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Microsoft FUD Machine Aims at OpenOffice.org 693

Posted by michael
from the head-shot dept.
Roblimo writes "If you're using Microsoft Office and considering a switch to (free) OpenOffice.org, Microsoft would like you to read their Open Office Competitive Guide first, in which they tell you how much better/faster/cheaper MS Office is than OOo. Taran Rampepersad, an IT consultant in Trinidad, believes this "Competitive Guide" is nothing but FUD, so he wrote a detailed rebuttal to it -- and released his article under the FDL so you can feel free to republish his piece or share it with anyone you like, however you like." A followup to this story. Newsforge and Slashdot are both part of OSDN.
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Microsoft FUD Machine Aims at OpenOffice.org

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:03PM (#8691845)
    I've never understood why a lot of authors pepper their articles with redundant links. I mean, look how many links to www.openoffice.org are in that article -- it's crazy, especially when considering what this program is called (ie a website in itself!).

    Otherwise, very good rebuttal.
  • meh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vlion (653369) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:03PM (#8691853) Journal
    I read that document actually. In short, it shows the disadvantages of OO: which there are- and then it shows the advantages of MS.O. It only goes head to head with OO on one point, the point of integration with the Outlook suite. Unfortunately, MS makes the assumption that we want more than a write-clone and a basic spreadsheet.MS believes in the extreme abundance of features. I don't care for gazillions of features, myself. I want essentially Write from Win 3.1. Anything more tends to be utterly unused. Spreadsheets need to have math functions, coloring, some decent copy functions, and a decent grapher.(Excel ain't a great grapher) Anyway, it is mostly FUD.
  • by MSFanBoi (695480) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:05PM (#8691864) Journal
    I forgot, Microsoft is not allowed to publish any marketing material. Go look at Sun, Apple or RedHat's sites and watch all the drivel they post that is anti-Microsoft FUD. Hell isn't that what mostly Slashdot is?
  • Unconvincing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brejc8 (223089) * on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:06PM (#8691875) Homepage Journal
    OpenOffice does not have an e-mail client, so customers may incur a licensing cost associated with buying an e-mail application.
    Why don't you use this 'free' software?
    Because it doesn't come with an email client!
    Why don't you use a 'free' email client?
    Because it doesn't come with a web browser!
    Why don't you use a 'free' web browser...

    Ensure that their mission-critical information is adequately protected from virus attack.
    Over the last month I have been sent over 20 virus infected MS office files. I hardly think this argument could possibly hold up.

    OpenOffice does not have a dedicated development or support rteam. Consequently, if bugs go unresolved, users have the option to resolve problems by scouring through numerous community sites and chat rooms.
    As opposed to what? Finding out you have a bug in your software and waiting till the next version or patch two years down the line? OOo is bad because thee is a community of people happy to help you.

    All in all its pretty pathetic. I doubt the person who wrote it was convinced.
  • Hardware (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:08PM (#8691892)
    So this asshole claims Microsoft Office requires more hardware and more disk space, and therefore OO.org "holds its own." Well I'll tell you, when I load OO.org on my P4 it takes a fucking long time to load. When I load MSOffice it comes up very snappily. I can't imagine using OO.org on an older machine. It must be like using Mozilla on an older machine, where you wait 2 minutes for the cursor to even show in the URL box! I have 200GB of disk space, I don't care how much space an office suite takes up.
  • PDF ! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by clarkie.mg (216696) <mgofwd+Slashdot AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:09PM (#8691898) Homepage Journal
    The m$ document is in PDF format that is not supported by office ! OO can save document in PDF.

    That makes 1-0 for OO.
  • by oldosadmin (759103) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:15PM (#8691929) Homepage
    First of all, it's OpenOffice.org, not Open Office (trademark issues).

    Secondly, even though I am a participant on the Marketing list for OOo, I must say that the disk space comparison between OOo and MSO is unfair. MSO comes with fonts + clipart, which OOo lacks. Maybe SO vs. MSO would've been more fair. (we want our products to win through honesty, not FUD).

  • Speed? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by black mariah (654971) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:15PM (#8691935)
    Nice how the author completely sidestepped speed issues. I can have anything in Office opened up on my woeful K6-2/500MHz machine in 10-15 seconds. Firing up any portion of OO takes from 45 seconds to a full minute. No, I am not overstating the problem. OO has some great functionality, but it is horrendously slow to start, and runs slower than Office once it's open.

    Also, the comparison of OO and Office system requirements is weak. "Wow, look! OO doesn't mention what processor to use! We win!" No, I don't think so. The Office guidelines are merely more specific. Who is going to be running Office XP on such a low-end (P133, 24MB RAM?) system? NOBODY! It sounds to me like OO and Office have the exact same system requirements... "A computer that doesn't completely suck."

