Linux

Linux can do that

Jack Wallen's new phrase for consultants working for small businesses - Linux can do that. The days Microsoft-only offices is coming to an end as Linux has reached the point where it not only can work in the SMB environment, it belongs in the SMB environment.

Due to a recent change I am re-entering the world of consultancy.  Because I have the luxury of making this re-entry slowly (and possibly joining a local firm), I am taking my time and doing a little shadowing with a few that will wind up being co-workers. While on these shadow calls I am watching and, in a pinch, helping. Many times what I am seeing is putting a "I told you so"-like smile on my face.

Let me explain.

The clients we work with represent the majority of the real world. These are mom and pops to small businesses who'd rather spend their dollars on things OTHER than IT. But when problems arise, they have no choice. Now, like I said, these aren't Fortune 500 companies that have the budget to retain a fully-staffed IT department and can shell out the shekels for support contracts from Microsoft, Adobe, Dell, IBM, HP, etc. These companies are lucky to have workstations running the same version of the operating system that helps them get their work done.

Instead of tidy server racks they have plastic shelves barely holding up a mix and match of desktops and servers. They are slowing coming around to understanding the importance of standards and continuity, but have to purchase continuity one piece at a time.

But these clients are loyal and pay the bills. And, of course, these clients all rely on Microsoft. Or so they think they do.

The interesting aspect of shadowing is that I can take mental notes and make internal comments without anyone knowing. And on some of these jobs the most popular of internal comments is:

Linux can solve that.

During the short time I have been working with these clients, I have quickly come to see that, at least in the cases I have worked with, they are doing nothing proprietary to Microsoft. What I mean is that everything they do can be done with Linux. And in most cases, done easier and cheaper. Take for instance this little conversation:

"Can we all have the same version of Word?"

"Yes, but we'll have to purchase the licenses for you."

"I don't think we can afford another license right now. It's really a pain trying to share documents this way...is there any other way?"

All the while I sat in the background, biting my tongue. What I really wanted to say was this:

"We can re-vive all of your aging hardware by putting Linux on the machines and then install new versions of software that would serve the same purpose your aging software does - only do it better."

Of course the firm would make money for all of the installation/setup work. And the payback would be the happy customers who would most likely refer others to us. Would we possibly lose a few dollars due to lesser run outs to these clients (you know, viruses, malware, etc)? Sure. But when you weight a satisfied, rarely seen customer over a frustrated, frequently seen customer the scale quickly tips to your favor. That frustrated customer could, at any minute, turn to another consultant. That satisfied customer? You have them for life. This of course could be called The Maytag Repairman Corollary. But I digress.

Ultimately, what I am seeing is proof that there is, indeed, plenty of places for Linux in the business. And not only on the server end. The argument that Linux is too difficult has washed away, and any member of the IT world who still believes Linux is too difficult, might want to return to Comp Sci class for a refresher course. In my current incarnation I have YET to come across a desktop operating system that was even remotely difficult. All desktop operating systems have reached a near-uniform level of simplicity.

There was one issue that really hit home. For one call, all of the machines were using Windows XP, but only some were using XP Home. Because of this XP couldn't remember network credentials. While the lead guy was under stress to resolve this issue, I figured, "If Linux can do this, so can Windows XP." I figured the solution would resemble a Samba login from Windows. I was right. The problem was solved with the creation of a simple batch script (then added to the Start Up folder) that looked like:

net use x: \\SERVER\SHARE PASSWORD /USER:USERNAME /PERSISTENT:YES

Although some Windows admins might not seem too comfortable with commands like this, they are second nature to Linux admins. So the solution was simple. Linux can do that.

Now, don't think me foolish. I know I am not going to switch a company who has based its business on maintaining Windows machines over to Linux. That's not my point. My point is that the only excuse for not adding Linux to the business environment (especially the SMB) is laziness. Linux belongs in the business. It can do the things Windows does and it can allow those smaller businesses to have the "latest, greatest" without spending their entire budget on something they can squeeze by without. So instead of making those small businesses do without, allow them to do with - because Linux can do that.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

146 comments
tyurus
tyurus

i first bought red hat 5.1a in staples over ten years ago. i started my own soho business in 2004. now the whole house goes through a fedora 5 server hooked up to a red hat 9 dedivcated firewall. my family goes back and forth sharing things on notebooks running vista home, vista business, mac osx and fedora 11. no problems. open my wife's office reads and writes word docs my daughters create on office for mac. no problem. in todays world linux is everything. hey if i can do it at home as a businessman, any it guy should be able to do it.

