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Cracking Open the SharePoint Fortress

timothy posted about 5 years ago | from the file-formats-rule-the-world dept.

Microsoft 275

dreemteem writes with this excerpt from ComputerWorld UK:"SharePoint is a brilliant success, for a couple of reasons. In a way, it's Microsoft's answer to GNU/Linux: cheap and simple enough for departments to install without needing to ask permission, it has proliferated almost unnoticed through enterprises to such an extent that last year SharePoint Sales were $1.3 billion. But as well as being one of Microsoft's few new billion-dollar hits, it has one other key characteristic, hinted at in the Wikipedia entry above: it offers an effortless way for people to put content into the system, but makes it very hard to get it out because of its proprietary lock-in. This makes it a very real threat to open source. For example, all of the gains made in the field of open document standards — notably with ODF — are nullified if a company's content is trapped inside SharePoint." The article offers a slice of hope for getting around that, though, in the form of a new API for Google Sites which can slurp the data back out.

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This is great news if (-1, Troll)

Chrisq (894406) | about 5 years ago | (#29579639)

This is great news if you believe that Microsoft is pure evil and Google is goodness and light. I suspect that google will have their own lock-in however.

Re:This is great news if (4, Insightful)

Nerdposeur (910128) | about 5 years ago | (#29579735)

It's also good news if you like competition. Now you've at least got an option to switch, which puts some pressure on Microsoft. And if Google can do this, someone else could, too.

This isn't "good vs evil." It's "choice vs no choice." And it looks like choice just scored a point.

Re:This is great news if (4, Informative)

queazocotal (915608) | about 5 years ago | (#29579761)

It's actually quite trivial - and getting more so to move your data out of google apps.

See the recent 'data liberation' things they've been doing.

Re:This is great news if (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29580381)

Or at least *copy* the data out of google apps, which is still way better than a lock-in, of course.

Re:This is great news if (3, Insightful)

noundi (1044080) | about 5 years ago | (#29579771)

This is great news if you believe that Microsoft is pure evil and Google is goodness and light. I suspect that google will have their own lock-in however.

Why are you so quick to jump to Microsofts defense? Bottom line is: avoid proprietary lock-in. The reason: when that solution is no longer the best/most painless/cheapest you will have a hell trying to change it. It's about risk and assessment, and you can put whatever label you want on it, be it Google, Microsoft or Joe's Software. There are other options. Options that try to keep you as a customer by being the best, instead of holding your data hostage. How is this difficult to anyone?

Re:This is great news if (2, Informative)

Disgruntled Goats (1635745) | about 5 years ago | (#29579855)

Why are you so quick to jump to Microsofts defense?

So if you don't gush over Google that means you're jumping to Microsoft's defense?

Bottom line is: avoid proprietary lock-in.

So then why are you using Google's proprietary products then?

Re:This is great news if (1)

noundi (1044080) | about 5 years ago | (#29579969)

Why are you so quick to jump to Microsofts defense?

So if you don't gush over Google that means you're jumping to Microsoft's defense?

Bottom line is: avoid proprietary lock-in.

So then why are you using Google's proprietary products then?

I'm not following. Where did I say that I'm using Google's proprietary products?

Re:This is great news if (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#29580145)

Bottom line is: avoid proprietary lock-in.

So then why are you using Google's proprietary products then?

There's a difference between using proprietary products and being locked in to proprietary products. If you use a proprietary mail server (for example) that stores its spools in maildir format and implements IMAP and SMTP, then you are not locked in because you can replace it with an (open or proprietary) alternative easily.

Google makes it easy to extract your data and put it somewhere else. Sharepoint does not. That means that you are not locked in to Google's products if you choose to use them, while you are if you use Sharepoint. It's not about Microsoft being intrinsically evil and Google being intrinsically good, it's about the relative difficulty in ditching either of them in the future.

Re:This is great news if (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 5 years ago | (#29580445)

Why are you so quick to jump to Microsofts defense?

So if you don't gush over Google that means you're jumping to Microsoft's defense?

No, when you jump to Microsoft's defense you're jumping to Microsoft's defense. The article was about letting you migrate data out of Sharepoint using a free tool provided by Google. That means you have a way to move things out of Sharepoint if you want, not that you're forced to move off of SharePoint and use Google. This means you have a choice as opposed to no choice. Whatever you think about MS or Google as companies does not matter to whether or not having choice is a good thing. The fact that Google provided the choice means they did something good for users, even if they did so for selfish reasons.

In response to this article you wrote, "This is great news if you believe that Microsoft is pure evil and Google is goodness and light." That demonstrates a specific bias. An analogy would be an article that says John Smith opened up an auto shop downtown so now there are two shops. You can go to Bob Johnsons's auto body as everyone has been or you can go to the new shop. And then you reply, "This is great news if you believe that Bob Johnson is pure evil and John Smith is goodness and light." That's a clear bias.

Your official guide to the Jigaboo presidency (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29579805)

Congratulations on your purchase of a brand new nigger! If handled properly, your apeman will give years of valuable, if reluctant, service.

You should install your nigger differently according to whether you have purchased the field or house model. Field niggers work best in a serial configuration, i.e. chained together. Chain your nigger to another nigger immediately after unpacking it, and don't even think about taking that chain off, ever. Many niggers start singing as soon as you put a chain on them. This habit can usually be thrashed out of them if nipped in the bud. House niggers work best as standalone units, but should be hobbled or hamstrung to prevent attempts at escape. At this stage, your nigger can also be given a name. Most owners use the same names over and over, since niggers become confused by too much data. Rufus, Rastus, Remus, Toby, Carslisle, Carlton, Hey-You!-Yes-you!, Yeller, Blackstar, and Sambo are all effective names for your new buck nigger. If your nigger is a ho, it should be called Latrelle, L'Tanya, or Jemima. Some owners call their nigger hoes Latrine for a joke. Pearl, Blossom, and Ivory are also righteous names for nigger hoes. These names go straight over your nigger's head, by the way.

