Tuesday, March 11, 2008

OpenOffice.org in Malaysian Public Sector

OpenOffice.org (OOo) a desktop solution similiar to MS Office have been around Malaysia for many years. It is not new, however many organisations have failed to retain its adoption over the years for several reasons.

Lack of technical support. There are not many known paid-for support for organisations to rely on. As the number of IT staff who are graduates with OOo knowledge is relatively low, I didnt see many who is driven towards OOo.

OOo the software. As a solution on MS Windows environment, there are not many who find its excellent features. Instead its down side is always a highlight. This includes repetitive showing of document error screen, lagging, problems with refreshing the display and functions that are not available.

The society. Almost all desktops have MS Office and if you ask around about OOo usage, you'd hear the same thing.

"Whats that?"

Since users migrated to MS Office 2003, more document formating problems are prevalent when exchanging documents with OOo.

The Malaysian Open Source Software (OSS) initiative is in phase II. One rather visible activity is the pervasive use of OOo in the Public Sector. The motivation for the Public agencies it seems is that there is a directive when making new purchases to be prudent. This itself leads to OOo as the only solution similiar to MS Office. Where there is lesser cost in the form of licensing fees. The schools and education institutions who have the largest number of office users in the Public sector will definitely be going to OOo if they want to be prudent. With the Malaysian Administration, Modernisation and Planning Unit (MAMPU) making a move towards all desktop using OOo, I am sure that other agencies will be more confident in moving towards OOo. However, will other agencies be able to accept the changes that will be shown when MAMPU starts dealing with documents between agencies.

One concern will be the die hard MS Office users from other agencies. Can they or will they want to explore changes in their document interchange with those using OOo. Malaysia will definitely be seeing more OOo in the private sector if the government can make the transition period a short one. I am looking forward to seeing OpenOffice.org taking steps to ensure the Malaysian government succeeds in the OOo move.

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