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EU Publishes Open Source Migration Guidelines 164

Skunil writes "The IDA Open Source Migration Guidelines provide practical and detailed recommendations on how to migrate to Open Source Software (OSS)-based office applications, calendaring, e-mail and other standard applications. These guidelines have been designed to help public administrators decide whether a migration to OSS should be undertaken and describe, in broad technical terms, how such a migration could be carried out. They are based on practical experience of a limited number of publicly available case studies, and cover a wide range of management and technical concerns."
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EU Publishes Open Source Migration Guidelines

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  • by OffTheLip ( 636691 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @06:39PM (#7276050)
    Boot cdrom format load linux
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @06:41PM (#7276073)
    Anyone else find the humor in the spreadsheet being an XLS file? I figure if the target audience is a group of people who use MS products, then they'll have no problem opening that XLS file.
  • Eeeeek (Score:5, Funny)

    by devphil ( 51341 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @06:41PM (#7276074) Homepage


    I'd feel better about these "how to transition your project to open source" guidelines if the first step weren't

    1. If you don't already have one, get an account on sourceforge.net.

    Okay, okay, just kidding.

  • Step one... (Score:5, Funny)

    by dankdirk77 ( 690855 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @06:44PM (#7276100)
    Step one... stop bending over

    Step two... remove Microsoft "probe"

    *FREEDOM*
    • by rhombic ( 140326 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @07:06PM (#7276295)
      Don't you think step two should precede, rather than follow, step one? I mean, ouch...
    • Re:Step one... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Trinition ( 114758 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @08:17PM (#7276790) Homepage
      On the contrary:

      Step 1. Give me open source alternatives I can wean myself into one at a time on my current platform (Windows XP).

      Step 2. Now that all of my apps are open source, give me an open source operating system alternative where I can run them all.

      For example, I'm now running OpenOffice.org instead of Microsoft Office. Well, almost. I still use Microsoft Outlook because I can't find a competitive PIM client (not e-mail client) for Windows. I had hopes for Evolution, but last I checked, it's *nix only.

      If you really want to know how to get people to switch to open source, stop thinking people want to uproot their whole history and experience in one fell swoop. Its very disruptive and uncomfortable.

      If you rip that "probe" out too quickly, it will hurt!
      • Ahh, so you are saying Apache is like a fiber-filled drink that will help ease things along. I'm jiggy...
      • but last I checked, it's *nix only.

        But you've said that you're getting away from Win*. Isn't a worthy *NIX client what you're looking for?
        • Re:Step one... (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Trinition ( 114758 )
          Yes, but gradually and comfortably. If open source guys could focus on cross-platform stuff, it would be a smoother transition. I could switch out my PIM now, for example, and take it with me when I'm ready for the Linux plunge. At least compatible data formats.

          Apache is a good, but simple example. I mean simple in that they didn't have to tackle the whole user front end.
          • If open source guys could focus on cross-platform stuff, it would be a smoother transition

            OK, then ask Microsoft to open their versions of the protocols...

            ~~~

            At least compatible data formats.

            You mean the standard formats (that have been in place for ages) that Microsoft doesn't adhear too?
            • There are standard formats for all the things that Outlook does??
            • You missed the point. While having Microsoft open their protocols anf file formats, yes, we would be a lot closer to havign competitive products. But this isn't necessary for all of them.

              Go back to my Evolutione Example. If Evolution worked on Widnows, I would use it (provided I could still sync it with my PDA) instead of Outlook. I've also checked into Chandler which is still years off, and clevercactus which is missing basic features like repeating calendar entries (both of these last two are still n
          • Re:Step one... (Score:3, Insightful)

            by pHDNgell ( 410691 )
            Yes, but gradually and comfortably. If open source guys could focus on cross-platform stuff, it would be a smoother transition. I could switch out my PIM now, for example, and take it with me when I'm ready for the Linux plunge. At least compatible data formats.

            We open source guys aren't working for you. Personally, I have no interest in writing any software to make people's lives any better when they're on Windows. If you want this, you do it.

            I'm not trying to be rude or anything, but you're talking
            • Well then how about the "open source guys" shoudl stop posting articles about how much better linux is than windows. After all,w e wouldn't want ot make any Windows user's life easier, even if it did mean liberating them from free software.

              I mean it's at least once a week people tell me how linux is better, or this new plan to made a Windows-like free distribution that sucks ass.

              All I'm doing is offering constructive criticism of these ideas. People aren't going to switch just to save money. It will co
              • Well then how about the "open source guys" shoudl stop posting articles about how much better linux is than windows. After all,w e wouldn't want ot make any Windows user's life easier, even if it did mean liberating them from free software.

