Kamis, 14 Oktober 2010

Microsoft Launches FUD VS OpenOffice.org

Some good old classic FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) in three, two, one...

Now if I recall not to long ago a Microsoft representative was quoted saying "We love open source". Apparently they realize that many other people love open source as well, so many in fact that it is cutting into their bottom line - thus the offensive attack video you can see above.

It starts off with a quote saying "We originally installed Linux-based PCs running OpenOffice to save money in the short term". That sounds like a viable idea, replace the cost of the operating system and the office suite with free systems on 10+ (or sometimes even 100 or 1000+) and you could be looking at a good chunk of change. So far so good...

Then it goes into "We quickly found that the exorbitant cost $$$$ and limited availability of support left us worse off" Ah, yes. Its not like you can spent three minutes on Google and find many, multiple, different methods, of commercial support for OpenOffice. Maybe they have a point here. /sarcasm

"I need something I can rely on. If an open source, freeware solution breaks, who's gonna fix it?" First off, lets over look the fact that the "director of technology" for an entire school district doesn't know the difference between open source and freeware software... Who fixes issues in OpenOffice? Well there is the community and I also seem to recall some corporate giant having their name stamped on the software as it loads - they might have something to do with it.

"A hugely disproportionate 30% of our IT resources was required for a period of months to service open source... an estimated 25% of additional staff time was routinely required to install and maintain OpenSource-based systems"Now maybe it is just me, but Linux/OpenOffice has always installed fast for me than Windows/Microsoft office. If you are deploying operating systems across hundreds of different systems your install time should really be about the same (regardless of operating system), you setup one master image and then push it out across the network. My main question about their "IT resources" is this:

How many Microsoft certifications did they have compared to OpenOffice or Linux certifications?

"When I was using OpenOffice.org I was especially having trouble with MACROS not being supported enough. I was asking for help from the IT department, they evaluated my request and suggested I use Microsoft Excel" I think we just answered my above question.

"We were accustomed to fielding calls from users in a bind due to difficulties with OpenOffice.org on a daily basis" Did you train your people (or IT staff) in using OpenOffice before you made the switch? Doesn't sound like it to me.

"With OpenOffice.org there was total uncertainty about the formatting of documents and also about their inconsistency when shared outside our production group" Last I checked it was OpenOffice, not Microsoft Office that strictly adhered to the open document format. As far as sharing documents with others goes - as of Office 07 SP2 it can now open and edit open document format by default and OpenOffice.org is a free download.

"Employees using OpenOffice.org weren't always capable of correctly making sense of documents arriving from outside the company and doing so with adequate security guarantees" Formatting issues do occur from time to time going between the totally uncertain Microsoft format and open document format. These issues have been decreasing with time though and I can say to this date I have never had a document get mangled enough that I couldn't correctly make sense of it. Now that I think of it, you know what else has issues? Office 03 trying to open anything ending in .XXXx

"OpenOffice.org 3.1 failed to deliver on its promise of better Microsoft Office interoperability. Severely mangling our Microsoft Office and Microsoft Excel test data files" Obviously other people have had different experiences than I have. That being said, I have never heard of OpenOffice (or any of its developers) promise perfect "interoperability" with Microsoft Office. Did OpenOffice 3.1 have better Microsoft Office support than OpenOffice 3.0? Yes, it did.

"I've had students who turned in files that they've converted from OpenOffice with formatting problems that affect their grade" I'm in my senior year of college right now, I've been using OpenOffice for all four years - I'm an A student. If you are truly worried about formatting issues, click that little "export to pdf" button when you finish typing your paper.

"When I open a spreadsheet it can take ten times times longer in OpenOffice.org (calc) than in Microsoft Excel" Was it an ods (open document) file? If not, then I apologize that the OpenOffice.org engineers have yet to fully reverse engineer the closed Microsoft format.

"Our employees where frustrated because OpenOffice.org and our over all IT environment prevented them from being more productive. New employees lacked OpenOffice.org applications' use skills. That significantly increased the employees adaptation period and adversely affected their operational efficiency" I think I covered these points already, but in case you missed it: Get your people (and more importantly your IT staff) trained in whatever software they will be using. Would you expect an automobile mechanic to be able to work on a 747?

"Our users' familiarity with the Microsoft Office interface and the uniformity of the different application tools have minimized calls to the help desk" Office 07 looks nothing like Office 03 and I still know people that refuse to change over to the new system. Now I know Office 07 and 03 are fairly uniform within themselves, but then so is OpenOffice.org

"By using Microsoft Office 2007 we have reduced the internal support costs significantly because our staff is familiar with this system. This increases acceptance and job satisfaction" You know why they are familiar with that system? Because they where trained to use that system. For the third time - regardless of the software you choose to use, your employees needs to be trained in its use! People get upset when you put something in front of them that they don't know how to use.

"The company paid to much for using open-code of OpenOffice.org software" And yet none of these quotes talk about the actual monetary amounts they spent! Just that it was "too much".

"efficiency of operations was decreasing" Get - your - people - TRAINED.

"I don't necessarily agree that open source is a free product" You are entitled to whatever backwards opinions you would like. "There are always costs related to: support, standardization, and compatibility" This is true, but wouldn't it be better to have a free product that you then have to pay for support for? As opposed to a product you pay for and then have to still pay for support for?

"When we returned to Microsoft Office after our experience with OpenOffice you could practically hear a collective sigh of relief across the entire district" I bet their people where trained in using Microsoft Office, but never had one class for OpenOffice.

Were did all these quotes come from? None other than twelve Microsoft cases studies (You can find a full list/links to these on ArsTechnica). When watching the video you will also notice clever advertising tricks such as a brown colored background whenever they are speaking about OpenOffice and a pleasant blue colored background whenever Microsoft Office is mentioned. This video is nothing other than pure FUD, plain and simple. If Microsoft really does love open source they have a strange way of showing it.

~Jeff Hoogland

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