[nSLUG] Re: Any nsluggers in Valley?

Bob Ashley ashley at chebucto.ns.ca
Sat Aug 27 15:39:30 ADT 2005

George, thanks for your prudent cautions, suggestions and criticism. Especially
so, your pointing out that a single desktop experiment reveals a rather naive
mindset when it comes to workflows. I suppose my thinking on that count
inclines toward barebones, painless simplicity, but it looks like that's hardly
enough. Unfortunately, I'm still a newbie home user and just don't have the
sophistication to frame problems like you can. 

Appreciate your input, George. You got me thinking. 


Bob Ashley

Quoting George White <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>:

> Quoting Bob Ashley <ashley at chebucto.ns.ca>:
> > Any ideas, caveats, suggestions, criticisms most welcome!
> The problem with the current focus on OSS is that many companies are now
> opening
> their sources.  Some of the products are good, but many more are not.  You
> need
> to focus on the actual requirements first, and let people come to their own
> realizations that they end up using OSS because they get the job done and
> have
> lower entry costs.
> The real benefits of well-engineered OS's are the richer environment, e.g.,
> the display doesn't have to be on the machine where the main program is
> running,so you have much more flexibility in matching workloads to hardware
> resources. Trying to introduce OSS via a single user workstation is trying
> to
> mimic a fundamentally flawed approach to workflows.
> Governments generate lots of documents that  need to be available years from
> now
> (e.g. what was the reasoning behind a particular decision, and precisely
> what
> was the decision?).  PDF (although tied to Adobe, the specifications are
> public
> and there are now many 3rd party tools so Adobe can't make incompatible
> changes)
> is good for that, proprietary formats such as MS Office .doc have a history
> of
> incompatiblity.  In the Canadian Gov't, many documents end up as PDF's.  It
> turns out that OpenOffice.org does a better job of converting the majority
> of
> MS .doc files to PDF's than MS Office+Adobe Acrobat.  Sure it can't handle
> some
> PostScript effects, but these are very rare in gov't workflows.  People come
> to
> me when they have problems with the official "MS Office+Adobe Acrobat"
> workflow
> and I show them that OOo gets the job done more easily.  They install OOo
> and
> pretty soon they are using it regularly.  The only obstacle to switching to 
> linux is the attitude that "I have MS Office+Adobe Acrobat and I might need
> it
> for some document in the future, so I can't switch". 
> Similar considerations apply to data.  
> Watch for the places where the current workflow is broken and show people how
> a
> well-designed OS can do the job more smoothly.
> Make sure that ViSTA issues are documented.  In many small organizations,
> is out of control.  The costs of good security in a Win32 environment are
> enormous, and part of that cost is lost time and breakdowns.  In small
> organizations, these costs tend to be borne by users who end up working on
> sluggish systems and coming in after hours or on weekends to redo the work
> that
> was lost.  Make sure that these efforts are recognized and that management
> recognizes that the problem is not "user error" but systematic flaws in
> certain
> widely used products.
> -- 
> George N. White III
> Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia
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