[K12OSN] Help me fight FUD

dahopkins at comcast.net dahopkins at comcast.net
Thu May 19 19:30:10 UTC 2005

> Some of these teachers have dozens of PowerPoint
> presentations they've been using for years and the thought of having to
> edit and reformat them all to account for the lack of Feature X in
> OpenOffice is daunting.  They'd rather hang on to the aging copy of MS
> Office 97 they know, than face the future of a modern office suite they
> don't know. 

You don't say if this is a K12LTSP environ, or OO.o on WinXX. So ...
What about  leaving that aging copy of Office 97 on the system.  Then, if Feature X is missing, they can use MS Office for that presentation, and someone else (you?) could edit the presentation to be OO.o compatible if necessary?  Also SO8 (OO.o 2?) has much better filters so it becomes less of an issue.  Of course, human nature being what it is, they probably would not switch to OO.o if MS 97 is still available.  If using LTSP, just put MS 97 on the server (under Wine) and restrict access to get same effect.

You can't ever guarantee that there will be 100% compatibility.  This is a very good example of the vendor lock-in issue and could be used as a case to actually move to OO.o even if issues will arise (look at the long term benefit vs short term pain).  If the district can accept that there will be some issues, then just be sure to have a plan to address them as they arise.  The teachers at NCS haven't had any real issues with SO7/OO.o.  Also, some now have OO.o at home as well because it was just simpler than worrying about potential incompatibilities.

> Have any of you fought this battle?  

I phased it in.
Year 1-2) All students using OO.o without issues.
Summer 2) School Director uses SO7 exclusively (removed MS Office from his system) for all needs.  Notices a few issues, but nothing major.
Year 3) School Director announces at initial beginning-of-year teacher orientation that SO7 is the Office suite, and that it is his only suite, both at school and at home. Kind of short circuited teachers/staff saying they couldn't use it. ;)
Coming Year) Moving to SO8.

Front Office staff systems) Left with a copy MS Office for 100% guaranteed compatibility with state DOE, but also have SO7 available.

> Does anyone have any references that I can point these people to in order to 
> alleviate their  fears?  

I am sure you could contact the school director if desired, I would just need to provide him a heads-up.  Hesitant to publicly broadcast the number, so let me know if you want the number.

> I don't want to waste the backing of the administration 
> on this,  but I don't want to be lynched by a frightened mob either.  Any 
> (useful)  comments are welcome.

thanks for reading.

Dave Hopkins
Newark Charter School

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