  • by Psiren (6145) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:16PM (#8691939)
    Often it's not even possible to use Office formats between versions. Try to edit an MS Office 2003 file on a system that's using MS Office '97.

    I'm not a fan of Office, but that is just a dumb argument. How exactly do you expect any program to edit files from a later version without problems? Do you think the programmers know the additional features they need to support before they even write them?

    Okay, with an XML based document format it's probably easier to ignore parts you don't understand, but that doesn't mean the problem goes away.
  • by Geek of Tech (678002) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:21PM (#8691989) Homepage Journal
    This just a comment, no trolling. I promise.

    It just seems that for an office suite people would want to edit documents. Write text, read text. I don't really see the benifit in creating macros. Or if one insists in creating macros, I don't see the point in giving the macro ability to get outside of its sandbox. Oh well. Granted, I've never worked in a Fortune 500 company, so I really don't have any idea what they might use macros for. Oh well.

  • by smitty_one_each (243267) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:22PM (#8691994) Homepage Journal
    What's really better is an analysis that doesn't oversimplify the question into some asinine dichotomy.
    How about a clear separation of data, presentation and logic? Or, if you will, model, view, and controller.
    That lets a particular tool have a GUI for general stuff, particularly the FNG, and a .conf file for commenting, and easy versioning, or even scripting.
    But hey, I lay no claim to being an average human, for all I enjoy good health.
  • by ejaw5 (570071) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:22PM (#8691995)
    "third party studies show that competitive office suites retain only 75% accuracy (data and formatting) when receiving documents from Office users..."

    Well, who's fault is it for using proprietary file formats in attempt to lock everyone else out of the market?

    I wonder if MS Office 2003 will correctly open a document created in OpenOffice.org.
  • What about size? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SinaSa (709393) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:24PM (#8692005) Homepage
    This might sound like flamebait, but I havn't read either article so I'd just like to post my own 1 point rebuttal.

    You can't download MS Office legally.

    I rest my case.
  • by eLoco (459203) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:24PM (#8692008)

    Don't confuse politics with business, or donations with payments for services provided. Microsoft is paying for a service: slashdot displaying their ad. The price of the ad placement should be more-or-less equal to its value (Economics 101), thus Microsoft owes no more to slashdot, nor does slashdot owe Microsoft anything besides display of their ad.

    I think it's fairly safe to say that Microsoft would not advertise on a "hostile" site such as slashdot if they did not perceive some benefit from that greater than or equal to what they paid for the ad placement.

  • Re:Speed? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:30PM (#8692052)
    when timing MS Office, did you include the boot time? look at your startup processes, you'll see why MS Office is faster.
  • by Yaa 101 (664725) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:31PM (#8692058) Journal
    Promoting OO to my clients to become...
    As i have small clients, they are not dependent on macro's.
    Only big companies or very specialized companies get dependend on macro's or better said, the bugs and propriarity rules in the macro system.
    All others can change without problem...

    MS is becomming predictable in spreading FUD where it hurts them in the market...
    A bit like the bully that get's kicked in the head by the new kid that is not impressed with the bully.
  • Re:Hardware (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:32PM (#8692063)
    Except for the fact that you're wrong. MS Office does NOT have anything loading it at startup. This is a FACT. OO.org just has performance issues; admit it!
  • Re:meh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blincoln (592401) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:33PM (#8692069) Homepage Journal
    Those features might go unused by YOU, but there are a lot of people out there that need them and use them.

    Especially in a genuine corporate office situation, it's really interesting to see the uses that people put the various MS Office apps to. Those extra features really do come in handy for them.

    The macros are a big part of it - lots of office workers aren't programmers, don't have an interest in programming, and possibly don't even have the skills to become a programmer, but with some basic training they can come up with some very handy department-level utilities in Excel, for example.
  • by oldosadmin (759103) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:36PM (#8692084) Homepage
    Ok, so I'm the dork. I was talking about the /. article, you were talking about the NF article.

    But when a products' name is its URL, it seems sacreligious not to link it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:38PM (#8692102)
    Huh?

    "Microsoft feels compeled to insult openoffice.org by saying how wonderfully better MSOffice is"

    So, anytime anyone says anything is better than something else, they're insulting that 'something else'? "Best hamburgers in town!" is an insult to every other burger place?

    That's the stupidest logic I've ever heard.

    How, exactly, is it an insult to anyone using OpenOffice for Microsoft to say their product is superior? What else would you expect from *ANY* vendor of *ANY* product over their competition?
  • by Jedi_Knyghte (763576) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:44PM (#8692134)
    No trolling taken, I assure you.

