"You call it "macro-twiddling", I call it "using the available tools to automate time consuming tasks and improve the accuracy of frequently performed multi-step tasks for semi-computer-literate workers"."
Frequently, time-consuming tasks that shouldn't be done in a spreadsheet in the first place. But then, for the worker who can only use a hammer...
"I'm not suggesting VB macros are rocket science, nor that similar tools aren't available in open source alternatives. However, as it stands I don't have the resources to magically recreate all the macros I've twiddled over the years, nor to retrain all the (barely trainable in the first place) staff that use windows/Office."
So what you're saying is that you've locked everybody into a proprietary platform where, short of people providing an emulation of all the nuts and bolts in something like LibreOffice, a single vendor gets to call the shots, ultimately. And how are all those macros managed? Do they live their own lives being passed around or can you administer them in a sane way? When macros grow up they need managing like proper software - a skill apparently absent in many man-plus-dog shops in the Microsphere.
"The amount of productivity that would be lost by changing horses mid-stream would easily pay for our MS licensing for several years. The amount of money spent on training courses to use said FOSS would pay for another 6 months of MS licensing."
What you're saying is that even if a lot of that automation could be done in other ways or completely eliminated, you can't take advantage of that because it'd cost too much. Where are all the change management consultants when you need them?
And when Microsoft change the UI for their stuff do they give you a 6 month discount on the licensing?
"As for those who think buying an i5 with win7 enterprise is overkill for a basic ward PC, you really have no understanding of IT estate management do you?"
I don't know. Maybe they do. Who are you to say? Sure, you have to standardise and get the most reasonable kit being made now that will still be supported over its lifetime, and the closer to the mainstream the better, so even if something from the 8-bit era could do the job, if someone isn't still making it in quantity, it won't be cheap or serviceable - we get it! - but...
"Machines have to be specced so that they have a reasonable prospect of being serviceable and supportable for at least a couple of years longer than the organisation's 'refresh cycle', and the image has to be standardised or helpdesk becomes unworkable."
Sure, but you're on somebody else's treadmill, remember? And I'm not talking about Intel/AMD and what the box vendor is pushing out there.
"Can you imagine being the poor helpdesk drone asking "what processor and windows version are you running?" when you've got a shouty nurse whose "thingy doesn't come up when she clicks the whatsit"?"
But that's another thing: the fancier the solution, the more confused the users. People love to pooh-pooh open source stuff and say that some feature isn't supported or that you can't embed a Word document in an e-mail by dragging it over some widget or other while giving the computer a lap dance - or whatever - but in any large organisation there's a large group of people who are stumped by whatever "intuitive" user interface Microsoft has come up with.
If Microsoft keep moving the furniture and have that treadmill set to "marathon winner" you shouldn't be complaining about the people telling you to get off.