Are they not doing it once in a while? Switching to LibreOffice and then coming back to MS Office?
Sounds more like a deal shopping.
From the department of If At First You Don't Succeed Try Try Again comes news that a German state is to have a crack at shifting thousands of PCs from proprietary software to an open-source alternative. In this instance, it is the north-German state of Schleswig-Holstein that is aiming to ditch proprietary code, including …
Yep, most likely to help negotiate lower bids / deals.
The day this gets interesting is the day Microsoft withholds standard installs and dictates that everyone goes towards the cloud (Office320 or something?). Then LibreOffice (and partners) could end up standing as a fierce market leader.
I don't think so, because in-browser is the currently favoured idiom and as far as I'm aware, LibreOffice doesn't really have an offering in that domain yet. It's Google or Microsoft.
Then again, one of my offspring is required to use Word by the college. They have both online and local versions, which is sort of good because it means it's possible to WfH without installing Office at home.
Unfortunately, one of the courses insists on a particular quoting / citation format that simply doesn't work in the online version of Word! Assignments can be written at home, but then have to be embellished at college on a locally-installed copy.
No, LibreOffice can't do it either - or at least, not in a way which then loads properly into Word and is acceptable to the course tutor.
It's pretty good - I've been running my own NextCloud instance for a while, with Collabora for online document editing and am very pleased with both. I think the install process has got even easier since I did it - Collabora is now built in instead of needing to be installed separately.
Ok, point taken. Last time I looked at Collabora there were an awful lot of "it works, but..." type caveats. It certainly didn't seem to be as well integrated with the desktop product as Microsoft's offering, and not as feature-full (if that's a word) as Google's online.
The main advantage of Google, of course, is that all the "online" stuff is waiting and ready for you to start using, which is probably why it has found its way into an awful lot of schools and small organisations which don't want to - or can't - manage the back end themselves.
Thanks for the reminder to look at it again...
The key there is 'about to test it'. I've been involved in several attempts to break free of Microsoft using google and Libra office offerings.
The end result has been that a large number of Microsoft licences have had to be retained for corporate application compatibility or for inter-working with external partners. If you have an enterprise agreement this usually ends up being 1-1 with a copy of MS products having to be licenced for every device as it's more cost effective and less risk than only licencing the devices which must have Office. From there new starters tend to then continue to use MS Office as there is no additional cost and its what they are used to.
Every time a non MS vendor creates a product which is fully compatible MS change the file formats. In addition until non MS vendors can match the corporate app integration (for document production spreadsheet manipulation etc) then the traction MS hold will mean they cannot break the vice-like grip MS have on corporate accounts
It depends on the company's needs, there's no universal recipe.
If your doc production is mainly for inhouse use and you have no need to exchange proprietary formats with other victims there is almost no need to use MS Office <whatever version du jour>, with the sole exception of maybe very complex Excel work (but we've managed to do that too in LO).
We do have an MS Office license, but just one, and on a system that has no access to the internal network - it is solely used for conversion.
That said, our security needs are fairly exceptional - we also do not use Adobe which was a bit of an adjustment for our designers because they're also not allowed to use TypeKit or Google Fonts for online: they either use webfonts or default fonts (but I have the impression a designer wouldn't want to caught dead using something generic), anything disclosing a visitor's visit to our sites is flat out banned (we also use Matomo instead of Google Statistics).
We're in the fortunate position that we can dictate terms - after all, LibreOffice is free so there are not that many barriers for a supplier to use it, and given our supply chain security audits they tend to cave quite quickly as compliance ensures they keep their revenue stream from us.
Does that mean we're total FOSS fans? No, but the pragmatic view is that we should not be spending money on something that impairs company security if a safer alternative is cheaper (not free as ethics demand we sponsor the source, but you know what I mean). We also very much prefer open standards because it makes things interoperable between platforms so it's just a lot less hassle to make things work, and easier to audit - complexity is not your friend if you want to keep things safe, but diversity prevents cascade failures where one bug/infection can take out an entire platform if it's homogenous.
Where we use proprietary applications we tend to focus on applications we can get the source code for which is implied with FOSS or pushed into escrow if not (which is rare to make it past budget approval).
So no, MS has no foot in our door, nor will it ever get one for a simple reason: our "no" is mandated at boardroom level, and no amount of wining and dining will change that. I do understand others unfortunately do not enjoy that luxury.
It isn't necessarily about lower bids, it is about guaranteeing the data stays within the German or at worst, EU borders and that the provider can guarantee that they will not hand over the data in response to the CLOUD Act, the Patriot Act, NSLs etc.
That is something Microsoft, as a company with office in the USA, cannot guarantee.
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They are going for an own cloud and web browser based virtual desktop experience.
They want to use Cloud-Office, Collabora and OpenXchange, for example.
The big point being that the school districts can't use M365 and Teams, because it is not GDPR compliant, especially when it comes to handling the data of minors, according to German Data Protection Registrars.