    I've used macros more in spreadsheets than in text documents, for automating those pain-in-the-rear repetitive tasks, or for setting a sheet up so that a person without great computer skills can get something done without understanding how the spreadsheet works.

    Macros in text files are useful for those automation functions that Bill's marketing minions didn't need but that make your life easier (such as including the full path name of the file in the footer).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:54PM (#8692187)
    It doesn't matter to the end users WHY the formatting breaks. All that matters is that there will be compatibility issues with their old documents.
  • by r.jimenezz (737542) <rjimenezh&gmail,com> on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:56PM (#8692194)
    Alas, with the current status of software patents and the like, I fear the day they go after OO.o instead...

    It took me some time to finally decide using the OO.o document formats instead of MS Office ones (in my office the "geeks" use OO.o and the rest use MS so I have to constantly export). But once I did it I'd never go back. Smaller documents, open formats; it's just better!

    The problem is that it's not easy to convince users to both migrate *and* change their document formats. If (or shall I say when?) MS goes after OO.o for their "reverse engineering", adoption of OO.o will suffer a huge set back.

    Here's hoping your predictions come true first!
  • by mnmn (145599) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @08:59PM (#8692214) Homepage
    I'm administering the IT of a small company that uses MS O, Access in some places, Lotus Suite and Lotus Notes. The articles points about Outlook therefore does not apply to us.

    We're still having trouble translating the old Lotus application documents to MS O. There are too many of them. For now, keeping Lotus Suite is cheaper than converting to MS O, while all new docs are Word-based. Trying to goto OO is therefore worsening the situation unless compatibility with MS O 2000 is guaranteed (minus Active X and Macros which we dont use).

    Hardware is also not an issue since all machines are Pentium3 with 256mb ram and win2k pro minimum.

    I tried OO a while ago, a few Word documents did not translate well, and it seemed too slow. At one point during testing it crashed on me. Since it was a while ago, I intend to try it again. However it will have to be very stable. It should also be noted that like PDF, MS Word documents are a bit of an industrial standard with everyone sending them in email attachments expecting you to be able to deal with them. This is another sticking point... can OO's compatibility be guaranteed with MS Word? I doubt the UI training will be an issue.

    So we cannot dare switch to OO, even to lower the TCO. If a company stepped forward to support OO and guarantee compatibility, we will pay them the licensing fees. For now we'll remain stuck with MS O and MS Windows. Some points in that document against OO are valid, and I must say that, although I'd prefer OO anyday.
  • by GoatEnigma (586728) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @09:12PM (#8692287) Homepage
    Really? I thought it was quite a poor rebuttal actually. First of all, the author's personal bias is completely obvious in the fact that the article linked every occurence of the word "OpenOffice" to OO.o, and there isn't a single link to Microsoft.

    Statement's like this are totally, well, retarded:
    *Training: OpenOffice is, for the most part, the same as Microsoft Office XP for a user, but there are things that they will need to learn how to do differently. All things being equal, if a company's staff need formal training for OpenOffice, then they probably need it for every new version of Microsoft Office. Therefore there is a cost on both sides, and they are at least equal.

    So, the whole paragraph is an assumption to start off with. But it is also contradictory and misleading: "but there are things that they will need to learn how to do differently. All things being equal,", for example.

    And the next paragraph:
    Therefore, this is a valid point and would be part of a migration cost, yet one has to wonder at how complex such macros would be in a SMB.

    Um... many companies base their entire inventory tracking and accounting systems on complex macro programs. (Not a good idea in my opinion, but hey, what can we do).

    I'm not going to go on but the article is not exactly something I would use as a reference... even for a grade 5 project. The whole article is saying nothing but "well, yeah but I think", and is obviously heavily anti-microsoft. It's what is known as "junk science".

  • Re:no (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 27, 2004 @09:14PM (#8692297)
    Wow, you're an idiot. If you have actually used and known more about OO.o, you'd then realize that all of your points are invalid.
  • They might as well just write Slashdot hates Microsoft and normally only posts MS bashing articles.

    Look in Games::Xbox [slashdot.org] to see a more sympathetic view of Microsoft.

    /. makes fox look fair and balanced.

    For the record, Fox News can serve as part of a fair and balanced news diet when taken together with a more left-leaning cable news source such as CNN or MSNBC.

  • by gfecyk (117430) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @09:34PM (#8692397) Homepage Journal
    My staff recommended including it in an XP distribution kit I'm puting together for a new promotion. I declined only because OO didn't work in XP as a limited user, and that it didn't support multiple users' settings.

    I realize OO's built from a common source code base that should work for multiple platforms, and such proprietary things as The Registry would be verbotten territory. That doesn't forgive the designers, though, who have access to per-user environment variables, per-user home directories and common areas to store information as defined in Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

    Of note:

    %userprofile% is the equivelant to $home. Store per-user settings here, or in %appdata% which is hidden normally (like .whatever files), but still set per-user.
    %allusersprofile% and %ProgramFiles% point to common areas that are at least read-only to all users.

