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Why Buy Microsoft Milk When the Google Cow Is Free?

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the free-docs dept.

Google 409

theodp writes "Touring a high school with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt informed students they're eating Google 'dog food' because Microsoft's costs money. 'Why would we use Google Docs over like Microsoft Word?' a teacher asked the class. 'Because it's free!' exclaimed a grinning Schmidt. 'Schmidt's comment,' writes GeekWire's Blair Hanley Frank, 'highlights one of the risks Microsoft faces in the academic world. While Microsoft has started offering schools incentives to use Office 365, including free licenses for their pupils, the company is under greater pressure from its competitors. As more schools like Chicago's face budget shortfalls, free and discounted products from companies like Google and Apple, especially when attached to financial assistance, start looking better and better.' Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis said she'd rather see companies pay more in taxes and fund schools that way, rather than relying on their charity or free software."

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409 comments

Apple? (4, Insightful)

Frankie70 (803801) | about 4 months ago | (#46531991)

While Microsoft has started offering schools incentives to use Office 365, including free licenses for their pupils, the company is under greater pressure from its competitors. As more schools like Chicago's face budget shortfalls, free and discounted products from companies like Google and Apple, especially when attached to financial assistance, start looking better and better

Why does Apple look better?

Re: Apple? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532065)

because free software you idiot. Apple provides tools to deal with ms office documents. And much much more. Very nice Photo/Video/Audio/Music/Presentation tools all included no extra charge.

Re: Apple? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532131)

'No extra charge' requires a significant up-front investment, which covers the extras (as they only come with new, and not old, machines, and thus are included in the price - regardless of marketing). Google's variation on 'free' isn't without its own drawbacks, but it doesn't require handing them money directly.

Don't be mean (0)

James Ruiz (3570201) | about 4 months ago | (#46532191)

Why would you call him an idiot? It's a legitimate question. Apple's software isn't free, they offer the same bulk license educational style-discount that Microsoft does. Not to mention that elementary students (K-12) are more likely to use document editing software and unlike Google Docs/Microsoft World, Apple doesn't have a viable competitor in this space, unless you consider TextEdit an alternative...

Re: Apple? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532463)

because free software you idiot. Apple provides tools to deal with ms office documents. And much much more. Very nice Photo/Video/Audio/Music/Presentation tools all included no extra charge.

And you're a fucking moron if you think that price tag on Apple hardware that you must buy in order to run "much much more" is "no extra charge".

Re:Apple? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532205)

Apple recently made their iWork office suite free.
New Macs now come with it pre-installed.
That's a pretty good deal compared to the prices for MS office:
http://www.microsoftstore.com/store?Action=html&Locale=en_US&SiteID=msusa&icid=Office_4up_Link_OfficeSuites_8_2_13&pbpage=OfficeCompare

Re:Apple? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532277)

Apple recently made their iWork office suite free. New Macs now come with it pre-installed. That's a pretty good deal compared to the prices for MS office: http://www.microsoftstore.com/... [microsoftstore.com]

Is it free as in bundled with an expensive Mac, or can I get it for free without buying a Mac (download link?)

Re:Apple? (1)

rvw (755107) | about 4 months ago | (#46532313)

Is it free as in bundled with an expensive Mac, or can I get it for free without buying a Mac (download link?)

Pages, Numbers, and Keynote are free on the Mac App Store for qualifying Mac computers purchased on or after October 1, 2013. OS X Mavericks required.

Re:Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532383)

Because Apple has always given steep discounts, if not completely free equipment to education. Going back into the 80s.

Not the only reason..... (5, Interesting)

jythie (914043) | about 4 months ago | (#46531993)

Both my private and work machines both have MSOffice on them and I still use Google Docs for the bulk of my writing. It is light weight, easy to use, accessible from anywhere, and easy to share with collaborators. Office 365 is a bit better in some of those regards, but still makes collaborating with external entities more difficult.

Re:Not the only reason..... (3, Interesting)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 4 months ago | (#46532001)

accessible from anywhere

This is what I get, at this very moment, at https://drive.google.com/ [google.com]

Google Drive
Currently you can not access the application.

Re:Not the only reason..... (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 4 months ago | (#46532073)

I don't trust anyone, so I wrote my own primitive-but-effective filelocker script and put it on a VM I rent.

Re:Not the only reason..... (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 4 months ago | (#46532453)

Which, obviously, the government could not possibly access.

Re:Not the only reason..... (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 4 months ago | (#46532013)

Both my private and work machines both have MSOffice on them and I still use Google Docs for the bulk of my writing. It is light weight, easy to use, accessible from anywhere, and easy to share with collaborators. Office 365 is a bit better in some of those regards, but still makes collaborating with external entities more difficult.

I would to too, but my work blocks access to Google docs (and Office 365) as an "information leakage risk"

Re:Not the only reason..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532485)

Both my private and work machines both have MSOffice on them and I still use Google Docs for the bulk of my writing. It is light weight, easy to use, accessible from anywhere, and easy to share with collaborators. Office 365 is a bit better in some of those regards, but still makes collaborating with external entities more difficult.

