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RE: [libreoffice-marketing] LibO in Education (JK-High School and NOT post grad. university/college)




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?

Thanks,
~Drew

Drew Campbell - Drew@TheTopFloor.com
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 [mailto:marc@marcpare.com]
Sent: Monday, October 18, 2010 11:08 AM
To: marketing@libreoffice.org
Subject: Re: [libreoffice-marketing] LibO in Education (JK-High School and NOT post grad. university/college)

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:
http://www.osapac.org/cms/ 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
> presentation.

Some school boards in the US are already accepting OASIS formats from
their students. An example is here:
http://www.doe.in.gov/olt/InACCESS/index.html.

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.

Cheers

Marc



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