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NZ Outfit Dumps Open Office For MS Office 581

Posted by kdawson
from the pull-of-the-dark-side dept.
(Score.5, Interestin writes "The NZ Automobile Association has just announced that it is dropping Open Office and switching back to MS Office. According to their CIO, 'Microsoft Office is not any cheaper, but it was almost impossible to work out what open-source was actually costing because of issues such as incompatibility and training.' In addition, 'you have no idea where open-source products are going, whereas vendors like Microsoft provide a roadmap for the future.'" About 500 seats are involved. MS conceded to letting Office users run the software at home as well.
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NZ Outfit Dumps Open Office For MS Office

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  • Sniff, sniff... (Score:2, Informative)

    by RiffRafff (234408)
    Maybe I'm just cynical, but I thought I just caught a whiff of kickback...

    • Re:Sniff, sniff... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PFI_Optix (936301) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @03:45PM (#19891783) Journal
      Why? Because someone couldn't make open source work for them? I think they provided a fair assessment of some of the major obstacles to open source. The school district I work for is clamoring for a switch to MSO from Star Office 8. Why? Because we can't find people to train employees in SO8, which means our training funds from the state are wasted and because we are completely unsupported.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by RiffRafff (234408)
        I dunno...when everything is said and done, it's just a word processor. And one that isn't all that dissimilar to Word. "Training" issues often seem to be overblown, in my experience. Personal likes and dislikes, however, are another story. As is resistance to change, which can be almost insurmountable.
        • Re:Sniff, sniff... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by PFI_Optix (936301) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @03:57PM (#19891975) Journal
          Excel, Access, FrontPage, PowerPoint, and Publisher are all just word processors? What about all the back-end collaboration tools?

          If you think MSO and OO.o are "just word processors", just stick with Wordpad. It came with Windows.
          • Re:Sniff, sniff... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Penguinisto (415985) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @04:16PM (#19892259) Journal

            ...just stick with Wordpad. It came with Windows.

            He could... if WordPad, err, wasn't so incompatible with reading default MS Office - generated .doc files...

            /P

          • Wrangling those backend tools would require just as much training as learning another system. You need staff to manage Sharepoint effectively.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by uradu (10768)
            > What about all the back-end collaboration tools?

            Oh, really? Do go on about those back-end collaboration tools and the ten people in the world that use them. Unless you strictly mean Exchange, there's only a handful of people that even know what Sharepoint or any of the other even more obscure Backoffice components do. In my experience Microsoft Office primarily consists of Word and either Excel or PowerPoint (or both) for most people, with Access, FrontPage and Publisher barely registering on anyone's
        • Re:Sniff, sniff... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jonnythan (79727) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @04:03PM (#19892091) Homepage
          "it's just a word processor"

          So, in other words, you've never worked inside a modern corporate office.

          Users use of the suite of applications that come in Microsoft Office to do complex things, from presentations, to databases, to collaboration, to complex spreadsheets, etc etc. There's a *lot* of functionality present in OO or MS Office and it's not all trivial to use.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by AuMatar (183847)
            I work inside a modern office. I have at several jobs for 7 years. And office is just a word processor at all of them.

            I have seen a few power point presentations. They were all overblown, and everyone except the sales guys ignored them. Excel was used to make tables. No spreadsheet features used, just as a way to line things up in rows. Other than that, its all using word to write documents. Notepad would fill the same need if it allowed you to insert pictures.
      • Re:Sniff, sniff... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by just_another_sean (919159) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @03:55PM (#19891945) Homepage Journal
        Why? Because someone couldn't make open source work for them?

        No, because TFA specifically said that MS "conceded" to letting their users run office at home.