                I didn't mean to imply that we don't want Windows users' lives to be easier. The amount of effort it takes to suggest an alternative platform is far less than the amount of effort it takes to make sure my software works on one I consider inferior, though.

                By your des
              • Well then how about the "open source guys" shoudl stop posting articles about how much better linux is than windows.

                That's a non sequitur. If one wishes folks to stop using Windows, then pointing that an alternative is better is an excellent way to do so. I understand how you might wish for more work to be put into cross-platform projects, but honestly once one has left Windows it's just not a priority. If Windows users wish to port a piece of software, they have the source, after all.

                There are proje

            • But if you want me to use your software then you'll have to make it as easy as possible for me to switch. That means making sure it can open my legacy documents and that I have to make minimal changes to my existing setup to do it. That's why (or at least a big part of the reason) products like OO.o are cross platform and support M$ file formats. Microsoft can get away with forcing updates on people because they have an effective monopoly, FUD, loads of money and strong lobbyists.

              I don't have the skills

      • I had hopes for Evolution, but last I checked, it's *nix only.

        I haven't tested this, but does evolution work in Cygwin [cygwin.com]? Might be worth a try.

  • by Pan T. Hose ( 707794 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @06:47PM (#7276131) Homepage Journal
    Now if only they were talking in the terms of Free Software instead of merely Open Source I would be sure that they are indeed motivated by our freedom and not only technical superiority of GNU. But I am sure that it is only a matter of time until the Freedom ideals are widely recognised in EU parlament. This is a step in the right direction. There are other steps which must follow.
    • Actually the main reason they are doing it is because the software is open source - better than free.

      The European Union don't want to be dependant on proprietary software (least of all M$ software). Hence they want an open source solution.

      Anyone can release free software and then hold you over a barrel for updates!
      • YOu need to read up at www.fsf.org,
        because clearly you don't know what
        free software is.

        free software is better than open source
        because, by definition, the updates
        must also be free, whereas in the world
        of open source, the scenario you described
        might actually happen, as derivative works
        of merely open source software might be proprietary.
  • by line.at.infinity ( 707997 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @06:53PM (#7276180) Homepage Journal
    OSS advocates should also advocate to businesses that are just starting up and households that are just purchasing their first PC.

    It would make more sense to start fresh with free software rather than to switch after paying for proprietary software.
    • IMHO, it's best to get it at the government level first, for then it's much easier to convince big business to use software. As well, the government represents the people, and should be accountable to the people, and it sure would represent us if it was using free software, and could certainly be held more accountable for it's software with open-source as opposed to proprietary (sp.?), closed-source systems.
  • Wow great guide (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bogie ( 31020 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @06:54PM (#7276191) Journal
    I'd really suggest you download the pdf before commenting. It's really quite a piece of work. In fact it looks like it might be the most comprehensive guide yet written on how to migrate to opensource. This is good stuff.

    Armed with this and of course google and you'd be way ahead of the curve in planning or evaluating a migration to opensource.

    Kudos to the authors.

    • Agreed, that there's a lot of useful information in it.

      On the other hand, encouraging the notion that there's some special hurdle in "migrating" to open source strikes me as counterproductive. For the most part, it's a matter of changing software. Switching from one MTA to another is pretty much the same thing regardless of the licensing of the new package. I don't quite see the value in making it out to be some sort of religious conversion or lifestyle change.

      • They do mention in the paper that it's not very different from, say, migration from NT to 2000 or XP. But the reason for the paper is because people think it is *so* much different.

        This paper does a great job addressing the non-technical issues (read: end-users) as well too. Very nicely done IMHO.
    • Re:Wow great guide (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Deusy ( 455433 )
      It's really quite a piece of work. In fact it looks like it might be the most comprehensive guide yet written on how to migrate to opensource. This is good stuff.

      Yeah, riiiiiiiight.

      The first thing I do with any of these 'migration' things is to flip straight to the bit on groupware since that is the single most difficult piece of the puzzle to place; especially document management and scheduling.

      What does this paper say? I paraphrase: "Er... well... there's no real option other than web-based groupware
  • Short form (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ENOENT ( 25325 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @06:55PM (#7276206) Homepage Journal
    Here is the short form for deciding whether migration to OSS is appropriate:

    1. Are you OK with a foreign company having complete control of your data?

    Answers:
    Yes -- Continue using MS products.
    No -- Switch.
    • by yerricde ( 125198 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @07:25PM (#7276438) Homepage Journal

      The first dozen pages of the document that I read tell how to make such a switch. So here's the second short form:

      Do you want to be branded a political failure in the switch?

