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blastus
July 22nd, 2006, 05:44 PM
Regarding the claim that businesses and individuals choose and continue to choose Microsoft Office over OpenOffice.org solely on the basis of its merits; the following statements are ridiculously irrelevant:

1. OpenOffice.org doesn't provide full compatibility with Microsoft Office file formats (.doc, .xls...)
This statement is true but it is irrelevant because Microsoft has not published the specifications of the MS Office file formats. Therefore, it is actually impossible for anyone to build an application that provides full compatibility with MS Office file formats. Therefore, it is unreasonable to suggest that full compatibility with MS Office file formats is a fair merit that can be used to compare MS Office against other solutions because it will always result in a bias towards MS Office. This is nothing else but a result of vendor lock-in; businesses and individuals must continue to use MS Office in order to process MS Office file formats with full compatibility.

2. OpenOffice.org has a higher TCO than Microsoft Office
True or not, this is another statement that is completely irrelevant regarding any fair claims about the merits of the MS Office product itself. Obviously a lot more people use MS Office than OO.org, so a lot more people are familiar with Microsoft Office than OO.org; therefore support costs for MS Office may be lower than OO.org. But these costs have absolutely nothing to do with the merits of either product; i.e. I don't believe OO.org has an inherently higher TCO than Microsoft Office. This is rather a chicken-and-egg scenario; not enough people are supporting OO.org yet because, well, not enough people are demanding OO.org yet, and vice versa.

Honestly, if the people in your company can use MS Office for simple common tasks, they can also use OO.org. If they can't, well put them in jobs that don't require that much use of a computer and hire some people with some basic computing skills that don't need to drain your tech support over every little tiny thing, but are able to think for themselves and adapt to changing technology.

aysiu
July 22nd, 2006, 05:52 PM
1. This statement really just amounts to saying, nobody should switch to OpenOffice because everyone uses Microsoft Office. It has nothing to do with the quality of software.

2. I don't see the trouble of switching between any given version of Microsoft Office and OpenOffice as being harder to adjust to or requiring more training than switching between one version of Microsoft Office and another version of Microsoft Office.

Yossarian
July 22nd, 2006, 06:45 PM
Posted by blastus
1. OpenOffice.org doesn't provide full compatibility with Microsoft Office file formats (.doc, .xls...)
This statement is true but it is irrelevant because Microsoft has not published the specifications of the MS Office file formats. Therefore, it is actually impossible for anyone to build an application that provides full compatibility with MS Office file formats. Therefore, it is unreasonable to suggest that full compatibility with MS Office file formats is a fair merit that can be used to compare MS Office against other solutions because it will always result in a bias towards MS Office. This is nothing else but a result of vendor lock-in; businesses and individuals must continue to use MS Office in order to process MS Office file formats with full compatibility.

Not working with MS Office files is a very relevant drawback. Offices have many files of this type they need to read and work with. Life's not fair, and it's unreasonable to suggest people use software that doesn't do what they want. This is why vendor lock-in works. You seem to have argued that MS should not lock people in, therefore people can just leave through the locked door.


Posted by blastus
2. OpenOffice.org has a higher TCO than Microsoft Office
True or not, this is another statement that is completely irrelevant regarding any fair claims about the merits of the MS Office product itself. Obviously a lot more people use MS Office than OO.org, so a lot more people are familiar with Microsoft Office than OO.org; therefore support costs for MS Office may be lower than OO.org. But these costs have absolutely nothing to do with the merits of either product; i.e. I don't believe OO.org has an inherently higher TCO than Microsoft Office. This is rather a chicken-and-egg scenario; not enough people are supporting OO.org yet because, well, not enough people are demanding OO.org yet, and vice versa.

Offices don't pay for a product. They pay for everything. So if using MS' junk will cost them less, and give them less problems, they'll go for it.

Personally, I use Word 2000 and Abiword. Word came with my PC; I wouldn't have paid for it otherwise. Both are good word processors.

aysiu
July 22nd, 2006, 06:53 PM
Not working with MS Office files is a very relevant drawback. OpenOffice does work with MS Office files. It just doesn't have 100% compatibility.