        I'm not saying the points for switching back to MSO aren't potentially valid but this story reminds me of a lot of recent trends. Companies/governments only have to mention the word "Linux" or "Open Source" around MS these days and suddenly they are falling over backward to give a better deal, concede on a license issue and in general make people feel like their getting a better deal then the rest of the world. It's a great new procurement strategy:

        1. "Evaluate" open source for next upgrade cycle
        2. Negotiate with MS for lower license fees
        3. Cite training/hidden costs as reason for giving up on Open Source

        Again, not saying that some reasons for sticking with MS aren't valid but some of this is just plain gaming the system.
        • Re:Sniff, sniff... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by clodney (778910) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @04:09PM (#19892177)
          When I bought my last car they dealer conceded to selling it for a price lower than what was shown on the sticker.

          How is MS offering a discount/incentive/license concession any different? Some MS sales rep had a potential sale of 500 seats, and had to sweeten the deal to get a sale. Purchasing people are always pushing for a better deal, and threatening to take their business elsewhere if they don't get it.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by sumdumass (711423)
            His point wasn't that they didn't get a deal or that they got a discount. His point was that they never intended to use the stuff to begin with. The trend he is talking about is the same as when you acted like you would walk if you didn't get the deal you were expecting, So the car dealership gave you the deal. However, you never intended to go somewhere else to buy a car.

            And from this point, We can see how many other places have done similar things with similar results. So it is now like you telling your f
        • by westlake (615356) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @05:03PM (#19892967)
          No, because TFA specifically said that MS "conceded" to letting their users run office at home.

          There is nothing new in this.

          Employees can get a licensed copy of Microsoft Office desktop applications, such as Microsoft Office Professional, Microsoft Project, and Microsoft Visio Professional, to install and use on a home computer. The only cost to employees for the Home Use Program benefit is the cost of media (CDs), shipping, and handling. Volume Licensing: Home Use Program [microsoft.com]

          Employees are encouraged to discontinue use of the software on termination of their employment, but there has never been a mechanism in place to enforce the rules.

          If you work for the NHS you can order Office 2007 on-line for a S&H cost of eighteen pounds, Microsoft Home User Programme [microsoft.com]

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by erroneus (253617)
        I too have to take issue with the notion that "training" should be even required for processing words, running a spreadsheet or creating a presentation of any kind. If you or anyone else can't figure out how to use Open Office without "training" they've got to be dumb as rocks. And I'm not writing flame-bait here. I dead serious about that.

        There are ample help files in Open Office and the system works quite well. I search the words I seek, find the "how to" on any given topic and go with it. I cannot i
        • Re:Sniff, sniff... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@nOsPAm.beau.org> on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @04:37PM (#19892577)
          > If you or anyone else can't figure out how to use Open Office without "training" they've got to be dumb
          > as rocks. And I'm not writing flame-bait here. I dead serious about that.

          By writing that you make it clear that you have never had to deal with 'normals'. Wish I worked where you work, but I don't live on a planet where everyone is computer literate[1], capable of independent learning and posseses above average intelligence and reasoning abilities. Thankfully we never allowed Microsoft in the front door though so we manage to get along with OO.o/FF/etc running on networked Linux workstations. We didn't have to deal with the whinging due an inability to deal with change but do training? What fantasy world are you living in. It can take sometimes take a week to get a new hire to learn that logging in with CAPS LOCK on won't work.

          [1] I define 'computer literate' much the same way as I define 'literacy'. Literacy in the sense of the English Language means one able to read the language, speak it, reason in it and express thoughts in writing using it. Computer literacy means the ability to read and write PROGRAMS, even simple ones, understand the ideas underlying common applications i.e. understand what cut/paste DOES, not memorizing the keystroke. Know the IDEA behind a spreadsheet. Knowing every function isn't required, knowing enough to figure out the help system IS.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by OldeTimeGeek (725417)
          I can see your point if everybody had used at least one word processing program before, but how about if they haven't? If you don't know the basic concepts of word processors work, how are you going to know what to look for in the help system?

