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MIS Systems Thread, SIMS .net and Open Office in Technical; The old chestnut of difficulty in support. Capita can get commercial support for OpenOffice from Sun. All the details of ...
  1. #31

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    The old chestnut of difficulty in support. Capita can get commercial support for OpenOffice from Sun. All the details of every release are fully published - it would be easier not harder to support than closed source. As pointed out, the issue is not so much support for open source but for open standards (ISO 26300). The government and international trade agreements mandate the use of open standards where they exist. In addition, the collusion of two undertakings, in this case Capita and Microsoft, to block competition by adopting proprietary standards when open standards exist, is probably illegal under Chapter 1 of the 1998 Competition Act

    Competition Act 1998 (c. 41)

    This is especially so if both players have a dominant market share. Maybe an issue for the Office of Fair trading. E-mail James.MacBeth@oft.gsi.gov.uk if you believe it is.

  2. #32

    localzuk's Avatar
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    I've created a change request, number 0807-371441. Logon at Support.capitaes.co.uk, go to the support menu and choose change requests.

  3. 2 Thanks to localzuk:

    CyberNerd (18th July 2008), penfold_99 (22nd July 2008)

  4. #33

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    Capita and OFT etc

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_M_Cox View Post
    Every one needs to stop having a go at Capita.

    The fact are we all have to use microsoft and capita and by making relations between the two and their users worse only leads to us losing out.

    I suggest you keep your inflammatory remarks to yourself.

    Penfold_99 - why start a war when all we want is an answer, go to your room!
    This rather illustrates a problem that has been building up over several years. Capita chose a highly vertically integrated Microsoft Solution at a time when few people were questioning IT monopolies. The world has changed and the law that has been applied zealously to eg supermarkets is now turning its eyes to technology. It could turn out to be simply a bad business decision to ally one monopoly with another. Being a monopoly is not illegal but leverage of the monopoly to block competition is. So is colluding to block competition. Only a court can really decide in individual cases but ironically, what was probably seen to be the low risk option of a MS track could well turn out to be very high risk indeed. The OFT can fine up to 10% of the entire company turnover not just the bit that infringes competition law. Capita could well rue the day they decided to go down the .net route. Moral of the story? In future stick to Open Systems and Open Standards because if you don't you might well be storing up a lot of future pain.

  5. #34

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    The driver to create strong links to MS Office was to ensure that our users did not have to grapple with intermediate files nothing more sinister than that. As the overwhelming majority of our users use MS Office it seemed a sensible thing to do and indeed schools that have returned to SIMS from other providers often comment on how useful that feature is to them. I understand why OpenOffice users wish to have the same degree of integration but this is not a conspiracy. Capita does not profit from sales of MS products. We are a development house, free to choose the best tools that are available and .net and SQL Server are excellent products.

    I have asked my team to look at how much it will cost to support OpenOffice more actively. I can confirm that at the moment the link is broken and you get a com error. I suspect that a change that was made to ensure that the free Word viewer worked may have introduced this error. This is an example of how introducing permutations increases an already complex test matrix and at the moment OpenOffice is not in the matrix.

  6. 2 Thanks to PhilNeal:

    kiran (22nd July 2008), Mcshammer_dj (18th July 2008)

  7. #35

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Interesting. Someone has voted against my proposal on the change request. It's a shame there's no comments system on it really, as I'm finding it a bit difficult to see a reason why people who use the system would *want* to be tied in to MS Office.

  8. #36
    mitcheln's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Interesting. Someone has voted against my proposal on the change request. It's a shame there's no comments system on it really, as I'm finding it a bit difficult to see a reason why people who use the system would *want* to be tied in to MS Office.
    Maybe they're revolting against the motivation behind the change request. If it was somebody who has been reading this thread, which was initially a request for assistance, they may be hacked off with its coercion into what appears now to be an argument and rather than being drawn into that, have expressed their distaste by voting against the proposal.

  9. #37

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitcheln View Post
    Maybe they're revolting against the motivation behind the change request. If it was somebody who has been reading this thread, which was initially a request for assistance, they may be hacked off with its coercion into what appears now to be an argument and rather than being drawn into that, have expressed their distaste by voting against the proposal.
    Interesting. My motivation is purely for open standards, which would aid the OP. I don't care about all the arguing back and forth. Freedom of choice is a good thing. If people like MS office, that's up to them. If people like Open Office, Google Apps, Ability Office etc... then they should be able to use it with their MIS.

    That's the only reason I posted the change request. Sorry if anyone thinks it is coercion.

