Last year, I pushed hard to get a few of my area rural municipal
governments to adopt OpenOffice. I met with representatives of about 15
small Oklahoma towns and did a few presentations (all designed in
OpenOffice - eat the dog food!) In the end, none of them really saw any
value in migrating.
Their points were:
1. Microsoft provided us the software through a grant, we didn't have to
pay anything so money isn't an issue.
2. Document conversion isn't 100% accurate in many cases and we have
regulations we have to follow that require that they be accurate.
3. Retraining costs would be extremely high. Everyone knows MS Office,
nobody knows OpenOffice. We're a small government and can't afford
4. There will be massive pushback because the skills aren't transferable
and make people effectively useless in other jobs that use MS Office.
I think we should address a few of these points in whatever evangelism
we do towards local or national governments. Federal government in the
USA has historically been suspicious and wary of open source software.
That's dramatically changed over the last few years but, in some
agencies, it's still there to a degree.
Religious organizations are another are where costs and document
portability might not be a major concern because everyone is using the
same thing so there are no problems and, in many cases, Microsoft has
donated the software or provided it under a grant for no out of pocket
We're dealing with a very savvy competitior in Microsoft that is willing
to do whatever it takes to win. Whatever we come up with is going to
have to be just as savvy and beat them at their own game.
Very good points and I agree, at least in the States, it is a Microsoft
so maybe we should concentrate on ODF benefits and then market towards
businesses who are still running MSO 2003 and cannot afford the upgrade and
training to MSO 2007/2010 (which is considerable thanks to the ribbon).
Other options could be getting the Microsoft file converters in LO work work
perfectly to import old documents and then save in ODF, and also give the
option to reconfigure the menus and toolbars to mirror MSO2003 (for ease of
The marketing angle could be:
"LibreOffice: Upgrade from MSO 2003 with full compatibility and no
Essentially an updated, FOSS drop-in replacement for MSO. Once that happens
we can then build brand-loyalty and users will continue with LO instead of
MSO and LO can then create its own path, just as Microsoft did to
WordPerfect and Quatro Pro.
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