back to article Large Redmond Collider: CERN reveals plan to shift from Microsoft to open-source code after tenfold license fee hike

For the past twenty years, European boffinry nerve-center CERN has enjoyed licensing Microsoft products on favorable terms as an academic institution. Last year, anticipating an end to its discount, the lab, perhaps best known for the Large Hadron Collider, set in motion plans to shift toward open-source software to better …

  1. werdsmith Silver badge

    I have stood in the rooms above the CERN data centre floor and looked at the racks and racks of Transtec servers all running *nix and wasn't aware Microsoft was involved. I guess it must be their admin function.

    1. JassMan Silver badge

      That probably accounts for the 10 fold increase. A few bean counters can't cope with Linux 'cos they might accidentally see a command line so they need Windows. MS demands that they pay for every single seat in the organization 'cos you know the techies might cheat and run Windows just so they can see what they are not missing. Run it once, but you have to pay a lifetime subscription.

      1. nematoad Silver badge
        Happy

        Rock, hard place etc.

        "A few bean counters can't cope with Linux 'cos they might accidentally see a command line so they need Windows."

        Yes, and won't that put said bean counters in a bind?

        On the one hand they have been used to the Windows "experience" and had to pay a smallish amount for the privilege. Now however MS has decided "No more mister nice guy" and upped the rates. So where are they going to turn?

        Moving to another OS is often a somewhat jarring experience but with the skills of the organisation surely it is not beyond their abilities to smooth the path for those affected.

        Remember this is not a SME we are talking about, this is CERN and they have some extremely smart people working there.

        1. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          Re: Rock, hard place etc.

          "this is CERN and they have some extremely smart people working there"

          In their field. In my experience some of these people are some of the dumbest most useless and stubborn users on the planet. Absolutely brilliant at what they do, but an utter nightmare to support. Sheldon Cooper isn't an outlier, he's middle of the road batshit crazy.

          Long may the continue their research and development, the world needs it, but I feel sorry for the support monkeys.

          1. keithpeter
            Coat

            Re: Rock, hard place etc.

            "Absolutely brilliant at what they do, but an utter nightmare to support. Sheldon Cooper isn't an outlier, he's middle of the road batshit crazy."

            Just hazarding a guess, but would the stubbornness be mainly around upgrading and possible changes in behaviour in computation environments?

            Good luck Sheldon-herding.

            1. NetBlackOps

              Re: Rock, hard place etc.

              A-bloody-men. You do not upgrade anything without extremely careful consideration as you can easily toss reproducibility right out the window. Given the amount of data they generate in a day (heck, hour or less really), having to go back and retrieve archived data and also run them through freshly upgraded tools isn't done at all, if it can be avoided. Instrumentation is given exactly the same level of consideration.

              1. Kiwi Silver badge
                Pint

                Re: Rock, hard place etc.

                You do not upgrade anything without extremely careful consideration as you can easily toss reproducibility right out the window.

                As mentioned elsewhere in this thread, the productive stuff is done on *nix. They probably figured that out with the change from Win311-Win95, if not earlier. Or the axing of OS2..

                Open Source is the only way when you have to be able to reproduce things much later. As you rightly note, it only needs something to be out by a minuscule amount to throw all the data off.

          2. sid1950

            Re: Rock, hard place etc.

            Do you know that HTML and the World Wide Web was invented at CER?. Do you know that all the control software, and the data processing software used by the LHC was designed in-house? Nearly all physics is done with Open Source. The place where Windows is used is on the desktop, but I notice that most of the screens you see in control rooms are running Ubuntu or some form of Unix.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Rock, hard place etc.

            From a Sci-Fi novel written 60+ years ago:

            Assistant director of big physics institute goes into boss's office to find him holding his head in his hands. When asked what is wrong, the Director says "Joe just quit." The AB says "but Joe's just the janitor, why are you so upset?"

            The Boss looks out his window at the dozens of physicists roaming the lab floor and says "I can replace any of these people tomorrow, but do you realize how hard it is to hire a good janitor!?"

          4. Jove Bronze badge

            Re: Rock, hard place etc.

            Supporting highly skilled, academic, and knowledge-based teams can be difficult, but not because of who they are, rather because of the nature of the work they undertake.

            In research and advanced technology that can mean you are providing solutions at an individual basis, but that is the nature of the job in those sort of environments.

        2. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: Rock, hard place etc.

          On the one hand they have been used to the Windows "experience" and had to pay a smallish amount for the privilege. Now however MS has decided "No more mister nice guy" and upped the rates. So where are they going to turn?

          Windows greed strikes again. I wonder if being pushed to Win 10 didn't help either what all it's issues.

          1. aks Bronze badge

            Re: Rock, hard place etc.

            They're probably still in Windows XP.

            1. bombastic bob Silver badge
              Stop

              Re: Rock, hard place etc.

              still in XP? That would be a GOOD thing!

              XP works just fine for my 3D printer software, though I admit I had to massage it and talk nice to it while getting the drivers and stuff installed...

              The computer doing teh 3D pinting came with XP. It's one o' those low-end Lenovo "book sized" deals with a 1.something Ghz atom processor. Again, works fine for 3D printing. And if I were to "up" grade it, maybe not so much...

              nothing wrong wiht XP. Micro-shaft should've stuck with it.

              1. Potemkine! Silver badge

                Re: Rock, hard place etc.

                still in XP? That would be a GOOD thing!

                If your computer is not connected to a network, maybe.

              2. Bigkahuna456

                Re: Rock, hard place etc.

                Oh. and how would we make the move to 64 bit.

            2. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Rock, hard place etc.

              "They're probably still in Windows XP."

              There is a show with Marry Berry on a Royal Navy ship and in the scene where she is given a tour of the bridge, there is a monitor console showing an XP screen saver/logo.

              Be afraid, be very afraid.

        3. Kiwi Silver badge
          Linux

          Re: Rock, hard place etc.

          Moving to another OS is often a somewhat jarring experience but with the skills of the organisation surely it is not beyond their abilities to smooth the path for those affected.

          Jarring - yes. But often not in a bad way. I've helped people move from MS to Windows, from StaleOldLinux to Mint or other ReallyNicelyPolishedLinux, to/from MacOS - based on finding out what their needs and usage patterns are and giving them something more suited.

          The sound of an elderly friend proclaiming "I didn't know my computer could be so easy to use!" when I moved him from Win7 to the latest Mint in 2013 still rings in my ears. He's now quite capable of installing his own OS's and has given Zorin a play on one machine, has updated his main ones to Mint 19, and is quite active on his chosen breeds of social mania (not FB thankfully). Just one of several who found moving to something better suited to their needs.

          One even commented that I'd made his screen 'much clearer', not realising his OS had been changed. He was moved to YLMF from XP, where the graphics drivers for his hardware weren't exactly working properly.

          Despite what the MS etc fanbois would have you believe, it's not always a bad thing. Sometimes the experience is pleasant enough and if properly set up the change can be quite significant yet the workflow improvements enough that they adapt quickly and are much better able to do the things they want.

          Though we are talking beancounters or managers here, so perhaps CERN should put some detectors around and see if there really is an actual WHINGE particle after all. It may be found to move between managerial offices much faster than light.

        4. tfewster Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Rock, hard place etc.

          > Moving to another OS is often a somewhat jarring experience

          Like Windows 7 to Windows 10? Or Windows to MacOS? Or - shock, horror - voluntarily learning a completely new OS on your own - such as iOS/Android - alongside using your computer?

          Moving from Windows to another WIMP interface that's designed to emulate "classic" Windows is easy in comparison.

          1. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: Rock, hard place etc.

            Going between Mac and Windows7 isn't that big of a deal. They're pretty similar (although, I give the Mac UI experience higher marks). Win 10 feels more like it was birthed after a mass of people from Fischer-Price were brought in.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's not just bean counters. I've never found Linux all that usable, and I'm about as technically minded as they come.

        I mean it's okay for Office work- except without MS Office it's not compatible with the current market leader. And CAD, if you can do without the likes of Creo or Solidworks. Circuit designers dont have Altium. Photographers dont have Photoshop.

        At least it's just got a version of Visual Studio. Just not, like, the full one.

        But yeah, I guess people are just scared of command lines.

        Or they dont have time to move their workflows and data over to Linux at the same time as doing their own jobs for no benefit to themselves. You know, either or.

        1. highdiver_2000

          Its the updates

          Updating the applications or packages on the Linux world to put it plainly can daunting.

          The main package is easy. The pre-requisites for this lib and that was nothing but a real pain.

          1. fedoraman

            Re: Its the updates

            Really? There are package managers that will handle the dependencies for you, automatically. True, they do sometimes encounter problems, but mostly work really well.

            1. Korev Silver badge
              Linux

              Re: Its the updates

              The usual problem we see is authors writing software on bleeding edge Ubuntu or Fedora and then not compiling / installing on a more stable Linux due to glibc errors.

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: Its the updates

                Quite often the problem isn't that the bleeding edge version is needed, it's just the one specified in the bleedin' config file and something antique would do perfectly well.

          2. M. Poolman

            Re: Its the updates

            To be honest, I think you might be installing things wrong.

            In ~15 yrs of administering a small network of Ubuntu and/or Debian machines, I don't think I have ever seen a dependency problem installing from apt, and any other problems are as rare as hen's teeth.

            Of course the situation is different if you are installing stuff from tarballs, in that case dependency problems are not unknown, and are, I agree, a PITA. However, given the range of software available in the standard repositories, it's pretty unusal to need to do this.

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: Its the updates

              In ~15 yrs of administering a small network of Ubuntu and/or Debian machines, I don't think I have ever seen a dependency problem installing from apt, and any other problems are as rare as hen's teeth.

              That ~15 years is your problem. You have so much experience and find things so easy that you don't know how it feels to a new user.

              I've have no end of problems with package managers. Imagine a new user gets told he has to run some command line to point at a different repository? Easy to you, a new user might just give up.

              1. Lars Silver badge
                Happy

                Re: Its the updates

                Have you never met a new/old Windows user who just gave up.

                1. georgezilla Bronze badge

                  Re: Its the updates

                  Yes I have.

                  And in the majority of those cases, it wasn't Linux that caused them to give up.

                2. Tom 7 Silver badge

                  Re: Its the updates

                  I remember when C# and ,.NET came out and promised to end DLL hell. I wrote loads of really useful stuff that wouldnt work under the first major upgrade. And you couldn't run the two on the same machine. Really pissed me off.

                  On Linux you just modify the paths and order to various libraries/headers etc and you can run as many different mixes of things you want.

              2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                Re: Its the updates

                > Imagine a new user gets told he has to run some command line to point at a different repository?

                They may need a few weeks training to do a copy and paste ?

              3. Evil3eaver

                Re: Its the updates

                There is your problem don't use 3rd party repos. I know it is hard sometimes to not do this but you will have an extremely stable experience. FYI what you can do is install synaptic and select the library in question and press ctrl-E (or select Package in the file menu and then select "Force Version") which will let you revert back to original ubuntu repo version so you can undo the 3rd party repo changes. It's a bit of pain in the a$$ but things can be fix ... unlike windows where your pretty much F'ed and clean install is by far the easiest and quickest way to a fix.

                Advice to the linux noobs, only use big vendor 3rd party repos like oracle (cringe, don't like to say it but...) google (again cringe, do(n't) be evil) or repos that have had many years of existence.

                I know it is a bit tough at first for everyone who has made this transition has had these pains but it does subside.... talking from experience.

                It took me about 5 years to go from "WTH just happened, black screen, WTF is going on", or "What is this kernel panic thing repeating on my screen, WTH is a kernel..." or being told (post 2005) "be careful if you don't set things properly in linux you could burn out your hardware" to being the linux expert in the office. Now I run my own lab and only use Windows where I am forced to (and believe me I fight to get a linux desktop every time). Was recently told that my workstation in the lab are going to upgraded and since this is my lab and I am responsible for everything within it I demanded linux, and the excuse what about new people that come in... my response is "This is security engineering, there is no such thing as I don't know linux and if that is the case why did you hire him/her... I don't want them". Like seriously anyone who has graduated any security course like anywhere in the world has heard of Kali so no excuses. If you passed your course then you know linux, period.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Its the updates

                  > only use big vendor 3rd party repos like oracle

                  If you're new to Linux and someone tells you to add an Oracle repo, be careful. Like everything Oracle, there's an agenda.

                  Also, for newbies, there are non-Oracle alternatives for everything.

                  If you still feel like you must add the Oracle repo, find a non-newbie Linux user to help you out.

              4. georgezilla Bronze badge

                Re: Its the updates

                " ... Imagine a new user gets told he has to run some command line to point at a different repository? ... "

                Can they use a search engine like Google?

                Can they fallow instructions?

                Can they "copy/paste"?

                Then they can use the command line. WITHOUT ever knowing what they are doing. Or even why.

                The last several times that I needed to install anything from the CLI it literally was that easy.

                Yes, yes, YMMV. But it also applies to life in general.

                1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
                  Facepalm

                  Re: Its the updates

                  @georgezilla

                  Then they find it doesn't work, because the instructions are for a different version, or worse, it appears to work, but problems crop up weeks later and it's not clear which set of instructions are to blame. And that is just when the instruction authors are well-meaning but out-of-date or inexact.

                  By they way, I have some new security instructions from your bank for you to follow... don't worry about what or why...

