Oh, pen office!

The Edwardsville Public Library has begone the wondrous transition to Open Office. It’s now installed on every staff & patron computer in the building, and come April 1 I’ll be uninstalling Microsoft Office. This is the first of what I hope will be many steps away from proprietary systems (you’re next Windoze!)

Installation was a breeze- it’s amazing how simple it is to install software that has no licensing restrictions. There were a few grumbles from the staff about having to learn new software, despite my claims that it was scarcely a change at all from the user’s perspective. Since the unrolling, there have only been minor problems (e.g. template issues, naming confusion). What seems to be the greatest hurdle is Microsoft Word’s reputation. Everyone knows it (and it’s little icon), which may lead to future trouble with patrons.

Do we tell them we have Microsoft Office, when we really have a 100% compatible solution they’ve never heard of (and couldn’t differentiate from M$ Word)? Or do we have to be completely honest and say “No, we don’t have M$ Office, but we do have Open Office…….Yes, it’s the same…… No, the terrorists don’t win if you use open source software……..If you’ll just stop shouting………………….”

Once they realize it’s free and therefore:

a. Something they can download and install (I may even put a Installation disc into Circulation)

b. Something that doesn’t cost any of their precious tax dollars

I think it will be accepted. Maybe the computer classes would be a good launching point….

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