j-mart
j-mart

Linux's ability to perform many of the required tasks never comes into it. The business owners usually no stuff all about IT, nor do those they take advice from. The accountant will decide an accounts package based on what they have used before, which may or not be a good choice, the technical person who shouts the loudest will get their choice of CAD package, at some stage someone on staff will have a friend who works in IT who will come and throw together some sort of a system, which. depending on their ability could be complete rubbish to adequit depending on their knowledge and skill. A well thought out cost effective will be the last thing they will end up with as their IT requirements won't be planed they will just sort of evolve

GreatZen
GreatZen

Sure... they can replace all off their Windows desktops using Office with Linux/OOOrg. Just as long as they have no intention of printing any .docs and having them look even remotely the same. Not even page margins are converted properly, let alone formatting. I'm sure they will think reformatting every single document they open and want to print will be an excellent ROI (after you charge them to convert their entire office to Linux/OOo) and a excellent cost saving alternative to buying another copy of office. If you can migrate a single windows desktop's applications and data, then teach the user how to use it for less than the cost of an Word license (or even Office Basic), you should start charging more money. EDIT: Oh yes, I forgot to mention that you are absolutely right; there are a LOT of places where Linux can be replacing Windows workstations in the workplace... for instance if a workplace is using in-the-cloud applications or multiplatform/java-based/terminal emulation proprietary software. It just so happens that you didn't mention a single actual case where Linux is preferable. Congrats! Also, do not EVER place a user/pass in a scripted shortcut the startup folder. Probably the only thing dumber would be to download and execute "trojan.exe" from the sender "earn_millions_from_home@scam.co.ng"

jfreedle2
jfreedle2

That is the funniest thing that I have ever heard, Linux cannot do anything other than waste space on a hard drive.

airdog47
airdog47

Believe me, I've been there, even started a company on that very idea: Linux is better and cheaper. Problem: small business owners don't want to take risks, they've never heard of Linux, neither have their friends, and they would rather pay for something they know, even if it doesn't work as well. You can show them, demo, even bring them to other small businesses that have a Linux server, no use. They want Windows.

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

Aside from Linux is still stuck at 1% of the OS market share [according to recent statistics], if you can't deploy or administrate a Linux [or for that matter non-Windows based] office package, then it won't be suitabler for anyone but individuals. With group policies in Windows, you can restrict what users can do with office [i.e. not change security settings in Outlook as an example] or even deploy Office or it's updates.

203T
203T

You and your firm can provide support for these clients and that's great, for you. But you're locking clients into you only, whereas MS admins are plentiful and cheaper. This is the biggest reason we haven't deployed Linux in the smaller shops, only in the larger shops w. IT staff that are Linux literate. I love Linux and so does the rest of our small company, where it makes sense.

Dknopp
Dknopp

Where I am seeing Linux taking the place of already established systems is in the large Midrange System area ( aix, sun, hp, etc ). And it is purely for monetary reasons. The infrastruture people like the larger midrange systems but just cannot afford the price anymore. A large midrange system costing hundreds of thousands of dollars can be changed over to an x86 box running Linus for tens of thousands instead.

oldbaritone
oldbaritone

Whaddya know - I have upgraded several Win-2K file servers with Linux file servers running Samba, and the customers are THRILLED! Forget the THOUSANDS for the $erver-2008 upgrade, just install Linux and tell the Windows machines to "Map Network Drive" - Presto! Customers are thrilled, and they aren't losing any of the functionality that they expect. And when you're done with setup, shut down X, and most of the customer's on-site idiots don't have a clue how to log on to play games. Better performance without buying new hardware - another big plus! Then add the fact that the existing data drive can be just mounted under Linux, and it's no wonder that the customers are happy.

