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Microsoft FUD Machine Aims at OpenOffice.org 693

Posted by michael
from the head-shot dept.
Roblimo writes "If you're using Microsoft Office and considering a switch to (free) OpenOffice.org, Microsoft would like you to read their Open Office Competitive Guide first, in which they tell you how much better/faster/cheaper MS Office is than OOo. Taran Rampepersad, an IT consultant in Trinidad, believes this "Competitive Guide" is nothing but FUD, so he wrote a detailed rebuttal to it -- and released his article under the FDL so you can feel free to republish his piece or share it with anyone you like, however you like." A followup to this story. Newsforge and Slashdot are both part of OSDN.
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Microsoft FUD Machine Aims at OpenOffice.org

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  • by The Ape With No Name (213531) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:00PM (#8691832) Homepage
    and my MS Office-using (on a Mac even) advisor is sixpence none the wiser. Total FUD.
  • Two Faced Slashdot (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Pave Low (566880) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:01PM (#8691836) Journal
    Slashdot hates Microsoft with a passion, yet it has no problem taking advertising dollars from them. I'm typing this as a big fucking banner for Visual Studio.net is on the top of the page.

    I guess Microsoft is evil, except when that blood money comes your way.

  • by Jedi_Knyghte (763576) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:07PM (#8691878)
    I'm no fan of MS (I'm browsing from FireFox within Linux), but he gives short shrift to the problem of macro/VBA conversion. The fact of the matter is that the documentation on the OO API absolutely stinks, and any business with a substantial investment in its current automation would have to think not once, not twice, but long and hard about the costs of conversion.
  • Oh, Be Nice (Score:1, Interesting)

    by illuminata (668963) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:08PM (#8691888) Journal
    Well, when it comes from Microsoft, it always seems to be FUD, no matter what. Yet, anything from the open source movement has their FUD deemed as proof. At least according to michael...

    I'm not trying to validate either side's claims. I'm also not trying to say that one side was or was not tossing around the FUD. But, for a change, how about you let me try to draw my own conclusions, rather than give me yours?
  • by Bishop, Martin (695163) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:09PM (#8691896)
    Here is an article on why you shouldn't read slashdot:
    DUPE! [slashdot.org]
  • whats an "rteam"? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by brejc8 (223089) * on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:09PM (#8691901) Homepage Journal
    OpenOffice does not have a dedicated development or support rteam.

    Obviously someone hasn't been using the MS spell checker.
    And why are they distributing it in pdf format? I bet they didn't even use office to make this document.
  • by Datasage (214357) <Datasage@NOspAm.theworldisgrey.com> on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:15PM (#8691931) Homepage Journal
    Im in the middle on this debate, But i have a preference for open office if it can be used. Which is not true in all cases.

    If a buiness is already using MS Office, the is reason to switch is if the buiness grows and they would need more MS office licences while the cost for migrating is cheap.

    Alot of people dont upgrade office. A place i used to work at was still using office 97. There is simply no reason to upgrade to office 2k or XP.

    For my personal use, i see enough value in office to make it worth purchasing, but for the time being im only using windows. (Could change in the future)
  • Tools (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Myolp (525784) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:16PM (#8691943)
    Its funny that the argument about which tool is better is almost completly unique for the IT-industry. You don't see car mechanics arguing over which brand of screwdriver is better or a carpenter defending his hammer against the people using a nailgun. Sure, people have their own preferences, but mostly they keep it to themselves. This is commercial gone bad. Hopefully the industry will get mature enough that we won't have to see this kind of marketing. But I guess its a long way there...
  • My mental monologue. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bagel2ooo (106312) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:17PM (#8691946)
    Reading some of the more key points with OO it reminded me of some of the reasons that I am such a big fan of OSS and the OS movement. With these open (or at least more open than MS and the like) standards it gives a good feeling that you are in control of your data and the documents, etc. you create. When I would use a tool such as MS Office I would feel that I'm making the document for it or as a kind of expansion of it rather than as a self-created work for me. This sent a tinge of concern through me for quite some time. I know it is probably silly for me to feel a sense of liberation and it's really not anything I can describe properly. I guess I just enjoy the freedom permissible by using a standard that is not owned and controlled by an entity that has little to no desire for openness. With quality suites like OO I feel that once users get this feeling that they are in control of their own works - or at least more-so then they were - they will make the migration which will only bring futher support to the OSS community.
  • Costs (Score:2, Interesting)

