Sometimes there is nothing you can do. Sometimes people, no matter how blatant the facts are, are incapable of change. Today is one of those days.
I would consider myself well acquainted with Open Source and knowing what it can and can't do, I have been able to replace some of the proprietary applications that we use with free software. That means no licensing costs, free upgrades and feature parity with proprietary counterparts.
Here's a few issues that are having me retreat to the bathroom to contain myself from bursting out in utter frustration at the stubbornness of the humans around me:
We all know that this browser is perfectly capable of holding its own against IE. Not many dispute that. Especially for our company, none of the sites we frequent or need are incompatible in any way with Firefox. And you know what? Firefox is so much quicker at rendering the pages than IE. I'm not just saying that - I manually install the OS on all the machines I manage to squeze the best out of them. ALL of them show, practically, that Firefox is quicker with websites than IE6 or IE7. If Firefox was slower, I wouldn't be using it. I'm not a die hard.
Nevertheless, I have people ringing me up asking for IE to be installed. Or even digging through Program Files so they can add the IE icon back onto the desktop.
Well, I've asked. I ask all of them. Their answer is simple: "Uhhhh, uhh, dunno. It works better - I think.". So I ask them, "What issues are you having with Firefox?". They answer, "Uhh, none. Dunno, its all fine. Its just I need Microsoft's stuff. It works better.".
At this point I normally either spew all over my desk, or I politely take the time to explain to them why they're wrong, and why I won't help them unless Firefox is actually causing them angst.
About 56% of our office now uses OpenOffice for all their documents. Unfortunately we don't use ODF for everything yet, but we do use it for many things already (brochures, statistics, letter drops, etc). It works and behaves well.
I understand that OpenOffice doesn't do everthing though, especially when it comes to charts (get your act together guys). So we use Excel for a lot of our charting purposes. Excel makes prettier charts - you can't dispute that. So, if any of our users are having issues when using OpenOffice that can't be resolved because of software limitations then I ditch it for Microsoft Office - for the sake of productivity.
The killer for me today was this: I installed OpenOffice on one of our staff's new laptops (saved him $300 over buying MS Office). I assured him that he could always buy MS Office if OpenOffice wasn't cutting it. He was aprehensive - I think mostly because he didn't want to have to relearn anything. Fair enough. I told him it works practically the same (these guys aren't pro users - they just type - maybe use bold and underline).
Anyway, today he came to me. He had found this amazing solution! He realised that he had a really old laptop at home with an unused copy of MS 2000 on it. Great! Success! Now you can work! Becuase previously you couldn't with OpenOffice! Wait....
I asked him if he was having problems with OpenOffice or whether he was having trouble getting used to it. He proceded to tell me that everything was fine, there were no issues, and that he was doing everything he needed. Then he said this: "Well, I dunno. It just looks different. It isn't blue (the toolbars). Are the fonts different on OpenOffice or something? It just, uh, *looks* different.".
Perhaps this doesn't seem like an issue to you, casual reader. But to me, living through this stuff.......it makes me want to either curl up in a ball and cry all day, or explode into a fireball of righteous indignation and burn the offending Microsoft zombie hordes.
Despite what I wanted to do, I maintained my dignity and told him frankly that if he wasn't really having any issues and it wasn't slowing him down that he should just stick with it.
You know what? Come July 14th, Office 2000 extended support will end. At that point, I won't even let him use it.
Why, oh why? I don't understand why the human brain cannot get past the colour of the tool bars! Its like, "WOOW, my tool bar is a neutral grey! My head is going to explode! Where has the BOLD BUTTON GONE!! AAAAGGGH!!! Oh, wait, its where it always is. This stupid OpenOffice, it doesn't work properly!".
I will continue to politely help them get their jobs done quickly and effectively - even if that does mean installing MS Office on a couple of computers for the staff members who can't cope with the slightest change.
P.S. For those who would like to rail on me about how MS Office is the only way: This is the only guy to kick up a massive stink about OpenOffice. Everyone else is using it without issues, and have been - for years.