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2-Year OpenOffice High School Case Study

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the effect-of-penguins-on-young-minds dept.

Education 472

Michael writes "NewsForge (a Slashdot sister site) is carrying a 2-year OpenOffice case-study on a Detroit high school who switched from Windows NT and MS Office 97 to Linux and OpenOffice. The results? Better than expected. In 2003, the school, who saved over $100,000 in the process, converted 110 Windows NT machines to Linux with OpenOffice. After several surprising developments, including OpenOffice's ability to open old Word documents that even the new Word versions were having troubles with, the school now uses it almost exclusively, has classes on it's use, and encourages students to use it whenever possible. From the article: 'While OpenOffice.org is now used by 100% of the faculty and students in the school (though some administrative staff still uses Microsoft Office due to specific software requirements), students are not required to use OpenOffice.org when working at home. However, a presentation is given to students at the start of every school year to advise them on the use of OpenOffice.org, the availability of free copies, and potential problems of converting from Microsoft Office formats.'"

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Open Office Study (4, Funny)

geomon (78680) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657681)

This study was obviously funded by Open Office and Linux. I am so sick of Linux and Open Office "buying" the results that show their products are better than Microsoft's. This report is so slanted in its analysis that I can't even begin to chip away at all of the errors.

And yes, I do think I'm funny.

Re:Open Office Study (2, Interesting)

LewsTherinKinslayer (817418) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657760)

What makes this any different from any other company who funds research in order to have scientific or real world proof that their product x is better than someone else's product y. Or in the case of OpenOffice, not so much better, as much as just as good for a far superior price.

I use OpenOffice myself, and I find it satisfactorially meets all of my needs as a college student, with less annoying graphic overhead and for the perfect price. (ie, free.)

Also, I am aware that this was sarcastic, however, a lot of people actually think that way.

Re:Open Office Study (2, Funny)

MikeMacK (788889) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657787)

Really! They need to Get The Facts! [microsoft.com]

Re:Open Office Study (5, Insightful)

mindaktiviti (630001) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657814)

Although you may be right about the Linux slant, one of the reasons this may have worked is because it was in a learning environment. The learning curve for students is completely irrelevent, because that's the main goal of school. This is probably why it was feasible and why it worked. All you really need is to write essays and the odd report or presentation, and OO.o's software should be "good enough" for that. Note that they still upgraded and kept MS Office for some of the administration stuff, probably because they couldn't afford not openning certain documents. if a school can save money with using this type of software, then maybe that money could be used on books which are typically lacking in many schools.

Re:Open Office Study (1)

mindaktiviti (630001) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657853)

Sorry, nevermind my rant. Usually by the end of the day my brain power is at its lowest and I didn't notice the last line. :B

Re:Open Office Study (1)

geomon (78680) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657880)

Aye, mine is in similar shape.

Hope that it gave you a well-earned, late afternoon chuckle.

Re:Open Office Study (4, Insightful)

Karzz1 (306015) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657905)

I think the point you are missing is that in order for any program to function as expected (hoped) in an educational facility, you will need the backing of the instructors. I am sure that most of these teachers had not ever heard of OOo prior to this experiment but had probably been users of MS Office for some time (the article states that most had powerpoint presentations). The fact that there is no mention of any complaints from the faculty speaks volumes. In fact, the only negative I saw throughout the article was that some *.ppt files would not open properly and rather than have teachers waste time rebuilding ppt presentations on OOo, they could use the *free* powerpoint reader.

Re:Open Office Study (1)

ifwm (687373) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657835)

"And yes, I do think I'm funny"

Amazingly, this time you were.

Re:Open Office Study (2, Funny)

geomon (78680) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657857)

Amazingly, this time you were.

Statistics are great, aren't they?

Yeah but (1)

beatdown (788583) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657686)

Does it run Office?

Open source does win out in the end (2, Insightful)

suso (153703) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657690)

So it seems that the same thing that happened to propritary unix apps in the 80s and 90s is starting to happen now with propritary consumer apps. I'm refering to the stories of upon setting up their workstation or server taking a day to replace all the proprietary programs with the GNU created ones because they functioned better.

Re:Open source does win out in the end (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657896)


taking a day to replace all the proprietary programs with the GNU created ones because they functioned better.