Owing to a design error, your nigger comes equipped with a tongue and vocal chords. Most niggers can master only a few basic human phrases with this apparatus - "muh dick" being the most popular. However, others make barking, yelping, yapping noises and appear to be in some pain, so you should probably call a vet and have him remove your nigger's tongue. Once de-tongued your nigger will be a lot happier - at least, you won't hear it complaining anywhere near as much. Niggers have nothing interesting to say, anyway. Many owners also castrate their niggers for health reasons (yours, mine, and that of women, not the nigger's). This is strongly recommended, and frankly, it's a mystery why this is not done on the boat

Your nigger can be accommodated in cages with stout iron bars. Make sure, however, that the bars are wide enough to push pieces of nigger food through. The rule of thumb is, four niggers per square yard of cage. So a fifteen foot by thirty foot nigger cage can accommodate two hundred niggers. You can site a nigger cage anywhere, even on soft ground. Don't worry about your nigger fashioning makeshift shovels out of odd pieces of wood and digging an escape tunnel under the bars of the cage. Niggers never invented the shovel before and they're not about to now. In any case, your nigger is certainly too lazy to attempt escape. As long as the free food holds out, your nigger is living better than it did in Africa, so it will stay put. Buck niggers and hoe niggers can be safely accommodated in the same cage, as bucks never attempt sex with black hoes.

Your Nigger likes fried chicken, corn bread, and watermelon. You should therefore give it none of these things because its lazy ass almost certainly doesn't deserve it. Instead, feed it on porridge with salt, and creek water. Your nigger will supplement its diet with whatever it finds in the fields, other niggers, etc. Experienced nigger owners sometimes push watermelon slices through the bars of the nigger cage at the end of the day as a treat, but only if all niggers have worked well and nothing has been stolen that day. Mike of the Old Ranch Plantation reports that this last one is a killer, since all niggers steal something almost every single day of their lives. He reports he doesn't have to spend much on free watermelon for his niggers as a result. You should never allow your nigger meal breaks while at work, since if it stops work for more than ten minutes it will need to be retrained. You would be surprised how long it takes to teach a nigger to pick cotton. You really would. Coffee beans? Don't ask. You have no idea.

Niggers are very, very averse to work of any kind. The nigger's most prominent anatomical feature, after all, its oversized buttocks, which have evolved to make it more comfortable for your nigger to sit around all day doing nothing for its entire life. Niggers are often good runners, too, to enable them to sprint quickly in the opposite direction if they see work heading their way. The solution to this is to *dupe* your nigger into working. After installation, encourage it towards the cotton field with blows of a wooden club, fence post, baseball bat, etc., and then tell it that all that cotton belongs to a white man, who won't be back until tomorrow. Your nigger will then frantically compete with the other field niggers to steal as much of that cotton as it can before the white man returns. At the end of the day, return your nigger to its cage and laugh at its stupidity, then repeat the same trick every day indefinitely. Your nigger comes equipped with the standard nigger IQ of 75 and a memory to match, so it will forget this trick overnight. Niggers can start work at around 5am. You should then return to bed and come back at around 10am. Your niggers can then work through until around 10pm or whenever the light fades.

Your nigger enjoys play, like most animals, so you should play with it regularly. A happy smiling nigger works best. Games niggers enjoy include: 1) A good thrashing: every few days, take your nigger's pants down, hang it up by its heels, and have some of your other niggers thrash it with a club or whip. Your nigger will signal its intense enjoyment by shrieking and sobbing. 2) Lynch the nigger: niggers are cheap and there are millions more where yours came from. So every now and then, push the boat out a bit and lynch a nigger.

Lynchings are best done with a rope over the branch of a tree, and niggers just love to be lynched. It makes them feel special. Make your other niggers watch. They'll be so grateful, they'll work harder for a day or two (and then you can lynch another one). 3) Nigger dragging: Tie your nigger by one wrist to the tow bar on the back of suitable vehicle, then drive away at approximately 50mph. Your nigger's shrieks of enjoyment will be heard for miles. It will shriek until it falls apart. To prolong the fun for the nigger, do *NOT* drag him by his feet, as his head comes off too soon. This is painless for the nigger, but spoils the fun. Always wear a seatbelt and never exceed the speed limit. 4) Playing on the PNL: a variation on (2), except you can lynch your nigger out in the fields, thus saving work time. Niggers enjoy this game best if the PNL is operated by a man in a tall white hood. 5) Hunt the nigger: a variation of Hunt the Slipper, but played outdoors, with Dobermans. WARNING: do not let your Dobermans bite a nigger, as they are highly toxic.

Niggers die on average at around 40, which some might say is 40 years too late, but there you go. Most people prefer their niggers dead, in fact. When yours dies, report the license number of the car that did the drive-by shooting of your nigger. The police will collect the nigger and dispose of it for you.

Have it put down, for god's sake. Who needs an uppity nigger? What are we, short of niggers or something?

They all do this. Shorten your nigger's chain so it can't reach any white women, and arm heavily any white women who might go near it.

Not unless it outnumbers you 20 to 1, and even then, it's not likely. If niggers successfully overthrew their owners, they'd have to sort out their own food. This is probably why nigger uprisings were nonexistent (until some fool gave them rights).

Yeah, well, it would. Tell it to shut the fuck up.

A nigger's skin is actually more or less transparent. That brown color you can see is the shit your nigger is full of. This is why some models of nigger are sold as "The Shitskin".

What you have there is a "wigger". Rough crowd. WOW!

They're as common as dog shit and about as valuable. In fact, one of them was President between 1992 and 2000. Put your wigger in a cage with a few hundred genuine niggers and you'll soon find it stops acting like a nigger. However, leave it in the cage and let the niggers dispose of it. The best thing for any wigger is a dose of TNB.

And you were expecting what?

When you came in here, did you see a sign that said "Dead nigger storage"? .That's because there ain't no goddamn sign.

That would be surprising. (5, Informative)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 5 years ago | (#29579845)

Gmail supports imap. Google Calender supports iCal. Google Docs exports natively to OpenDocument. GTalk uses Jabber and Jingle. Google Chrome is open source, as is Google Wave, Android, and plenty of other things I can't remember offhand.