              5. Updraft102 Silver badge

                Re: Its the updates

                I've have no end of problems with package managers. Imagine a new user gets told he has to run some command line to point at a different repository? Easy to you, a new user might just give up.

                You don't have to use the command line. Package managers allow editing the software sources from within the GUI, but it's easier to just give the terminal commands when in a "helping over the web" context, since you don't have to write a long, step-by-step guide and tailor the advice to the exact package manager in question. It's a simple cut and paste job when you need to add repos or PPAs... even Windows "help me" responses often include the command line rather than trying to walk someone through the various steps of using the GUI to do the same thing. If you can handle copy and paste, you can follow the directions... and if not, go learn to copy and paste first, as it is a baseline computer skill that everyone should have, even if they only use Windows.

              6. bombastic bob Silver badge
                Trollface

                Re: Its the updates

                " you don't know how it feels to a new user."

                Heh - a FEELER, huh? FEEL the 4 letter 'F' word. You should try THINKING instead.

              7. M. Poolman

                Re: Its the updates

                The only only advantage the ~15yrs has given me is to reinforce the message always stick with the defaults unless you are absolutely sure you need to do something different, you understand why you need to do something different, you understand how the alternatives work, and then try it out on non-production system first.

                14.5 years ago, I only had 6 months experience with apt, and I'd never seen a dependency problem. That is why I now have 15 yrs experience. 99.9% of what I have ever installed has come from the standard repo's.

                PS when I mentioned apt in my OP, I meant the overall packaging system, not necessarily the command line. The synaptic package manager provides a very nice gui and is what I use most of the time, and would certainly recommend to noobs.

              8. tfewster Silver badge
                Facepalm

                Re: Its the updates

                > Imagine a new user gets told he has to run some command line to point at a different repository?

                OMG, like, yeah, I have to go to different websites to download all the Windows games and programs I want? Or install Ninite? Or map a drive to a curated collection on a company server?

                And on a fresh Linux Mint install, I had to type "Skype" at the start menu before it offered to download and install it for me from a distro ready-mapped repo. Barbaric!

          3. DuncanLarge Silver badge

            Re: Its the updates

            What are you talking about? You click a button. One button, once. When the message pops up. You just click a button.

            You know I can open my front door by putting a key into it and turning a handle, thats more complicated and I can still do it.

          4. bombastic bob Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: Its the updates

            "The pre-requisites for this lib and that was nothing but a real pain."

            Me-thinks you do NOT know of what you speak.

          5. itzman

            Re: Its the updates

            Another extraordinary post.

            What is daunting about typing your passwords and hitting OK?

          6. drankinatty

            Re: Its the updates

            That's just plain NUTS. Modern package mangers make updating Linux dead-bang-simple. Whether is pacman for Archlinux, zypper for openSUSE, apt for the Debian/Ubuntu world. Nothing could be simpler. With a simple 'alias' you can reduce it to a simple 2 to 4-key single-word task. For example "pmsu" for `sudo pacman -Syu` or "zu" for `sudo zypper up` or "agud" for `sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade`. Even without the aliases the commands are less than 20-characters. Best of all, you get to choose "when" and "if" you run the update...

          7. Esme

            Re: Its the updates

            AC and highdiver_2000 - you're either many years out of date, not as competent at IT as you think you are, or you're trolling, IMO. Linux is an absolute doddle to install and use even for non-techies, and has been so for quite a few years now. I've had multiple experiences of giving non-IT folk a Linux install disk, in about half the cases they installed it themselves with me merely looking over their shoulder in case they had questions. Every single one was delighted with the result, could do every thing they needed to with Linux, and was even happier months later at the lack of problems they'd had compared to using Windows. Oh, and you do not have to use the command line at all, ever, if you do not want to.

            I don't understand why some folk bother trying to imply that Linux is hard to use and that you have to be able to use the command line. That;'s a bit like saying that Army life is all being yelled at by centurions and slogging away at gladius training for a couple of hours a day... !

        2. NATTtrash

          OK, I'll bite. I think that technically minded has nothing to do with it. Open minded perhaps, complacency maybe.

          Nobody can or should determine your workflow and choice of tools. Then again, as we all know, many do/ try. But your argument about "industry standards" is rubbish.

          First industry standards develop by use in practice and by general consensus. Repeating that something is an industry standard is always almost exclusively done by manufacturers/ suppliers to defend/ promote/ market their own product.

          Further, it's only software, so solutions are always possible. For example if MS would conform to ISO standards, compatibility wouldn't even be an issue. As would the program to create content not be either. Oh, and for the industry standard Photoshop you mention? (No I won't mention Gimp, because after 25 years I'm too lazy for that): it runs perfectly fine without issues on my *nix with wine, while all my other open source image viewers have absolutely no issues with .psd files... You know what is an issue with Photoshop? That it keeps phoning home, and then remotely is reminded that it's the industry standard used in a non-industry standard way.

          As Adobe wil tell you themselves, "Your only limit is your imagination", as long as you do what they tell you to do. I suppose that's what you get when imagination and intelligence becomes you can only buy in a box and/or install through an app...

          1. oiseau Silver badge
            Pint

            if MS would conform to ISO standards, compatibility wouldn't even be an issue.

            Well said, short and to the point.

            It's not friday yet, but still --->

          2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

            For example if MS would conform to ISO standards

            Didn't you get the memo - they do conform to an ISO standard. That was so important to them that they bought their very own - a badly written one, one that writes into a standard errors in their software, one that reinvents (eg) country codes when there are existing standard codes, and which is not implementable or testable since it contains things like "[proprietary and undocumented] blob".

            So when you say you want "open standard compliance" they can tick the box and tell you "yep, we've got our very own" !

            As an aside, I recall reading a little while after that debacle*, that some standards groups were crippled and unable to do any work. Committees that had been stuffed with MS shills suddenly found lots of new members who were no longer interested - and so they found themselves without a quorum to operate.

            * I noted that the BSI did a review of the proposed standard and basically slated it from cover to cover.- but then after an influx of new members to the committee voted for it !

            1. NATTtrash

              I noted that the BSI did a review of the proposed standard...

              You do realise that a Notified Body like BSI is paid by... the manufacturer, right? Little bit like a butcher certifying her/ his own meat? And sure, they don't want to loose their licence, but it also indicates that stuff might be more than meets the eye at first glance...

              And yes, I agree with you; as you described perfectly, that's indeed how you can create a "standard", "common practice", "consensus", or "guideline". Or whatever you want your original objective to be seen/ accepted as. I've personal experience with that for a couple decades, and it still works in so many different areas. Get something that (seems to) carries authority, and start lobbying it. Never fails. As MS proved with their "tailor made" ISO. Isn't it surprising what money can buy you these days? ☺

          3. georgezilla Bronze badge

            " ... Nobody can or should determine your workflow and choice of tools. ... "

            But isn't that exactly what happens when you use Windows and OS X?

            And people seem perfectly with it.

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "Circuit designers dont have Altium."

          I'd guess that in CERN they might use KiCAD instead. After all, they maintain it.

          1. Drew 11

            Maybe they're switching to pcb-rnd?

          2. Camilla Smythe

            Use Kicad Instead...

            Sure. Last time I poked at that it was dirt. OK... just for you...

            Please take a look at the list of changes below. 195MB will be downloaded. 2.8GB more disk space will be used.

            https://imgur.com/t6Qb5m2

            That was a waste of 2.8GB of disk space. Fuck Off.

          3. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Linux

            I think the Altium bunch is near enough to me that maybe I can go over there some day with a ginormous penguin-shaped cluebat and get them to create a Linux version.

            no looking back if they finally "get it", I bet. I think CAD started with X terminals, now didn't it?

        4. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          I mean it's okay for Office work- except without MS Office it's not compatible with the current market leader.

          Libre Office is compatible enough with MS Office. Besides that, if I have to send documents, I send them in PDF anyway.

          1. alain williams Silver badge

            Document formats

            Libre Office is compatible enough with MS Office.

            You don't have compatibility between programs, it is programs' ability to correctly handle document formats. The pain is that the MS .doc/.docx formats are not properly defined. So use .odf which is fully defined. LibreOffice works well with ODF - although MSOffice does have some problems - which might be deliberate.

            Besides that, if I have to send documents, I send them in PDF anyway.

            Sigh, many people do not understand the difference between an editable document (use .odf or .docx) if you want someone to easily change it; and a non editable (or print) document (for which PDF is great).

            Only yesterday I received an invoice in a .docx, such a thing should not be changeable, it should have been a PDF. I have given up trying to tell most people.

            1. katrinab Silver badge

              Re: Document formats

              pdfs are editable. They are not designed with editing in mind, so it is not the easiest thing to do, but at the same time, they are not designed to make editing impossible.

              1. elgarak1

                Re: Document formats

                PDF WAS designed with editable in mind. That was always an option.

                The point is that it was an option. It became useful because it had an option of "not editable fixed formatting" which no one else offered at the time. That then became the default.

                But even with this default "not editable fixed formatting" it was always editable, except that most users (in particular on Windows) needed to buy Adobe software to do it.

                (Theoretically, you can package almost anything in PDF. The problem that it is quite messy behind the scenes to do so, so that it is not guaranteed that the recipient can see all of it.)

                1. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: Document formats

                  @elgarak1

                  Libreoffice will open a pdf for editing. It loads into the draw program so its not imported as 'word' but is completely editable.

                  1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

                    Re: Document formats

                    "Libreoffice will open a pdf for editing."

                    So does word, unfortunately.

                    However if you save the content of the PDF as a scanned image of the text, it cant ;)

                2. katrinab Silver badge

                  Re: Document formats

                  You can open a pdf in MS word. It might make a complete mess of it, or sometimes it might look reasonably like the original, especially if it was created in Word, but either way, it can be done.

                  You can also open them in Excel, but it will make a mess of it. It is better to open in Word and copy/paste tables into Excel.

            2. oiseau Silver badge
              Facepalm

              Re: Document formats

              ... although MSOffice does have some problems - which might be deliberate.

              How dare you imply such a thing !!!!!

              In all the years this noble and selfless corporate effort to bring the power of IT to the masses has been around, has there ever been even the slightest hint of anyhing such being the case?

              You sir, should be ashamed of yourself.

              O.

            3. DuncanLarge Silver badge

              Re: Document formats

              "Only yesterday I received an invoice in a .docx, such a thing should not be changeable, it should have been a PDF"

              I was once really dismayed to be asked to send my CV in docx format and not the read only PDF I sent.

              When I went to the interview I saw my CV had been modified by the agency, removing and changing my formatting (there was no formatting left).

              I showed the interviewers my original printed copy and they were very shocked to see what the agency did as well. They actually thought I had written the CV in notepad!!

              1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

                Re: Document formats

                This going way off topic, but that is business as usual for most agencies. And if screwing up the formatting is the only thing that agency did, you were very lucky.

            4. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: Document formats

              Libre Office is compatible enough with MS Office.

              Get real.

              I use Libre Office, but I have to open everything in MS Word and fix the formatting errors before it goes off to publisher, or the publisher will charge me for doing it.

              1. Kabukiwookie Silver badge

                Re: Document formats

                And with the ODF format comprehensively described in an OSI standard, who's fault do you think it is that the file doesn't render properly when loaded in Word?

                On the other hand the MS devs have lits of time to create entire game easter eggs in their office software.

                1. werdsmith Silver badge

                  Re: Document formats

                  And with the ODF format comprehensively described in an OSI standard, who's fault do you think it is that the file doesn't render properly when loaded in Word?

                  Blaming someone is of no help whatsoever.

                  1. Kabukiwookie Silver badge

                    Re: Document formats

                    Blaming someone is of no help whatsoever.

                    It's not about assigning blame, it's about root-cause analysis. Not addressing the root cause is why we have this incompatibility issue to begin with.

              2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

                Re: Document formats

                Get real.

                I use Libre Office, but I have to open everything in MS Word and fix the formatting errors before it goes off to publisher, or the publisher will charge me for doing it.

                Just send it (properly formatted) as PDF to the publisher. If that publisher can't handle that, find another one. No reason whatsoever to redo something in some non-standard application like MS Word.

                1. werdsmith Silver badge

                  Re: Document formats

                  Just send it (properly formatted) as PDF to the publisher. If that publisher can't handle that, find another one. No reason whatsoever to redo something in some non-standard application like MS Word.

                  My reply was to illustrate reality to someone who suggested LibreOffice output is compatible with word output.

                  Bringing pdf into the matter doesn't change anything.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Document formats

                  > Just send it (properly formatted) as PDF to the publisher.

                  Be careful to embed the fonts, as it's optional and not done by default in a lot of software.

                  Many publishers will notice, and/or at least double check before running the print job.

                  If they don't though... the replacement fonts used can make for a bad time.

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Document formats

                Libre Office lacks Outlook - been a user for over two decades and not interested in switching to one of the many variants.

                1. FozzyBear Silver badge

                  Re: Document formats

                  Libre Office lacks Outlook

                  How is that a bad thing?

                2. Jakester

                  Re: Document formats

                  Yes, Libre Office doesn't have Outlook. Thank-you for noticing. I much prefer Thunderbird - easier and faster to configure. If you have you e-mail with an ISP, Thunderbird can be configured to leave a copy of sent documents into a sent folder in your ISP e-mail account. I have never seen (found) such a setting in any version of Outlook.

