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Microsoft woes? – Bugs, OpenOffice & French Military

What another great reason to use Microsoft Office!?! It is being reported that Microsoft have warned customers on December 11th that there may be issues with running protected documents (RMS protected), most notably on Office 2003.  When we use the word “issues” its probably fairer to say barriers as Microsoft is warning users that they may get the error message (this is alleged to happen for both opening and saving):

Unexpected error occurred. Please try again later or contact your system administrator

For me though after years of using Microsoft products, there was no such thing as an “unexpected” error.  My experiences of Microsoft products (in comparison to the choices I have now) can best be described as a pitched battle between me and my computing needs and Microsoft’s idea of what it thought I needed.

We’ve yet to see a “Microsoft blames…” comment in relation to this, but what is being said:

We are working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible and we will provide customers a solution as soon as we can. Any new updates and we will post the information here.

Source: Technet

We’ve covered alternatives to Microsoft Office (which are available for Windows)  Most notably Openoffice and Abiword, both of which are free and both of which have excellent communities.

I asked the question recently “Why fear the cloud with your data when we have so many people reporting issues with Microsoft products?” You can read that here.  Its quite fitting then really that when we look at some of the issues being written about in regards to Office that there is some (IMO) similarity.

Lets for a minute look at what some people reckon of Microsoft Office, keeping in mine that IMO its a massive cash cow for Microsoft.

Microsoft recently sent an “important” update regarding piracy of Office Home and Student 2007. I refused to install the update. Approximately ten days after receiving the update, they removed my purchased copy of Office Home and Student 2007 and placed an activation icon on my desktop. They did not have my permission for this.

So here we have not only a problem with Office, but Microsoft allegedly fiddling with a computer system WITHOUT permission.  Lets move onto another:

I received the windows 7 upgrade and installed it on Wednesday Nov. 18th, 2009. Yesterday the 21st a message popped up stating that windows could not be activated due to some error code so I called Microsoft and spoke to John……

Now its alleged that customer service had a little attitude problem, which (IMO) to me comes as no surprise when we look at some of the lengths people go to when you offer an alternative to Microsoft products or dare to suggest they have issues.  Heres what happened next:

…He had the worst attitude that I have ever come across in customer service, he should be fired, he obviously hates his job, mind you I did not raise my voice to him or argue etc. he was mean instantly and would not help me, kept on saying ‘never mind’ when I asked him to repeat himself, he ended by saying “I know who can help you” and sent me to a Spanish speaking voice message that ended by hanging up on me. This is not acceptable in any business EVEN Microsoft, they are money gouging, rude people who need to be taught a lesson in respect. Apparently my problem is my upgrade is an OEM version and Microsoft refuses to help me unless I fork out more cash to enable Windows activation. Well they don’t know me, I am extremely tenacious and do not plan on cowtowing to this entity full of over blown egotistical bullies with no manners. Here we go. Good luck to the rest of you who have to suffer the arrogant ignorance of these people in Microsoft customer service, you will need it.

Source: Consumeraffairs.com

Microsoft arrogant? Never!  “bullies with no manners” We’ll we’ve never seen behaviour like that from the MS faithful have we?!? ;)  When will people learn to just keep buying Microsoft products theres no alternative, Microsoft is always right and Microsoft knows whats good for you?!?? Back to being serious, yet again the above comment shows someone else who has had a similar experience to me and is maybe a reason why we are seeing alternatives to Microsoft products having an increase in usage?

Two alternatives you can use for free, which I am sure the majority of readers already know about:

http://www.openoffice.org

http://www.abiword.org

It was a spokesperson for the French Police (who have allegedly migrated away from Microsoft Office) who said:

When he saw OpenOffice worked just as well and was available for free, it was he that decided it should be installed on all 90.000 desktops.

That was reported in an article on Openbytes.

and in respect of Open Office, its being reported that in the city of Vienna:

Of the city’s total 32,000 PCs……..Some 15,000 PCs in the city have OpenOffice installed.

