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Forbes.com suggests
May 2, 2001 8:14 AM   Subscribe

Forbes.com suggests you IT people use shareware or freeware office packages instead of that expensive Microsoft stuff.
posted by jhiggy (14 comments total)

 
Here's a sample:
"By forcing registration, Microsoft risks losing market share and mind share to cheap, more-than-adequate alternatives. Since it's been difficult for Microsoft to continually add new features to its suite, the competitors have had time to catch up in the race to offer features. StarOffice is particularly threatening because it allows a user to take a second step and maybe run the program on the efficient Linux OS. The savings a large corporation would make if it bought 10,000 white box machines running StarOffice on Linux could easily be $200 a machine or more, depending on the license agreements.

For any IT department on a tight budget, the alternatives to the Microsoft Office Suite are worth a look. These are also perfect programs for small offices and individuals."
posted by jhiggy at 8:16 AM on May 2, 2001


You might have saved me those few seconds by warning me first that the article was "authored" by uber-asshole, John Dvorak... Talk about the Columnist that Time Forgot...
posted by m.polo at 8:40 AM on May 2, 2001


The savings a large corporation would make if it bought 10,000 white box machines running StarOffice on Linux could easily be $200 a machine or more

... which it would then spend on IT staff to support the unfamiliar (to end users) OS and office suite.
posted by kindall at 8:53 AM on May 2, 2001


> ... which it would then spend on IT staff to support the
> unfamiliar (to end users) OS and office suite.

Unfamiliar? I promise you, Win98 and Office 2000 might as well be the Purple Dimension as far as most of our non-techie users are concerned.
posted by jfuller at 9:05 AM on May 2, 2001


The real question is why they didn't link to the shareware they talk about or homepages of companies they discuss. Annoying.
posted by Outlawyr at 9:08 AM on May 2, 2001


Yeah, but they have at least seen Windows and Word and Excel. Probably for years.

Let's all throw away whatever minimal comfort level people have achieved with this technology and replace it with something even more cryptic to save $200 a workstation. Uh huh.
posted by kindall at 9:08 AM on May 2, 2001


You might have saved me those few seconds by warning me first that the article was "authored" by uber-asshole, John Dvorak...

Maybe you could provide us a list of everything you already know, m.polo, so we don't waste your valuable time.
posted by jpoulos at 9:11 AM on May 2, 2001


I really wonder about how familiar end users are to Windows anyway. My parents call me on a somewhat regular basis so I can talk them through resolution switches, email hassles, Excel blunders, and filesystem mazes... and they've been using Windows and MS Office in the workplace for a decade. And the people who have gotten familiar enough with Windows to be comfortable with it are the kind of people who solve their own problems, learn their way around an interface, and would adapt faster than the rest to a new environment anyway.

Sure, if people hear they're gonna have to learn something totally non-MS it's gonna make them nervous, but upgrading to NT a while back my folks freak out a little, too. If you're gonna freak out your work force, might as well save a buck doing it, no?
posted by techgnollogic at 9:13 AM on May 2, 2001


The real question is why they didn't link to the shareware they talk about or homepages of companies they discuss. Annoying.

I think the policy of many online mags is to not link to sites they write about. By doing so, they avoid the appearance of officially endorsing products or companys (even if the columnist is endorsing the product). Advertisers pay good money to be linked-to from those pages. Besides, if you link to one you have to link to all the sites you mention, including hate-speech sites, and products and companies that compete with your advertisers'. Basically, it becomes an ugly mess that is best avoided. At least, that's my understanding of it.
posted by jpoulos at 9:17 AM on May 2, 2001


MS will combat this vigorously as well. They are already asking vendors to report PCs sold without a Microsoft operating system.
posted by borgle at 9:21 AM on May 2, 2001


/Sort of off-topic, and just my opinion...

Anyone here with a moderate tech background knows that a large percentage of non-tech users do not expend the effort to learn how to use their machines properly. Maybe it's the attitude of "It's a computer, it's smart, it'll do everything for me, right?", maybe they just think they can always rely on tech support.

Just because MS products are more familiar does not mean everybody knows how to use them efficiently and properly. I think the best example of this is "spell check". How many times have you heard someone say of a misspelled document "I don't understand! I used spell check!". No matter how many times I've explained to people that spell check is only as good as the dictionary MS uses, and that you still have to review every choice it gives you, they still get it wrong.

It doesn't matter which software you use. Make the end users stop thinking of computers as "perfect magic thinking machines" first.
posted by starvingartist at 9:40 AM on May 2, 2001


The article mentions that there isn't a good substitute for Powerpoint. Here's one.
posted by endquote at 11:26 AM on May 2, 2001


Unfamiliar? I promise you, Win98 and Office 2000 might as well be the Purple Dimension as far as most of our non-techie users are concerned.

You funny! You right!

...

I've spent that last week going hog-wild stuffing Darwin BSD software on my 6 GB hard drive devoted to Mac OS X. They've barely begun porting to the Free/Net/OpenBSD spin-off and there's already 100 apps available with the one package manager I'm using, Fink, and I've got XWindows humming (now if I can get Enlightenment to compile...). Then on the Aqua side of it, I've got several hundred other apps downloaded for trial or use. Not one bit of it is charged-for software, except for the OS itself. Not a lick. If OpenOffice ever becomes reality, I might get away with my free software experiement...
posted by Mo Nickels at 12:32 PM on May 2, 2001


At my work for example we now use Powerarchiver instead of Winzip, we have made our intranet with freely available php and have lots of little linux boxes doing things MS just can't.

If the product is good we will use it.
posted by Zool at 5:49 PM on May 2, 2001


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