Justin James
Justin James

If your consultants allowed the customers' networks to get to the point where they had XP Home machines attempted to access shared network files, they are not doing their jobs. They allowed the customers' networks to become a total disaster. There is a reason why it is called "XP Home". If the client was setting up these machines on their own, your consultancy should have given them guidance years ago about how to set up a machine, or at least a "cheat sheet" for configuring one. And they should have insisted on some sort of proper central server that supported Active Directory. I would not get involved in this consultancy. Clearly they do not know what they are doing, or their clients refuse to listen. Working with customers is a two-way street. If they hire you and refuse to take your advice, then you shouldn't be working with them. Finally, your personal agenda is not helpful to the customers. They all want the same office suite on their desktops but don't want to pay for licensing? Instead of moving them wholesale to Linux (by the way, do you have ANY clue how much that would cost them, in consultancy dollars alone? A lot more than an upgrade of Office and Windows!), then maybe OpenOffice will meet their needs, and it is something they can install themselves after being shown how. J.Ja

datatransfer
datatransfer

I have been replacing old Windows servers with Ubuntu LTS for over a year now. Saves my customers license fees, and facilitates mixed environments where both Apple and M$ are used. No viruses, and with some simple shell scripts these servers are easy to maintain remotely. Rock solid!

Stovies
Stovies

Hi, I am retired from business, but I still run several computers with Windows XP Pro and Home and with UBUNTU, The reason I do so is to be in a position to recommend Linux to Small Businesses as an option for adding more expensive Windows. I find that I am running UBUNTU and Windows without even thinking of which I am working on. The drawback for me at the moment is that some software vendors will not supply drivers to allow their programs access to Linux. AutoCAD, and other proprietary CAD programs are one example and in the publishing side I use Serif PagePlus X3 for my publisher. I do not ask these to start giving their software away and I have no problem with buying software that is good and built for purpose. There are some problems with printer sharing again due to drivers. My objection will always be that Microsoft is so stupid and dishonest that they cannot work with exchange rates when dealing with Europe and in particular Britain. Apart from all that Linux is good at all the Office jobs and is very good with network setup.

SnoopDougEDoug
SnoopDougEDoug

The real issue (or at least the one you used to pry open Pandora's box) was: How can we share Word docs if we are on different versions? Simple. You either have those with the later versions of Word save the files as .doc, not .docx, OR you get the compatibility pack from Microsoft that lets older versions of Word read the newer versions. You could also write a macro, add it to normal.dot, to automatically save the newer versions as .doc. Sheesh, you are trying to kill a mosquito with a sledge hammer. My experience has been that Microsoft users have a devil of a time switching to Linux. The converse is not true. doug in Seattle

yattwood
yattwood

I was this close to overhauling my husband's computer systems and replacing them with Ubuntu - he was a clinical psychologist (he died in June, 2009)- he had a Windows 2000 Server and three 386 PC's running _Windows98_ (I bit my tongue every time I went to his office) - I just wanted to toss everything in the dumpster! I never got the chance....and, he absolutely _loved_ Windows98 (go figure - one of the 386' finally died, and was replaced by a machine running WindowsXP - and he _hated_ it...) He actually watched me one time when I was working from home - I was logged into one of the HP-UX servers that run Oracle, and he just kept looking at me, shaking his head while I was typing in commands - to him, they were arcane incantations....

mateokow
mateokow

I thought you were talking about samba packages!

ScarF
ScarF

The same coffee-talk as ten years ago. The lack of efficiency and realism are the top amazing features of the Open Source world. I'll be back in five years to see what more you would have done. In the mean time, try to behave and do not scr... your customers, more than MS. Have some respect for their time and money.

LedLincoln
LedLincoln

Does anyone else think it's ironic that Microsoft has had to introduce PowerShell, essentially a Unix shell clone, so admins can get some real work done?

keme6206
keme6206

Your scenario is exactly what Jack Wallen describes in his article: The mix & match office network that needs a major overhaul. Then a few years later, in came Jack...

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

OO does open .doc files properly and does display and print them the same as they were done in MS Word, in fact, it can do it better than MS Word. I say that as I switched to OO back in 2004 because MS Office (Word and Excel) would not open my older .doc and .xls files properly, it kept corrupting the stuff I'd created years earlier in Excel 4 and Word for Windows 2a. After some research I found out anything created by a version prior to Word 97 wouldn't open right in Word 2003. There is an extra plug in you can download from MS that will convert it to Word 2003, after you go through a few hoops; yet OO opens them with the basic install. The only problems I've heard of people having with MS Word docs in OO is when the document is jammed full of Macros, not all Macros will work the same way. BTW, I've had a lot of success replacing MS Office with OO in the workplace for average user use. And the Church of Latter-day Saints converted all their systems over from MS Office to Open Office about four years ago, that's millions of licences for them around the world - and they had no trouble in doing so. edit to add -- most of the LDS users are older people who used to, or still do, run mom and pop type businesses.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

and letting some air circulate in there. How about elaborating on your Linux experiences? What do you know that Google's sysadmins don't?