I would to too, but my work blocks access to Google docs (and Office 365) as an "information leakage risk"

Ah, but there is a very easy way to get around this issue.

Convince your business it's worth it to start using them.

Re:Not the only reason..... (2)

xelah (176252) | about 4 months ago | (#46532051)

Also, for people who don't already have it installed, with Google Docs and pretty much anything else that's free you can just go right ahead and use it. No hassling the IT department to install stuff, and when there's no organization-wide licence available, no messing around getting access to the company's money.

Re:Not the only reason..... (5, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | about 4 months ago | (#46532107)

Should schools pay for M$ or take Google's privacy invasive stuff free or is there a third choice. Should the federal provide free open source software under federal core program. Software that is free, has been audited for quality and security, software that is free of privacy invasive elements during and after school use. If all the money spent on software licence had instead been spent on developing software, the government would have produced the necessary software ten times over and been able to distribute for free instead of still paying to this day. Niether M$ nor Google is the answer, they just both keep the problem going, year after year after year, instead of permanently solving the problem with something like https://www.libreoffice.org/ [libreoffice.org] .

Re:Not the only reason..... (5, Funny)

alphatel (1450715) | about 4 months ago | (#46532281)

Should schools pay for M$ or take Google's privacy invasive stuff free or is there a third choice. Should the federal provide free open source software under federal core program. Software that is free, has been audited for quality and security, software that is free of privacy invasive elements during and after school use. If all the money spent on software licence had instead been spent on developing software, the government would have produced the necessary software ten times over and been able to distribute for free instead of still paying to this day. Niether M$ nor Google is the answer, they just both keep the problem going, year after year after year, instead of permanently solving the problem with something like https://www.libreoffice.org/ [libreoffice.org] .

Dude, stop making sense.

Re:Not the only reason..... (4, Interesting)

njnnja (2833511) | about 4 months ago | (#46532413)

Although FOSS alternatives keep getting better, they are still (generally) not as easy to set up and use as commercial alternative. On the other hand, to an institution whose entire purpose is to teach people skills, getting them to understand a computer as more than just a glorified typewriter and electronic encyclopedia is a feature, not a bug.

On the third hand, that might encourage a child's natural curiosity and send them learning about things that are not in the syllabus, which can only hurt the school's standardized test scores. So never mind.

Re:Not the only reason..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532491)

When big FOSS software is harder to install and lack good documentation, it's because the team behind the project makes money selling service, so it has no incentive to making it better in that respect.

This is a problem that goes away if the project is financed by the government.

Indeed, it's a mystery why government still pays for proprietary software instead of spending the money on FOSS, which will turn into free, reusable code and open file formats so they're not locked in. Same thing applies for companies.

Re:Not the only reason..... (2)

donaldm (919619) | about 4 months ago | (#46532157)

Both my private and work machines both have MSOffice on them and I still use Google Docs for the bulk of my writing. It is light weight, easy to use, accessible from anywhere, and easy to share with collaborators. Office 365 is a bit better in some of those regards, but still makes collaborating with external entities more difficult.

I have found Google Docs great however if you are moving around (think consultant) then depending on a product that is on-line only is IMHO stupid because there are may places that block outside internet access. Basically having an installed Office suite such as Microsoft Office or even LibreOffice is a much more reliable way of using an Office suite.

Personally I use LibreOffice under Fedora (it can be also be installed on a MS or Apple OS as well) and I have never found issue with interoffice interoperability. What is even nicer is that LibreOffice is free and is about a 210 MB download and since I use a Linux distribution any updates can be automatically (personally I don't recommend this) or manually updated.

Re:Not the only reason..... (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 4 months ago | (#46532501)

I use both Google Docs and OpenOffice/LibreOffice. When I use OO/LO, I usually use it with Dropbox to simulate some of the convenience of Google Docs. As you say, sometimes you want your files with or without the internet.

Of course, I also need to have MS Office installed, so the use of any other office suite is a bit superfluous. Still, I try to keep my stuff in open formats so there is less to convert down the road.

Pay more in taxes (5, Funny)

fey000 (1374173) | about 4 months ago | (#46531999)

" ...Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis said she'd rather see companies pay more in taxes ..."

Wouldn't they have to pay taxes first?

Re:Pay more in taxes (2)

mythix (2589549) | about 4 months ago | (#46532023)

Idd, and when the money has passed through politicians' hands, a lot of it is long gone... tax money that goes to education... made me chuckle

Re:Pay more in taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532087)

So you can't trust politicans to handle tax money, but they can be trusted to handle nuclear weapons? logic...

Re:Pay more in taxes (time to bitch) (-1, Flamebait)

flyneye (84093) | about 4 months ago | (#46532331)

Union idiots are used to raising the cost of living for others who arent making extra money that they dont deserve.What could that cow care? Typical stupid union bitch.
Teachers are the worst of these idiots and DEFINITELY dont deserve what they make, for the results they offer.
Teachers in the past did a much better job at a far lower ratio of pay to the new garde.

