[nSLUG] Open Source Desktop Apps

David Potter dlpotter at eastlink.ca
Thu Aug 6 19:03:14 ADT 2009


Open office is quite happy with WordPercict files... I didn't realize
that until I clicked on a file without thinking one day.

David

Carrie Forbes wrote:
> Wow! Glad to hear Minister Steele was quick to respond. I'm also glad
> that I was able to provide a bit of context that helped.
>
> ...As for Corel, I've heard it's a hangover from a time when
> governments had an arrangement with the company, primarily since it
> was a Canadian product. I'm currently using Corel, MS, and Open Office
> as well as Google docs with several different areas. And, you're right
> - the lawyers prefer Wordperfect! ;-)
>
> On Wed, Aug 5, 2009 at 10:56 PM, Daniel Morrison<draker at gmail.com> wrote:
>   
>> Thanks for your reply, Carrie -- all very reasonable.
>>
>> I think you hit the nail on the head in saying that some depts. are
>> more advanced than others. Ultimately, free software often gets
>> deployed by techies like us where it does the best job, regardless of
>> official policy, and so some depts. incorporate free software sooner
>> than others.
>>
>> So there must be many conversations on this topic at different levels
>> in different departments, in which surely any point of view may be
>> expressed.
>>
>> Mr. Steele was kind enough to reply promptly to my email, confirming
>> at least that the creation of a high-level committee that would have
>> made the alleged statement is a rumour. He suggested it may all stem
>> from a misunderstanding over an IT person considering the possible
>> risks of certain software (certainly always advisable to examine
>> risk). He went on to say that he does recognize open source software,
>> and uses some himself.
>>
>> So I think we can lay to rest the concern that the province has
>> mandated any shift to proprietary software, and the free takeover can
>> continue as planned, one dept. at a time :)
>>
>> -D.
>>
>> PS: I also had to smile at the "Corel vs. Office" comment. I bet that
>> what they find in Corel is WordPerfect, considered by many to be
>> vastly superior to Word. So I understand. I think they're more likely
>> to switch to openoffice.org than to Word.... but still. Wordperfect is
>> good. There are OpenOffice.org feature requests to add 'Reveal Codes'
>> to Openoffice Writer. I'm not sure it will ever be possible, though.
>>
>> 2009/8/5 Carrie Forbes <flunkiejunkie at gmail.com>:
>>     
>>> Hello fellas,
>>>
>>> This is my first time posting, but I work for the province, and need
>>> to help clarify a few things. First, there is no CIO 'committee', it
>>> is a new department. There are major changes underway in restructuring
>>> the internal IT structure, and this is the group who will oversee it.
>>> You also need to understand that they are concerned with internal
>>> matters - the IT needs of the bureaucracy and it's work - not public
>>> policy.
>>>
>>> Now, that said, someone mentioned that open source is used. I am
>>> working with an e-learning company that developed a linux based
>>> program, and the IT group developed a linux server in order to house
>>> it. When working with vendors, and 3rd parties, the province operates
>>> on what makes sense for the end goal. In my case, building the server
>>> met the objective. Cost is always a key consideration, and if open
>>> source can keep the bottom line low and meet security/privacy
>>> policies, then absolutely, it will be used. It also depends on the
>>> department - some are more advanced in their use of technology, and
>>> others are sadly behind. We have 30 year employees who have never
>>> migrated from Corel to MS - they will not move from their comfort
>>> zone. Can you see these folks using Open Office?
>>>
>>> As with any large organization, we have big contracts with enterprise
>>> corporations such as SAP. The investment in these kinds of systems
>>> involves years of implementation, and are bound by strict procurement
>>> rules. If the province made a commitment, it will mean they are
>>> obligated to fulfill it without room to experiment or freely try out
>>> competition. The question I have is what context were these comments
>>> about the unsustainability made? Was it for internal operations?
>>> Because that may very well be true in certain areas given the current
>>> circumstances I've described.
>>>
>>> Given that the average age of a gov't worker is 49, there is a general
>>> resistance to embrace technology. This is rapidly changing with the
>>> new generation entering the workforce, and I'm confident this will
>>> mean a rapid move towards using new tools as expectations are also
>>> changing. The new government isn't familiar with the inner workings
>>> yet, and writing them would be futile, since they are concerned with
>>> public policy - not in-house stuff. If you can clarify your concerns,
>>> and spell out what aspects you think this will affect, I may be able
>>> to have someone at CIO address them.
>>>
>>> Cheers,
>>> Carrie
>>>
>>> PS - I am not truly an IT professional, but have an interest in Linux
>>> and open source technology. I also have worked a lot with the IT
>>> teams, and know a lot about the challenges they face.
>>>       
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>>     
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