    by StupaflyD (729788) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:24PM (#8692009) Journal
    I notice that their "cheaper" arguement does not include downtime / network bandwidth / admin overtime / etc due to Outlook propagated worms & virii.
  • Re:meh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SillyNickName4me (760022) <dotslash@bartsplace.net> on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:27PM (#8692023) Homepage
    MS makes the assumption that we want more than a write-clone and a basic spreadsheet.MS believes in the extreme abundance of features. I don't care for gazillions of features, myself. I want essentially Write from Win 3.1. Anything more tends to be utterly unused.

    When writing text, write will do but for doing layout? not at all.

    You can go 2 ways there:

    1. Use seperate layout software (alternatives exist for almost every plaform)
    2. Use a program that allows doing layout together with content.
    When you don't care about layout, you wont need either. When you are writing for some kind of professional publication, you should end up with the first solution, but for all those who write things that must look decent on paper, but for whom writing and layout is simply not their profession, nor somethign they need to do a lot professionally, an intergrated content/layout program is really what you want.

    Do MS Office and OpenOffice have a lot of features that you personally have no need for? most likely. Do most users only use some 10% of the features? sure. The problem is that they do not use the same 10%, and as a result a lot more features are needed to serve the entire potential userbase then the few that you specifically use, and no, you are not going to see the need for those features, but try to get it into your head that there are many features that others do need, and thus the features you need are very likely not representative for the majority of users.

    Having said that, I believe both OO and MS Office have features that are used by so few that not havign them wouldn't hurt either. Also, as soon as the basic feature requirements are covered, features themselves become more of a marketing then a usability issue.

    At any rate, suggesting that all most users ever need is write and a very simple spreadsheet is like saying that noone will ever need more then 640kbyte memory. We know how stupid the later turned out to be.

    I think that Microsoft Office won in the marketplace, and did have quite a bit of serious competition untill relatively recently, and now got some again with OO.
    I'd say that MS Office won from its competition because Microsoft actually offered combinations of features that people found practical, and despite my rather strong dislike of Microsoft, I did agree at the time that their Office suite was simply more usable then anythign the competition had to offer. That said, I am using OO now since it offers all the usability that I personally need.

  • Made with... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by krray (605395) * on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:27PM (#8692025)
    Microsoft's *PDF* (why wouldn't they put it out in .DOC virus format?) was made with QuarkXPress 4.11 with the Acrobat distiller 4.05 for *Macintosh*.

    The sad thing is I can't even agree with Microsoft on THAT one. Acrobat didn't go OS.X until 5.05 I believe so this was created on a Mac using OS 9. At least they go HALF of it right.

    I'll be keeping my Mac. Can't wait for the NATIVE version of OO to emerge. 2006 - bah. It'll beat Longhorn to market though. That's even sadder.

    Microsoft: a rich pathetic company.
  • by gilroy (155262) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:30PM (#8692045) Homepage Journal
    I think it's fair to compare "Typical" installations -- regardless of what's in them -- since that is what most users see.
  • by 13Echo (209846) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:31PM (#8692062) Homepage Journal
    Speaking of Macs. Did anyone else notice that the PDF was made with:

    Creator: QuarkXPress(tm) 4.11
    Producer: Acrobat Distiller 4.05 for Macintosh

    Yay for MS Office!
  • Re:Unconvincing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Prof. Pi (199260) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:37PM (#8692093)
    Over the last month I have been sent over 20 virus infected MS office files. I hardly think this argument could possibly hold up.

    Not for us, but for the PHB's.

    Microsoft has so dominated the mindshare of so many users that they think their experiences with MS systems are representative of all experiences with computers. I've heard so many people go around spewing drivel like, "Computers are inherently unreliable and prone to crashing," or "Computers are inherently insecure and prone to viruses." All they've known is MS software, so they can't conceive of anything better.