Huh? This is story is about OpenOffice.org. (A program created by a small company, bought by Sun and then remade by the oo.o folks)

What does this have to do with GNU?

mzptfcg

Great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657697)

Always good to see open-source gain credibilty in the "real world".

Newsforge identified as a sister site ... (1, Troll)

xmas2003 (739875) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657705)

Maybe I've missed it, but I haven't seen the various /. sister sites explicitely identified before in postings - kudos to the /. editors for the transparency! ;-)

First Post? [blogspot.com]

Re:Newsforge identified as a sister site ... (3, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657895)

Yeah, you've missed it -- they do that all* the time.

It usually looks something like "(Disclaimer: Slashdot and Newsforge are both owned by OSTG)"

*AFAIK

Re:Newsforge identified as a sister site ... (1)

kebes (861706) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657973)

Slashdot is part of the Open-Source Technology Group, OSTG [ostg.com] . This group includes Slashdot, ITManager'sJournal, NewsForge, Linux.com, SourceForge.net, freshmeat.net, DevChannel.org, and even ThinkGeek.

But this isn't much of a revellation. I mean, "OSTG" and all the included sites are listed along that little grey banner-line at the top of slashdot. I also noticed that alot of the April 01 [slashdot.org] articles referred to ThinkGeek and said "(TG is owned by OSTG, the parent company of Slashdot, so activate all conspiracy theories now)" One example. [slashdot.org] Another example. [slashdot.org] I guess the editors were fully disclosing their conflicts of interest for that one day?

Classes (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657708)

the school ... has classes on it's use

But clearly not on proper English grammar.

now where will the money go? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657714)

Now that they saved about $100,000, what will that money be used on? I hope it gives better tech lessons to everyone.

Re:now where will the money go? (1)

The Lost Supertone (754279) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657763)

It'll be used to buy Mac minis running OS X and iWork, iLife.

Re:now where will the money go? (1)

Dr Reducto (665121) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657778)

You can think of $100,000 as 5 teachers, which is pretty damn good. That's what Microsoft costs the school.

Re:now where will the money go? (1)

dlZ (798734) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657843)

" You can think of $100,000 as 5 teachers, which is pretty damn good. That's what Microsoft costs the school."

Now I understand why my teachers used to hand out a donations plate at the beginning of class. They wanted to be able to eat and still pay their rent!

$20k a year? (1)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657892)

That's a damn shitty wage to be paying a teacher. And you still have to pay benifits. They can probably hire 2 teachers on the money they saved.

Re:$20k a year? (1)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657902)

Well, depends on the school and district. I know in the Phoenix area, that 100k would pay maybe for 3.25 teachers.

Re:now where will the money go? (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657899)

You're not going to get very good teachers for $20k.

Re:now where will the money go? (1)

Nytewynd (829901) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657936)

$100,000/5 = $20,000 per teacher.

For $20k, you're not exactly getting Stephen Hawking to teach your physics class. You might be more accurate to say it would be 3 teachers. Also, a total cost of $20k per teacher would mean that the teachers actual pay would be more like $15k/year once you factor in pension and benefits.

Also, take into account that the $100,000 is a one time upgrade cost, and the teachers are a yearly cost.

Your point was taken, but there isn't any kind of comparison. It is best to say that the money can be put to better use now that they switched.

Re:now where will the money go? (1)

edraven (45764) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657942)

Also, to be accurate, it's $100K. Not $100K/yr.

Re:now where will the money go? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657957)

Except you can't, because often money like that is specifically earmarked to go only to technology.

This one is priceless... (4, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657726)


From TFS:
...several surprising developments, including OpenOffice's ability to open old Word documents that even the new Word versions were having troubles with...


This sums it up so well...

Actually, has anyone out there run into any issues with OpenOffice as a substitute for M$ Office? I'm considering switching everything over, especially after reading this article.

Re:This one is priceless... (1)

squidfood (149212) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657770)

Actually, has anyone out there run into any issues with OpenOffice as a substitute for M$ Office?

As of a year ago, their spreadsheet was far inferior if you're a "power user" of Excel, although for much day-to-day use it was fine.

Re:This one is priceless... (1)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657817)


I've heard the same thing, but I have no idea of what constitutes a "power user".

Re:This one is priceless... (1)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657859)

If you have an electrical cord attached to your bod, you are a power user.

