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Re: [libreoffice-marketing] LibreOffice vs. MS Office


On 01/12/2013 01:00 PM, Kannan Moudgalya wrote:
Dear All,

I would like to re-open the discussion on this topic, which was discussed a couple of weeks back.

I already mentioned in a previous mail that we offer LibreOffice workshops for clerical and support staff of many organisations, such as government offices and universities, free of cost. What is interesting is that the participants learn advanced features of the software, for example, track changes and the like. Most of them, however, are not aware of such advanced techniques in MS Office. The reason is that no one teaches these things on MS Office - the training programme is possibly expensive or only limited seats are available in a training programme.

Thus, even if LibreOffice is less powerful (for argument sake), it is used effectively - even the advanced features are known to the users. In comparsion, the MS Office is used less effectively, even if it is more powerful, once again, for argument sake. Thus, the LibreOffice users end up being better users of the software, compared to the MS Office users.
A few of points:
1. Office suites are relatively mature products and all have a common set of core features such as tracking changes, etc. So most of the very advanced features will not be used by the vast majority of users. So the core functionality is the same for any office suite and most users probably would not know the difference other than the interface and naming conventions are somewhat different. Office suites (at least as separate parts) have been around since the 80's and most of the key functionality has been included for many years. Each office suite does have it strengths and weaknesses. One article I read stated that Writer is superior to Word for long, book length documents for many reasons, I forgot to save the link.

2. Except some file compatibility issues, IMHO, all the major FOSS and proprietary office suites will more than adequately meet most user needs. The file compatibility issue is caused by poorly documented/implemented proprietary file formats being used by commercial vendors. MS has the worst reputation but others try to lock in users by using proprietary formats. IMHO, the primary reason many do not switch from one suite to another is not retraining costs, which are probably overstated, but inertia of using suite X and will continue using it.

3. Office suites "in the cloud" do have some advantages for sharing and working remotely. However, IMHO, the primary reason many vendors are pushing the cloud is because many core software products are mature. The most important reason to update to a new version for most is for the bug fixes and internal improvements. New features are rarely important. If the current version is more than adequate it is very difficult to get someone to spend money to update. But, if one is monthly subscriber one may pay more over time than with a one time purchase. Ironically, it is probably easier to convince someone using FOSS software to update more regularly because there is only the installation/updating time (costs) to be incurred.

The above observation got corroborated in a blender workshop that we organised. Here is a feedback from an official of the organisation, where we conducted this workshop.

/"The workshop as informed to you earlier over phone was really successful. By the end of four days the participants were very happy and confident in developing 3D animation. Earlier they were using licensed products which did not actually fulfill our requirements of 3 D animation. Added to that they were also introduced to interactive game development using Blender. In the four days they were introduced to modeling, lighting, 3D Animation and interactive games. The best part was the spoken tutorials helped them get ready with the installation, interface and utilities of Blender before the physical workshop in the IGNOU campus. Spoken tutorials were really useful as the participants could use them time and again as reference material even when the physical workshop was on. We are very happy with the workshop and looking forward to an advanced level workshop."

/Kannan





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Jay Lozier
jslozier@gmail.com


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References:
[libreoffice-marketing] LibreOffice vs. MS OfficeKannan Moudgalya <kannan@iitb.ac.in>
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