    So if MS says OO is less secure, the clueless may think: All computers are inherently insecure. So viruses will infect all systems to the same degree, though makers can try to stem the tide through heroic efforts. Microsoft is doing the best it can to keep, and they have lots of resources. Some group of volunteers couldn't possibly do any better. Gosh, I'd hate to think of how many viruses are in this OO software.

    What we need to do is keep reminding users that there are lots of better systems out there, and viruses are primarily due to flawed design.

    Most MS users remind me of a talk I heard by an ex-Soviet dissident in the 80's. He said that growing up poor in the USSR, he still assumed things must be worse in the USA, and he imagined a "typical" American boy his age, living on the edge of starvation under an oppressive regime. He was genuinely happy to be living under Stalin, where things sucked but not as bad as anywhere else.

  • by shimmin (469139) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:44PM (#8692132) Journal
    The last two times I tried OpenOffice, I went back to MS Office. My experience was that many of the decisions that were made in the name of cross-platform compatibility hurt my ability to use the software productively. For example, many functions I was used to accessing through hotkeys in MS Office I found were available only through (rather deep) menu trees in Open Office. The one that caused me the most grief was "Fill down" in a spreadsheet being a menu-only function!

    Can someone say that things are better now, or do I still have to macro around such frustrations, or what?
  • by Hacker_John_MD (721976) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:46PM (#8692148)
    One of the reasons the OS movement produces better software (read more resource efficient, less buggy, more secure) than Microsoft, is that there are a lot more than 20,000 contributors worldwide.

    Microsoft is certainly the largest software company in the world, however, the drive for market dominance and profit is not always compatible with producing good software.

    One example is that the payoff between releasing software as fast as possible, getting it to the shelves, creating income and the all important user-base, and releasing software that is less buggy.

    There are other examples based around software design. Eventually maximising the utility of an application is counterproductive to the mechanism by which the user discovers that an upgrade, or the next most extensive package contains just a little pit of functionality that is required.

    But send no money to Trinidad, Open office can be downloaded for free - try it out. [openoffice.org]

    Microsoft does however have a lot more money for advertising that the open source movement, and some of the ways that this is being spent to the detriment of the open source community are undeniably innovative. One of the less creative things that they do is spread FUD everywhere (they even seem to have a community of presumably paid employees posting and moderating here at slashdot). Only a very few members of the open source community could afford the advertising to reach Joe Public baring word of mouth.

    Consequently it may be important to reply to a troll, because you never know who may be visiting slashdot for the first time.

  • by damiam (409504) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:48PM (#8692159)
    To nitpick, the PDF was created on a Mac using Adobe Distiller. The document was created using QuarkXpress, on an unknwon platform.
  • Piracy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by i0wnzj005uck4 (603384) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:50PM (#8692163) Homepage

    The one thing I don't understand about Microsoft's stance is that people using OOo would obviously not be pirating copies of Office. This saves everyone time (searching for the crack) and money.

    That in mind, wouldn't using OOo for windows be preferable for Microsoft, when compared to someone pirating and sharing copies of their suite?

    Also, anyone using OOo is likely already using Mozilla or Thunderbird, which eradicates the whole e-mail issue (mentioned above). Free software users tend to fill holes in their library with... *gasp* more free software. Hell, I'm on a Mac running OS X and I've got more programs installed through Fink than I do of any other kind, our of habit.
  • The only reason... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by m1chael (636773) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:58PM (#8692212)
    that you would use MS Office is if you HAVE TO have perfect MS Office document formats. Otherwise there is no point. Unfortunately unless a whole lot of people switch to the native Open Office format this isn't going to happen anytime soon.

    I hardly ever use word processing etc applications so I use Open Office because my resumes seem to be converted just fine into larger files. Which equals more bandwidth required to send, times few million to billion people and you have bad efficiency of sending information.
  • by bstadil (7110) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @09:23PM (#8692334) Homepage
    If you didn't spend money on MS Office, you could get "A computer that doesn't completely suck."

