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OpenOffice: Worth $21 Million Per Day, If It Were Microsoft Office

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the imaginary-markets dept.

Open Source 361

rbowen of SourceForge writes with an interesting way to look at the value of certain free software options: "Apache OpenOffice 3.4.1 has averaged 138,928 downloads per day. That is an average value to the public of $21 million per day, as calculated by savings over buying the competing product. Or $7.61 billion (7.61 thousand million) per year." (That works out to about $150 per copy of MS Office. There are some holes in the argument, but it holds true for everyone who but for a free office suite would have paid that much for Microsoft's. The numbers are even bigger if you toss in LibreOffice, too.)

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potentially worth... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873261)

...people are downloading it for free so they're not necessarily paying customers...

Re:potentially worth... (1, Insightful)

SQLGuru (980662) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873321)

This.

How many people in this list would pirate instead of pay. How many of these downloads represent aborted downloads that are retried (it is a large download). How many of these would have been covered by the home license (I believe you get up to three computers with the normal licensed product -- as opposed to Student edition or other licenses). etc.

The numbers are important, but probably misleading.

And while the free Office products are sufficient for most people's normal use (i.e. homework), MS Office is still a superior product. If you need more complex features on a semi-regular basis, it's worth paying the price (but if all you do is type in text and change the font, stick with free).
.

Re:potentially worth... (4, Insightful)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873423)

How many people in this list would pirate instead of pay. How many of these downloads represent aborted downloads that are retried (it is a large download). How many of these would have been covered by the home license (I believe you get up to three computers with the normal licensed product -- as opposed to Student edition or other licenses). etc.

You missed the most important question. Out of those 138,928 downloads per day, how many people actually continued to use Open Office and how many used it briefly, discovered that it is crap and downloaded a pirated copy of Microsoft Office.

Re:potentially worth... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873485)

Did nobody see the part of the summary where they specifically pointed out that this is a hypothetical with some obvious assumptions?

Re:potentially worth... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873539)

Yes, the biggest assumption being that anyone would use OpenOffice or LibreOffice if they had to pay the same price as MS Office.

Re:potentially worth... (5, Informative)

akpoff (683177) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873847)

The summary also notes this is savings to the end user. If I don't need all the features found in MS Office I shouldn't need to buy it. If I get what I need and pay $0 I've saved $150.

That's the whole point of the summary. Some segment of the public are getting what they need to get their "office productivity" tasks done for less cost.

Re:potentially worth... (3, Insightful)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873855)

Most OO or LO users would switch to something like Google Docs or AbiWord if they had to pay the same price as they would for MS Office. Personal observation, yadda yadda, but the majority of Office users don't actually need Office, they just need Word, and for *most* of us, AbiWord will quite happily serve their needs.

Re:potentially worth... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873693)

Yes, which makes this whole exercise pointless and stupid. As soon as you charge even $1 for something that's otherwise free, those daily downloads will drop by 80%. Just ask any app developer what happens to demand when they make a free app for-pay, or vice versa.

Re:potentially worth... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873515)

Or, how many of those people purchased Microsoft Office and found out it was complete crap, so they had to install some alternative? They already gave money to Microsoft, so they shouldn't be included either.

Re:potentially worth... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873677)

how many people actually continued to use Open Office and how many used it briefly

You could apply the same logic to the sales figures of MS Office.

Re:potentially worth... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873691)

Absolutely. Hey everyone, my "Hello World" program is worth Eleventy Jillion Dollars, if it were Microsoft Office, Adobe Photo Shop, and Auto CAD all rolled into one!

Troll... (5, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873655)

And while the free Office products are sufficient for most people's normal use (i.e. homework),

That's a subtle troll. Well done.

I love how you dismiss everyone who doesn't need vastly complex features (LO has some pretty involved ones) and their work by comparing it to nothing more than schoolwork.

