Little River Software
Home -> Articles -> Ms displays fear, uncertainty, and doubt toward
Little River Software - Custom PHP Software Design and Programming
The Basics

Total Value Of OpenOffice

Value Proposition And Response

Value Proposition And Response

Microsoft's document stresses that the licensing costs are not representative of the total costs of ownership, and this is a valid point. But let's compare, point by point:

* Installation and deployment: OpenOffice can be installed at no cost, and deployed easily. Microsoft Office XP, however, requires licensing costs and requires more hardware to run on (see above). It also requires that you run an operating system which must be licensed at cost. An international comparison of cost per license of operating system and GDP is revealing in this regard.

* Data Migration and Testing: In migrating Microsoft Office documents to OpenOffice, some advanced formatting may be lost - and this is a problem, but it is unreasonable to demand this because of the fact that Microsoft does not make it's data formats public.

They make special note on the cost of migrating a Microsoft Access database to OpenOffice, but fail to mention the costs associated with upgrading a Microsoft Access database even with their own software. Free Software and Open Source databases are typically available at no cost, so the money would be spent on the actual 'liberation' of the data. Microsoft will require you to purchase licensing for SQL Server, and businesses will still have to pay for the migration of the data.

* Document Conversion And Rewriting Macros: OpenOffice does not use Visual Basic for Applications, but has a macro language of it's own. It should be noted that Microsoft's macros are also incompatible with those of OpenOffice. Therefore, this is a valid point and would be part of a migration cost, yet one has to wonder at how complex such macros would be in a SMB.

*Training: OpenOffice is, for the most part, the same as Microsoft Office XP for a user, but there are things that they will need to learn how to do differently. All things being equal, if a company's staff need formal training for OpenOffice, then they probably need it for every new version of Microsoft Office. Therefore there is a cost on both sides, and they are at least equal.

* Email client: Microsoft notes that OpenOffice lacks an email client. This, however, would take us to Mozilla, which is a standalone web browser with more features than Internet Explorer (such as tabbed browsing), and is much more secure than Microsoft Outlook as a default.

* Collaboration: Microsoft makes it a point to discuss that collaboration is required. Yet OpenOffice runs on all major operating systems, and Microsoft Office does not. This certainly becomes an issue of collaboration.

They also mention that there is a need to assure mission critical data is impervious to virus attack -- and given the latest viruses, this does not bode well for them as all major attacks have taken advantages of flaws in Microsoft Operating Systems and even their Office software. This can lead down the path to security itself, in which ubiquity of Microsoft products probably has an effect.

*Support: Microsoft says that there is no dedicated team for the OpenOffice suite. What Microsoft fails to realize is that the 'dedicated team' are mainly the users; OpenOffice has a community whereas Microsoft users have support groups.

*Limited Compatibility: Microsoft properly asserts that OpenOffice is not 100% compatible with their product. Microsoft, however, has apparently decided not to support the OpenOffice formats either, for which they have no excuse: the standards for OpenOffice documents are publicly available, whereas Microsoft makes it a habit to sue people for reverse engineering their own formats. Richard Stallman wrote about this in 2002.

The Basics

Total Value Of OpenOffice