    Compare the price of MS Office with a Java desktop machine at Walmart. [walmart.com]

  • Dupe.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by vonsneerderhooten (254776) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @09:30PM (#8692384)
    I had to think for a sec. to figure out why the link to that .pdf was a different color than the rest. ;-)
    I'll give this submitter credit though, he seems to have done his homework a little better than the previous submitter [slashdot.org].

    Which brings me to an interesting question. What's better- quick and dirty news or informative, slightly delayed news? I'll take the latter, fer sher dude.
  • Re:Unconvincing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sanat (702) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @09:35PM (#8692402)
    "He said that growing up poor in the USSR, he still assumed things must be worse in the USA, and he imagined a "typical" American boy his age, living on the edge of starvation under an oppressive regime."

    Being raised fairly poor on a midwestern farm, my father would tell my siblings and me as we passed fancy houses as we drove along the road that "Those people aren't really happy who live there"

    The impression that painted mentally created a lot of internal confusion for years about whether it was right to be in a big nice house and risk unhappiness.

    I laugh now, but in my late teens and early 20's I found myself walking more in my fathers shoes with his beliefs than my own shoes and my beliefs.

    So getting off the farm and seeing the world opened up a whole new vista for me, and perhaps one day many MS users having nothing to lose will also take that risk and see the new vistas that are awaiting them.

    And I also found that those people living in the fancy houses on the hill are happy much of the time.
  • by ccoakley (128878) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @09:38PM (#8692416) Homepage
    What features in OOo are you using? I actually gave up on office a while ago (except at work, where my employer paid for the license). At home and at school, I work almost exclusively in OO. That said, I must admit that excel is superior to OO's spreadsheet tool. I frequently generate data to be graphed as line graphs or bar graphs. A line graph with 3 columns of 2000 data points takes slightly less than forever to generate in OO, and it generates very fast in excel. Similarly, When producing bar graphs, it is often convenient to have descriptive (read: longer than 4 characters) labels on the X-axis. This feature is horribly broken in OO. Try it. You have a choice of truncating long names (90 degree rotation doesn't extend the graph properly) or having the text print out in ugly vertical columns with horizontal lettering). It's as if the OO team never use their own graphing tools. (yeah, I know, stop bitching and pitch in and help...)

    I think Open Office is a very good tool. I like the fact that it prints to pdf. Most of the interface is extremely easy to use. However, the product is not as polished as Office in many respects.

    Lacking an access work-alike is also a detriment. Further, I am surprised they don't mention Project. I know many people who (unfortunately) think of their information in project as more important than information coming from the working team. "Project says we are half done! That means we'll be able to move our release up a week!" *shudder*

    I admit that the advertising from microsoft criticizing that OO doesn't come with an email client is a bit off base--I would claim that not including Outlook is a security feature :).
  • by Chordonblue (585047) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @10:15PM (#8692639) Journal
    The 'Big Deal' is a known and convicted monopolist is flexing their muscles to help destroy or at least discredit an LGPL project with just enough funding to stay afloat.

    Sun, Apple, and RedHat are expected to do battle with the 'enemy' - whoever they are since they are commercial competitors in kind.

  • by bogie (31020) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @10:41PM (#8692838) Journal
    Nobody said they couldn't publish any marketing material. We driveling fools just think its funny that a company as big as Microsoft who has like 95% of the Office market is running scared of OpenOffice.

    They are actually doing us a favor. No way the OpenOffice.org team could have bought this much publicity. Now like 50,000 VAR's were just put on notice that Microsoft is taking OpenOffice.org seriously and that its a worthy product that they shouldn't be surprised to see at client sites.

    First Microsoft admits that OpenOffice.org is as good as MS Office 97, now this. Sweet. MS Office has only one place to go, and its not up. Bring it on Microsoft. More press releases and studies about OpenOffice.org please!
  • by cinnamon colbert (732724) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @10:53PM (#8692925) Journal
    which is they start from the premise that you have to mimic MS to gain acceptance.

