Posted by: Brian Masinick
on July 29, 2005 11:41 AM
There is no doubt that any migration effort has its costs and difficulties, but here is yet another case where a company found that it is not only possible to switch to another environment, it is also both cost effective and beneficial in other ways as well.
There is no question that Open Office renders some documents differently than Microsoft Office does. I believe that Office intentionally formats text in such a way that reading documents with competing word processors, such as Word Perfect, Lotus' office suite, AbiWord, or Open Office, will result in the contents of the page potentially having a different appearance.
These things can be overcome. The best way to overcome them is for users to first move over to Open Office (and for that matter, Firefox for their browsing and Thunderbird for their Email), and iron out issues there. Once that environment stabilizes, it is a much easier matter to move applications and other data to another system.
I use Thunderbird, for example, on Windows XP along with Front Page. I extract Web page data from Front Page, open a new document with Thunderbird, paste the contents into the document from Front Page, then send it to my other systems, which also read mail using Thunderbird.
While this is not an optimal final solution, it enables me to easily move small quantities of information between systems with no functional loss of information.
I then use all open and freely available tools on my other systems without the restraints of having to use Front Page, a proprietary product.