              4. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Document formats

                When was the last time you used LibreOffice... haven't seen the issues your talking about in a few years (although I will admit this was an issue) but I counter with this:

                I used OpenOffice (at the time libreoffice didn't exist) hundreds of times to fix corrupt office documents cause Windows/Office. Even trying to open these files on a clean install of windows/office didn't work so the simple fix was open it in OpenOffice save a new copy of the file ("Save-As") and let the user deal with the format fixing. Although a pain but a several hundred page doc that opens is better than trying to remember from memory what was written. And yes I used this fix for docs, xls, ppt but alas not ms access but F that "TOOL" only dummies use it these days, always been a problem on every migration.

                Guess that is what you get when deadlines and sales figures are more important that ensuring that MS Access migrates between versions.

                1. nijam

                  Re: Document formats

                  Yes, we have routinely needed to use LibreOffice (and OpenOffice before that) to repair Word documents that the user's copy of Word can't read for some reason. Simply open in LibreOffice then save as '.doc' format, problem solved.

                  Except that the real problem is Word (coupled with user's determination to use it).

              5. DuncanLarge Silver badge

                Re: Document formats

                " I have to open everything in MS Word and fix the formatting errors before it goes off to publisher"

                I used to have to do that too, when I was saving to DOC format.

                If your publisher is still using Office 97, change publisher. No publisher that uses office will have a problem opening an ODT, its literally impossible as Office supports the ODF format. If your publisher cant double click on an ODT file and have it open in Office then they are using something older than Office 2003. Even WordPad, yes WordPad on windows 10 fully supports ODF!

                I'd seriously question trusting a publisher that runs software that is approaching its 20th anniversary.

                Everybody of note uses ODF. NATO, the UN, the british government, the EU government, all have standardised on ODF. Apple, Google, IBM have all stated they use ODF. Its a world standard and there simply is not excuse for not being able to use it.

                Or are you saying that when saving in ODF Word is inserting formatting errors due to it being incompatible enough with ODF? Well thats Words fault, perhaps you should look for a publisher who can handle modern document formats.

            5. Mark 85 Silver badge

              Re: Document formats

              MSOffice does have some problems - which might be deliberate.

              Might be deliberate? Remember what MS pulled to kill off WordPerfect? I'd say "very much" deliberate.

            6. bombastic bob Silver badge
              Devil

              Re: Document formats

              "Libre Office is compatible enough with MS Office."

              As far as I can tell it is. I was handed a spreadsheet that needed to be modified, running _THE_ _ONLY_ Linux workstation at that site [I needed Linux to use remote X11 with embedded devices so I could edit code on them and do other things like 'meld' to manage source control and changes and whatnot - embedded device has a tiny screen, NO good for development, so it's a must-have and a reason NOT to use Windows _OR_ Wayland, but I digress..] and no problems reading it, modifying the hell out of it, and submitting the modified version. it was created on a Win-10-nic machine using a somewhat recent version of MS Office, since that's what everyone else seems to be using.

              the only problem I've had is trying to print on a Lexmark "all in one" type color laser printer. Ate a box o' paper doing a test page. Maybe Lexmark has a driver for it but I haven't needed to print so I left it uninstalled after that. Kinda funny in a way...

            7. Wayland Bronze badge

              Re: Document formats

              The point is that Word docs invite editing where as PDF invites you to just print it.

              1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                Re: Document formats

                > PDF invites you to just print it.

                The latest LibreOffice beta apparently goes much further. See article:

                https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/06/04/libreoffice_63_beta/

                """the redaction tool offers a "Redacted Export" option, which creates a PDF in which the document becomes a bitmap with no selectable text."""

                1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

                  Re: Document formats

                  "the redaction tool offers a "Redacted Export" option, which creates a PDF in which the document becomes a bitmap with no selectable text"

                  That is just neat! Saves me from having to print and then scan to PDF to get a non-editable bitmap.

            8. Jakester

              Re: Document formats

              People complain that Libre Office is not compatible with Microsoft Office. The big elephant in the room is that Microsoft Office (pick a previous version) is often not compatible with Microsoft Office (current version). For users who insist on having Microsoft Office on their computer, I usually also install Libre Office. Why? Well, when they call me to say they can't open a document their received by e-mail, or they opened a document they had created years before with Microsoft Office (a previous version) and they can't fix the formatting. The usual fix is I have them show me which document, I open it in Libre Office, fix the document, save it, give them my invoice and leave.

              I learned years ago that you can spend hours trying to fix a document in Microsoft Office that just can't be fixed with Microsoft Office.

              1. Moosh

                Re: Document formats

                On the subject of open/libre office; we recently had a production incident at the pension company I work at, where one of the execs of the company - as a member of the pension scheme - had downloaded their contribution history (a newly added function) as a CSV file, and was wondering why it was so messed up when he opened it. Turns out he was using open office and it just didn't open CSVs properly, regardless of what we did, and the issue was still present in the latest available version of open office. It would open as a jumbled mess instead of as a readable table.

                1. Kiwi Silver badge
                  FAIL

                  Re: Document formats

                  Turns out he was using open office and it just didn't open CSVs properly, regardless of what we did, and the issue was still present in the latest available version of open office. It would open as a jumbled mess instead of as a readable table.

                  Perhcance you need to go back to computing 101 and re-sit the course?

                  Did you mess up the import function (which is so basic even Trump would get it right on the 5th go!)? Or did you have your cell sizes somehow messed up so it was screwing up the formatting when you only needed to correct the cell sizes to your display? (Again, Trump could get that right in less than 10 goes!)

                  1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

                    Re: Document formats

                    Speaking from experience, OpenOffice is quite versatile with it's import csv facility. It is possible that not all options were investigated because the user may have been describing the available options to those supporting him.

                    If the result was still scrambled at the end of investigating those options, my view is that the output from the "production system" was questionably formatted in the first place. Old versions of A Well-Known Accounts Package will happily export to CSV format without inverted commas in fields that have commas in them (e.g., stock descriptions), meaning that importing them back into the reciprocal import procedure is doomed to failure.

                    CSV is a very brittle data transfer medium unless the user knows what they are doing. Arguably XML is a better choice because, even if someone exporting the data inserts/deletes a column before exporting, the purpose of the column remains constant if it is subsequently re-imported.

                    To offer CSV format from a "production system" to primarily non-tech savvy users is not a good idea.

          2. PhilipN Silver badge

            Even easier than that - some/most of the time

            Slight tangent but I blindly double clicked on a docx document on a machine running the new macOS developer beta and the OS took it upon itself to open the document in good old Textedit. The compatibility, at least for that document with moderate formatting, was at such a level I did not even realise it had not opened under MS Word.

          3. DuncanLarge Silver badge

            "Libre Office is compatible enough with MS Office"

            To be honest Office is totally compatible with Libre Office as Office opens and saves in the ODF format just fine! In fact when starting it up for the first time it asks you what format you prefer!

            Write in ODF, send to office user, no issues.

            :)

            Unless that user is stupidly out of date.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              "Unless that user is stupidly out of date."

              Or just middling stupid & won't try 'cos it's not .docx (really stupid won't notice & just blindly click it anyway along with anything else they receive).

              1. katrinab Silver badge

                Most people keep the default setting that hides file extensions. The icon for odt files looks so similar to docx if you only have MS Office installed that you will only notice if you are specifically looking for it.

              2. DuncanLarge Silver badge

                "Or just middling stupid & won't try 'cos it's not .docx"

                True but in their defense I would appreciate they are noticing such details and not blindly doing stuff they are unfamiliar with. In todays climate you need that "suspicion" as part of your line of defense against attacks.

                However once told that odt is a standard and good format I'm sure there will be some who keep forgetting and those that suddenly think that opening that odt file is what caused their laptop to run slow so they ask for one of the new flashy models the noticed we are just starting to give out.

        5. Lars Silver badge
          Happy

          Better late than never, but I would point out that the heavy stuff they do on Linux they would not be able to do on Windows, it's no coincident that the top500 supercomputers all run Linux today, and even just cutting down on the Windows usage will save money, step by step.

        6. Wellyboot Silver badge

          Yes, you've identified the eternal short term viewpoint 'either or'.

          To move away from any deeply embedded application set requires a migration strategy and 3rd party involvement to do all of the work outside of normal activities - it's not going to be cheap. (One previous company I worked for spent a six figure sum just to migrate DOS WordPerfect macros to Word97)

          Trying to have staff do it on the fly gives beancounters two options (1) Don't! - Give MS a big wedge of cash (repeat annually) or (2) Spend time & cash learning one of the alternatives and rebuilding all the little macros that have evolved to become company critical undocumented items over time.

          MS have never raised the cost quickly enough to make option 2 viable within 2-3 years so the beancounters have happily handed over oodles of cash for the last 25 years.

          1. Kubla Cant Silver badge
            Mushroom

            One previous company I worked for spent a six figure sum just to migrate DOS WordPerfect macros to Word97

            They were lucky. Macros in word processors and spreadsheets are usually maintenance time-bombs with the potential to destroy a company.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              And not necessarily portable to other versions of Office.

          2. Peter X

            Plus option 2 involves risk and option 1 doesn't (so much); typically the people making decisions are not directly affected by cost, but they would be blamed for any failures, so... basically, larger, older, organisations with deeper management layers tend not to innovate much - there's no one who cares enough.

            1. nijam

              > ...option 2 involves risk and option 1 doesn't ...

              No risk with option 1, you get complete certainty of a total fail.

        7. The Central Scrutinizer

          Linux just works, no regular (if ever) system crashes and no spyware, crapware, bloatware or forced updates that bork your system.

          There is a truckload of good software out there. Linux doesn't have Photoshop.... so what? I suppose some people enjoy being locked in to a never ending software lease, having money constantly sucked from their wallets by the Adobe vacuum.

          Linux is way more than just barely usable.

          But hey, everyone should use what works for them.

        8. dajames Silver badge

          But yeah, I guess people are just scared of command lines.

          Windows does have a commandline, you know. It needs one for all the things you can't do through the GUI.

          In that respect it's no different from a real Operating System.

          1. el_oscuro

            Windows CMD.EXE

            CMD.EXE is surprisingly powerful, and has an excellent, if somewhat obscure man page, packed full of useful examples. To access the man pages from a CMD prompt, run:

            C:\> help

            1. timrowledge

              Re: Windows CMD.EXE

              ... but it can’t even handle their own UNC filenames!

              1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                Re: Windows CMD.EXE

                Nor can it handle most non-ASCII characters. There's a short list of code pages that CHCP supports, and there's the /U switch, but those just make CMD minimally capable of dealing with some European-language code points. Unless you set the default language for the entire system, you can't use most Unicode code points in a filename on the command line.

            2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: Windows CMD.EXE

              CMD is surprisingly hackable, because it's been stovepiped with a whole bunch of arbitrary, inconsistent, minimally-designed, seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time extensions. It's the PHP of scripting languages.

              I've written a lot of fancy CMD scripts myself, because it's available on all Windows variants and I've never warmed to Powershell. (Also Powershell's security mechanisms, while a good idea in principle, mean that half the Powershell scripts I run into require changing the security settings before you can execute them.) I know all about SETLOCAL ENABLEDELAYEDEXPANSION and the tilde operator in variable expansion and the various FOR options and the VERIFY trick. I'm well-versed in CMD script subroutines. I know how CMD processes .bat files differently from .cmd files.

              But I wouldn't call CMD "powerful".

        9. DuncanLarge Silver badge

          "I've never found Linux all that usable!"

          Honestly, how?

          You log in, like on Mac and windows. You install updates when prompted or turn on auto install like on Mac and windows. You browse files in a file manager like in Mac and windows. Plug in a USB stick just taken out of the packaging and drag and drop files to and from it, just like in Mac and windows. And just like in Mac and windows you are supposed to unmount hat stick before removing but just like in windows you probably will just risk pulling it anyway.

          Everything you need to do to a file on the Linux desktop can be done with right clicks or left clicks like on windows, in fact the right clicks can be customised if wanted.

          Browse the web? Who isnt using/has used Chrome or Firefox. Well both are on the Linux desktop.

          Upload files to any cloud service that uses HTML5 in these browsers? Drag and drop.

          Access emails? Easy, but if you really need to use Office 365, you can do so in your browser.

          The stuff you listed like certain CAD and photo editing software are specific cases where somebody needs (wants) a bit of software they are used to. This is not a usability issue at all as many of those people would suffer similar issues when switching to using a Mac. At the end of the day its not an argument about the usability of an OS or its desktop but an argument of the specific software supporting your desktop.

          Would you think I could say the Xbox One is borked and not usable because I cant play mario kart or Zelda on it?

          1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            Access emails? Easy, but if you really need to use Office 365, you can do so in your browser.

            Or you install the Linux version of your favourite email client like Thunderbird.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Thunderbird

              I like Thunderbird, but unfortunately, at present there doesn't seem to be a calendar add-on that works with Orifice 364 calendars?

              I imagine that M$ put quite a bit of development effort into ensuring non-compatibility with the add-ons that used to work... :/

              1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

                Re: doesn't seem to be a calendar add-on that works with Orifice 364 calendars

                This is the reason why Microsoft want to get cosy with the Pope. The Pope of course is de facto head of the Standards Committe for whenever the [Western] Calendar needs to be amended.

