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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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 Parent Score: 3

Ridiculous
by MeatAndTaters on Mon 12th Jul 2010 05:28 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 Parent Score: 0

RE: Ridiculous
by kaiwai on Mon 12th Jul 2010 05:36 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 Parent Score: 4

RE: Ridiculous
by Calipso on Tue 13th Jul 2010 12:50 in reply to "Ridiculous"
Calipso Member since:
2007-03-13

resumes should be submitted in PDF anyway

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: Not likely
by Laurence on Mon 12th Jul 2010 07:34 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 Parent Score: 3

RE[6]: Not likely
by kaiwai on Mon 12th Jul 2010 22:08 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 Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: Not likely
by nt_jerkface on Mon 12th Jul 2010 08:10 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 Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: Not likely
by lemur2 on Mon 12th Jul 2010 11:06 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 Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: Not likely
by kaiwai on Mon 12th Jul 2010 22:13 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 Parent Score: 3