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  • Raphael Bauduin 4:22 pm on June 18, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    Profoss OpenOffice.org event essay 

    Profoss last week organised an event on OpenOffice.org deployments in professional environments.

    SeagullsRunning with the seagulls, by * Toshio *

    The event was opened by Roberto Galoppini, who talked about the approach and methodology available for a successful OpenOffice.org migration. After an introduction to the OpenOffice.org community and the way OpenOffice.org has been promoted in Italy, with significant results (doubling of download year over year), Roberto went ahead with advices on OpenOffice.org migrations, based on his own experience. I won’t make a recap of this talk here, but as often, the most obvious points are those that are worth repeating: involve your users, evaluate the situation before migrating, etc. Worth noting is that integration of OpenOffice.org with other enterprise systems might cause troubles at some point. Maybe a repository of approved or certified OpenOffice.org extensions might be helping here, but Roberto doesn’t see a global initiative happening soon, or unrelated to commercial interests of a company.

    Next was Eric Descamps, project manager at the Belgian Post for the pilot on OpenOffice.org. After evaluation of the business case of an OOo deployment at the Belgian Post, it was discovered that the returns were more or less the same if the deployment started in a window between now and in 2 years. As a result, the project is now frozen, but can be restarted anytime. I guess this is a good argument when negociating with Microsoft. Let’s hope it won’t be limited at that though. Because the pilot at the Post brought interesting information. As an example, most problems encountered by users where due to format conversions. And this is in agreement with Roberto, who advised to switch to ODF altogether when switching to OOo.

    During the break, Bruno Lowagie, from iText fame, gave a demo combining iText and OOo for the generation of PDF documents: the template bring edited in OOo, and the final document generated by iText.

    After the break, it was Machtelt Garrels‘ turn to talk. Machtelt is the co-founder of the Belgian chapter of the OpenDoc Society, and gave a passioned talk about avoiding the common pitfalls during a migration. As mentioned above, it’s funny to see the most obvious things be worth repeating. One such thing is that management has to give the example. How can an employee be motivated by a change to OOo if his own managers don’t take the step themselves?

    Her talk was followed by a panel discussion where all speakers participated.

    This panel discussion closed the third Profoss event, which was again highly rated by all participants.

    Profoss was started one year ago to provide quality information about the use of free and open source software in professional environments. Open source technologies are still too often dismissed as unreliable, unsupported geek toys. This is a judgment generally based on unverified allegations or due to ignorance of the open source world. Profoss wants professionals to take their decision to use or reject open source technologies on hard facts.

    To reach that goal, Profoss’ first initiative was to organise events bringing non-commercial, informative content.
    This was followed by other initiatives like a news website, directories of software and professionals specialised in open source and a planet aggregating feeds from blogs talking about professional open source at planet.profoss.eu.

    If you want to be updated about Profoss activities, you can join the newsletter.

    Technorati Tags: OpenOffice.org, openoffice, Profoss, RobertoGaloppini, EricDescamps, BrunoLowagie, MachteltGarrels

  • Roberto Galoppini 8:43 am on June 2, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    OpenOffice Conference: ProfOSS OpenOffice.org event 

    Profoss on the 10th of June is organizing an informative event dedicated to OpenOffice.org, where professional IT people can get the information they need to compare traditional solutions to open source solutions. Registrations are now open.

    BrusselsBrussels michael_hughes

    OpenOffice in your company, is that realistic? Profoss wants to help you in the decision by organizing an event on 10 June 2008. The speakers, including the project manager responsible for the OpenOffice deployment at the Belgian Post, will share their experiences. You’ll discover the lessons learned from the Proof of Concept at the Belgian Post, how to avoid disappointments in the migration, you’ll get a demo of OpenOffice integration with the iText PDF library, and more.

    The event takes place from 14:00 to 18:00 at the International Press Center of Brussels, in the center of the city.

    My speech at the event will cover OpenOffice migration issues and news about future releases.

