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For those that wish MS to fail

By agrav8r
Jan 4, 2004
  1. I don't see US businesses taking to a non MS office( only due to the years of material already in their format)- any new system has to be 1005 compatable with Office for most to make the jump. but here is the article:


    January 1, 2004
    OpenOffice Finds Sweet Spot with Governments



    By Sean Michael Kerner


    Following a trend by foreign administrations, the Israeli government this week suspended its acquisitions of new computer software from Microsoft (Quote, Chart).

    Price issues and the U.S. company's refusal to sell individual programs from its standard software package are cited as the main reason behind the switch, according Associated Press reports. Instead, Israeli news outlet Arutz Sheva said Wednesday that the Israeli Ministry of Finance will begin distributing Openoffice.org to its users beginning this week. The Israeli government plans to begin distributing Openoffice.org software on CD-ROM to public access points across the country in 2004. The Hebrew version of Openoffice.org was translated by Sun Microsystems (Quote, Chart) and IBM (Quote, Chart) with the support and assistance of the Israeli Finance Ministry.

    The Israel government did not respond to requests for comment.

    "Israel is interesting because it has taken a stand on behalf of open source and open standards and said that this is the way that they want to go and Openoffice.org has been able to satisfy their needs," Louis Suarez-Potts, community manager for OpenOffice.org told internetnews.com.

    The Open Office software suite (properly referred to as Openoffice.org or OOo) is one of the better-known applications of the open source movement. It provides an alternative to Microsoft's ubiquitous Office application with similar word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software. Development of OpenOffice.org is partially backed by Sun Microsystems. OpenOffice.org will run on both *nix and Window environments and is duel licensed under the LGPL (GNU Lesser General Public License) and SISSL (Sun Industry Standards Source License).

    According to Suarez-Potts, Openoffice.org's license, which allows for open contributions, is one of the reasons that make the Israeli decision very promising.

    "Even people that are not using it in the Hebrew form will benefit from whatever improvements or enhancement they make," he said.

    Governments around the world appear to be taking an interest in Openoffice.org and open source software in general. The city of Austin, Texas recently adopted openoffice.org software and governments in Germany, France, Brazil and China to name of few have stated interest in going the open source route as well. In the U.K Scottish Public Libraries have made Openoffice.org software available for lending to the public.

    "We have been working towards having as many governments both regional and federal adopt open source and open office in particular because we are the flagship of any desktop open source system. Suarez-Potts said. "We're now in some ways the most definite obvious example that a person is going to encounter of open source software."

    The trend is even extending into more U.S. agencies, which have been some of Microsoft's best customers.

    "A couple of departments in Massachusetts state agencies have said they want to go open source too," Yankee Group analyst Laura Didio told internetnews.com. "With government organizations they have to tender within the confines of approved vendor lists for RFP's and they usually have to go with the lowest price so its not surprising that if you're just talking price that open source is going to have a great deal of appeal."

    Didio is quick to point out however that few organizations appear to look at the true total cost of ownership of open source solutions, specifically as it relates to indemnification (from the SCO Group lawsuit principally). She asserts that many governments need to have some sort of indemnification and that it's a large issue that needs to be recognized.

    According to Didio, the price differential of open source solutions such as Openoffice.org is not the only reason why governments are making noise about open source. She believes that it's also about leverage and competition.

    "I think that the competition that open source has brought to the table has been good because it has forced Microsoft to respond and give its customers better terms and conditions and that's healthy, Didio said. "It gives customers more leverage."

    In the case of governments, open standards may potentially be viewed as a necessary form of democratic pluralism themselves.

    "Should governments be using a format that is unique to a particular vendor to talk to its citizens? "Noted Linux Guru and author of the Open Source Definition Bruce Perens asks. "The government should not be saying you can only drive up to a government office in a particular brand of car. In the same sense the government should not be saying you can only talk to your government if you have Microsoft Windows software on your computer."

    According to Openoffice.org's Suarez-Potts, it's not just a case of kicking Microsoft in the shins, it's more a question of making file formats that are freely available, more available to a country's citizens.

    "We see that any number of governments in this coming year and probably the next two years are going to start using openoffice.org and open systems because we are better for the government itself and its better for the citizens of that country," he said.
     