If you need more complex features on a semi-regular basis, it's worth paying the price (but if all you do is type in text and change the font, stick with free).

I'll clue you in on something from the world of "real work"(tm) where people do "real things" for "money" which makes it much more important than "schoolwork": almost noone knows how to use word beyond changing fonts and typing text.

Actually this is one of the things that aggravates me about people who refuse to conemplate the idea of moving to another system because "they know word": almost always they don't even know how to use it beyond the absolute basics.

Re:Troll... (5, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873831)

This.

It's been years since most people ever saw any training on MS Office, if ever, and the sands have shifted under their feet. It has become more obtuse every release.

At work we switched totally to Office Libre, and haven't looked back. There is a wealth of How To information on line, making the training available on par with anything Microsoft provides.

Re:Troll... (2, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873957)

I've argued to our licensing team that all the extra features in office are BAD. How many idiot managers do we have out there running their own personal databases out of excel and access without IS oversite? How many times does someone leave, we find one of these, then have to migrate it to a real server... all the while finding huge errors in their methodology and implementation? Do away with the nonsense.

Re:Troll... (5, Insightful)

akpoff (683177) | about a year and a half ago | (#42874013)

Agreed. In my office we've standardized on OpenOffice (or LibreOffice). We write reports, produce spreadsheets and give presentations without problem. The only time I ever need access to MS Office is when somebody sends me an Office document that for whatever reason doesn't render correctly. It's not because the information isn't available. It's always a disagreement between the two programs as to how to render. OO and LO interchange nicely. The Apple iWork suite works as well. In my experience Office is the odd-man out.

At this stage of the game Office productivity is mostly a solved problem. The feature set is known. Now we're dickering over file formats and presentation.

Re:Troll... (3, Insightful)

overmoderated (2703703) | about a year and a half ago | (#42874041)

People who know how to write use LaTeX.

Re:potentially worth... (1, Funny)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873697)

How many people in this list would pirate instead of pay.

True, Open office make several million dollars a day in profits for Microsoft.

Re:potentially worth... (5, Funny)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873715)

I pirated Open Office just on principle.

Re:potentially worth... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873859)

I wish I could pirate some mod points.

Re:potentially worth... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42874027)

The new Office suite is a train wreck with the ribbons and junk. I switched to LibreOffice and get along very well. LibreOffice does 100% of what I need it to do - and I love to run macros and queries. I have Office installed, but the company bought it. It just sits there taking up space.

Re:potentially worth... (2)

fermion (181285) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873527)

Yet when MS talks about piracy, it treats every unlicensed copy as lost revenue. So in that logic, the analysis is correct.

Re:potentially worth... (2)

Blakey Rat (99501) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873839)

Cite?

I've never seen Microsoft talk about piracy at all. At least not since they added the activation system.

Re:potentially worth... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873993)

I pirated a copy of the activation system and it works quite well.

Re:potentially worth... (3, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873549)

...people are downloading it for free so they're not necessarily paying customers...

And, more importantly, the number of downloads has no real correlation to the number of users -- which is what the paid products are based on. I've downloaded OpenOffice probably fifty times since its inception. I've bought Microsoft Office once.

Re:potentially worth... (2)

dragon-file (2241656) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873723)

This revolves around the 1:1 sale value idea where 1 download = 1 license value. Of course it's going to be hypothetical because some people may download once to a flash drive and then use that to install OO on all their systems or they might have failed downloads and have to try multiple times. This whole article is interesting but doesn't really say much about anything relevant.

Re:potentially worth... (1)

Palestrina (715471) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873825)

The figures in the article are based on downloads of a single product version, 3.4.1, since August 2012. How many times have you downloaded OpenOffice 3.4.1?

Re:potentially worth... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873901)

Personally 3 times. but each was for a different computer because at the time I needed it the install file was at home and it was easier to just download and install. So Three separate downloads, and 4 machines running it.