Offices don't pay for a product. They pay for everything. So if using MS' junk will cost them less, and give them less problems, they'll go for it.
I don't see how "MS' junk" will cost them less than... free... or give them fewer problems.

Yossarian
July 22nd, 2006, 07:04 PM
Posted by aysiu
OpenOffice does work with MS Office files. It just doesn't have 100% compatibility.

Which puts them in second place, behind MS office which works 100% with its own files (usually). And we all know the difference between 2nd and 1000th place, when it comes to software.


Posted by aysiu
I don't see how "MS' junk" will cost them less than... free... or give them fewer problems.

Neither do I. A manager would probably say something about the 'optics' of the situation. Intelligent people would say they're taken MS' BS hook line and sinker.

EDIT: In all fairness to MS, here, Office is nice software, and alot of people like it better. And it's insulting to say they're all brainwashed slaves, so please email any comments of that sort to nobody@localhost.

aysiu
July 22nd, 2006, 07:10 PM
Well, for some basic user needs (i.e., the needs of most of my colleagues), OpenOffice would suit them just fine.

They don't need to change case to title case. They don't use Macros. They just want a word processor and some bold type and italics and bullet points.

DoktorSeven
July 22nd, 2006, 07:11 PM
Sorry, but the Microsoft Office file formats have lost their relevancy given that the OpenOffice.org formats are an ISO standard file format (http://www.iso.org/iso/en/commcentre/pressreleases/2006/Ref1004.html). If businesses don't want to conform to a standard format, that's their problem, not the rest of the community's, and certainly not mine.

Sure, the reality is that most people use MS Office formats, but I really can't see why they would continue to do this given that OOo is a free, open, and standards-compliant office suite. If you're stuck on MS Office, it's time to switch.

Carrots171
July 22nd, 2006, 07:27 PM
Regarding the claim that businesses and individuals choose and continue to choose Microsoft Office over OpenOffice.org solely on the basis of its merits; the following statements are ridiculously irrelevant:

1. OpenOffice.org doesn't provide full compatibility with Microsoft Office file formats (.doc, .xls...)
This statement is true but it is irrelevant because Microsoft has not published the specifications of the MS Office file formats. Therefore, it is actually impossible for anyone to build an application that provides full compatibility with MS Office file formats. Therefore, it is unreasonable to suggest that full compatibility with MS Office file formats is a fair merit that can be used to compare MS Office against other solutions because it will always result in a bias towards MS Office. This is nothing else but a result of vendor lock-in; businesses and individuals must continue to use MS Office in order to process MS Office file formats with full compatibility.

2. OpenOffice.org has a higher TCO than Microsoft Office
True or not, this is another statement that is completely irrelevant regarding any fair claims about the merits of the MS Office product itself. Obviously a lot more people use MS Office than OO.org, so a lot more people are familiar with Microsoft Office than OO.org; therefore support costs for MS Office may be lower than OO.org. But these costs have absolutely nothing to do with the merits of either product; i.e. I don't believe OO.org has an inherently higher TCO than Microsoft Office. This is rather a chicken-and-egg scenario; not enough people are supporting OO.org yet because, well, not enough people are demanding OO.org yet, and vice versa.

Honestly, if the people in your company can use MS Office for simple common tasks, they can also use OO.org. If they can't, well put them in jobs that don't require that much use of a computer and hire some people with some basic computing skills that don't need to drain your tech support over every little tiny thing, but are able to think for themselves and adapt to changing technology.

It's Microsoft FUD as usual. Microsoft will always make these kind of claims about Linux and open-source software. This may actually be a good sign - MS recognizing OpenOffice as a threat.

hellmet
July 22nd, 2006, 07:29 PM
Well, my uncle came to my house recently.
I showed him Ubuntu and said it was FREE.
He said..oh it looks almost like windows..
U don't have Windows??
I said NOPE.

Then I showed him OOo
I said again it was free.
He was shocked..he had paid 14000 Indian Rupees
for that fu**ing MS Office..
He started searching and exploring all features.
After about 1/2 hr he was out with the results..
He said, for somwthing that free..its more than worth it..
but I have a few important features that I use on MS Office
that I cud not find it here..
I am kinda Power User..and can't find all those features..

well, what more cud I say??
I actually don't remember what issues he pointed out..
coz i never even thought they existed in Office...

