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Re: [NEWS] OpenOffice Foundation to MA: We have a plugin

__/ [ B Gruff ] on Sunday 07 May 2006 09:50 \__

> On Sunday 07 May 2006 09:02 Roy Schestowitz wrote:
>> One wonders if past of this entire migration could not accommodate
>> (financially-speaking)  the  acquisition of  new equipment. The migration
>> is a staged one, so even is research and  development and needed, the time
>> and money it there to be used.
> (you meant to type "...part of..." of course?)

Yes, I think it was implied. To add to the previous point, there will be
enormous drive for competition (or hiring by bidding) for devices that can
replace whatever poor tools were built to be compatible only with Office.
The new software or accessibility apparatus could be later used to support
other migrations to Open Document (all around the world). This may include
cities such as Munich. /That/, in fact, explains the incentive for creating
and testing the ODF 'plug' in question. At the moment, its target is MASS.
Later on, as it matures, it will reach many more places. Duplication of
software, of course, is a process that entails no cost, assuming rational

To generalise this statement, the migration of one state results in many
tools being created. These tools are not State-specific and they ease the
transition in subsequent migrations. This will give rise to more such
migrations because the exit barrier (from Office) will be significantly

> I'm sure that you are right.  However (grin) what you are suggesting
> requires a tremendous shift in think, does it not?  I'm sure that that
> shift will come, and I think that it will start with public bodies
> (government, tax, policing, education, etc.) rather than corporations.

I think it starts with hobbyists and enthusiasts, which in turn push this
onto bodied to whom they pay their tax. Look at the issue of
standards-compliant governmental sites versus corporate sites.

Also bear in mind that Macs are perceived as the appliances for young, hip
people (blame the iPod if you wish) and Linux is seen as the O/S for the
mischievous hackers and outcasts (beards, ponytails, anyone?)... /whereas/
Windows is portrayed by people it suits, equipped with a modern tablet. Many
people see Bill Gates as a model in that respect. Sadly, senior and thus
decision-making staff, see themselves better assimilated to (or striving to
become) Bill Gates. They loathe hip people whose looks (much as in OS X)
exceeds theirs and they cannot stand for rebelion and neglect of monetary
principles (GNU).

> For instance, I was much cheered by the attitude of Bristol a few months
> ago.  You will recall that they were reckoning to be saving over a million
> (pounds) simply by switching about 5,000 people to OO.o.  I can't remember
> the exact quotes, but the spokesman in effect said, "... and if any other
> local authority wishes to follow our migration, we will be pleased to sit
> down, advise, give the benefit of our experience, etc."
> It's as though (at the moment) people will not/cannot invest until they
> have
> seen (enjoyed) the returns.  Also, it's going to be difficult I imagine to
> persuade people like Bristol to - just as an example - make a cash
> contribution of say £50,000 to OO.o!  To be fair, I suppose that in a way
> they DO contribute by buying StarOffice?

In a sense, maybe. I don't know the development model and licences of
StarOffice, but payment to that team encourages development, which /could/
percolate to free siblings of StarOffice, e.g. KOffice, Abiword and
OpenOffice. OpenOffice continue to suffer from the licensing traps. That's
why they could not inherit a grammar checker for free, unlike Abiword, to
name just one example.

> However, I'm hopeful that as time goes on, such people will start to
> contribute, both in code and resources.  Munich is taking time, largely
> because of over 100 significant applications which are locked in to
> Windows.  These are being ported.  Once ported, and assuming that Munich
> "does the right thing", other cities in Germany will have a flying start.
> They in turn will no doubt need to modify/expand that code base, and in
> turn, there is no reason for them not to release such work to yet other
> city councils.  Perhaps we will start to see cash being offered to fund
> their own developers in collective council endeavours....
> Again, it is this area of "non-profit" organisations that I see taking the
> lead, in that they really have no reason to conceal their work or code.
> e.g. if a school in England develops an educational application aimed at 8
> year-olds, why would it NOT make it freely available to other schools?  Why
> would such a school NOT wish to work in collaboration with other primary
> schools, and in turn enjoy the benefit of THEIR work?
> - and then finally, of course, "the penny drops" - one can afford to help
> to fund such development (pay developers), aimed at precisely ones own
> needs, at a mere fraction of the cost of waiting/hoping that some
> for-profit company will start to offer what one needs, and paying them
> hundreds of thousands of times for licences!
> Communism?  Maybe:-)  However, note that one is now spending ones money
> locally, rather than paying it to some gargantuan international
> corporation, providing jobs locally, fostering local skills, and improving
> local wealth, in that money spent locally like this "goes around" 5 or 6
> times before it is "absorbed" by taxation, whereas money spent on imports
> is money that has to be "bought back" by exports.  This is to say nothing
> of becoming ones own master!
> Sorry - that's all a a bit of a summary of some of my attitudes, but
> perhaps you catch my drift?

Well, all are valid points. It's nice to hear them again. *smile*

Best wishes,


PS - If anything, *MS Office* is communism. People being forced to the learn
the workings of one particular application and then use it at work is
robbery from freedom.

Roy S. Schestowitz      | Windows all-in-one: Word, IE (for E-mail) & iTunes
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