Friday, 3 October 2008

User Group

Our User Group yesterday - about 50 people normally attend from all areas of the University, including students. We normally do a few presentations of things we're doing, new projects etc, and ask for questions from the floor. Yesterday we demonstrated Clearspace, our new social networking software which was very well received, gave an overview of the student satisfaction survey results and our action plan, and an overview of the Print Service. However, the item which caused the most discussion was our move to Office 2007 (2008 for our mac users).

There was a general acceptance that we had to do it, but a number of issues, particularly in relation to file formats and their incompatibility with previous office versions, and whether staff would have to upgrade their PCs to run the new versions. Lots of discussion about why we don't run Open Office as standard and avoid the "Microsoft treadmill" of upgrades. The student reps were very clear that they want to run the industry standard versions of Office, and as Microsoft make their software available cheaply to them, that 's what they have on their own laptops, and that's what they need on our PCs. I have to say we agree with them. We were asked whether their was any possibility of us moving away from our dependence on Microsoft in the future, and the answer is it's unlikely! However, we did remind our users that we have very little Microsoft infrastructure in place, prefering to run open standards and systems wherever possible.

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