But leaving my uncle.. I have succesfully
converted 3 of my friends to OOo from pirated MS Office,
and all are more than OK with it..
They really wud not care less....they ain't power users...he he

Yossarian
July 22nd, 2006, 08:05 PM
Anyone know if ISO certified organizations need to make use of ODF to maintain their status as such?

blastus
July 22nd, 2006, 08:54 PM
Not working with MS Office files is a very relevant drawback. Offices have many files of this type they need to read and work with.

But it is irrelevant to the claim that people choose Microsoft Office over OpenOffice.org solely on the basis of its merits. Any argument that supports MS Office and discredits an alternative product because the alternative product does not offer full compatibility with MS Office file formats, is DISHONEST without mentioning that the fact that it is IMPOSSIBLE for any product except MS Office to be fully compatible with MS Office file formats simply because Microsoft has not published the specifications.


Life's not fair, and it's unreasonable to suggest people use software that doesn't do what they want. This is why vendor lock-in works. You seem to have argued that MS should not lock people in, therefore people can just leave through the locked door.

I have suggested or argued no such thing. Vendor lock-in works because it locks people into using software that they don't necessarily want to use or that doesn't do what they want. Microsoft is the one who is not being fair to consumers about the fact that it is their fault that nobody can build a product that consumers can use to be fully compatible with MS Office file formats.


Offices don't pay for a product. They pay for everything. So if using MS' junk will cost them less, and give them less problems, they'll go for it.

But again, it is irrelevant to the whole claim that people choose Microsoft Office over OpenOffice.org solely on the basis of its merits. Like I said, I don't believe OO.org has an inherently higher TCO than Microsoft Office.

egon spengler
July 22nd, 2006, 09:02 PM
Not working with MS Office files is a very relevant drawback. Offices have many files of this type they need to read and work with. Life's not fair, and it's unreasonable to suggest people use software that doesn't do what they want.

The original point seemed to be that it's untrue that people stick with office solely because of it's merits as a program. Now of course ensuring compatability with existing documents is a very valid concern and I 100% understand why people would stick with office with that in mind, that's not really the same thing as office being a better program though (although for the record I think that it is)

For example, I think most people would agree that a house is better than a rusty shed and would chose to sleep in a house ideally. If you only have keys to the shed though then circumstances necessitate that you "chose" to sleep in the shed

nickle
July 22nd, 2006, 09:06 PM
Well, for some basic user needs (i.e., the needs of most of my colleagues), OpenOffice would suit them just fine.

They don't need to change case to title case. They don't use Macros. They just want a word processor and some bold type and italics and bullet points.

In most big companies this will not be the case. Most users will use standard templates which will contain lots of stuff the average user (myself included) do not need to know about. These will include much of the tricky stuff you mention.

The reasons pointed out in the beginning of this thread are clearly not valid, but unfortunately as Yossarian has pointed out this does not matter.

However for those not bound to big corporations the points are absolutely relevant. However in the 80's poeople used to say "Nobody got fired for using IBM". I am afraid the same sentiment now applies to MS office for most companies...

Yossarian
July 22nd, 2006, 09:19 PM
Posted by egon spengler
The original point seemed to be that it's untrue that people stick with office solely because of it's merits as a program. Now of course ensuring compatability with existing documents is a very valid concern and I 100% understand why people would stick with office with that in mind, that's not really the same thing as office being a better program though (although for the record I think that it is)

For example, I think most people would agree that a house is better than a rusty shed and would chose to sleep in a house ideally. If you only have keys to the shed though then circumstances necessitate that you "chose" to sleep in the shed


Oh, OK. I misunderstand. The original poster is right that there's more than just quality involved in the adoption of an office suite.

EDIT:
To reask my question, would an ISO-certified company need to make use of the ODF document format? Also, anyone know what the status on those ODF for word plugins is?

