There is a right way and a wrong way to pilot FLOSS. Installing FLOSS applications on that other OS in parallel with IE and M$’s office suite is OK but it’s walking a tightrope. Using both office suites at once greatly increases the complexity of sharing documents:
- Joe: “What do you mean the document was scrambled?”
- Jill: “The contents of the table spill off the page…”
- Joe: “I guess I will have to stick with M$’s office suite.”
- Jill: “Yes. We know it works.”
Of course OpenOffice.org works, too, but both parties are better off using it.
Why not select a target-group who mostly communicate amongst themselves and use PDF for exports? Put them on GNU/Linux while you’re at it. That’s pretty well guaranteed to work. Why would it not?
Oh well. I told you so… Expect the trial to “fail” due to interoperability problems that no one anticipated… or did they? This could be the plan, that the M$-lovers are setting up OpenOffice.org or LibreOffice to fail.
The right way to do this is to identify the inventory of documents and their formats, automate the conversion to ODF, and study the cost of converting the inventory. It is sure to be far less than the cost of relicensing that other OS and its office suite forever. Any small cost X forever is greater than a modest cost once. It’s maths, folks, not magic. Folks who have migrated report that cost of IT per annum per seat are much lower. In a year, the IT department should have been able to come up with an estimate of the cost and laid it on the table for study. As it is, they have merely delayed migration making it ever more difficult to migrate. How many incompatible documents will M$’s office suite crank out in the next year?