My Hypothetical business upgrade to OpenOffice

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My Hypothetical business upgrade to OpenOffice

Postby Steve67890 » Fri May 22, 2020 4:07 pm

Hi all you Gurus.

I'm new to the use of Apache OpenOffice and currently studying a Project Management course.

I've been tasked with a "hypothetical" project to upgrade an imaginary business' IT systems and to migrate them all to Open Office software.
I'm not an expert in IT so taking the thought process of consulting with the technical experts (this is where you guys beat me hands down) and wanted to know if I was missing anything vital in this imaginary migration project.

Hypothetical Business' systems and Network.
PC's are running Pentium 4, 3.20 GHz with 1GB RAM and 120GB HDD.
Network: Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard x64 Edition, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and Microsoft Small Business Server.
The software should also be compatible with Office 2007 in preparation for the planned upgrade.
Majority of the function Uses: Word processing, Spreadsheet, presentation graphics and Email.


From my limited technical understanding, Apache OpenOffice shouldn't have any issues with the PC's and Network's being used and covers most of the Microsoft Office suit software uses required with Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Base and Math however it doesn't cover email (microsoft outlook) although Microsoft outlook doesn't require annual licensing and is free as far as I'm aware.

Personal note, so far what I've learned about Apache OpenOffice impresses me and the ability to read and write from other common software packages helps when using various Mac or PC setups within business' and the home office space.

Sorry this is all starting to get a bit long winded :-? but I'd appreciate your thoughts and feedback if I've missed anything crucial with the specs and the ability of the integration (system shortfalls etc.) and any suggestions :D

Thanks
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Re: My Hypothetical business upgrade to OpenOffice.

Postby Villeroy » Fri May 22, 2020 4:58 pm

Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard x64 Edition, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and Microsoft Small Business Server.
The software should also be compatible with Office 2007 in preparation for the planned upgrade.

Why not Microsoft Office? It is the one and only office suite for this environment.
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Re: My Hypothetical business upgrade to OpenOffice.

Postby RoryOF » Fri May 22, 2020 5:06 pm

It is a foolish (hypothetical) project if the object is to work in Microsoft formats and ensure 100% compatibility. The only guaranteed compatible suite will be MS Office.

If the target audience is prepared to set aside their existing Microsoft Office habits, learn to use Ope- or Libre-Office, and work in their native formats, then it could be a successful project, given those changes to the initial project parameters.
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Re: My Hypothetical business upgrade to OpenOffice.

Postby Villeroy » Fri May 22, 2020 5:25 pm

When Microsoft products treat Open Document files as zip files rather than office documents.
When Windows does not allow OpenOffice any write access to the user's documents directory.
When OpenOffice can not find network paths that are plain visible to every component but not OpenOffice.
Then you know that you are working in a hostile environment.
Fuck Microsoft.
Please, edit this topic's initial post and add "[Solved]" to the subject line if your problem has been solved.
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Re: My Hypothetical business upgrade to OpenOffice.

Postby John_Ha » Fri May 22, 2020 5:32 pm

See [Tutorial] Differences between Writer and MS Word files for a discussion of some of the associated problems.

Many businesses successfully use Apache Open Office or LibreOffice but there is not 100% compatibility with MS Office. Microsoft is not interested in compatibility with third party products. Microsoft is interested in selling MS Office and making money from doing so.

The UK Government mandates all documents must be in Open Document Format, ODF. I have just downloaded a document from a UK government web site and it was a .odt file. See UK Government chooses ODF for all government documents

AOO is functionally stabilised and walking dead. I would recommend LibreOffice which forked from the original OpenOffice.org product and which is under active development. LO has better, but not perfect, compatibility with MS Office.

It looks to me as though this project was originally specified about 10 or more years ago and has not been updated to keep up with the times. No-one runs Office 2007 today - it is obsolete and probably years out of support.

Your PC CPU is fine though 1GB looks small, Pentium 4 is ancient and 120GB disk is very small by today's standards. What OS run on the PCs? I think it would have been XP when the project was designed. I doubt W10 runs or, if it does run, is usable with only 1GB.

I think LO has better support for accessing remote files in networks.

There is no email client in AOO or LO. Microsoft discontinued Microsoft Outlook Express (its free email client). Microsoft Outlook is a charged-for product. Thunderbird is a free email client similar to Outlook Express.

Google openoffice for business use for more thoughts.
Last edited by John_Ha on Fri May 22, 2020 5:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My Hypothetical business upgrade to OpenOffice.

Postby FJCC » Fri May 22, 2020 5:43 pm

I strongly agree that people would have to work in the native formats.

From my experience, I would expect that the biggest hurdle will be the resistance to change by some people. There will be people determined to find reasons that they cannot use the new software. I had a PhD physicist tell me that he could not use Calc because there was no way to label the axes in plots. He used MATLAB to build complicated models but could not find a menu item in Calc. I had an admin tell me that Writer had no way to preview a page before printing so she couldn't use it. She was unwilling to consider that the menu item might be labeled something other than Print Preview. There was a lot of that sort of thing. Managing the resistance to change has to be a primary concern once the technical feasibility is established. In the end, my organization abandoned the transition. I mostly continued to use OpenOffice because I liked the idea of it, the nonlinear solver in Calc addressed a problem that Excel would not, and the idea that I would use of something other than MS Office rocked my manager's view of the world, which is always a plus.
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Re: My Hypothetical business upgrade to OpenOffice.