          2. pPPPP

            >Would you think I could say the Xbox One is borked and not usable because I cant play mario kart or Zelda on it?

            Retroarch for the Xbox One: https://buildbot.libretro.com/stable/1.7.7/windows-msvc2017-uwp/x64/RetroArch-msvc2017-UWP_1.7.7_alpha_x64.appx

            But then again, https://www.winehq.org/

        10. Claverhouse Silver badge

          Or they dont have time to move their workflows and data over to Linux at the same time as doing their own jobs for no benefit to themselves. You know, either or.

          The benefit to themselves would be money used to continue their well-paid jobs instead of being now syphoned off to the leeches of Redmond.

        11. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          What your forgetting to say...

          Well I personally have in a previous life had to do a ton of graphics and all I have to say after starting with paintshop pro then moved onto photoshop and now use a combo (depends on what type of graphics, raster/vector) of krita/inkscape/gimp and honestly I can say with confidence the people you are talking about are lazy. There I said it, they have memorised how they do things and don't want to learn something new... its like people today think that things stay static for ever.

          Hell even artists at one point want to "use new mediums" so anyone expecting things to stay the same for ever is deluding them self.

          As for CAD, circuit design, and MATLAB equivalents there are plenty and having done some circuit design in college I can tell you with certainty that these days the big boys out there do offer a *nix version cause Windows is just not stable... now before any winhead comes in bitting about this isn't true I can say 30 years into IT that windows is not stable and it has cost the world trillions in lost up time support costs and lawsuits (data breaches) so yeah. And don't tell me "but windows 10, blah blah blah" guess what Windows 10 has had how many "Feature" updates that have borked system world wide so nope not only does it crash by it self the vendor just for good measure add more crashes so there

          There are plenty of OSS tools to do everything with the same quality as any proprietary product, the one thing I can say that sucks though about OSS is the documentation (although mostly better these days) is horrible in comparison. Often written by someone who actually doesn't use the app they developed I say this cause when have you actually seen a useful example given, if there is one at all they always give usually one or two of the simplest use cases that no one every uses cause use cases are often complex but there are common complex use cases. So yeah that is where OSS sucks is user guide documentation not how to setup documentation that is usually okayish, but documenting all switches (like man pages right) and common use cases needs vast improvements.

          1. This is my handle

            Re: What your forgetting to say...

            Only been using Linux since the late 1990's; before that I used commercial Unices. That said, there are *still* things that are just easier in Windows: Streaming audio & video. Tax software (in the US most of us spend a weekend / year, or pay someone to, trying to keep as much of our hard-earned income as possible, since it's not like the Guv'ment actually provides any services in exchange for it; we're on our own here for health insurance, university education for the kids, transport, etc.). Building and using a toy database. (This one shocks me; even Oracle used to be easier to install and run on Linux than WIndows; but recent experience with 18 seem to have completely flipped).

            So at home my Windows 10 desktop gets at least as much use as my Ubuntu box, and of late, my MacBook Pro even more, though since I'm new to it there's a certain Bright Shiny Object appeal there.

            YMMV, but for me it's different tools for different jobs.

        12. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          > And CAD, if you can do without the likes of Creo or Solidworks.

          NX has been available for Linux (Red Hat, and SuSE) for many years.

          Right up until the current version of NX, where they've gone Windows only. Ugh. :(

        13. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          It's not just bean counters. I've never found Linux all that usable, and I'm about as technically minded as they come.

          Dunning-Kruger effect ?

        14. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          " I've never found Linux all that usable, and I'm about as technically minded as they come."

          You need to install something OTHER than Ubuntu with Unity. And don't bother trying to find 'Internet Explorer' either. You'll probably need a few different software packages that are equivalents to and/or better than the windows version, things like Libre office, VLC Firefox and/or Chrome, and so on.

          /me has been using FreeBSD GUI almost exclusively for EVERYTHING, since 2005-ish. Linux is a tad bit more friendly for windows users with some of the built-ins, auto-mounting USB drives when you plug them in, GUI bluetooth and wifi config, things like that. It's all there for you, last I looked, in every decent distro.

          I suggest either the Mate desktop, or Cinnamon. That should get you something familiar enough, easier of a transition than 7 to 8 or 7 to 10 would be.

        15. itzman

          Re: I guess people are just scared of command lines.

          What an extraordinary comment.

          Normal users simply don't go near the command line

          In a supported environment like a large company users would never go there: they phone the support department and that is who goes there, if indeed it is necessary at all.

          Once again a post from someone that simply repeats myths that haven't been true for decades.

          Why?

          How much skin have you got in the microsoft game?

          1. mikey100tv

            Re: I guess people are just scared of command lines.

            An even more extraordinary comment.

            So; in 'real life', a 'normal' user is conditioned to/tutored to 'pass the buck' to someone else all the time? Yup, that sounds like standard, inane, corporate confusion.....right down the line.

            All the IT departments I've ever encountered are conditioned NOT to respond to pleas for help. As far as they're concerned, the average 'user' has no right to interrupt their 'nirvana' with pleas for such mundane things as assistance with an actual IT problem.

            You need to think what you're saying before you post.

            Extraordinary.....

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Have you looked at the article photo? Not a few Windows machines there, and it doesn't look a beancounters room.

        1. STOP_FORTH

          Not a few?

          I counted two definite and the rest are possibles. Grey background doesn't necessarily mean Windows NT does it?

          1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

            Re: Not a few?

            "Windows NT"

            OHHHH CRAP!

            1. STOP_FORTH

              Re: Not a few?

              OK, it might be Windows Server of some flavour, but the black hole they are working on will kill us all anyway.

            2. TRT Silver badge

              Re: Not a few?

              Vista? We're dead.

      4. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        But whoever heard of a bean counter that had their own beans counted? They're immune from that sort of thing because their work is far too important to be compromised by saving money or efficiency. After all, accountancy is the entire point if the organisation. Science, medicine, customers, all that sort of shit is just there to make beans.

      5. aks Bronze badge

        Beancounters are needed to stop the eggheads eating all the beans.

    2. TRT Silver badge

      *cough*

      Adobe.

      *cough*

      Some companies don't recognise the value in the gander because they're too busy chasing the golden goose.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: *cough*

        >Some companies don't recognise the value in the gander because they're too busy chasing the golden goose.

        Also, Autodesk. Extremely so.

    3. anothercynic Silver badge

      CERN

      It's not just their admin function. I can guarantee you that.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ah, the human factor.

      You can have as many scientists as you want with so many letters after their name they had to invent a new alphabet; they can tell you the history of existence itself from a single image taken from a photon receptor.

      But when they can't plug in a kettle without electrocuting themselves, then you can guarantee they will not be able to switch their desktops without a great wailing across the face of the earth and gnashing of teach and chewing of tongues and children being cast into lakes of lava to appease the Gods of Quantum Physics.

      Trust me. I work in IT support for a leading research-led red-brick university, and they can be a right royal pain-in-the-arse.

      (hence the anonymous post, unusually for me!)

  2. LDS Silver badge

    If they were looking for customers to move to Azure...

    ... I guess they looked for the wrong one.

    I wonder why CERN doesn't fit the "academic institution" definition of Microsoft.

    It will just turn into bad PR for Microsoft.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: If they were looking for customers to move to Azure...

      It will just turn into bad PR for Microsoft.

      It just did.

      1. EVP

        Re: If they were looking for customers to move to Azure...

        I beg to differ. One organisation less to feed M$, I cannot complain. Thanks Bill & co, you just made my day!

    2. Smooth Newt
      Meh

      Re: If they were looking for customers to move to Azure...

      I wonder why CERN doesn't fit the "academic institution" definition of Microsoft.

      I guess it isn't an educational establishment. But, more pertinently, perhaps because it has a lot of money - CERN's budget last year was £900 million, and that doesn't include the money spent on the site by the institutions that make use of it, for example in building and operating the actual high energy physics experiments (which CERN mostly doesn't pay for).

      CERN is locked into Microsoft - not just because of the "beancounters" (and those thousands of scientists, engineers and other support staff who also use Microsoft software) - but because all those other institutions (i.e. CERN's customers) have academic licences. Microsoft have probably reasoned that with this much money sloshing about, CERN will huff and puff a bit, perhaps even threaten to move away from using Microsoft software, and then just pay up.

      And Microsoft are correct.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        "I guess it isn't an educational establishment"

        "academic" is different from "educational" - OK, it's not a university, yet doing fundamental research would meet "academic" requirements for me, it's not that they can start to sell Higgs bosons or antimatter soon.

        I may be wrong, but I think some bright mind at MS collided with a door while poking his mobe, and a sudden spark of anti-intelligence (also called AI) suggested him that a great marketing move would be to push CERN towards Azure.

        He probably didn't realize those are the people who invented HTTP and HTML too, and knows a thing of two about computers and software - and probably there the ratio between managers without a clue and boffins is not that of the average company.

        1. Fred Dibnah Silver badge

          Re: "I guess it isn't an educational establishment"

          If they do start selling anti-matter, can I pay for it with antimony?

        2. Smooth Newt
          Meh

          Re: "I guess it isn't an educational establishment"

          "academic" is different from "educational" - OK, it's not a university, yet doing fundamental research would meet "academic" requirements for me, it's not that they can start to sell Higgs bosons or antimatter soon.

          Microsoft apparently consider it synonymous with "educational". e.g.

          "Academic Volume Licensing overview

          For education customers who license software in quantity and manage software across multiple devices, Microsoft Volume Licensing programs may provide the most cost-effective way to acquire licenses. Microsoft offers both “subscription” and “transactional” (also known as “perpetual”) Volume Licensing agreements for education customers."

          Since they make their rules, not me, there seems very little point in splitting hairs.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: "I guess it isn't an educational establishment"

            Of course they can make their own rules on their own products - but this way they just look quite narrow minded and dumb - especially because for years they adopted a different approach.

            You get for-profit education customers with discounted licenses, and no-profit research centers without - and I can't find how it could be reasonable. Did they really need the additional revenues? They can lose the actual ones plus the bad publicity.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: "I guess it isn't an educational establishment"

              "You get for-profit education customers with discounted licenses, and no-profit research centers without - and I can't find how it could be reasonable."

              It's quite obviously reasonable. To MS. You give the cheap educational licenses only to those places of learning full of young impressionable minds to get them started on the right drugs software.

              Discount licensing is marketing, not altruism.

        3. Down not across Silver badge

          Re: "I guess it isn't an educational establishment"

          ...and a sudden spark of anti-intelligence (also called AI)...

          Have an upvote. Oh, and I feel compelled to borrow that definition of AI.

      2. el kabong Silver badge

        Shoot itself in the foot that is what microsoft just did...

        despite this being only a very small shot I am glad they did it, better see a small shot than no shot in microsoft's foot. I wish they did things like that a lot more, but on a much bigger scale, and aiming to the head not the foot.

      3. ~ge~

        Re: If they were looking for customers to move to Azure...

        Exactly! The problem of legacy MS Word specific documents and the many workflows they fuel is compounded by volumes of new native documents locked into Microsoft applications. Because of this application lock on corporate and organizational document information, Microsoft can charge whatever they want.

        That said, we have notified CERN that we can unlock these native documents and open them in an HTML5 browser in a process designed for high fidelity viewing and collaborative editing. The process was also designed for a complete round-tripping of these documents back into existing workflows; without breaking the documents or the workflow they fuel.

        The layout engine we developed is local, running inside a browser using WASM. Also runs in a Lamda container. The thing is though, this engine was developed for feeding native documents into Artificial Intelligence machines for analysis; and then merging the vectored results back into the original style. It is designed to enable AI machines to markup, comment and collaboratively edit, interacting directly with the parties responsible for those documents.

        This is very cool stuff but with some current limits. For instance, formatting in the browser is currently limited to picking up the existing format. Since there are billions of these native documents already in existence our objective was that of unlocking the information for use in a multi-application environment. We are not much interested in "creating" new documents. Maybe someday. But at the moment the need is to feed AI,

        The browser layout engine was also designed to work with document management systems where specific AI machines could be selected and engaged as part of the one-click opening of the document. Which is consistent with our objective; enable many new applications to access volumes of information locked into previously application specific documents. The API for this is currently a work in progress but looking great.

        It might interest some to know that at the first face-to-face meeting of the original OASIS ODF TC there was unanimous agreement on a few things. We split wide open on the more important issue of interoperability versus high fidelity compatibility with Microsoft application specific documents. Interop won that argument.

        The TC however was unanimous in the opinion that for the world to move forward, many new applications would need to access our knowledge base of data, documents, and methods.

        I think that is still the case. The world will insist that we take our information with us into the future. Value added will always trump costly and disruptive rip-out-and-replace.

        ~ge~

    3. NATTtrash

      Re: If they were looking for customers to move to Azure...

      It will just turn into bad PR for Microsoft.

      You think? I mean, NASA also moved at a certain point. And what kind of impact did that have? US DoD uses *nix. NATO does... It wouldn't even be a stretch to say that the interwebz float on *nix. Most of the worlds population has *nix in their pocket. And don't get me wrong, I admit I have a DNA encoded dislike of schoolyard bullies. But will CERN weaning off MS have such a big bad PR impact? Sure, maybe for geeks who know how to spell CERN. Or have a foggiest what they do there. But for Jane/ Joe who just asked the Argos person whether "it can do YouTube?". Not even a blip I think...