    Minor programming changes to look for these environment variables would let OO be multi-user and secure on current and supported versions of Win32. How hard is that?
  • Yaaaawwwwnnnn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zeinfeld (263942) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @09:36PM (#8692406) Homepage
    and my MS Office-using (on a Mac even) advisor is sixpence none the wiser. Total FUD.

    The points are aimed at people who actually buy software. The fact that you can write a thesis without using word is not a great surprise. I wrote mine using LaTeX.

    The marketting points look reasonable enough to me, OpenOffice does not do everything that Word or Office does, it does provide a clone of the core functionality. But what happened to open source being innovation and Microsoft being only able to copy? Is there anything that OpenOffice does that is new?

    When the VA Linux puts these stories up on slashdot they do so with all the objectivity of a Congressional hit squad. When it comes to Microsoft the editorial line at VA Linux is even less objective than Matt Drudge. At least Slate tells us that it is owned by Microsoft before they comment on stories that affect their employer, heck Slate even bites the hand that feeds it. But not Slashdot, there they stay on message even more comically than a Whitehouse press spokesperson.

    Is this the most important tech story going on in the world? I don't think so. The editorial diet today has been pretty thin, recycled stories published a week ago on the BBC, the fascinating news that Mozilla Foxtrot is going to allow the users to choose the name for themselves. Well whoop-de-do, Internet Explorer went through that phase roung about release 3.0, you could download a tool that would let you brand it any way you chose, stupid icon and everything. I used to annoy my Netscape friends by running a version that announced itself as Netscape Navigator complete with N icon. The sometimes took quarter of an hour or more before they realized they were having their chain yanked.

    I still think the Wired story on how to get casual sex via bluetooth [wired.com] was more interesting. Oh and that virginity auction [bbc.co.uk] in the UK. Or how about Boeing being about to launch high speed internet service [wired.com] via WiFi on planes next month?

    Sure the latest discovery of some perfidious Microsoft marketting litterature was desperately more important and interesting. Does it tell us anything new we did not know before?

  • Re:meh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by morelife (213920) <f00fbug@NosPAm.postREMOVETHISman.at> on Saturday March 27, 2004 @09:48PM (#8692458)
    Excel's graphing is nowhere near on a par with something like Matlab.

    Not an accurate comparison -- Matlab is essentially a scientific application, for specialists. We're talking about office suites here. We're not talking about publishing apps or prepress quality stuff. Office suites, for regular users, some more sophisticated than others.

    but its chief advantage is that it is easy for dumb people to learn how to use it. On features it loses,

    Ok, we'll overlook the fact that you've just called us dumb, and ask: what features is Excel's graphs missing, specifically? You can make pretty complicated graphs from multiple data sets in Excel - please, point us to a graph made by a scientist that could not have been made in Excel.

    Again, Excel's graphing seems to be one of its strong points. Bill Gates can still kiss my white ass.
  • by vena (318873) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @09:52PM (#8692474)
    why do people keep reiterating the fact that this document was exported from Quark Express? is there a fundamental misunderstanding of what Word/Office is capable of or marketed as? This document is well laid out and visually designed in a way that not only is Word unable to do, but isn't expected to accomplish.

    MS knows the capabilities of their software and they haven't tried to position the Office suite in competition with Quark, InDesign, or other professional layout applications. you're comparing apples and oranges in this criticism and it comes off rather silly.
  • by bigberk (547360) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Saturday March 27, 2004 @09:54PM (#8692489)
    Office provides innovative security on three levels to protect your business environment, data and intellectual property:
    Application Threat: attachment blocking, anti-virus API, code signing
    Data Loss: Auto recovery and application recovery tool
    Data Access: Digital signatures and encryption, IRM, file access controls
    Yeah, MS Office + Outlook has been doing a fantastic job at blocking dangerous attachments, NOT automatically executing malicious scripts and NOT infecting machines simply by previewing emails. The tight integration of mail and word processor also helps ensure highly secure operation.

    File access controls? Yeah, I'm sure that works great at the application layer (use your OS's damn filesystem for access rights). And encryption? MS Word passwords are trivial to break (search the Internet for password breaking tools). OpenOffice.org, on the other hand encrypts documents with Blowfish in CFB mode and SHA1 hashing for crypto-quality integrity checking. This is as good as using GPG in symmetric mode.
  • by TwistedSpring (594284) * on Saturday March 27, 2004 @09:54PM (#8692491) Homepage
    But what does it matter? OpenOffice.org (which I've never seen a reason to use over MSO but am downloading now to give it a whirl) is free, no money is earned from it, so it's no skin off OOo's nose if it's adoption rate is low. I think that OOo probably just want to make a good product that 'nix users can use to do word processing and DTP, there is not much to pick between them other than price (OOo wins) and load times (MSO wins, even without suspicions of transparent quick start routines that certainly don't appear in my tasklist).