    Technorati Tags: profoss, Brussels, OpenOffice conference, OpenOffice Migration

  • Roberto Galoppini 6:38 am on April 14, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    Open Source Conference: PAAL2008, 17-18 April, Pula (Cagliari) 

    PAAL2008, Open and Free Public Administration, will be held this week on the 17th and 18th of April in Pula (Cagliari).

    The second conference on FOSS in public administrations has a rich two days program, if you are in Sardinia this week and you have good command of Italian consider join the event.

    For further information contact them.

    Technorati Tags: open source conference, PAAL2008, Sardinia, Pula, Cagliari

  • Roberto Galoppini 9:59 am on March 15, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    Open Source Q&A: David Wheeler Q&A session held during the “Open Source Software and DoD” webinar 

    To use OSS, does it need to be on the Department of Defense Intelligence Information System (DODIIS) approved list?

    The DoD has different rules for different kinds of systems and different uses, but in practically every case the rules have nothing to do with whether or not the program is OSS. So the question is really, “to use some program, does it need to be on approved list X?” The answer is “it depends on the circumstance”. So find out the rule for installing a proprietary COTS program for your circumstance, and follow the same rules when you wish to install an OSS COTS product. In some cases there’s secure installation guidance; see DISA’s Security Technical Implementation Guides (STIGs) and NSA’s Security Configuration Guides. Many OSS programs are already on these lists. In some cases you may need to add the program to the approved list for your circumstance, so you’ll need to follow the process for getting the program on that list. In some cases it’s there but not obvious (e.g., the Linux kernel and many other OSS components are covered by the Unix STIG).

    Remember that OSS always (by definition) permits use for any purpose, as well as redistribution of the program without additional payment. That means that, by definition, the DoD always has an enterprise-wide license for the use of any OSS program. (Support is a different tale – if you want 24×7 phone support, you’ll need to pay for it. But I covered that in the talk.)

    Read the full Q&A session.

    [tags] DavidWheeler, DoD, open source, webinar[tags]

  • Egor Grebnev 10:29 am on February 9, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Dimitrovgrad, , Kazan, middle education, Ponosov, Russia, schools, Tomsk   

    Open Source Education: Communities to make migration to FOSS in Russia possible 

    During the yearly conference ‘Free Software in Higher Education’ held by ALT Linux in Pereslavl in Russia last weekend, there were several interesting talks on the migration of schools to Free Software, which made me change previous views on the ways of migration of schools to Free Software.

    It is no secret that teachers in schools all over Russia are now very concerned about the problem of software legalisation as a failure to do so may lead to criminal persecution. The case of Alexander Ponosov boosted the level of awareness dramatically. However, it takes more than fear to be able to move to Free Software after years of experience teaching on top of proprietary software on Windows. If the teachers do not start getting involved in promotion of Free Software, the country may end up paying more for proprietary software than ever while becoming progressively dependent on proprietary products.

    What makes me feel more optimistic is that such positive view on Free Software (not just a refuge from proprietary software, but a better alternative) is now gaining momentum in Russia. And the process is developing on its own without any direct involvement of state or large enterprises.

    On the community level, a dozen of teachers of Computer Literacy in small towns and villages of Tomsk region connect to each other via an irc channel to share experiences and methods of migration to Free Software. They install Free Software packages for Windows, test-drive and migrate to Linux distributions in their own schools and they spread the knowledge in neighboring schools. On the municipal level, a town of Dimitrovgrad sets an example of creation of a municipal educational network for schools built with Free Software. The town also promotes installation of the ALT Linux Junior distribution (which is the most probable platform of the planned country-wide migration) at schools and gathering of feedback.

    Meanwhile, the Republic of Tatarstan is boasting to be the first to come up with the idea of creation of a tailored Linux distribution for educational purposes with localisation for Tatar language (previously unavailable on any platform) — before a similar initiative was launched on the federal level.

    Thus, Free Software in Russian middle education seems to be possible as it has proven to be able to gain support on all levels: federal, regional and municipal/rural. What we need to achieve now is to help the positive examples of Kazan, Dimitrovgrad and Tomsk region replicate in other places. Second, we need to help the representatives of all the three levels get to know each other and cooperate with each other while staying aware about the experience of colleagues in the other regions.