Slayer_
Slayer_

Easy solution. Wait till their computer has problems, tell them they need a fresh install of the OS. And then punch up a website that shows XP costing 500 bucks. Then tell them, "The other option is I could install Linux on your machines, it's a free system"

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Right now I'm support but if I leave the organization, I selected a distro specifically because there was pleanty of documentation available and because any other *nix admin could walk in and take it over with little grief. Sure, Win admins are a dime a dozen but don't fool yourself into believing that admins who know or can quickly learn to manage a *nix box are so obscure.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

reference manuals and take time to read them can do over 90% of the Linux admin work.

GreatZen
GreatZen

You have users accessing a file server without a domain? Why would they need Server2008 anyway? I'm not disputing that Linux makes a superior file server in this environment, but I'm not sure why Server2008 is even in the discussion.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

It sounds like your providing a basic storage server through Samba/CIFS. Why is X on there at all? If you know the system well enough to be supporting a business, do a proper minimal build of Debian and Samba. Same result and you don't have to refer to your clients with insulting titles.

tbmay
tbmay

I use linux in most server roles and openbsd on firewalls and vpn's and pass the savings on to the client. However, I just can't get my hands around trying to force clients to use something other than MS-Windows on their workstations. They don't care what the OS is as long as it works but, from their point of view, working means it has to be familiar to them. Why folks have this agenda of forcing GNU/Linux on people is beyond me. Regarding your comments about the hodgepodge mess of a network, it's quite common to get clients who refuse to listen. They often take an approach that goes something like, "I just need you to do....I can do everything else." You usually don't hear that when you start working with them. And when their mess doesn't work, guess who gets blamed. And getting out of the relationship is a lot harder than getting in to it. Consultancy is a lot more than knowing your technical stuff.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

It's good enough to open a .docx with o2003 but the next step is "save as". I had a user's Word app completely chewed and crashing out each time she tried to edit a file. Save it to a .doc and no more issues. If we end up upgrading to o2007, it'll likely be because we keep getting .docx from other organizations rather than any deeper need for it.

Justin James
Justin James

... that the cost of migrating all of these boxes to Linux (all of those documents, finding a new application loadout, etc.) is going to be cheaper than getting everyone on the same version of Windows and Office, and maybe dropping an inexpensive server with Windows Small Business on the backend, and getting everyone made into a member of the domain. Either way, you go through the work of an OS change and some major network changes, but by sticking with Windows, you don't have to spend a zillion hours migrating files and trying to figure out the right alternative apps, testing compatibility, retraining users, etc. This is the fundamental flaw in the "save money on licenses" arguement; Windows & Office licenses are much cheaper than consultant time and lost productivity! For the sake of fairness, this cuts both ways. If you had an all Mac shop, or an all Linux (or Solaris, or FreeBSD, or whatever) shop, a move to Windows would be prohibitively expensive, even if you got the licenses for free. Let's put it another way. You know all of those Linux guys who brag about converting their grandmother to Linix? How long did that take you to transfer everything to the new OS, get the apps installed and configured and train granny to use it? A day? Given that it takes me about a day to transition from one Windows PC to a new Windows PC, I think it would be safer to say "2 days" given that we are including training here and wholesale application *replacement*. The consultants are probably charging $75 - $150 per hour, depending on where you are, their level of quality, etc. Let's take the $75 number and be GENEROUS (as a note, that's less than what a mechanic charges, and it's about what a computer shop I used to work for would charge to swap modems and hard drives). So per user (16 hours at $75/hour), you are looking at a whopping $1,200 in consulting fees. Compare that to what... $400 between a Windows license and Office, and 3 hours of time to do the upgrade? This is cheaper how, exactly? This is simple math people. And again, this formula cuts both ways. If a Windows person was arguing that someone should transition off of Mac or Linux, I'd say the exact same thing and show the exact same numbers. J.Ja

Dknopp
Dknopp

He said that the users were saying it is a pain. Probably because they were tired of doing the conversion dance

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"...shaking his head while I was typing in commands - to him, they were arcane incantations...." I don't see why people should expect to understand what IT people do. I have no idea how a clinical psychologist goes about his work, nor any expectation that I should understand it without substantial training. I have different training and skill sets from most of my fellow employees. That doesn't mean I can properly complete the paperwork for an overseas shipment, negotiate a purchase order, assemble a mechanical relay, or read a wiring schematic. Everybody has different skills, and non-practitioners shouldn't find an IT skill set any more or less confounding than a blacksmith or a marketing executive.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

[i]...try to behave and do not scr... your customers, more than MS. Have some respect for their time and money. [/i] If I tried to screw my customers even [u]half[/u] of what Microsoft has done, I'd be in jail or out of business. And to have less respect for my customers' time and money than Microsoft, I would have to completely lose both my ethics and what little business sense I have.