    Bottom line is, nobody really cares if OOo dominates MSO or vice versa except the zealots. OOo is currently nothing but a holistic alternative for Windows users and a necessity for Unix users. Perhaps I should remember that /.'s readership consists mainly of zealots and I will probably be shafted for this post.
  • by lone_marauder (642787) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @10:03PM (#8692524)
    Um... many companies base their entire inventory tracking and accounting systems on complex macro programs. (Not a good idea in my opinion, but hey, what can we do).

    So the assumption that using Word's macro engine as an integrated business database application suite is inadvisable (as opposed to a screaming train wreck) is sound, but assuming that there aren't significant user training issues isn't?

    It amazes me that you would consider anyone stupid enough to use Word macros as an application platform to be capable of retaining sufficient knowledge for product familiarity to be an issue. I wouldn't trust such a group of users to retain the knowledge not to beat themselves to death with sticks, regardless of their experience with sticks. Whether they were made of pine or oak wouldn't make much difference. I would count on a daily expense overhead of a human at the help desk whose job it is to stop fatal self-beatings.
  • Re:meh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Captain Segfault (686912) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @10:05PM (#8692544) Homepage Journal

    With regards to TeX.. if I had a need for producing lots of highly professional documents, I would definitely use it, as long as I don't have that need my time is better spent on other things (and as a geek I know of a lot more fun technical challanges then document layout, but I bet that is a matter of taste).

    Oddly enough, that's basically the entire point of LaTeX; you don't need to worry about document layout.
  • Rebuttal issue... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chordonblue (585047) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @10:07PM (#8692564) Journal
    Look, I'm a big fan of OOo, so don't go off on me; but I'm also a USER of OOo, not just someone promoting an adjenda. That said, a great many things are out of whack with MS' portrayal of OOo against Office, BUT there is at least one area that DOES need improvement: Installation.

    If you are running a domain and authenticating users or even running multiple users in XP Home - it's a pain in the ass to get this set up. And for those who have experience with this, don't tell me that every user has to fill out a small install questionaire in order to get it to work. That's just stupidity. I want this like Office - install in one spot, and everyone gets it.

    Unfortunately, this 'feature' (I would consider this a MUST for Terminal Services, public terminals or clients, or even families), won't happen until V. 2.00 - next year. You have no idea how frustrating it is for me to have to use a hacked registry patch and start-up batch file to make this work.

    So... Ease of install... Er... Needs work folks!

  • by ThatsLoseNotLoose (719462) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @10:11PM (#8692595)
    The big deal is that Microsoft is finally admitting they're threatened.

    Creating marketing material that directly targets OO is quite an admission and they probably resisted doing it as long as possible because simply naming OO like that actually has the negative affect (for MS) of elevating them into the ranks of "serious competitors" - which will make people start talking. It also telegraphs to investors and stock analysts that there may be choppy waters ahead in the Office margins.

    Remember, Sun didn't give away OO just to be nice. They did it to make a dent in MS's margins in their #1 cash cow. Looks like it's working.

    So sure, that's what their marketing dept is supposed to do, but until now, they'd never needed to. In fact, up until now, the only real competition Office had was Office - pirated.
  • by mingot (665080) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @10:12PM (#8692607)
    There are these things they call "marketing firms". You send them a money bag and they produce the other things knows as "marketing materials". When you send these "marketing firms" what a discription of what you want them to product the tool used to make it is usually not dictated.

    And you'll notice that even though they don't use MS product they STILL didn't use the open source solution. What a bunch of mass market end user common deniminator mickysoft dumbfuckoids, eh? 'Course they got that bag of money and will probably get laid tonight.
  • by SharpFang (651121) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @10:12PM (#8692611) Homepage Journal
    For me, the worst thing is it depends on system-installed fonts and not on its own set. Result: The same document looks different on different computers. And I don't mean different letter shape. I mean I write a document with a piece of text and remainder of the page filled with a picture. Then I watch it on a different box and the text is one line longer. The picture lands on the next page. The layout of all the text is ruined. Large blank gaps, pictures that don't apply to the text, lone words lost on mostly blank pages...
    It's not HTML which should look OK in every resolution. It's text that is to be printed. Sorry. MS Office never failed me on that.