    Technorati Tags: free software, schools, middle education, Russia, Tomsk, Dimitrovgrad, Ponosov, Kazan

  • Roberto Galoppini 8:54 am on January 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply  

    Open Source Government: Open Source and the Department of Defense, David Wheeler webinar 

    Open Source Software (OSS) and the DoD, a Webinar sponsored by DACS will be held by David Wheeler on the 2 of November at 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM EST.

    David WheelerDavid Wheeler by swhisher

    Open source software (OSS) has become widespread, but there are many misconceptions about it – resulting in numerous missed opportunities.
    This presentation will clarify what OSS is (and isn’t), rebut common misunderstandings about OSS, discuss the relationship of OSS and security, discuss how to find and evaluate OSS, and explain OSS licensing (including how to combine products and select a license).
    It will show why nearly all extant OSS is COTS software, and thus why it’s illegal (as well as foolish) to ignore OSS options.

    Title:Open Source Software (OSS) and the DoD
    Date: Monday, February 11, 2008
    Time: 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM EST

    System Requirements
    PC-based attendees
    Required: Windows® 2000, XP Home, XP Pro, 2003 Server, Vista

    Macintosh®-based attendees
    Required: Mac OS® X 10.3.9 (Panther®) or newer

    .. and what about Linux-based attendees? 😉

    Space is limited, Reserve your Webinar seat now!

    Technorati Tags: Open Source Government, DavidWheeler, dacs, webinar, open source procurement, open source governance

    (More …)

  • Roberto Galoppini 4:27 pm on December 3, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Open Source TCO: look at the COSPA frameworks (part 1)! 

    The EC funded COSPA project recently mentioned, defined frameworks to identify possible returns or losses of a transition to Open Data Standards or Open Source software.

    frameworksTwo frameworks by clbaran

    The Workpackage 3 derived two frameworks. The first one, from assimilation theory, is aimed at investigating adoption, is in relation to the often-found gap between initial acquisition and eventual adoption of a technology.

    Acquiring Open Source software is easy, so the distinction between the adoption events of acquisition and actual deployment of a technology is of great importance. Considering that most of the time there is no blueprint indicating the required steps to guarantee successful deployment of OSS, the gap between the acquisition and actual deployment is often significant.

    The following set of constructs form the framework used to investigate the assimilation of Open Source software:

    • Organization age & size – Older organizations are expected to be risk averse and less likely to undertake radical IT implementation initiatives such as OSS. Also, larger organizations may be better able to leverage the advantages of new technology, and have access to appropriately skilled personnel.
    • Industry type – Certain industry types may be more capable of leveraging the benefits of technology as it may suit their particular value chain configuration.
    • Strategic investment rationale – Strategic value propositions may justify resource commitments to adopt potentially beneficial technologies.
    • Increasing returns to adoption – Economies of scale and network externality effects may arise through the increasing contribution of additional adopters.
    • Knowledge barriers – extent of experience – Assimilation of new technology can be impeded by lack of relevant knowledge or experience.
    • Top management championship – New technology assimilation may require radical and high-risk initiatives that require proactive top management championship.
    • Extent of coordination – Coordination of knowledge across functional units of the organization can promote risk sharing & educate as to benefits of new technology.
    • Sophistication of IT infrastructure – Organizations with sophisticated IT infrastructure are more likely to have higher levels of knowledge about new IT possibilities, and thus embark on innovative IT assimilation.

    The second framework – related to the cost of transition – is aimed at revealing the causes of costs in relation to a specific context, especially to determine lock-in situations or to identify intangible costs. Intangible costs represent 75% of the IT when effects of innovation and productivity are monitored over more than five years, hence the importance to assess such costs.

    TCO takes into account hidden costs and their propagation in the long run better than ROI, but also Switching Costs are important to better understand lock-in situations. Some switching costs are created by the vendor (endogenous) and are often measurable, others are exist in their own (exogenous), like the cost of gathering information about alternative products or vendors. Implicit costs, as customer uncertainty, are not measurable and often not even identifiable.

