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Comment Re: Didn't some country do this? (Score 1) 83

If you have a level of support that allows you to speak to the developer(s) directly and get direct answers and assistance, obviously that's worth a lot. That sounds like a high tier of support at presumably a matching price ... as you might reasonably expect.

But the support fora for FOSS products very often have the developer(s) as participants. Is it just as good as a direct phone line? Of course not, and there are no guarantees (something important to some businesses). But it seems to work out pretty well.

Comment Re: Didn't some country do this? (Score 1) 83

I'll certainly grant that you're correct in the situation where MS products have been in use for some time and workflows have been built around customizations, templates, etc., as you rightly point out. Migration could indeed be difficult and expensive, although retraining would be far from the largest part of the cost. (I'm obviously a big FOSS supporter but I won't ignore reality.)

In a case where there is a clean start, however ... or the possibility of a relatively clean start ... I think the situation would be a lot different.

Take a small business startup. Do they really need to have MS products? Or will FOSS be more than good enough?

Comment Re: Didn't some country do this? (Score 1) 83

Running complex software is indeed not just a matter of googling. Decent support staff are of course needed.

The kind of Microsoft support you speak of sounds like an expensive Cadillac option. The question is, does it produce that much more than the type of support you get in on-line forums frequented by other experienced people? I don't think the answer is any sort of obvious "yes."

Comment Re:Didn't some country do this? (Score 1) 83

Further on retraining: when Microsoft, as they do from time to time, decides to switch to the latest hipster UI, you have significant retraining costs. Remember when the ribbon was introduced? Remember what Windows 8 was like? I don't think minor FOSS retraining is such a big thing. If you have basic computer literacy, you can go from (say) MS Office to LibreOffice without major dislocation, at least for the vast majority who don't use super-advanced features.

LibreOffice, at release 5.3, has come a long way. File compatibility has become a minor issue or even no issue for typical documents. LibreOffice now even offers an optional ribbon interface for those that really have to have it.

Comment Re:Didn't some country do this? (Score 1) 83

How good, really, is Microsoft support?

When Munich talked about not supporting products alternative to available off the shelf commercial software--- I have trouble seeing the difference. Microsoft products have a big support requirement in a corporate environment, as do FOSS products. Is there much difference? It's not like you call Microsoft and they send you a fix for xxx problem. Most support is found online, and there is plenty of it, for both commercial and open source products ... with the big difference that if you have something really critical, you can patch your FOSS product. Try that with Microsoft products.

Munich suits got bought out by Microsoft suits. The arguments over support are bogus.

Now, to address specific software items you mentioned. GnuCash is certainly good, but Ledger, if you can stand working with text files and the command line, really does the job. Neither of them is especially suited to a multiuser environment, though, but there are some FOSS ERP projects out there. AutoCAD ---- not so much available at a pro level, unfortunately.

Comment Re:Let's go even further! (Score 5, Insightful) 181

I've managed sizable groups (in the multi-hundreds) and I fully agree with the above. The manager's job is to enable people to get things done, to eliminate obstacles, obtain resources, and otherwise stay out of the way of the people who know how to do the work. A good manager is in some respects invisible, becoming visible only when the staff need the road cleared for them.

The biggest problem I had was with new line managers, who had to learn that being a manager wasn't about them --- it was about their staff and how they could empower their staff. Being the boss doesn't mean bossing people. As the boss you better know that you work for them because without them you fail.

Comment Re:Someone has been visited by an MS rep (Score 1) 557

And the alternatives to Excel for very complex spreadsheets leave a lot to be desired.

I won't argue that point except to say that very complex spreadsheets themselves leave a lot to be desired. They are error prone and difficult to audit by their very nature. Generally when computational needs get so involved, a spreadsheet is a bad idea. But spreadsheet abuse and overuse is rampant. Excel encourages this in a big way. LibreOffice Calc, in trying to follow suit, does the same, but being less capable at the high end, doesn't allow you to go quite so far.

There were a few spreadsheet-like programs that had you enter formulas separately from the cells, so that they were always visible. This seemed to be the right idea, but creating spreadsheets was slower (even if much more accurate in the end). These alternatives never really went anywhere.

Comment Re: but but but (Score 1) 557

Help and assistance on the Web when you need to figure something out. Easy with MS products just Google what you are trying to do and get 100s to 1000s of sites showing examples. With the FOSS options. That only works about 10% of the time.

I beg to differ. Whenever I've had LibreOffice questions or issues I've found what I needed on the Web close to 100% of the time (I can't offhand think of an exception), and generally in just a few minutes; and this runs the gamut from how-tos to workarounds and much more.

Comment Re:but but but (Score 1) 557

PowerPoint, Impress, etc., are not bad tools but much of the time there is negative value added with fancy dissolves and all the things that catch your eye and detract your attention from the actual message.

Impress won't do all of those fancy tricks that PowerPoint will do but generally that might be viewed as a plus, unless you're doing a TV show or the aforementioned children's shows. For most business presentations, you want focus on the main points, not the tricks.

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