suites, to make a very conservative guess.

That 80% amounts to many hundreds of millions of users.

http://marketing.openoffice.org/marketing_bouncer.html

http://www.webmasterpro.de/portal/news/2010/02/05/international-ope...

10% to 20% market penetration is measured for OpenOffice in a number of countries.

That is a very decent amount of installed base. It approaches the point at which, in a similar scenario, the browser market share of Firefox became significant enough that institutions such as banks and online shopping sites had to begin to support it and NOT require that their customers use Windows/IE.

This shift will IMO happen now for ODF just as it did for web standards earlier.

Edited 2010-07-12 11:18 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Not likely
by kaiwai on Mon 12th Jul 2010 22:13 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Not likely"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

There are word templates and excel macros that will turn to garbly gook in Open Office. Some of these templates and macros cost tens of thousands of dollars to develop

Real Estate is an area where such templates are used extensively and you would be crazy to push the typical RE business into switching to OpenOffice with the expectation that they convert all their custom legal templates to odf.

Your typical Real Estate agent will piss away the cost of MS Office at a couple business lunches.


You're correct that there is a lot of man hours and money spent developing these but at the same time technology doesn't remain static - I find it funny that these people will spend money on new cars, flags and other requirements of business without battering an eye lid and yet they some how see software as a waste of money - they can't seem to get it through their thick skull that software is as valuable as a car, a sign or some other component in the service they provide.

If you want to push open source then that is fine but drop this silly notion that it is in the best interest of every business to switch.


I never said it that every company can or should migrate to OpenOffice.org - I'd love for you to point exactly where in my post I made such a statement.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Not likely
by Laurence on Mon 12th Jul 2010 07:22 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Not likely"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26


These costs are the same kind of costs as you have when upgrading to a newer version of MS Office or Windows. And the retraining is grossly overestimated in regard to non-technical staff. Actually it is much cheaper to retrain non-technical staff to OpenOffice from Office2003 than it is to retrain the non-technical staff to Office2007 from Office2003.

What's happening at our organisation is they've frozen non-essential upgrades.
So users who are running Office 2003 on XP will not be upgraded to Office 2007+ and/or Win7 unless their job critically depends upon it.

This has a three-fold effect:
* it reduces costs in having to buy new licences for newer software,
* reduces the need for hardware upgrades (to keep up with the increasing footprints of newer software)
* and reduces the need for training (as few people are upgrading and those who do, are more less likely to need new training as they've specifically requested for the upgrade)

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Not likely
by kaiwai on Mon 12th Jul 2010 22:22 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Not likely"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

What's happening at our organisation is they've frozen non-essential upgrades.
So users who are running Office 2003 on XP will not be upgraded to Office 2007+ and/or Win7 unless their job critically depends upon it.

This has a three-fold effect:
* it reduces costs in having to buy new licences for newer software,
* reduces the need for hardware upgrades (to keep up with the increasing footprints of newer software)
* and reduces the need for training (as few people are upgrading and those who do, are more less likely to need new training as they've specifically requested for the upgrade)


Unfortunately there are idiots who run businesses who don't see software and hardware investment in the same way they see investing in smoozing with customers, sales rep cars etc. as being critical. It is truly amazing how in an organisation the productivity drops like a stone but they'll focus on upgrading everything else in the organisation except for the software and hardware. It is time for business owners to wake up and actually realise that just because the customer can't see it doesn't mean that such investments are useless - the investment is but one component in a larger machinery and understanding how a minor change can bring improvements in productivity is paramount to ensuring that your company stays on the cutting edge of competitiveness.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Not likely
by l3v1 on Mon 12th Jul 2010 09:57 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Not likely"
l3v1 Member since:
2005-07-06


* retraining non-technical staff
* retraining IT staff


I'm a bit tired of such "reasons", and they've been around for a long time. This attitute is very negative and will only hurt [and has been hurting] OS development for a long time, while strengthening the monopoly of large OS vendors. The rigidity towards adapting to new operating environments should not be acceptable as it is today. The computing field is not a static industry, it's in constant change, and that should be calculated in work plans for longer periods of time. There is no 50 year long operating cycle here, IT staff and users/workers should be expected to be willing and able to adapt to changing scenarios. If one's reasons are the stiffness of their workforce, then they have the wrong management combined with the wrong workers. I know I sound a bit over the top, but I stand by it.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: Not likely
by Laurence on Mon 12th Jul 2010 10:57 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Not likely"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

I'm a bit tired of such "reasons", and they've been around for a long time. This attitute is very negative and will only hurt [and has been hurting] OS development for a long time, while strengthening the monopoly of large OS vendors. The rigidity towards adapting to new operating environments should not be acceptable as it is today. The computing field is not a static industry, it's in constant change, and that should be calculated in work plans for longer periods of time. There is no 50 year long operating cycle here, IT staff and users/workers should be expected to be willing and able to adapt to changing scenarios. If one's reasons are the stiffness of their workforce, then they have the wrong management combined with the wrong workers. I know I sound a bit over the top, but I stand by it.


I agree with you in principle, but unfortunately in the real world such reasons are a fact of life.

I'd love to see Linux pushed more on workstations as there are many benefits which haven't been discussed here yet. But to switch thousands of users (many of who struggle with MS Word, let alone Excel and Windows on a wider scale) would be a huge strain on the budget as you would have to train them.

While I appreciate that Windows and MS Office isn't a stationary platform, at the moment (and at least where I work) they are. Workstations are NOT being upgraded from XP and MS Office is only being upgraded to 2007 upon special request (and after a great deal of bureaucratic BS).