This is part of a general federal move away from proprietary software, especially software that is outside their control - E.g. US big tech.
Given the US's repeated failures to take data protection and the corresponding EU treaties (Safe Harbor and Privacy Shield) seriously, so that they got shot down in EU court, along with the US attitude to placing sanctions on the EU partner countries, as well as general sanctions against tech sourced out of China, looking for a home-grown infrastructure that you have control over is becoming a critical theme in many governments.
As far as I could ascertain from the story last week in c't, they want to create dPhoenixSuite as a virtual, browser based, environment, using home grown cloud providers. If it is a success, they want to provide other states in Germany with the software stack and know-how to implement their own installations - either on-site or locally hosted.
It seems to be building on Dataport's existing Phoenix open source offering.
Many other states are positive about the project or are already in plans to implement it. Sachsen and Berlin are still in discussions - the new coalition senates in the states need to sort themselves out first. It looks like only Bavaria is not looking into trialling the project at the moment.
Having personally experienced the disaster that is referred to by MS as "collaboration", involving a single Word document, stored on a Sharepoint server, with ~20 people all over the world trying to edit it simultaneously, I would not be too terribly disappointed if my company decided to explore alternatives.
However, I doubt I will live to see that day. They have solidly bought into the "joy" of Microsoft.
To be fair, that's going to be zero savings over the first 5 years or so, and probably mostly because you already own the VLK's.
The saving would be in not having to buy licenses in the future.
Frankly, just knocking off the low hanging fruit (~80% of the workforce) and then buying a full copy of Microsoft office for the remaining 20% who are determined not to switch would deliver a quite impressive saving in it's own right while removing any reason for complaint in most cases.
The advantage isn't in cash savings, it's technology independence, and future-proofing.
It might be a bit more of that, and the cash impact being bigger than just "the licenses". Don't forget that W11 is mentioned, and that, as usual in public office, it would not be surprising if the inventory is dated, and can't meet the elevated W11 standards. So, all need a new box. And that is going to add up to a lot of cash in the end. And those cash numbers on the spreadsheet are a big difference to what happened in Munich, which was more driven by "ideology" at the time.
Then again, as we all know, I'm sure the marketing dark masters @ Redmond are at the point to roll out a "we-have-your-back-you-can-stay-with-your-old-soft-and-hard-ware-only-because-I'm-your-friend-option-license-which-oddly-seems-to-be-priced-a-bit-higher". After all, these minimum standards for W11 are an artificial, MS imposed standard. So you don't hurt yourself. But, pay me, and I will flip the switch.
Hmm? What? Who mumbled ransom software? Blasphemy!
I wouldn't be surprised that the motivation really isn't to save money. It's quite possibly a not entirely unjustified fear that at some future time their operations could be hostage to the whims of MS management. Potentially, MS could increase their subscription fees by 35% a year every year for 20 years, and those users who are locked in would have no choice other than to pay up.
But MS wouldn't do that? Haven't dealt with many MBA equipped beancounters have we?
I'm guessing, but it appears to me that local and regional governments do an awful lot of stuff that may be difficult in some cases to do well with the generalized tools in office packages. Birth and Death records and producing the corresponding certificates on demand. Land titles and zoning restrictions and zoning variances. Police records. Probably medical data subject to complex access rules. Library catalogs perhaps. Maybe lists of library cards and expiration dates. Dog licenses. Canine rabies shot certificates. Tax information. Property ownership data. I actually looked at the latter once for some project of my esteemed spouse's. It's public record information here in Vermont. The property locations and valuations were orderly. But man-oh-man was there peculiar stuff in a few of the owner and owner address fields. The property is jointly owned by several trusts with multiple addresses in multiple countries?
My guess is that sort of stuff they want to do in OS independent environments -- browsers apparently.
My take is that becoming OS independent is possibly feasible. And it's probably a good idea. But it will not be easy. And they will be lucky if they can do it at current budget levels.
"Potentially, MS could increase their subscription fees by 35% a year every year for 20 years, and those users who are locked in would have no choice other than to pay up."
How do you plan for that to happen? Let's assume for the moment that Microsoft would want to do something that stupid. They currently have standalone licenses, so I'm assuming this requires that they stop selling those first. With subscriptions, they do have a method of cutting people off if they stop paying, but they don't have a method of locking them in. The customers could choose to stop buying a subscription as soon as they were ready to use something else, and Microsoft wouldn't have any leverage over them. The data would still be available, in an open format, and can be downloaded off Microsoft's cloud storage if they put it up there in the first place which is unlikely for government documents. LibreOffice supports the current and older formats used by MS Office, so it can be dropped in for most users.
If Microsoft did use the license inflation algorithm you suggested, people would switch somewhat quickly-. By ten years in, the licenses would cost twenty times as much, and that would be all the price shock a lot of users would need, many of them having jumped ship long before that.
as soon as they were ready to use something else
And that getting ready would involve a lot of running around in blue-arsed fly mode. Far better to be there ahead of time.
people would switch somewhat quickly
many of them having jumped ship long before that
See above. It's unlikely that MS would actually make the moves drastically enough to make the ship-jumping moment noticeable. The trick would be to do it sufficiently slowly that there's no single point at which it would be easy to say "That's too much".