Bezmotivnik
July 23rd, 2006, 06:39 AM
Regarding the claim that businesses and individuals choose and continue to choose Microsoft Office over OpenOffice.org solely on the basis of its merits; the following statements are ridiculously irrelevant:

1. OpenOffice.org doesn't provide full compatibility with Microsoft Office file formats (.doc, .xls...)
This statement is true but it is irrelevant because Microsoft has not published the specifications of the MS Office file formats.
Huh???

Incompatibility isn't an irrelevancy; it's a (possibly THE) primary, life-and-death issue.

The REASON is irrelevant.

99.9999999% compatibility isn't good enough, either.

If your writing doesn't matter to anyone but you, use whatever you want. If you're selling your writing professionally, don't use anything but Word. It's the professional standard and it's the required program for preparing most documents for editing and publication. Or else.

Why? Because some file format incompatibility bug from another WP program can ruin a publisher's whole day...and it will be your fault for using some Brand-X program.

Personally, I have no use for office packages other than for the word processing software, and I consider OO's Writer to be trash -- buggy, limited in features and just beta. A friend of mine (an IT pro for twenty years) was finishing a book manuscript last week in OO Writer and a bug took out the file AND the backup. Fortunately, he had backed up the backup (as I said, he's an IT pro ;) )and only lost about a week's work.

If you must use a non-Word program, use AbiWord, which is far better than OO Writer.

aysiu
July 23rd, 2006, 06:43 AM
We're not talking about publishers here, necessarily.

P.S. I've had compatibility problems sharing Word documents with another MS Office user. Word isn't 100% compatible with even itself sometimes.

prizrak
July 23rd, 2006, 06:57 AM
We're not talking about publishers here, necessarily.

P.S. I've had compatibility problems sharing Word documents with another MS Office user. Word isn't 100% compatible with even itself sometimes.

Different Word versions, different Macros/Plugins make .docs incompatible across the board. Now MS is introducing a new OpenXML (open right) standard to be used instead of the .doc. The incompatibility won't be an issue for too long there is the ODF plug ins that are being developed for MS Office. This is possibly why MS is spreading all the FUD it will be trivial to convert all existing .docs to ODF from withing Word itself.

I think MS is really shooting themselves in the foot with all the FUD they are spreading against OO and AbiWord and the like. MS Office is an excellent software package, I would dare to say it is the best of it's kind and has been for years. It's unnecessary for alot of home users and a good number of business users however. There are those who need it though and those will pay for it over anything else. MS using FUD tactics as opposed to actual fair competition is just creating bad publicity for itself that has been catching up to it lately. I think their marketing department needs to be highly restructured with people who understand when to spin and when the truth will be a better choice.

panickedthumb
July 23rd, 2006, 07:04 AM
Different Word versions, different Macros/Plugins make .docs incompatible across the board. Now MS is introducing a new OpenXML (open right) standard to be used instead of the .doc.
I can attest to this. I've tested Office 2007 on my work PC, and I've seen inconsistencies in it opening older (2003) documents. Saving to older versions is even worse. We're still using Office 97 on most PCs (yeah I know, but it suffices in most places), and opening Office 97 documents in OpenOffice.org 2.x works much better than opening Office 97 documents in Office 2003 or 2007, in some test cases. Your mileage may vary. I know 2007 is beta and therefore could improve, but still, older versions are afflicted as well.

simonn
July 23rd, 2006, 07:47 AM
Dude, you are still at school aren't you?



1. OpenOffice.org doesn't provide full compatibility with Microsoft Office file formats (.doc, .xls...)
This statement is true but it is irrelevant


It is true but far from irrelevent. Most/a lot of finace depts are run from excel spreadsheets with many macros.

CEO: Have we got the interim Q4 reports
CFO: Ermmm... no. The CTO moved us to Open Orrifice, I think it is called that, so someone called Marcos can't run the reports anymore.
CEO: Right, CTO you're fired and fire that Marcos man and whoever employed him on you way out.



because Microsoft has not published the specifications of the MS Office file formats.


And the CEO says "blah blah blah, your fired! HR Director, go gets me
someone who buys the software we need to run our business."



2. OpenOffice.org has a higher TCO than Microsoft Office


As there are very few companies running OO.org I suspect this is FUD.

However...