I haven't really seen that much in terms of lock-in from Google, beyond the fact that they often provide the best implementation -- for example, I don't see how you could lock someone into a search engine, yet Google Search remains dominant because it's actually good.

Can you give me your reason for believing Google would lock people in? Any evidence to back that up?

Re:That would be surprising. (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 5 years ago | (#29579947)

Remember, *parts* of each of these things are open source, not all, due to apache license. If they were really trying to make it 100% open source they'd be looking at GPL. Meanwhile, they're doing a thousandfold better than other giant companies in their situation.

Re:That would be surprising. (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about 5 years ago | (#29580131)

Isn't the apache Licence open source? (perhaps except some zealots)

Re:That would be surprising. (4, Informative)

LizardKing (5245) | about 5 years ago | (#29580273)

Remember, *parts* of each of these things are open source, not all, due to apache license.

They are completely open source and Open Source - OSI certified, and GPLv3 compatible. They're just not completely "Free Software" (which is just a particularly restrictive form of open source and therefore less free in the dictionary sense than Apache licensed code).

Re:That would be surprising. (0, Redundant)

Disgruntled Goats (1635745) | about 5 years ago | (#29579983)

Google Chrome is open source, as is Google Wave, Android, and plenty of other things I can't remember offhand.

Basically the products that they derive little or none of their income base from. Come back to me when they release the source code to AdWords, GoogleFS, or their proprietary Linux kernel fork that they run their servers on.

Re:That would be surprising. (3, Insightful)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | about 5 years ago | (#29580021)

But none of those products introduce even the possibility of vendor lock-in...

Re:That would be surprising. (1)

Disgruntled Goats (1635745) | about 5 years ago | (#29580391)

But to talk all about how great Google is because of a few token open source gestures is laughable when they make up nothing of their actual revenue base. When they actually open source something of real business importance then we can talk.

Re:That would be surprising. (3, Interesting)

ElSupreme (1217088) | about 5 years ago | (#29580061)

Well your data may be liberated, but it is also scanned over by google and their servers. I would probably rather have my data in a propritery locked box, than seen by random people and advertisments sent to me.

Re:That would be surprising. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29580143)

Seen by random people? Even if I was willing to indulge your baseless paranoia, you'd still have very strange ideas about how search engines work.

Re:This is great news if (4, Informative)

packman (156280) | about 5 years ago | (#29579897)

Can only say one thing to this: []

Re:This is great news if (1, Funny)

alinuxguruofyore (1117973) | about 5 years ago | (#29580059)

Isn't the Data Liberation group the same group that kidnapped Patty Hearst?

Re:This is great news if (2, Funny)

xouumalperxe (815707) | about 5 years ago | (#29580247)

Isn't the Data Liberation group the same group that kidnapped Patty Hearst?

Data wants to be free! People? Not so much.

How tiny is it?!?!? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29579645)

Rob Malda's penis is sooo tiny that it was confused for a toddler's penis at the glory hole last night!

Re:How tiny is it?!?!? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29579773)

Now that you mention it, I guess they both do taste the same.

Just wondering... (2, Insightful)

msh104 (620136) | about 5 years ago | (#29579649)

How is this story "hardware" related.

Re:Just wondering... (5, Funny)

Akido37 (1473009) | about 5 years ago | (#29579705)

Can't you read? SharePoint is a FORTRESS.

Re:Just wondering... (1)

nkh (750837) | about 5 years ago | (#29579847)

I don't get it, Fortress was supposed to be Sun's new programming language, the alternative to Fortran. How is SharePoint related to Fortran?

Re:Just wondering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29579799)

I'm just wondering what the hell Sharepoint actually is. The summary gives no clue at all.

Just a simple one sentence note would be useful guys. I need this information to determine if I care about this or not. I don't want to have to spend 10 minutes researching every crap headline just to figure out the summaries on the front page!

Re:Just wondering... (4, Informative)

brainstem (519778) | about 5 years ago | (#29579971)

It's an MS web based document management system with CMS capabilties (among other things). Most organizations use it for intranet type sites, but there are many companies that use it to manage their public facing websites as well.

Business do see the light (5, Interesting)

Necroloth (1512791) | about 5 years ago | (#29579661)

I work for a well known automotive company and as you all know, this industry has been pretty well battered during the recession. Auto companies have looked at all sorts of possibilities to reduce costs and mine has decided to move to Google and migrate away from Exchange, Sharepoint etc.

In times of financial troubles, companies look to alternatives but they need to be trusted known brands

Editing? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29579673)

Uhh, which Wikipedia entry above?

Re:Editing? (1)

SenFo (761716) | about 5 years ago | (#29580299)

Bad copy and paste of original text. It's in the actual article and it's just the SharePoint Wikipedia article [] .

Micro Google Lockin? (3, Insightful)

msh104 (620136) | about 5 years ago | (#29579711)

So... in order to break the microsoft lockin you use an api that is only availible to google users only.
Sound a bit like "Free, More Free and Locked in... Again..." to me...

Re:Micro Google Lockin? (2, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 5 years ago | (#29579849)

Not really... at least once you shake it out into Google, you can then move it one more hop into something usable and open.

Google's API is merely the means, not the end.

Re:Micro Google Lockin? (4, Insightful)

ElSupreme (1217088) | about 5 years ago | (#29580097)

Yeah but google gets to read it after you extract it. I would rather have my company trade secrets in my company.

Re:Micro Google Lockin? (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about 5 years ago | (#29580171)

I'd expect an API that provides Access to my data NOT to be usable by anyone without some kind of authentification.

Re:Micro Google Lockin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29580309)

Did they get you to trade
a walk on part in the wall
for a leaphole in a cage

Prevent data from getting trapped in my machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29579717)

I should put it on some machine that I don't even own at google?

The MS hatred can really make you dumb.

bah, sharepoint. (5, Informative)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 5 years ago | (#29579723)

Its great news if *anything* can rescue us from the horror that is Sharepoint.

