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Sun Microsystems

OpenOffice Coder On StarOffice 6.0's Beta Release 235

Posted by timothy
from the another-promising-one dept.
kevin@ank.com was there last night when "Max Lanfranconi of the OpenOffice project spoke to the Silicon Valley Linux User Group on Wednesday morning's release 6.0 of the LGPL'd office suite. When the project was opened two years ago, it was missing online help, spell-checking, and printing which had been based on proprietary commercial libraries. With release 6 the open source community has replaced these missing features." Read on for some more information on the new release, courtesy of Kevin.Update: 10/04 22:11 GMT by T : Several readers have pointed out that the 6.0 release is actually the beta of StarOffice 6.0. Though StarOffice is based on OpenOffice code, there's not actually a new build of OpenOffice yet. OpenOffice's is currently at build 638.

"Release 6 also gets rid of the old Star Office desktop of version 5 which was generally disliked for its annoying tendency to cover up all of the other windows you were working with and make it difficult to interact with your X Window Manager.

The application suite has programable APIs for each of the applications, exposed through a custom object request broker named UNO. In an impressive demonstration, Max showed live update of a spreadsheet with real-time stock data, all under the control of a small Java application. Changed data were reflected throughout the spreadsheet table with each update as the sheet recalculated each cell based on the new input.

Max freely admits that there are still weaknesses in the code. He pointed to the ten year lifespan of the mostly C++ code base, and hopes to see the code improved with the use of more modern C++ features. In browsing through the source tree I don't find that the code is in nearly as bad shape as Max portrayed it. Admittedly I've only seen a tiny fraction of the code (at 3.7 million lines, OpenOffice is by far the largest open source project in the world), but my random sampling showed very good coding practises, like preprocessor guards around each header include to reduce compile time due to reopening headers that have already been processed. Even with these measures in place however, the full system takes upwards of 15 hours and 1.5GB of disk to build on currently available hardware.

System load time for the office suite has been significantly reduced (about 20s on Max's 500MHz laptop with 128MB memory) by removing several libraries from the link process and instead loading them on demand. Over the next year or more Max hopes to see more modularization of the code base with the eventual goal of seperating the monolithic program into seperate applications linked together through an object request broker.

Q&A went on until we got kicked out of our room, so there is a lot more that is new about OpenOffice than I've described here. If you are interested you can pick up a copy at OpenOffice.org, or at one of its mirrors around the world."

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OpenOffice Coder On StarOffice 6.0's Beta Release

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  • by UserChrisCanter4 (464072) on Thursday October 04, 2001 @02:59PM (#2389460)
    Does it have "Clippy"? Otherwise I'm not interested.

  • Wow, I hope now linux finally has a less bloated and faster office suite. I know Star Office has come a long way, but I think that this solution is better for the end user because it allows more customization. I.E. You can remove parts that you don't like like autocomplete or other "features". I'll have to try this along side star office, hopefully both have matured greatly.



    Ithumbz: World's Greatest Thumbnails [ithumbz.com]
    • So is it safe to assume that if you can delete things you don't, like, LIKE like autocomplete, then, like, can you also get, like, rid of prompts for, like, if you like to double your words like like?
  • Released?? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Teancom (13486) <david@gnuconsul[ ]g.com ['tin' in gap]> on Thursday October 04, 2001 @03:01PM (#2389480) Homepage
    If it has been, openoffice.org sure doesn't know about it. All that is available for download are some "recent builds" with not "W00t! First Release!" hysteria anywhere. Maybe the title should have been "OpenOffice guy interviewed, betas available". But that might be expecting too much from poor Timothy.. I mean, he'd have to actually follow a link!

    • Well, check out my .sig and you can get the StarOffice 6.0 beta off of a Linux server on a T3 :-)
      • Re:Released?? (Score:2, Informative)

        by Teancom (13486)
        Yes, but as other people keep pointing out, OpenOffice != StarOffice, and even StarOffice 6.0 is still in beta. So no matter how you squint, it still isn't "released" :-)

        But I *will* have to try that beta....

  • How does it stack up against Star Office 6.0 Beta?

    A side by side feature comparison would be nice...
  • Photos? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Wind_Walker (83965) on Thursday October 04, 2001 @03:02PM (#2389482) Homepage Journal
    Maybe I'm just a visually-oriented person, but I would really like to see some photos of this thing in action before I take the time to download the latest version.