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: If they were looking for customers to move to Azure...

        If you are in Argos looking for a device to watch YouTube on, there is a pretty good chance that you will return home with an Android tablet.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: If they were looking for customers to move to Azure...

          "If you are in Argos looking for a device to watch YouTube on"

          Possible answers:

          - its time to re-evaluate your life choices

          - all you will find is disappointment

          - it is unlikely that you can spell CERN let alone have it influence your buying decisions

          - you make a very strong argument for assisted suicide

    4. Arctic fox
      Headmaster

      @LDS Re: "I wonder why CERN doesn't fit the "academic institution"......."

      I have to say that I do not for one moment understand what Microsoft's finance department are playing at here. CERN is by definition a publicly funded, not-for-profit, academic organisation. Talk about shooting yourself in both your corporate feet at one and the same time.

      1. Fatman Silver badge

        Re: @LDS "I wonder why CERN doesn't fit the "academic institution"......."

        <quote>Talk about shooting yourself in both your corporate feet at one and the same time.</quote>

        You have the right idea, but you are aiming too low. Increase the height about 50 cm.

        1. Chris G Silver badge

          Re: @LDS "I wonder why CERN doesn't fit the "academic institution"......."

          'Aiming too low'

          I would have a out 80cm higher than the feet.

      2. jonathan keith Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: @LDS "I wonder why CERN doesn't fit the "academic institution"......."

        I warned them time and time again about commercial sales of all those Hadrons, but would they listen? Of course not, all high and mighty up there in their ivory towers.

    5. Peter X

      Re: If they were looking for customers to move to Azure...

      If I were to be generous to MS, perhaps the costs are because there's a bunch of legacy stuff to support, e.g. WinXP (like in the article photo). In which case, they might simply not be interested and might not see enough potential future business to be bothered?

      I'm guessing the margins for client-side stuff are dwindling whilst support costs are still relatively high, whereas mass-market cloudy stuff is probably much higher margin.

      That said, it's a demonstration of why organisations should think carefully before locking themselves in to anything.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: If they were looking for customers to move to Azure...

        If I were to be generous to MS,

        When was the last time MS was generous to you?

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Re: If they were looking for customers to move to Azure...

        It doesn't look MS asked more to support EOLed systems, it looks they just told them they no longer qualify for discounted licenses so they have to pay as a for-profit company.

        It's probable CERN is not one of the biggest Windows shop as for many reasons a lot of stuff is running on non-MS OSes, but it looks a dumb move anyway.

        MS still looks unable to understand that once he loses the dominance on desktop systems, Azure becomes far less appealing - no matter how Linux it runs there. And this moves about licenses don't make you more willingly to sign a contract with them - whatever your software will run.

    6. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: If they were looking for customers to move to Azure...

      Maybe the Large Hadron Collider shifted Microsoft into an alternate universe where they're even stupider than they were before?

  3. WonkoTheSane Silver badge
    Linux

    Scientific Linux?

    Thought they already used the above distro, which CERN develop with FermiLab, ETH Zurich & DESY

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Scientific Linux?

      As already noted by werdsmith, it is probably for admin and the bean counters button sorters.

    2. Qarumba

      Re: Scientific Linux?

      They have recently announced that they will be discontinuing SL development and moving to CentOS 8.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Scientific Linux?

        Yup, recently. Coincidence?

    3. NATTtrash

      Re: Scientific Linux?

      Nope, for ETH I can confirm from personal every day experience that many outside the mentioned bean-counter group are on MS. More surprising and not inline with expectation (which is my personal one, I do admit) have had many "panicky" requests for MS format documents from ETH. So any suggested link between intelligence (whatever that may be), sophistication (also vague), and MS use/ dependency might be beyond extrapolated expectation.

      So it wouldn't surprise me if CERN would show something similar...

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Scientific Linux?

        Yes, it's not as if these places only employ boffins.

        There are other "groupware" solutions out there, and no one should object to paying for some of the service. Be interesting to see if any of them see some traction after this.

        Normally MS probably wouldn't care but the CERN name will echo far and wide. Someone's bound to get sacked for this.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Scientific Linux?

        Ironically, I see many run MS and then work all day in Linux under VB. They would be better off running Linux and then fire up MS under VB as need be.

    4. keithpeter
      Coat

      Re: Scientific Linux?

      As others have commented, I suspect it is Linux on the clusters and desktops for physicists and Microsoft available for admin and perhaps for physicists as well for reasons of user choice.

      History links for Fermi Linux/Scientific Linux for anyone interested...

      https://slideplayer.com/slide/10899606/

      Connieh Sieh's slides from some conference or other. Slide 5 will give you a bit of deja vu.

      TD;LR Redhat linux transitioned to a paid model around 2003. What I remember reading somewhere else but is not mentioned on the slide is that the paid model was per core licencing. CERN (and other HEP sites) use rather a lot of cores....

      Despite a discount from Redhat, the economics of the situation suggested hiring a few people and doing a recompile from source. Connie was already doing Fermi Linux based on Red Hat sources at that point.

      https://lwn.net/Articles/786422/

      The logic of Reghat's acquisition of CentOS now suggests distributing CentOS and providing a local repository...

      https://springdale.math.ias.edu/

      Springdale is an independently compiled RHEL clone with active and fairly responsive support from a couple of IT staff at Princeton University. They do have an RHEL 8.0 recompile out for 64 bit and there is a netinstall boot image (I've not tried it, alpha, not supported &c)

      http://springdale.princeton.edu/data/springdale/8/x86_64/iso/

    5. navidier

      Re: Scientific Linux?

      > Thought they already used the above distro, which CERN develop with FermiLab, ETH Zurich & DESY

      We used to. Now we are migrating to Centos 7, with minimal customisation.

  4. Adrian Midgley 1

    Supercolliders and guitar strings

    These are some of my favourite things.

  5. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    3, 2, 1

    Microsoft announces an all expenses paid 'fact finding' holiday for CERNs senior bean counters.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 3, 2, 1

      To where? Not Redmond. They can't get the visas to enter the walled states of america.

  6. 0laf Silver badge
    Pint

    Well CERN came up with HTTP in the past maybe they'll come up with something similarly transformative for the desktop. Here's hoping.

    And a pint for boffinry as always.

    1. Daniel von Asmuth
      Pint

      MAlt is good for you

      Cheers!

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Well CERN came up with HTTP in the past maybe they'll come up with something similarly transformative for the desktop. Here's hoping."

      Didn't Motif or something come from there too?

  7. Paul Herber Silver badge
    Trollface

    Organisations should beware of getting locked in with open-source software.

    <cough>

  8. LenG

    Hope for the future

    If CERN can make this work and its open source tools are picked up by other academic institutions then it is going to cost M$ far more than the phantom profit they were missing by classifying CERN as an academic institution.

    Hopefully it will also introduce more people to linux before they are irredeemably brain damaged by the belief that they have to have Office because it is the "market leader" as one previous poster opined.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Hope for the future

      The first is a "when", not an "if".

      The second is less certain, because they are making sure to use open formats and so other institutions can continue to use whatever OS they currently do.

      Until they start asking why they're paying MS such large sums, of course.

  9. Mk4

    The Open University provides 0365 and doesn't accept open document format

    I study with the OU (masters in software engineering at the moment) and one of my bug-bears is that I have to convert the ODF documents I write into MS Word format before submitting them.

    I guess in order to make sure that students can produce MS Word format documents, they provide every student with an o365 account. While I really do understand that it is necessary to support the diverse student body (different financial means, ages, backgrounds, technical ability, etc.) as well as the teaching staff (who don't want to struggle with documents in different formats) I would like to see them get shot of MS. Unfortunately I think even MS would have difficulty arguing that the OU is not an academic institution :-).

    1. NATTtrash

      Re: The Open University provides 0365 and doesn't accept open document format

      Unfortunately I think even MS would have difficulty arguing that the OU is not an academic institution

      And thus is a perfect marketing target!

      All the primary goals of a good marketing strategy are served:

      [[]] Create need for product

      [[]] Make target dependant on product

      [[]] Lock target into product dependency

      [[]] Fuel target feeling of convenience and superiority emotionally

      [[]] Cultivate long term relation with target

      [[]] Prevent target developing an interest for product alternatives

      Or as others have worded it more concise: "Hook them early and keep them dangling!"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Open University provides 0365 and doesn't accept open document format

      Well, I tutor on OU, and I think the default requirement is RTF format, which is pretty much lingua franca. It is not so much what the OU will accept, it is what the tutor can read. If all formats were accepted, then we would get all sort of obscure data files which we would have to translate and translate back.

      The OU is generally pretty MS agnostic, but it also has to cater for a large diverse and generally computer illiterate body .and that applies to the tutors themselves, while you would hope software tutors are comfortable with computers, classics, history, etc tutors may not be.

      A bigger problem is things like maths courses which require complex equations. Apart from forcing the use of LaTex, the OU is is forced to find tools that provide consistent results.

      1. dajames Silver badge

        Re: The Open University provides 0365 and doesn't accept open document format

        Well, I tutor on OU, and I think the default requirement is RTF format, which is pretty much lingua franca.

        Far from being a "lingua franca" the term "RTF" describes a number of different and incompatible augmented text formats, none of which I have seen in serious use in the last 20 years or so -- though some people do occasionally save documents from MS Word in Microsoft's version of RTF, apparently in the mistaken belief that it is somehow more portable or less proprietary than .doc or .docx.

        Oh, and "RTF format" is tautology ("Rich Text Format Format").

        It is not so much what the OU will accept, it is what the tutor can read.

        If the tutors are using Office 365, which we have been told is supplied, they can open .odt (OpenDocument Text) format documents. They may have to do something frightfully technical like selecting "OpenDocument Text" or "all files" in the file types dropdown in the "File open" dialog, but once that piece of rocket science has been mastered it should all be plain sailing.

        Microsoft even explain the process on their website.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The Open University provides 0365 and doesn't accept open document format

          It is not so much what the OU will accept, it is what the tutor can read.

          OK Mr pedantic

          Sure, but they would also have to make sure the document was saved back in the right format, since it tends to default to docx etc.

          Its not that it cannot be supported, it is whether it is worth the effort and time. If you have to mark 40 scripts within a 3 week period the last think you want is to deal with different file formats. At the end of the day. unless you are a document format pendant, you really don't care how it arrives as long as you can shuffle it out the door as quickly as possible.

          .doc, .docx have become defacto standards, not because they are the best or most open, but because their widespread adoption.

          1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

            Re: The Open University provides 0365 and doesn't accept open document format

            "Sure, but they would also have to make sure the document was saved back in the right format, since it tends to default to docx etc."

            Can I just ask, what business does the lecturer have in opening an editable copy of a students work?

            Even if they did that, why are they simply closing WITHOUT saving, as surely it isnt right for them to modify it anyway?

            When I was at UNI I had to print it out and submit it by the deadline.

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: The Open University provides 0365 and doesn't accept open document format

              Can I just ask, what business does the lecturer have in opening an editable copy of a students work?

              Even if they did that, why are they simply closing WITHOUT saving, as surely it isnt right for them to modify it anyway?

              They use the editing and annotating facilities within MS Word to note down the marking decisions and make comments and feedback directly against the submitted work. Everything is submitted and returned electronically, there is no paper involved.

              As a person who can lose his temper over a linked index page and page numbering in MS word, I am impressed by their knowledge of the product.

              1. DuncanLarge Silver badge

                Re: The Open University provides 0365 and doesn't accept open document format

                "They use the editing and annotating facilities within MS Word to note down the marking decisions and make comments and feedback directly"

                OMG and I was beginning to think that the paperless office was turning out to be a myth,

                TBH I dont like that feature. My submitted coursework would be submitted read only, otherwise I could fully use the facilities to suggest damage/alteration to my submitted work when I dont get the mark I want. Thats why we printed it off, it was a requirement for preventing abuse. Even when submitting source code on floppy it had to also be printed off and signed by me as being verbatim.

                The lecturer should have no way to change my work. If we dont like each other, I'd be very concerned.

                Bear in mind I'm talking about coursework submissions, not the little bits and tests in between. If it contributes to my final mark, nobody should be able to edit it, even me after submission. Its just common sense.

                1. Kiwi Silver badge
                  Paris Hilton

                  Re: The Open University provides 0365 and doesn't accept open document format

                  If we dont like each other, I'd be very concerned.

                  Couple of things..

                  1) While human, surely they should be reasonably above that level of sillyness? (Well, I guess we are talking University people here...)

                  2) A long long time ago I was shown ways of 'signing' files to prove that the file came from who it was claimed, and the contents had not been altered - using PGP and other like software. Surely Universities are at least up to that level of competence now!

                  If your level of distrust in your tutors is that high, why are you there? Your printed documents are trivial to change, your disk (signed note or otherwise) is trivial to change. But cryptographic signatures and checksums aren't so trivial to change.

          2. NATTtrash
            Mushroom

            Re: The Open University provides 0365 and doesn't accept open document format

            .doc, .docx have become defacto standards

            Hurray! Here we go again! As mentioned earlier in this thread:

            Repeating that something is an industry standard is always almost exclusively done by manufacturers/ suppliers to defend/ promote/ market their own product.