Font Issues (1)

crow (16139) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657794)

I have font issues when opening almost any PowerPoint presentation in OpenOffice. The bullets never look right, and the lines end up taking more vertical space so that what fits on a single slide in PowerPoint stretches below the bottom in OpenOffice.

Re:Font Issues (1)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657849)


Yikes...I do a lot of work with PP presentations...so that one might be a deal-breaker. Thanks for the info.

Re:Font Issues (1)

wallykeyster (818978) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657964)

TFA actually mentioned issues with existing PowerPoint files and said they installed the free viewer provided by Microsoft as an interim solution. OOo 2.0 is supposed to have improved support for PowerPoint files so they hope the viewer can go away soon.

I run OOo beta (1.9m104) at work and home without trouble, but I rarely use PowerPoint. As a heavy user of Access, I am looking forward to a stable version of Base.

Re:This one is priceless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657819)

Unless you are a power user, you can switch painlessly.

If you or your workplace require advanced spreadsheet functionality or have bought 3rd party modules (macros), then you might have some serious probles.

AC

Re:This one is priceless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657827)

The Embedded Table within a Table problem is kind of annoying, but I've read that its fixed in OO.org 2.0.

Re:This one is priceless... (2, Informative)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657829)

Yes. As they said, powerpoint has some issues of some kind.
Macros typically will not work, so openoffice for corporate use is probably not such a great option.
I've had a horrible time getting openoffice to print the right way in certain spreadsheet documents.
etc, etc. The point is, you have to decide if openoffice does what you need, and if it does not, if you can cut out or redo the things it lacks.

Re:This one is priceless... (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657830)

I have never seen a Word document that OO.o can't open, though I occasionally have trouble editing them in OO.o and reopening them in Word later.

Sometimes.

Re:This one is priceless... (2, Informative)

Kulaid982 (704089) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657844)

No real issues with OpenOffice as an MS Office substitute here at our small office (5 employees, 4 computers, 2 running MS Office, 2 running OOo). The trickiest thing was the secretaries getting used to the fact that to complete some of the same tasks in OOo as Office, you've got to follow some different steps (printing labels, for example) Essentially, that's just a minor "get the user familiar with the new software" issue, and didn't take too much to overcome. We use MS Office and OOo interchangably, I set up the OOo boxes to save in MS Office native formats (.doc, and .xls). The only real issue I've seen is that OOo has a minor hiccup with Powerpoint presentations that use fancy transitions: instead of a single spacebar tap, sometimes it takes 2 or 3 to advance to the next slide. No biggy. Try it, you'll like it!

VBA, Excel & Access (1)

glrotate (300695) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657865)

It can handle simple Word docs without much trouble, but introduce Excel macros or an Access mdb, and thinks stop looking so bright.

Re:This one is priceless... (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657868)

Actually, has anyone out there run into any issues with OpenOffice as a substitute for M$ Office?
OOo is extremely slow to start up -- say, 30 seconds on a machine that's not the latest and greatest CPU. I was surprised to see the story saying they saw OOo as a way to get more use out of old hardware, because OOo seems to me like software that was only written to be usable on computers that will exist in the future.

But then, I'm not looking at it as a replacement for MS Office, which I don't use. The options I've looked at are OOo, LaTeX, AbiWord, ted, and KWord. The problem is AbiWord, ted, and KWord crash all the time, and OOo is too slow. LaTeX is great for many purposes, but for those times when I really just want a wysiwyg word processor...I dunno. I don't like LyX. I'm thinking of using a browser-based thing like kupu or something.

Re:This one is priceless... (4, Informative)

Zeebs (577100) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657869)

As a student who has switched to OO.org I have not had one problem with the word processing I do. Granted this isn't anything with insane layout requirements. I am able to export to word format to send email to friends who proof-read and open theirs when it's my turn. I don't use speadsheets to much but everything is simple enough for what I'm doing, I haven't tried to go back and forth from excel however.

The thing I love best is the built in PDF exporter, makes it so much easier to send out documents I don't want altered other then at the mester-copy.(Eg, they can't just fire up Word and type away) That's just me being picky though.

I haven't had a problem with it at all in practical use, but I'm hardly a power-user when it comes to office suites.