    The article states that "Release 6 also gets rid of ... its annoying tendency to cover up all of the other windows you were working", but I can't seem to find any screenshots on their website or anywhere else. I have no doubt that the look & feel is similar to Microsoft's Office suite (also Corel's WordPerfect, but I digress) but I'd like to know if they got rid of their start-button oriented interface.

    Anybody had this working and would be willing to GIMP a screenshot?

    • Re:Photos? (Score:2, Informative)

      by AKAImBatman (238306)
      It looks like this [sun.com]. Next time poke around a little bit.

      (Oh, and for those who whine about that's StarOffice and not OpenOffice, let me iterate, THEY ARE THE SAME BUILD OF THE SAME SOFTWARE. Just like Mozilla & Netscape 6)
    • Re:Photos? (Score:1, Informative)

      by stantron77 (466575)
      Here [f2s.com]you go. It is the Windows version of StarOffice (I am at work), but it should be just about the same look and feel as the linux OpenOffice.
    • Re:Photos? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Shandon (53512) on Thursday October 04, 2001 @03:52PM (#2389783)

      Here's a screenshot from the prior build 633. [orbdesigns.com] It clearly shows that the new version has a program oriented interface rather than the extended desktop with a Napoleon complex that was StarOffice 5.2.

      This new interface is shared with StarOffice 6.0 Beta, and it's pretty clean and functional. I've been playing with both for the last couple of days, and I'm reasonably impressed.

      Note - the document open in the screenshot is an imported 1.5 Meg Word file with 37 images, footnotes, comments, revisioning, styles and formatting and everything else brought in just dandy.

      • Note - the document open in the screenshot is an imported 1.5 Meg Word file with 37 images, footnotes, comments, revisioning, styles and formatting and everything else brought in just dandy.

        I'm curious, how well does it handle equations from Word's equation editor? That's the feature I probably would need most, as I've got a lot of papers with too many equations to retype.

        • Re:Photos? (Score:3, Informative)

          by DoubleD (29726)
          I was able to import a word 2000 document with equations. They viewed alright but were not editable. OpenOffice brings up a warning that the equation was created with a newer (yeah right) version of equation editor and blanks out the equation. Saving the word document through word to word 95 format did not help. However saving as rich text converted the equation objects to a graphic format that OpenOffice seemed to like just fine. Alright enough charity download it yourself and play with it :).

          DD
    • Re:Photos? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by DoubleD (29726)
      I cannot try it on linux right now but it looks and functions pretty well in windows 2000 ( i downloaded it today and have tried it for all of 5 minutes).

      link [geocities.com]
      (follow the link on the index page, from what i remember geocites does not like direct image linking.)

      Here is a screenshot of an existing word 2000 document with an embedded excel object opened sucessfully in OpenOffice. Elsewhere in the document (a 42 page technical document) some tables are too wide and some automatic page numbering is right aligned instead of centered. All in all a good translation of a moderatly complex word document. I am impressed.

    • by wirefarm (18470)
      I did a little write-up a few weeks ago when I installed it - this page has a small screenshot that shows the button layout and a document that uses anti-aliased, truetype fonts.
      (Yes this is the Linux version, running Gnome...)

      http://mmdc.net/linux/office.shtml

      Cheers,
      Jim in Tokyo
  • I sure hope you can download executables that run without a hitch. That is no small potatoes for most users.
    • Of course you can - I got the "latest" off their site yesterday, and it came in nice binary form...pity about the huge disk usage though (even for the binaries). I've had to clear out a lot of crud to make enough space.
    • between 15 hour compile times and 20 second load times the average user isn't going to see a huge advantage to this suite unless they are already in support of the open source movement. i realize that these programs have different aims, but one of the nice things about stickies on the mac or notepad on windows (not that it compares to stickies), aside from being built in, is that it launches in around 1 second. sometimes you just need to get it down. hopefully with further modularization of this program, we can see the option for similar load times for simple text entry by loading all formatting functions on demand.

      • i realize that these programs have different aims, but one of the nice things about stickies on the mac or notepad on windows (not that it compares to stickies)

        The rough Mac equivalent to notepad would be simpletext, although this almost infringes on wordpad's territory, with styled text and all.

        aside from being built in, is that it launches in around 1 second. sometimes you just need to get it down.

