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Re: Users ready for Debian on the Desktop

On Fri, 18 Apr 2003 07:50, Ian D. Stewart wrote:

> I've been following this thread with some interest.  I'm going from the
> other side of the fence, as it were.  Part of my duties at my paying job
> include evaluating new technology and making adoption recommendations.
> Some of the things I take into consideration when evaluating a new
> product:
>  * Does it address a business requirement not currently met

It is stable, Windows is not. There is nothing subjective about that.
Granted WXP is more stable, but it still does degrade it's own environment 
and consequently requires to reinstalled from time to time. I have heard some 
argument that the latter "feature" is programmed in deliberately, though I 
prefer not to blame malice for that which is likely caused by incompetence.

>  * Does it address a business requirement that is met in a better way
> (better being extremely subjective)

 It is as easy to use or easier than Windows. I do volunteer work as a 
trainer for recipients of refurbished dontated older computers. These 
recipients are financially disadvantaged, quite often refugees to AU [1]
and/or people with various degrees of mental disability. With few exceptions 
they can learn to use one of the several word processors available, export it 
as Msword format when required., connect to the internet, and so on.

>  * What is the impact of migrating to the new product?

For most business users nothing adverse, and if particular machines must be 
shared probably a positive outcome because of the security of personal files 
and configurations. Clearly, there will be particular applications where 
migration is not presently feasible. There is no real reason why a shop can 
not be mixed during a transition.

>  * If technology-related, does the development staff have the skills
> necessary to leverage the new technology (i.e., if it's based on COM/VB
> it probably won't get adopted in a Java shop, and vice-versa).

Well Java is cross platform, the other two are designed to lock people into a 

> Issues such as cost, freedom and ease of installation tend to fall
> relatively low on the priority list.

Surely that depends on size. The software costs for an office with 100 pc 
seats is paying a very large sum for MS software, even allowing for bulk 
purchase discounts.. My last employer had 20,000 employees, each with a pc 
running Windows. They could have cobbled up their own version of debian on 1 
cd for each of their 200 or so offices for peanuts.

> If I were evaluating a new office suite, here's some of the things I
> would consider:
> Can I open/import existing documents (including scripts/macros)?

Yes and no. Even the lightweight office products can import and export and 
export in multiple formats. Abiword alone on my machine (Woody) can export in 
23 diiferent formats. And Woody is hardly bleeding edge.

I believe that Star Office makes some kind of a fist at running scripts but I 
have no experience of it. OTOH during any kind of a business review it would 
be well advised to look closely at any office application running macros or 
vbscript. Firstly, they are a security hazard, secondly the apps may not be 
all that shareable, and thirdly, I doubt that they are doing anything that 
would not be done better elsewise. Such as using Postgresql + Apache + PHP + 
just about any standards compliant web browser.

Admittedly there would be some cost in the latter solution but there would be 
gains in appropriate shareablilty through the organisation. The data is a 
corporate resource after all.

> Does it have features *that we would use* not in the current product
> (e.g., the ability to export a Word document to PDF)?

Elsewhere in this thread there is mention of a cutting edge version OO can 
export directly in pdf.
Even the lightweight office apps can export in html from which pdf is easily 

> Can it integrate with the existing solution (e.g., can I embed a
> spreadsheet created with the new product into a PowerPoint presentation)
> ?
KOffice applications are built from the ground up with component reuse in 
mind. There are a number of "presenter" apps available. I have had no 
experience of any of them including MS PP.

Hope I've provided some food for thought.


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