    The framework used to assess the cost a transition to OSS take into account the Migration path (total migration from proprietary, partial from proprietary, partial from mixed, from scratch), the Type of Administration (High/Low economic resource growth, High/Low size of the organization) and with a strong emphasis on the difference between volatile nature of costs of migration and the cost of ownership.

    Both migration and ownership costs depend on context, types of migration and organization, as above discussed. The framework defines measures and questions about five main causes of costs:

    1. Learning/training.
      1. User acceptance: usefulness and ease of use;
      2. Unproductive user labour: lack of productivity due to excessive time spent in training;
      3. Internal training methods: casual learning/self-support;
      4. Formal training methods: expenses for course time.
    2. Software.
      1. Acquisition and licenses fees: software and add-ons, installation included;
      2. Maintenance: cost of routine tasks;
      3. Operational interoperability;
      4. Non standard PC configuration: configuration of new software;
      5. Security: licenses cost to prevent security violations.
    3. Contracts.
      1. Loyalty programs: benefits from incumbent;
      2. Contractual agreements: contractual commitments costs, including compensatory or liquidated damages.
    4. Staffing.
      1. IT-Staff payroll: including overtime and bonuses.
      2. IT-Staff attitude/culture.
    5. Support.
      1. External consultancies: fees for external support and services;
      2. Support search: including services for seeking qualifying apps and quality evaluation;
      3. Security: labour cost for preventing security violations.

    The next post will cover some case studies, focusing on how Open Source software is being used by public authorities across Europe.

    Technorati Tags: oss, open business, COSPA, migration

  • Roberto Galoppini 10:57 am on November 29, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Open Source Government: Europe buying or watching Open Source? 

    At the 6th NorthEast Asia Open Source SW Promotion Forum held in Seoul on the 12 September 2007 Christophe Forax, representing the EU Telecom and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding, stated that Europe should better monetize open source software.

    HelpHelp the fairy penguins by jojo79

    The European Union, notably through its IST research programme, has been supporting open source for many years with projects in areas as diverse as eHealth, digital libraries, Grid infrastructures, the GEANT research network backbone, eGovernment, multimedia, embedded system applications, software and middleware development. [..]

    Indeed, for the time being, whereas anybody can contribute to an open source development – our citizens and companies actively do it – most of the management and the marketing business on open source is done by US companies. These are issues that should be addressed by the European and Asian software and IT communities and by governments in a more proactive way.

    Few days ago Viviane Reding in person commenting “Truffle 100 Europe,” the leading ranking of the top 100 European software companies, is told to have said similar things.

    Open Source analysts commented calling for “Europe’s open source opportunity” and claiming “Europe the leader, not the follower in open source“, bringing interesting arguments and questions on the table.

    Geographical distribution of developers.

    Matthew Aslett asks where come from statistics stating that 70% of open source developers worldwide are European. I asked Ross Turk, SourceForge Community Manager, some statistics for September 2007 (25 million unique visitors):

    • 17.89% United states
    • 7.77% Germany
    • 6.35% Italy
    • 5.72% Spain
    • 5.64% France
    • 4.27% Brazil
    • 4.05% United Kingdom
    • 3.12% Canada
    • 2.72% Japan
    • 2.40% Poland
    • 40.07% Other

    While I am not sure that SourceForge users’ geographical distribution is a good measure of how many open source developers are based in Europe, I can hardly believe that 70% might be an accurate estimation. FLOSSimpact research gets a point looking at committers. Besides Debian it could be relevant to examine also what happens within the Apache Software Foundation and other international organizations.

    Europe’s position towards Open Source.

    It is quite difficult to talk about a European open source strategy, but reading the last IDABC Open Source Observatory News Roundup is clear that something is changing:

    It is not a general trend yet, but it is true that many European countries and regions are looking more and more in open source software. While Public Administrations get interested, medium to large IT firms are still unable to fulfill customers’ expectations, lacking to offer services on a wide range of applications and infrastructures.

    Evaluation of costs/benefits of transitions.

    Guidelines, case histories and blueprints are needed to speed up open source adoption by public administrations and private firms.