While Im on a role, a group of students should have told Google chairman Eric Schmidt he could go eat dog shit. How arrogantly insulting of the fat bastard and unnecessary to look down his nose at students. Fuck him as well.

Re:Pay more in taxes (time to bitch) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532395)

Yeah... I have to admit, you're onto something about the unions. If we had one at work, we'd be paying a fortune in fees. Of course, they would have us earning more than minimum wage, and we would be paid for all the hours we worked, too. Those fiendish bastards!

Re: Pay more in taxes (time to bitch) (2)

MadGeek007 (1332293) | about 4 months ago | (#46532451)

Sure, some teachers are lazy and overpaid, just as any other worker can be. However, to suggest that is typical by comparing today with an idealized version of yesterday ignores reality. Wages need to increase with the rise in the cost of living, class sizes have gone up, and many of today's parents don't teach their kids to be respectful, and expect the school system to take on the responsibility of raising them. And no, I'm not a teacher, union member or shill.

Re:Pay more in taxes (1, Troll)

MachineShedFred (621896) | about 4 months ago | (#46532407)

It's also VERY shocking that a union boss wants more general fund dollars going into education, rather than education getting the stuff they need directly.

Gee, you don't think it's so the union can get a piece of the action, do you?

It's sad big companies don't have to pay taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532007)

Apparently countries are very afraid of companies doing their business elsewhere. But that's already happening, companies just virtually move their business to whatever country requires the smallest percentage of taxes of that type. My own country The Netherlands, is very much part of this. So we recieve a few million euro's extra tax income every year, but we and other countries miss out on billions of euro's of tax money every year because this is allowed.

Re:It's sad big companies don't have to pay taxes (3, Interesting)

DrXym (126579) | about 4 months ago | (#46532215)

Multinationals use Ireland in the same way called the double Irish system. Ireland allows an Irish registered company to domicile in a tax haven (so it's tax liabilities might be in Bermuda). So multinationals establish 2 Irish companies. The first is legit and employs people and runs sales & services. This company charges other subsidiaries worldwide for its work so the tax liabilities move to Ireland. Then the first company pays the second a massive chunk of its revenues as royalties. Since the second company is domiciled in a tax haven there is no tax on these royalties and the multinational only pays tax on the remainder. And Ireland has low corporation tax for that part too.

There is supposedly a double Irish Dutch sandwich variant which presumably yields similar results. Apparently the loophole is being closed since most countries are getting so pissed off with tax avoidance / evasion that they're cooperating (or being coerced) into stamping it out.

dangerous assumption (4, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | about 4 months ago | (#46532017)

Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis said she'd rather see companies pay more in taxes and fund schools that way, rather than relying on their charity or free software."

She is making a dangerous assumption that if tax revenues increased the extra would be spent on schools

Re:dangerous assumption (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532045)

Being a Teachers Union, when they say fund schools it means themselves. But you are right, it doesn't mean it will be spent there.

Re:dangerous assumption (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532271)

Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis said she'd rather see companies pay more in taxes and fund schools that way, rather than relying on their charity or free software."

She is making a dangerous assumption that if tax revenues increased the extra would be spent on schools

Or even if it went to schools, that it would/should be used to purchase software.

Re:dangerous assumption (0)

ErroneousBee (611028) | about 4 months ago | (#46532311)

She is also saying that if they taxed companies more, schools could be less efficient with their spending.

Re:dangerous assumption (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532357)

Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis said she'd rather see companies pay more in taxes and fund schools that way, rather than relying on their charity or free software."

She is making a dangerous assumption that if tax revenues increased the extra would be spent on schools

No, she's playing the standard public employee union game of government by the government for the government.

Screw everyone else.

It's a damn shame they've pretty much bought the Democratic Party lock, stock, and barrel. There's nothing progressive about a political structure built for milking the general populace for the gain of government employees and especially their union bosses. There's a reason why older, real progressives such as FDR actually spoke out against allowing public employees to unionize [ucsb.edu] :

...

All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.

Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees. Upon employees in the Federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of Government activities. This obligation is paramount. Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable. It is, therefore, with a feeling of gratification that I have noted in the constitution of the National Federation of Federal Employees the provision that "under no circumstances shall this Federation engage in or support strikes against the United States Government.

...

Cloud only applications are a disaster (3, Insightful)

LostMyBeaver (1226054) | about 4 months ago | (#46532021)

1) Cloud office suites store documents.... in the cloud
2) Cloud office suites make you 100% dependent on their apps. Sure... Google uses "open formats" but as they add features and other companies add features, they lose formatting compatibility.
3) Here kid, the first one is free. Using free cloud software is great while it's free. Where's the guarantee that it will always be free? When it's not free, how much will it cost? Will I actually be able to move?
4) Are you seriously asking me to trust Microsoft, Google or Apple more than the other? This just is laughable. They're all a bunch of crooks. The only difference is, at least for now, Microsoft has governments around the world already treating them like crooks, so they at least have to try to be honest. Apple makes absolutely no pretenses of being an honest player and Google... they scare the shit out of me.

