Re: Why should I be worried about the merger? NOT
I think techcomms everywhere should be testing OpenOffice, AbiWord, The GIMP, Inkscape and Scribus *now*. Folks doing Web work should be running Apache (not IIS) locally; try XAMPP for this (Apache2, php5, Perl, MySQL server). And whatever *can* be XML *should* be XML, or in a database (MySQL? PostgreSQL?)
We have no one to blame if we're caught in corporate crossfire. Replacement tools exist today. And they're free.
I think that free and open source software (FOSS) solutions for the desktop are in the same place that FOSS server solutions were about six years ago.
As a consultant, I get around to a lot of different companies of different sizes. About 1999, FOSS server solutions were relatively rare from what I could see. These days, I'm surprised when a company is using no FOSS tools on their servers.
This change has more to do with people's knowledge and acceptance of FOSS than with the tools themselves. It's true that AbiWord, Inkscape and Scribus are still in development, and in some ways aren't on a par with proprietary rivals. However, they're coming along fast.
Moreover, other FOSS tools are very competitive in terms of features. OpenOffice.org, as I've said repeatedly, is more than a match for MS Word, and is a good replacement for FrameMaker. The GIMP doesn't have color management, but is otherwise a close match for PhotoShop, especially for on-line work. Similarly, I've seen MySQL implemented in place of Oracle in small and medium sized businesses with few problems. And I won't even mention operating systems, beyond noting that I've seen clerks and other non-experts using GNOME or KDE with no more difficulty than the Windows desktop.
The change is coming. It's just a question of how long it will take. I suspect, though, that it will take less time than on the server side.
Bruce Byfield 604-421-7177
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