Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Italian city drops Open Office for Microsoft after four years (zdnet.com)
7 points by chestnut-tree on Aug 23, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 6 comments

It always amazes me when FOSS advocates try to sell people on LibreOffice as a replacement for Excel. Do people really not understand how much of the world is governed with excel macros and spreadsheets?

Literally all of finance, insurance, large parts of education and local govt. runs on VBA, written by some someone who left a long time ago, who learned to program by reading "Excel for Dummies".

Walk into an investment bank like GS/MS/JP, and then cry when you realize people use VBA to make investment decisions for billions of dollars. But then again, it works, it solves their problems, why would they need something else? And most of all: Why would you take away the best/only tool they have and replace it with an even shittier option? Also realize, that these are people who collect 100 pounds per hour worked (after factoring in bonuses, probably a lot more); you don't want them wasting 2 hours trying to google how date-count conventions work in LibreCalc vs. Excel.

Don't poke the bear!

Yes, 2 hours of Google on a high salary is expensive but how expensive is it to run businesses where important things are implemented in macros that are barely up to the task? Suppose the macros-patched-together system is really hard to change, breaks easily, or just plain stops working one day and no one knows why...then how much time will be wasted?

Besides, hardware will fail. Windows and other programs eventually end-of-life their support. Organizations that refuse to even consider making changes will eventually feel a lot of pain.

"Poking the bear" is exactly what is needed in most organizations. While it would be crazy to change everything overnight, it's a good idea to periodically look at everything and see what it would take to improve things.

Ok, gnumeric then. In my limited experience it's better than excel.

"...proprietary products need little training to use and, generally speaking, boast a wider set of features."

It looks like none of that factored into the city's decision. It sounds like most of the costs they had were migration related. The rest of the issues were due to the network effects of MS Office being industry standard.

Where by "standard" you mean proprietary, closed, hideous barnacle encrusted disaster of a format, that not even Microsoft could figure out when it became politically useful for them to pretend to document it.

Actually, I'm not talking about the format but the whole product. And by industry standard I mean the tool adopted in industry standard practice.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact