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Government Open Source Software IT

Valencia Region Government Completes Switch To LibreOffice 93

Posted by timothy
from the latin-roots dept.
jrepin writes "The administration of the Spanish autonomous region of Valencia has completed its switch to LibreOffice, a free and open source suite of office productivity applications. Last week Friday the region's ICT department announced that the office suite is installed on all of the 120,000 desktop PCs of the administration, including schools and courts. The migration will save the government some 1.5 million euro per year on proprietary software licenses."
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Valencia Region Government Completes Switch To LibreOffice

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  • But what's the cost in special training and support? Anyone got a reasonable number for the ROI?
    • by binarylarry (1338699) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @09:00AM (#44642021)

      It won't just save it 1.5 now, it'll save that every upgrade cycle.

      • Not to mention it's much better to spend that money in the local economy (such as training and support companies) than to see the money fly away to microsoft.
    • it depends on the From Version if they are starting from a nonribbon version of MSO then the training could be nearly trival.

      as far as that goes has anybody done a Ribbon Interface pack for LO??

      • by somersault (912633) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @09:07AM (#44642093) Homepage Journal

        as far as that goes has anybody done a Ribbon Interface pack for LO??

        All I can think is: why?

        • I for one like software which is smart enough to put the menus I need in an easy place to reach when I want them. Beats digging through a "mega evil rats nest of doom" tree structure every time I do something routine (like adjusting error bars). Context sensitive is just smart.
          • I've hated "smart menus" for a long time. Usually you can put your commonly used items in a toolbar, and for everything else, you go to the menu. Every time you go to the menu, you need to click the expand arrows to see all the options (and these days that's always while looking for the option to turn off the expand arrows..).

          • I like smart menus in some contexts btw, but they need to have a fallback that is logical. Like the start menu in XP/7 keeping track of your most commonly used programs, but still letting you see a full list of programs very quickly if you so wish. The fact that you can customise the icons on the main panel like in OSX and Linux docks makes the "smart" part almost irrelevant though.

          • by MightyYar (622222)

            I found Satan's Slashdot alias! :)

            I agree with you, to an extent. I like the ribbon as a toolbar - I hate it as a menu. Every function should reside in a fixed place, in a addition to having a context-sensitive toolbar. Why? Sometimes the computer guesses wrong. The ribbon also re-arranges itself depending on screen size and shape, which means an adjustment period when switching between laptop and desktop - or even when working in full screen vs. windowed mode. The Mac version of Office has both ribbon and

          • by Belial6 (794905)
            You mean like how in Excel, when you want to insert a new line in your spreadsheet, you click on the 'Insert Ribbon'? Oh, wait. The Insert tab of the ribbon doesn't have an insert line selection. That must be because people almost never need to put a new line into their spreadsheet.
            • by tibit (1762298)

              Ah, a gripe I agree with, although LibreOffice fares no better. I always end up adding a Cmd-Shift-I shortcut for "Insert Row" in Calc.

          • I for one like software which is smart enough to put the menus I need in an easy place to reach when I want them. Beats digging through a "mega evil rats nest of doom" tree structure every time I do something routine (like adjusting error bars). Context sensitive is just smart.

            But not that smart.

            The thing that blew my blood pressure was when Office 2003 got clever with menus.

            I'm used to printing via Ctrl-P command key. Office 2003 kept assuming I didn't use the File/Print menu so it removed it. Along with its binding to Ctrl-P. Half the time I went to print something, it didn't print. Because "clever" Office 2002 removed it from the context.

      • as far as that goes has anybody done a Ribbon Interface pack for LO??

        One hopes not.
        It sounds like a product made by sadists and installed only by masochists.

        • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

          Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade, speaking on behalf of Leopold Ritter von Sacher-Masoch.

      • by Asteconn (2468672)
        > Any person using FTFY or editing my postings agrees to a US$50.00 charge
        Any person using FTFY or editing my postings agrees to a US$100.00 charge
        FTFY
    • by Pi1grim (1956208)

      Guess it's pretty much the same, as with MS. In addition, it's easier to train locals to provide support and develop special features, required by users, thus boosting the economy.

      • A new platform means you have to provide at least some additional training with the implementation. So, if that training costs you 1.5 m. the first year, then you've paid for the licensing within the first year (assuming regular support, upgrades, etc... are all the same cost). I'd guess that a 3 year ROI would probably be considered a good investment in the tech world. Much past that and you're playing with variables in a rapidly changing environment and you may not decide to move from your existing inv
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Pi1grim (1956208)

          Well, most of the users don't care what Office Suite they don't know how to use.
          Training is actually minimal. The main boost is that documents can be saved and viewed without lockin to OS and office suit. It also removes dependency on Microsoft and might give a little boost to small businesses, that won't have to buy office and windows in order to communicate with the government, so that migration decision might make a lot of sense.