          My company hires a lot of people who have little to no prior experience using computers, let alone extensive experience in Word, WordPerfect, OpenOffice Writer or anything else. Which means that not only do we have to bring them up to speed on the tools that they'll ne

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by RobertM1968 (951074)

        I wholeheartedly disagree...

        "The first, with Open Office, is compatibility -- sharing information with Microsoft products, both within the organisation and with external parties."

        Which it does pretty decently. Compatibility with the next release of MS Office is a moot point (as I also touch on in the third section below) especially when no one knows when the next release will be out. This same compatibility is an issue with every new release of MS Office - so how is that any different? Go open an Office 2007 document in Office 2000 or Word 98 or any previous version. Sure, you can save the document in Office 2007 using an older format - but the same c

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jellomizer (103300) *
      No you are just an OSS Zealot. Blind to the fact that a lot os OSS software is seriously lacking espectially in end-user applications. Microsft isn't always the evil bubling company it appears to be. Sometimes people use their product because it is better or at least on par then the rest.
    • That's not just a whiff (notice the summary which mentions that MS lets the users take the license home with 'em?)

      That said, I find it kind of funny that a roadmap is suddenly invoked. Not that it isn't a valid point, but since when has there ever been a roadmap w/ MS Office - or rather, one that didn't include lots of potholes (e.g. incompatibilities w/ earlier versions of the same product, a HUGE spike-strip between the MS Office and MS Works lanes, etc).

      Given the context, that part sounded far, far t

    • Re:Sniff, sniff... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Nibbler999 (1101055) <`gro.efsf' `ta' `nosnikta_mot'> on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @03:55PM (#19891951) Homepage
      Seems likely, seeing as this CIO used to work for Microsoft. http://www.microsoft.com/nz/presscentre/articles/2 004/feb_04_wilson.mspx [microsoft.com]
    • by RonnyJ (651856)
      It's interesting to see the use of language after the summary:

      MS conceded to letting Office users run the software at home as well.
      There's nothing in the article to indicate this was anything other than a normal business deal, but that sentence makes it sound as if Microsoft were making concessions to avoid a 'defeat'.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by GoRK (10018)
        Home use licenses are pretty much standard with all Microsoft products when you purchase Software Assurance, which you generally do with MS Office. Was I the only one who read this and thought it was probably someone who had never actually done a volume license deal with MS making a mountain out of a molehill?
  • wait wait (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stim (732091) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @03:41PM (#19891711) Homepage
    Now before we all agree that they suck and start the conspiracy of how much MS paid them to switch back... Perhaps they have some valid points here. What can the Linux movement do to curb the switchbacks, and address some of these concerns?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by orasio (188021)
      Linux has nothing to do with OpenOffice.
      • What can the *Open Source* movement do to curb the switchbacks, and address some of these concerns?

        There. Feel better?
      • Your right. But if they couldn't get OO to work for them, what do you think the chances are of them ever considering moving to Linux? Installing OO on a few boxes is putting your toe in the water, installing Linux as an end-user environment, relatively speaking, is swimming with sharks. Or penguins, what have you.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TubeSteak (669689)

      The AA's agreement with Microsoft, for around 500 seats, includes home-usage rights, so staff can use the software at home.
      It's pretty obvious how much MS 'paid' them
      They gave the company another 500 seats for free

      Though I wonder just what this company is thinking if their idea of "maintaining" a website involves only Office and Word.
      • by cdrguru (88047)
        I've not heard of a volume license agreement from Microsoft that didn't include "home" copies for Office applications.
        • by pavera (320634) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @04:12PM (#19892201) Homepage Journal
          hmm, I haven't heard of MS giving "home" copies since office 97/windows 95.

          In fact, I worked at a company that still thought they had home copies (big 5000 person company, big volume license deal), and they had to pay almost 10 million in fines to the SBA for their "home" copies.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by BrianH (13460)
            No, MS still offers offsite licensing for large customers. My employer has home licenses (we refer to them as work-at-home licenses) available for all 1400 of our employees. It even covers OS upgrades for XP and Vista.