In fact, from what I read the push towards subscriptions is well under way. The frog's water is already aired.
"And that getting ready would involve a lot of running around in blue-arsed fly mode. Far better to be there ahead of time."
I didn't say they shouldn't, just that there's no lock in mechanism available to Microsoft. Microsoft benefits by having lots of subscription customers. I wouldn't be surprised that they try to get everyone to use that licensing method, but an inflation rate that ends up forcing customers out is stupid and they have enough people to recognize this. Lots of organizations have shifted to using Google services including Docs even though it's painful, so Microsoft should be well aware that their dominance in office software is fragile.
"Lock in" means that you are in some way forced to use it, or at least that changing to something else is painful. If, for example, you use Microsoft's cloud services, you very well might be locked in because their database config can't just be immediately shifted onto your own equipment (if you only use their infrastructure, then you don't have that problem). Nothing of that nature exists with Office.
If you have an IT department that likes Office, and that's your reason for not switching, then that's not at all Microsoft lock in. They are using it because they like it and want to. If you have a problem with that, tell them not to or replace them. Microsoft didn't put them there and do not have any mechanism to force you to listen to them.
I don't think this is just about money. Microsoft is getting very aggressive about moving all your documents onto their servers. In addition to statutory data protection obligations, public services often have additional requirements about what they store, in what format they store it and where it's stored. Admittedly, some of the rules are bizarre and antiquated and very often quite the opposite of open access, but they still exist.
Fax is not being used for track and trace, but for reporting between different systems. Track and trace is devolved to the local health authorities who do a pretty good job given their scarce resources – they're often an easy target for "cutting waste".
The bureaucracy is extensive and entrenched – every time I get a jab pages of blurb get scanned and sent – but this and the degree of digitisation are a red herring in the current situation. In general, there has been far too much faith in modelling and not enough in standard operating procedures. Infections and deaths correlate, unfortunately, well with the well-documented underfunding of the care of the elderly. Including the rather bizarre decisions not to roll out compulsory rapid testing in autumn 2020 and a hesitancy for compulsory vaccinations for health and care workers.
Among the general population mortality correlates inversely to indicators of good primary health care such as the number of hospital beds per capita. Infection rates also correlate inversely to the introduction and withdrawal of free rapid testings. While this was for some a get rich quick scheme, it was also excellent public health and, hence, cheap at the price. People understood the quid pro quo, infections were identified early and people who tested positive stayed home.
@Charlie I do apologise if my remark came across as coarse. But even after multiple years in Germany (leidenschaftlich!), and subscribing to the German privacy principle wholeheartedly, I must admit that I'm sometimes still baffled by the slow moving German "digital wave forward". Especially if I compare it to where I grew up and the other countries I had the pleasure to work in. So please, the remark was not meant maliciously, but more similar you do with regard to that weird aunt who you meet at birthday parties twice a year, insists on wearing her knickers over her pants, always gives you sloppy kisses, and you still love to bits.
As for the professional insight you give: very interesting to read. As you probably figured out I'm on the other side of the process, and still baffled by the level (lack) of "introspection" of patients, apparent expectation to clear their sh!t up for them, while tolerating increasing levels of rudeness and aggressiveness. I must also admit I'm sufficiently frustrated with the viscosity of those realising finally that for once in their career they actually might have to make a decision that matters. Although, as you know, we have been warning for some time already that action was needed because the buffer capacity was declining. Rapidly. And we're now on the phone to do that triage call to people that their "plan-able op" is postponed. Again.
Yes, you are 100% right about the testing. And yes, in such situations it would be naive to assume that potential abuse is not inherent to the human race. Then again, did I see this week they caught the guys and they are now in court?
Seems like a lot of effort to achieve zero savings
That's the bean-counter angle, which does not always work out well in the long run.
The intention, as stated in the article, is obviously not saving money short term (or at all) -- and 5 years is a pretty short term view on that scale.
I switched three years ago and overall it's not been too bad. Most of my MS use was Excel and the odd mega-report in Word with full outlining, contents, footnotes, etc; I don't do Powerpoint. My main concern was Excel macros, but they came across OK with no tweaking other than installing Java. The main pain was, as expected, unfamiliarity and finding commands. Page setup and formatting for printing is odd, but that's probably more to do with 20 odd years of MS usage rather than LibreOffice, and I'm just about OK with it. The most annoying thing is that files open in random sized windows and the LibreOffice view is that this is the OS fault, not theirs, in spite of it not happening with any other programmes, but I can live with it.
