Office Suites

I’ve moved the company desktop to Mandrake Linux 9.2. There are some teething problems. The most surprising is the timing of double clicks is sufficiently different to our Windows NT boxes that we’ve all noticed it.

I don’t run a corporate democracy. I wanted Microsoft products out of my business, so I picked a Linux distro that seemed worth a try.

It comes bundled with OpenOffice.Org. I’ve been using OpenOffice for about 6 months and really like it. It isn’t a keystroke compatible clone of M$-Office, but it’s functionally almost identical.

So I’m with Sim’ that IBM should ignore M$-Office and get behind OpenOffice.

There are cosmetic differences and in many ways it is more powerful. But in ither ways it shows it’s geek roots. I use M$-Word to transform data from legacy databases. Word has a great feature to search and replace non-printing characters like Hard Line Breaks (^p) and Tabs(^t). In OpenOffice I think I need to use regular expressions. That may be wrong I haven’t needed it enough to learn.

That leads to the main point. For 99% of our requirments for Text and Spreadsheets OpenOffice is perfect. I have even used it to read documents from lawyers – most of whom use M$-Offices automation features extensively. I’ve been able to read and print everything. The margins and page breaks might have needed some fine tuning.

Now it’s a matter of removing the old PC’s from our desks. I know my PA uses Outlook when I’m not looking. She claims she can’t wait for Ximian-Evolution to implement Task Alarms. As long as staff can keep doing things the old way they won’t change. Plus it will take longer for them to learn the new tools as they rely on old familiar tools.

New staff mantra: Remove the ability to do things the old way.

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