            It all depends on how much clout you have with them. I work at a college, and between our employees computers, our students computers, and the many hundreds of lab computers around campuses, the multi-year contract for our site is worth millions. With money like that on the line, it's pretty e
      • But, fair is fair. OO.o also let them have 500 seats for free. :)
    • Re:wait wait (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @03:53PM (#19891913) Homepage Journal
      Well for one it has little to nothing to do with Linux.
      They have a few valid points but they are hard to work around.
      1. OpenOffice will never be as compatible with Office as Office is.
      2. If you know Office you must learn OpenOffice. Office is taught in every school I know of.
      3. I still don't think Calc is even as good as Excel in Office 2000 but then I haven't really used it a lot in a long time.
      4. Outlooks+Exchange are a better Enterprise calendering system than anything I have seen from FOSS.
      5. Sharepoint. I haven't seen anything as easy to use from the FOSS community.

      Microsoft had done some good things, give the devil his due.
      • by krlynch (158571)
        Don't forget motion paths in Presenter! A feature that used to be available in OOo1.1, but was lost in OOo2 ... and despite years and YEARS of complaints from users, major and minor, still hasn't made a comeback. This missing feature alone makes OOo a very very tough sell to my colleagues.
        • by LWATCDR (28044)
          I don't produce presentations anymore thank goodness but I will take your word for it.
      • by RonnyJ (651856)
        As you say, this article has basically nothing to do with Linux - bizarrely though, the first tag that this story currently shows is 'linux'.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by LWATCDR (28044)
          Well yes and no.
          Office, Outlook, and Exchange are big reasons to not use Linux. That and frankly VisualBasic are really deal killers for a lot of places as far as Linux on the desktop.
          Sharepoint and Exchange are great weapons to use to get Linux off servers.
          It is a problem for Linux in that if All of your software will run on Linux there is no reason to keep Windows If you have to keep Windows then you have to keep Windows.

      • Re:wait wait (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Sparr0 (451780) <sparr0@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @06:15PM (#19893993) Homepage Journal

        1. OpenOffice will never be as compatible with Office as Office is.
        I disagree. I have made this counter-point with regards to windows gaming as well. As new versions of Office lose compatibility with older versions of Office, OpenOffice slowly eats into the compatibility margin. Eventually the missing features from Office2020->OpenOffice10 will be less than the incompatibilities between Office2020 and Office97, while OpenOffice10 will still be able to read and write Office97 documents at least as well as OpenOffice2 can today. This same argument is my favorite for windows gaming, I have lots of Win98/Win2k games that won't run in WinXP, but run fine in wine or Cedega, giving Linux *better* windows compatibility than windows.
    • Some valid points. (Score:5, Informative)

      by neoshroom (324937) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @03:54PM (#19891931)
      Some valid points:

      Doug Wilson is the Chief Information Officer, The New Zealand Automobile Association Incorporated

      Since then he has been the CEO of a PC company (Gateway) and APL+, a software development company that was a Provenco subsidiary. He has also had senior roles at Microsoft [tuanz.org.nz] and EDS.

      Doug is currently the CIO of the NZ Automobile Association, a new role that was created last year.
    • from Corregidor to Bataan in WWII. I don't think the US and Allied prisoners enjoyed following it much.

      Window 95 - the last Consumer OS before merging with NT.

      Windows 95 OSR2, ditto.

      Windows 98, ditto.

      Windows 98 SE, ditto.

      Windows ME, yeppers.

      Thanks for the precision and accuracy! And for the extra dimensions in the test cases.

      Sure, MS provides you a roadmap, but it's for a different city! Even they don't know where the fsck they are going. I was testing a BackOffice product back in the day. They gutted
  • Linux? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by goldspider (445116) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (97ekardra)> on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @03:42PM (#19891725) Homepage
    What does Linux have to do with this story?