Re:potentially worth... (0)

Palestrina (715471) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873741)

I believe that "estimated value" is what TFA calls it. I don't think anyone is making claims that their users would actually pay that price.

An analogy: If a group of doctors volunteer their time and work in a clinic and treat the poor, pro bono, are they not entitled to claim the value that they provide is per their normal rate? Ditto for lawyers who provide pro bono counsel to those who cannot afford it. Can't they claim the value they produce per their normal hourly rates?

I don't anyone would argue that the value is zero because their "customers" would not be able to afford paying that rate.

So why deny the same argument to professionals in the engineering field, whose public service is in the form of open source software?

Re:potentially worth... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873873)

Imagine what Google's homepage would be worth per day if it were Microsoft Office.

Re:potentially worth... (4, Informative)

Bert64 (520050) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873983)

And how many of those who downloaded 3.4.1, also had 3.4.0 before? Even MS makes minor updates available for free...

Not as good. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873265)

Except that saying OpenOffice or LibreOffice are as good as Microsoft Office is false.

Re:Not as good. (3, Insightful)

Jawnn (445279) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873355)

Except that "as good" is a very slippery term. There are certain, very specific, use cases where MS Office is clearly "better". If one encounters enough of those cases, the value provided by the pay-to-play tools is higher. Outside of that, your assertion is false. In other words, I use OpenOffice (Symphony, actually) every day. It does everything I need it to do. Being free, it is of almost infinitely higher value than MS Office. But that's just me.
As for TFA, you're using RIAA math here, guys. That's just stupid. Downloader != potentially-paying-customer. At least get that part right.

Re:Not as good. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873669)

One of those very specific use cases is called a "spreadsheet", which Calc handles with the grace of a drunk puppy.

Re:Not as good. (2)

Jawnn (445279) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873779)

One of those very specific use cases is called a "spreadsheet", which Calc handles with the grace of a drunk puppy.

[citation needed]
OK, let me save you some time. You're going to cite one of the very specific use cases I mentioned. "A spreadsheet" is not one of those cases. I use Calc more than any other app in the suite and it works just fine, for me, ...as "a spreadsheet".

Re:Not as good. (4, Funny)

colinrichardday (768814) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873913)

Yeah, LibreOffice Calc has an array check box for operations that return arrays. Nothing like Excel's intuitive F2 Cntl-shift-enter.

Re:Not as good. (2)

colinrichardday (768814) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873819)

OpenOffice and LibreOffice are certainly better than Microsoft Office on Linux. I can't even get Microsoft Office to work using Wine and VirtualBox.

It's not that simple. Both have weird quirks. (2)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873965)

"Except that saying OpenOffice or LibreOffice are as good as Microsoft Office is false."

Maybe, but it's not that simple. Both Microsoft Office and OpenOffice/LibreOffice have many weird quirks.

Last week I tried to copy some text using the latest version of LibreOffice from one place to another, and the last sentence of what I copied was always made bold.

People say not to use the latest version of Microsoft Office if you have a document longer than about 30 pages, because then the formatting will be unstable.

A major problem is that Microsoft has, at present, a virtual monopoly. Once a large population has learned and accepted the quirks of Microsoft Office, it is difficult to get them to learn the quirks of something else.

We humans have not been very good at taking care of ourselves, apparently because those in power rarely have any technical knowledge, on any interest in learning. We need governments to put money into supporting a free office suite. We need legislation against proprietary file formats.

Microsoft is, in my opinion, very abusive. Customers of Microsoft pay close to a full price for new versions of software, even though many issues are not fixed. That can go on forever. Companies with virtual monopolies make more money if there are bugs and insufficiencies and proprietary file formats, because then customers have a reason to "upgrade".

There is a HUGE, fundamental problem, rooted in history. Originally, there were two kinds of programs, "word processors" and "page layout" programs. Only page layout programs allow sufficient control over how a page looks. Microsoft Office is a word processor. Microsoft Office does not have the necessary kinds of controls to take full control over the appearance of pages.