Re:This one is priceless... (1)

TripHammer (668315) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657871)

Most of the issues arise from open documents that were originally created in MS Office, due to fact taht those standards have to be reverse engineered. Spreadsheet formating and some presentation issues have arrised however when created docuemnts in OOo's native formats I have had no problems in a corporate environment.

Document conversion issues (1)

Yankel (770174) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657888)

I've had some minor formatting issues between OpenOffice and Word formats, but nothing more significant than what you get between different version of Microsoft Office.

In fact, I used OpenOffice to fix a corrupt Word document created in Office2000 that consistently crashed in OfficeXP.

If I had the choice, I'd be using OpenOffice at work as well.

I'm eagerly awaiting OOo 2.0. It looks pretty solid and the database feature looks like it could give Access a run.

Other languages. (1)

MrDomino (799876) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657922)

Actually, has anyone out there run into any issues with OpenOffice as a substitute for M$ Office? I'm considering switching everything over, especially after reading this article.

If you find yourself typing anything in another language for any reason, be prepared for a world of hurt. OO.o will intermittently switch to English at random intervals and start marking all of your words as misspelled until you select the whole text and manually switch it to the other language (through the ungainly interface of the font selection dialog, IIRC.) I haven't found much in the way of actual documentation of this problem, but I've seen it happen on a few entirely unrelated occasions with different people.

In my experience, LaTeX has been much nicer to me. I've pulled out a few hairs getting it working with e.g. MLA format (it doesn't seem to be very friendly to the formats used by the humanities in general, probably because it's much more commonly used for scientific or mathematical documents), but editing is much cleaner and faster without my having to worry about the format as I write the content, and it can be spellchecked with the full power of ispell---to say nothing of the fact that its output is nothing short of gorgeous. YMMV, though, and for all that might be wrong with OOo, it's undoubtedly better at least than MS Office.

Re:This one is priceless... (1)

zdr1977 (775284) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657935)

I've had some formatting issues between OO and Office...certain .doc files that appear formatted properly in OO...well, don't look quite okay in Office.

Yes, I have run into an OO/Word interop problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657966)

Since you asked... I do have a problem. I guess most folks are happy if they can open/read/print a Word document in OO. However, to me, compatibility implies interoperability -- I need to be able to work on a given document using Word in one location and OO in another without issues.

I've found that bulleted lists don't display/work properly when I switch between Word and OOffice to edit a document. It's almost as if OO and Word use different and slightly incompatible internal notations to specify bullet lists. If I create a bullet list in one, it is virtually guaranteed to not display properly and not be properly editable in the other. The bullets themselves aren't the same size either, but I consider that the least of my problems. I thought this might be because of the document format I was saving to, but I can reproduce the problem whether I save the document as DOC or RTF.

Am I missing something?

Linux is Great (4, Funny)

jetkust (596906) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657735)

Yea, but none of my Anti-Virus programs run on Linux.

Re:Linux is Great (1, Informative)

Bender0x7D1 (536254) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657775)

Linux -IS- your Anti-Virus program.

There are AV programs for Linux (2, Informative)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657788)

In particular you can get McCafee [networkassociates.com] AV for Linux.

Re:There are AV programs for Linux (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657944)

ClamAV [clamav.net] can be used on Linux too, and it's even Free Software!

Re:Linux is Great (1)

grub (11606) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657820)

There are Windows antivirus programs for Linux/*BSD/unix. They're quite useful for samba servers.

So... (5, Insightful)

ColonelKernel (566554) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657741)

How long will it be until Microsoft comes in with some "free" software to bring them back into the fold? There were several schools around my area that received free software from Microsoft when they considered going open source.

Re:So... (1)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657796)

Free - you mean like free copies of IE6 and Outlook Express?

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657932)

If OpenOffice is functionally equivalent to its MS counterpart, I think even with free software from MS, then switching from Windows to Linux for security' sake might become the kicker. A cost-benefice analysis would have to be done here for sure. But for small organisations, it may be easy enough to test it out directly since it's simple to go back on a dime.

Re:So... (3, Insightful)

caseih (160668) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657955)

Precisely. In just a couple of years the school will yet again need to buy new hardware and probably upgrade some servers. At this time, MS can come in with a great, almost-free deal to lock them back into Windows that they can't afford to refuse. And they would be fools to turn it down. While this may seem immoral to you and I on slashdot, in the eyes of MS this is no more immoral than the OSS camp "dumping" their software for next to nothing.