  2. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    Microsoft make some fantastic products, but they do use their monopoly to charge over the odds for many items. More than 400% profit on Windows and more than 200% on Office is just rediculous, especially when other companies make do with 10-25% margins. If they brought their prices down to sensible levels, then they would have little competition as their products are some of the best around. However, it is because they have so much money to spend that the pace of technology has advanced so fast. They can take on risky projects and not worry too much about the consequences of failing. They employ a large number of talented developers and support the industry with many free (ok, paid for by the public) services. I think they will undoubtedly have to change their pricing as the world won't tolerate such monopolies charging whatever they like any more. It doesn't make sense for Microsoft to continually increase profits (at our expense), when others are struggling to break even. Open source will see to that.
     
  3. vassil3427

    vassil3427 TS Rookie Posts: 640

    I agree, MS makes great software and products period...But they charge way too much....
     
  4. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Posts: 863

    The future is unix based platforms. Most all governments of the world are now on unix based platforms, mainly because they are more advanced in security and it's not always hit by the virus of the week. Alot of developers are moving to unix based platforms as well. All it takes is a little time and Microsoft will fall.
     
  5. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    I don't think unix/linux will be big in the office space for quite some time. Most users that have PC's at home run MS Windows, so if all offices started using unix/linux, then that would require a lot of training/retraining of staff. Most users are already familiar with using MS Windows software so there is not much of a training issue when working in the office. Also, most companies in which staff often have to work from home, will wish to stick with software that is widely used in home environments (i.e. windows software). PC games are mainly designed for MS Windows platform, and also it is much harder to write applications for Unix/Linux, apparently. Companies that have custom applications developed for desktops will want them to run on most systems (i.e. windows). Unix/Linux will no doubt continue to gain market share, but its unlikely ever to supercede MS Windows in our lifetimes, if at all. Microsoft has so much money that it can afford to keep ahead in terms of technology, and that will ensure that it keeps a major chunk of the OS/Software market. It will have to lower its prices significantly in the next few years, so as not to lose too much market share.
     
  6. agrav8r

    agrav8r TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 103

    If they get a usable GUI ( Lindows) that automates a lot of the basic functions ( read plug and play) and supports graphic hardware ( direct X) than they may have a contender, Honestly Apple is closer to a competitor than Linux- The only thing holding linux up is the community- without them writing new programs it would sink and keeping in mind that they do so on their free time, it advances at a slower pace, with little or no direction.
     
  7. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Posts: 863

    All they have to do is make a GUI similar to what Windows is like, leggally. A "Start" like button at the bottom right/left, applications show at the bottom bar, etc. I'm not familiar with many of the thousands of flavors of unix, but if one of them offered a similar interface as windows, it would be a real kick.
     
  8. tkteo

    tkteo TS Rookie Posts: 52

    Speaking of the training/retraining issue:

    Where word processing software is concerned, I suppose TeX (and particularly the LaTeX macro variant) fulfills the requirement that the file format be open to all instead of being proprietary. It's a markup-based document typesetting language; one composes in ASCII in a manner much like HTML + CSS, and produces Postscript or PDF as the final document format.

    But, as someone who switched from using MS Word to TeX, I must admit that the latter has a steep initial learning curve. And typesetting in TeX is not "WYSIWYG" in the sense which MS Office users are accustomed to. (A parallel to composing in TeX instead of Word would be creating HTML pages in Notepad instead of Frontpage).

    Thus, for those used to "conventional" Office software, TeX might represent the other extreme. Switching to a more open file standard comes at the expense of abandoning a more visually intuitive way of creating documents.

    If there are other users of TeX on these forums, I'd be interested in knowing what you think.

    (FYI: TeX is a freely downloadable package suite for both Win32 and Unix/Linux platforms. It's open source, and thus free for the most part, cos admittedly there are commercial TeX vendors).
     
  9. djJ

    djJ TS Rookie

    Does it not stand to reason that if everyone is using a unix platform or variant thereof then people will then write virus code to attack these systems? I agree that they are much more secure, but you have to have a B.S. to know how to secure them well... Just a thought
     
  10. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    A successful virus is virtually impossible on a *x platform unless someone comes up with a popular Linux distro with *****ic default configuration.

    And most *x come with default configuration that is a lot more secure than any Windows.
     
  11. BrownPaper

    BrownPaper TS Rookie Posts: 407

    aren't KDE and Gnome a GUI for Linux?

    my friend has Mandrake 9.2 with KDE and it is basically like Windows or OS X. GUI with icons, "start menu," and other common stuff. sometimes it is easier to use console commands sometimes, but the more popular Linux distros are fairly simple to use.

    The KDE interface looks sufficient for office application use. it does not feel that much harder to use for basic applications (it might not be as easy to use as Windows in some respects however), Open Office is basically just as good as MS Office. i have no qualms using Open Office for a spreadsheet or typing a report.
     
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