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Merci Michel for your note:

Le 2010-10-18 10:43, Michel Gagnon a écrit :

I am neither student nor teacher, but I have to offer support to my
daughter and her friends. I find that OpenOffice (and most likely
LibreOffice has a few problems to solve before it penetrates the market.
What are the main problems that need to be addressed?

– College, universities and large high schools have some IT personnel,
but smaller high schools and elementary schools don't have any. They
will get support from the school board for computers used in
administration... and they will get wiring for computers used in the
classroom. So it needs to be plug and play.

I am involved in committee work (teacher side) and meet regularly with school board IT. I am not sure if is is different in Quebec, Canad, but in Ontario the IT departments in our school boards are pretty well modelled on the IT department found at most universities. The school board IT departments are naturally smaller by comparison, however they do have divisions/specialists such as: network specialist; webmaster; help desk; hardware specialist/repairs; software repairs. As an example, my school board has over 10,000 computers servicing over 100,000 users and we have: 2 network specialists; 1 active help desk; 2 software specialists; 1 hardware specialist (with summer hired help) (I know this is definitely not enough); 1 webmaster (school board has a website and ALL schools have a website); 1 teacher-IT specialist for software research/usage of elementary/high school software use/adoption.

– Computers used by students typically have the software they were
bought with. Until the personnel who prepares the documentation for
tenders write that they ask for a computer with Windows and a free
Office suite, computers will continue to be stocked with Microsoft
Office. So these administrators are the first people we need to address.

Again, in Ontario, the system is a tendered system, Novell has deep penetration for networking solution in school boards in Ontario. MS products are installed with a cost/seat charge. Software is usually chosen from a Ontario government approved list: where IT and teachers coordinate the list of license purchases.

Ontario school board then tailor their purchases according to this list. BTW ... in Ontario, this is the group that LibO would have to target in advertising. They already have StarOffice on their list.

– Installation has to be simpler. One just have to look at the tutorial
on "how to install -- or upgrade -- OpenOffice on a Windows platform" to
be totally discouraged about the process. And the French version is even
worst than the English one (as in more steps to go through).
Fortunately, I did not read the tutorials before, installed the usual
way (double click), and things went well.

– In the same line, installation needs to be closer to the so-called
"silent install" that can be done with some know how. The way it should
work: Double-click and it automatically creates its temporary folder and
installs itself; registration should disappear. Why not replace that
with a link to the help forums in the "?" menu?

The LibO suite is still in beta and I hope that the install process will be as streamlined as OpenOffice. There have been discussions on the discuss mailist about this. Just search for this thread: Survey|Opinion - LibreOffice Install and Update and add your opinion. It will count!

- Whatever may be said – in theory – about the beauty of open formats,
Microsoft Office 2003 formats have become the de facto standard.
Students need to be able to prepare a homework, send a resume or show a
presentation saved in one of these formats without any loss of data or

Some school boards in the US are already accepting OASIS formats from their students. An example is here:

It is imperative that the LibO partner with the OASIS group in advertising the benefits of an ISO convention format. We need to target the right organizations and I think we can hold up the example of the "Indiana Department of Education" as a shining example of this success.
Maybe we should invite them to speak to us on this discussion list.

- Pricewise, OpenOffice and LibreOffice are cheaper (obviously), but not
that cheap when we consider that Microsoft makes its Home and Student
version fairly affordable.

Yes, however, the Home/Student versions are crippled versions of their full-blown product line. The also advertise the fact that their Home/Student users should consider upgrading to the full-blown product when they need more functionality. LibO is full blown. Maybe a theme-able student menu could be offered to those who want fewer options in the menu line?

- Finally, the Windows platform has often been an orphan of OpenOffice,
and now LibreOffice. For instance, I haven't installed the new
LibreOffice because it removes my working installation of OpenOffice 3.2
and because there is no French language pack. I don't care that much for
menus in French, but my daughters do, and I really want a French
dictionnary. I hope the upcoming Beta 3 will solve these shortcomings.

Yes, the LibO is still Beta and the devs (developers) will address these issues in time.



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