        There's no reason you couldn't leave an Emacs instance open or launch Vim to jot down the start of an idea while OpenOffice loads. Both programs run on Windows or Unix. Heck, on my win98 box, Emacs for Windows launches faster than wordpad (I've timed them).

  • Mixup???? (Score:3, Redundant)

    by FatRatBastard (7583) on Thursday October 04, 2001 @03:04PM (#2389500) Homepage
    As far as I can tell (and I ran to OpenOffice.org) Open Office 6.0 *HAS NOT* been released. I think someone is mixing up the Star Office 6.0 BETA with Open Office (the SO Beta is based on the last OO build)

  • Wow! And Linux is still at 2.4, windows is so high they stopped counting and started using letters!

    :)
  • Uhhh.. no. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Majix (139279) on Thursday October 04, 2001 @03:05PM (#2389505) Homepage
    Open Office 6 was not released on wednesday. They released a build called Open Office 6 beta 638c. It's more like a milestone release on the way to a proper version 6. Sort of like what mozilla does. The final version isn't scheduled for some time yet, see the roadmap [openoffice.org].
    • Wow, I certainly didn't intend to cause such a furor. Max referred to the version of OO he was running as version 6 and said it had been built that morning. Not being personally familiar with the project I just quoted him; at least as far as I understood.

      One of the points he kept making was that the open source product won't be QC'd like StarOffice is (it is up to the open source community to use it, test it, and report back bugs), so it seemed quite reasonable to me that when he said version 6 that it really was that version.

      I suppose he may have been using the term loosely, or perhaps I misheard and the dozen or more times I thought he said version six he was actually saying 638c.

      In any case the code is supposed to be feature complete, so I'm sure they would be happy for anyone who is willing to download the package and try to use it.

      One other subject that came up several times in the talk was the poor quality of publicly available fonts. Although one of the audience members tried to convince him to buy the relevant fonts and free them (in the same way as StarOffice was itself), there aren't any plans to solve that particular problem. The fonts look legible to me, but have unusually large intercharacter spacing so the code may be coercing fonts into the bounding box of a commercial font without really checking the font metrics of the real fonts being used.

  • Good load time? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by morris57 (23356) on Thursday October 04, 2001 @03:06PM (#2389509) Homepage Journal
    I can't believe that 20 seconds on a 500 Mhz machine is a good load time for a word processor!

    This is the sort of thing that will be thrown in my face when I try to tell people to give OpenOffice a shot.
    • Re:Good load time? (Score:4, Informative)

      by ekrout (139379) on Thursday October 04, 2001 @03:09PM (#2389535) Journal
      Unfortunately (actually, it's a good thing), no single company controls the Linux desktop/operating system, so we therefore can't make some `Start-up Wizard' that loads when the OS boots-up and makes start time 4 times faster (think M$FT Windows/Office).
      • Re:Good load time? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by praedor (218403) on Thursday October 04, 2001 @03:28PM (#2389649) Homepage

        Kword starts in seconds. Wordperfect for linux starts in seconds. Lyx starts in seconds. Abiword starts in seconds. StarOffice/OpenOffice starts in many, MANY seconds.


        Sorry, no excuses. There is no inherent reason that a wordprocessor should take that long to startup, regardless of what libs it uses.

      • Re:Good load time? (Score:4, Informative)

        by spectecjr (31235) on Thursday October 04, 2001 @03:58PM (#2389802) Homepage
        Unfortunately (actually, it's a good thing), no single company controls the Linux desktop/operating system, so we therefore can't make some `Start-up Wizard' that loads when the OS boots-up and makes start time 4 times faster (think M$FT Windows/Office)

        What the hell are you talking about?

        The only thing that Office has ever done on boot-up (and only the first time you run it) is to run BIND and WALIGN on all of its files -- which takes all of the DLL's entry points and binds them to the other DLLs they use with a timestamp, so if anything changes it can use the older mechanism.

        This kind of thing has been available to all Windows developers for years. I use it myself; it makes your apps load pretty much instantaneously instead of taking forever.

        Of course, this annoys my bosses when they want to insert splash screens... which annoys me when they tell me "put it up for 5 seconds regardless".