    KBSt, the German Federal Government Co-ordination and Advisory Agency for IT in the Federal Administration, published a Migration Guide aimed at migrating the basic software components on server and workstation, revised on March 2005. Despite has not been updated recently, it really worth reading.

    IDABC, the Pan European eGovernment Services, in November 2003 published the IDA Open Source Migration Guidelines, designed to help public administrators decide whether a migration to OSS should be undertaken. It’s a general introduction to migration’s issues and opportunities, still a good start point for newbies.

    A long time ago I happened to read the Deliverable 6.1 of COSPA, the Consortium aims at analysing the effects of the introduction of Open Data Standards (ODS) and Open Source (OS) software for personal productivity and document management in European Public Administrations (PAs).

    The goal of Deliverable D6.1 is to run experiments on the introduction of OSS/ODS in the partner PAs, and to benchmark the effectiveness of the deployed OSS solutions through a statistical and cost/benefit analysis using the framework developed in D3.1.

    Despite news section still announces the availability of this deliverable, I couldn’t manage to find it. I am happy that the Wayback Machine still archives those pages, and the full document as well.

    Enclosed you will find in depth cases studies of Total Cost of Ownership and Migration Costs, I hope you will enjoy and help the dissemination, since apparently the COSPA website gave up with it.

    Why that? Remember, transparency pays, always.

    Technorati Tags: Open Source Migration, Open Source Government, Europe IT strategy, OpenOffice.org, Migration, FLOSSimpact, IDABC, Open Source Observatory, KBST

    • fr0thy 2:30 am on November 30, 2007 Permalink

      The point remains valid, Europe should leverage Open Source and leave other consumer societies to, well, consume their own nonsense.

  • Roberto Galoppini 4:49 pm on November 13, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Open Source Migration: OpenOffice.org Migration (part 0) 

    Few days ago I wrote my first post about migrating from Microsoft Office to OpenOffice.org, but I want to start it all over from the very beginning, step by step.

    Andrea Trasatti after my post asked me more details over a skype conversation, and I decided to translate and share a slide-show about Migrating to OpenOffice.org.

    The slide-show was originally produced by Davide DozzaPLIO President and co-mantainer of the Italian Lang OpenOffice.org Project – in collaboration with Carlo Daffara, involved with COSPA project, and myself. I eventually used it at a Java Conference back in 2005, when I gave a speech on the subject.

    (Either JavaScript is not active or you are using an old version of Adobe Flash Player. Please install the newest Flash Player.)

    There are many reasons to migrate to OpenOffice.org, ranging from cost savings – apparently still the most appealing reason for a change – to legal motivations or social ones. Last but not least the escape from vendors’ lock-in, considering that the choice is getting wider. To be honest there is even another reason why firms look into OpenOffice Migration: ask Microsoft a (big) discount!

    Whatever is your reason, you should consider to have a look at “supposed problems“, things that people are going to mention as big (unresolved) issues. Among them it is worth to highlight that one of them – functions appear to be elsewhere – is not as critical as before. Why? Just have a look at Office 2007, and wonder how long will it take to bring your employees to be productive using it!

    You’re not alone, many others have already traveled your road, so please take your time to look to successes and failures as well. Look at the Market share analysis, despite the difficulties due to the informal OpenOffice.org distribution process, they are meaningful and, at some extent, encouraging.

    Every migration involving end-users has to cope with psychological issues, because people don’t like learning to use new tools, and motivations are needed to overcome inertia to change.

    As matter of fact Communication is important, in terms of Internal Marketing, and customized version of OpenOffice, peer-learning and intranet tools could greatly help in this respect.

    Despite Big-Bang migration could sound cool, they simply don’t work. So once you have done a deep analysis of the situation, analyzed your documents and identified homogeneous class of users, you’re ready to go. Step by step.

    Outsiders, i.e. technlogical leaders also known as “champions” in the COSPA terminology, are those people to whom colleagues ask for hints and tips about software tools. Those people are key in a migration, both because they can help others or, if unhappy, prevent the migration to succeded.