In the end, the best solution is a cloud player which has a clear means of licensing their software and running it within your organization without them being involved. So far as I know, Google doesn't even try for this. Microsoft does have a product, but it's not easy to get.

So for now, I'll use desktop and mobile apps and cloud storage. Thank you very much.

P.S. - It's scary how I am not nearly as worried about government spying, I simply accept it as part of life. But Google really scares the shit out of me.

Agreed - but as long as you back up locally... (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about 4 months ago | (#46532053)

... you'll be ok. Of course plenty of people don't but then the world is full of idiots and IT is no exception.

As for the companies - sure, they're all out to make money one way or another but if they offer something free then lets milk them for it. Just because someone uses MS Office or Googld Docs at school doesn't mean they'll be wedded to MS or Google for life. Most people who use Linux day to day started off using something else at first whether it be an 8 bit home micro or a PC running Windows or a Mac.

Re:Cloud only applications are a disaster (2)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about 4 months ago | (#46532093)

P.S. - It's scary how I am not nearly as worried about government spying, I simply accept it as part of life. But Google really scares the shit out of me.

I don't know about scary, but it's definitely weird. While both corporations and governments are, morally, ever-changing amorphous blobs, governments have access to the police, among other entities entitled to use physical force. Especially in the current tense climate of terrorism, shootings and kiddie porn scares, I'd fear the government getting wrongly suspicious of me and letting loose their brutal human-stomping machine much more than just being targeted by a corporation, even though I know some corps can also destroy your life by filing lawsuits until you're broke, if they so desire. It's a complicated scenario, especially since things aren't so black and white and the government tends to bow to lots of corporations and do their dirty work for them, but still the government worries me way more than some corp, be it Google, Microsoft, Monsanto, BP, RIAA...

Funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532339)

You sound like you were living in some dictatorship where the supreme ruler can just ruin your life on will. Kinda sad and funny that is actually the case. I mean, I guess the government can ruin your life in pretty much any place in the world, but for example most of Europe has sane enough justice system to keep your life from being destroyed just by filing bogus lawsuits.

Re:Cloud only applications are a disaster (2)

whisper_jeff (680366) | about 4 months ago | (#46532283)

Apple makes absolutely no pretenses of being an honest player...

I literally have no idea what you're talking about here. Not in the sense of "I disagree with you" but in the sense of "I have no clue what he's referring to".

I ask this seriously, could you please clarify?

Re:Cloud only applications are a disaster (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about 4 months ago | (#46532399)

2) Name any complex file formats that don't rely on corrosponding applications. pdf and jpg are fine, but what about the psd or svg, doc, odt file that contains all the editable versions? Open formats allow future developers to create converters or alternative, compatible apps.

3) Yes, there's nothing as a free lunch. But there is no guarantee that in a few years, there will be free a OpenOffice Version that runs on Windows10. So you sjould always be aware that at some point, any service might cost money. You're a bit better of with Google here, as they at least acknowledge that problem and have a team set up to make sure you can move in and out(!) to and from Google services (www.dataliberation.org) Other services have a long record of vendor lock-in instead.

4) Good point :-)

Re:Cloud only applications are a disaster (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 4 months ago | (#46532431)

I was looking through this and thinking that just before Mr Schmidt's visit, perhaps all the students should have attended a talk from the school principal on the risks of modern life, including such important lessons as the dangers of addiction, how something that looks too good to be true usually is, how to keep your personal data safe on-line, and the importance of knowing who you're talking to and judging how much you should trust what they say. As an example of the latter, maybe all the kids should have been told how Eric Schmidt of Google doesn't think anyone should be doing anything they don't want others to know about, perhaps followed by a short history lesson on the persecution of minorities. Just one kid piping up with "Most worthwhile things in life aren't free, Mr Schmidt, so what's the catch?" would have been gold.

And you will only exchange your dealer... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532027)

...but will continue to be addicted to a software that is bad for you.

You will still be delivering your data in the hands of people you don't (or shouldn't) trust, with the addition that at least with Word, you know they just want to sell you an application. With Google, the bottom line is not even selling stuff to you, they want your data and usage.

So, you are trading a dealer that will sell you their product, to support your addiction, for a dealer that wants to give drugs for you, for free, and will make you work for them, while you get high.

GREAT DEAL! ;)

Similarly... (4, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | about 4 months ago | (#46532029)

Why use Google Apps when LibreOffice is not only economically free, but spyware free?

Re:Similarly... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532055)

..and doesn't need a net connection to work.
I could imagine in some school classes you would want to pull the plug to the net as it is a massive distraction.

Re:Similarly... (2)

dejanc (1528235) | about 4 months ago | (#46532097)

I am lucky enough to work for an organization where using LibreOffice came from the top down: if the boss sends you an OpenOffice/LibreOffice document, you tend to install it and aren't too lazy to share work by email or shared directories.