          • by daem0n1x (748565)
            Nobody has to buy Microsoft Office to communicate with governments in the European Union. We have open standards laws forbidding governments from doing that kind of shit. Much to the dismay of Microsoft lobbyists and the officials in their pockets.
    • by neorush (1103917)
      I never quite got this argument, I'll bet they have an internal IT staff that helps with MS office. I have never seen a large organization's IT department tell staff to call MS support.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What training?

      Unless you are doing some insane thing with office (like complex business calculations - which probably should never pass near it), you will not need any kind of "special training".

      Just use it as a normal productivity package.

      • by tibit (1762298)

        Unless your employees are inflexible troglodytes, that is. It seems to me that you get what you pay for, and if you don't want to pay for better workers from day one, you'll end up paying for various inefficiencies later, again and again and again. Oh, it's an office worker, we don't pay them to think. Yeah, so you'll be paying to think for them, and you'll be paying for training by consultants that charge more per hour than you earn in a day, ha. It's slightly beyond me how in this day and age office worke

        • by Mathinker (909784)

          It's slightly beyond me how in this day and age office workers can't figure it out by themselves, say perusing the vast information trove that is Internet.

          It's simple:

          "Hm, how do you center a table entry, again?"

          [Consults browser]

          "Ooooo, look, ... shiny!"

    • This idea that moving away from MS will cost millions in training is FUD spread by MS to discourage such migrations...
      There are many cases where upgrading to the latest MS offering is actually a more significant change than switching to an alternative, for instance moving from msoffice 2003 to 2007 is a bigger leap than going from 2003 to libreoffice as the user interface is entirely different.

      In reality many such migrations have been performed, often with no training being provided whatsoever. Users are just expected to get on with it, and generally do.

      • by nurb432 (527695)

        It may not be millions ( or could be ) but it will still be worth the change to be rid of the upgrade cost next year, and the year after.... Also training is a one time cost.

    • But what's the cost in special training and support?...

      From my experience in my business - 3/8 of stuff all (for the initial changeover from office 95(?), ie less than the training needed after a new version of office came out).

      Since converting - a lot less than if we stayed with microsoft office (comparing our training needs to those of people who stayed on the microsoft upgrade treadmill).

  • by gigaherz (2653757) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @08:59AM (#44642007)

    ... Microsoft would now say that they may be spending even more in support after the change.

    Has anyone given actual numbers on that, yet? Anyone who has fully switched away from Microsoft Office and, after a few years, has numbers showing they spent less overall?

    • What I find interesting is I don't know anyone that actually uses MS support for office in the first place. The companies I've worked for have always used MS Office and paid for the support, but no one ever uses it. I can't see why it would be more or less expensive to use a free office alternative.

      What kind of support would someone need that they'd have to pay for?

      I use MS Office at work and Libre at home and do the same thing for both when I want to do something different and just Google around. No su
      • by Russ1642 (1087959)

        Most of the support probably comes from the administration side. Installation, updates, minor bug fixes, licensing stuff, etc.

    • by droptone (798379)
      That would be helpful in some respects, but not cut and dry, especially since salaries are sunk costs. It seems very possible that there are organizations that have support people who would otherwise not be doing anything important. Those folks would need to help retrain others, but their time doesn't have any organizational opportunity costs attached.
    • by Alioth (221270)

      There is also the difference in where the costs go especially when considering government. Let's imagine that every cent spent on licensing now needs to be spent on support.

      * Licensing costs mostly (if not all) disappear to a foreign country.
      * Those support costs are most likely spent with people living in Valencia

      The money spent on licensing has zero benefit to the local economy. However, if you had to still spend all that money on support, the vast majority would get spent in the local economy with local

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I use LO at the house and use Office 2010 at the office.
    I use word and excel and have zero issues when I use LO.

    What am I missing here? I realize that there are issues with formatting but beyond that its been smooth going between the two.

    I don't think I am a power user though. I don't use any of the advanced features so maybe that's where the retraining comes in.
    Otherwise it seems overblown to be claiming that it will take millions for re-training.

  • by Cassini2 (956052) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @09:19AM (#44642257)

    $1.5 million per year over 120,000 PCs works out to $12.50 per PC per year. Is anyone else getting those prices for Microsoft Office?

    • by MightyYar (622222)

      Probably because MS Office doesn't update every year, so you don't need to buy a license for every computer every year. Or, they are on a Microsoft contract.

  • "Valencia Region Government Completes Switch To LibreOffice"

    Orange you glad they did it? :-)

  • Wouldn't it be nice if governments that adopted LibreOffice could devote a small amount of employee resources to giving back to the community. It would be a win-win, I think.

That does not compute.

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