Adobe InDesign, for example, has the necessary controls, but, in my opinion, Adobe is a very badly managed company, and the InDesign user interface is poorly designed. Apparently Adobe has abandoned Framemaker and Pagemaker. Adobe software is extremely expensive.

It would be less expensive for everyone if governments paid to fix the problems of OpenOffice/LibreOffice, and that became a worldwide standard, open-source Office suite. That's what governments are for, to advance the common good. (Not killing people and destroying their property.)

But (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873289)

If you had to pay for it, you wouldn't see that amount of downloads because it really isn't worth it.

Thousand Million (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873299)

I'm not sure if I would have understood what a billion was without that.

how many would have bought either? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873307)

how many would have bought either if both charged...smells of MAFIAA accounting

7.61 thousand million? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873309)

Really? That's so much easier to understand than $7.61 Billion

Re:7.61 thousand million? (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873361)

billion has different meanings in different countries

Billion may refer to:
In numbers:
Long and short scales
1,000,000,000 (number), one thousand million, 109, in the short scale
1,000,000,000,000 (number), one million million, 1012, in the long scale

Re:7.61 thousand million? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873391)

No English-speaking country uses the long scale anymore; it's only pointed out by pedants in the comments section of Slashdot stories.

Re:7.61 thousand million? (1)

Palestrina (715471) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873559)

Perhaps, but as the map in the TFA shows, the users of OpenOffice are not all (or even predominately) in English-speaking countries. So some aid for the non-native speaker is thoughtful.

This is a story? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873317)

A download is not a sale says Slashdot when the RIAA uses it for damage assessments. This "story" is nothing more than a calculation that a liberal arts major could do (with a calculator) in a minute or two. Why is this on Slashdot?

Re:This is a story? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873885)

Why downmod? He's right, unless you're taking 'Slashdot' to be a strawman argument about the commentators (many who have already pointed out that this is no better than *IAA accounting)

Are you kidding? (1, Troll)

meekg (30651) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873319)

If was to cost even $10, what would the download rate be?

Try anything that's currently free on the internet, add a small charge, and watch the DL rate plummet.

OO is only acceptable since it is free. If someone was making money off of it, then they'd be expectations for things a bug fixes and support and in no time it will cost $150, and get a bad rap in comparison with some other free product.

so... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873327)

... the Apache foundation is taking hints from the copyright lobby?

What? (3, Insightful)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873329)

How many people would download OpenOffice if Microsoft Office was free?

Re:What? (2, Informative)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873465)

How many people would download OpenOffice if Microsoft Office was free?

And there you have identified the real problem that nobody wants to admit.

Linux, Open Office and GIMP are free. And yet, every day, all over the world, millions of people choose pirated copies of Windows, Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop instead.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873529)

But how good Microsoft Office would be if it was free! You know, it's money that gets sh*t done.

Re:What? (2, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873637)

I agree lack of marketing is a huge problem, that is what you meant right?

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873653)

so true... since all the "free" alternative cost more on actually getting things done. OO and LO has issues opening simple ad and subtrac sheets. Also auto sort, sorts the top description bar even if it is supposed not to move/locked. Good as MS Office, I think not.

Re:What? (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873981)

OO and LO has issues opening simple ad and subtrac sheets.

I want my software to have issues opening ad sheets,

Ah, but it is "free" -- Free as in cracked. (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873487)

How many people would download cracked versions of Microsoft Windows if Linux were free?

Re:What? (5, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873575)

How many people would download OpenOffice if Microsoft Office was free?

How many people would download OpenOffice if it wasn't free?

Flaky math (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873337)

It's nowhere near a drop-in replacement for the complete MS Office suite. It's fine if you just need to type up a letter quickly, but virtually none of those downloads can be considered a lost sale for MS Office Pro.

