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Running from Open Source: or how my ’school’ is avoiding Open Office implementation

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I have a real open source crisis at my hands. My ’school’ IT department has been pushing for the implementation of Microsoft Office 2007 in our 60 machines. The funny thing is, since our IT head is also our supplier, he too is pushing for this because he probably gets a commission. I’m the only one who has offered an alternative, Open Office, naturally. But for now I’ve only been able to delay the purchase; and it could only be a matter of time before MS Office hits our desktops. But let me start at the beginning.

A while back I wrote about why my school would not adopt open source. (Post is found here) At that time, I did not have any influence in our IT affairs. Only in the past month I’ve got representation in our IT Committee; and the first major issue I had to discuss was the purchase of 60 Microsoft Office 2007 licenses to replace our current Star Office 7 licenses!!! Why was Office being pushed? Because Office 2007 has grammar check and Star Office doesn’t!

When I heard about this proposal, I spent half the day preparing for the meeting, downloading articles about the positives of Open Office as an alternative, as well as an article about how grammar/spell check deteriorates the language of students etc etc etc. I then drafted a two-page document arguing for Open Office adoption, partly hinting that by Open Office 2.4 they are expected to get Grammar check… blah blah blah.

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