OOo Migration: Challenges and Successes

Discuss your migration story or project

OOo Migration: Challenges and Successes

Postby crusader » Wed Feb 06, 2008 6:32 am

I have no doubt in my mind that there is ample migration to OOo. Most of it at an individual level and to a lesser degree, at a small business level; however, only a tiny fraction of it is being reported. I am initiating this thread to hear and learn about these stories. Through this thread, I am hoping to:
1. Hear stories about migration to OOo.
2. Learn of the challenges inherent in the process and how to overcome them.

Given the supportive nature of this forum, I am hoping individuals/groups wishing to migrate to OOo will also find a place where they can get their migration related questions answered.

I would be lying if I said I am not seeking rejuvenation. Like other OOo supporters, I am interested in seeing greater use of this very well written software. The lack of feedback in the form of success stories is discouraging, especially in light of strong marketing efforts by the community -– both individually and collectively.

As Kingfisher pointed out in another thread in this forum, “I doubt that Open Office has attained commercial quality.” While that may be true, OOo is mature enough to handle the needs of most individual and small business users. I dare say it has moved well beyond the basics and now has bells and whistles that most individuals don't necessarily need/use. What percentage of that group is on the migration path is of interest to me. While this thread will not answer that question, it will, hopefully, provide anecdotal flavor of what is cooking. For that to happen, people have to share the stories they know. That, my friends, is my request to you and the purpose of this thread.

Before I share my personal experiences, I would like to acknowledge Hagar de l'Est for encouragement and support of this thread.

On an individual level, I do not miss an opportunity to share information on OOo and I am happy to see the results of my marketing. Depending on my relationship with that individual, and as appropriate, I also follow up to see where that person is and if s/he needs any help. This has allowed me to learn about successful “conversions.” In turn, I request the “converts” to further spread the message. I have received copies of emails from recent converts to their contacts touting the benefits of OOo.

The one thing that I frequently come across is people trying to compare OOo to the MS Office Suite. The lack of a (built in) email client and a digital assistant (Outlook equivalent) turns some people off. I respond by pointing out the excellent features that are currently available even as other features are been added. Needless to say, I emphasize software price, support quality and price, document conversion and ODF. In my experience, the last one is the least understood amongst non-IT people.

All ideas/suggestions are welcome –- as are your stories...
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Re: OOo Migration: Challenges and Successes

Postby Hagar Delest » Thu Feb 07, 2008 12:22 am

So here is my experience.

First tried OOo 1.1 in 2001 IIRC, got on a CD-ROM from my internet provider. Felt lost with the icons, must have had some issue with existing .doc files, so removed it after less than an hour.
Forgot about it until OOo 2.0 at end of 2005. Had discovered Linux in the mean time, so was rather receptive to OpenSource. Immediately impressed by the new version. Have had some crashes but the document recovery worked so good that I never lost much work (whereas having had bad experience on that level with MS Word). So decided to keep it at work. Don't use it however for documents that need to be published at corporate level. Installed of course on my Linux box and still using it, updating at each new version.
I stopped using the MS Word several years ago and switched to OOo because MS Word lost some important pics in a document. Remember that until recently, the .doc specification was not public and the import/export filters have been reverse engineered. Each open/save operation may introduce some flaws.

Why I use OOo (I mainly use Writer)?
  • ODF is a true open format, insures me that I'm the real owner of my own data
  • ODF is not a binary format, can recover content in case of problem (occurred once or twice in 2 years)
  • Power of styles
  • All the features I need are here
  • Support to OpenSource concept
What I've found missing
  • DataPilot in Calc seems to be limited to 8 fields for data display, I have to work with more than 50 fields at work, Calc can't be an alternative here
  • Language configuration is too much complicated, hopefully, 2.4 will ease it a bit
  • Multimedia support is a pain under Linux (need of the Java Media Framework)
Note that with OOo, I only work in ODF and export to PDF when needed, no export in MS Office format at all.

France has a good share of migration at state level (part of the police forces, MPs, some administrations). French administration has even a project to spread the use of ODF in its bodies. Again a proof that OOo can be used at state and corporate level. If somebody wants further details, I can try to find English papers about that (but will post them in that thread: OOo adoption around the world).

NB: I may edit my post to keep it update!
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Re: OOo Migration: Challenges and Successes

Postby scotch81 » Fri Apr 25, 2008 1:09 pm

Down to a more at-home-user level, I was becoming more and more disatisfied with MS products and my heart was having palpitions with exhorbit prices for some MS suitble programs. Before anyone starts bagging me, I'm not a MS ranter/hater, but believe some things shouldn't have a ridicously high price tag.

I started exploring open source programs, and OpenOffice was one of the first programs for Office Suites I looked into. I had a whole list software to look into, at the end of the day working my way down- I picked OO. Since I haven't looked back, and will never use MS Office again, unless I absolutely have to (work). I try to promote OO where I can to other people who are receptive to such changes.

The only trouble I had at first was inserting pictures and graphics in my writer docs and when I did they would often move somewhere else, eventually I was able to fix it as I understood OO better.

Availability of these forums have been a huge help for me, and now hardly need to look up for OO assistance with the exception every now and then, using the search function, but I do check it every now and then incase I find something new to learn. So thank you to all the people who made this site possible! You all deserve gold stars!

I am really looking forward to Version 3.0 when it gets released. If the PDF editing thingy is included, I'll be the first person in the line to install it!

OO suits my needs, so I am extremely happy
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Re: OOo Migration: Challenges and Successes

Postby JamesSoCal » Sat Nov 08, 2008 3:48 am

On the small business level I used StarOffice 5.1 in the 90's, then SO 5.2 and finally moved into OO1 followed by 2. Through the time I have reduced M$ from 9 machines to 2 and will soon be down to 1. While Outlook was the main stay years ago SO began to fill that requirement until the arrival of Thunderbird with Lightning. Outlook has been off line for a number of years now. Due to some minor compatibility issues between OO at the office & M$ on computers used at a local college where I teach some classes I have moved to PortableApps with OO included in the package. This way I use my OO on their host machine with no compatibility issues. Some say the icons have given them problems but I have gone through so many versions from the pre-DOS days to now that they, and other differences in operation, are rarely a challenge. Most of my tasks can easily be met with the features present in the OO suite. One feature I would like to use but can't is the .pdf export. The compression algorithm just does not do the job. A little program, PDFPro does a much superior job in that area. Hopefully I will discover a great improvement in OO3 when it is tested. I have also been recommending OO to al my students & recently have been considering providing small, 2G, flash drives with PortableApps installed to each of them. For a small fee to cover the cost of the flash drive but no other charges. I just want to encourage them to become familiar with a very good alternative to M$ & introduce them to the GNU software world. For problems, there have been a few, but I can honestly say there have been fewer with OO than I have had with M$ and that is without factoring in the cost of the 2 products. Support, for the newbie, is a bit sketchy at the moment but books are on the shelf that are every bit as good as those for the alternative and the knowledge of one does cross over to the other.

To those of you working on the various GNU projects I would like to thank and congratulate you all on a fine product. The only thing I see holding it back is the case of M$itis we seem to have in so many areas. The college is afraid to change because of the learning curve. This is a curve they have not even investigated. Inertia can work well in nature but it is a problem in Corporate America.

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