I've never used a worse CMS system (which is what everyone pretends it is) when really its an online document repository. Don't even start me of Infopath documents being put in there to pretend to give it a forms engine. Its hell.

Thing is, I'm not entirely sure why all the myriad sharepoint sites that have sprung up at our company are so useless, I think its because its so easy to drop another document into another list that you end up with a sprawl of almost-related data, that's then impossible to find. Our admin did try to say that he'd put the search functionality on so it should be easier to find things... but when I searched for one document I received several thousand hits back!

Alternatively it could be because every department has their own sharepoint site, that no-one knows which one to look in for data, so they don't bother using it.

In any case, all the sharepoints here are crap, even the one the admin spent a lot of time on to give it a good sense of organisation.

Re:bah, sharepoint. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29579875)

The Search is one of the biggest and most important features of SharePoint. If your admin had a clue, he/she would have set it up in the beginning with appropriate IFilters for all of the documents being uploaded. With that and proper meta tagging rules for document uploads, it really doesn't matter where it is inside SharePoint, as long as it's there. There are also 3rd party add-ins (BA Insight's Longitude, for example) that expand the capabilities of search.

The problems at your organization sound like bad planning on the part of whoever oversaw the implementation. The tools are there (and believe it or not, they are good tools, which is one of the reasons why SP is so popular), it's just easy to end up with a mess when the people setting it up have no idea what they're doing.

Non-thinking Sharepoint (2, Informative)

fast turtle (1118037) | about 5 years ago | (#29580109)

The impression I got from just the crap summary was that Sharepoint is idiot easy to install without any planning. This means depending on the individual who sets it up, it'll either work wonderfully for you by enforcing proper tagging and indexing rules or it'll become a pit that simply costs money because you can't find anything important with it.

This is a classic example of Pick any two:

  • cheap
  • fast
  • works

Re:bah, sharepoint. (4, Funny)

nkh (750837) | about 5 years ago | (#29579919)

I've never used a worse CMS system

Me neither, but I kinda like the way SharePoint spits random pages in Italian sometimes, it's like I'm a member of the Cosa Nostra or something :D

Re:bah, sharepoint. (5, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 5 years ago | (#29579973)

Don't even start me of Infopath documents being put in there to pretend to give it a forms engine. Its hell.

Worse than hell, really... and not very secure. Our purchase req's at work use it, and I doubt the doc author would know what I was talking about if I asked her whether she sanitized her inputs or not (for example, I can give my own PR's authorization all the way to the VP of finance if I wanted to... and they rely on the damned thing now).

As for the rest? Dude, I'd give it every mod point I'd ever see for the next year if I could. I'm guessing it's your latter reason (too much diaspora, with little to hold it together) that explains why few people use it. A good web designer can overcome that very easily, but unfortunately? A good web designer and a good SharePoint developer are apparently almost never the same human being (hell, our SP "developer" gets lost in an Event Log... how am I supposed to help explain the basics of CSS to the guy?)

PS: The search function is pure hell to get working right, if at all. The consultant who put ours together actually knew what he was doing, and SP search still works only half-assed, so don't feel too badly about it.

Re:bah, sharepoint. (5, Interesting)

SenFo (761716) | about 5 years ago | (#29580555)

A good web designer and a good SharePoint developer are apparently almost never the same human being (hell, our SP "developer" gets lost in an Event Log... how am I supposed to help explain the basics of CSS to the guy?)

PS: The search function is pure hell to get working right, if at all. The consultant who put ours together actually knew what he was doing, and SP search still works only half-assed, so don't feel too badly about it.

You couldn't have been more accurate. 49 out of every 50 SharePoint "developers" I have talked to or interviewed are far from designers or software engineers. It's as if they were attracted to SharePoint because they were unable to make it in the real software development world. Not that this would necessarily be a problem, but SharePoint is one of the most difficult platforms I have ever had the unfortunate experience to program against. While these "developers" are busy building InfoPath forms and exposing tons of meaningless columns to interface with the workflow engine (they often use WF to overcome the fact that InfoPath is NOT a development platform), it's my job to interface the pile of mess with other COTS products by building convoluted ETL processes. The unfortunate truth of the whole situation is that the senior technical staff (e.g., CTO) fails to see the flaws that SharePoint brings. They focus their energy entirely on common CMS features, such as how easy it is to enable search and create a new page. If you dare suggest an alternative, you'll find yourself amongst the other outcasts --lonely, frustrated and unheard.

SharePoint is, by far, the most hideous platform I know of. It makes me long for the days of hacking HTML to make it render correctly in IE6.

Re:bah, sharepoint. (1)

smooth123 (893548) | about 5 years ago | (#29580383)

It is an oxymoronic situation. You create a content store so to avoid silos of information in the organization, namely files stored in folders on the network. Then every department goes ahead and creates its own content store siloing the information that was meant to be shared in the first place. Also I do not understand why and how the author of TFA compares Sharepoint to GNU, or for that matter Linux. There are several competent Open source CMS, alfresco for one does a very good job. If your going to pay cash for a system, Documentum or Open Text are far more evolved than Scarepoint.

sharepoint is another failure (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29580409)

Slashdot is just doing its part to publish astroturfing. MS Sharepoint is a failure [] wherever it is deployed. Here are the CRM packages MS is trying out shout:

O3Spaces []

Lenya []

SugardCRM []

Alfresco []

Main pyrus []

Nuxeo []

Re:bah, sharepoint. (2, Funny)

Inda (580031) | about 5 years ago | (#29580599)

We had the same searching problems at our company with Shitpoint.

So we spent more money on an excellent 3rd Party search engine.

They'll be sending us all on expensive FrontPage courses next... On wait, they did that already. I got a certificate btw. I can now program web sites. I can even write forms :p

Worst searching capability ever (1)

rwade (131726) | about 5 years ago | (#29580659)

Its great news if *anything* can rescue us from the horror that is Sharepoint.