That's great (1)

Pike (52876) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657744)

Any word on when 2.0 will finally make it out of beta? Like it was supposed to in March or April or May?

Re:That's great (2, Informative)

mcslappy (830989) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657918)

Plan:
March 2005: OOo 2.0 Beta
May 2005 : OOo 2.0 changes will be done on separated branch, the trunk (HEAD) will then be used for the next OOo major (3.0 ?) release.
May 2005: OOo 2.0 rc
June 2005 : OOo 2.0
Q3 2005: OOo 2.0.1

taken from:
http://development.openoffice.org/releases/OpenOff ice_org_2_x.html [openoffice.org]

Needs a better spellchecker. (1)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657749)

99% of my use of MS word is as a spell checker, I'll type a comment (like this one) on a web form then quickly copy and paste in to word and back for spellchecking goodness.

OO.o's spellchecker just isn't as good as Word's. It works the same way, but the suggestions just aren't as good.

I'd also love a simple, notepad-like text editor that gave me online spellchecking and word line number. Anything like that out there?

Re:Needs a better spellchecker. (1)

anoiniminious cowher (876990) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657793)

Yes, but from the POV of the High Shcool, this may be a good thing. Kids might actually learn how to spell.

Re:Needs a better spellchecker. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657810)

If you use konqueror on KDE, multi-line text inputs have a really great spell checker enabled by default. The word "konqueror" above, for example, is red, because I guess it's supposed to be capitalized or something.

Oh wait, you mean a simple, notepad-line text editor that gives you online spellchecking and word line number.. in windows? Doubt it.

Re:Needs a better spellchecker. (2, Informative)

doormat (63648) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657831)

Spellbound [sourceforge.net] is your friend. A forms spell checking extension for Mozzy/FF.

Re:Needs a better spellchecker. (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657974)

I'd also love a simple, notepad-like text editor that gave me online spellchecking and word line number. Anything like that out there?
Yes. TextEdit for Mac OS X. Also, the spelling service in OS X works in all other native apps (e.g. Safari) as well.

TextEdit works on GNUStep too (I think), but I don't know about the spelling service.

*sniff* *sniff* (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657754)

What's that smell? I think it's smoke. Oh look, it's coming from Bill Gates' ears.

Grammar School (2, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657769)

"In 2003, the school, who saved over $100,000 in the process, converted 110 Windows NT machines to Linux with OpenOffice."

I hope the school teaches students that "who" is a pronoun that references people. "School" is a noun properly referenced by the pronoun "that" or "which" (in this case, "which" [getitwriteonline.com] ). Choosing "that" or "which" properly can require some fast thinking, but using "who" for a school is a real failure.

Re:Grammar School (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657924)

they used openoffice to spell check it.

Commonwealth English (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657988)

The problem is that there are two ways to consider a collective noun like "school" or "Microsoft."

In Britain, one says "Microsoft are opposed to Open Source." The company name is a collective plural noun referring to the people within it. To be consistent, one would also say "Microsoft, who oppose Open Source, disagree with this study."

In the US, a company or organization is a singular noun. "Microsoft is opposed to Open Source," is consistent with "Microsoft, which opposes Open Source, disagrees with this study."

To those of us in Commonwealth countries, the idea that a company can, as a whole, do any single thing is ludicrous. Just look at Sony, which both sells music and devices for easily copying music. Those arms fight often.

Although this study was done in Detroit, the author may well have grown up with a non-American variant of English. As long as the usage is consistent, it's hard to attack it, except insofar as one's usage should agree with the editorial standards of any news organization for which one writes.

In short, using "who" for school is not necessarily "a real failure." "The school, who saved over $100,000, are ecstatic," is much better than "the school, which saved over $100,000, are ecstatic." "Which" does not agree with "are."

only a matter of time (2, Interesting)

clovercase (707041) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657774)

since microsoft office is a stagnant target (not too many innovations left to be made in word and excel), it is only a matter of time for openoffice to catch up - with the huge base of motivated programmers, they may even surpass ms office.

