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Moves to ODF (Along With GNU/Linux) Obstructed by Apple and Bureaucracy

Posted in Apple, Europe, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Standard at 4:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Apple continues to ignore the international document standard, at least in i[don't]Work; migration to GNU/Linux through OpenOffice.org is hampered a little

“It’s time to call bullshit and cause a fuss wrt Apple’s iWork not supporting ODF,” John Drinkwater wrote earlier today.

For those who do not remember, Apple is a barrier to ODF and occasionally a booster of its partner Microsoft, which promotes OOXML. Lack of ODF support in i[don't]Work is a subject we wrote about in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. This is just one of the many areas where Apple harms GNU/Linux users, patent lawsuits being another area.

“This is just one of the many areas where Apple harms GNU/Linux users, patent lawsuits being another area.”In addition to this, some hours ago a reader asked us, “have you see[n] this? Why am I smelling corruption?”

It’s a story about a French migration to GNU/Linux in government (ditching Apple and Microsoft) being stifled through the office suite layer. Think about interoperability through standards here. France is said to be Europe’s biggest adopter of Free software (although it depends on who’s ranking and how the ranking is done), so it’s important. Here are the details from the Open Source Observatory and Repository (OSOR):

The administration of the French city of Marseille is giving up its plans to decrease it’s IT vendor lock-in. The move to OpenOffice is almost completed, but about 35 percent of all workstations are forced to continue to also run a proprietary office suite, because of applications that link exclusively to that suite’s spreadsheet and text editor.

Furthermore, the city’s IT department has decided to end its current use of both Microsoft and Apple operating systems and start migrating all 5000 workstations to Microsoft’s latest version of Windows. This move will be completed in 2014.

In a memo to all staff at the IT department, which was leaked onto the Internet, Jean-Marie Angi, the IT director, writes: “Following the reorganization of the IT department, the objective of the feasibility study to use Linux for desktops has been changed to a comparison between using Linux or Windows Seven.”

Even Microsoft boosters say that Microsoft’s Vista 7 migration is expensive, based on this new post from SJVN. Let’s keep an eye on France. Microsoft tried to derail Munich’s migration to GNU/Linux through back room deals negotiated with/by Steve Ballmer.

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  1. Agent_Smith said,

    August 27, 2010 at 5:28 pm


    Problem is, not just the documents formats, but, apps built around the M$ Office suite, that rely heavily on M$ Access or Excel.
    One move that could lift all these worries, would be to port the apps to run on web servers. So, one company could set up its intranet and happily work their apps and documents, never worrying about what OS would run in the client. This way, $even would be a far distant reality than it is today.
    But, lazy IT departments don’t get this, they stick with M$ crap, as always have done.

    twitter Reply:

    Legacy applications are a problem with a built in fix, they can be virtualized. The 10,000 seat organization that’s being talked about already owns more than enough licenses to run the software for everyone that needs it. Moving all desks to GNU/Linux without replacement would be a lot cheaper than an “upgrade” to Windows 7 because it would require a lot less labor and the hardware will last longer due to GNU/Linux’s superior power management and lack of “bit rot”. This will more than make up for the cost of a few extra servers to run VMs for those poor souls who will have to keep using those awful applications that use Word as a text editor. Windows VMs on GNU/Linux are a lot easier to keep working than Windows PCs. With enough companies making that kind of move, it won’t be long before application makers get on the stick and dump Word. If they don’t they will quickly find themselves replaced by free software.

    As Eric Raymond once said, we are close to game over. Everyone knows that it is more expensive to keep running Windows than it is to run GNU/Linux. That alone was enough to make migration worth while because the sooner you start, the more you save. Now people can see that GNU/Linux migration will be cheaper than the complete refresh and retraining demanded by Vista/Windows 7. Microsoft could not have more effectively done themselves in if they had tried. The ten to twenty million dollar cost of migrating to Vista/Windows 7 is impossible to justify in any economy and we know that purchase costs are just the tip of the TCO iceberg.

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