Utterly retarded. Next you'll be comparing Tux Racer downloads to the latest Forza game.

Interesting analogy to the BSA's piracy figures (5, Insightful)

Palestrina (715471) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873345)

Every year or so Microsoft and the BSA roll out an updated report on the financial cost of software piracy. They make a similar argument, that someone who uses a pirated copy of MS Office would have otherwise bought an MS Office license. So they estimate the loss to the economy as # pirated copies * retail price of MS Office.

So it is interesting, and a bit of poetic justice, to apply that same logic to show the value of open source in the economy.

Certainly one could quibble with the exact figures, but it does show that the impact of open source is huge. But we already knew that, right?

Re:Interesting analogy to the BSA's piracy figures (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873467)

But while OpenOffice is good, I wouldn't quite go so far as to say that it's as good as MS Office. It does have it's shortcomings. While I use it at home, I wouldn't argue for a moment that it's a completely replacement for MS Office.

Re:Interesting analogy to the BSA's piracy figures (1)

Palestrina (715471) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873625)

So if there were no OpenOffice or other free alternative, what would you do at home? Nothing? Or pay for MS Office? The fact that you use OpenOffice at home rather than MS Office shows that it is an adequate substitute for your home use.

Re:Interesting analogy to the BSA's piracy figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873927)

If there were no OpenOffice alternative in our household, we still would have one copy of MS Office on my wifes' desktop. OpenOffice (LibreOffice actually) is on both our desktops and our two laptops, it allows similar functionality at a reduced cost for us.

Re:Interesting analogy to the BSA's piracy figures (2)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873497)

Every year or so Microsoft and the BSA roll out an updated report on the financial cost of software piracy. They make a similar argument, that someone who uses a pirated copy of MS Office would have otherwise bought an MS Office license. So they estimate the loss to the economy as # pirated copies * retail price of MS Office.

So it is interesting, and a bit of poetic justice, to apply that same logic to show the value of open source in the economy.

No, it just means that the open source people are now using the same bullshit lies as Microsoft and the BSA to greatly over-inflate the "value" of their software.

Re:Interesting analogy to the BSA's piracy figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873963)

No, it just means that the open source people

The Apache Foundation does not represent the entirety of the 'open source people,' no more than Microsoft represents the entirety of 'proprietary software people.'

Re:Interesting analogy to the BSA's piracy figures (2)

Tharkkun (2605613) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873525)

Every year or so Microsoft and the BSA roll out an updated report on the financial cost of software piracy. They make a similar argument, that someone who uses a pirated copy of MS Office would have otherwise bought an MS Office license. So they estimate the loss to the economy as # pirated copies * retail price of MS Office.

So it is interesting, and a bit of poetic justice, to apply that same logic to show the value of open source in the economy.

Certainly one could quibble with the exact figures, but it does show that the impact of open source is huge. But we already knew that, right?

So you have one application? Congrats. :) Considering MS Office isn't recorded by downloads it would be interesting to see how many of these downloads are upgrades versus new users. Multiple downloads in the same household shouldn't count twice either because the Office license grants 2 installs in most cases. As it stands this raw data is fairly meaningless.

Re:Interesting analogy to the BSA's piracy figures (1)

Palestrina (715471) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873775)

1. Microsoft charges full price for Office updates.

2. The article uses the Microsoft price for single-user versions of Office 2013.

Re:Interesting analogy to the BSA's piracy figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873533)

I see the glass half empty. The industry can use open source as an unwitting accomplice to pushing draconian copyright controls

"See? Even the open source guys agrees with our math!"

Now, one might argue that such practices only pushes more people away from proprietary and into open source, but again - glass half empty. Building something is long and hard, destroying it however is quick and easy. It took years to get open source to what it is today; only a fraction of that time is needed for bad copyright to cause grievous harm to individuals and the economy (or rather, has already caused depending on who you ask)

My MS Office replacement is skydrive (2)

nuggz (69912) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873383)

It's free-ish and fully compatible.
Openoffice is just too slow, on my Linux box I use google sheets and gnumeric.