        Simon
        • Well, I don't use Windows, but I'm (99.4 +/- 1.2)% sure that there's an Office Start-up icon (application) in the system tray that greatly reduces the amount of time it takes to load Office. Also, IE loads because of the reason I mentioned in my post above.
          • Well, I don't use Windows, but I'm (99.4 +/- 1.2)% sure that there's an Office Start-up icon (application) in the system tray that greatly reduces the amount of time it takes to load Office. Also, IE loads because of the reason I mentioned in my post above.

            Actually, having just double-checked, yep, it's there in the Startup folder.

            Apparently, it does this:

            http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22microsof t+ office+startup%22

            Damn, that's lame.
            • First, its really not a problem. Business desktops usually use Office very extensively, and something that makes it start faster isn't bad, its good. Also, I never keep stuff in my startup dir, and Office starts almost instantly on my system (about as fast as Konq on KDE 2.2.1).
      • Unfortunately (actually, it's a good thing), no single company controls the Linux desktop/operating system, so we therefore can't make some `Start-up Wizard' that loads when the OS boots-up and makes start time 4 times faster (think M$FT Windows/Office).

        The Mozilla installer asks about putting a something in your startup group that will reduce load times when you actually start up the app. So if you login and go for coffee, you'll get faster loads once you come back.
    • by small_dick (127697) on Thursday October 04, 2001 @03:20PM (#2389600)
      ...
      int main()
      {
      // Performance Mods (B.G.; Microsoft Inc.)
      // openOffice->launch();
      unsigned long launch_time = gettimeofday()+20;
      while(1)
      {
      // spin cpu to look busy
      if( gettimeofday() == launch_time )
      break;
      }
      openOffice->launch();
      }
    • Do any of you all know how to read? It's called Star/OpenOffice. It's a bit more than just a wordprocessor...
      • When I want to use one of the tools from Star/OpenOffice, I usually wnt to use them one at a time. Why should it load the spreadsheet part if all I want to do is type a document?

        Maybe this is why it takes so long to load, which is something that you can't deny and shouldn't excuse.
    • Just do like Msft - resort to trickery & deception and preload it at boot time. Then your demo will appear in seconds.

    • If you're comparing against MS Office, it's a unfair comparison, because they load up most of it when windows starts. Also, this is a Notebook computer, remember that the hard drives in them are very slow. So, on a desktop with 550mhz desktop with 256mb of ram it ought to be more like 8 seconds... especially if you aren't running kde :-)
    • Re:Good load time? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by MikeV (7307)
      Hmmm, lessee - Word takes, what, 10 seconds or so if portions of MS Office had been pre-loaded on bootup. On a 900Mhz 256Ram machine. Cost? $300+. OO takes 20s on a 500Mhz laptop (not exactly a PC there, nor a muscle machine either). Cost? Free.

      Frankly, I'll take OO and drink my coffee for a few extra seconds knowing at the end of the day I can afford to take my family out to Chili's and a movie... Big deal if it takes a little longer to start up. It does what you need it to do. Edit documents, spreadsheets and all that jaz (hopefully sans Clippy [tm]). It looks fairly decent and feature full. It can open and save a variety of formats. And your cash-flow doesn't dip into the negative when you license the thing...

      I think the average user/company will take that into account too - also the fact that it will only get better and faster as development continues and that you and/or your company won't be ripped off with yearly per seat/per user license fees and forced upgrades... An extra few seconds - that's all? Fella, take another sip of that coffee and enjoy the pace - you've just been given 10 more seconds or so to enjoy life before the grinding stone hits... :)
  • Sheesh... Just installed the StarOffice 6.0 Beta on my system yesterday!

    Does anyone know specifics on the differences between OpenOffice and StarOffice versions 6.0? I think that StarOffice is actually based on the new OpenOffice source code base. (Or, is it the other way around?) Theu look very similar. Are there significant technical or feature differences?

    • Read some of the comments above. They're basically the same piece of software (think Netscape 6.x / Mozilla analogy). "Staroffice 6.0 beta and Open Office 638C are the same build. Sun simply added some licensed software to it and bundled it."
      • by leperjuice (18261) on Thursday October 04, 2001 @03:36PM (#2389698)
        You've (and others) have told us that StarOffice is to OpenOffice as Netscape is to Mozilla. But that tells us very little other than the fact that one is a derivative of the other.