But for a large organization spread over a number of offices I can see that there will be problems. Most people only use a tiny %age of Office's capabilities and their usage is burned into muscle memory* so teaching them new stuff is hard. The biggest threat to a change like this is when the big boss can't get his paper copy of the presentation because his admin can't work out how to print it and he has to head off to the airport without it - fuming. They need to get a load of people trained as local experts and someone needs to go through all the stuff that the high-paid help depends on and make sure it runs without a hitch. In the meantime I'm sure, as others have posted, that MS will be glad handling all the movers and shakers in the area to make this go away.
* e.g. a dusty part of my brain is still full of slash commands like /wcws to set the width of columns in the spreadsheet programme I used in the early 90s. I can't remember the programme - it was pre-wysiwyg - but my brain and fingers can still remember the commands!
"Most people only use a tiny %age of Office's capabilities and their usage is burned into muscle memory"
Why do you think MS changed the UI to the ribbon? Once they'd changed the file formats to something approximating to a public standard they couldn't keep shuffling it about the way they did with .doc etc.
Yeah, but in Schleswig-Holstein they already have been using LibreOffice on Windows for two years to see whether it will work and will be good enough for what they do, and the result was that it does and it is. Only after that, they also decided to go all the way and move to Linux, too.
I once worked for a company that was bought by a multi-national and after about a year a new edict came down from headquarters that the new corporate standard was everything had to be Microsoft because they had negotiated a licensing deal with them to save money.
We had been using Wordperfect and Lotus 123 (this was obviously a while ago). The change was universally unpopular but nobody in a position to make decisions cared whether anyone on the receiving end of things like it or not. Anybody who couldn't adapt could always be replaced.
There was some moaning about how MS Word and Excel were crap and abysmally slow compared to WordPerfect and Lotus 123, but most people just shrugged and got on with it. After a couple of weeks nearly everybody had gotten over it and found out where the features they used were and life continued on as before. There were no changes in the amount of work you were expected to get done during the transition, so if you had any trouble you were expected to just work harder or longer.
The only department who had any serious issues were the bean counters. They had had a consultant construct a series of complicated Lotus 123 macros and linked spreadsheets to do some part of their bean counting and they didn't know how to port that over to MS Excel. The solution to that was the IT department gave them the business card of a consultant who did the same sort of thing for MS Excel and told them "your spreadsheets - your problems".
In the grand scheme of things the change wasn't a big deal. Most big companies at the time also made the switch and it wasn't considered a big deal for them either.
I've also used LibreOffice and I would say that changing from MS Word and Excel to the LibreOffice equivalents is easier than switching from WordPerfect and Lotus 123 to MS Word and Excel. This sort of change isn't going to be a problem unless someone is very determined to make it a problem.
Well, it was suspicious that Munich agreed to go back to Microsoft at about the same time that Microsoft announced that thy were moving their German headquarters to Munich.
Will we see Microsoft offer to move again, this time to Schleswig-Holstein? Or will they open some huge R&D site, or maybe an Azure bit-barn there.
There's incentives, and then there are Incentives.
I also believe that some very pro MS people joined the local Munich government in high up places during the transition.
I use LibreOffice (and OpenOffice before that and StarOffice on OS/2 before that) and have never owned a copy of MS Office, LO is OK, but as with all free software you have to put up with execrable support and a developer attitude along the lines of "You shouldn't want to do that, and if you do you can just fuck off and edit the source."
I am sure that the good people of Schleswig-Holstein will particularly enjoy the "General Input/Output Error" bug in LO which has been preventing saving and thereby losing changes for around five years now and about which the developers are completely unconcerned.
I started with Star Office, through Open Office to Libre Office.
I don't understand the execrable support point. It's always been there if you are willing to pay for it.
As for the general input/output error in over twenty years I have never encountered it. Perhaps there is another problem you have failed to isolate?
"The Document Foundation does not provide professional support services for LibreOffice. It does, however, develop and maintain a certification system for professionals of various kinds who deliver and sell services around LibreOffice." (https://www.libreoffice.org/get-help/professional-support/)
In other words, you can't get any form of support from the developers, but you can pay someone for some help. That's pretty rubbish, as is the almost invariably dismissive attitude of the developers when bugs are reported.
You've been lucky to avoid the GIO error. It's a bugger and it occurs in all parts of LO. Some people report that a complete purge and reinstall works.
"In other words, you can't get any form of support from the developers, but you can pay someone for some help. That's pretty rubbish"
Huh? Because if you call Microsoft with a support question related to Office they will put you through to the developers who will then instantly release a hotfix to deal with your issue. I mean, that's what your paying for.
"You've been lucky to avoid the GIO error. It's a bugger and it occurs in all parts of LO. Some people report that a complete purge and reinstall works."
References welcome; I couldn't quickly find any but maybe I was holding it wrong.
E.g. Linux (if so, which Linux, which desktop, etc) vs Windows (which Windows)?
Me, I've been using LibreOffice (various versions, mostly using Write and a bit of Calc) on OpenSUSE (mostly Leap15 but also earlier) with KDE, and also on Win7 (mostly W7Pro 64bit). Never seen a GIO error.
Anecdote is not evidence, etc, so all contributions gratefully received.