Another organization I worked for used Google Apps.I tried to point out flaws of it (security problems, what happens when you are offline, etc.) to them, but I got: "Google is not evil, we trust them". This worked OK until one guy managed to incidentally invite a completely unrelated person to edit a document in which they stored a bunch of sensitive passwords and information ("so it's all in one place").

Even with that wonderful experience, that same organization still uses Google Apps ("it won't happen again"), and even though I relay this experience to other orgs I work for, "it's just too convenient, Google is not using our data in an evil way and you can incidentally email passwords to anyone anyway".

Re:Similarly... (4, Insightful)

bickerdyke (670000) | about 4 months ago | (#46532417)

The matter of trust is a personal descision here which I'll simply respect.

But the example with the document sharing is a strawmen, as sharing secret document on a cloud drive with the wrong person is as easy as emailing the same document from a non-cloud storage to the wrong person.

Re:Similarly... (2)

bickerdyke (670000) | about 4 months ago | (#46532433)

Follow up:

It is even HARDER to share a document with an outside person as this is (at least on one of the GoogleApps services) a feature which has to be enabled by the Domain admin first.

Re:Similarly... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532137)

School administrators are as thick as horseshit. They are not proactive; they only learn things when other people make pretty presentations and suggest benefits that sound good, despite not necessarily being the best for the school. Google and Microsoft are known companies, with huge marketing budgets and lobbying power. LibreOffice is developed by... who? Do you even know? I'll tell you who - a non-profit called The Document Foundation, an organization that I doubt most LO users would even know existed. Not to discredit their hard work of course, but they have virtually no marketing budget and clout. How do you compete with the big guys in making your product an alternative? Word of mouth? Hah!

We know about LO because we're geeks and software is our interest. School admins are not, and instead listen to "trusted" businesses to pitch their products. LO has no chance, because of our fucked up world.

Advantages and disadvantages (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 4 months ago | (#46532193)

Why use Google Apps when LibreOffice is not only economically free, but spyware free?

Because it makes certain types of collaboration harder and LibreOffice requires Java which you may not desire for security reasons. I have standardized my company on LibreOffice but we use Google Docs for certain things that require multi-user access like select spreadsheets. Google Docs also give us some (crude) document distribution control that is more complicated to replicate with LibreOffice. This is not to say there aren't lots of advantages to LibreOffice (there are!) but Google Docs does have some advantages which LibreOffice can't yet match. Whether you need those specific advantages depends on your particular situation.

Re:Advantages and disadvantages (3, Informative)

marcello_dl (667940) | about 4 months ago | (#46532241)

Libreoffice does not require java for most commonly used functionality. It will just complain when launched by terminal.

Three years ago I installed libreoffice without java thinking: I will put java when it's necessary. Still not happening.

A lightweight install of libreoffice (only writer and calc and dependencies, no java) is also a good idea in many cases.

Re:Advantages and disadvantages (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532293)

Because it makes certain types of collaboration harder and LibreOffice requires Java which you may not desire for security reasons.

There are two problems here.

The first is that you have misconceptions about the security; it's the browser plugin to automatically run arbitrary Java apps in websites that has a security flaw in its sandboxing. Having Java installed isn't in itself a risk. That's no reason to avoid having Java on your system (unless Oracle decided to force you to put a plugin into your browser - which would be stupid of them, and therefore plausible).

The second is that LibreOffice does not require Java.

Re:Advantages and disadvantages (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 4 months ago | (#46532337)

it's the browser plugin to automatically run arbitrary Java apps in websites that has a security flaw in its sandboxing.

That is one of the risks but not the only one. Plus the browser plugin comes bundled with other stuff so it's modestly annoying to try to separate that bit out from the rest.

Having Java installed isn't in itself a risk.

Of course it is a risk. Maybe not a huge risk but anything that allows arbitrary code to run on your computer is a risk. Even with security warnings it isn't hard to get people to run software they shouldn't.

The second is that LibreOffice does not require Java.

That depends very much on what you want to do with it. In my case I use the Base product which when I last checked still requires Java. There are some other features that won't work if Java is not installed. Yes you can get it working without Java but you cannot get everything working (yet) without it. In time I expect this will change.

arbitrary code can run regardless. Define computer (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 4 months ago | (#46532425)

Arbitrary code can run on your machine from the day it's assembled. Java or not makes absolutely no difference in that. That's what a computer IS - a device that runs arbitrary code.

Re:Advantages and disadvantages (1)

zyche (784345) | about 4 months ago | (#46532307)

It's the applet part of Java which has a bad security record. Running code under Java has exactly the same consequences to security as running native code, arguably even less.

Re: Similarly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532373)

I agree with some of the criticism of Google drive,but I use it at work extensively because, as Apple would say, "it just works". Nothing else has allowed collaborative web based doc editing so easily -- i.e. I don't have to explain much to anyone, they don't have to learn anything, and generally they already have a Google account (that is scary).