            Isn't it beautiful to see in practice how the sophisticated human species never fail to disappoint with regard to using ingrained patterns over and over again?

            And yes, you are right, thank you for pointing it out, another well accepted marketing practice is to repeat over and over again that "zillions sold right now, billions of happy customers served" or something similar.

            Oh, and as from one international "colleague" to another: if you only have to do 40 scripts in a 3 week period, maybe your dean should reconsider adjusting your reimbursement since you're cruisin'. Must be because you take such a long time clicking a document to open it...

          3. jelabarre59 Silver badge

            Re: The Open University provides 0365 and doesn't accept open document format

            .doc, .docx have become defacto standards, not because they are the best or most open, but because their widespread adoption.

            "Ah, this is obviously some strange usage of the word 'standard' that I wasn't previously aware of."

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: The Open University provides 0365 and doesn't accept open document format

          "none of which I have seen in serious use in the last 20 years or so "

          Yes, but the OU is stuck in a 1970's time bubble.

      2. moopet

        Re: The Open University provides 0365 and doesn't accept open document format

        ODF isn't an obscure data format, it's an ISO standard. People will theoretically be able to read it in a thousand years. Or robots, whatever.

        1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: The Open University provides 0365 and doesn't accept open document format

          People will theoretically be able to read it in a thousand years. Or robots, whatever.

          As long as they can read (and understand) the standard itself first.

      3. DuncanLarge Silver badge

        Re: The Open University provides 0365 and doesn't accept open document format

        "If all formats were accepted, then we would get all sort of obscure data files which we would have to translate and translate back."

        Sorry, how many formats do you think are commonly used these days?

        - HTML : anything more modern than IE 6 can read that (I could go further back but it scares me).

        - PDF : Its a pdf. Its as openable as a packet of Jaffa Cakes.

        - ODF : Got MS office? If its 10 years old upgrade already.

        - DOC : Its a DOC, even ancient MS office can open this, heck you could go back to DOS versions.

        - DOCX : If you can open this you can open ODF too.

        - RTF : Now who is being silly? But if you can open DOC, DOCX, and ODF in MS office or LIbre Office you can open this too.

        - TXT : If you cant read one of these files I think you are not using a computer.

        I'm interested in what esoteric formats you expect to get because I havnt seen any recently.

        Do many of your users use Amiga OS? I swear they can export to at least 3 of the above formats.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Boffin

      Re: The Open University provides 0365 and doesn't accept open document format

      Not checked recently, but assuming you are using Libré Office, you CAN set the default file save type; it defaults to ODF, but can be set to just about any widely recognised format, even txt or rtf.

      Lets hope CERN dont fall out of the MicroGit pan into the Google Chrome fire.

    4. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      Re: The Open University provides 0365 and doesn't accept open document format

      I studied in DMU and had the same issue back in 2004 or so.

      I was learning OO programming with Java and was the only student who carried around a laptop running GNU/Linux and old Toshiba Satellite 4000 CDT with a barely usable battery. I used blackbox as my WM to save on RAM. I found it really infuriating to have to convert my documents to word format and then open them in word to check for errors. I of course correctly blamed the proprietary word format for this.

      I remember demonstrating one of my Java programs to my lecturer on that laptop. He was very confused why it didnt look like windows and when I apologised for the laptop booting a little slow due to anacron doing a little housekeeping I had to explain what housekeeping was. Even though it was old, with a battery that lasted barely an hour and a half and anacron got in the way a little my laptop still was booted and ready before anyone elses.

      Plus I could play Koules on it :)

    5. Svampa

      Re: The Open University provides 0365 and doesn't accept open document format

      Why don't you export to PDF? I can't understand people who sends .docx or .doc documents. Why send a modifiable document.

      By the way I got rid in my company of Ms Office time ago. We only have one copy (legal copy) of Ms Office that it is seldom used. I really seldom need to send modifiable documents outside.

  10. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Going to be interesting.

    Here's hoping they'll develop Active Directory for Linux.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Here's hoping they'll develop Active Directory for Linux.

      I must talk to a friend - he seems to be using something like that and they're a near 100% Debian house.

      1. hoola Bronze badge

        The was, it was called Novell Directory Services, then eDirectory. It was light years better than Active Directory but in the same way the VHS & Betamax ended, it was Windows on the desktop that pushed eDirectory out.

        There were so many better ways that eDir could handle objects because it is a real directory, not a flat database that AD evolved from .

        Novell tried and the likes of DirXML to sync between AD & eDir could do the stuff however the killer was licensing. As soon as you needed an AD integrated application the business case became one-sided. GroupWise was far better than Exchange however you ran into the problem of the Outlook client. Too many desktop applications would only integrate with Outlook. Once there it again was a numbers game and so Exchange came in.

    2. Khaptain Silver badge

      Cough , LDAP, cough, LDAP, cough, LDAP

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > Here's hoping they'll develop Active Directory for Linux.

      yum install ipa-server

      ipa-server-install

      LDAP + Kerberos + DNS + CA. Web and CLI admin. Just works.

      You're welcome.

      1. nematoad Silver badge
        Pint

        "yum install ipa-server"

        I'll have a pint of that!

        1. georgezilla Bronze badge

          " ,,, yum install ipa-server ..."

          Cool, now Linux is not only my favorite OS, but is now my favorite bartender.

          george@linux-desktop:~> sudo poor me an IPA

          Aaaaahhhhhhh..................... Thank you

    4. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      I have nothing to do with AD these days, but if you search for "linux version of active directory" you will find a lot about that topic.

    5. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      Er isnt that just LDAP with DNS, samba and kerberos?

      Thats what Active Directory is.

  11. Christoph Silver badge

    Hello Microsoft, we've just changed the licensing conditions for your use of our software. Kindly start paying us through the nose every time you use the "World Wide Web".

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let them do it MS

    I'd like to see CERN go for it and after 3-5 years, as a in input to science of management and economy, calculate and publish transition costs, ongoing maintenance costs plus lost/gained productivity

    Compared to EA terms.

    Seen companies making the move from all-in MS and the only ones who succeeded did not do an ideological revolution but organically transferred services to various other vendors. Never cut completely from MS because it is just another vendor that provides solutions. Some of them are valuable enough not to replace them because of ideology.

    Eventually everyone depends on someone else.

    Of course CERN try to negotiate down the prices.

    PR blackmail in negotiations is still a blackmail and it creates a very unhealthy relation.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let them do it MS

      PR blackmail in negotiations is still a blackmail and it creates a very unhealthy relation

      I think Trump is slowly starting to discover that too. Not that he cares about long term because he'll either retire to Moscow or sit in jail.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: Let them do it MS

        because he'll either retire to Moscow or sit in jail.

        Can we please combine those two?

      2. mhenriday
        Boffin

        Re: Let them do it MS

        «Not that he cares about long term because he'll either retire to Moscow or sit in jail.» Surely you mean «Not that he cares about long term because he'll either retire to Jerusalem or sit in jail» ? On the evidence, Mar Netanyahu has far more influence on Mr Trump than Gospodin Putin. Perhaps they can get adjoining cells ?...

        Henri

  13. steelpillow Silver badge

    "pilot test of a mail service"

    This move is more about the office admin and PowerPoint presentations than the scientific grunt work. But they are at least asking the right questions: "can we survive without MS Exchange?" There have historically been a horrendous number of 'nix power users - even Linux-based web hosting providers - who couldn't find an acceptable alternative.

    1. david 12 Silver badge

      Re: "pilot test of a mail service"

      The interesting point is the implication that they won't be going with gmail.

      I know an academic institution that struggled for years to get off of Exchange, and had to roll back two full-scale attempts because the alternatives were just so hopeless. Before finally settling on gmail. Which wasn't as good as Exchange, but which, by then, was good enough that it provided a functional platform, and the users weren't sick and dying in the hallways after the switch over.

      But if CERN wants to get out of commercial lock-in, that means no gmail. It may even mean no AWS. It's going to be really interesting to see where they go: it may mean that another alternative to Exchange has developed enough to be a valid solution.

      1. Yes Me Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: "pilot test of a mail service"

        The interesting point is that they think that phrase is meaningful. It isn't like CERN hasn't been running mail services for the last 40 years. What they mean, indeed, is switching from Exchange. Which they switched *to* because the sendmail config was getting hard to maintain after about 1995. But mail to and from <user>@cern.ch has been working pretty well since the late 1990s. Before that it was <user>@<host>.cern.ch which was a bit harder to guess. Lookee here if you don't quite believe me.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "pilot test of a mail service"

      There are a *lot* of groupware alternatives, some of which don't even need to pay MS a license fee for ActiveSync.

      That said, you buy most of these for convenience as it's quicker than to just set up your own IMAP, SMTP, caldav and carddav facilities which is perfectly possible.

      What is telling is that Outlook STILL doesn't talk those Open Standards without plugins.

      1. david 12 Silver badge

        Re: "pilot test of a mail service"

        Certainly. And historically those groupware alternatives have been so crap that only the kind of people who comment on articles at The Register would be willing to use them. The interesting thing will be if CERN have identified, or will develop, groupware alternatives that don't torture the end users and don't make the IT staff feel superior. So generically applicable that when you post at The Register, it's not even worth mentioning.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "pilot test of a mail service"

          You need to distinguish between service and client. Groupware is a service, a server based facility. The client doesn't see what's in the engine room, they only see the interface and only that influences their perception so no "torturing" involved - we leave that to the BOFHs of this world who have the relevant expertise to do it right :).

          I am willing to concede that it's always hard to identify in a thick client Windows context if you're talking about the software or the user, but there is enough groupware out there that does a reasonable job in mimicking Exchange to the point that you can only tell the difference because it stays up without the many resources you have to throw at an Exchange/Windows combination to make that happen.

          Yes, Microsoft has done its damnedest to make sure Outlook doesn't work well without Exchange, but there are now many ways around that short of hauling them back into court for monopoly abuse - plugins exist and they work.

    3. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: "pilot test of a mail service"

      I'm just surprised Art C hasn't come on here to push CitadelUX...

  14. Muscleguy Silver badge

    What I Like

    Is that as good academics CERN is not keeping this to itself but promising to release it to the rest of science and academia, gratis or under a collective commons license.

    My youngest daughter is in bioinformatics and all the software she uses to assemble genomes, call SNPs, plan genotyping by sequencing pipelines etc. etc is all open source. Developed or tweaked by one group and distributed to everyone. This makes the research possible. If commercial companies produced this software they would charge megabucks for it, these days every year under licensing. This cost would mean much less research gets done

    Microsoft has shot itself in the foot with this. Not only will CERN reduce it's licensing costs but so will everybody else.

    I'm a big fan of open source software and use a lot of it. Yes it would be nice if LibreOffice did not ape MS Word interface conventions but I understand why they do so even though it smarts.

    Back in the very early '90s when I started writing my PhD thesis I looked at using Word but the need to navigate nested dialogs to do basic formatting for eg irritated me so much I used WriteNow instead. A smaller, leaner but still perfectly capable program. I used it for the whole thing and it played nice with my references database ProCite (how I miss that, Endnote is pants). I have used Word and hated it so when OpenOffice came along I tried it and switched. No more money to Redmond and I can open and save MS docs.

    1. NATTtrash

      Re: What I Like

      it played nice with my references database ProCite (how I miss that, Endnote is pants).

      Give Zotero a try. It works really well, use it every day for pub management and reference list generation (in any journal style). It also does wonders together with for example PubMed, the FF extension will save you all the tedious typing, importing all the publication details, and works perfectly with LO.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What I Like

        use it every day for pub management

        Given the audience you may have just perked up a few ears, but I suspect you meant publications.

        :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "looked at using Word but the need to navigate nested dialogs"

      If you had discovered styles you would have found it much simpler... the problem is most people believe Word is a typewriter with a screen attached. Unluckily, word processing requires some skills too.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: "looked at using Word but the need to navigate nested dialogs"

        "most people believe Word is a typewriter with a screen attached"

        I'm 56 and have been using computers since I was 16. Just the other day I showed a 20 (or so) year old not only how to use TABs but how to set the tabs in the ruler. This is basic stuff she should have learned in school just a few years previously. And don't even get me started on the vast numbers of people who don't even k now the basic keyboard shortcuts, let alone actually read the drop down menus and maybe wonder what those weird CTRL-P, CTRL-A or ALT things next to the command could possibly mean!

    3. The Mole

      Re: What I Like

      I'm certain that the reason they aren't keeping it quiet is because they expect Microsoft to reconsider and come back with more acceptable licensing terms.

      This is afterall what has happend when other large goverment organisations (German councils or something if I recall) announced open source projects.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Same stunt they pull in any academic setup

    First they get "discounts" with the actively encouraged illusion that Microsoft "supports" education, and as soon as they're properly locked in, the prices go up. Bill Gates even got knighted for it.

    This is also why I don't trust any of their Linux encroachments.

    Shame MacOS gear is so expensive (not in overall TCO, but people only ever count the hardware costs). Combine that with LibreOffice and you have an Open Standards compliant desktop that also runs commercial software, and hardware support everywhere in the world.

    I'm just hoping someone develops an alternative for MS Outlook that actually works. If I had the money I'd fund it, or start from Pegasus :).