I suffered from it some years ago. So I looked into the causes. AFAIK, unless this is something different, it's to do with file locking on network shares and it depends on what and how your OS of choice does to the file locking mechanism. So I made the suggested change in the LO config file and haven't seen that issue since.
> I can't remember the programme - it was pre-wysiwyg - but my brain and fingers can still remember the commands!
That looks like Lotus 123 to me.
Fun Fact: you can still use that exact muscle memory in Excel, I think. In Options you'll find a Lotus menus checkbox. Old old old Compatibility setting for switchers in the 80s, which never went away. It definitely sets the Menu key to be / , but can't remember if it also then accepts/maps Lotus keystrokes directly. Try it!
RE: "Most people only use a tiny %age of Office's capabilities <snip> so teaching them new stuff is hard."
An individual may only use, say, 5% of features. A different user may use a different 5% of features. The larger the company, the more individuals there are, the greater the percentage of features being used - and the greater the amount of support needed. If only it were simple.
"and yet MS changes UIs for its OS regularly"
Do they really though? For something as complicated as OS development and design, I think MS have been remarkably consistent in their design choices since '95. People love to bash MS, but I think we have a lot to be thankful for.
A further proof, I haven't upgraded to Win11 yet, but I don't anticipate any transitional errors when moving from Win10
Harder applications are graphical ones as they can need a lot of bandwidth and low latency. Word processors are common graphical applications, so the use of Libreoffice, being run locally, is sensible.
They will prob not reach 100% as a few programs will only be available on Windows or macOS - but a few do not matter.
Working just from memory here.
Munich reported a very high degree of success, > 90% replacement. Then an incoming mayor demanded his Outlook or nothing.
I think I read somewhere that they were changing direction again once the fanboi was out of office.
Can't be arsed to chase up the citations though.
If anyone insists on Outlook, then OWA is the easy solution. Or install it on their phone / tablet.
Nothing wrong with Open Source office products. They fix many issues, except the ones involving users.
One day, the MS cloud will go down for a week or so and the move back to on-prem will begin.
I can notice you are not German or work there. What you assume is heresy. After reaching a certain level of seniority, Germans do not do their own email. They have assistants for that. Who print out their emails on paper, punch holes in it, and put it in a binder (Ordner), so the person can carry it around. Will confirm your status without words.
Don't believe me? Have a chuckle next time when you see some German news footage...
What happened in Munich was that Microsoft offered to move their EU headquarters to Munich if the city switched back to Microsoft products. A new mayor agreed to the deal and then used it to promote himself as having brought jobs to the city. That's pretty much all there was to it.
Munich reported a very high degree of success, > 90% replacement. Then an incoming mayor demanded his Outlook or nothing.
I think I read somewhere that they were changing direction again once the fanboi was out of office.
As I recall, the bigger issue was that Microsoft built a major new office in Munich, and the suggestion was that they would have been discouraged from doing so had the council continued with its non-Microsoft policies. Some have also suggested that inducements of a more personal nature may have been offered.
On purely technical grounds, though, the Open Source experiment was evidently very successful.
If one community manages to free itself from the shackles of MS, they know many more will follow.
The countless billions European governments are paying to MS is waisted taxpayer money.
The costs for MS are brutal, a bare W20XX servers costs like over $ 4000,- just for the right to login with two people.
It won't be just the users which have to adjust, also the software used for administration and papers for citizens might be impacted.
So either it is a publicity stunt to reduce their 8 digit bill from MS or some political opponent will receive massive donations from MS to win the next elections.
I did wonder if the relativity high spec requirements for Windows 11 would trigger some companies to a Linux distribution. While my newer PC's can move to W11 with no problems I have a perfectly serviceable PC which can't. As the program I need has a Linux equivalent it was a no-brainer to put Mint on it.
Although its up and running now it was still a steep learning curve to get it setup as I wanted.
The good news is that what you learned stays relevant longer.
The main desktops probably shuffle their UIs less than MS, but when they do it isn't compulsory. Don't like what Gnome or KDE think is cool this week? There's always somebody who agrees with you and forks the old version.
The issues I had were on the with the original install. The PC in question has a SSD and a collection of old HD's. Trying to set these up as I wanted was the hard bit. A lot of searches and three installs later I had the setup I wanted. Next was identifying what the command line utilities I needed were and what flags and arguments to use to get the desired outcomes was shall we say interesting.
I cut my teeth (as it were) on VAX VMS. Even today the DCL command line environment from VMS seems futuristic compared Linux, Windows and anything else I have looked at.
I used UNIX Edition 6 Shell (really horrible), then Bourne shell proper in Edition 7. then used DCL on RSX-11M before coming across DCL on VAX/VMS. Of course, since then I've used KSH, bash and a whole host of other shells at various times.