        The question is, what does StarOffice provide that is different? What licensed software has been included and how does it affect the suite?
    • How's the load time for SO 6.0? For OpenOffice it is monstrously slow. I uninstalled it due to this and the fact that it has a tendency to crash...a lot...particularly impress. After a lot of work designing a presentation only to have it crash and actually anihilate my presentation completely...out it went with the rest of the garbage.


  • I can't hit anything on openoffice.org (already slashdotted?). Anyone have the list of mirror download locations?
    • by Sir_Real (179104) on Thursday October 04, 2001 @03:12PM (#2389551)

      Current Mirror Sites
      Type URL Login Password Source Binaries Solver Maintainer
      FTP ftp://openoffice:@ftp.ists.pwr.wroc.pl/ openoffice 633 (all platforms) 633 (all platforms) Bartek Maruszewski
      FTP ftp://borft.student.utwente.nl/ 633, 627, 625, 617 633 (Linux, Win32), in 5 MB parts Michael Niblett*
      HTTP http://borft.student.utwente.nl/openoffice/ 633, 627, 625, 617 633 (Linux, Win32), in 5 MB parts Michael Niblett*
      HTTP http://sapi.vlsm.org/openoffice/ 633 (ZIP for Win32) Rahmat M. Samik-Ibrahim
      FTP ftp://sapi.vlsm.org/openoffice/ 633 (ZIP for Win32) Rahmat M. Samik-Ibrahim
      FTP ftp://sapi.vlsm.org/openoffice/ 633 (ZIP for Win32) in 1440000 byte parts Rahmat M. Samik-Ibrahim
      HTTP http://sapi.vlsm.org/openoffice/win32split/ 633 (ZIP for Win32) in 1440000 byte parts Rahmat M. Samik-Ibrahim
      HTTP http://office.qkaka.com/ * localized ZIP H.Z.
      FTP ftp://ftp.3way.com.hk/ All current binaries, solver, and source; files in parts. Nelson Lau
      FTP ftp://mirrors.unam.mx/pub/OpenOffice/ All current binaries and source, all platforms. Alfredo Aguayo.
      • erm... yes... well slashdot apparently doesn't like less than greater than signs, which means the username and passwords for the ftp sites got filtered out... I believe that they are all "anonymous" and a blank password... Sorry for the confusion.

        Andrew
  • "When the project was opened two years ago, it was missing online help, spell-checking, and printing which had been based on proprietary commercial libraries. With release 6 the open source community has replaced these missing features."

    "from the another-promising-one dept."

    *Groan*. Yup, I actually have a version of a file explorer I'm coming out with. It doesn't open files or perform basic file operations, but the icons are there and they look pretty. I expect to have the "missing features" done, but it's GPL'd. That should mean something, right?

    Com'on, it's "promising"!

  • Sick! (Score:1, Troll)

    by ENOENT (25325)
    Not to criticize the OpenOffice project, which is only trying to provide a reasonably-priced replacement for MS Office, but what the hell is so compicated about text documents and spreadsheets that it takes such a whomping code base to handle it?

    It strikes me as sick that so much human effort is going into a piece of software that will be used primarily to create email attachments that can't be read by non-Office users, all of which will be essentially plain text but inflated in size by several times by the inefficient document format.

    OK, I'm done ranting now. There's nothing to see here. More along.

    • Well, "right tool for the job". If you create emails, use text editors, if you need simple formatting, use simple word processors. If you need more features, use full-size office suites.
      Not saying that your concern wasn't valid at all (it still kind of is, office suites are hogs), but...


      Thing is, OpenOffice being based on open sourced Star Office code base (after Sun acquired the company that created it) was aimed at "full-featured" Office Suite market. Kind of like SUVs of "productivity" applications (ie. bloated, powerful, ugly). Thus, it wasn't started out from scratch. There are more light-weight word processors (and office suites) around, such as AbiWord [abiword.com], but they might (still) not be as mature as, say, Star/OpenOffice. So, having all the bloat already built-in it's much more difficult to trim the fat, than building a leaner application from scratch. But on the other hand, you do have a usable finished application to work with.