I've never used a worse CMS system (which is what everyone pretends it is) when really its an online document repository.

So true. The search capability makes share point useless to me as a CMS. I put in a search term and end up with a thousand results, none of which is at all relevant to the question I'm trying to answer.

Must be a Microsoft Wank (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29579737)

SharePoint is neither Cheap nor Simple

Sharepoint is cheap? (5, Informative)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 5 years ago | (#29579747)

It requires considerably more iron to run it than Wiki software, and the software licenses are very expensive.

We invested initially in Sharepoint, but can't afford to roll it out for the entire company.

Cheap is the last word I'd use to describe Sharepoint.

Depending on how and what you use Sharepoint for, companies should consider looking at MediaWiki and/or Alfresco for document storage, indexing, processing, sharing, etc.

Re:Sharepoint is cheap? (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 5 years ago | (#29580005)

IIRC, the license key was nearly a universal one for the longest time...

(not advocating anyone actually putting that info to nefarious use or anything - just sayin' is all...)

Re:Sharepoint is cheap? (4, Insightful)

cdrudge (68377) | about 5 years ago | (#29580177)

I think it depends on what flavor of SharePoint you are using. Windows Sharepoint Services (WSS) is licensed as part of Windows Server, so you aren't paying extra for something that you may already have. Microsoft Office Sharepoint Systems (MOSS) is licensed separately can the costs can very rapidly grow to very large numbers for larger enterprises depending on what features are desired or how the farm is laid out.

Sharepoint makes me mad (5, Interesting)

hansamurai (907719) | about 5 years ago | (#29579751)

This is such an awful piece of software, especially for people who use a non-IE browser, essentially making this even more worthless for non Windows desktops.  I'm asked for my security credentials every other click or so, and even when it is correct, sometimes it will just keep asking and asking (and yes, in Firefox I added the url to my network.automatic-ntlm-auth.trusted-uris).  The wiki software is just atrocious with the syntax being completely unintuitive.  The only way to really use the wiki is... yep, to use IE and the built in rich text editor.  Just check out some of the code generated from it:

<div class=ExternalClassD18714056AE54C4288E018C6231AEF4A>
<div align=center><strong><font size=4>Welcome to&nbsp;My Group&nbsp;wiki site!</font></strong></div><strong><font size=3></font></strong></div>
<div class=ExternalClassD18714056AE54C4288E018C6231AEF4A><strong><font size=3></font></strong>&nbsp;</div>
<div class=ExternalClassD18714056AE54C4288E018C6231AEF4A>
<div align=left><font size=3></font><font size=2>Welcome to the Department Wiki. Remember, this is your wiki, so please don't hesitate to add and/or enhance existing pages, and fix mistakes or errors.</font></div><font size=2></font></div><br>
<h1><font size=5>Starting Points</font></h1>

Re:Sharepoint makes me mad (3, Interesting)

smartin (942) | about 5 years ago | (#29579989)

I'll second that. Give me a mediawiki for collaboration and content, and a subversion repository for document storage and i'm happy. Shitepoint is just another crappy M$ product that is a pain to use and tries to lock you to their other crappy products.

Re:Sharepoint makes me mad (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29580121)

sounds like your install of sharepoint is your problem. We have thosands of users, have no problems with permissions, finding data with search, and it works great in firefox. It was easy to implement and cheap given that users needed almost zero training and the hardware it required was very low (For a server which is all that is ever allowed in our datacenters)

Re:Sharepoint makes me mad (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29580289)

I find that if firefox keeps asking for authentication, toggling the network.negotiate-auth.allow-proxies value to false will stop them. My uni proxy would cause authentication windows to pop up all the time, but toggling this value causes them to only show one authentication dialog on first open

Uhm... (5, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 5 years ago | (#29579753)

Getting content out of SharePoint is blindingly trivial - the web services provided allow you to access all saved versions of documents in document libraries (including wiki pages et al), all user information and all list items.

Grab the information from the web services and do whatever you wish with the resulting data - its neither hard nor hidden, so this story is pointless.

Re:Uhm... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29579955)

Exactly. How do you think Google was able to access the supposed FORTRESS of data that was locked inside of Sharepoint? They read the manuals!!

I'd be curious how soon Google will allow you to extract your documents from Google Docs back into your Wiki...which, btw, is it's own form of fortress depending on which vendor you go with.

CEO's point of view (4, Insightful)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | about 5 years ago | (#29579793)

Even if google were only being proposed as a bridge to other formats it's just too much trust to ask for sensitive and classified documents to be moved through servers at a company we don't control.

Re:CEO's point of view (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | about 5 years ago | (#29580073)

And yet some companies (presumably the smaller ones) are willing to use Google Apps for their emails. Personally, I never understood that for exactly the reasons you mention.

Re:CEO's point of view (1)

jimicus (737525) | about 5 years ago | (#29580531)

Companies have been outsourcing the processing of enormous amounts of vital, confidential information for time immemorial.

Lots of companies outsource HR, payroll, legal, some aspects of accounting, bookkeeping and IT. Indeed, entire industries exist based around the idea that most companies don't really need someone who understands HR law|accounting|IT on staff for 37.5 hours/week.

An inevitable side-effect of this is that vitally important, incredibly confidential information is already held by outside organisations. Frankly, some of the companies offering managed Exchange services (and there are loads) come across as downright shady compared with Google.

Re:CEO's point of view (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29580133)

Both sharepoint and mediawiki (and all the other software mentioned) are installable on your own hardware. These aren't services, so I'm not sure what you're getting at.

Re:CEO's point of view (1)

corbettw (214229) | about 5 years ago | (#29580137)

That sounds like it came from a clueful CEO. Most of the ones I've met would respond with "Google? I use them all the time, let's do it."

Re:CEO's point of view (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29580207)

You can buy Google Apps as a product to host on your own servers. You don't have to rely on Google.

Re:CEO's point of view (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29580365)

Implement google wave yourself and your data won't have to touch google's servers :)

Re:CEO's point of view (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about 5 years ago | (#29580415)

it's just too much trust to ask for sensitive and classified documents to be moved through servers at a company we don't control.