    Anyway, I don't see what the big deal is. Perhaps the folks that make OO.o can learn something from this and give potential customers some kind of assurance that their product will still be around/supported/updated for the foreseeable future.
    • by Quixadhal (45024)
      What does Open Office have to do with this story?

      Anyway, I don't see what the big deal is. Perhaps the folks that make any given Linux distribution can learn something from this and give potential customers some kind of assurance that their product will still be around/supported/updated for the foreseeable future.
  • by canUbeleiveIT (787307) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @03:42PM (#19891727)
    All roads lead to $$$$$
    • Wow, business decisions are motivated by profit?

      That was both witty and insightful, my friend!!
  • by itwerx (165526) <itwerx@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @03:43PM (#19891745) Homepage
    it was almost impossible to work out what open-source was actually costing

    Sounds like there's a disconnect between the IT staff and the business side of the house. Any CIO worth their salt would have had before-and-after metrics to compare.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by orasio (188021)

      it was almost impossible to work out what open-source was actually costing

      Sounds like there's a disconnect between the IT staff and the business side of the house. Any CIO worth their salt would have had before-and-after metrics to compare.

      I think that should not be overlooked.
      If it was almost impossible to work out the cost, it can't be a problem with the software, but with their metrics.
      And it isn't a real reason to change their packages. The issue is orthogonal to the products used.
      Just because msoffice has a licensing cost, (OO does, too, zero), it doesn't mean the other costs are more easily accounted for.

      Of course, in any office package change, there should be more money devoted to support, but with OO it could be easier due to licensi

  • no roadmap? (Score:5, Informative)

    by datapharmer (1099455) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @03:43PM (#19891751) Homepage
    "'you have no idea where open-source products are going, whereas vendors like Microsoft provide a roadmap for the future.'"

    Perhaps someone should send them this: Open Office Roadmap [openoffice.org]

    I don't think it could be any more clear or easier to find....
    • Re:no roadmap? (Score:5, Informative)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @03:56PM (#19891961) Journal
      Microsoft's roadmaps aren't exactly credible, either. Remember WinFS? Cairo?

      With a Free Software project, anyone with some money can set part of the roadmap. Need a feature? Pay one of the developers to implement it. With a proprietary product, you need to be one of the biggest customers to have any input into the roadmap, and 500 seats doesn't cut it. Assuming they are paying $100/seat (they must be getting a fairly sizeable discount), that's $50,000, which buys a fair amount of developer time on something like OpenOffice.org.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by toleraen (831634)
      I wouldn't really call that terribly clear. They're only adding in 4 features in the next year? Support for Office 2007 maybe next september? I'm all for OOo, and I use it daily, but I've seen far more detailed and spelled out schedules. Take the FF3 [wiki.mozilla.org] schedule for instance. Detail, exact dates, feature lists, etc.
  • by $1uck (710826) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @03:43PM (#19891755)
    Expensive upgrades shoved down your throat by forced upgrades due to designed incompatibilities with previous versions? Why can't newer versions of office access all the older versions?
  • by Tribbin (565963) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @03:44PM (#19891763) Homepage
    "In addition, you have no idea where open-source products are going, whereas vendors like Microsoft provide a roadmap for the future."

    Why do I think the exact opposite? I have more faith in ODF being supported by multiple apps, say, twenty years from now.
  • roadmap?? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by donnyspi (701349) <junk5NO@SPAMdonnyspi.com> on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @03:44PM (#19891765) Homepage
    "A roadmap for the future" ??? You're just as much at the mercy of M$ as you to the OO.o developers. What kind of security can one kind in M$'s supposed "roadmap for the future". Bah!
    • by orasio (188021) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @03:59PM (#19892015) Homepage

      "A roadmap for the future" ??? You're just as much at the mercy of M$ as you to the OO.o developers. What kind of security can one kind in M$'s supposed "roadmap for the future". Bah!
      That is measurable.
      You can look into previous roadmaps, and measure how much they have come through in the past.
      You can do the same with open source, and free software projects.