We aren't working with anything that is very sensitive, but we make changes all day long and it's been really great to have one document that everyone can see and is always up to date.

Free "food"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532033)

TINSTAAFL

if my kid types 'fart' on his goofudyourself wp (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532035)

does a bell ring in berlin? or the principals' office? or code.crock?

if a bear farts in the woods does it smell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532085)

no need to second guess so the text is unthreatening unless misused?

Is Google Docs really Free? (3, Informative)

cornicefire (610241) | about 4 months ago | (#46532039)

I was asked to pay when my corporation subscribed. Once you're bigger than a certain size, you're stuck paying. Only fools think Google is some fountain of free.

Re:Is Google Docs really Free? (2)

bickerdyke (670000) | about 4 months ago | (#46532447)

As often, it's not a matter of size...
It's free for educational organizations and charities.

There are a lot of small business that use the free Google services for business purposes. But running mission critical stuff on a platform without support or guarantees, that's usually somewhere between stupid and suicidal. (may be OK if you have an exit plan, but who has that...)

why not LibreOffice? (3, Insightful)

Selur (2745445) | about 4 months ago | (#46532059)

'Why would we use Google Docs over like Microsoft Word?'
Stupid question:
- Word should be compared with LibreOffice
- GoogleDocs should be compared with Office 365

Re:why not LibreOffice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532079)

Why is that?

Re:why not LibreOffice? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532169)

Because compiled binaries and web only crapola are two different things?

Bespoke Handcrafted Libre (4, Insightful)

ei4anb (625481) | about 4 months ago | (#46532061)

"rather than relying on their charity or free software" - Sigh!

The FOSS movement should work to educate such people. Perhaps we should call it Bespoke Handcrafted Libre FOSS because some people equate "free" with "cheap and nasty"

Re:Bespoke Handcrafted Libre (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532109)

You forgot "free-range, artisanal, fat-free, organic, and gluten-free."

Re:Bespoke Handcrafted Libre (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532379)

You're missing the point. She's not talking about FLOSS, she's talking about free as in beer, and that schools would be better off making their software choices based on something other than who's giving it away. If anything her statement suggests she may be unaware of FLOSS altogether.

Google free drug candies! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532081)

As much as I dislike MS, Google services are as free drug candies. Why not? Are free!

As if there wasn't drug free alternatives available. Also for free and free.

Why use Word unless forced to do so? (1)

Selur (2745445) | about 4 months ago | (#46532091)

Thinking more about it: Not asking "why use X instead of Word", but asking "Why would you use Word instead of anything else?"

Only reason I use Word is because I from time to time get some strange formated and macro filled document from a client who lives Word and I need to use Word to properly read the document. -> so the only reason I'm using it from time to time is because I'm forced to do

Most of my stuff I write in a normal text editor (and save it inside a git repository ;)).
I only use Word/LibreOffice/GoogleDocs/... for formating and to meet a clients needs.

For personal stuff, which needs formating I normally use LibreOffice.
For publishing stuff I use latex.

-----
Bottom line is, I see no reason to use Word over any other tool.
Even if LibreOffice, GoogleDocs, Office 365 and Word would all satisfy my needs, there is nothing that Word offers to me that separates it from the rest.
-> Why use Word?

Re:Why use Word unless forced to do so? (1)

lwriemen (763666) | about 4 months ago | (#46532223)

I find LyX to be much better for word processing and presentations than any of the office suites. I was never a big fan of the office suite bundling, because I always found my needs for one aspect were better served by a different company than my needs for some other aspect.

Re:Why use Word unless forced to do so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532305)

Unlike "word processors", LyX is actually designed for writing documents as opposed to decorating isolated parts of text.

Re:Why use Word unless forced to do so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532353)

Really stupid, in Belgium you get a certificate from the secondary school that you can use Word. Some companies even ask for that... Doesnt matter anymore if you do another degree after that, but for some it is important.

School who do not use office may not give that piece of paper.

for use in academics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532111)

the only serious option is (la)tex anyway. It's neither google kind-of-free, nor costs microsoft kind-of-money.
For any other serious application, neither google nor microsoft are an option either.

For anything less serious (private shopping, birthday cards, ...) both options more than fulfil the needs.

Free... at a price (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532115)

Google makes its money via data mining and invasion of privacy. Microsoft no doubt makes some money via the same process, but undoubtably makes the lions share via paid software such as Windows and Office. Short of licensing fees for something like the official Android apps for companies producing Android phones and tablets, I cannot think of a single Google product that costs money in the same way that Microsoft does, so their income has to be substantially based on data mining and privacy invasion.

Ideally the best option for cash-strapped schools would be something like LibreOffice, which is free but has far more functionality than Google Docs and doesn't invade your privacy for the benefit of some corporate entity. But of course, since Google has lobbing power and marketing and LO's makers don't, you'll never see anyone give a fancy speech about the benefits of open source tools such as LO.