DCL on RSX-11M was like the cut down little brother of it's VMS sibling (but still better than it's precursor, MCR). One of the things that was good is was that the help system was very closely integrated, so not only did it allow auto-completion of commands, you could also get help with parameters while you were typing the command. These features were on the VAX/VMS, but not (so much) on RSX-11M. They also relied on the command being in the command database that DCL used.
The file versioning was a feature of FILES-11 filesystem that had various levels, but all had versioning.
On systems with limited space, versioning was a real problem, as it chewed through space very quickly. People soon had to learn how to use the PURGE command,
I cut my teeth (as it were) on VAX VMS. Even today the DCL command line environment from VMS seems futuristic compared Linux, Windows and anything else I have looked at.
Funny to think back at how the Windows lot used to laugh at us Linux type and all that stupid and hard to learn command line stuff we had to do.
And now Windows is all about Powershell and complicated and hard to learn command line stuff.
Honestly with each newer version of Windows becoming more shite, than the one that came before it, Plus the small bug-a-boo of not even being able to give it away for free, When they did... (Anyone else remember Get Windows 10?). I'm kninda astunded to think, that you think Windows has any long term future left to it.
To be fair, these misgivings might be better targeted towards Intel. But, I would still like to see MicroSoft try, and cooperate with Apple again, and on that note release an ARM version of Windows for the mobile sub-/Ultra Noteboom market.
But, so far it just sounds like a bunch of Crickets quitely chirping off in the background somewhere.
Ever since Win3.1, Microsoft has been the "just good enough*" of operating systems and apps. Not the Gold Standard, just OK.
At first, this was due to hardware limitations. Then, they managed to hire some real OS developers, but were crippled by compatibility requirements. Then, it was off to the network. But things never quite got better, only bigger and flashier.
So, here we sit. With an OS that is, to be fair, far better than it was when it started, but handicapped by the tendency of its creator to value the addition of features (needed or, more likely, unneeded) and UI changes (always unneeded) over "cleaning up the loose ends", like creating a uniform user interface in all the Office components and fixing (or removing?) some of the more annoying "collaboration" features.
At some point, we need to ask ourselves...do what do we gain from each new version of Windows and Office, besides incompatibility with the previous version?
I think it's easy to forget that not everybody uses computers for the same thing.
For power users, unix/linux is the way to go. For none computer-savvy people (more than likey those offices workers in Schleswig-Hlstein) unix and most linux distros has a way too steep learning curve.
For me at home, Windows wins every time, based purely on the ability to play games on my computer. I suspect this is the same for all most private computer purchases. You just can't compare OSX or Linux to Windows for gaming. For ease-or-use, OSX is probably better, but its an expensive solution, so for me, Windows wins here as well
"For none computer-savvy people (more than likey those offices workers in Schleswig-Hlstein) unix and most linux distros has a way too steep learning curve."
I'd go further, 99% of the office jobs in my bank are done via standard office suite tools and in house systems served via web front ends.
You could swap the underlying OS for most users, keep the wallpaper and they wouldn't care after a week.
When my wife complained that she didn't like the look of Windows 7 (after using XP for some time), I decided to put a Windows XP skin on Linux on the replacement laptop I gave her (her needs are quite low, so she gets hand-me-down laptops when I upgrade, and she still likes 4x3 screens anyway).
She's not really commented much about it, she just got on and used it like nothing had changed, but then she really only uses it for the Web, and was already using Libre Office on XP.
There are a couple of Windows programs she wanted, so I've crafted Wine to run them for her. The only thing she can't do is install more Windows software for herself, but that's so infrequent that it's no problem.
In all fairness that is all down to training. Problem with that, is whos got time for all that? Then theres the fact that its a known fact that Lebre/Open --Office just plain doesn not play nice with M$ Office, (or vise versa. I care not upon your view of it). Add to it all a rollong political tide of FOSS Hippies, and People who just want to ge their work done as easily, and without a need of a rewite on a whole page, or wose yet pages of documents in order to get said job done. befor the next clown shows up, and decides to use Microsoft after all.
For documents, what makes Libre an immediate problem is MS's use of propriety default fonts.
As soon as you move documents between the two, they just don't look right, and sometimes the format is changed because of different font/page metrics.
There are also macro problems, especially in spreadsheets, and Impress has problems with slides and notes compared with PowerPoint. But chasing Microsoft's changes is a moving target.
Compatibility problems are mostly because Microsoft has a vested interest in not "playing nice" with anyone. When governments started making noises about software needing to support open standards, Microsoft spent a LOT of money stuffing lots of national standard bodies to ratify it's proprietary file formats as some sort of franken-standard* so that they could continue to tick the "supports standards" box. The alternative, of actually supporting an open file format, would have been commercial suicide by allowing people to work in documents using their own choice of tool.
* It's got open in the name, but that's like countries with "Democratic" in their name. If you read the standard, not only is it a load of rubbish - including lots of stuff (e.g. country codes, time & date formats, etc) that would be better just pulled in from other standards - it references binary blogs like "contains a Word 95 document".