    How on earth can you win when you accept the enemys rules as the playing field ? OO will never be as good as MS at MS defined things....
    People will only use OO when it can really do somehting that office cant

    From where I sit in my cube, this whole discussion is kinda unreal. We are a 200 person company making scientific instruments; 2/3 of the employees are engineers, scientists or senior mgt. So far as I can tell, no one cares that much about MSoffice vs OO; it is just not an issue (you could say we are all brainwashed stupid MSslaves, but that is kind of an arrogant [liberal pay taxes cause its good; conservative obey my morals]point of view. So, like it or not, cares about offic software or the evil empire are irrelevant - we have concerns like shipping product, supporting customers, etc, and MS is just off the screen. I could probably suggest that we swithc to OO because MS is bad, but I'm a known wierdo scientist type - if one of the biz people suggestd this, they would probably be fired.

    Again, you might not like it, but we are happy with office - it works for us. This change occured with office 2000; the idea that there is better software out there is simply not known, and the discussions i see on /. and elsewhere on the beneifts of OO leave me underwhelmed; office works for us - and the first rule of any bizness is dont fix what aint broke. And since it is working, all the arguments about bug fix in open software, online help community, etc are irrelavent - it is a null argument (logic here guys, you do undstand logic? if problem = 0, fix to problem =0)

    The cost of office license is simply not an issue; maybe we r lucky there; the 350 bucks per person once every three or four years is just not a biggie
    But there is a lot of downside to open office swithc. For instance, I tried the word program last night, and it took me 5 minutes to figure out the dic feature for docs; multiply that by 200 features, over our company, we would probably go out of biz if we swithced to open office, due to loss of time. That is us - again, call us stupid, but this is what we are facing. We use a lot of scientific software; it is all in windows and office compataible; loss of compat with a single office program wd doom open office. we have NO it staff to write scripts - no budget for that and not going to get approved int eh future (for a company our size, cost of IT support > cost of office licenses) we constantly exchange docs with customers, all using office; loss of a single sale cause customer got irrateted at wierd .sxw file > cost of office; actually, loss of a single sale due to customer irratation >> entire IT budget !!! In short: in our company, no upside, lots of down side
  • Re:Speed? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rossz (67331) <ogre.geekbiker@net> on Saturday March 27, 2004 @11:14PM (#8693071) Homepage Journal
    Nice how the author completely sidestepped speed issues. I can have anything in Office opened up on my woeful K6-2/500MHz machine in 10-15 seconds. Firing up any portion of OO takes from 45 seconds to a full minute.
    Now turnoff the Office app preload and try it again.
  • Distribution (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @12:24AM (#8693511) Homepage
    I'm not sure how valid this observation is, but it seems as if MS lands their FUD in front of decision makers and the OSS community publishes their responses where they're read by people who are already OSS users. Don't take me wrong, I think there's an obligation to counter one-sided marketing copy. I'm just wondering how to equalize the distribution. It doesn't do any good if MSFT and the OSS community are talking to different camps.

    I don't know, maybe it's not all one-sided. Interesting question, though.

  • by redragon (161901) <codonnell&mac,com> on Sunday March 28, 2004 @12:36AM (#8693566) Homepage
    Though I'll agree that latex is great for this, for so many people, it's just not something they're willing to use when something like Endnote really does have a great UI, and ability to import tons of data for you.

    Ref-software (hint for you OSS developers out there) is crucial for people in academia. Though a lot still do use latex, that number is nothing compared to those using Word + Endnote + Adobe Acrobat.

    If OO.org had ref software, I'd use it.
  • by MoneyT (548795) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @12:38AM (#8693571) Journal
    I've found Office tends to handle things worse than OO. I use OO on my mac to write up lab reports, but usualy print from the school computers (to save money on ink) so I have ot export to an office format, but everytime I open it in word, I have to go through and fix all of the images and diagrams and charts because office fucks them all up. It's gotten to the point where it's faster to export as a PDF and print it that way.
  • Re:PDF (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nova1313 (630547) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @01:26AM (#8693796)
    so why exactly are they targeting linux users with this? I mean I dont see Word for linux floating around anywhere and I sure as hell wouldn't touch windows again now that I know the flexibility I have here.. Not to start an OS flame war but perhaps if there was a MS Office product for linux they wouldn't have to worry about open office...