And so the cycle of corporate ownership of education continues, it's just simply moving between Apple, Microsoft and Google, none of which should have as much power as they do with people's data...

Does this have anything to do with (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532141)

pussy? Somehow it sounds like it does.

What about security? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532159)

Those using Google docs are not bothered that their data is on Google's servers? I like the offline versions of these tools i.e. MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint primarily because my data is where I want it to be.

No price != No cost (4, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | about 4 months ago | (#46532163)

'Why would we use Google Docs over like Microsoft Word?' a teacher asked the class. 'Because it's free!' exclaimed a grinning Schmidt.

It is NOT free. It might not involve a cash outlay but Google isn't providing Google Docs out of the goodness of their heart. You are paying with personal information that they can then sell to others who want to advertise to you. You are trading Google something, it's just not cash. Nothing wrong with that in principle but Eric Schmidt pretending there is no cost is disingenuous. When making this deal with teachers to get personal information of minors it's borderline creepy.

no ads in google apps for education (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532221)

to be fair, they are not advertising to minors in any way in google apps, other than in branding.

--Sam

Yes, they are...just not in "Google Apps" (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532457)

You are technically correct about Google not showing adds to minors within their Google Apps for Education range of products. But that statement is disingenuous. They still harvest data from every user within GAE and use it to target ads to minors outside GAE. Once they leave GAE and start surfing YouTube (and what minor doesn't), they get targeted ads using data from GAE. Also, the majority of websites use Google AdSense for their site advertising. Every one of those sites that minor will visit will have targeted ads using data from GAE.

If you don't believe me, here's a good article to read over at SaveGov [safegov.org] . Google admits to these practices via a legal deposition filed in California over a class action lawsuit against this very practice.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: When a service is free, you are not the customer. You are the product.

Re:No price != No cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532285)

It's "free" until it isn't. Nobody remember what they did with GAE not so long ago?

Re:No price != No cost (4, Insightful)

upside (574799) | about 4 months ago | (#46532427)

This is the point that hasn't sunken into the people who use Google services. You are not the customer.

The advertisers are the customer and you are the product.

Re:No price != No cost (1)

jez9999 (618189) | about 4 months ago | (#46532467)

I have to say, it still puzzles me that Google offer all this stuff for free (as in beer). Getting information on you doesn't seem like enough of a payback for all the time and money invested in development and infrastructure needed for a reliable service like Google Docs.

Appearances, all about appearances (2)

BSAtHome (455370) | about 4 months ago | (#46532171)

People buy what is perceived a "good" deal. Whether the "good" is for the buyer or the seller is always a good question.

Why do people buy bottled water? The tap-water is free...

Not the same thing (1, Insightful)

TomGreenhaw (929233) | about 4 months ago | (#46532209)

The google cow doesn't give all the same kinds of milk and dairy products available from microsoft. What's wrong with having both?
Also, google is not necessarily free.

Google Isn't Free (2)

jtwiegand (3533989) | about 4 months ago | (#46532213)

If a product appears to be free, you are the product. People write down data in documents, and Google is in the data business. Google docs is far from free, you just pay them different.

Re:Google Isn't Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532303)

But I code freeware/FOSS games and I don't get user data of any kind. What am I doing then?

I kind of not like this reasoning, I wouldn't like my players to think there's some catch to what I give for free because I want to. I precisely got into gamedev because of other free games that came out when I was younger.

While you are definitely right with Google and the other greedy corporations, I think more context should be used for such a broad statement. It can hurt those underdogs who actually give away things because they want to. It's already pretty difficult to turn heads towards freeware even if the quality matches paid software (not AAA industry titles, that'd be a preposterous claim to make).

Big Labor's transparent motive (1)

Jay Maynard (54798) | about 4 months ago | (#46532233)

"Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis said she'd rather see companies pay more in taxes and fund schools that way, rather than relying on their charity or free software."

Of course she would. Big Labor's all about squeezing those nasty eeeeevil corporations for all they can get.

Why should Google pay taxes to the district so they can buy Microsoft? Why should they be forced to help their competition at gunpoint?

Re:Big Labor's transparent motive (2)

whistlingtony (691548) | about 4 months ago | (#46532403)

Yeah yeah, Unions Evil! Oh, and we're all paying taxes at gunpoint!

.....Or maybe companies keep whining about how they need a better trained labor pool, so they should help pay for it. Maybe that's how our civilization works. Maybe we all pay our taxes so our country can afford the basic infrastructure that allows basic business functions to work at all. Maybe that's part of the social contract needed to live here at all.

Maybe Unions are for more nuanced than you're making them out to be, and maybe you're short changing yourself by leaping to conclusions. This isn't a clear cut case, and all the people on here immediately leaping to how evil Unions are need to step back and look at the larger picture.

So, yes, why should google pay taxes to the district so they can buy microsoft? Let us count the reasons..... There are many.

Google's is free, but not Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532243)

OpenOffice, or LibreOffice if you prefer, is free as in beer and free as in freedom. Why take the lesser free?

