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On Thu, 2010-10-28 at 11:21 -0500, Frank Esposito wrote:

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.

Drug pushers will give you the first fix free ;-) There is a clear risk
as some national governments are now finding out.

2. Document conversion isn't 100% accurate in many cases and we have
regulations we have to follow that require that they be accurate.

So you have some legal licenses for MS Office, so keep these in case
something breaks or really requires something complex. In probably 99%
or more of documents, the document is a simple letter or something that
converts well or is non-critical. The fact that this is made out as an
issue demonstrates the risk in being locked into a proprietary file

3. Retraining costs would be extremely high. Everyone knows MS Office,
nobody knows OpenOffice. We're a small government and can't afford

Did you retrain all your staff when upgrading from MSO 97 to XP, to 2003
to 2007 etc? The changes between some of these are bigger than the
differences between OOo and MSO. We will soon have very low cost
certification for OOo skills and free on-line support and courses. There
is already very good support from the mailing lists and it is all free.

4. There will be massive pushback because the skills aren't transferable
and make people effectively useless in other jobs that use MS Office.

If skills really are not that transferable you are in big trouble
because the one thing that is certain is that current IT systems are
going to change. Even if you stick with MS there is change. All
employees need to realise that being flexible and willing to learn new
things is going to be an essential for future employment. If they don't
do it, other people will and in a massively connected world that means
people in developing countries who will also do the work at much lower

Very good points and I agree, at least in the States, it is a Microsoft

It's a MS world on the desktop in most places but it's a world in which
MS is losing ground. If you look at the dominant computer technology and
the fastest growing (Cell phones) MSFT is nowhere but unfortunately
neither is LO/OOo :-(

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).

Or get a port of LO/OOo to cell phones!

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
retraining costs."

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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