    MS could then just use the power they have with the computer distributors bundle it in with all linux sold pc's and require them to sell it that it's not an option. They did it with windows didn't they?

    The biggest problem is that people that have used open office are spreading the word. Im currently in college and I openly recommend it over word. We keep a cd in the CS lab with it on and burn it for anyone to use. While the Campus IT tells people buy word for x amount. To a college student we see free and go for it.

  • by crusher-1 (302790) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @01:47AM (#8693887)
    "Our CIO s happy counting money again. He loves SUSE linux and open office. We had no issue with 500 users converting to linux it did take some time but we did it.
    If we can do it anyone can do it. Believe me our IT people are not smart since they were M$ engineers they freaked out when then didnt see ok cancel button on every screen.
    Now they love shell programming."

    I'm beta testing SuSE 9.1 right now. If they thought the switch to Linux was a scary only to discover the freedom of Linux they'll most likely like 9.1 even more. Beta 1 was one of the smoothest betas I've ever tested. Sure there were glitches and some kludgy behavior but no where near what I had expected from a beta - and this was beta one.

    As far as OO.o is concerned I have not used a version of M$Word in a couple of years and now to my pleasure I send Office/Word users both presentation and text docs in Win formats and have yet to have any complaints. Even if one decides to stay with an M$Win platform on the desktop why in the world would you pay the price for M$ Office - even at the Student discount (of course for which no one has to verify their student/teacher status - mind games again). Seems only a few Pro Writers even have the slightest desire to use more the an Nth of the so called "features" M$ Office provides.

    I have no conpunction what so ever for paying for software. Even though I have access to SuSE's latest and greatest OS ISOs I have always payed for the distro - I beleive in the company and hence support it with my wallet. M$ seems to think the way to better business is to stranglehold the clientele. This is the surest way to promote the competition... They just don't seem to get it and thank the powers that be they won't really ever get it. FOSS/Linux's best friend is for M$ to continue with business as usual.
  • by utlemming (654269) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @02:25AM (#8694003) Homepage
    A grammer checker is the thing that is holding me back from a full fledged jump to an OSS OS. Otherwise, I love OOo. Heck, I had to do a PowerPoint presentation for one of my classes -- the professor didn't even notice that I created it using OOo's Impress. In another class we had to design a flyer, and turning it in as a .PDF really impresed her. Right now I am using both Office and OOo, with the occasional Vi just for flavor.

    Hopefully I won't be stoned for heresy, but if MS office would run on Linux I would drop Windows like a red-headed step child. But I think Microsoft knows that and would be signing a death-warrent if they did that.

  • by mh101 (620659) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @02:29AM (#8694015)
    This whole topic raises the question of alternatives to Access.

    MS Access is one piece of MS software I'm not ashamed to admit to using, and like using. I love the ability to link into our SQL database, create local tables stored within the MDB file, visually design queries, forms, reports, etc., plus the Visual Basic component has been a real life saver for most of the things I've had it done. At my workplace, it's gotten to the point where if there's any task we'd like to automate, or some really funky custom report, they usually ask me if I can pull it off using Access.

    But if I knew of an alternative, that provided the same ease of use (well, providing you're already comfortable with queries, tables, and programming!) but wasn't made by that company from Redmond, I'd make every effort to switch even if it meant spending my own personal time migrating my MDB files. Oh, and a solution that worked on both Linux and Windows would be best. I can't completely shed Windows at work yet... gotta take it one step at a time. =)
  • by HenryKoren (735064) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @04:13AM (#8694435) Homepage
    My entire office is running Office XP. We hired a new employee and sought to license an additional copy of Office XP for her.

    Of course, office "XP" is now so horribly outdated that it is impossible to find anywhere. We tried to find a cheap copy of it and were almost ripped off by an ebay scammer.