  10. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Sorry if anyone thinks it is coercion.
    - not your individual contribution/s but a general trend among a group of contributors to move a thread (and countless others around here) away from an OP's request into, well what is it? Baiting, posturing, expressions of passive aggression, etc, etc, etc, etc.
    Last edited by mitcheln; 21st July 2008 at 10:12 PM. Reason: unneeded adjective

  11. #39
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    I agree it seems to have taken the thread into shooting down companies like Capita, as Phil has stated they have no profit from sales of MS products, and, if everyone used Open Office (which i am not against) i'm sure he would put developers in place to make sure Open Office worked with SIMS .net. As it stands most schools (and please lets not forget our schools!) use MS Office, as do lots of pupils/staff etc so i assume most of the dev time is tested on MS Office products and as software evolves and moves so quickly i'm sure their time (as all of ours) is taken up and leaves little else....unless you really do not have a life outside work....

  12. #40

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    This really is chicken and egg.

    If you don't put in the dev time on other products you can often find you won't use the other products because 'it is easier!'

    Personally, I use Office ... on a Mac. I want SIMS ... I am using Microsoft Office ... do the development work folks!

    See? Sound a bit daft really. If you only develop for one platform and one office suite then there is limited or no choice. In this case there is no choice. I don't think it is all Capita's fault or problem, but one of schools too. They have not bothered to look at other systems, and those that do have realised that some of the things they complained about at the same elsewhere and at least it is the devil you know with Capita (both the products developed and the products that hook into the MIS!)

    Capita *will* stick to what works easiest, the same way many companies do ... it involved less financial investment (greater profit margins), less support is needed (less complex and a more standard user base is what so many of us want for lots of things we do ... just think of every member of staff having a different piece of hardware for a laptop making life a pig for imaging etc!) , less chance of things going pear-shaped.

    A pretty standard business model really ... you can apply it to all sorts of things from car mechanics (we only deal with Ford cars!) to airports (we only fly to these destinations) even to hospitals (we only do these operations).

    I do think that we do need to think that there are other possibilities out there, such as using SIMS on Mac or Linux, and with different office suites. That is only going to change if the demand is there though ... or that there is a drive for compatibility standards ... oh ... there is!

    Don;t get me wrong ... I like SIMS ... I think it is more powerful than most schools realise, but I think it would make my life easier if it was more standards compliant.

  13. Thanks to GrumbleDook from:

    kiran (22nd July 2008)

  14. #41


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    I don't think the complaints about capita in this thread are unjustified.
    Baiting, posturing !? It has taken two months to get an acknowledgment that there may even be a problem!

    As mentioned earlier the problem is with interoperability standards. Capita do not need to test their software against every office suite on the planet, or every platform, they just need to conform to open standards such as those set out in ISO26300 for which MSOffice has a plugin and will have native support by 2k7sp2.

    I simply do not understand why this is so hard to realise, neither can I understand why people are jumping to the defense of capita when Phil appears to have such a blatant misunderstanding of the issue. It is no wonder we are left with the impression that MS partner companies pander to MS rather than to their customers.

  15. 2 Thanks to CyberNerd:

    penfold_99 (22nd July 2008), webman (21st July 2008)

  16. #42

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    I think that the main thing here is choice. Users and admins would just like the option to choose whatever apps they want to view their reports in. Now I am not a heavy sims user (in fact I try not to use it at all) but one thing that does irritate me is that there seems to a complete lack of support for anything that does not come from ms. Such as the ability to cone t to sims via broswer just to do e-reg. They stated it just does not feel as good as the client on a desktop. Apple released their mobileme (eventually) and it feels identical to the client apps. So the tools ARE there.

    There seems to be a few excuses to me rather than solutions.

    What about maybe an option to allow the end user of the client app to choose their report editor. Obviously after support has been added?

  17. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    I don't think the complaints about capita in this thread are unjustified.
    Baiting, posturing !? It has taken two months to get an acknowledgment that there may even be a problem!

    As mentioned earlier the problem is with interoperability standards. Capita do not need to test their software against every office suite on the planet, or every platform, they just need to conform to open standards such as those set out in ISO26300 for which MSOffice has a plugin and will have native support by 2k7sp2.

    I simply do not understand why this is so hard to realise, neither can I understand why people are jumping to the defense of capita when Phil appears to have such a blatant misunderstanding of the issue. It is no wonder we are left with the impression that MS partner companies pander to MS rather than to their customers.
    I don't disagree that there are failings with SIMS. My issue here is with the continual hijacking of threads like this one and transforming them into something else. As a resource for those in schools trying to solve problems and run systems, threads such as these contribute a lot of noise and may (certainly in my case) prevent colleagues from posting for fear of provoking the ire of [insert system here] detractors and not getting the assistance they had hoped for from their visit.
    Last edited by mitcheln; 22nd July 2008 at 09:45 AM. Reason: yes, i saw the irony

  18. #44

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    Do not despair! The moderators have fully functional forum/thread/post controls! Given enough reason (or prodding) they will happily split and move threads that wander off topic, close threads that degenerate into flame fests and appropriately chastise and humiliate members who don't know when to shush.

  19. #45

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    I think this thread was on-topic with all posts being relevant until somebody started to mention otherwise...

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