There's another level on which I read this short piece - that of different
Office systems/suites.  Having opted to try OpenOffice (OOo) instead of
purchasing MS Office for a laptop several months ago I have to say that as nice
as it performs generally there are bugs - I find it crashes a lot when
multitasking or coming out of hibernation, and the Writer program does not
handle graphics well (inserted pictures or graphics), for me anyway. Even some
open source enthusiasts have noted the number of bugs in OOo. On the other
hand, it has some nice features.

The reason I write, however, is to say that the transition from MS Word to OOo
Writer reminds me a bit of the transition I made from WordPerfect to earlier
versions of Word a few years ago (choice dictated by workplace decisions). I
found Word (and Outlook, which I used a lot too) to have a lot of problems that
consisted mainly of crashing or unexpected things happening - I found Word's
handling of tables for instance was a unpredictable, one Word version kept
accumulating "normal" documents for some reason slowing it down before I
figured out what was going on, and there were weird sudden font changes in
Outlook. Just for instance. This was back in the late 90s - at that time there
was a joke making the rounds about a MS exec chatting with a GM exec at some
power event:
MS exec: "You know, if we were in your business, everyone would be driving a car
that cost $100 and got 100 MPG."
GM exec: "Yeah, but who'd want to drive a car that crashed two times a day?"

So it seems a little odd for someone at MS to make a big thing of open source's
shortcomings (a bit like the proverbial exchange between kettle and pot). From
a user's perspective of Office programs, Word has clearly improved over the
last few versions, but I'd also expect that OpenOffice programs like Writer
will get debugged apace. At least I hope so.

One advantage of such open source applications is that they can in principle be
localized at low cost by local groups anywhere, which means that programs like
OOo can become a very potent tool for expanding effective access to ICT and
learning of computer use to wider numbers of people (not to mention their
potential as tools to assist in language revitalization etc).

In the meantime I'm staying with OOo and find it reliable enough in an imperfect
world.

Don Osborn
Bisharat.net


Quoting Fouad Riaz Bajwa <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>:

Microsoft: Open source 'not reliable or dependable'
View the complete story at:
http://news.com.com/Microsoft+Open+source+not+reliable+or+dependable/2100-73
44_3-6074237.html?tag=nefd.pulse

A senior Microsoft executive told a BBC documentary that people should use
commercial software if they're looking for stability.

"I don't think (open source) is anti-Microsoft in the sense that it's giving
people choices in the technologies that they use," Jonathan Murray, the vice
president and chief technology officer of Microsoft Europe, told BBC World
in the first part of the documentary "The Code Breakers," which aired this
week.

"Some people want to use community-based software, and they get value out of
sharing with other people in the community. Other people want the
reliability and the dependability that comes from a commercial software
model. And again, at the end of the day, you make the choice based on what
has the highest value to you," Murray continued.

It isn't clear from Murray's statement which category he believes commercial
open-source companies such as Red Hat and MySQL fit into.


Forwarded by
-----------------------
Fouad Riaz Bajwa
FOSS Advocate
www.fossfp.org

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