    We were reluctant to purchase office 2003 since she would then be the only one in the office running it. While the new version might be 100% compatible we wanted to keep our software consistent for all our people. Microsoft would probably prefer we buy all new licenses of office 2003 for everybody but after spending thousands on Office XP, which works great, we see no reason to upgrade.

    The retail price of a single license of Office has actually surpassed the cost of the computer hardware to run it on. Frustrated and sick end by our fruitless quest for office licenses, I decided to try OOo.

    Our new employee with her rudimentary skill level picked up OOo just fine. She had absolutely no complaints. OOo proved itself that it is a suitable replacement. So as our company grows, we will slowly migrate to OOo.

    I don't think any CTO's really listen to the Microsoft sponsored TCO studies. We know that the choice of MS is only due to its strangle hold on the desktop and the worker bee's perception of normalcy.

    Look for office licensing cost to drop as Microsoft comes to the realization that they can't exploit their monopoly power for all it's worth any more.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28, 2004 @04:28AM (#8694475)
    I have come across more than one instance of excel documents that could not be opened with earlier versions of excel.

    The most recent was a spreadsheet produced in Offce XP, saved in Excel 97/2000 format which crashed Excel 2000.

    We ended up editing it with OpenOffice since it did not crash and was able to open said spreadsheet.
  • by kris (824) <kris-slashdot@koehntopp.de> on Sunday March 28, 2004 @05:14AM (#8694594) Homepage
    Where I am working, I have a Suse Linux desktop, and can use a Microsoft Terminal Server should I need it. I could have had a Microsoft Windows desktop, if I chose so. People at work can use Microsoft Office or OOo.

    I am aggressively using OOo file formats in my daily communication. That is, all documents that I am sending are being sent out as sx? files, and if I am receiving MS office documents, I convert them to OOo anyway in order to work with them, and send them back in sx? formats. Usually, I include a customary copy of a PDF export with the document.

    This strategy works nicely. Almost all the people I work with now have OOo included in their installation. In fact, new machines in my workplace will soon include OOo as a standard installation, I hope. Some people are starting to send documents in sx? formats as I do.

    External communication is the next target. I will force our suppliers and partners to learn what OOo is and how to use it as well.

    This is how you establish a standard: Document it (OOo file formats are nicely documented) and then use brute force to publicize it.
  • by Oriumpor (446718) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @05:56AM (#8694702) Homepage Journal
    Number one:
    The easiest step towards securing your network is removing Outlook (Express, 2000, XP etc etc etc) Outlook is the number one target of viruses and the biggest headache ever.

    Number two:
    Access may be a good tool for personal usage but in my opinion it is the shittiest piece of hacked ass software ever. It's ubiquity has led to a mass of shitty databases with crappy little frontends prone to corruption and horrific DB management. Forcing direct client to SQL connections IMO is a good idea, less chance for some of that data horded in the Access frontend being sucked off a hapless user workstation and having the thousand or so customers info cached locally released on the web.

    Now, with that said my work uses a groupware package like Outlook+exchange that is faar less prone to attacks, with a good attachment blocking spam filter at our head end, we see basically 0 mail infections. (That and we remove outlook express/outlook from our automated installations so the users aren't happily installing and popping their personal mail either.)

    Number Three:
    The only other valid issue mentioned is the Word compatibility. This is really only an issue with the newest version of Office/Word, and I tend to save everything in PDF if it's leaving my hands anyways. With the trend of businesses holding off on office upgrades I see this issue nearly being void, nearly...

    The only concern the adoption of OO has is that newer systems will come solely with 2003 and the DRM bullshit. And the only way to fight it is to back HP 100% and start getting FLOSS pushed onto more vendors. Eventually OO will get pushed on EVERYTHING new as the default option. Ubiquity for free beats ubiquity for $$$ any day.

    I'm no zealot, but more power to the movement. [gnu.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28, 2004 @06:18AM (#8694763)
    > If OO.org had ref software, I'd use it.

    Well, you know I need to write one for my wife's work :-).