Re:only a matter of time (1)

kbjnash (761564) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657950)

Actually Office 2003 adds a bunch of functionality in the way of adding support to other MS products. Integration with Sharepoint server for example would be one example. OO.o is a nice alternative for Office in the home/school environment but the OO.o 'killer' will be the collaborative functionality that is built into the product.

Re:only a matter of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657989)

It's the Macros that keeps many businesses glued to Microsoft Office.

Yay! (0)

Le Marteau (206396) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657779)

See, OpenOffice IS ready for prime-time! Highschoolers in DETROIT are using it, and we all know what discerning consumers THEY are! Given this revelation, I'm SURE it's only a matter of weeks before the Fortune 500 and top accounting firms switch over!

Hooray for OpenOffice! Microsoft can bite my bag!

Good to see some positve propaganda for once (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657783)

If a school can save that ammount of money on software and have no ill effects on the education process then way to go .
100,000 can be spent to hire special teachers and improve the quality of education for all.
OO.org is perfectly useable and i have infact switched all my machines(home naturaly as they are all linux or os x and i dont own MS office for mac , but mainly work ) to using OO.org .
I counducted a 2 hour training sesion in the basics for the employes, though it was uneeded mostly and we have never looked back .
plowing the type of money that is required to fit all the computers in a school with the latest versions of windows and MS products is a major drain on revenue , infact for any company . If you for some reason need features not avaliable yet in open office then you have no choice . Though all things considerd i would rather spend the one time retraining costs than pay for an update to MS office.
(I have managed to switch a fair few clients at the office to linux too , which saved us more money ;) allowing me to get my spanky new server)

No, that money can't ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657949)

That was $100,000 that was in their Capital and Operations budgets, which now that it's not being used, likely won't be available to them anymore.

Re:No, that money can't ... (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657984)

C&O budgets can be reapropriated and funneld into other areas . Ofcourse it requires creative(legaly creative) book keeping , but you can get away with it

Re:Good to see some positve propaganda for once (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657983)

100,000 can be spent to hire special teachers and improve the quality of education for all.

I hate to be a wet blanket, but $100,000 may hire 1 "special" teacher--if you mean special ed. teacher. Their salary, combined with the teacher's benefits will take up a large portion of that. $100,000 is a drop in the bucket for a school. Now if an entire school district could save $100,000 per school per year, you might make some headway.

classes on it's use (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657784)

The school "has classes on it's use."

Presumably they also have classes on the use of the apostrophe. (Sigh.)

Re:classes on it's use (1)

b0bby (201198) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657907)

Maybe OpenOffice just needs to work on it's grammar checker...

Re:classes on it's use (1)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657908)

Of course, since the apostrophe is open source...

Re:classes on it's use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657941)

Its not nice of you to draw attention away from the topic being discussed.

>ducks

Seems like an apropriate Ad (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657801)

Directly below the article:

Ads By Google
Free Microsoft Word 2003
Get Word 2003 in MS Office Pro Free Guaranteed 100% Free - Act Now!

Well duh (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657803)

The entire point of high school computer classes is to teach to use things like this. There are consequences for you depending on your ability to learn it. Of course they got it.

Try to roll this out in a corporate environment, though, and you'd get very different results. Secretaries and businessmen are under no obligation to learn how to use the tools they use. If they can't figure out how something works the first time they just whine to tech support every time they want to do it after.

A threat against piracy! (2, Interesting)

Johnny Fusion (658094) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657807)

Over the many years (begining in the late 80s) most of my sources of pirated software has been from academic sources -- mostly teachers.

Knowing that as a high school / college student I could not afford the software, it's use was generously "loaned" to me. (I also had to borrow computers -- could not afford one of my own until a college loan specific for building one came along).

But with educational institutions very worried these days about piracy, having truley free software of good quality is the way to lessen piracy in the schools.

OpenOffice.org is a great suite, and has many things going for it that just makes sense, such as it being open source, free to distribute, and cross-platform, just about any student should be able to use it.

Re:A threat against piracy! (1)

kc32 (879357) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657928)

But with educational institutions very worried these days about piracy, having truley free software of good quality is the way to lessen piracy in the schools.

Now if only the RIAA could figure that out...

powerpoints? (1)

jahjeremy (323931) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657815)

The worst problems I have are with Powerpoint slides using OO Impress. For instance, it likes to mangle bullet points and never seems to get the sizes quite right. It also doesn't seem to handle all of the different ways that PP can imbed images and sometimes they don't show up at all.