True or not, this is another statement that is completely irrelevant regarding any fair claims about the merits of the MS Office product itself. Obviously a lot more people use MS Office than OO.org, so a lot more people are familiar with Microsoft Office than OO.org;


CEO: Have we got the interim Q4 reports
CFO: Ermmm... no. The CTO moved us to Open Orrifice, I think it is called that, and my assistant had to employ a new guy called Marcos because the old Marcos could not do his job with the new software, or something like that, and the new Marcos doesn't know what he is doing quite yet.
CEO: Right, CTO you're fired and what was wrong with the old Marcos?


hire some people with some basic computing skills that don't need to drain your tech support over every little tiny thing, but are able to think for themselves and adapt to changing technology.

Wrong! A company should not allow itself to be run by the techology.

For instance, a sales person should be selling, not learning new software. I will always remember when one of my old managers became a sales person from being a techy. He came across a problem and started fixing it. He stopped thought about it and called tech support. During the 30mins it took them to fix the problem, he made two phone calls to customers to arrange meetings.

Would fixing the problem have been a better use of his time as a sales person?

Also, the licensing fee is NOTHING (partcularily when compared against bespoke software, SAP etc etc).

Say, for example, that the licensing fee for Office is $200/year and an employee is paid $20/hour. If they spend just 10 hours in a year having to learn something about the software then moving to the new software can be seen as a net loss.

Don't get me wrong, I think OO.org is adequate for 99% of office tasks, I like OSS, have my own OSS project, use linux and OS X instead of Windows at home (and think windows sucks!), but my preferences and likes do not change reality. Businesses are about making money, not what software they use.

Bezmotivnik
July 23rd, 2006, 08:30 AM
Also, the licensing fee is NOTHING (partcularily when compared against bespoke software, SAP etc etc).

Say, for example, that the licensing fee for Office is $200/year and an employee is paid $20/hour. If they spend just 10 hours in a year having to learn something about the software then moving to the new software can be seen as a net loss.
It's a lot worse than that.

Using non-standard software is just a very expensive proposition in so many ways -- the "hidden costs" of free software will almost always hugely exceed the licensing fees for the market-standard programs.

It's totally false economy. I've been thinking about this for a couple of years and using open source/free/nonstandard software and OSs in a real business is very hard to justify. To do it as a cost-cutting measure is simply crazy. You won't cut costs.

Right now, open source/free software and OSs have something of a cachet, and with enough brave/stupid companies and institutions trying them as a showboat gesture (note the political showboating for open source by actual politicians :rolleyes: ), these programs may eventually be mainstreamed adequately enough that using them in a business isn't a dumb move, but that's not the case in 2006.

professor_chaos
July 23rd, 2006, 08:57 AM
Openoffice compatibility with Office, is as relevent as Office compatability with Openoffice. The point is we all need a single standard, and that standard has to be open.
Microsofts standard is completely meaningless in terms of compatibility, if it there standard and they dont share with others. The only relevent standard is an open one.

Opensource make economic sense and is a viable solution in 2006. Total costs of ownership is less than propriatary formats.
http://www.dwheeler.com/oss_fs_why.html
http://staff.harrisonburg.k12.va.us/~rlineweaver/
http://www.networkworld.com/weblogs/smb/2006/012953.html
http://cpr.ca.gov/report/cprrpt/issrec/stops/it/so10.htm
http://blogs.zdnet.com/Murphy/?p=454
http://www.fcw.com/fcw/articles/2005/0207/news-la-02-07-05.asp

Bezmotivnik
July 23rd, 2006, 09:09 AM
The point is we all need a single standard, and that standard has to be open.
That would certainly be nice. But what will we do with all our legacy files and forms?


Opensource make economic sense and is a viable solution in 2006. Total costs of ownership is less than propriatary formats.


Cost of "ownership" is irrelevant, however - to the point of being specious to even mention. It's the ultimate expense of using software X within the business environment that matters, and that's very much harder to predict, though one can demonstrate many obvious points where nonstandard programs and OSs will bear substantial direct and indirect costs to almost any company.

Standards are efficient. That's your initial point (vide supra). That applies to programs and operating systems as well.

egon spengler
July 23rd, 2006, 12:30 PM
Huh???