      OO didn't have any issues coming through with planned features in the past.

      I don't think MS had any issues with roadmaps, my Longhorn Tablet PC works great with WinFS right now.
  • What, then, might this page be about?

    http://development.openoffice.org/releases/ [openoffice.org]

    • by jonnythan (79727)
      Wow, that was last updated 10 months ago and forecasts development all the way through... uh...

      "* date for creating a new code line SRC690
      is not available yet (2007 ?)
      * OOo 3.0 in 2007 ?"

      That's what a manager loves to see.

      The reality is that they have a point.
  • by HerculesMO (693085) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @03:45PM (#19891777)
    But OpenOffice has a long, long way to go. The fit and finish, polish and performance of Microsoft Office to this point, is unparalleled. I'm not a Microsoft fanboy, but I'm not a Microsoft hater either. I'm just a realist.

    When OpenOffice can step up its interface, design, compatibility, and market share, then we might have something to talk about. But as we sit right now, Microsoft Office is the only game in town that does what it does.

    It only helps Microsoft to build products on top of Office, like Sharepoint, Project, etc... because they leverage an already existing knowledge of the UI and functionality. Office 2007 is a drastic departure from prior versions, but as I have been using it since the RTM date, it's been rock solid and I'm exceptionally pleased at how much more intelligent it has gotten, in particular with Excel and figuring out what I want to do, or in Word with how I'm formatting a document.

    I still am hoping for a kickass version of OpenOffice though, just so that Microsoft doesn't rest on its laurels. Office 2007 indicates that they did anything but, and the polish of that product is something that I'm very surprised by, especially by Microsoft. Kudos to them for this round.
    • Yes, Office 2003 and 2007 are pretty darned excellent products, as far as general polish and usability.

      I say this, as a open source nerd.
    • Up until OO 2 I was mostly with you. IMHO, the latest versions of OO are pretty damn good, and certainly a suitable replacement.
  • From the sounds of it the company seemed to be expecting to basically have MS Office for free. Whenever you switch to a new platform of any sort there's some initial cost of training and converting old documents (macros are the only thing I can think of they'd have to actually convert). I think they're looking at short term cost and ignoring the long term payback.
  • MS Roadmap (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ihlosi (895663)
    1. We're going to fix some bugs. If we feel like it.
    2. The next version is going to be much more colorful, but will need 4x the memory and CPU power. We're also planning to make a 3D graphics card mandatory.
    3. Just when you got comfortable with the present version, we'll stop supporting it. We'd also deactivate it over the internet if we could get away with it.

  • by Itninja (937614) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @03:48PM (#19891837) Homepage
    ...doesn't mean it's cheaper. I am kind of a open-source fanboy myself, but when it came time to either buy Photoshop or spend valuable hours learning to use Gimp, I also opted for the cash-heavy/time-light option.

    My employer pays something like $40/hr (I think..I'm salary). So if I spent even 10 hours getting as good with Gimp as I already am with Photoshop, then the closed-source product is cheaper. But I do use all open source at home when time is less important than money.
    • My employer pays something like $40/hr (I think..I'm salary). So if I spent even 10 hours getting as good with Gimp as I already am with Photoshop, then the closed-source product is cheaper.

      It would be... until CS4 comes out.

      Both Photoshop and GIMP's next respective iterations will likely cost just as much as the current ones. In P-Shop's case, it may be more.

      /P

  • by Bandman (86149) <bandman@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @03:49PM (#19891841) Homepage
    Well, duh?

    I like Openoffice, and I appreciate everything they're doing.

    On the other hand, if I could buy MS Office for Linux, I would. It really is just better.

