This is the fourth post in a series on introducing open source software into your church. If you haven't already, read parts `one`_, `two`_ and `three`_ first.
One of the biggest hurdles to overcome when migrating to open source software in your church is moving from one e-mail client to another. There are few things more challenging than getting someone to use a new e-mail client - the only exception I can think of is moving people away from Microsoft Office.
The up side to this is that once you have either one of those migrations done, the other is easier to follow. Not only that, once both of them is done, I reckon that you can move folks to Linux once they're used to those two applications (well, a suite in the case of MS Office).
I remember when I moved to Thunderbird from Outlook. I had to find a program that would allow me to export e-mails from Outlook, and Outlook had to be running, and then there were still some glitches. Fortunately these days Thunderbird comes with an Import wizard which is able to import e-mails and contacts from Outlook, Outlook Express, and other mail clients.
I found a very straightforward tutorial online, which should help anyone wanting to make the move. Please note that you have to run this all on Windows.
One of the other applications that people like to use in churches is Microsoft Publisher. This application is mainly used to draw up the church bulletin, and the occasional flyer for outreach programmes or a visiting preacher. A great replacement for that is Scribus, an open source publishing application.
While Scribus (due to licensing) does not include extra-fancy features like a Pantone colour palette, it is far more flexible and capable than most other applications of the same type. Most churches don't use those features, so Scribus is more than capable enough for them. Not only that, but it has an extensive wiki with plenty of tutorials and examples to help you get started.
One of my pet hates is how many church staff use Microsoft Word for putting together posters, brochures and church bulletins. It is clumsy, unwieldy, difficult to manipulate and generally horrible at predicting pages sizes and accurately placing objects on the page.
I had to set up a brochure a few yeas ago, and decided to use Scribus for it. It was great! The printing and placment was fairly accurate, and I only needed tp reprint things once or twice to get my alignment right. I highly recommend using Scribus for your desktop publishing needs.