>Implying that MicroSoft has to play nice, in the first place. When its basically just needs (Google) Sheets, (Apple), Numbers, and (FOSS) Lebre/Open --Office to just "exist" as "alternatives", and so claim NOT to be the so-called de facto gold standard. be it good, or simply just good enough.
What people whom like tzo downvote such posts fail to grasp is the siple fact, that its not about "their" product suit of choise thats the issue here. Its the one your corresponding partener uses. and 99/10 its almost some version of M$Office.
We switched to LibreOffice about 8 years ago (for over 95% of our PC's), we are now preparing to shift ~75% of our desktops to Linux. Windows 11 was a big part of us finally pulling the trigger. There's one critical application which doesn't work (due to limited networking support in WINE) and we've commissioned a developer to write a Linux application which performs the same function (work is almost done on that). Once it is complete we will resume/complete testing (all functions apart from the new application have previously been tested), create installation images, and begin rollout. Setting up the systems is very simple, install OpenSUSE and run a custom script which does all the legwork (sets up prerequisites, firewall, user profile, WINE container, shortcuts, etc) besides site-specific things (IP address, printers, camera links, etc).
Isn't the fundamental problem of LibreOffice still that any document produced using it looks *exactly* like it was produced in LibreOffice twenty years ago?
Methinks you are suggesting that LO provides the same default document templates as it (and OO before it) has always done, and that documents conforming to these templates are somehow less acceptable now than in the past?
I don't see how that's a problem. You can always change the templates.
Indeed, had I developed a document template that resulted in documents that exactly followed my desired style I should feel greatly aggrieved if I discovered that an update to the software I was using had resulted in a change in the appearance of those documents
As an imprted / expoerted document into (or out of), M$ Office, with missing, ang or completely broken formating?
Yes this is a huge problem, especially if you need to send such documents to other "offices" that are still useing M$ products.
Curious, haven't had that problem the last couple of years, time to update your LO installation?
"Isn't the fundamental problem of LibreOffice still that any document produced using it looks *exactly* like it was produced in LibreOffice twenty years ago?"
You say that like it's a problem. Do you only ever use the default MSOffice templates too? Does that mean your documents look exactly like every other document produced in MSOffice? Can you date your documents by the style? Is that not just being a fashion victim?
I think the Munich Experiment got going around the time of Windows 8 introduction.
Could be history repeating itself, with Microsoft again getting into one of its cycles of bloat and idiocy, followed by the usual organizational infighting and defenestrations.. and then eventually some signs of rebellion from the tired users?
FWIIW these are reasons I have found why the switch may not work.
1. Tepid support from above.
2. Senior people saying "I'm too important to use free software."
3. And this may be the worst one: The expectation that openoffice and MSoffice can coexist indefinitely. They can't.
Solutions are obvious.
According to TFA the decision comes from the top. It includes a link to an interview with the Digital Minister. It doesn't seem as if tepid support from the top and "too important" will be a problem. What else was there? Oh, yes, mention of openoffice. TFA says LibreOffice. If they dump MSO coexistence isn't even a thing let alone a problem.
I said it before, and will say it again. Lebre/Open --Office are for folks who are to poor to run M$ Office.
Sure why NOT use GIMP as a replacement to Photoshoop? Except nobody actually cares about your mad skillz in GIMP, as they (i.e. The Employer)ý are most intrested in finding someone with credible skills with Adobe Products.*
Thankfully this divide is less deviscive on the Lightroom side with the FOSS version of Darktable. Which unlike GIMP, has at times proven to actually be superior to Lightroom at times.
Or have I just been out of touch with Lebre/Open --Office's ability to open, edit, and save to a readable M$ format? Cause in my experience this was where Libre/Open --Office has always let me down.
Ignoring the capabilities / foibles / irritations of MS Office or LibreOffice, the issue should be - how much does it actually cost to run & maintain ?
Windows administrators are cheap & plentiful. Linux administrators aren't ...
As devices are so cheap these days for the vast majority of users, even for O365 subscriptions (if you negotiate well and don't overbuy top end licences) it all comes down to people support costs. I'd expect a decent Linux desktop admin to be earning twice as much as a Windows desktop admin.
Some people will argue that you need fewer of them - but I'd counter that you need the equivalent numbers in order to manage the supporting ecosystem (File servers / Databases / Mail etc) as they will naturally all be different services requiring specialist knowledge.
Disclaimer: I've seen several attempts to go MS free over my career (which stretches back to pre MS). Haven't seen any succeed for more that 2-3 years, and end up costing twice as much to revert.
TLDR - good luck to them - but I wouldn't be holding my breath
The main problem with Linux distros is the problem with user space. Its not in any standard and that is a problem across distros. I hope that Linux distros create a standard for use space, but I don't expect that to happen soon. In house standards in a single distro exist but it doesn't work everywhere and that creates problem for the program creators.
There are Enterprise solutions that Schleswig-Holstein can use today, that might not have existed in today's form 10 years ago. I only know of Red Hat Enterprise Linux but others that take care of the user space issue and other problems in normal Linux distros. I think Red Hat also solves the problem with user space problems in common Linux distros.