Yet you're willing to move sensitive and classified documents through software you don't control, provided by a vendor that is not only notorious for poor quality but is actually a convicted criminal?

Running your data through Google's servers is no less secure that running it through Microsoft's software. Both, of course, should be avoided: use Free Software on servers you own (or lease).

Is it really that popular? (2, Interesting)

leetrout (855221) | about 5 years ago | (#29579807)

We have Share Point here at my office but my team doesn't use it because it is so hard to navigate. It is extremely difficult to figure out where you just posted something if you happen to stumble back to the main landing page. I'm shocked to hear that anyone considers that package a "success". I, for one, will not be giving up on any OS tools / apps for SP.

Re:Is it really that popular? (1)

corbettw (214229) | about 5 years ago | (#29580153)

The made $1.3 billion in sales last year. In what way is that not a "success"?

Slashdot sensationalism/FUD (0)

BitZtream (692029) | about 5 years ago | (#29579843)

FUD much?

Part of the point of SharePoint is actually getting the documents back out of SharePoint, it works pretty much the exact same way people put documents into SharePoint.

There is no mass export, sure, but show me the OSS alternative that exports things en masse to SharePoint ...

The argument that you can get at the data because the source is there is fucking retarded. To 99.999% of the people in the world having the source doesn't mean a thing so you're going to need a new battle cry if you expect people to give a shit.

This type of article is just a copy of the crap that MS does, you won't when people over that way.

Re:Slashdot sensationalism/FUD (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | about 5 years ago | (#29579975)

There is no out of the box mass export, but coming up with a script to stream binary objects from the database to the file system is a trivial exercise.

How hard is it? (4, Informative)

mcmonkey (96054) | about 5 years ago | (#29579887)

What is this lock in? I RTFA and skimmed the linked wikipedia article, and couldn't find any details.

Everything in SharePoint is a list in the database. A calendar is just a list of events with start and end times. A address book is a list of contacts. All you need is some basic SQL, and your information is free.

Documents are also in the database as binary objects. Pulling them out and saving to the local file system can be an exercise for your intern or first year programmer.

The API for SharePoint is fairly well documented. If you wanted to migrate a site from SharePoint to another platform, recreating the look and feel may be a challenge--likely depending on your design skills--but getting your data out will not be.

Re:How hard is it? (1)

IsaacD (1376213) | about 5 years ago | (#29579967)

Exactly. But, per the fanbois, it's a Microsoft product, therefore it is inherently evil and must be destroyed. The truth is that SharePoint is a fabulous product. I use it at work and at home with a variety of document types and have no issues. Those documents are even search-able if a filter is available.

Re:How hard is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29580039)

I couldn't agree more, but if I were to give my primary criticism of SP it would be that the platform is just too generic. It's a highly generalized platform for collaboration and doesn't cater to a specific work process. Mind you, there are plenty of templated SP sites available, but they always seem to come up short for me because of this generalized one-size fits all LCD approach that Microsoft took to the product.

Re:How hard is it? (2, Interesting)

IsaacD (1376213) | about 5 years ago | (#29580217)

Yes, some of the templates are almost useless, but I've found success with a few of them. Though I must admit that the development tools for it are quite the headache. Nonetheless, SharePoint really shines with collaboration and integration. Being able to use a (versioned) SharePoint list as a Windows directory is incredibly useful. I recently even helped someone with a project that involved porting an Access database to SharePoint. It was a few clicks and it was finished.

Re:How hard is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29580263)

It also gets a bad rap for being underutilized. I have worked for a few companies now that used^Hinstalled Sharepoint, and it didnt go much further then that.

The company I work for now installed it in 2005 and hasnt used it since, but it is still listed in the orientation manual.

Re:How hard is it? (1)

smooth123 (893548) | about 5 years ago | (#29580521)

You need to ask a sharepoint administrator how great the product is. On a small scale one department, personal etc it is good, but i do not think it is meant for the enterprise yet. The worst feature is searching, and security is a concern. I must say that it is more intuitive to use then a lot of people here are saying. And some dumba$$ was saying it does not work on non IE browsers. I use FF to browse sharepoint sites and have not had any big issues.

Re:How hard is it? (1)

Inda (580031) | about 5 years ago | (#29580325)

Documents can also be located via a netwrok address and act pretty much like a physical harddrive. I use a batch file; hardly a first year programmers job (or are they that stupid these days?)

I hate Shitpoint and everything it does. Teaching people a little HTML would be cheaper and easier.

Back Before Sharepoint came along... (Geeklog) (4, Interesting)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | about 5 years ago | (#29580025)

Back in the day before Sharepoint, as a school assignment for one of my higher level CIS Classes I was tasked with making a CMS where as people could upload (Word) documents to the CMS in the form of Articles.

The closest I was ever able to get is with an an application called GeekLog. But there was absolutely no automation. I tinkered with the HTML export aspect of Word, it was an absolute abortion. Useless with Geeklog.

Now that we have linkable libraries for everything under the sun in Linux, I always wondered the following: Why could it not be setup such that so long as an Acceptable format was uploaded (DOC, ODT, WPD, etc) could be parsed into an XHTML 1.0 Compliant article.

I never could lick that problem.

Then another problem came up. I needed a way to Authenticate Geeklog against LDAP, and later single sign on with Kerberos.

I was thinking this all the way back in 2003 and 2004.

Then, low and behold, I start hearing about the abomination that is: Sharepoint.

After I heard about I was like "oh damn it. They got write what all these LAMP Stack PHP applications couldn't think of: LDAP, Kerberos, and the ability to turn binary documents into readable searchable articles."

It was like my worst nightmare come true. GeekLog was a prime example of how Linux developers could have stopped the sharepoint nightmare before it started.

Re:Back Before Sharepoint came along... (Geeklog) (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 5 years ago | (#29580469)

> They got write what all these LAMP Stack PHP applications couldn't think of: LDAP, Kerberos, and the ability to turn binary documents into readable

A very old idea actually. There were document management products on the market in the mid-90s that did this.