      One thing I'm wondering though is the compilation time. The company I used to work for had a similarly-sized (ie. couple of millions of lines of C++/C-code) application, and it compiled in 5 - 10 minutes on Visual C++ (back then on 350 mhz machines). Much of the code was straight-forward C (not C++), and even C++-code didn't make heavy use of many of C++'s slow-compilable features (templates)... And VC++ has a good compiler plus pre-compiles headers nicely. Still, more than an order of magnitude slower compilation sounds weird; it shouldn't take hours to compile that thing. Fortunately end users need not worry about that. The reason I would worry (as a developer) is that slow compilation is often caused by too many dependencies between classes that shouldn't be dependant on each other, which is usually a sign of problems at architectural level. Encapsulation and insulation should be used to reduce physical dependencies, not just logical ones (book "Large-scale C++ - projects" is a good one for reading more about the problems and solutions).

      • Visual C++ compile speed is really, really fast. Also, GCC doesn't support precompiled headers, and tries to be correct rather than fast WRT templates. So its quite plausiple that VC++ is that much faster.
  • openoffice (Score:5, Informative)

    by andy_from_nc (472347) on Thursday October 04, 2001 @03:16PM (#2389580)
    I've not yet gotten the release but I'd have to say OpenOffice is a big improvement in many ways over StarOffice. Unfortunately, the build I got a month ago didn't allow conversion between html docs and swd (or whatever its called now), which really annoyed me. Its a toss up whether loosing that horrid desktop thing is worth it. (I like to publish everything I document as HTML).

    It does seem to load substantially faster and run a tad more stable than Star Office did.

    All in all I have pretty good luck converting to and from M$ Word. The changes are usually the same types of things that happen when switching the printer settings around on M$ Word.

    Unfortunately, I've less luck with the Spreadsheet piece. It writes XLS files in a really weird format (I looked at it via biff view and via my project sourceforge.net/projects/poi) it doesn't always load properly and sometimes crashes excel.
    (long story on the differences, too boring for here)...

    So can you ditch Office and use OpenOffice -- not if you're a big spreadsheet user that needs to talk to Excel, but for most people -- definately!

    (In open office's defence, they use glibole2 which is some of the nastiest looking C code I've ever seen -- see www.gnome.org. You have to expand about 20 layers of macros to even understand one line of code! Its a miracle they can write anything)
  • Get it from Akamai (Score:5, Informative)

    by TrumpetPower! (190615) <ben@trumpetpower.com> on Thursday October 04, 2001 @03:21PM (#2389615) Homepage

    First, as others have noted, this is just another beta.

    Having said that, if you want to get the sources, stop Slashdotting openoffice.org and get it from Akamai [akamai.net]. At least they've got the bandwidth to deal with the load.

    b&

  • Star Office has released version 6.0 beta.
    See the banner on Sun's homepage [sun.com]

    OpenOffice is currently offering release 638
    See www.openoffice.org [openoffice.org] for details.

    Are they related? Yes. Are they the same? Certainly not!

    Please try to clarify this point in the posted article!
  • Ecological niches (Score:5, Interesting)

    by marm (144733) on Thursday October 04, 2001 @03:26PM (#2389638)

    First of all, excellent to see that OpenOffice is out. The Free software community needs a solid heavyweight office suite with all the bells and whistles, and Open Office is shaping up to be exactly that.

    I think we're also seeing the development of two quite distinct niches for Office software, at least on Linux and other Free *nix. Perhaps a little like the split used to be between MS Works and Office:

    On the one hand, we have OpenOffice, a big heavyweight that has features pouring out of its ears, but which is not tremendously tightly integrated to any desktop, nor perhaps the most intuitive set of programs to use. It's also heavy on system resources and diskspace, but that's the price you pay for having all the bells and whistles.

    On the other hand, there's the younger, lighter suites like KOffice. Leaner, faster, easier, and more tightly integrated with the desktop. At the same time, lacking a few features that may be necessary for some people, but satisfying the needs of an average Joe quite well.

    It seems to me there's a place for both of these in the Linux desktop landscape, and frankly, I think this is great.