Incompatibility isn't an irrelevancy; it's a (possibly THE) primary, life-and-death issue.

The REASON is irrelevant.

99.9999999% compatibility isn't good enough, either.

If your writing doesn't matter to anyone but you, use whatever you want. If you're selling your writing professionally, don't use anything but Word. It's the professional standard and it's the required program for preparing most documents for editing and publication. Or else.

Ok, and how many of the people who buy MS word sell their writing professionally? You're arguing against his point by extending what is the case for a niche market across the whole board. It would be like saying tht Firefox is better than IE for everyone because of some obscure extension that no more than 10% of tpeople use.

As others have pointed out there is sometimes less than 99.9999999% compatibility across different Word versions. Seeing as 99.9999999% is not good enough then wouldn't by your reasoning that be an inportant consideration when upgrading, that an open format is more likely to maintain future compatibility?

As I said before, word > OO and of course in reality ensuring compatibilty is a very important thing in an organisation with a history of legacy documents (forgetting for the moment that apparently sometimes the OSS word processors offer better compatibility with old docs then the newer version of word). What I can't understand though is how MS using what is generally considered a somewhat underhand tactic to force people to use their software is somehow touted as an advanced feature

simonn
July 24th, 2006, 04:26 AM
The point is we all need a single standard, and that standard has to be open.

Microsofts standard is completely meaningless in terms of compatibility, if it there standard and they dont share with others. The only relevent standard is an open one.


I agree on the first point, but reality disagrees with you on the second.

When you finish school, send your CV/resume to someone in anything other than Word 6.0 Doc format or RTF and see if you get the job.

When you finally get a job after realising that you really do need to use Word 6.0 format try sending a document to a customer in anything other than word 6.0 format or RTF. Most of the documents you recived from customers will be Word 6.0 (or later) as well.

I am not saying whether this is "The Right Thing(tm)", but it is reality. We have a standard, and have had ever since I left uni 10 years ago, it is not open and far from meaningless.


Total costs of ownership is less than propriatary formats.

You can quote all the blogs you want, but there is simply not enough information/evidence to come to that conclusion. If there was enough information then the statement would not be neccesary.


Ok, and how many of the people who buy MS word sell their writing professionally?

I took that to mean, "anyone who has to send documents as part of their job". I am an OSS geek. I recommend OO.org in particular to home users. However, I send word/excel/powerpoint documents to customers. They send the same to me. It is not worth my or my customer's while to do otherwise, we have more important things to do.

aysiu
July 24th, 2006, 04:32 AM
When you finish school, send your CV/resume to someone in anything other than Word 6.0 Doc format or RTF and see if you get the job. I don't see why that matters? As you can see, OpenOffice has no problems saving to either Word 6.0 or RTF. And I don't think any employer is going to mind receiving a CV/resume in PDF format (which OpenOffice can do as well).

prizrak
July 24th, 2006, 04:41 AM
I don't see why that matters? As you can see, OpenOffice has no problems saving to either Word 6.0 or RTF. And I don't think any employer is going to mind receiving a CV/resume in PDF format (which OpenOffice can do as well).

Actually as someone looking for a job like a mofo I can tell you that you are incorrect. Most all companies I have applied with want a .doc (alot of them use websites to let you apply) not an .rtf or a .pdf .doc only. SOME of them let you copy/paste but .doc is really what they want. Hopefullly the new ODF plugins will change that. One thing is that no site I seen specifies how old the .doc can be :)

simonn
July 24th, 2006, 04:41 AM
I don't see why that matters? As you can see, OpenOffice has no problems saving to either Word 6.0 or RTF.

Can you be 100% sure that your properly formatted document in OO.org is going to be displayed correctly in Word - which your potential employer or agents there of will undoubtably be using?


And I don't think any employer is going to mind receiving a CV/resume in PDF format (which OpenOffice can do as well).

IME, having both used and have had friends who are recruitment consultants*, many agencies (and probably companies) request Word 6.0 because they have bespoke applications that store and categorise Word 6.0 documents which is why they request them specifically.

Again, I do not think this is "The Right Thing(tm)", but it is reality.