    On the other hand, never ask me to write a paper with a lot of equations on MS Office. Its equation editor sucks a big time. OOo has kinda language, that makes it VERY easy. sin({x_2 - x_1} over {x_1^2 + x_2^2} cdot ddot %varphi ) rules!
  • Re:Piracy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 27, 2004 @10:16PM (#8692642)
    That in mind, wouldn't using OOo for windows be preferable for Microsoft, when compared to someone pirating and sharing copies of their suite?

    Nope, you've got it entirely backwards. It's a hundred times more beneficial to Microsoft when someone pirates Office and promotes MS lock-in, then when someone switches away from Office and promotes open standards. Either way they neither make nor lose money from the deal, so why would they possibly want anyone using OpenOffice?

    For most of its existence, Microsoft has depended on piracy as a vector for perpetuating its file-format hegemony, occasionally extorting money from small businesses through the SPA to put on the appearance. It's only in recent years that they've started turning the anti-piracy screws, because the competition's dead, the market is saturated, and their upgrade treadmill has become utterly uncompelling.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 27, 2004 @10:33PM (#8692771)
    Yes we have ditched windoze and M$ office for good.

    Our CIO s happy counting money again. He loves SUSE linux and open office. We had no issue with 500 users converting to linux it did take some time but we did it.
    If we can do it anyone can do it. Believe me our IT people are not smart since they were M$ engineers they freaked out when then didnt see ok cancel button on every screen.
    Now they love shell programming.
  • by timmyf2371 (586051) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @10:33PM (#8692772)
    First of all, the author's personal bias is completely obvious in the fact that the article linked every occurence of the word "OpenOffice" to OO.o, and there isn't a single link to Microsoft.

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed the bias against Microsoft - if the headline is going to make claims about the Microsoft "FUD Machine", they should include reference to the OO.org FUD Machine also.

    A few choice quotes:

    'Windows (98, NT, 2000, XP) - Pentium-compatible PC,64 MB RAM, 130 MB HD'.

    Clear winner: OpenOffice.

    If you're happy with your office suite running at a snail's pace then yes, OpenOffice is the clear winner. At least Microsoft are honest when recommending a Pentium 3 class processor as a requirement.

    * Email client: Microsoft notes that OpenOffice lacks an email client. This, however, would take us to Mozilla, which is a standalone web browser with more features than Internet Explorer (such as tabbed browsing), and is much more secure than Microsoft Outlook as a default.

    Mozilla is a brilliant web browser (I use Firefox myself rather than the Mozilla suite), however MS Outlook 2003 seems to be more secure than the Mozilla e-mail client. The author makes reference to security, however security is all down to the individual user. By default, Outlook blocks users from opening any attachments whereas Mozilla doesn't - which e-mail client is most at risk from an e-mail borne virus?

    *Limited Compatibility: Microsoft properly asserts that OpenOffice is not 100% compatible with their product. Microsoft, however, has apparently decided not to support the OpenOffice formats either, for which they have no excuse: the standards for OpenOffice documents are publicly available, whereas Microsoft makes it a habit to sue people for reverse engineering their own formats. Richard Stallman wrote about this in 2002.

    Office Suite manufacturers should, in my opinion, get their act together and start making their applications compatible with each other. The author quite clearly shows a bias against Microsoft here by stating that they have no excuse for supporting the OpenOffice formats. IIRC, Microsoft Office has been around for quite a bit longer than OpenOffice, and has become a standard in its' own right.

    Yes, I like the idea of open source software and I have been known to use it myself. The article written here, is quite clearly biased unfavourably against Microsoft - if this had been the opposite way round, there would've been uproar on slashdot. The headline describes is as an MS FUD Machine - this unfortunately is inaccurate. It's an OpenOffice FUD Machine which is aiming at Microsoft.

  • Target audience (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GAVollink (720403) <gavollink@gTOKYOmail.com minus city> on Saturday March 27, 2004 @10:37PM (#8692805) Homepage Journal
    From the marketing PDF in question:
    ...businesses need to:
    Exchange business transaction information externally with customers and vendors.

    Now IMHO, THAT is funny! So I need MS Office for this, when Microsoft's OWN solution is to use PDF. Talk about making your own counter-point!

  • Re:Speed? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 27, 2004 @10:38PM (#8692811)

    I have the exact same hardware running LTSP...

    He compares LTSP to fully local Windows and wonders why LTSP is slower. Do a comparison with Windows Terminal Server, or install Linux locally on that Xeon, and then we'll take you seriously.
  • Progress (Score:3, Insightful)

    by doodleboy (263186) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @10:51PM (#8692908)
    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win - Mahatma Gandhi, 1869-1948.

