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Our company (The Top Floor) serves 45% of the school districts in Vermont. Over the past few years 
we've found a very large number of these schools moving to OpenOffice with great success...

However the trend is turning...Schools in Vermont are now moving to Google Apps at a very rapid 
pace. The challenge to marketing LibreOffice here will be less about support, etc, but more about 
competition with Google Apps for Education.

Of course there are advantages and drawbacks to both LibreOffice and Google Apps, and perhaps a mix 
of the two is the best solution for some schools...Has anyone written about how LibO is either 
superior to or complimentary to Google Apps?


Drew Campbell -
The Top Floor - Business Computer Solutions 

PO Box 524, Middlebury, VT 05753
Phone: 802.388.1600 x252
Toll-Free: 800.290.4979 x252
Fax: 800.290.4765

-----Original Message-----
From: Marc Paré [] 
Sent: Monday, October 18, 2010 11:08 AM
Subject: Re: [libreoffice-marketing] LibO in Education (JK-High School and NOT post grad. 

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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