Whine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29580063)

Microsoft is making something that people like.

Re:Whine (1)

IsaacD (1376213) | about 5 years ago | (#29580085)

i'm chuckling at the truth of this (and the comedy)

Cracking success? (1)

Peregr1n (904456) | about 5 years ago | (#29580071)

I'll admit Sharepoint is a success when it works with browsers other than IE. After evangelising the benefits of alternative browsers around our company, I looked distinctly silly when we started rolling out Sharepoint and had to admit everyone had to revert back to IE.

I would also warn people against believing Microsoft's hype about Sharepoint. It's a good tool for a specific purpose, but it won't solve every problem you have. Make sure YOUR company is suitable for the way Sharepoint works. Don't expect Sharepoint to be flexible to your requirements.

Re:Cracking success? (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 5 years ago | (#29580223)

I'll admit Sharepoint is a success when it works with browsers other than IE.

It does, partially. To get the full experience, IE and ActiveX are required. But FF, Safari, etc all work on a basic level.
Apparently, SharePoint 2010 will support FF [] natively
"A standards based browser such as Internet Explorer 7, Internet Explorer 8 or Firefox 3.x will be required to author content."

Google Sites not a panacea (1)

HogGeek (456673) | about 5 years ago | (#29580113)

There are a lot of organizations that, while sharepoint isn't necessarily the "best answer", it is the only solution that allows for a quick deployment.

U.S. Government organizations and their contractors would never be allowed to store documents anywhere except within their own infrastructure. I would love to see a "Google Sites" internal deployment option...

News at 11: SharePoint holds data hostage. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29580125)

Google sends in G-Force Soldiersâ and foils Microsoft's evil Plans. Once again, the day is saved, thanks to... the power puff girls! -- And Google.

Cheap... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29580175)

SharePoint is a brilliant success, for a couple of reasons. In a way, it's Microsoft's answer to GNU/Linux: cheap and simple enough for departments to install without needing to ask permission, it has proliferated almost unnoticed through enterprises to such an extent that last year SharePoint Sales were $1.3 billion.

Cheap? No. Not unless you call $150 per CAL cheap.

Pretty easy to get list data out of sharepoint (1)

richardoz (529837) | about 5 years ago | (#29580189)

I used the technique below to get all my list data out. It's pretty easy to extend that to pull out the document blobs from SQL as well: []

The data is not "locked" in (2, Insightful)

gorfie (700458) | about 5 years ago | (#29580191)

Having worked with SharePoint for many years, I do not see how the data is locked in. The documents can be accessed much like a network share. The list data (including the meta data associated with documents) can be exported to Excel or even accessed through web services or through the object model itself.

And I don't see how it is an explicit threat to ODF because end users can easily store any document type in SharePoint. The only threat is that SharePoint offers integration with Office - but that doesn't prevent people from using ODF, it just encourages usage of Office.

I'm not suggesting that SharePoint is a good platform, but let's not bash it for locking users in and locking out competing products when it is merely retaining users by being just good enough to keep them content.

SharePoint is the new DOS... (1)

mgkimsal2 (200677) | about 5 years ago | (#29580221)

a "Document Operating System".

MS knows this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29580261)

Someone close to me works for a very large firm. He was implemeting an internal Wiki, which quickly turned also into some kind of doc repository, based on OSS software (don't know which, sorry). The Wiki was being used by about 10 small departments, with good prospects for more use.

MS got wind of it, and paid the devs+consultants required to move the whole thing over to SharePoint, which does offer a few short-term superficial benefits.

End result: for a few man-months of investment, MS is set to get a lifetime rent. Well played MS !

Posting anonymously because the whole shenanigans were heavily NDAed.

billion dollar hit my ass (1)

jackflap (715225) | about 5 years ago | (#29580267)

"But as well as being one of Microsoft's few new billion-dollar hits" huh? who says? im not even going to bother googling the stats on that one, but since ive never heard of SharePoint before, sounds like a bad marketing ploy to me..

Re:billion dollar hit my ass (1, Interesting)

jedidiah (1196) | about 5 years ago | (#29580525)

I saw it in a Fortune 100 company. Didn't see it anywhere in another Fortune 500 company.

Wouldn't expect smaller companies to use it.

It seems like the perfect thing for companies so large with such
a crushing beaurocracy that all effectiveness and productivity is
also crushed.

Google sites is not even half SharePoint. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29580373)

I work with SharePoint on a daily base. I also looked into Google Sites.

I encourage alternatives and open solutions like Google Sites (Alfresco, ...)
Unfortunately the current state of Google Sites does not even contain 20% of the functionality and flexibility available in SharePoint. (read: coding flexibility and integration flexibility, I'm not talking about locked in documents)

I'm afraid that with the SharePoint 2010 version (due for in Q1 2010 ) the gap will only grow larger.

"brilliant"?? As in "blinding" or as in "smart"? (0, Troll)

mnemotronic (586021) | about 5 years ago | (#29580377)

Been using sharepoint for a while. In my dictionary, it has replaced GW Bush as the prototypical instantiation of "lame". Caveat - out Sharepoint admins have not taken any classes and are attempting to administer the site by studying in their "spare time" (ha. right).

You have to use MSIE to do most operations. The "version control" is based on the "brand new in 1972" lock paradigm. There is no API that I've been able to discover, and no way to automate things using VBScript. There is no way to xfer, much less sync, my Outlook "Tasks" with "Tasks" on sharepoint.

Not True--and how Sharepoint actually proliferates (5, Interesting)

Slicker (102588) | about 5 years ago | (#29580471)

Uhm.. Seriously? You are really kidding me.. I mean REALLY? It is not any of those things boasted--not remotely close. I worked with Sharepoint for the last two years, installing, administering, and using for a state university. It is absolutely the most unrecommendable software product I have EVER worked with. It has worked reasonably well (not great) only for one purpose for us: a document repository. Version control only really works when using Microsoft Office 2007. Otherwise, it'll wipe out your version histories.

