How can I get my friends to use OSS?

I’ve got quite a few friends. A lot of them are still using WIndows.

Together we are working on recovery (from gaming addiction) literature and meet regularly to discuss our own recovery.

Problem is, they are using Zoom and MS Office. Recently I got them to state that LibreOffice would be their standard, so people who haven’t got the funds to afford MS Office, would be able to work on our projects using LibreOffice. However, there are the lone holdouts which absolutely refuse to use LO to create their documents. The results are telling.

Same goes for Zoom. Zoom has a nice feature which allows people to dial in and allows those who know the admin code to claim host rights, to kick trolls out. Zoom also allows people to dial in on phone, which is used by some of our members.

So, how do I get those lone MS Office holdouts to convert, or do I need to shoot them? :stuck_out_tongue: Perhaps some relevant features which LO has, which MSO hasn’t got will convince them?

Same goes with Zoom. We need a solution which also supports login by phone, otherwise it’s a no-go. We also need the ability to kick out trolls which is kept behind a password-wall. Jitsi seems promising, but has a problem: when you login basically anyone can claim admin rights.

This has already happened to one of our meetings on Jitsi and the results were disastrous. Are there any other solutions which I might check? Obviously Zoom has its privacy issues, which I’d like to avoid.

Much as I’d like to force them to use OSS, forcing them is not the way. So, how do I get them to see the light? :slight_smile:

OK, Zoom has a Linux client, so you could keep using it.

But if you want something, how about Element (Matrix)?

It has mobile clients (Android for sure, as we use it).
Did not try the videochat yet, so I’m unsure it really meets your needs.
We use it for a kind of everyday chat, so sending in text what to buy (milk, somersby, etc :smiley: ), and send some photos shut about cats sleeping in a weird position :smiley:
It’s working OK so far…

I’m afraid, you can’t. Just live in your FOSS world, and enjoy it.
Whenever they’re stuck with something from MS (a big update for example installing for forever), just tell them, you are free, and not forced to update anything, if you don’t want to… Using Windows they are FORCED to do the update sooner or later…
You don’t need to buy expensive shiny new harware, just to keep the current speed of your computer (Windows will be slower with every single update/upgrade), you don’t need to run an antimalware solution eating up half of the CPU/RAM resources, and slowing down everything…
Anyway, they paid for the MSOffice, and you want them to thrash it.
Better ask them to create more compatible documents, ask them to save in odf format… If they can’t, they don’t find the option to do that in MSOffice, ask them to use LO instead of MSO when working with you.

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I’ll be honest, I don’t use Libre Office that much, and when I do use it to transfer my notes from my note pad to my computer with Libre Office Writer. Since you are a writer, you likely have more experience with Libre Office than me, so you are more likely to know what features Libre Office has over MS Office. I did find this something that might help you - it is a comparison of features between Libre Office and MS Office, written by the people who make Libre Office. A lot of these are not likely to be “relevant”, but some of them are.

Such as:

  • Stable layout when handling graphics and images
  • You can define page and frame styles
  • Text auto completion of words previously used (I do LOVE this feature)
  • More keyboard shortcuts (for example, in the version of MS Office I have on my Windows side doesn’t have a short cut for a bulleted list, but Libre Office Writer does)
  • Export to MediaWiki format (relevant if someone is making a wiki to organize their notes)

I have focused on Libre Office Writer, because that is all I have really used, but you can find the full comparison at the link below.

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You can achieve that by using FOSS yourself, and demonstrating to your friends that your system performs better.

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Regrettably, LO has some fundamental flaws, not mentioned in the Wiki, that can be fatal when you encounter them. I can’t remember them all, including one that was mentioned recently here by someone who seemed pessimistic about the future of LO for business use.

One flaw concerns the spreadsheet Calc: you can’t lock the format (layout) of the whole sheet while allowing a user to enter data. This means you can’t set up standard office items like quotation and invoice forms. Calc is also useless for teaching whenever the students have to type something onto a handout. Google’s spreadsheet was equally deficient last time I tried. When I tried WPS office, it showed a big pop-up to say I’d come to the right place!

The other flaw that’s often mentioned is that LO gets date and number formats muddled with the locale settings of LO and the OS, particularly with automatic inputs into fields. This is very dangerous for data integrity whenever more than one country or language is concerned.

Some years ago I and others submitted these and other bug reports, but the answer was always the same: nothing can be done because the bugs are design faults of the odf specification. I wonder who was on the relevant committee.

This is really concerning, there are loads of people who actually need a feature like this. Not me, however.

Equally concerning. At least I thought they would be honest about something like this. However, with google’s office you got forms, which at least allows for testing of pupils.

Well, they’re quite helpful. But does it actually work regarding these shortcomings you mentioned?

What about gnumeric?
Is it anywhere near good enough for your requirements. It uses .odt files, so it may have the same limitations.

I bought a 1 year introductory subscription to try out the pdf file editing facilities of W¨PS, which I found really good. The price was higher the second year so. As I need the pdf facilities only occasionally, I reverted to Scribus which is free but less convenient. (Only the basic implementation of WPS is free.)

My last serious encounter with properly-designed spreadsheets was a few years ago when I helped someone set up a micro-enterprise. For my recent test of WPS I just adjusted fonts, a few column widths and so on, locked that formatting, and verified that data input was not locked.

WPS poses a dilemma - it has its own user interface that you have to become familiar with. It’s good news to have something new that has been thought out differently, but I wonder whether in the hard-headed world of business there will be time to change from the system thatpeople in some countries were already using for their school homework. (Here in France, M$ negociated a contract with the Education Ministry.)

@Neville Jackson : I guess that most potential non-specialised users of spreadsheets will prefer to use whenever possible what’s available in an office suite. As you surmised, the Gnumeric manual isn’t promising regarding formatting as a function of locale and the OS, but at least it gives a good explanation:

A quick look didn’t reveal any information on selective spreadsheet locking with Gnumeric.

In our walk-in repair shop, I recently had to rescue a broken mail/phone contact list as a CSV file. All office spreadsheets seem to mess up in the background the user’s data formatting intentions (as with dates), and lack a big button to turn that off. In particular, as Excel users have remarked, they remove leading zeros from phone numbers unless you do a lot of fiddling around and make prolific use of double quotes. My solution, which should not have been necessary, was to install a free version of specific software (Modern CSV on Windows). Perhaps there is a plain text editor that has a suitable (column) display format.

I have in the past had lots of difficulties with people sending me scientific data on Excel files. I can read the files, even gnumeric can do that, but as you point out the formatting of data items leaves a lot to be desired. There is simply too much freedom in a spreadsheet, so people entering data do not do it consistently.
I usually want to get the data into R , so I make a .CSV file, read it in literally, then have to screen out all sorts of coding variations.
I would not recommend spreadsheets at all, for entering data. I think you get better results with just a plain text file and a text editor.

Curious, I went through the process of flushing LO from one of my distros and then installing the new Open Office by Apache. I’m not sure if it’s the answer to a maiden’s prayer, but it seems quite usable for those of us brought up on MSOffice. Might it have the spreadsheet features that several are not finding in LO?

Open Office also seems to have a PDF editing feature that I haven’t had a chance to smoke test yet.