      1. Yes
      2. No

      If you chose 2, switch gradually, one system at a time, starting with the least-critical systems and the systems farthest away from direct interaction with users. Once you get to the users, switch their interfaces one piece at a time, starting by introducing Free Software that runs within the existing proprietary framework (examples include Mozilla and OpenOffice.org products for Windows OS).

  • I didn't see .. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MisanthropicProggram ( 597526 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @06:58PM (#7276231)
    any reference to a list of applications that could be substituted for the proprietary stuff. I would like to see something like:

    Windows ..... Linux, OpenBSD, FreeBSD,etc.

    MS Office ....... OpenOffice, ????

    Outlook, OulookExpress ...... ???? you get the idea.
    Unless you know what the OSS version's name is, you wouldn't know what to replace it with.
    I don't know what all the OSS replacements are, if there are any, or what functionality they have (haven't). This would greatly help someone trying to migrate. Otherwise, I'm afraid, they'll just throw up their hands, and say,"I don't know where to start."

    • You stupid idiot! It's right there in the PDF on the first page that's linked to! It's barried in the text! Sorry that there's no pretty charts or tables for you! What are you? An MBA or something? RTFA!!!!

      Ok, i feel better now. I got so caught up in following the links, I didn't even look at the first thing on the page. Yes, I feel really stupid right now.

    • Read the pdf. The vast majority of the document is exactly what you say wasn't there.

      Of course reading the entire thing is likely to take quite some time.

    • Try this. [linuxshop.ru]
  • Opportunity knocks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rsborg ( 111459 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @06:59PM (#7276240) Homepage
    This is a pretty comprehensive study(tho one imagines that it could get out of date pretty quickly). One thought that came up was, what about the areas in the article where OSS comes up short? For example, from the article:

    11.6.2. Personal databases held centrally or locally
    Ad hoc personal databases are not well supported in OSS. There is no direct equivalent to Access, nor is one being developed. Several of the groupware packages do offer some capability in this area using a variety of OSS SQL databases as a back-end. In some cases (such as NullLogic) ordinary users can only use pre-defined queries. Some offer the ability to define forms that can be used to store and access data.

    Is there someone who could either rebut this statement, or would want to work on a replacement? Yes, Access sucks and is the bane of any data-warehousing project... but it's utility is the reason there are so many small but completely critical .mdb files out there.

    • small but completely critical .mdb files out there

      You have critical data in .mdb files? Either you have nerves of steel, or the brain of a jellied eel.

      • You have critical data in .mdb files? Either you have nerves of steel, or the brain of a jellied eel.

        HA! I have critical data in Foxpro .dbf files! So, what do I win?

      • You have critical data in .mdb files? Either you have nerves of steel, or the brain of a jellied eel.

        Not me, amigo, but as a consultant, I can't count on my two hands the number of times I've had to either warehouse data from, or (worse) interface with an existing Access database. Either the company/dept. didn't want to pay the fee for MS SQL (forget about Oracle), or they didn't have anyone with skills enough to be able to work on anything but Access... just because they use Access and MS Office as "enter

        • I'm thinking that LAMP setups with properly designed web interfaces would be the obvious choice to replace Access as a small (a few tables, etc. - nothing massive) desktop/small office DB. Even WAMP would work well, but it would certainly cost more. It would probaly take a little more skill to setup and write than an equivalent Access DB "app", but the long term payoff would certainly be worth it.
        • by whereiswaldo ( 459052 ) on Wednesday October 22, 2003 @01:30AM (#7278663) Journal
          Not me, amigo, but as a consultant, I can't count on my two hands the number of times I've had to either warehouse data from, or (worse) interface with an existing Access database.

          Funny, when I was in college, I was told over and over again that MS Access was a solution to be touted to customers. While we were taught Oracle, Access was great for small businesses and non-profit organizations.
          Now that I know better not to use Access, I can think of a bunch of alternatives that I would rather use. Access is not a multi-user-friendly system.
          • Funny, when I was in college, I was told over and over again that MS Access was a solution to be touted to customers.

            MS didn't happen to make any significant donations to your computer science department, did they?

            • MS didn't happen to make any significant donations to your computer science department, did they?

              Good question - I don't know. However, I can tell you that there were plans to switch over from Novell to Microsoft Networks. As far as switching away from Oracle, I don't believe there were any plans to do so, but I seem to recall some momentum to get away from mainframe licensing costs (which seemed to be quite high).
    • by am 2k ( 217885 )
      SQLite [hwaci.com] is an open source (even public domain!) personal SQL-capable database. It lacks some features (like types other than strings and some SQL commands), but it's very useful for embedded databases.
      • Does it have a graphical schema designer and graphical data interaction tools? Any Access replacement should have at least those.