    OO.o has officially made it to stage 3. Congratulations to all OpenOffice.org developers who have made such fantastic progress in such a short time.
  • by AstroDrabb (534369) * on Saturday March 27, 2004 @10:52PM (#8692922)
    It's as if the OO team never use their own graphing tools. (yeah, I know, stop bitching and pitch in and help...)
    Actually, that is what you _should_ do. That doesn't mean you have to program anything. Feedback can be more important then someone handing you code. For example, I write programs for a fortune 500 company. None of the application I write have any features that I personally need since they are for the corporate workers. The only way I know if something is good or sucks is if I get feedback. The programs evolve based on that feedback. Tell the OOo guys how slow Calc is at certain tasks or about the long descriptive labels, feedback from users like you is what will make OOo better.
  • by steve buttgereit (644315) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @10:57PM (#8692945) Homepage
    Some of the arguments the author made seemed somewhat naive; and honestly there are good arguments for adoption of OpenOffice. When I see comments to the effect, 'OpenOffice can be installed at no cost, and deployed easily', I have to protest. The technical staff is a cost and their time to install on desktops is incremental cost that rises with the number of desktops to install; I haven't seen any documentation for scripted installs of OpenOffice (note: I can't say I've looked hard either). This is just one such point where the arguments need to be better... at least for business.

    I have been in management and made the call to install OpenOffice in the retail stores of a chain retailer, so clearly I am a true believer of what this software can do. But you also have to be realistic about where the limitations are as well. Had this chain been much larger, the costs of installation may well have outweighed the costs saving of the license. There are other points made by the author that again, just seem weak or weakly considered... and having a life I'm not going to go into them here and now. But, someone, help this guy with his arguments... he may do more damage to his cause than good.
  • Re:Yaaaawwwwnnnn (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ninjadroid (622900) <ninjadroid AT gazuga DOT net> on Saturday March 27, 2004 @11:01PM (#8692977) Homepage

    The marketting points look reasonable enough to me, OpenOffice does not do everything that Word or Office does, it does provide a clone of the core functionality. But what happened to open source being innovation and Microsoft being only able to copy? Is there anything that OpenOffice does that is new?

    We want people to use this stuff.

    When it comes to Microsoft the editorial line at VA Linux is even less objective than Matt Drudge.

    Ok, so in general, Slashdot is anti-Microsoft. What, precisely, is your point?

    Is this the most important tech story going on in the world? I don't think so.

    I thought the previously posted story on the X-43A [slashdot.org] was the most important story in tech today. But once again, what's your point? Slashdot's slogan isn't "The One Best Tech Story of the Day."

    I still think the Wired story on how to get casual sex via bluetooth was more interesting. Oh and that virginity auction in the UK. Or how about Boeing being about to launch high speed internet service via WiFi on planes next month?

    On the one hand, it's a shame Slashdot isn't finely tuned to your tastes. On the other, you could have chanced a submission of those stories. And on the gripping hand, you are clearly aware that Slashdot isn't the end-all be-all of internet news, so there isn't much of a point in getting your undies in a bunch if it isn't finely tuned to your tastes.

    Sure the latest discovery of some perfidious Microsoft marketting litterature was desperately more important and interesting. Does it tell us anything new we did not know before?

    I hardly think an anti-microsoft sentiment is dominating all other aspects of Slashdot. Of the 14 headlines currently on my Slashdot homepage, only 1 of them is about Microsoft. It got there because a member of the Slashdot community submitted it, and the editors thought they might be interested (gauging by the discussion that followed, they were). You didn't like it? Cry me a river.

  • So close... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GAVollink (720403) <gavollink@gTOKYOmail.com minus city> on Saturday March 27, 2004 @11:01PM (#8692978) Homepage Journal
    I want to say that I found this story quite interesting, as I do make software decisions - and while to commentary surrounding the 'story' (as usual) had anti-Microsoft info, you should probably get over it.

    Pro-OSS is closely tied to slashdot. Not to mention that OSDN [Open Source Development Network] is the same parent organization that funds Linux kernel development. That means any marketing against an Open Source project qualifies under, Stuff that matters.

    As far as your sample stories, honestly - I think the Boeing one quite qualifies as something I am very interested in (and though it's off topic for THIS article), thanks for posting it. The other two have no personal interest for me (I'm happily married). I don't want slashdot to start in the gutter, us geeks can bring it there with off-color (yet tastefully on-topic) jokes!

    I have this sinking feeling that I'm actually feeding a troll - I hope not.

  • by Fnkmaster (89084) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @11:01PM (#8692979)
    I agree with some of what you say, though I think your tone goes too far in the other direction. However, this is just wrong:


    Office Suite manufacturers should, in my opinion, get their act together and start making their applications compatible with each other. The author quite clearly shows a bias against Microsoft here by stating that they have no excuse for supporting the OpenOffice formats. IIRC, Microsoft Office has been around for quite a bit longer than OpenOffice, and has become a standard in its' own right.