Re:My MS Office replacement is skydrive (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873705)

Openoffice is just too slow, on my Linux box I use google sheets and gnumeric.

Speaking as someone with a slow computer (eee 900), what computer are you running???

I've tried FF and Chromium and there is no way that those hogs + a huge ajaxy web 3.2.4-beta page is faster than LO.

But yeah, I usually use gnumeric even on bigger machines because it's fast.

But LO is acceptable on an eee 900. Not super snappy but not terrible either.

It is a good alternative to Microsoft Office (3, Insightful)

KnightMB (823876) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873395)

I've not gone back to Microsoft Office since switching to the Open Office (and other open source office apps) for nearly 10 years now and not one day do I miss it. I've helped many business and people switch to it. Whatever proprietary features that are needed in Microsoft Office, at least in my experience, is too minimal to justify the extra cost when a little bit of googling can basically make Open Office (or Libre Office) do whatever you want it to do. There are even some things that I can't do in Microsoft Office and had to use Open Office for (including repairing damaged Microsoft Office files). So to each their own, if you need the features of Microsoft Office, more power to you. I'm sure many here though will chime in that for the majority of users, Open or Libre Office have 99% of what the typical user needs.

Re:It is a good alternative to Microsoft Office (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873499)

You might like Libre Office.

Re:It is a good alternative to Microsoft Office (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873589)

That sums it up nicely. If you have minimal needs or are a small mom-and-pop operation, OpenOffice is more than adequate. For professional and medium/large business use, Microsoft Office is still going to be the standard for a long time.

Re:It is a good alternative to Microsoft Office (4, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873623)

So to each their own, if you need the features of Microsoft Office, more power to you. I'm sure many here though will chime in that for the majority of users, Open or Libre Office have 99% of what the typical user needs.

Home user, yes. Office? I'd say yes, if you leave out Outlook. And, you could probably use some sort of web-based or other mail client and some other mail server if in some cases, but there's more to Exchange/Outlook than a simple mail program. IMO, the thing that most makes Microsoft Office "sticky" in corporate environments isn't Word or Excel, its Outlook.

Re:It is a good alternative to Microsoft Office (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873645)

Some people don't even notice the difference as long as you make it use the same desktop shortcut.

In the country I live in, software license checks for companies were pretty lax until 8-9 years ago, and mostly because people thought that if you bought the PC you also got the software with it included in the price. When the warnings started coming in, and with the the awarenes that the legitimate software costs, rose to hundreds of dollars for the basics per unit, a lot of people jumped in for the open source alternatives. When MS added that "ribbon" thing, it pushed even more people towards open source, because the interface was so similar and no re-training was needed.

Firefox helped a lot too.

Thank you little red fox.

Re:It is a good alternative to Microsoft Office (4, Interesting)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873853)

I would go farther than that and say that Libre Office has 100% of what the typical user needs. Google Apps has 99%. The Office App requirements haven't really changed much over the last 15 years. The last must have word processing feature MS added was real time spell checking. My accountant pal couldn't get buy without Excel, but the typical user isn't even coming close to bumping their head on the OO/LO spreadsheet.

The one thing MS does still have on OO/LO is that it looks prettier.

Curious, no open office downloads in Russia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873453)

Perhaps they would rather pirate MS office?

And my iPod is worth 3.25 trillion dollars. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873455)

This is the same argument the RIAA makes with respect to losses due to piracy. People here regularly reject it as nonsense. Just because the context is different doesn't make it right.

Wrong way to see it (3, Interesting)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873463)

"Microsoft Office worth $0 per day if it were OpenOffice" would be better. And wouldnt had to be a money loss. Services, support, personalization and so on around it, specially on how widely is deployed, could still do quite a profit, and the same should work for Open/Libre office too.

open office vs MS office (0)

james_shoemaker (12459) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873471)

My daughter has been complaining all week that she is forced to use MS Office at school, she much prefers open office.