    1. Mk4

      Re: Same stunt they pull in any academic setup

      I had to look this up https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/mar/02/usa.microsoft . Right, so Bill Gates was given an "honorary knighthood" - as opposed to what? A real knighthood? It is not as if knights of the realm dress up in armour, get on their horses and go off and fight for the monarch.

      What a bunch of stupid, inconsistent arse the honours system is. FFS - that high-street twat Philip Green has a knighthood.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Bill Gates and the international reputation of the English honour system.

        Go and boil your bottoms, sons of a silly person. I blow my nose at you, so-called Arthur-king, you and all your silly English kerrrnnnniggets. I don wanna talk to you no more, you empty headed, animal food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smells of Elderberry.

        1. N2 Silver badge

          Re: Bill Gates and the international reputation of the English honour system.

          On second thoughts, let us not go to Camelot, ’tis a silly place....

          It's only a model

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Same stunt they pull in any academic setup

        as opposed to what? A real knighthood?

        You need to be a British citizen to get a "real" knighthood.

        What a bunch of stupid, inconsistent arse the honours system is.

        It's just a way of recognising people's work. What would you suggest to replace it?

        FFS - that high-street twat Philip Green has a knighthood.

        Not for much longer, if MPs have their way.

      3. Smooth Newt
        Happy

        Honorary knighthoods

        Right, so Bill Gates was given an "honorary knighthood" - as opposed to what? A real knighthood? It is not as if knights of the realm dress up in armour, get on their horses and go off and fight for the monarch.

        "Real" knighthoods* can only be conferred on citizens of Commonwealth countries. America ejected itself from what became the Commonwealth 250 years ago.

        * Of course, none of this nonsense is real.

        1. Mk4

          Re: Honorary knighthoods

          Yes, yes I am not a moron - I know that only UK citizens (commonwealth, whatever) can get a "real" knighthood. That is indeed the point I am making, there being no actual difference between a "real" knighthood and an honorary knighthood. Without getting too semantic - when the honors system is changed so that an honorary honor can be bestowed, it call into question the basic reasoning behind the whole thing. Or is this just a stupid system where a bunch of pompous, self-important and essentially self-apppointed people deem themselves (and those they decide to bestow honors on) to be of more value as human beings than all the other human beings? I think it might be. Might also begin to explain why food banks and other signs of poverty are so common in UK and the NHS is struggling, even while it is deemed appropriate to spend vast amounts of cash on aircraft carriers and aircraft to go on those aircraft carriers (among other things).

          1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: Honorary knighthoods

            when the honors system is changed so that an honorary honor can be bestowed, it call into question the basic reasoning behind the whole thing.

            Why so? It's a recognition that the person honoured has done something worthwhile for the country or its people, whatever that person's nationality. The "honorary honour" is just a way of allowing that to happen for non-commonwealth citizens. It has restrictions, like the inability to use a title, but the recognition is just as valid and as valuable.

            where a bunch of pompous, self-important and essentially self-apppointed people deem themselves (and those they decide to bestow honors on) to be of more value as human beings than all the other human beings?

            Most honour awards start by recommendations from ordinary people who work with the person concerned. They write to an awards committee to propose that someone be recognised. Obviously there needs to be some sort of selection process, and the people on those committees are usually senior people from the committee's fields of expertise, like health, arts, education, business.

            Might also begin to explain why food banks and other signs of poverty are so common in UK

            France and Germany have 3-5x as many people using food banks as the UK.

            and the NHS is struggling, even while it is deemed appropriate to spend vast amounts of cash on aircraft carriers and aircraft to go on those aircraft carriers

            By their very nature health services will always struggle, no matter how much money is given to them they can always spend more. The UK is no worse than other European countries in that matter. As for aircraft carriers, it's a pity that we need them, but defence is fundamentally no different to healthcare, it's a necessary part of any government spending in a free country.

            1. Wellyboot Silver badge

              Re: Honorary knighthoods

              The 2 aircraft carriers cost £6.2Bn (ish up to now) over a decade, quite a lot of that went into 1,000s of well paid professional shipbuilding jobs and then straight back to tax man.

              The NHS will burn through £6.2Bn in a little under 3 weeks, this years budget increase alone was £11Bn. Modern medical $insert anything$ is obscenely expensive.

              It's at 7% of GDP now, nearly double the % it was 30 years ago and the economy is about 4x the size. The only way to keep it going long term is to improve the economy much faster.

              1. Mk4

                Re: Honorary knighthoods

                One way to keep it going is to increase GDP and the tax revenue to the state. This is, of course, not the only option. The commitments of the NHS can be reduced to a level that requires no annual increases and probably you can think of other ways to fund the activities the NHS is engaged in. The basic choice to be made is to decide what NHS activities are to be paid for, and I would like to see those choices being made without the need to under-pay and over-work doctors and nurses. Same argument for teachers and school maintenance (and a bunch of other things).

                48 aircraft are projected to cost 13Bn in their lifetime. There will also be a ton of operational costs for these ships. It goes way beyond the build cost.

                The argument that the cost of an activity (e.g. aircraft carriers) is much smaller than the overall cost of the NHS and so would make little difference to the NHS if the funding for that activity was redirected to the NHS does not help to make choices about what to do. The choice to consider is the value given to the well-being of the citizens of the UK compared with value of other national objectives, like building aircraft carriers. My view is that the current culture in the UK allows the well-being of citizens to be devalued when compared to other national objectives and I think the honors system is part of the reason.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Honorary knighthoods

              Damn right, have 100 virtual upvotes.

            3. Mk4

              Re: Honorary knighthoods

              Bill Gates did something worthwhile for the UK? What? Was it something signifcantly more worthwhile that lots of other people?

              The apparent result of the process is that people like Philip Green get a knighthood and a stream of career civil servants get a plethora of honors as retirement presents. It is perfectly possible to recognize sterling work of genuine community value without the pompous garbage involved in the current honors system.

              Making a "what about" argument about France and Germany is not the point but just to respond - Germany spends a much smaller percentage of its GDP on defence and accepted 1 million refugees when the UK accepted 20,000 over 5 years. Perhaps that is why some food banks are needed? BTW, the old DDR still lags behind the old GDR, for example most of the right wing nut-jobs are successful in the eastern cities (although not uniformly). But moving away from the "what about" argument - the point is that the disparity between rich and poor in the UK is widening and many people seem to think this is OK. I do not think it is OK and I think expressions of of privilege such as the honors system is a contributing factor to why many other people just accept this situation.

              Any human activity can spend more money on itself, but the point is to define what the activity will do and then to define how much money it needs to do that. Then make choices about how what activities are affordable - these choices reflect the cultural values of nation. Defence is very much different to healthcare when it costs so much that the well-being of the people in the country starts to suffer. Healthcare, education, council funding, social security funding are all having problems. Aircraft carriers have little to do with national defence and much more to do with projecting power overseas. There are plenty of countries that do not have aircraft carriers and manage to defend their borders. Airfields around the UK have fighter aircraft that can easily defend the country. The reality is that the culture in the UK is still that we like and expect to be able to project power and influence the affairs of others. The question that is not being addressed in the UK is to what extent we are prepared to reduce the value given to human lives in our own country for the sake of providing the ability to influence the affairs of others. I don't think that balance is right at the moment.

              1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

                Re: Honorary knighthoods

                BTW, the old DDR still lags behind the old GDR

                "DDR" (Deutsche Demokratische Republik) is the German abbreviation for "GDR" (German Democratic Republic). You probably meant "BRD" (Bundes Republik Deutschland), for which the English abbreviation is "FRG" (Federal Republic Germany). Otherwise I agree with you.

      4. Lars Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Same stunt they pull in any academic setup

        Just look at the bright side, Trump wasn't given an "honorary knighthood" just yet.

        That type of stuff you find only in the kingdoms of the world and it goes far back in time, and I would agree it's all a bit silly today, but am I wrong to assume they actually have to pay a bit for the privilege?.

        Reminds me of a guy I knew who is a "von such and such" and told me that the only privilege back in time was not to be hanged but instead have the head chopped off by a sword, in good old times.

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: Same stunt they pull in any academic setup

          That type of stuff you find only in the kingdoms of the world

          France is a republic, but has a well-developed honours system. The lowest rank in the Légion d'honneur is "Chevalier", which is "knight".

          am I wrong to assume they actually have to pay a bit for the privilege?.

          Yes.

          Some people do get recognised because they've spent lots of their money on stuff, like Bill Gates and his Foundation, but other honours go to people like librarians and dinner ladies for their service to their communities.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Chevalier

            Indeed I had the honour of seeing one up close just a few weeks ago. Earned in a naval motor boat on the beach at Juno. Incredible stories, and lucid as anything for a 94 year old who's almost transparent if the sun gets behind him. Great fellow; a bridge to a different time.

          2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

            Re: Same stunt they pull in any academic setup

            Some people do get recognised because they've spent lots of their money on stuff, like Bill Gates and his Foundation,

            Excuse us if we *ALSO* think some of what BG's Foundation has spent it's money on is less than exemplary as well. Microsoft isn't his only crime.

      5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Same stunt they pull in any academic setup

        "What a bunch of stupid, inconsistent arse the honours system is. FFS - that high-street twat Philip Green has a knighthood."

        It's so silly, even the Americans copied it. Although they give medals and Presidential Citations and stuff.

        It's not the titles or whatever that are given, it's the recognition or peoples efforts that matters. Whether it's administered in a fair and equatable fashion is another matter. Senior civil servants getting honours just for surviving isn't really a good use of the system.

    2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: Same stunt they pull in any academic setup

      I'm just hoping someone develops an alternative for MS Outlook that actually works. If I had the money I'd fund it, or start from Pegasus :).

      Thunderbird, or Thunderbird-next. All the core system you should need. If a few more individuals AND companies would step up, it could be everything you want.

  16. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Flame

    Well done, Microsoft

    You've managed to find yet another way to shoot yourself in the foot. Congratulations, really.

    Oh, and kudos on denying CERN the statute of academic. Honestly, for the life of me I would be really hard pressed to find any other institution, apart from NASA, probably, that is not more worthy of being called an academic institution, but hey, I obviously haven't been through the elite training of your marketing staff.

    In any case, bravo. Once again, Microsoft, you have proven that you are the best reason for Open Source software to exist. Way to go. Thanks to you, the world just might finally get a viable alternative to Exchange.

    Really, Microsoft, you spoil us.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get a towel to mop up all the sarcasm that is dripping from my screen.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well done, Microsoft

      I tend to have my screen slightly off horizontal so it pools in one corner. Easier to collect.

      :)

  17. elvisimprsntr

    Reminds me of one proprietary RTOS vendor with run time licenses based on CPU core. We quietly funded a project to switch all our systems to RTLinux. They tried to pitch the benefits of their RTOS with 1 msec interrupt service times and 1-2 msec of jitter. It was fun when we broke the news that we were getting 10 usec interrupt service and 10 usec jitter, thus we did not need them anymore. They begged us to at least let them bid on the server hardware. Between switching from PPC SBCs to Intel commodity servers, and RT licenses per CPU core to per installation, we saved quite a bit of coin.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You were paying in crypto?

      :)

  18. Sabot
    Windows

    Make Microsoft pay for the use of a CERN invention: the World Wide Web.

    Argh. Shot themselves in the foot, on 30 April 1993 CERN announced that the World Wide Web would be free to anyone.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The more you tighten your grip …

    the more bosons will slip through your fingers.

  20. thondwe

    Remember Munich?

    Seems that migration isn't that easy...

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/07/27/lower_saxony_to_dump_linux/

    But CERN doing it's own thing w.r.t. e-mail, as first step would say is questionable. There are a fair few mail providers out there and does it really add value to CERN's core activity by bringing it in house? It's not just pumping mail around, it's supporting the clients, browsers, scanning for spam/malware etc that all turn into a lot of work.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: Remember Munich?

      > does it really add value to CERN's core activity by bringing it in house?

      Apparently they didn't find something that covers their needs, and since they're capable of doing it, they decided to fix the problem themselves. Which is great!

      Linux does lack something resembling MS Outlook, it would be great if CERN developed a good open-source MS Outlook alternative (especially the collaborative PIM/scheduler part). There are good open source replacements for the whole MS Office lineup, but not for MS Outlook.

      1. alain williams Silver badge

        Re: Remember Munich?

        it would be great if CERN developed a good open-source MS Outlook alternative

        Even better if the developed something open source that did the full MAPI protocol and was able to use that to talk collaborative PIM/scheduler to an Exchange server exactly as does an outlook client. That would, for many corporates, break the MS strangle hold on desktops as others could fully participate in corporate scheduling, etc.

        Once that is done & open source doing an Exchange replacement would be much easier.

        1. steelpillow Silver badge

          Re: Remember Munich?

          "able to use that to talk collaborative PIM/scheduler to an Exchange server exactly as does an outlook client."

          Exchange is the beast they need to get away from. As long as it is in there as the spider in its web, it will be collecting license fees for every user with a CERN email account. Outlook is chicken feed.

        2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: Remember Munich?

          Even better if the developed something open source that did the full MAPI protocol and was able to use that to talk collaborative PIM/scheduler to an Exchange server exactly as does an outlook client.

          Thunderbird has the basics of what's needed already. It needs some committed work to clean up a lot of the old Mozilla cruft out of the codebase, and some actual **COMMITMENT** to do something with it. But seems that **WAY** too many people think a web browser is an email client.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Remember Munich?