GreatZen
GreatZen

It sounds like you are claiming that a command line interface is innately a "Unix shell clone." When windows is and always has been based on a CLI in the first place. EDIT: Ah, I see your later reply. Nothing to read here! Move along please!

hrudy
hrudy

I've tried to use PowerShell cmdlet to replace wget that I normally get from cygwin.. The wget functionality works OK but if you want timeouts (eg. wget -t 2) Then you would have to write 4 pages of code! If you come from a Unix/Linux background you will find that Powershell is different enough to require complete retraining.

keme6206
keme6206

MS Word documents opened in OOo Writer will often be slightly changed. Due to the two applications treating paragraph spacing, margins, and table formatting differently, you will hardly ever get an identical display in Writer. (There are quite a few other differences that may play a part, but those are the most common to come across). However, I rarely come across a document where the introduced difference is great enough to matter. My experience confirms the gist of the previous posting: Problems arising from MS Office upgrades and file format inconsistencies are at least as frequent as, and almost always more severe than, the differences caused by opening a Word document in Writer.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

they open their VCR manual and set the clock so it quits blinking 12:00 12:00 12:00 12:00 12:00...

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Google and the Man pages can take you the rest of the way! ;)

Slayer_
Slayer_

Is that not possible?

SnoopDougEDoug
SnoopDougEDoug

I humbly suggest you create a macro that saves the Word doc as .doc and use that in place of the save function. It's not that hard. Then add that to the template and, voila! you have fixed the issue. If you are not familiar with Word macros, let me know and I'll whip one up for you.

ScarF
ScarF

Superrr! So, Microsoft's guys somehow managed to avoid the jail and bankruptcy. Definitely is someone tough behind them. The Freemasons? The Man from the Moon? The Flying Spaghetti Monster? I am surprised by your legal expertise. Business sense? Hm. Not that I faint seeing Bill Gates? picture, but the dude knows business. Unfortunately, this - the business - is an area closed for the open source. As well as for many of us. Open Source relies entirely on self-sufficient fans (like the one I found here who replaces an entire functionality provided by W2008 server with Samba - now, how funny is this?). Again, the only use - very good use - for Linux I found it to be for the application and DB servers. I love them. Anyway, I printed Jack's article for safe keeping it. I plan to read it five years from now during one of "boys' evenings" when my buddies and I share beers and good laughs.

LedLincoln
LedLincoln

Yeah, I'm not saying it is 'nix, but just pointing out that MSoft has found it necessary to implement something like a real command shell.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