Maybe when budgets increase and governments are looking to upgrade their infrastructure, maybe then switching to Linux might became more financially viable. But if and when that happens, Linux will lose the cost-saving driving force it has now.

So the point I was making is switching workstations to Linux isn't the cheapest solution just because of XP licenses. Realistically, no action and no upgrades are cheaper.

However, it's a completely different ball game when you talk about server infrastructure. THAT is where Linux can make the biggest savings for a government depending on expensive Windows Server licenses. However I can't see much happening there either as the more likely outcome will be that the IT department (and their hardware) will be outsourced and sold off; Which again does work out a great deal more expensive in the long run, but as I've said in this discussion before - our government are more interested in short term gains than what makes the most sense in the long term. And add to that the governments love for distancing itself from responsibility and liability. After all, if you don't own the IT department then you don't get the blame when technology inevitably crashes.


I'd love to be the Chief Executive and Chief Councilor of my local authority for just one day - as there is so much I would change. However that is as likely to happen as the Conservatives are to back track on their sale of public services.

</rant>

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Not likely
by nt_jerkface on Tue 13th Jul 2010 01:29 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Not likely"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26



I'm a bit tired of such "reasons", and they've been around for a long time. This attitute is very negative and will only hurt [and has been hurting] OS development for a long time, while strengthening the monopoly of large OS vendors. The rigidity towards adapting to new operating environments should not be acceptable as it is today.


It's easy for you to say that when you are talking about someone else's wallet.

I've seen how fast retraining costs can escalate and how inflexible office workers can be. You can't expect organizations to ignore these issues in favor of funding software that you value.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Not likely
by lemur2 on Tue 13th Jul 2010 04:18 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Not likely"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

" I'm a bit tired of such "reasons", and they've been around for a long time. This attitute is very negative and will only hurt [and has been hurting] OS development for a long time, while strengthening the monopoly of large OS vendors. The rigidity towards adapting to new operating environments should not be acceptable as it is today.
It's easy for you to say that when you are talking about someone else's wallet. I've seen how fast retraining costs can escalate and how inflexible office workers can be. You can't expect organizations to ignore these issues in favor of funding software that you value. "

You can't expect organisations to continue to believe unsupported claims that moving to FOSS would cost them money in the face of many organistations actually doing a move to FOSS for real, and reporting on significant savings from the process:

http://www.osnews.com/permalink?433230

Reply Score: 3

How long term?
by darrelljon on Mon 12th Jul 2010 09:10 UTC
darrelljon
Member since:
2008-05-29

Over 5 years, it'll cost about the same, over 10 years you'll begin to see the savings, over 15 years the savings will be massive. Unfortunately governments can change after 5 years.
Every proprietary solution can be replicated in FOSS more cheaply, particular with an entire government behind it.

Reply Score: 5

That's a news
by dsmogor on Mon 12th Jul 2010 10:40 UTC
dsmogor
Member since:
2005-09-01

For a classical MS stronghold that British administration have always been to promote free software (skipping the "promote standards" phase) and that being pushed by the right side of political scene (which on the surface is closer to the commercial approach than leftist Labourists) it indeed an unexpected behavior.
Would that mark the symptoms of some larger US-UK split?

Reply Score: 2

More reasons to switch
by reflect on Mon 12th Jul 2010 12:56 UTC
reflect
Member since:
2007-07-10

Someone earlier said vendor lockin, but what about format lockin? Like using closed databases with little to no information about how they work. What's the cost of migrating that to something newer? I sure as hell wouldn't want my government to use such things, I want the data to be retrievable no matter what.

Someone else mentioned that linux applications play catch-up. This may be true, but certainly not for all areas. More hardware works out of the box with linux, and you have access to very large repositories of good tools. For some areas, the proprietary (and also free) programs come mostly or only for linux (research and most things doing heavy calculations like cluster applications are a few I know off-hand, I'm sure there are many more).

In the long run, especially for such meager things government officials do, opensource is beneficial. It ought to be mandatory to at least only use open formats when storing data of any kind.

Edited 2010-07-12 12:57 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Panajev
by Panajev on Mon 12th Jul 2010 13:13 UTC
Panajev
Member since:
2008-01-09

The OSS movement has lots of poster children of good applications that are more than competitive enough with closed source ones: Firefox, VirtualBox, etc...
For all the good things OpenOffice does though (I use it as my Office application everyday), it has also considerably less polish than Office... down to some very very old bugs that never get addressed (including this Update related one:

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4079/4786621406_06f5d2a31f_b.jpg [not to mention that on OS X, I cannot get this window to close without quitting OpenOffice]

... not to mention that OpenOffice's GUI has stagnated for years...

Seeing this "failure" message for years is quite upsetting... but then, even VirtualBox has a strange Update behavior too... maybe related to critical updates and minor updates... sometimes I check for an update and I am told that I am running the latest version of VirtualBox only to check on the website and find that I am like 1 or 2 releases behind...).

In my experience, OpenOffice needs a lot more work on being 100% compatible at least with Office 2003/XP .doc/.xls/.ppt documents before... and I mean 100%, the document must look and print exactly the same in both applications.

Some business, governments especially, cannot or won't move unless such compatibility level is achieved.

OpenOffice relied on the "everyone hates MS and we are free so people will switch" a bit too much over the past few years...

Edited 2010-07-12 13:14 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Coming out
by roger64 on Mon 12th Jul 2010 14:59 UTC
roger64
Member since:
2006-08-15

I did my (Microsoft) coming out four years ago and cannot imagine going back.

OpenOffice.org is a great and reliable program for texts and tables. You need to master its learning curve, but only once.

Put the time usually spent on virus-checking and defragmentation to good use. You will save money and a lot of time...

Reply Score: 1