    For all that OO tries, it just isn't as compatible with MS Office formats as it needs to be for me to use it. I always have formatting errors with word documents, sometimes I have entire excel spreadsheets that are useless, and I just can't have that.

    I have MS office on my powerbook, and I use that for the documents that OO can't handle. I produce the vast majority of documents on there too. If I had Office on Linux, I would use it instead, but I don't.

    • by unapersson (38207) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @04:20PM (#19892311) Homepage
      OpenOffice handles its native files just fine. How well does MS Office handle OpenOffice files? The fact it works so well with Office files is an achievement, but if you're using OpenOffice then you're better off using its native format.

      As for OpenOffice's compatibility with Office, it really comes into its own when Office is incapable of opening an Office file. It does happen. And in that case, OpenOffice will frequently be able to come to the rescue.

      I'm sure it's much more preferable to be on the office treadmill, where you're eventually forced to upgrade by being sent files from the newer version.

      I find it amusing how there is this attitude that OpenOffice sucks because it can't always perfectly handle a closed proprietary format, but how the situation that people are being locked into that format is somehow perfectly acceptable. Despite all its flaws. I can't help but stifle a laugh when I hear about the perfection of MS Office. The suite has so many problems, I truly do not know where to begin. It's merely entrenched, highly overrated and as buggy as hell.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by manekineko2 (1052430)
        I can explain to you why you don't understand why people feel Office is much better with regards to compatibility.

        You see compatibility from a technical point of view, where OpenOffice surely does a better job opening Office documents than Office does opening OpenOffice documents.

        People who use Office as a tool for business see compatibility from a social point of view. Office can open 99.99% of documents that are sent to them. Open Office can only open 90%. And that's really the end of the story.
  • by oatec (1127701) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @03:50PM (#19891859)
    Yea, those word processors and spreadsheet programs need a good roadmap. Think of how much they have changed since Office 97.
  • by also-rr (980579) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @03:51PM (#19891885) Homepage
    That it's office productivity software. You can generate your own road map.

    *Version +1. Just like the current version, but with slightly more features and shiny icons!
    *As above.

    What are they worried about? That the OpenOffice roadmap might include:

    *Given up on office suite. This version is a badger tracking application. Enjoy!
  • People would always rather do the familiar than what is good for them, even if the familiar is unpleasant. Sort of like how abused children frequently seek out spouses later in life who will likely abuse them.
  • I'm struck by the number of people posting things along the lines of:

    Open Office isn't as good because it doesn't do [something] the way MS Office does it

    or

    OO isn't as good because it won't render MS Office stuff properly.

    Now, I have no real preference for either (I have both on my Machine, since the other half needs MS Office to be compatible with a course she's doing, and I had OO originally cause it was free...)
    But why are these things that make *Open Office* 'worse'?

    Why are there never winges about 'MS
  • Apparently they didn't think over the feasibility of their initial migration to OpenOffice.org. Hopefully this taught them the lesson that free as in beer and free as in speech may not be enough.

    I hate to say it, but for an awful lot of people not dealing with the simplest documents OOo is still far from being viable. Moreover, MS compatibility is only a part of the problem, and probably even not the largest one. For example, a good list of what a professional such as a technical writer or translator misses
  • Brilliant! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aaronl (43811) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @04:03PM (#19892081) Homepage
    After actually reading the article, the reasons they switched to MS Office are:

    *They weren't sure if it was cheaper or not, so they bought MS Office (again), which guarantees that OOo was cheaper.

    *MS told them some stories about future plans that MS may or may not do with MS Office, and OOo didn't.

    *Someone wanted to use Word and Sharepoint as a CMS for their website.

    *They didn't actually switch 100% to OOo, so there were occasional internal compatibility issues between OOo users and MS Office users. It would also seem that some employees were sending ODF docs to the outside world, and people didn't know what they were.

    So, basically, this organization switched back to MS Office because of some formatting issues with MS' undocumented file formats, some features that aren't actually available yet in MS Office looked interesting, and improper use of OOo by employees.

