Skip to main content

Open Source Advocates Rolling Over To Microsoft

 
There has always been a small and vocal community advocating the adoption of open source software and standards over Microsoft's proprietary offerings. For individuals and small businesses this is an option which could lead to lower costs. In the enterprise it's an entirely different matter.
 
Having been asked on a number of occasions to look at the feasibility of moving large organisations to an open source software solution I have always found that the promise of lower upfront costs falls down once the total cost of ownership is considered. Then there are the technical, compatibility and training considerations to address.
 
That doesn't stop me running Ubuntu and Libre Office on several machines at home, however I have yet to see a well made argument for doing the same in the enterprise. So you can imagine my surprise when government organisations announce they are going the open source route for their IT solutions.
 
Once such was Munich City Council, which took Linux and Open Office over Microsoft back in 2004. After ten years of what sounds like complete chaos the City's technology leaders are looking to move back to Windows and Office 365.
 
The biggest issues relate to the not quite accurate translation of documents between Office users outside the organisation and Open Office users inside it. However there are also detailed issues with missing software support and lack of features.
 
None of these problems are inherently Linux issues, however the out of the box functionality of a Windows  authentication, desktop and application suite can't be easily replicated in the open source world and that looks like a major issue in Munich.
 
It's not an isolated case either, also this week the Italian municipality of Pesaro, which ditched Office for Open Office in 2011, has decided to call time on the project and revert to Office 365. The result of compatibility issues, training needs and a failure to support Excel functionality in Open Office that meant a hybrid solution had to be retained for some users.
 
Costs spiralled out of control and as a result Pesaro's annual spend was more than twice as much on its Open Office solution than it would have been if it had stuck to Office in the first place.
 
Ultimately for any enterprise thinking of moving away from Microsoft the biggest hurdle is going to be compatibility. The whole business world uses Microsoft Office and no-one yet has been able to build an open source product which captures enough functionality and maintains sufficient compatibility to allow its use in an otherwised Microsoft world.
 
That, more than training issues, technical shortcomings, user inertia and migration cost is the biggest hurdle in the way of Linux adoption in the enterprise.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

F1: Robert Kubica Impresses In Renault Test Run

The car may be old but its the performance of the driver that's the story here. Robert Kubica returned to F1, after a fashion, earlier this week with an extensive test run in a 2012 Lotus Renault F1 car at Valencia.
The age of the car and the circuit were likely determined by F1's current rules which ban testing, but the reason for Kubica being in the car is far more interesting. Considered by many to be a potential World Champion and certainly one of the fastest drivers of his generation, Kubica's F1 career seemed to be over after a 2011 crash whilst driving in the Rally of Andora. His Skoda Fabia was penetrated by a guardrail in the high speed accident partially severing his right arm.
Up until last year Kubica has been competing in rallying, with the expectation that the limited movement in his repaired arm would prohibit a return to single seater racing.
So this week's test is both interesting and confusing. Interesting because Kubica completed 115 laps of the ret…

F1: Robert Kubica's Williams Test Asks More Questions Than It Answers

Comparing driver's times at a tyre evaluation test like last week's Abu Dhabi event is difficult at the best of times, but when trying to assess the performance of a driver who has been out of the sport for six years, that difficulty level is raised even higher.
On the face of it Robert Kubica's test for Williams was a success. Fastest of the three Williams drivers present the headlines look promising. However, taking into consideration the different tyres used to set those times muddies the water considerably.
Kubica ran a three lap qualifying simulation on the new 'hyper-soft' tyre - which should have given him a two-second advantage. Correcting for tyres it would appear that Kubica was significantly slower than Sergei Sorotkin - who was on the harder 'soft' tyre - and marginally quicker than Lance Stroll, the team's only contracted driver.

Stroll's family fortune currently funds Williams, so there' no chance that he will be anywhere but in a…

Panos Panay's Defence Of Microsoft Surface Hardware Sounds Eerily Familiar

This weekend I went out with my ten year old daughter to select a laptop for her school year beginning in January. The schools requirements are quite specific, requiring a Windows 10 device, with a preference for a touchscreen and a stylus. She chose a Surface Pro, after trying a large number of different options. Having seen the way I use my own Surface Pro - and tried it herself there was only ever going to be two options - and the other was a Surface Laptop.
I tell you this so that you understand I am a buyer of Microsoft's products through choice, not compulsion. I'm on my third Surface device now. 
So when Panos Panay dismissed reports of the death of the Surface hardware line, I was very interested to see exactly how strong these denials were. Especially how they reflect what has gone before. To whit: Windows 10 Mobile.
Panay claimed that Microsoft is in hardware for the long haul. Almost exactly mirroring the words of Terry Myerson, when he claimed Windows Mobile was g…