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CIO  March 2003

CIO March 2003

Subject:

Re: open source

From:

Ed Fuller <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 6 Mar 2003 16:46:20 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (182 lines)

And them a few dollars if your institution is tuition-driven to any
significant degree.
--
Ed Fuller
Director, Office of Information Technology
Ithaca College
101 Phillips Hall
Ithaca, NY  14850-7022
P: (607) 274-3361  F: (607) 274-1876
[log in to unmask]   http://www.ithaca.edu


> From: Will Krause <[log in to unmask]>
> Reply-To: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv
> <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: Thu, 06 Mar 2003 15:23:19 -0600
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [CIO] open source
>
> Another issue that we in education often fail to take into account is what
> tools our graduates will be expected to use in the business world.  If our
> graduates are going to be working in a business/corporate world that is
> MS-centric with respect to desktop applications, are we doing them a
> disservice by moving to SO or OO just to save ourselves a few dollars?
>
> Will
>
> Will Krause
> Assoc. VP, Technology & Planning
> Greenville College
> 315 E. College Ave.
> Greenville, IL  62246
> (618) 664-7070 (office)
> (618) 322-0990 (cell phone)
>
>>>> [log in to unmask] 03/05/03 05:40PM >>>
> All, I have a slightly more 'fundamental' question regarding this
> issue.  Who in your organization drives, determines and finally decides
> upon 'software' required and supported by your institution?  Is it the
> IT / IS Department, Faculty teaching CS curriculum, the Dean,
> Departmental VP's, the Board, the President or some other collective
> 'task force'?
>
> Seems to me that each of these elements have their own agendas they are
> looking out for, and even lobbying for..  Due to our limited resources,
> we attempt to minimize variations of 'campus wide' OS and Software loads
> as best we can.... perhaps other institutions have staffing levels to be
> more flexible.
>
> Newer Linux Distros like Xandros are great, as are Open/Star Office as
> alternatives to MS solutions.  Code Weaver's "CrossOver" product has
> some real potential, but are not quite ready for Prime Time.  VMWare is
> simply too expensive and hardware hungry to be an answer, particularly
> on older equipment.
>
> While as most folks here, we would LOVE to move away from MS, here are
> the problems we face with such solutions:
>  - Most Faculty Teach Using Software ONLY available on MS Platforms
>  - Most CS Course books are Microsoft Concentric
>  - IIS, FrontPage and WebDav are used to create Faculty/Class WebSites
> (faculty controlled access rights)
>  - Our Legacy AS400 TN5250 application can not run in Linux (with no
> good alternatives)
>  - Most of our offices have setup Access Databases, or Advanced Word
> Merges that simply don't work in other products
>  - No Answer to most any 'Legacy' applications requiring MDAC / SQL
> functionality
>  - General Software 'availability' is still sorely lacking in Linux
>  - User Training:  Many of our users get confused if an Icon moves, I
> can't imagine changing their OS and Office App at the same time.
>
> Certainly, if we had momentum by all the various campus constituents to
> change, it would be a fairly easy task.  But, fundamentally people do
> not like change, particularly when it involves countless hours or
> redoing processes they've built over the course of years.  I tend to
> agree with another's post recently, MS will have to be 'phased' out,
> much like it was 'phased' in.  There needs to be user training at each
> step of the conversion over a protracted period of time.  And IT / IS
> will have to invest heavily in the retraining of it's support staff.
>
> I'd love to hear how others are dealing with these other 'side' issues,
> and who is driving the technology at your school.  Clearly it is about
> far more than simple Software costs.
>
>
>
>
> Jeff Giacobbe wrote:
>
>> Kevin Shalla wrote:
>>
>>> I'm thinking that the two main challenges are
>>>
>>> Interoperability with Microsoft users - there will always be a need
>>> to work
>>> this way
>>
>>
>> Kevin-
>>
>> StarOffice (SO) integrates quite well into an MS Office environment.
>> File import is very good. Not perfect, but very good. And remember, SO
>> and OpenOffice (OO) does not equal "Linux". SO/OO is just as happy
>> running under Windows 98/NT/2K/XP as Linux (or Solaris.)  There is even
>> a MacOS X port of OpenOffice in late beta.
>>
>> Note that SO/OO does not support VisualBasic scripts or VB macros.  In
>> my opinion, this is actually a Good Thing - full immunity to all those
>> macro viruses!!  Of course, if you rely heavily on VB macros conversion
>> will be harder as you will need to convert to SO/OO's BASIC scripting
>> and macro language.
>>
>>> Selling a clear end-user benefit to the change - end users don't care
>>> about
>>> costs or security, and will try to make a conversion fail if there's no
>>> benefit to them.
>>
>>
>> True, but it's hard to argue with the $0.00 price tag of SO and OO.
>> Perhaps if users understood that the tens of thousands of dollars spent
>> on MS site licensing each year could be put to much better use for other
>> academic initiatives they would start to care about the costs. And any
>> user that doesn't care about security should have a real close look at
>> your institution's Acceptable Use policy....
>>
>> Perhaps I'm just living in a fantasy world, but an Office suite is an
>> Office suite.  It's just a word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation
>>  package. For 99% of our users, SO/OO is just as functional as MS
>> Office, for free, with no danger from the hundreds of VB macro viruses
>> out in the wild.
>>
>> Why not reserve MS Office for the small percentage of users who must use
>> VB scripting or some other MS proprietary feature.....and make them pay
>> for the license to run it. You'll be surprised how fast the free
>> alternative becomes "good enough" for their needs. :-)
>>
>>
>>> Does the above open source solution require any retraining on the user
>>> interface, or is it the same as Windows / Macintosh?
>>
>>
>> Admittedly I am not an MS Office "power user", but I found the move to
>> StarOffice to be quite painless. The StarOffice 6.0 interface and menus
>> are very close to MS Office, and the things that aren't in exactly the
>> same place can be found and utilized with about 10 minutes of
>> exploration/orientation.
>>
>> That said, opening MS Office file in StarOffice is not 100%. It's close
>> - very close - but there are times when complex Word Documents do not
>> format exactly the same as in "real" MS Office.  Often times it is
>> simply a difference in the display font, but other times (nested Word
>> tables for example) the document just doesn't format correctly.
>>
>> Of course, the root of the problem is that MS has a closed, proprietary
>> file format that they change any time they see fit. In fact, formatting
>> is often broken even between different versions of MS Office ;-).
>> Unfortunately alternative office suites like Star/OpenOffice,
>> WordPerfect, etc. are fighting an uphill battle against MS's secret file
>> format. Interestingly, StarOffice files saved in MS Word format load
>> perfectly into MS Office, so the compatibility works great in that
>> direction.
>>
>> --
>> Jeff
>>
>> **********
>> Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE
>> Constituent Group discussion list can be found at
>> http://www.educause.edu/memdir/cg/.
>
> **********
> Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group
> discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/memdir/cg/.
>
> **********
> Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group
> discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/memdir/cg/.
>

**********
Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/memdir/cg/.

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