    Or rather, it will be great once they can read each other's file formats ;)

  • by 575 (195442)
    There once was a company, Sun
    Star Office, their package, claimed done
    MS changed formats
    So Sun is their doormat
    And the work has only begun!
    • There have been many who have tried
      Herding users with formats and died
      So why do you think
      another program that stinks
      Won't push their own customers aside?
  • ... that it supported Hebrew. I saw some notice of Bi-Directional text display support, but Hebrew is not supported (neither in the documentation, nor in the released version). I just hope that someone adds at least basic support (even without a spell checker).

  • by Odinson (4523) on Thursday October 04, 2001 @03:58PM (#2389804) Homepage Journal
    Why aren't we bundling too. It is time.


    Is there a freedom software distro for Microsoft Windows. Such a thing would be a great boon. They should be everywhere like AOL cd's.


    Such a thing should include ...


    OpenOffice, Mozilla, Gimp, Apache(not enabled by default), Perl And so on...


    I mean really how many people would buy office XP if they had a shiny "new" cd sitting around with a free compatible equivilent. It is the perfect opportunity to move people to the apps, and then the OS looks much more tempting.


    And no most people don't write vbs scripts in word they have enough trouble with fonts and margins.


    Could some Linuxish orginiztion pick up the tab for the creation or shipping???

    • Is there a freedom software distro for Microsoft Windows. Such a thing would be a great boon. They should be everywhere like AOL cd's.

      There exists such a distribution of GNU software compiled for Win32 [gnusoftware.com], available in the UK. Too bad cheapbytes doesn't seem to sell anything similar. However, cheapbytes does sell this CD [cheapbytes.com] containing DJGPP (a 32-bit DOS C compiler) and "LLC" (LCC?) for Win32.

      What you're really missing is a business model. AOL's model is to give away the bisks and sell the connection.

      • What you're really missing is a business model. AOL's model is to give away the bisks and sell the connection.

        Maybe that is the business model. What if one of AOL's largest competitors, like Earthlink, started carpet bombing the US with their own CDs? Most people are at the point where they just ignore free ISP CDs, but what if a free CD set itself apart by also offering free software whose equivalent would cost over $1,000? Earthlink could say "get the equivalent of $1,000 in software free with this CD with no catch - and by the way, if you also want free notifications when new versions of this free software comes out, sign up for Earthlink."

        This could be much bigger, actually... Why wouldn't any company that has a Windows service/app to sell entice people to try out their stuff by bundling it on a CD with a lot of great free software? A lot of people would actually want to get the CD in order to get the software, and the company that put it together then has their foot in the door to sell their own stuff. Once one company does it, it will only be a matter of time before every other company does it in order to keep up. This could be huge - somebody should start this snowball rolling.


    • You really hit the nail on the head with the idea of distributing a set of open, multiplatform, useful apps on millions of CDs for people to use.

      No "Linuxish" organization has the wherewithal to make and distribute that many CDs or man the support lines at 1-800-HELPME.

      But AOL does.

      After MS has strongarmed MSN into XP and put AOL and other ISPs at a disadvantage, it would be justdeserts if 30 million CDs of

      AOL 7.0!
      just so happened to include a slew of free apps that walk all and cross integrate out of MS in the same way. Unfortunately, if it were done, I'm sure AwOL would probably just insert themselves with insidious links the same way that MS has (a la, meet the new boss. same as the old boss.)
      • The difference, of course, is that Open Office is Free Software. Meaning, of course, that if AOL were to get too heavy handed their customers could simply get the software from somewhere else.

        The only reason that consumers currently put up with Microsoft (especially other large corporations) is that they have billions of dollars tied up in Microsoft document formats. If Open Office (or Star Office) were to take MS Office's place then your software vendor wouldn't have that kind of leverage. After all, you could get the software from any number of other vendors. All of which would have exactly the same access to the source code, and all of whom would be happy to take your money.

        Microsoft gives us no such choice.

        Star Office is going to become more widely distributed. Either the OEMs are going to give it away with new PCs, or perhaps AOL or someone else will give it away with their CDs like you propose.

        Either way there are simply too many companies that are gunning for a piece of Microsoft for an opportunity like this to go unused.

  • by ryanvm (247662) on Thursday October 04, 2001 @04:00PM (#2389815)
    Whether or not OpenOffice 6 has been released (apparently it has not); I can tell you that it is really starting to look good as an MS Office replacement.

