Article from Tcat Houser editor-in-chief of TRCBNews.com
Certainly I ignited a small fire regarding the Open Source Office Suites Versus Microsoft Office. Let me state several things for the record.
- I applaud open source efforts
- I enjoy playing with different versions of Linux
- I NEED to use Microsoft Windows
Further, sometimes I NEED to use Microsoft Office.
I am creating this article in LibreOffice Version 188.8.131.52, in a RTF format. And yes, I am using Windows 8 64-bit edition. The reason I NEED Windows can be summed up in two words: Speech Recognition (SR).
I have been a self-employed technical person for the past 38 years. I my living based solely on my output. Since 1998 a major secret weapon has been the use of SR. Certainly, you can get speech recognition from the Debian pool. While some good folks over in Japan have made some major advancements over the years, it is still a toy. This is inherent in the complexity of speech recognition software.
In 1998 IBM had a Linux version of SR known as ViaVoice. It worked about as well as any other SR offering of the day. IBM dropped the product. At a conference I asked an IBM executive, Why? The answer was: “We did not get enough gross revenue to cover the cost of the box manufacturing to put the CD in it.”
In my experience the Open Source community is its own worst enemy. Putting on the rose-colored glasses, and disappointing those who just want to ‘get something done’. Let’s look at a real world example.
I had received a DOCX file for editing. I opened it in LibreOffice. I believe the graphic speaks for itself.
Now let’s look at what the DOCX file looks like in Microsoft Office 2010.
The ultimate output needed to be a PDF at http://Soliber.net
Let’s look at what the PDF would have looked like if I had made my edits and said export as PDF.
As I get paid for results I think this demonstrates I would not have been paid for this job. Continuing to insist on using an Open Source office suite would be both financially and career limiting.
Certainly, I would prefer that LibreOffice handled the not that complex document. I invite you to try it for yourself. As the work is now published as a PDF, as well as now an MP3 on Google Play, and as a video http://youtu.be/FbX92oqVaL8 I invite everyone to try to improve Open Source Office alternatives by fixing things so a document such as this works. I would not have to send it back to the author to convert to PDF.
This case is a classic example of what I referred to in my previous entry. I have to collaborate with others, dealing with their output. I have to produce results as efficiently and professionally as possible. I don’t work at some major company and there are any number of sharp young men and women living in India, Pakistan, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, etc. willing to do the work. Certainly they do not have the same overhead costs as I do. Many of them don’t have to pay taxes, the rent is far less and food cost less. They can also get away with pirating MS office. I do not have any of these luxuries and yet I must live with the fact I am competing on an uneven playing field.
Certainly I would love to see Open Source software do everything I need. Rose-colored glasses do not pay for my ISP and is not put basic food on the table.
The Open Source community has not gotten the market acceptance certainly I would like to see because an office worker just trying to keep their bills paid cannot afford putzing around attempting to make work flow.
Certainly I do my best to break the stranglehold. LibreOffice could not let me edit the file and make a PDF. I’m not going to contribute unnecessarily to the status quo by purchasing Adobe Acrobat. I don’t see in my lifetime being able to get real SR on anything but Windows. I’ll accept that. Can I at least have an Office Suite that will let me make the PDF without the help of Microsoft or Adobe?