    Migration tools and Enterprise management tool are still few, so if you use applications integrated with Microsoft Office don’t look for “packaged services” and consider go alone. But, if you are an IT firm, keeping in mind that European companies are often SMEs, and that the Public Sector – where office suite are often used as an individual productivity tool – is seriously wondering about OpenOffice migrations, consider that there is plenty of space to run a business on OpenOffice migrations.

    Technorati Tags: ,

    • Savio Rodrigues 5:50 am on November 16, 2007 Permalink

      Thanks for detailing your conversion to OpenOffice.

      I used a friend’s computer recently. He had MS Office 2007 and I didn’t recognize any of the icons or menus…talk about confusing! It’s a good thing I knew the keyboard shortcuts.

      I think you make a great point that the change from Office 97/2003 to 2007 is a pretty dramatic learning curve, so “it’s different” isn’t a good enough reason for companies to reject OO.


    • Roberto Galoppini 10:27 am on November 16, 2007 Permalink

      You’re right Savio,

      change is going to happen anyway, even if you want to stay with Microsoft Office. Honestly I see Groove as a quantum leap for knowledge workers but.. how many organizations are going to take advantage of it any soon?

    • surajit basu 9:11 am on June 21, 2008 Permalink

      I have started an Open Source migration withing our small company.
      Thanks for the blog: this is really helpful.
      We have just started last week, and I thought a travelog for our company’s journey to Open Source would be good. So, I created this:

    • Roberto Galoppini 8:08 pm on June 21, 2008 Permalink

      Nice to know Surajit,

      I am really glad it helps.

  • Roberto Galoppini 10:40 am on August 10, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    Open Source Government: Italian Parliament, two-year switch to begin in September. 

    The IT department of the Italian Parliament presented plans for the migration of all of its 200 servers and more than 3500 desktop PCs to GNU/Linux and Open Office. The switch will be carried out gradually, as reported by IDABC, it will start next September and it will take about two years.

    After reading that the Italian parliament bets house on SuSE Linux I asked Pietro Folena to tell me more.

    According to IDABC the IT department of the Italian Parliament presented a massive migration plan (200 servers, 3500 desktops) that will take about two years. Could you tell us more about it?

    Pietro Folena Pietro Folena, courtesy of Chamber of Deputies

    Mr. Pietro Folena, Member of Italian Parliamente, proposed on July 2006, to adopt Free Software in the Parliament (low house) IT infrastructure and on desktop Pcs, both. The second proposal was to allow to MPs the choise between Windows and a Free Software Operative System, like GNU/Linux. This year the IT department of the House of Deputies (the low house of Italian Parliament presented a plan to migrate to Suse Linux Enterprise Edition the desktops of MPs, parlamentarian fractions, offices, but servers was migrated during 2005 and 2006.

    In order to introduce politicians to Linux are you consider a sort of “One Laptop per Politician” initiative? If this is the case, how would you get them interested in learning a new paradigm?

    No, It’s matter of freedom. We have Windows 2000 on our desktops. But this was an imposition that I didn’t accept. I’m a elected MP, so I want to decide if using Windows or a Free Software Operative System. I think that I’m more free using free software.
    I hope that all MPs will chose GNU/Linux on desktops, to know this alternative to proprietary software. If MPs will know the Free Software filosophy I think that laws on software and culture will be better.

    You said that “This migration will be a very important case study and will present us with best practices, relevant for all public offices.”, is the IT department wondering to write a blueprint (i.e a replicable and complete description of a set of tools and processes that satisfied a specific need)?

    At this moment I know there isn’t a blueprint, because migration of desktops will start on september. But I think that it will write next year or after.

    A political question, what do you think of the idea of “open-source politics”?

    There are some interestin projects of this. I think that “open source politics” are necessary. Politicians and cityzen are too far. But I see some facts: European Parliament, in example, changed the IPRED 2 directive by Internet-people riot. In Italy we deleted a fee on cell phone by a petition signed on Internet. The Net is a chance of democracy and partecipation.

    Technorati Tags: Open Source Government, Italian Parliament, PietroFolena, blueprints

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