What happened in Munich was that Microsoft made a deal offering a 90% discount of their licence and moved their headquarters into the city. Best I can read is that when this happen, the Linux solution that Munich was using was working close to perfectly. I don't think Munich was using an Enterprise Linux solution though.
Fresh versions of three of the bigger open-source application suites just landed for those seeking to break free from proprietary office apps.
LibreOffice is the highest profile of them, and the project recently put out version 7.3.4, the latest release in the Community version of the suite.
The Document Foundation maintains two versions of LibreOffice; the other is the Enterprise branch.
Almost exactly a year after we last covered it, an experimental version of LibreOffice compiled to WebAssembly (nicknamed LOWA) has appeared.
Be warned, it's about 300MB, so it takes a while to load, but you can try it here in your browser.
It's based on the still-prototype LibreOffice 7.4 codebase and is not yet ready for production use. Given that LibreOffice is a large codebase, parts of which are decades old, this is a significant vindication of WebAssembly. There's more info on the port here, from a presentation by Thorsten Behrens at FOSDEM 2022, which took place this month.
Six months after LibreOffice 7.2, version 7.3 is out with faster and more accurate file importing and rendering for improved compatibility with Microsoft Office.
The new release is the latest "fresh" version. The Document Foundation also offers a "still" edition, which is based on an older but more extensively tested release; it's currently on version 7.1.8. The differences aren't that dramatic – without rehashing the release notes, these are point releases, so don't expect huge changes.
It has better support for importing Microsoft Office documents, and lots of relatively modest improvements in diagrams, charts, hyperlink support, and more. If you really push Microsoft's offering hard, LibreOffice probably isn't for you, but if like most of us you barely scratch the surface of what it can do, you will probably be fine with LibreOffice.
Another contender in the productivity stakes, ONLYOFFICE Docs, has hit version 7, introducing fillable forms as well as multiple tweaks for its web and desktop applications.
ONLYOFFICE is yet another option for users seeking an alternative to the tech giants, and currently comes in a self-hosted or desktop guise. A cloud version will, according to the team, "be available a bit later."
The first major release of 2022, version 7 is a handy update. While the word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation modules have useful modifications, most eye-catching is the ability to create fillable forms online.
The Document Foundation has released LibreOffice 7.2, including a native build for Apple Silicon though users are warned not to use it "for any critical purpose."
The new release is not a big one for features but is nevertheless notable for a couple of reasons.
First, there is now an official Apple Silicon build which can be found here, though the Foundation said that "because of the early stage of development on this specific platform, binaries are provided but should not be used for any critical purpose."
The Document Foundation has released LibreOffice 7.2 RC1, including a large number of fixes intended to improve import and export compatibility with Microsoft Office.
Version 7.2 of LibreOffice, the most popular free and open-source productivity suite, is set for full release in mid-August. New versions appear roughly every six months: 7.0 arrived in August 2020, and 7.1 in February 2021.
The list of what's new is extensive, though most new features are small tweaks or bug fixes. One of the more notable is the ability to have multiple columns in text boxes in LibreOffice documents including Writer, Calc, and Impress – these being word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation graphics.
Updated The LibreOffice community has protested at the appearance of a "personal edition" label in the forthcoming version 7.0 of the hitherto free office suite, and the suggestion that paid-for enterprise editions are in the pipeline.
The trouble began with a bug report earlier this month, raised by a user who spotted that version 7.0 is now branded as "Personal Edition" with the statement in the About dialog that "The Personal edition is supported by volunteers and intended for individual use."
On asking for the background to this alarming statement (in the context of free software), the user was referred to a patch in the code repository; not the most transparent way to introduce a major policy change, but it was there if you looked.
The LibreOffice team has been working on a port to browser-hosted WebAssembly, and hopes for a working demo by summer 2021. "It's the way the industry is heading," said Document Foundation board member Thorsten Behrens.
Browser-based versions of the open-source office productivity suite already exist in the form of Collabora Online and LibreOffice Online (LOOL), mainly developed by Collabora.
The Document Foundation, steward of the LibreOffice project, said that it is "not planning to develop and fund a cloud solution similar to existing products from Google and Microsoft" because this is "not in line with the original mission of the project."
The LibreOffice team has published the first beta of version 7.1, with general availability planned for February 2021.
LibreOffice now describes itself as "OpenOffice evolution", a poke at rival OpenOffice. It was forked from the same codebase (the roots of both go back to an '80s application called StarWriter, acquired by Sun) but LibreOffice is progressing faster and has more features. It is cross-platform for Windows, Mac and Linux.
Headline new features begin with an outline folding mode in Writer. This lets you collapse text under any heading so you just see the heading, a handy feature for decluttering a document in progress. The feature is currently experimental, which means it has to be switched on via an "Enable experimental features" option. When we tried it, LibreOffice immediately crashed, but after reopening the new feature worked correctly.
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