    I've heard a lot of reasons to use MS Office instead of OOo, but this looks to be a pretty sorry collection of excuses. So far, the only two that come up in my line of work are lack of training, and poor VBA support. There isn't really any way around the VBA problems at the moment, either.
  • by Greyfox (87712) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @04:06PM (#19892125) Homepage Journal
    IMO both OpenOffice and MS Office kind of suck. I don't think either of them are particularly essential to the running of a business. For one thing if your IT department is to be believed, you can't safely open a document you receive in E-Mail anyway. Even if you could it's probably some nimrod using a spreadsheet as a work scheduling tool. Nothing good ever comes of it.

    Important data tends to be stored in other systems anyway. You probably have a financial system where stuff like payroll data gets stored. I'm seeing more use of wikis for shared documents and that sucks a lot less than passing a word document around like a bong. The MS Office calendar and sending meeting invites is perhaps its strongest capability but even that isn't anything that a company like Google couldn't duplicate easily enough. Perhaps they'd find they'd get more work done if they jettisoned both MS Office AND Open Office and rolled some of their own well integrated tools if there were any gaps left (I doubt there would be, though.)

  • by Caspian (99221) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @04:29PM (#19892455)
    I hate Microsoft. I hate them with a passion. I don't own a single Windows machine.

    But OpenOffice.org is an absolute piece of shit compared to Microsoft Office.

    Mind you, I use OO.o over Office-- because I'd feel filthy using Office. But I fucking hate the thing. It's bloated, poorly designed, and butt-ugly. Compatibility issues aside-- since I know quite well that reverse-engineering Microsoft's convoluted file formats is far from simple or easy-- OO.o is a crappy program, not the be-all, end-all of word processing that it's marketed as. As quirky as MS Office is, OO.o crosses the line from 'quirky' into 'crappy'.

    Frankly, what do I think is the best office suite? Office 97 or 2000. Everything after that just went downhill.

    But I digress.

    Most of the time, when I have to edit a letter, or a resume, or something else vaguely simple, I just whip open TextEdit. OpenOffice is a bloated sack of crap, MS Office makes me feel like I need to take a bath, and the rest of the contenders for 'best office suite' crown are nonstarters.

    When the only serious choices for office suite are 'bloated piece of crap' and 'creepy Microsoft Borgware', it's only due to my distaste for the latter that I use the former. And I avoid even that whenever possible.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @05:13PM (#19893071) Homepage

    The AA is also considering using Microsoft Sharepoint Server to maintain some of its websites. This would allow Office Pro users to maintain the sites directly from within Office and Word.
    Maintaining web sites with Word?! Anyone who has any respect for the technologies involved already knows what my reaction to that is and I'll just let it go unspoken for now. But anyone who would actually consider maintaining a public web site in that way doesn't fully appreciate what he's doing. I think we're seeing the results of some very persistent and convincing sales people.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DavidD_CA (750156)
      You certainly don't know what SharePoint is. And if you do, you give the impression that you have never made use of it in a corporate setting.

      SharePoint is primarily for intranets and extranets, where the content consists mostly of Word/Excel/PowerPoint files. Using Word to edit this "website" is precisely what you're supposed to do with it.
  • by linebackn (131821) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @06:45PM (#19894319)
    I wonder how much this switch had to do with them receiving files from the outside in Microsoft new proprietary Office 2007 file formats. OpenOffice simply can't open them (except for one rather limited DOCX-only converter).

    My observation is this is an insanely major hurdle for OpenOffice. And even a major factor for people switching from earlier versions of MS-Office.
  • by EreIamJH (180023) on Tuesday July 17, 2007 @06:56PM (#19894445)
    "...but it was almost impossible to work out what open-source was actually costing..."

    They kept getting a div by $0 error.

I use technology in order to hate it more properly. -- Nam June Paik

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