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Office Software Thread, Alternatives to MS Office in Technical; All, Do any of you out there deploy alternatives to MS Office? I have noticed that recently we pulled OpenOffice ...
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    rfonti's Avatar
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    Alternatives to MS Office

    All,

    Do any of you out there deploy alternatives to MS Office?

    I have noticed that recently we pulled OpenOffice from our images. I believe that it is a valuable piece of software and could well bring down future costs.

    Is it a case of educating the users or that the MS suite is too far ahead that alternatives don't make the cut.

    Thanks,
    Ryan

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    We have LibreOffice and Google docs installed site-wide. It is our 'default' office package.
    Google docs has a variety of collaboration features that surpass MSOffice.
    Between Googel and LibreOfffice them they offer everything that is needed for an office suite in a school *except* that Capita's SIMS is hard-coded so that reports only open with MSExcel. We have MSOffice installed on certain machines where SIMS is needed.

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    rfonti's Avatar
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    Thanks.

    I have a question regarding email clients. Do these products offer any clients? We run exchange and obviously Outlook with it.

    Ta,
    Ryan

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    Google apps is an email, calendaring and collaboration solution in itself. You could save money and time on your exchange licensing by ditching exchange in favour of google apps.

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    jamesfed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    Google apps is an email, calendaring and collaboration solution in itself. You could save money and time on your exchange licensing by ditching exchange in favour of google apps.
    Or just go with Live@Edu and get the same experiace as you do already

    Either way all Office 2010 here - dirt cheap on EES and oh so simple to deploy and patch.
    From a teaching POV in a world where Office still reigns suprime (and no I don't want any links to the 10% of companies that have changed to Google) it makes sense to educate with what people will be using - expecily on the point of things like Access/VB/Ect

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    bart21 (24th August 2011)

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesfed View Post
    Or just go with Live@Edu and get the same experiace as you do already

    not really, Live@edu doesn't offer a fraction of what google is offering, and the higher end stuff 365 is paid for or rely on MSOffice for full functionality , whereas google offer it for free.
    live@edu is only really comparable as an email soultion, whereas the OP wanted an office replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesfed View Post
    Either way all Office 2010 here - dirt cheap on EES and oh so simple to deploy and patch.
    From a teaching POV in a world where Office still reigns suprime (and no I don't want any links to the 10% of companies that have changed to Google) it makes sense to educate with what people will be using - expecily on the point of things like Access/VB/Ect
    Actually EES costs us significantly more money than perpetually licensing MS software.
    The argument of whether teachers should teach specific software or concepts has been done to death. The fact is there are millions of corporate users using Google Apps, LibreOffice, Lotus Symphony, OpenOffice and what matters is what is best for the school. For our school we find Google apps the best for collaboration, interoperability with other platforms and cost.

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfonti View Post
    I have noticed that recently we pulled OpenOffice from our images. I believe that it is a valuable piece of software and could well bring down future costs.
    I'm having trouble with LibreOffice at home - I'm using it to produce a children's story book, complete with 20-odd 300dpi full-page illustrations, and LibreOffice keeps crashing. I can't help but think a web-based application would be a better solution (i.e. with hi-res print-quality versions stored server-side and the client-side just having to deal with preview versions).

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    jamesfed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    not really, Live@edu doesn't offer a fraction of what google is offering, and the higher end stuff 365 is paid for or rely on MSOffice for full functionality , whereas google offer it for free.
    live@edu is only really comparable as an email soultion, whereas the OP wanted an office replacement.
    I was in referance to 'You could save money and time on your exchange licensing by ditching exchange in favour of google apps.' and by using Live@Edu getting Exchange all the same.

    Also if EES cost you more money when factoring in future upgrades then something is going wrong somewhere....

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesfed View Post
    Also if EES cost you more money when factoring in future upgrades then something is going wrong somewhere....
    It's not, we upgrade main systems typically every 7 or 8 yrs. so XP was bought in or around 2003 and will be probably upgraded to 7 next year.
    A perpetual license costs around £30, so with £500 machines that's about £1875 per year. Same with CALS. So not only is it cheaper to have a long term (7-8 yr) financial planning it also means that you don't suffer the lock in to other ms products such as MSOffice and a 'free' to explore emerging technologies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    It's not, we upgrade main systems typically every 7 or 8 yrs. so XP was bought in or around 2003 and will be probably upgraded to 7 next year.
    A perpetual license costs around £30, so with £500 machines that's about £1875 per year. Same with CALS. So not only is it cheaper to have a long term (7-8 yr) financial planning it also means that you don't suffer the lock in to other ms products such as MSOffice and a 'free' to explore emerging technologies.
    Anything that works for you

    My biggest concern about 7 to 8 year long software refreshes is that the pace of technology development has increased so dramatically especially in the world of Virtualisation both Application and Desktop both of which makes it very easy to deploy the latest and greatest but not always stuff that’s old.... therefor limiting yourself to something that’s old also limits your potential to expand into other newer technologies.

    Either way all of this has been discussed a million times before and this thread isn't the place for further discussion.

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    cpjitservices's Avatar
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    We arn't a school or an educational establishment BUT we have on all our machines - Office 2010 Pro, OpenOffice, & Libre Office - for email we use Thunderbird and Outlook and also Evolution.

    People can take there pick and use what they want.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rfonti View Post
    I have a question regarding email clients. Do these products offer any clients? We run exchange and obviously Outlook with it.
    I don't think there are any free desktop email clients that can connect natively with Exchange. Zimbra Desktop is a free Outlook-like mail client, but can only connect to Exchange using IMAP, which doesn't offer the full functionality of Exchange.

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    I still can't understand why people only want one office suite / solution when teaching children / supporting children learning. Having 2 (or more) should be the norm as you should be doing skill and knowledge building, not solely teaching applications.

    The discussion about whether Google Apps for Education or Office365 is best will be one that goes on ... and on .. and on ... and since the full Office365 isn't live in education yet saying "it costs more" isn't quite true now ... and the final offering of free stuff is still going to be sufficient for many schools ... the same way the what you get with Google Apps can be sufficient for many schools.

    However, Google Apps and Office365 are not replacements for full office suites. They both add additional features with regards to collaboration, ease of access in multiple locations / systems, but they are not a full replacement. Both MS and Google are happy to say that to teachers (and have).

    @rfonti I wouldn't worry too much about the idea the MS Office is too far ahead, as things change over time and you never know when something else will hit the front. Things will always change in IT so relying on a single solution without any plan for how users will adapt when in the real world (including when back at home trying to do homework on software 2 versions higher than what is on the school desktop) is something to consider. Some schools that remove Open Source Software might do so for political reasons (i.e. they have an arrangement with a vendor and so want to keep them happy), for technical reasons (sometimes OSS is more time consuming to manage than commercially-proprietary / -licensed software, or simply does not work in some environments ... but that can apply to paid for stuff too), for end-user reasons (the software simply is not used so adds a layer of work to manage it, the software is not as effective raising pupil attainment as other software, the software can confuse users of other software due to being too different or simply the software is not suitable for the end-user due to accessibility, age range or UI) or simply because the software does not give any benefit.

    Have you asked why it has been removed? Have you looked at your schemes of work to see if it covers everything you need? Is there a need for students to have a cheaper (i.e. free) alternative to MS Office when at home so you also need to keep it on at the school? I would also suggest popping over to the Open Source Schools website to have a look at some of the case studies there showing schools using free office suites.



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