Classic Google Bullshit Propaganda (1)

KingofGnG (1319253) | about 4 months ago | (#46532247)

Cloud isn't free, Web "apps" aren't free and Google software isn't free. If you don't pay for something from a big corporation, you are likely the product. Good luck to the people willing to put all they digital life's eggs in the unreliable and risky cloud basket by Google Inc. http://kingofgng.com/eng/2014/03/20/cloud-computing-isnt-made-to-last/ [kingofgng.com]

Because . . . (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532251)

. . . at some point Google is going to want a ring. And you're not going to like the consummation.

Good God (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532291)

MS Office is supieror to all other office software in every way. Everything else is just dog shit. Seriously.

Good enough (4, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | about 4 months ago | (#46532361)

Free isn't as important as "good enough". Just because something's free doesn't mean we all dive into it - it has to be *AT LEAST* good enough as well.

The problem MS has is that things like Google Apps for Education"good enough" for almost everyone's uses and - to schools - free. I've put entire schools onto it. Why not? Gigabytes of "always up" storage, accessible from web, PC, Android, etc. Gigabyte-sized inboxes with one of the best email services around (GMail). Integration into your AD if you desire but also manual / CSV user/group management. Enforced signatures on email, group permissioning, all kinds of integration and automation, and switching to them is just a matter of changing your MX record once on any domain you'd like them to handle (and you can always change it back).

Google Apps so that people can work from home on the same documents they created in school. No need to spend fortunes on Office licensing just so that that temporary, occasional member of staff can edit a document.

Google Calendar, which does 99% of whatever I've seen people actually use Exchange calendaring for, with unlimited calendars, no licence fees, no software installation, no onerous browser requirements, no need to expose your servers to the world.

I've seen schools do most of their timetabling through Google Calendar - it's free and good enough, such that they haven't bothered to look for alternatives because, well, why? They don't have any problems with what it does or does not do.

That's before you even get into Google Pages, all the other stuff they offer and their Android device management (which is great - set policies, install apps and remote wipe Android devices remotely for everything in your Google "domain").

Sure, there are power-users somewhere that have problems with it - I am a school network manager and I certainly had other things that I used and just used, say, IMAP or iCal formats to put the data into the things I wanted it in, but hell - for 99.9% of my users it was more than good enough and, because we were a school, free. I've even seen a much larger school use it just to clear some space on their servers so they don't have to upgrade RAID. Give everyone 5Gb of Drive storage and suddenly all that junk they "must have" on their accounts isn't as important any more.

And, if you ask, they will guarantee that your data stays under EU control - and they have a standard EULA that states just that or schools in the EU wouldn't be able to touch them.

Free is one thing, but Google Apps etc. is good enough that I've actually paid for it (more storage etc.) in the past and would pay again for it in the future. But there are numerous places I've worked where "free" and "more than good enough" are the terms that won the decision. Even in places with annually recurring MS licenses under educational licensing deals anyway.

Just Enough (tm) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532365)

This is the age of just enough computing, combining just enough processing power to just enough software. The Berkley approach works still.

Re: Simple (1)

ketomax (2859503) | about 4 months ago | (#46532401)

Why Buy Microsoft Milk When the Google Cow Is Free?

Because not everyone likes to milk the cows.

how about actually free alternatives? (1)

Mirar (264502) | about 4 months ago | (#46532445)

Why aren't they using libre office or latex, if they are worried about big companies? It's also free, but gives you 100% control over the programs - if you want and/or need.

It's not like it's hard to find open source'd tools for those uses these days.

Nice but also unnerving. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532461)

Nice that Google is offering free office software but Google is an advertising/search company. I bet all those schools using free Google Docs is a great source of marketing data. There really isn't much charity here I'm guessing.

Google is NOT free (1, Informative)

schwit1 (797399) | about 4 months ago | (#46532473)

Google treats your data(the product) no differently than Facebook. It is there to be mined for the benefit of the advertisers(the customer) and Google's bottom line.
https://epic.org/2014/03/googl... [epic.org]

I can has editors? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532495)

Sigh. The phrase is "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?"

For the moment, let's ignore that it's a blatantly sexist expression in common usage (though IMO it's a terrible choice for a story for that reason alone).

Rather, let's focus on the lack of editing around here. It's very simple. In the metaphor, the cow is the big expensive "thing you buy." The reason to buy the cow is to get milk. So if you can get milk for free, you don't need to buy the cow. No one's offering a free cow. Just free milk. In the story, you pay for MS Office licenses to get access to document authoring tools. If you can get document authoring tools for free, you don't need a Microsoft license. Google provides free document tools.

The proper headline would be "Why by the MICROSOFT cow when GOOGLE milk is free?" It's really not hard. There are only two parties, and mapping "which one is the cow and which is the milk" isn't a hard exercise. You couldn't be bothered to think through your own friggin' metaphor?

I've still got issues with some of the editing over at soylentnews.org, but at least they're a.) learning and b.) give a crap if they butcher their own metaphors this badly.

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