Re:open office vs MS office (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873749)

My daughter has been complaining all week that she is forced to use MS Office at school, she much prefers open office.

Children are much more intellectually versatile than old farts.
Maybe we should turn the world over to them.

Re:open office vs MS office (1)

james_shoemaker (12459) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873849)

more likely she used Open Office at home before being exposed to the new MS Office with it's ribbon interface and can't find anything.

InfoPath, OneNote, PowerPoint, Visio, Publisher (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873495)

A short list of things that don't exist in OpenOffice, not to mention integration with Sharepoint, SQL Server, Outlook, and so on and so forth.

OpenOffice is great unless you work in a large office with a complex workflow, and need it to do large office with complex workflow types of things.

Not quite... $150 hides the true costs. (3, Insightful)

HockeyPuck (141947) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873507)

How many people download or use Open Office because it is free?

Probably a large percentage of them since that's one of it's redeeming features. Now if OO had the same price as MSOffice, I bet that number would drop dramatically.

If you take the product acquisition cost out of the equation you're now left with acquisition costs which might not be in OO's favor.

Cost to retrain people
Cost to migrate existing systems/processes/applications to OO
Support costs (IT, support vendors etc..)

$150/seat might not be much if you have business critical applications like telephony/voice/chat that are integrated in with your office suite.

Re:Not quite... $150 hides the true costs. (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873959)

How many people download or use Open Office because it is free?

I bet that even if it was $5, the numbers would be much lower. How many people will download it several times after re-installing or on different computers just because they can't be arsed to find the installer? Or just to try it out for ten minutes before going back to MS Office? Take for example the TPB AFK movie that was featured here on slashdot, I got it because it's free and legal. I haven't watched it yet, haven't even decided if I will but what the hell, I grabbed it anyway because I didn't need to make any cost/benefit decision, I could just put it on download now and decide if I want it later. The whole question of "Why should I spend money on that?" becomes "Why not, it's free..."

Goofy numbers (3, Informative)

methano (519830) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873535)

I bought an Office for Mac 3-pack for about $125. That's not exactly the same as $150 each. I'm not a Microsoft fan but I do try to stay credible when possible.

Re:Goofy numbers (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873851)

I bought an Office for Mac 3-pack for about $125. That's not exactly the same as $150 each. I'm not a Microsoft fan but I do try to stay credible when possible.

Its only fair to have Goofy numbers when its a Mickey Mouse article.

If I was going to spend $150... (0)

coastal984 (847795) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873537)

I would buy the real Office... I wouldn't pay half that for Open Office. Most of the reason people DL Open Office is that it is free. I dare say they wouldn't have 1% of their download numbers if it was $150 a pop. Propaganda post. Not that I don't support the OO effort, but this is about as good an article as a Fox News report.

Re:If I was going to spend $150... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873889)

this is about as good an article as a Fox News report.

Mod parent up +5, liberal drivel broken record.

This is crazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873571)

This comparison makes absolutely no sense at all... Raising the price would lower the download count big time so it'd never be worth anywhere close to $21 million/day.

Currently people will take it for free, but only if you had an inkling of what you could sell it for would you be able to figure out what people are saving. Guaranteed if it cost $150 (same as Microsoft Office), that would make a lot of people either skip Open Office altogether or buy the common Microsoft brand.

I would even argue if it's free, looking at download count as a metric is almost meaningless. It's less likely that you buy and never use a product like Office, but I'm sure a boatload of those downloads are never even installed, or used.

Re:This is crazy (2)

Palestrina (715471) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873943)

You are trying to apply the logic of a business to a non-profit. No wonder it doesn't make sense to you.