That said, PDFs are a much friendlier way of distributing "slides" unless you need animations for some reason.

Re:powerpoints? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657967)

You *never* need animations. If you think you do, stop, breathe, and think again.

heh... (1)

jk0 (859377) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657834)

Do any of you think the school's decision to make the switch had anything to do with lack of funds to continue running Microsoft products?

OO is all very well... (3, Insightful)

spungo (729241) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657838)

... and I'm glad the kids like it, but I won't even think about switching until it has a wonderful, cheerful, dancing paperclip to brighten up my day.

Bullshit. (1, Troll)

PsychicX (866028) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657839)

This is going to be a typical scene of geek masturbation, with a single common theme in mind:

It worked for me, therefore it must be perfect for everyone in the world

So it worked for this school. Good for them. Advising the students to use it is questionable, and the inevitable posts in this thread marking any Office user as a hopeless moron are more damaging to OpenOffice's reputation than helpful.

wimps (3, Funny)

happyclam (564118) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657846)

I don't see why these kids need openoffice. When I was a kid, nroff and troff were good enough for us, and I think it should be good enough for these kids nowadays. They're all soft. No wonder our education system is in the tank!

Did the school donate any money to OO? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657873)

Anyone know? Do they have plans to? I think it's only fair that if a free application saved them tons of money the school pay back at least part of the cost saved.

Excellent to see... (1, Flamebait)

kukickface (675936) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657874)

that linux can operate effectively in an environment of old hardware and yesterday's problems. Why is this news worthy? People don't understand how the government works. If you show a cost savings they stop giving you funding because you've shown you can operate on a leaner budget. They need to start using XP and Office, and run up their support bills. If I was the schools administrator I'd avoid anything with the word "free" in it like the plague.

Re:Excellent to see... (2, Interesting)

WolfCub1000 (878666) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657979)

The Detroit school board is broke. I live in Grosse Pointe Shores, and my wife teaches school in Detroit. They are firing something like 1000 teachers, including her, due to the lack of funds. 100,000 dollars is desperately needed, and it's good to see that they can save that much money. Running up support bills will make the problem worse.

These students will suffer from the M$ tax (1)

Real World Stuff (561780) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657893)

Since most businesses use M$ products these students will be lagging a bit behind the technology curve with respect to using the standard office tools. I applaud the move from M$ products, but we have to be sure and think of the children. Until M$ loses it's stranglehold on business desktop computing efforts like this can not gain traction in the real world of business and making money.

Detroit did this? (3, Funny)

thgreatoz (623808) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657903)

Damn...who'da thought Detroit would ever be at the forefront of ANYTHING ever again?

Fair Comparison? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12657906)

WinNT/Office 97 vs. (i assume) the latest versions of some flavor of linux/openoffice -- that doesn't seem to be an apples to apples comparison to me.

But how much does the training cost? (0, Troll)

isa-kuruption (317695) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657909)

Every year the school has special classes to explain the differences, encourage kids to use it, and explain any problems they may have. How much does this class cost the school? How much time is taken out of fundamental education in order to teach this information? I'm not saying this is bad, but is $100,000 a real figure when you count the continued education needed of the students in order for them to become familiar with OpenOffice?

classes on open office? (2, Funny)

farble1670 (803356) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657926)

...has classes on it's use

thereby readying their students to compete for those coveted administrative assistant positions.

the opposite (1)

m85476585 (884822) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657938)

This is just the opposite of the Microsoft Get the Facts [microsoft.com] campaign.

This is great because (2, Insightful)

a_greer2005 (863926) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657969)

If for nothing else, the school can , for less than one percent of the MS license fees, have OOo printed to CDs for every student, no more labs full of students working furiously in the labs at 7AM as we had in our HS because so many could not afford Office and didnt want/know how to "aquier" it. We that had it shared the wealth, but a lot of people saw it as theft, I saw it as needing to get my homework done.

Lets all pretend we went to high school ourselves (0, Redundant)

Edmund Blackadder (559735) | more than 9 years ago | (#12657985)

"In 2003, the school, who saved over $100,000 in the process,"

should be

"In 2003, the school, WHICH saved over $100,000 in the process,"
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