Source: Osor.eu

French Military Dump Outlook

I covered before the news about the French Police moving to FOSS.  Its been one of my most popular articles (in terms of unique reads) and now it appears the French Military is following that trend.  You can see my original article here.  Lets also remind ourselves of what Mr Guimard (speaking for the Gendarmerie) said at the time:

Since July 2007 we have bought two hundred Microsoft licenses. If one of us wants a new PC, it comes withUbuntu. This encourages our users to migrate.

Not just France? Heres what they have to say about open source in Austria:

Already since 1989, we have been using open source software used with much success. Examples include the use of this type of software for print and file servers, Internet and intranet sites and for running major parts of the security infrastructure. In 2007 we spent about 600,000 euro on open source projects…

Source: Osor.eu

Conclusions

Speaking as a Linux/FOSS user, none of this comes as any surprise to me at all.  Since my move from Microsoft in the home (as a result of repeatedly being let-down, then blamed for failing software) I have experienced first hand the advantages of migrating to FOSS.  This is not because the software is free (to me thats just an added bonus) but the days of me constantly fixing, correcting, scanning, cleaning up my system have come to an end.

One only has to look at any IT related forum to see users running many different FOSS projects.  For some its on a Windows platform, for others they have, like me moved away completely.

For those Microsoft customers reading this, I’d ask you to look at your own systems.  How many packages do you run that are not Microsoft?  We can see by the reported declining market share of Internet Explorer that somethings changing, users are trying alternatives and all the while we are getting more and more choice.  I won’t predict that 2010 is going to be the year of the Linux desktop, but I certainly predict that the trends we are seeing will only continue to grow.  That will (IMO) force everyone to “up their game” and as far as the end user is concerned, that can only be a good thing.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com

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About Tim Sparrow

Online tech writer, novelist/author of sci-fi literature and co-host of the TechBytes Show! I believe in multi-culturism & diversity. Luton Town FC supporter.

Discussion

4 thoughts on “Microsoft woes? – Bugs, OpenOffice & French Military

  1. The bugs will not be going away in Windows anytime soon, (IMO) as Windows is this monolithic thing. Also the registry has become more of a source of woe as Windows becomes a very old OS. The original idea of the Windows registry, is that it made it harder for copyrite infringers to copy software programs that ran on windows, a form of DRM, if you think about it. Also, Bill is big on DRM, one just has to look back say at XP, which introduced a lot of DRM in the form or WGA and the Hal daemon, which made it hard to impossible for the average user to swap their hard drive to a new computer (different motherboard/cpu) and still make it work. I suspect that many of the newer “bugs” with XP/Vista/VistaSP2b(seven) are related to the Hal lock-in of changing a few or one piece of hardware.

    And then there are the new DRM that Vista and it new clone has for the Video and Audio systems. Truly the words from the FSF come to mind; “windows is now defective by design.”

    Security has been almost a complete Microsoft failure on the Windows model, with MS at best only doing a small incremental attempt with UAC, which is flawed at best. M$ most likely wanted to capitalize on the malware problem by selling “Onecare” at first. M$ soon found out that users would not buy Onecare in droves, and now has changed the name and gives it away for free, hoping to do the same thing to antivirus companies, as it did to Netscape.

    And then there is the M$ patenting of “sudo” or policykit, depending on your point of view. Another case of stealing from the GPL? However, the silver lining to this could be some future good news for malware plagued windows users, if sudo is incorporated into future windows releases, if one overlooks the moral and ethical points of M$ patenting someone’s else’s work. Windows can never be as safe as most Linux Distro’s however, as the method of installing software in Windows is deeply flawed as well. Consider that Windows users hunt software all over the web and download and install so many trojans that are out there and active.

    Posted by Chips B Malroy | December 12, 2009, 8:41 pm

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about.me

Tim Wilson

Tim Wilson

Writer/Novelist of many facets both in the world of technology and fantasy/sci-fi. Co-host of the TechBytes audiocast and writer for both OpenBytes and Goblin's Domain. Supporter of free and open source software.

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