An analogy: If a group of doctors volunteer their time and work in a clinic and treat the poor, pro bono, are they not entitled to claim the value that they provide is based on their normal rate? Same question for lawyers who provide pro bono counsel to those who cannot afford it. Can't they claim the value they produce per their normal hourly rates?

I don't anyone would argue that the value is zero because their "customers" would not be able to afford paying that rate. That is irrelevant, since no one is asking them to pay that rate. It is a charitable act. It is a social contribution.

The article merely applies the same logic to professionals in the engineering field, whose public service is in the form of open source software.

Who still buys Office? (1)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873581)

I haven't bought a copy of office since 2006 or so. Openoffice and then Libreoffice have filled my needs nicely since then. I have friends and co-workers that are content to just use Google Docs. I could see if you're one of the small percentage of people that use some obscure feature only available in the M$ product, but for most people the free alternatives are perfectly fine.

Re:Who still buys Office? (2)

White Flame (1074973) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873683)

but for most people the free alternatives are perfectly fine.

That's the operative word. For many large corporate installations, all sorts of macro suites, plugins, weird data feature usage, etc, are all wound up in being MS Office specific. It's too entrenched to toss it for another platform.

(in before "corporations are people LOL")

thousand million (1)

Anathem (1983388) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873603)

"Or $7.61 billion (7.61 thousand million) per year."

You think that the average slashdot user is not equipped to appreciate billions?

Re:thousand million (1)

vux984 (928602) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873899)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billion [wikipedia.org]

Yeah, i agree its beyond stupid that we ended up with two different definitions of billion in wide use.

Re:thousand million (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873953)

Billion means "million million" in many parts of the world.

Re:thousand million (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873997)

In some countries that use the long scale, a thousand million is called a milliard, while billions are the next step(million*million) instead of a trillion.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_and_short_scales [wikipedia.org]

Odd that the Americans would use the more rational system.

False equivalence (3, Interesting)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873663)

There are some obvious problems...

1. It is free. If it costed $150 per download the numbers would obviously be quite different.

2. How much of this is the same person upgrading a current version or reinstalling on a new computer? If it were office this activity would not register as a new purchase it would be closer to inserting the installation DVD.

3. OpenOffice is not feature competitive with MS office. While it does not necessarily need to be to be in order to be relevant and useful to a great many people... for $150 it actually kind of does.

Time cost consideration (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42873891)

I have tried Open Office several times, and the startup and interactive operation are decidedly slower. Therefore, the accumulated loss of time over the life of the product should also be considered.

It is unfortunate that this is the case. However, whether it is the use of Java or poor quality and development control, Open Office has always been significantly slower than Microsoft Office, and every attempt I have made at using is (at least 3) has resulted in an immediate uninstall.

 

Office 365 changes the numbers further (2)

Mike Krieger (2839481) | about a year and a half ago | (#42873977)

It's just hard for me to give up Outlook. I know, it's lame. I DID download Open Office, but went back to my 10-year-old MS Office 2003 software... until MS released office on subscription. $99/year for up to five PCs/Macs/Mobiles. So numbers change again depending on how often you upgrade non SaaS productivity software. I waited a decade last time, but I like the subscription price so I'll stick with MS for now.

"Some holes in the argument?" (1)

jfengel (409917) | about a year and a half ago | (#42874037)

Some holes? It's an argument that consists of nothing but hole. Pointing out actual holes would be missing the forest for the cellulose molecules.

"OpenOffice is really popular, and millions of people use it." That's all you had to say. If you felt the need to speculate to earn your blog hits, you could add, "Perhaps there's a way to monetize it, though obviously as with everything else open source that's fraught with difficulties, which I shall now recite as if they were novel observations."

Double standards are GO! (1)

seebs (15766) | about a year and a half ago | (#42874057)

Counting the full value of a paid product as the "value" of a free download: Reprehensible and dishonest if you're talking about "pirated" software, music, or movies. Totally acceptable and obviously fair for open source projects.

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