The Fight To Convert New Users To Open Source.

Wednesday, 5. August 2009

Why do I even try…

As my dad used to say, “Sometimes, the Dragon, he wins…”. For quite a while now, I have been on a mission to try to move my wife over to Open Office. She is a devoted Microsoft user, and runs the only jointly owned PC that has Windows as it’s primary operating system. Now, I’m not a totally anti-Microsoft, and I do believe that a person has the right to use whatever software they like, and are willing to properly license. But I really have a problem with paying for any software license when an equivalent Open Source option is available. I can’t seem to get through to my lovely wife, that Open Office will do all the things she uses MS Office for. The really sad thing, is she won’t even try Open Office. She gets mad if it’s on her PC! And when I ask her why she is against using it, she has the following reasons:

  • It’s not compatible with the documents I work with
  • It doesn’t have the features I use
  • It looks different
  • It locks up when I use it
  • If it’s free, therefore, it can’t do what I need it to do
  • I like Word and Excel… This is my computer! Stop bugging me!

So, I thought, I’d answer these complaints / excuses one at a time.

It’s not compatible with the documents I work with.

And what documents are those? Last time I checked, the only business documents our little company has are all in the Open Office format. And every time I need her to work on a document, I have to save it to a Office format so she can open it. Then I have to deal with the document format she returns to me before I can send to the client. So I think her statement must apply to some other business documents she deals with? But, again, I could have misunderstood her.

It doesn’t have the features I use.

So, tell me, which features are those? I ask, but she never seems to give me an example. All I get is “it just doesn’t work” or “I can’t do what I want to do”. I have yet to get a question from her like “I’m trying to do this, but it doesn’t work the way I’m used to, am I doing something wrong?” So, I guess because the process is a little different for a feature, then that means the feature is missing?

It looks different then <insert crappy commercial software name here>.

So, because it looks different, she can’t use it? Now tell me, does this actually even qualify as an objection?

It locks up when I use it.

Ok, now this is something we can work through. I ask “so, what were you doing when in locked up?” and she replies, “I don’t really remember, it was 3 years ago last time I used it.” ARG!!!!!!

It’s free, therefore, it what I need it to do.

Just because there is no direct cost to installing Open Office, or any Open Source Software package, it does not mean that it is “FREE” as in FREE BEER. Many people have put hundreds of thousands of hours into Open Office to make it the best office suite software in the world. To imply that anything is sub standard based solely on it’s direct cost is ridiculous. Open Source Software has a price, if you choose to accept it, and that price is reporting problems that you find with it, and helping the project to correct those problems the best way that you are able. But that’s another subject!

I like Word and Excel! This is my computer! Stop bugging me about your stupid software!!!

And with that, I give up… If she is so set on not trying Open Office, then I guess, for now, the Dragon truly did win…

— Stu


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