    Currently it will (partially implemented) support for PubMed and, I think, it will look like a glue between her browser and OO.o 'Bibliography'-like DB. If you can help or have suggestions about how it should look and work, write me an email to alex-old at idisys dot iae dot nsk dot su.
  • by uglyduckling (103926) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @06:22AM (#8694772) Homepage
    I don't doubt it's Office screwing them up. Every time I've ever tried to lay out a long document in Word with figures and graphs, especially if they have captions, I've found myself wanting to pull my brain out through my nose with a pair of kitchen tongs. They fly all over the place and sometimes completely disappear. The only reliable way I've found is to write the whole thing and then put the pictures in at the end, which is incredibly annoying if you're writing a 20,000 word dissertation. BTW I've used every version of Word from 2.0, excluding XP (gave up and switched to OO well before it was released.)

    Interestingly enough, one of the first things my Fiance said after using OO for the first time was 'oooh, the pictures stay where you put them'. (By the way, I know about all the different options for placing pictures and how they sit with the text. It's all a mess).

    The only strong criticsm I have of OO is mailmerge: this is a key SMB need, very obvious and straightforward in Word, yet I've never been able to figure out how to do it without delving into setting up data sources and all sorts of things I don't want to know about.

  • by The Limp Devil (513137) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @07:19AM (#8694898)
    Endnote 7 works with OO for Mac and Windows if you save as RTF.
  • by squiggleslash (241428) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @11:22AM (#8695617) Homepage Journal
    Their license for Office allows you to install it on both a desktop and a laptop, IIRC (ie for that specific combination, you can install one licensed entity on two computers.)
  • by PGillingwater (72739) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @12:40PM (#8696009) Homepage
    I'm a fan of OO, however StarImpress bugs me in one respect -- how do I create a simple print out formatted with 6 or 8 slides on one page, or one column of 3 sides with adjacent lines for notes?
    Enquiring minds want to know....
  • by aastanna (689180) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @01:36PM (#8696275)
    I personally use LaTeX as much as possible, once you get used to it there's just no going back. Can't do that at work though, because every document gets passed around a bit, and people use that collaboration feature in word where you see those little bubbles with people's names indicating who made a change and why.

    I googled a bit, and checked the OOo website, but I couldn't find any indication that OO supports this feature. If it doesn't, that's one reason why my company wouldn't switch.

    One solution to my LaTeX problem could be to put tex docs in cvs, which is nicer than trying to put a word doc into cvs because at least with tex you can see the changes to the text instead of just to the gibberish inside a .doc.
  • by bruce RedHead (66500) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @11:30PM (#8700066)
    Geez. What's the deal with all these pro-MS people posting? Is Bill ordering the minions to personally SPAM /. ?

    Get a grip, folks. Oo doesn't require you to dig around in a computer desk drawer to find the old registration code when you have to reinstall a MS product. Oh, that's right - you don't need one at all for Oo!

    We received a computer that was "Secure" from a Virtual Public School ( they really stunk, BTW). Since they neglected to provide the login and password for the computer, I did a Google of 'hack xp', found out how to bypass the login and create a new admin user. I then logged in again, setup the internet, downloaded Opera and OpenOffice, and accessed all the MSOffice documents the school provided. I couldn't use MSOffice or even Outlook for email since they required the unavailable LEGAL reg codes the school couldn't find.

    HERE'S AN INTERESTING POINT!!!!!
    My kids used Oo until the school sent ANOTHER copy of MSOffice. I went ahead and installed it, then found that OpenOffice WOULD NO LONGER WORK! I deleted MSOffice, and all was well again.

    SUMMARY-
    OpenOffice did what we needed.

    The MSOffice installation somehow corrupted the Oo installation.

    I still have Oo. I pitched(microwaved) MSOffice.

    Oh yes, remember that OpenOffice can RECOVER MSOffice documents that will not open with MSOffice! And ANOTHER THING! If MS is so "interoperable". why can't I open my realy old MSworks documents with MSOffice?

    Hmmm.

    Use OpenOffice. ...if the team at MS used it, they could have made their FUD document on a PC instead of a Mac!

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