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In Ontario, all school boards use Microsoft products many of which are
priced as cost per seat. When contracts are negotiated, the IT departments
do as much as possible to reduce the amount of cost per seat (that is the
cost of software for every computer) in their board.

If they were really serious about it they would move every seat to Ubuntu.
That would reduce the cost per seat and even if they argued they had some
software that would not run, have they really done an analysis to prove
these things are vital to learning and that there are no other methods of
delivery such as VNC? They also need to add up the savings over say 10 years
and offset that against any short term transition costs such as training and
support for technical staff. If they haven't done that exercise they are not
doing their jobs.

This is their mandate. IT department will do this if this means renewing
licences for Windows on every seat to lower the MSO suite cost per seat.

So they are not reducing cost per seat absolutely, they are reducing cost
per seat after assuming they are using a MS platform without it seems doing
a proper analysis of why they are using a MS platform.

I find that IT departments will adopt alternatives when these are easily
implemented over their networks (many of these use Novel). If the network
installation is not easily accomplished and maintained then they will keep
the structure that has a proven track record. TCO (total cost of ownership)
is high up on their list of concerns.

TCO would be much lower with Ubuntu because the system of up grades is
simpler. We use Ubuntu here and transitioned from MS systems so we are
talking from experience. BECTA in the UK did a survey in 2005 showing
considerable overall savings if schools migrate to open source. If that was
true in 2005 it is only going to be more so in 2011. I have no sympathy with
schools that moan about lack of funding and then deploy expensive
proprietary IT systems without even having a transition strategy.

To gain a foothold in school boards, LibreOffice will have to make sure that
it will be easily network installable and maintained.

In practical terms yes, that was a big problem with OOo in schools. It
probably means it is easier to deploy web based office tools instead. OTOH
you could say that deploying LO on windows is a first step in a planned
migration to open source systems. (There are grounds for such a strategy
based on equality of opportunity and inclusion since pupils can then use the
same software legally at home without incurring charges) Since most Linux
distributions use LO it makes sense to use LO so that it is the same
software when they eventually migrate to Linux.

It will also have to prove having a robust file interoperability especially
for MSO file formats. We are not at the point where opensource file formats
 are the norm in N. America. Once a school board in a province has moved to
LibreOffice in one of its provincially run schoolboards, many will follow
suit. Getting a foothold in one schoolboard will be the one that will start
the domino effect. After this point, the migration to LibreOffice will be

Again a stepping stone is to retain some MS Office - you have paid for the
licenses so why not use the resource? Use VNC for network access. Then if
you get sent a really complex document that won't format in LO you can
access it in MS Office. That will be relatively rare so the inconvenience is
a price worth paying for the savings overall.

My point being, we have to fight the market entrenchment and make
LibreOffice better than any other office suite.

Let's not forget that the source code that LibreOffice uses is that of
(essentially OpenOffice) and that many more code corrections and
enhancements have been made. OpenOffice does have a good track record,
LibreOffice at this point just happens to have better code and 10 years
worth of experience under a different name. :-)

Sadiq S
staticsafe on Freenode
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Please avoid sending me Word or PowerPoint attachments.



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