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Hi all,

My name is Riemer Thalen and I am not a programmer. I'm a marketing guy. For the last couple of years I have been wondering: how come so many people pay hundreds of dollars for MS Office when they can have OOo/LibO for free?

Apparently, many people feel LibO does not match MS Office. Maybe they
are missing functions MS Office has, maybe they think LibO behaves
oddly, or maybe... we don't know.

And that's a real problem. Because if we really want LibO to become the
number one office suite in the world, we need to find out what keeps
people form switching to OOo/LibO permanently.

I am not an old hand in the OOo community. Maybe some market reseach
into former users has been done in the past. I searched the Internet and I could not find any reports.

At present, the LibO developers are guided by community feedback. But
for our purpose, that will not do. It is like asking iPhone users if
they need a keyboard. No, of course they don't. If they thought a
keyboard was necessary they would not have bought an iPhone in the
first place.
The same applies to the OOo / LibO community. The members are dedicated
LibO users and by definition they are not representative for non-users.

As it happens, my daughter who is business student needs to do a
marketing survey. That's no big deal nowadays. All you have to do is
open an account at a survey site. Then you compose a three question

The questionnaire is posted and tagged on Facebook and LinkedIn.
"Did you use OpenOffice in the past? Please, help us improve it. Answer just three questions." If only half of the subscribers to this mailing list would post the link, we probably will have more than enough respondents.

The questionnaire could read like this:

/Yes, I used or tried in the past and I do not use it

1) The main reason I dropped OOo concerned (tick as many boxes as are
applicable): O Writer, O Calc, O Impress (presentation), O Draw,
O Base, O Formula,  O the suite as a whole.

2) What made me drop OOo was the following. (Just the one big problem.
What was the show-stopper for you?)

3) What else needs to be fixed in OOo in your opinion? (Name as many
issues as you like.)

Thank you for your feedback!
Indeed, this is a qualitative survey. We need to know how former users
feel about OOo/LibO. In what terms do they describe their problem? How
strongly do they feel about it? That is more important than the exact
percentage that encountered the issue.
(Of course, the responses will later be categorized and counted, but this will result in quantative indications only.)

Once the results are in and processed, two importants things can be done:

1. the developers can prioritize issues, fixes, modifications and new
functions, targeting a new group of users.

2. the marketing group can create a "switchers guide" based on real-life feedback. Not all functions in LibO will be and can be the same as in MS Office. Knowing the differences and how to deal with them will greatly improve user satisfaction.

OK, this is as far as my proposal goes. I would like to hear from you
guys what you think of it. Personally, I feel it is very important to get feedback from outside the community.

Moreover, IMHO it is crucial not only for the success of LibO, but also for the Linux desktop. Without an office suite that is considered state-of-the-art, Ubuntu, LinuxMint, Fedora and the likes are fighting an uphill battle...

Hope to hear from you soon.

Riemer Thalen

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