        • From the look of the site it seems to be just a library that implements a database engine (uses SQL but not SQL-92 compliant) rather than an application. Closer to the DLL that implements the JET engine in VB/Access rather than Access itself. Useful if you need that sort of thing but not a replacement for Access.

          Obviously, if someone wrote an access like front end then we'd have something that could be pitched as an alternative to Access. Heck, if there was an ODBC driver for it then StarOffice could fi

    • by Yarn ( 75 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @07:40PM (#7276544) Homepage
      Openoffice 1.1 has a rudimentary DB interface. It needs work, but a graphical query design (similar to access's) is there already. The backend can be any odbc or jdbc database, as far as I can tell.

    • (Postgres or MySQL) + unixODBC + OpenOffice = access replacement for user database.

      OO has a n access-like interface to allow very nice access to your data.


  • About how much hassle you'll have to go through getting the open source license server manager daemons properly configured after calling in your product activation!

    [Sorry, couldn't resist.]

  • I wonder why...? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SoSueMe ( 263478 )
    Perhaps they are going this way because of poor language support, among other things.

    Here's a possible example:

    The IDA Open Source Migration Guidelines provide practical and detailed recommendations on how to migrate to Open Source Software (OSS)-based office applications, calendaring, e-mail and other standard applications.

    They have been developed with guidance from public sector IT experts from Denmark, Finland, Italy, Germany, Malta, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Turkey.

    If you look at the detai

  • ...when Software Patents become a reality?
  • by forgetmenot ( 467513 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {llewejsta}> on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @08:02PM (#7276688) Homepage
    I think the most important section of that whole document is 7.3, which I lovingly think of as the "condom section" - common sense steps to protecting yourself when you're in a relationship with a beast. Face it - for whatever reasons, many IT managers are loathe to leave the Microsoft cradle and make the jump to OSS. But 7.3 is practical common-sense advice about how not to dig a bigger hole than one you're in.
    • You're correct. That section really contained nothing but common sense. That is, for us it would be common sense. For others, using open formats is unthinkable.

      I have three examples of people. One who really knows to little of computers. She does however know more than most and likes the fact that Opera7 and Mozilla Thunderbird sits on our home desktop. Not only because they are faster than Internet Explorer/Outlook Express.
      The second worked as a consultant and learned of incompabilites the hard way. Needl
  • Here's a mirror:

    The views expressed in this document are purely those of the authors and may not, in any circumstances, be interpreted as stating an official position of the European Commission.

    The European Commission does not guarantee the accuracy of the information included in this study, nor it accepts any responsibility for any use thereof.

    [snip 147 pages]

    Appendices - Glossary (cont'd)

    X Session: When a user logs in to a computer and runs programs under the X protocol they create and X session.

    X T

  • More and more governmental bodies consider switching from closed (read: MS) source to open source software. With this change, they become more reliant on OSS existing and flourishing. Thus, the power of the patent mongers should wane.

    Comments?

  • The excel tool looks pretty cool so i opened it up under openoffice and tried the following values:

    Intenal desktop: 20
    Home desktop: 1
    users: 20
    Sites: 1
    Years of propriety upgrade: 3

    Cost of propietory works out to be: 48,364 for the fist year.
    Cost of FOSS (1st yr): 40,462

    Now the shocking big:
    Total cost of migration for the first year:
    4,095,925 (thats 4 million euros!!) for 20 computers! [hardware:10,925; Software: 2480000, People:160500]

    wait a minute.. was this funded by microsoft??
  • We should be seeing a lot of books like that soon. Munich was the first step.
  • but isnt europe trying to ban innovation?
    I think this contradicts itself ;P

    well of course there are always different factions...

    bah whatever.
    I just hope the thirst for OSS overcomes proprietary lust.
  • and describe, in broad technical terms, how such a migration could be carried out. T

    1. Format C:
    2. Install freeware OS
    3. Fart in the general direction of Redmond , WA
  • If not converting institutions to oss, this document will save them money. What do you think will happen when you tell the MS salesman: "Ohh, but we have a central guideline that says we can migrate in this case." prices drops like IT stocks!
  • This guide is mostly a compendium to help users of Microsoft products in migrating to free and open source software equivalents that they might not be familiar with.

    In other words, if you've already decided to migrate and don't know much about where you're going, then this will help you. That seems to be insufficient. You need to know more about your destination (and where you're starting from) before you activate a migration.

    Such a document is educational, but is not the only set of information that som

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