    I recently had a user with a corrupted MS Excel spreadsheet that would immediately crash Excel every time it was opened. I tried Excel 2000, Excel 97, Excel Viewer, and nothing worked.

    So, I tried to open it with the Win32 version of OpenOffice build 638. Hmmm, so far so good - it opened with no problems. I saved it as a native OpenOffice document; reopened it in OpenOffice; and exported it as an Excel document. Finally, I tried to open it with Excel and it worked like a charm!

    So if nothing else, OpenOffice makes a nifty file repairer for MS Office documents. ;-)

  • Coding practices (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Earlybird (56426) <slashdot@@@purefiction...net> on Thursday October 04, 2001 @04:04PM (#2389838) Homepage
    • ... sampling showed very good coding practises, like preprocessor guards around each header include to reduce compile time due to reopening headers that have already been processed ...
    Um. Like who doesn't do this? Due to the nature of C++, this is required to avoid redefinitions that would otherwise occur on multiple inclusions. Given this, it has little to do with reducing compile time; for that you use pre-compiled headers (support for which isn't expected in GCC until 3.1 or later).

    To evaluate coding practices, I would look at

    • Consistent coding conventions: syntax, identifiers, directory layout etc.

    • Presence of good comments (German ones don't count ;).

    • Application of good OO principles (which, contrary to a surprising number of people's opinions, apply to all languages, not merely explicitly OO languages like C++), such as encapsulation, modularization, etc.

    • Application of good OO patterns (GangOfFour-style).

    • Use of interfaces ("abstract base classes" in Bjarne terminology) to decouple API interfaces from their implementation.

    • Presence of unit tests.

    • Presence of assertions and other kinds of code guards that contribute to "self-documenting" and "self-testing" code.

    • etc.

  • Just kinda wondering when debian packages will start showing up in unstable. I heard awhile ago that it may be sometime before that occurs, but I havent heard any news recently.
  • I seem to be having a problem with StarOffice and OpenOffice 6, it all installs fine but when it's run, selecting any of the menus (file edit etc) causes a "internal program error" and crashes!
    Anyone else have a problem like this?
  • by cgreuter (82182) on Thursday October 04, 2001 @04:14PM (#2389887)

    (at 3.7 million lines, OpenOffice is by far the largest open source project in the world)


    I wasn't sure about this, so I took a look at the linux kernel source:

    $ cd /usr/src/linux
    $ find . -name \*.[ch] -exec cat \{\} \; | wc -l
    3130679

    So OpenOffice is bigger than the Linux kernel, but only by around 15%. I don't know if you can say it's by far the largest.

    Yeah, I know I'm being pedantic.

    dash dash Chris

    • Of course, a lot (actually a majority) of the Linux kernel is drivers. A lot of drivers look very similar (cut & paste), so a straight linecount probably isn't the best measurement.
    • Actually, Linux 2.4.10 is ~3.7 million lines of code, if you measure the way you did. You forgot to include the assembly code (*.S files).

      (07:15:17)(tj@ganga)(/usr/src/linux)$ find . -name \*.[chS] -exec cat \{\} \; | wc -l
      3695460


      And Mozilla isn't very far behind either with its 3515317 lines of code contained in *.{cpp,c,h,idl} of just cvsupped tree.

      Someone want to check how big are the latest glibc, gcc and XFree86? Probably over 1M lines of code each.

      /me is even more pedantic :)
  • Wow... The beta was released just two days ago [slashdot.org], and the final product is already out. How about we find out if what we post is even realistic before doing so?
  • Does the Windows verison of OpenOffice have an uninstaller?
    • I'm running Win2k Pro and after installing OpenOffice 638, there's definitely an entry for it in Add/Remove Programs.
  • by jonabbey (2498) <jonabbey@ganymeta.org> on Thursday October 04, 2001 @05:18PM (#2390008) Homepage

    To the poster who was asking why you needed such a huge code base for a text editor, try loading a complex MS Word doc and then save it using StarOffice 6's native file format, 'sxw'. The sxw format is actually a pkzip file which contains a bunch of XML files and the associated image resources.

    If you look at the content.xml file, you'll get an idea of the vast amount of formatting and structural information that is retained in an MS Word style file.

  • I wonder if they continue to support OS/2, and be truely cross-platform.

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