        "(especially the collaborative PIM/scheduler part)"

        But is that really an email client/server function in the first place or is it just something people are now used to because MS merged them and made it a selling point?

        Real question, because I don't use that part of the system at all. As a field engineer, we use a dedicated system for callout management and have a separate annual leave booking system so I have never used the Outlook calendar.

        1. ThatOne Silver badge

          Re: Remember Munich?

          Can only talk for myself, but smaller companies can't afford to build/run complicated scheduling management solutions; Outlook is unfortunately the only simple and cheap(-ish) choice there, even without being tied to an Exchange server.

          I personally don't use Outlook as an email client - I use a different email client, but I (have to) use Outlook for contacts and scheduling.management. And I'm on Linux, so this is silly.

          (Yes, I've tried Evolution, unfortunately it's not there yet...)

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: Remember Munich?

            Outlook is unfortunately the only simple and cheap(-ish) choice there, even without being tied to an Exchange server.

            Owncloud or Nextcloud server, Thunderbird for the client, cardbook plugin for the contacts management on Thunderbird. That gives you a calendar and contacts server you can use for all sorts of stuff. Comes with a fairly decent browser-based setup as well.

            You could probably have that up and running inside half an hour. And 2 minutes after that have figured out how to work it properly. If someone with my exceptionally limited technical skill (cf other Comentards) can get it working, you should find it a doddle!.

            There really is no excuse to keep forcing outlook on people.

      3. Alistair Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Remember Munich?

        I'd be happy to see one or two of the CERN folks poking at Evolution and the relevant plugins

        might make for some nice solutions to the bugginess.

    2. ivan5

      Re: Remember Munich?

      Remember that was political funded by microsoft who handed out fat brown envelopes to the malcontents.

      Also don't forget the French Gendarmerie are still using Linux as are several other French government departments.

      1. NATTtrash
    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Remember Munich?

      It's not just pumping mail around, it's supporting the clients, browsers, scanning for spam/malware etc that all turn into a lot of work.

      I seem to manage it ok, email server in house, only a small company but all our software is open-source and our server handles blocking spam and malware without any issues. It's far more reliable since it was all brought in house. The reason it was brought in house was not cost although that has been a benefit, but was because we had were tired of third party companies being unreliable. A third benefit of bringing it in-house was an increase in our understanding of email systems enabling us to do things we wouldn't even have thought possible before.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    with apologies to AlpineKat

    LHCb sees where the Microsoft has gone

    ALICE looks at collisions between beancounters and lead ions

    CMS and ATLAS are to of a kind-

    They're looking for whatever new software they can find.

    The LHC accelerates the moneygrabbers and the lead

    And the things that it discovers

    Will rock you in the head.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: with apologies to AlpineKat

      For those who didn't quite get that, enjoy the explanation.

  22. Pete4000uk

    Go CERN!

    Best of luck, I'm sure you wont look back.

  23. jebwebs

    800lb Gorilla over there sitting beside the Elephant...

    ...and by that I mean, Microsoft Outlook & Exchange.

    Both Libre Office and Open Office are capable of handling the same general tasks as MS Office with the exception of Outlook. Other than perhaps internal communications applications specifically designed for a corporation, MS Outlook is the only communications application that does what it does out of the box.

    Outlook is the new barbed wire for the digital age, fencing its users into Microsoft licensed pastures in the cloud.

    Hope some of you will render my perspective obtuse by listing other product(s) that replicate Outlook & Exchange.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: 800lb Gorilla over there sitting beside the Elephant...

      Which functions of Outlook would you like to have replicated? For mail and calendar functions I can recommend Thunderbird and out of office belongs on the server anyway. Besides that, Thunderbird is perfectly capable of communicating as email client with Exchange (and Lotus Domino for that matter).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 800lb Gorilla over there sitting beside the Elephant...

      Outlook and Exchange have been the main problem for quite a while.

      I worked at the UK Met. Office, which had a well-defined Linux policy for their scientific users. When I started, Evolution with a number of extensions was their primary mail client on Linux, but even then they were using Exchange as the mail server.

      I got the feeling that someone on the desktop side wanted to ditch Linux on the desktop, so during the upgrade cycle, they decided not to upgrade Evolution, and then claimed that the extensions that were required to connect to newer Exchange instances could not be installed because they were not compatible with the version of Evolution (but they could have upgraded Evolution!).

      The powers that be tried to persuade the users to ditch Evolution, which many of them would not.

      They then actually borked the Linux desktop to prevent it running (which some of us found a way around) before they eventually just removed critical components of it from the desktop systems.

      Users were encouraged to either use Outlook in a Citrix Windows session to read their mail, or use Outlook Web Client, neither of which appealed to me.

      I configured Kontact, which was on the desktop for basic mail (and allowed me to migrate my mail-handling macros, something I couldn't do with Citrix or the Outlook Web Client). Calendar functions wproved to be a problem with the version on the desktop, though.

      It turned out they did have a reason for deprecating non-Outlook mail solutions, because they replaced the backend storage for Exchange with some windows-centric mail archiving solution that was only usable from an actual Outlook client.

      For my remaining time there (I was there on a time-limited assignment), I started archiving mail on my home drive and using Unix tools to do searches, something I found much easier.

      But it definitely seemed to me that there was some manager who had a bias, for whatever reason, against Open Source and for MS.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 800lb Gorilla over there sitting beside the Elephant...

        With all due respect, let me stay polite and state that Evolution "doesn't quite cut it" as Outlook replacement, and trust me, it pains me to say that.

        1. MrBanana

          Re: 800lb Gorilla over there sitting beside the Elephant...

          What on earth is in Outlook that any competently engineered mail client is lacking? I shifted from a happy user of Thunderbird accessing an IMAP server to having to use Outlook+exchange, and have daily fights with the thing that has come close to me flinging my MacBook through the nearest window. Outlook is a *ckin UI disaster, and it's interaction with calendars and contacts appalling. That there is nothing better out there for corporate environments is a disgrace. It will never improve over what it is now without some competition.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 800lb Gorilla over there sitting beside the Elephant...

      Kontact and K-Mail are capable of connecting to groupware servers for collaboration.

      I tend to use it to connect to my Google account and sync my calendars and email.

      KDE Kontact supports various groupware servers. When using these servers your workgroup has access to features like shared email folders, group task lists, calendar sharing, central address books and meeting scheduling.

      I don't know how that compares to Outlook as I don't use Outlook, but I do use Kontact and K-Mail all the time and it's more than adequate for my needs.

  24. STOP_FORTH
    Unhappy

    SMTP and Outlook

    A place I used to work allowed SMTP messages on the Outlook system. (I don't know if this is the default or whether it has to be configured that way.) Systems and devices in the labs used to use SMTP to send results and debug messages to the developers' machines overnight and at weekends.

    I once fired up Wireshark and looked at the difference between an SMTP session and a simple Outlook e-mail exchange.

    Try it for yourselves. I haven't been so surprised since I first found out how large a Word document was with a single character in it.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: SMTP and Outlook

      I haven't been so surprised since I first found out how large a Word document was with a single character in it.

      Just create a new Word document from Windows (right mouse click at an empty spot, New) and prepare to be surprised about the size without a single character in the document itself.

      1. STOP_FORTH
        Joke

        Re: SMTP and Outlook

        Well, that is a surprise.

        Empty docx, rtf and txt files are all zero bytes. Oddly enough empty rtf files take up 7 bytes on the disk.

        Even more surprisingly, a single byte docx file occupies 11.1 kB.

        Back in the good old days doc files were 64kB if I remember correctly.

        That's pretty good text compression, better than five to one!

        I'm just going to check out this zip file with 70 bazillion Zs.

      2. Lars Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: SMTP and Outlook

        Most of all that stuff on a word doc are there for good reasons, that is for the printer there are lots of esc- sequences to tell all the stuff the printer need, all very easy to find out if you have a printer manual. Unfortunately a word doc also contains stuff about the machine and the user that, in my opinion, should not be there. Also there may remain text from a previous version of that document that is not shown or printed but still in the file.

        A number of years ago some US lawmaker had a proposition for a new law, and it turned out the text was written by a lobbyist.

        Word documents are not safe.

  25. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    E.E.C.

    Embrace Extend Collide

  26. Claverhouse Silver badge

    Even if CERN does it, and even if everyone with even minimal competence is utterly contented with Open Source work, in 10 years some corrupt little creature will be bribed by Microsoft to switch back. Such capitalist-communist goons love the status quo part of large corporations providing stuff.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    OMG!

    CERN - "A particle has travelled faster then the speed of light!"

    ...

    CERN - "Oh, wait! It was a bug in Libre Office Calc. Our bad..."

    1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: "Oh, wait! It was a bug in Libre Office Calc. Our bad..."

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherenkov_radiation

      TL;DR Yes it is possible to exceed the speed of light. It's not necessarily a bug in LO.

      ---

      I think I've talked about the situation I had with a client of mine who maintains a daily spreadsheet of exchange rates for everyone in the business to use when buying/selling. One day the lady who maintains this Microsoft Excel spreadsheet was finding that the calculations weren't calculating correctly (simple four-function math*). Can't remember the version of Excel being used, but it was newer than 2003 (and not 2003).

      After a lot of head-scratching for a comparatively simple spreadsheet I concluded that I must be losing touch with reality, it suddenly dawned on me that she had inadvertently saved it in the open document format. I resaved it back as an XLSX and lo and behold the spreadsheet reverted back to calculating properly.

      I don't quite understand how, what should simply be an alternative method of presenting data from what should be the same calculation engine could possibly have this effect (manually hitting "recalculate" had no effect).

      *Yes I've read enough of Knuth's Seminumerical Algorithms to be aware of issues when performing certain floating-point maths.

      (I still use OpenOffice BTW).

    2. Svampa

      Re: OMG!

      Why not

      CERN - "Oh, wait! It was a bug in *Ms Excel*. Our bad..."

      I've never seen a numeric error in LO Calc. Bugs are related to interface, crashes, hangs, macros etc, but not internal calculation.

      Nevertheless, don't worry, they don't use spreadsheets for processing results, they have specialized programs. Spreadsheets are for financial or admin tasks.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    Love your shareware!

    CERN's IT strategy being set by some aging hippy who knits his own yoghurt by the sound if things.

  29. CFtheNonPartisan

    Microsoft has long been envious of Oracle and their license police where anytime revenue and profit needs a kick up the Oracle (and now Microsoft?) license T&C change or customers get audited to be sure every last seat is accounted for at the highest per dollar cost possible. Hitting non-commercial institutions because they can is what they do these days. Capitalism at its finest where there is no common good, just dividends and bonuses in play. They could gradually kill their customer base and survive on Xboxes. (/snark)

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    CERN Junior S/W Dev

    Out of curiosity, I went noodling around their want ads and found the following under Junior Software Developer (BE-BI-SW-2019-71-LD).

    Contract type: Limited duration contract (5 years). Subject to certain conditions, holders of limited-duration contracts may apply for an indefinite position.

    These functions require:

    Work in Radiation Areas.

    Interventions in underground installations.

    A valid driving licence.

    Work during nights, Sundays and official holidays, when required by the needs of the Organization.

    Stand-by duty, when required by the needs of the Organization.

  31. the Jim bloke Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Criteria to qualify as an Academic Entity

    You have to be indoctrinating impressionable youth into using MS products.

    If that isnt your core business, why shouldnt MS screw you for everything they can?

    Well done CERN, Leading humanity to a brighter future,... and the chance of that being as a flare of radiation as we pass through an event horizon is probably fractionally lower if they arent exposed to Windows Updates.

  32. aregross
    Headmaster

    "...some Skype for Business clients and analog phones..."

    Wait, Wut? Analog Phones? Was there a FAX machine there too?

  33. Dave 15

    Well

    I have moved at home and have started moving at work. Windows 10 is such a crock of shit that I would rather learn something new than listen to my laptops fan blasting away as the processor sweats its way through the crap code that means a noticeable delay between pressing a key and the symbols appearance on the screen. Forced updates, broken code, horrendous UI, apps you cant ditch (I mean my home laptop before I moved it on used to complain it didnt have space to update but wouldnt let me remove groove music... whatever the hell that was)

    If MS dont want to lose the rest of the world I suggest they start shipping windows 3 again, it was lots better than the current crap!

  34. crediblywitless

    I just hope they write it up. Some quite large organisations have tried to do this in the past and had to give in.

  35. DerekCurrie Bronze badge
    Facepalm

    It took jacked up license fees to get CERN off Windows?!

    It consistently astounds me how computer security oblivious even the best scientists remain in our continuing Dark Age of Computing. Of course get off the Windows already! But do it because you demand better OS security! CERN inviting hackability? That's disturbing.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The NHS too

    The NHS seriously needs to do this too. They must be spending serious sums on Windows desktops and servers, but IT departments are intransigent on this matter.

  37. Delbert

    unsurprising

    Sadly Microsoft, Adobe and others are following a business model that ensures a continuing and increasing cash flow while offering dubious 'benefits' including the fixing of all the errors , bugs and vulnerabilities which should have been ironed out prior to release of their software. In a closed system where your hardware conforms to your own standards and works without interference or intervention it is a plan with little or no merit.

  38. CPU

    Microsoft raising licensing, wow, how often does that happen ¬_¬

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