(1) Ease of installation -- It's highly complex. You really do need to read the 700 page book Microsoft has to know how to install it. This is because numerous options at install time cannot be changed later except by re-installation. And I mean many numerous options that are very difficult to understand how each relates to the other.. We reinstalled so many times, paid for expensive consulting both with Microsoft and with an outside firm. We still couldn't get it right. The nuances are many and hit you repeatedly often with the only fix being a reinstallation.... and usually rebuilding of content, along with it.

AND users almost universally hate it. Management fights hard against the wishes of users to implement Sharepoint--not only at our organisation but also at every other organisation I've had to privilege to ask their sysadmins about. Management usually hails its success but on the ground, it's almost universally hated and a disaster. Oh, yes.. Our universities library system also had a successful use of a simple trouble ticket management system... so there were two exceptions. It's also easier to install and administer as a single server than as a farm, but still not so easy and no easier on users.

I cannot stress enough--the problem with Sharepoint are the many many MANY critical nuances.

(2) Inexpensive -- No. It's very expensive. The learning curve is quite high so training is really required. In our case, the expense was bundled in with a variety of other software licenses such as that for Exchange. Alone, the license is very expensive--particularly if you want to open it up to outside your organisation's intranet.

But the real expense is in administration. Both training costs, immense amounts of time spent with it, and dealing with problems ongoing are the highest costs I've ever seen for a server application. Upgrades are also a huge difficulty. They present as opportunities to resolve some former configuration problems but taking advantage thereof often means your data is not restorable.

Of all the alternative applications I've worked with, "Typo 3" is the most Sharepoint-like, functionally. It is, however, far easier to learn and it is reliable. Sharepoint is reliable only in the sense that its processes keep running--that doesn't mean it doesn't break regularly. The best general purpose CMS I have worked with is definitely Drupal. Drupal lacks some of the capabilities of Sharepoint (presuming those capabilities were actually usable in Sharepoint in any meaningful sense) but has many others.

The problem is that Sharepoint is not exactly a CMS. It is (and I am speaking in theory--not practice in practical terms) a collaboration environment. There really is a difference. Drupal itself has a learning curve that I don't like. It's more administrator focused and not user focused, as manifested by the fact that you cannot edit things were they are seen by users but rather must work through a back panel. Drupal also lacks a WebDAV document repository and the ability to do things like email in documents and other kinds of content and get email notifications of content or documents modified.

Drupal is about setting up a classical website for users to use and administrators to administer. Sharepoint (in theory) is about providing a service where users can create their own sites, document and data repositories and means of presenting and sharing the same (via tags and filters). It's about working together within an organisation or across organisations (for authorized individuals). So the open source world really doesn't have an alternative to this that I can find.. Except maybe Typo 3, I need to review that one more to know for sure. The most unappealing thing about Type 3 for me, so far, is it's hideously ugly default theme (hint: orange and white).

From what I experienced, it's Microsoft's way of selling it. They focus on the decision-maker's carreer and vanities. They talk about the product, in theory--and it's a good idea, in theory. They offer him/her opportunities to talk about their experience with the product at prestigious conferences, trade shows, and to be interviewed by journalists, etc. Decision-makers take pride in these and put them on their resumes/vitas. This also leads to more marketing of the product for Microsoft--it's free and valuable labor for Microsoft. They hint on the prospect of grant opportunities to help develop specific uses for them, in Sharepoint--and never deliver. Once the product is sold internally and implemented, too much is invested to go back. Decision-makers find themselves in the awkward position of having to continually esteem the product regardless of emerging realities. This is for the sake of their own carreers. Oh, and they also offer to send people to help you out and to develop some of your requirements into the next release. Sometimes they do send one or two people, briefly but usually that's not technical help.. It's more selling. They took our requirements but utter ignored every one of them in the next release.

As you talk with other people's experiences in their organisations, with regard to implementing Sharepoint, you find their experiences are similar... at least, for those who were near enough to the decision-maker, to see this.


Too Little, Too Late (3, Insightful)

vinn (4370) | about 5 years ago | (#29580499)

You know, I thought the community would have picked up on this about three years ago when Sharepoint was first getting attention. Microsoft has done something brilliant with Sharepoint: they've managed to tie each of their server and client pieces together in such a way that Sharepoint is the conduit for the information exchange. Want to share MS Project files? Get Sharepoint. Want to have BI reporting or workflows in Dynamics GP? Get Sharepoint. Want to have a Microsoft CRM dashboard? Get Sharepoint. All of this is functionality that should be built into the core products, not a centralized system requiring separate licensing. Sharepoint is the evil glue that is starting to hold things together. I think other proprietary vendors need to wake up and seriously consider whether or not it's worth integrating with this evil beast. Sharepoint locks you very tightly to Microsoft's platforms and it also sets you on a road toward having upgrade difficulties due to how tightly the software is coupled. All in all, it may be too little, too late. Sharepoint is very quickly gaining traction.

You are missing the pioint here. (1)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | about 5 years ago | (#29580543)

Sharepoint and Google Docs are different Animals and people tend not to understand that. Microsoft does not run Sharepoint, they sell you Sharepoint and you install it on Windows Servers internally. You can't install Google Docs on your own servers.

there are a few applications that come close to Sharepoint in the Linux world, like GeekLog and Knowlege tree, but in the Linux world, there is the parasite of unnecessary duplication. Everyone wants to store authentication on MySQL servers. (I'm not knocking MySQL, its excellent for so many beloved tasks, just not authentication.) But thats a square peg for a round hole.

Sharepoint is for id10ts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29580559)

Only a clueless moron would use sharepoint.

FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29580643)

This is complete FUD to hype a crappy new code project.

SharePoint has a robust web service AND .net API. All data in lists and document libraries is available very web services extremely easily, in fact there are even converter services to provide it in other formats in some cases.

The main (legitimate) reason most people actually put things in SharePoint, is because it provides a reliable way to programatically access your data (Even at the field level) -- as opposed to having it all shoved in a file system somewhere.

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