*Recruitment consultants are NOT your friend if they are trying to recruit you, no matter how much they pretend, however, these were friends who happened to be recruitment consultants.

aysiu
July 24th, 2006, 04:54 AM
Can you be 100% sure that your properly formatted document in OO.org is going to be displayed correctly in Word - which your potential employer or agents there of will undoubtably be using? Yes. I do quite a bit of exchanging, as I use Microsoft Office on XP at work, and my wife uses Microsoft Office on OS X at home. The problems I've encountered with compatibility mainly have to do with people sending me Word documents, not vice versa.

Usually what happens in some cases (not always) is that the formatting when I open a Word doc is a little off. For example, if someone uses tables in Word, sometimes the table will bleed to the top of the second page, even though it was designed to all fit on one page.

But when I've sent Word documents created in OpenOffice, it's always appeared fine on the other side.

simonn
July 24th, 2006, 04:59 AM
In that case Aysiu, why do you use MS Office at all?

aysiu
July 24th, 2006, 05:02 AM
In that case Aysiu, why do you use MS Office at all? I have to use it at work. We have a database program at work that interfaces with Microsoft Office in particular. I also do use some of the more advanced features of Microsoft Office, as I am the "power user" for my office.

I actually use OpenOffice at work, too, though. I write up a lot of documents with screenshots in them, and I find OpenOffice documents (even when saved with the .doc extension) save faster with a lot of screenshots embedded in them than their Word counterparts.

At my last job, though--which I worked at before I got into open source software and Ubuntu--just about any of the teachers there could have gotten by just fine with OpenOffice. All they needed were bold type, italics, different font sizes, and some bullet points.

I wouldn't make a blanket recommendation that all companies and all individuals should pick OpenOffice over Microsoft Office.

This is what I firmly believe, though:

1. Most users and companies have no idea whether or not OpenOffice could suit their needs. They use Microsoft Office because that's what "everybody else" uses, and they have very little interest in investigating alternatives, even if it'll save them money.

2. Particular users and companies would be perfectly fine using OpenOffice, and it would require very little training--on par with the adjustment from MS Office '97 to MS Office 2003 (a transition my company just made this year, which threw off a bunch of people with the new interface).

3. Each user and company should assess their needs and see what works best for them. My wife ended up using Microsoft Office on her OS X because loading X11 just to use OpenOffice took a long time on her Powerbook. I, however, use OpenOffice at home because my home projects with Writer and Calc aren't as sophisticated as the ones I do at work now. When I was a teacher, I wish I'd known about OpenOffice. Very few teachers need advanced Office features.

I hope no one is suggesting that OpenOffice is some panacea for all things office-related or that it will suit the needs of all companies and users.

The point is that more people should be using it than do, and it's free. As I said before, I wish I'd known about it sooner, because it would have saved me a few hundred dollars on my last Microsoft Office purchase...

simonn
July 24th, 2006, 05:57 AM
My wife ended up using Microsoft Office on her OS X because loading X11...


Screeeeech... click click reverse.... check out NeoOffice (http://www.neooffice.org/).


The point is that more people should be using it than do, and it's free. As I said before, I wish I'd known about it sooner, because it would have saved me a few hundred dollars on my last Microsoft Office purchase...

I agree.

However, the fact remains that OO.org is largely unproven in a business setting so almost anything stated about it in this context has some bias.

Realistically, government agencies, including schools, will need to swap before compaines will consider doing so.

aysiu
July 24th, 2006, 06:00 AM
Agreed. Big business (I don't know--never having worked in it) probably needs MS Office.

In schools, though, I can't see what advanced features they would need... except maybe in the business office. Teachers have very basic computing needs, for the most part.

I'll check out NeoOffice, but my wife already bought MS Office for Mac over a year ago. Thanks for the recommendation.

Edit: I found this a bit disturbing from their FAQ...
Although we try very hard to make NeoOffice free of bugs and crashes, our users still find new bugs and new cases that cause NeoOffice to crash. So, if you feel that you need software that has been heavily tested, we recommend that you use a commercially-supported product like Microsoft Office. Well, maybe by the time my wife's Office for Mac gets too "old," NeoOffice will be a bit stabler. Thanks again for the recommendation.