Postby Steve67890 » Fri May 22, 2020 8:31 pm

Unfortunately it is an old course that is dearly in need of an upgrade in its course content so I’m stuck at the moment with these hypothetical systems and can’t really change much. The idea behind the change in this “situation” from Microsoft office to OpenOffice was to save money for the company on Microsofts annual licensing costs. However I’m stuck with these specifications as the follow on assignments are based off this initial one and implementing it all.

From what I understand from all the comments and help guides,
- There wouldnt be a complete migration over from MS to OO with compatibility being an issue and you’d have to format all file types and document contents will need to be checked as forms and formatting internally will be all changed?
- OpenOffice is becoming obsolete? As Libra is now the go to program?
- To upgrade to OpenOffice, you would have to upgrade the computers from the older Pentium 4’s?

Thanks for all the help, I need to be able to pepper these Teachers with why this assignment is not as simple as they think it is. Their help video for explaining OpenOffice is from 2016
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Re: My Hypothetical business upgrade to OpenOffice.

Postby RoryOF » Fri May 22, 2020 8:46 pm

As far as I remember, one can certainly run some earlier versions of OO on Pentium 4; depending which version of Windows, 1 GB should be OK.

I have OO 4.1.7 running on a 64 bit P4, with 4 GB RAM on Xubuntu 20.04; this is a network print/scan/backup server, so OO performance is not a consideration.

Macros on existing MS Office documents will need to be rewritten - this is not a quick process (learning curve), hence a cost to the conversion.

I expect that later versions of LibreOffice may require more RAM.
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Re: My Hypothetical business upgrade to OpenOffice.

Postby keme » Fri May 22, 2020 9:54 pm

Forget Windows on the workstations. I don't think you can get Win7 or older versions licensed anymore, and Win8 is a bitch. You CAN shave down Win10 to install on 120 GB with space to spare, and to run fairly smoothly within 1GB, but it is not an easy task. You would also need to dumb down the updater, or you will soon get automatically installed all the bells and whistles that you don't want to be bogging down your system. Don't go there.

Look for a lightweight linux distro. Of the ones listed in the linked page, I guess Linux lite will probably work best in conjunction with MS domain administration, Lubuntu may be the most friendly, and Porteus yields the best performance. I have little experience with any of them, so feel free to question my guesses ;-)

LibreOffice will be available on all distros, AFAIK. You may need to connect to alternate software repositories for OpenOffice if you are restricted to that title.

For "office connect" software (mail, calendar), the titles others have mentioned before will be available.
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Re: My Hypothetical business upgrade to OpenOffice.

Postby RoryOF » Fri May 22, 2020 10:04 pm

Lubuntu is probably the lightest of the Ubuntu series. Slightly heavier is Xubuntu; I have Xubuntu 20.04 running on all my machines. But it should be noted that the shift from Windows to any linux is a major paradigm shift and would require informed support and much user handholding - again, another project cost.
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Re: My Hypothetical business upgrade to OpenOffice.

Postby John_Ha » Sat May 23, 2020 10:50 am

Steve67890 wrote:Unfortunately it is an old course that is dearly in need of an upgrade in its course content so I’m stuck at the moment with these hypothetical systems and can’t really change much... However I’m stuck with these specifications as the follow on assignments are based off this initial one and implementing it all.

Persuade them to change the PCs to PCs running W10, and Office 2007 to MS Office
Steve67890 wrote:The idea behind the change in this “situation” from Microsoft office to OpenOffice was to save money for the company on Microsofts annual licensing costs.

That can be done and many do it.
Steve67890 wrote:From what I understand from all the comments and help guides,
- There wouldn't be a complete migration over from MS to OO with compatibility being an issue and you’d have to format all file types and document contents will need to be checked as forms and formatting internally will be all changed?

They now have .doc (and .docx?) documents. In future they will have .odt documents. A .doc or .docx can be opened by LO and saved as a .odt. It should then be opened to see if all is OK as some content may be lost and some formatting may change etc - see the tutorial. Could you contract this work out to some other organisation so all the documents are converted and checked? Or is it best to leave historical documents and just convert current in-use documents?
Steve67890 wrote:- OpenOffice is becoming obsolete? As Libra is now the go to program?

Apache Open Office is virtually dead. LibreOffice is alive.
Steve67890 wrote:- To upgrade to OpenOffice, you would have to upgrade the computers from the older Pentium 4’s?

See the system requirements for LO. It will probably run but once you have the OS and an email client and a browser and a modern OS, 1GB is looking hopeless.
Steve67890 wrote:I need to be able to pepper these Teachers with why this assignment is not as simple as they think it is. Their help video for explaining OpenOffice is from 2016

Yes. What is the point learning about something obsolete and of no future use? Persuade them to bring the project up to date. Or include replacing the hardware and software as part of the project.
As a PM the questions you need to answer are what does rolling out the project entail (changing hardware, changing s/w, training users, converting data etc). Consider how users interact with current and future customers and how do they exchange data with them. Put yourself in a user's place - what do they do? What do they need if you change things?
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