documents in Open Office and they've all opened with the text perfectly readable and formatted the same as they were in the original MS Word (something the latest versions of Word can't do), with the following exceptions - and even then the text was readable and able to be quickly and easily placed how you want it. 1. The default settings in Open Office are different to what was used as default settings in Word. Sometimes this causes a slight format change. Depending upon the version of Word, these setting usually come across and override the OO defaults, but some Word settings are stored differently and don't always come across. The most common case being the original document was default set up to Quarto or Foolscap as a page size and the OO setting is for A4 - this changes where the page size, so it alters the page width and the end of page. Another common format change is the way the two applications do 'gutters' this is a space you provide in documents to allow for the binding of the document. MS have it as a separate setting to the page margin, while in Open Office you incorporate it in the margin size setting. The space for the Word gutter will disappear, and you need only open the page format settings and add it to the left margin setting and select 'mirrored' for the set out style. This is often not an issue as few people know how to set the 'gutter' setting in Word, and fewer use it. 2. A proprietary font is used in the document and it has not yet been loaded into OO. In this case OO will select the nearest font it has to the one used in the original, or use the default font set up in OO - depending upon if it has a close enough font installed. This will often change the character spacing and the format of the document. Installation of the font will resolve this issue, if there is enough usage to warrant chasing it down and installing it. A major part of this is the MS Word default fonts are sometimes MS proprietary ones, like Times New Roman - OO has an equivalent called Nimbus Roman which it will use, but there is a MS Font package available for download and installation if you want it. 3. Macros embedded in the document. Some macros come across OK, some don't. This is because the MS macros are often in MS proprietary code like VB which doesn't always have an Open Source equivalent that works exactly the same when coded the MS way. The Open Source equivalent can do all the same stuff, but sometimes, for copyright reasons, they have to do it slightly different or with a different trigger. This is just a matter of recreating the macro within OO - a task you sometimes have to do in Word anyway, due to changes there. 4. Embedded link. These come across perfectly, but the link don't always work, as a lot depends upon what they are. A link to open Excel and draw in a file using Excel to format the display is NOT going to work if you no longer have Excel on the system. The resolution of this issue requires a little work in that you have to go into the document and recreate the link using the software you currently have on the system. ................. From my experience, the number of times you have an issue with these problems is relatively small. The most common has been the font issue - until the MS fonts are installed, then permanently resolved, - about 5% of document conversions. The second most common is the format issue, usually as a page format concern - about 3% of conversions, and sometimes as a gutter setting - seen it twice. Issues with macros have happened in about 2% of conversions. And I've only seen three cases of problems with links, and they were quickly fixed. Other people will probably have had different experiences with their conversions, but I've had to convert thousands of documents because the latest versions of MS Word / Office can't do it; documents many years old, but still required as reference sources for legal reasons, and some because they are still relevant reference sources. .................. The one place where OO is not as good as MS Office is the database is not as strong as Access, but I haven't had need to use the OO database in five years, so I can't speak from personal experience. And if I ever want a strong database, I wouldn't use Access either, probably get MySQL or dig out my old copy of Oracle 9.

burkni
burkni

I'm kind of new to Linux, been working with it for 5-6 years or so but I've moved more and more over to the Linux side. I've made firewalls and gateways just in CLI but always been looking for a distro that does it in GUI because that's where it really becomes homefriendly. I found ClearOS. I tried it and just recently I set it up at a office that needed a file-, web-, mail-, print-server and a firewall/gateway. ClearOS does that and more. And I trust that more to do all that at once than having it on Win server. So I agree with the article author, Linux can do that... ...and more. ...(yes I know, it's written on a Win XP lap with M$ Office2k7 but that's because it's the environment I have to work in. I'm slowly but surely moving everything I can over to Linux. First the servers and then...)

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Because they can't set the VCR clock [u]without[/u] the manual. :p

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

With a distro based on a good packaging system one could purge X and the DE layer on top of it but wouldn't they just be reinstalling X again in a week when they make another config change? After years of Mandriva and being equally comfortable in it's GUI tools and raw config files, I was blown away by how rationally Debian's config files are layed out along with default settings. If one is going to claim the title "admin" it's worth learning to work without a GUI. Even on the Windows side as the cli continues to evolve. In addition, it would be more appropriate to use Webmin as a browser interface for managing the server; less resource use and a simple service to start or stop as needed. It'll provide a rather nice Samba manager among the list of other service managers.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

These are rather large ugly-underneath documents produced by people who's expertise are elsewhere outside of publishing. Things like embedding a spreadsheet instead of simply pasting the table in as an image or honking huge original source images instead of copies reduced down to the required size/crop. One document size squished down by nearly 70% by simply reducing the images to the required resolution within the document (one nice function available in the image properties for PP and Word if not the rest).

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Maybe the documents we're receiving don't include any of the troublesome features.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

You can set the default format as .doc right off the Word Options menu.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The issue is receiving files from other organizations in .docx format rather than our files being saved into a format other organizations can't make full use of. Writing extra code to support the MS provide plugin for an MS product seems to defeat the purpose of the plugin. I do like your suggested hack (a clean quick solution to a given problem) and will keep it in mind.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

until I read your entire post and realized logic has no place in your thought processes. [i]Unfortunately, this - the business - is an area closed for the open source. As well as for many of us. Open Source relies entirely on self-sufficient fans (like the one I found here who replaces an entire functionality provided by W2008 server with Samba - now, how funny is this?). Again, the only use - very good use - for Linux I found it to be for the application and DB servers. I love them.[/i] WTF are you on? Even the Red Queen makes more sense than that sequence of sentences. You and your buddies go play with the bears. I hope the bears have fun. I think I'll just have a beer.

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