The French parliament has said ‘au revoir’ to Microsoft, according to a Yahoo News report:
[…] Starting [next June], French deputies will use desktops and servers running Linux, Mozilla’s Firefox web browser, and OpenOffice.org, a free open-source alternative to Microsoft’s Office software. […] Why the change? The French parliament […] believes it can save money using open-source software, despite the near-term costs of switching from Microsoft systems and retraining all employees.
The Yahoo story discusses differing views on the realities of any organization making such a switch, especially from a cost point of view.
I would imagine costs could be substantial including indirect costs through lost time and productivity in employee retraining, for instance.
I also use the latest version of OpenOffice from time to time (mostly for creating PDFs from Microsoft Office files now that I uninstalled the Office 2007 beta). OpenOffice is very good and while it does open/save almost any document you create with Microsoft Office 2003, it’s not absolutely 100 percent compatible.
For instance, I’ve had problems with complex Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations. The reverse, too, where some files with lots of formatting created in OpenOffice Writer lose things when opened in Word.
And my experience with Word files created with the Word 2007 beta is that OpenOffice sometimes cannot open those docs if they’re saved in the new .docx file format.
I doubt, though, that Microsoft will lose too much sleep over this move by the French parliament.
Still, from little acorns, etc…