    You do realize that Open Office does publish specifications and standards for interacting with their documents, and Microsoft does not, right? Microsoft desperately wants to claim "we're using XML, so it's all 'open'", but in reality their XML "standards" are loaded with chunks of GUIDs and unparseable binary data in undocumented formats that require embedded use of other proprietary Microsoft components to access. It's insanely unfair to point a finger at OpenOffice here when they have made every effort to embrace openness and enable compatibility with MS Office at the same time and Microsoft has made every effort to keep their formats closed, make PR noise about opening their formats, and thereby reinforce their effective monopoly on office software.

  • I predicted the downfall of WordPerfect Corporation and of Novell years before it happened.

    Now, using the same kind of logic, I'm predicting this is the beginning of the end for Microsoft. Also, I think Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer know this. That's why the new licensing scheme, "Pay us even if we don't do anything." They're on a ride to the bottom, and they know it, and they want to extract as much money as possible on the way down.

    The problems, I think, are entirely due to bad management. No one would object to paying for closed-source software if it did a little more and if it had a good reputation. But closed-source has become synonymous with abusiveness.

    I have sympathy for Gates and Ballmer. While teenagers, they were caught up in something intense. They have thought about mostly one thing since then. They have not had time to grow up. They have not had time to learn the difficult art and science of management.

    A lot of Microsoft's abusiveness is like the abusiveness of a teenager who doesn't know how to live in a complex adult world.

    Everyone needs an amount of money sufficient to live. The value of having a lot more than that cannot even come close to compensating for the horror of living in an abusive world of your own creation.

    It's funny to think of the same kind of abusive intent applied to open source software. Think what could happen. After OO becomes the world standard office suite, and almost everyone is dependent on it, why, they could double the price! And everyone would have to pay because they have so much time invested in training in and customization of OO!

    Sometimes really, really wonderful things happen in the world, and OO is one of them. Thanks, Sun, for getting it started. Yours was an $88,000,000 investment toward making the world a better place for Sun and for all of us. I predict you will make a profit from selling Star Office, as well.
  • by HolyCoitus (658601) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @11:13PM (#8693064)
    Mindshare matters. File formats matter. I can't send someone a file in my native format that is using MS Office, I have to use a file format that has at times made my files ten times larger. It does matter when you are just putting a few files on a floppy for school. The huge MS Office files will fill it up quite quickly.

    *nix users can use MSO the same as a Windows user. Crossover Office? The issue is it being native, which I guess is what you are getting at. There are other options as well. Koffice and the Gnome programs like Abiword.

    Also, saying that you don't see it in your task list is a huge cop out. You don't see spyware in your task list, yet it is probably there. Even if it isn't, you know it's that way on other people's machines. Also, is there something on your task list that says "preloaded Internet Explorer" or is it bundled with Explorer? This is somewhat of a moot point anyhow, since I've never even heard this accusation. MsOffice loads like a snail when I had it, and runs just as slowly. I don't see that big of a difference between the two right now, but OO is growing while MSO is stagnating.

    I take it this was trolling from your last comment. Or flamebait. It's not a must and it's not an alternative. I have friends who don't want to pay the hundreds for MS Office, so I gave them OO. They love it. That's good enough for me.
  • by AstroDrabb (534369) * on Saturday March 27, 2004 @11:27PM (#8693157)
    Cool, where can I download it for Linux or Mac? According to MS's site the requirements are:
    Microsoft Windows(R) 95 operating system or Microsoft Windows NT(R) Workstation operating system 3.51 or later
    There is also this little tid-bit:
    * This download works with the following Office applications:
    o Word 97
    o Word 2000
    So if you need to view MS Office XP or MS Office 2003, you are out of luck, unless of course you pay the MS Tax.
  • by cacapoop (644592) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @11:27PM (#8693158)
    I think the most important thing to remember here is that M$ took the time to even write something about OO. This means that they consider it a thread, more of less making all their points less valid. If it is a threat worth defending, they must be concerned.
  • by AstroDrabb (534369) * on Saturday March 27, 2004 @11:30PM (#8693179)
    See my comment [slashdot.org] I posted above.
  • Re:meh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by damiam (409504) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @11:44PM (#8693268)
    but its chief advantage is that it is easy for dumb people to learn how to use it

    For the same reasons, it's also easier for smart people who don't want to learn how to use a complicated tool when a simple one will suffice (as it almost always does - "real scientific usage" makes up a tiny fraction of graphs produced).

  • straight face (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cgenman (325138) on Saturday March 27, 2004 @11:59PM (#8693331) Homepage
    It's amazing that Microsoft is still saying with a straight face that you can call their support line and get help. Admittedly half of that statement is true, but not the half that matters to most businesses. Microsoft's ineptitude on the phone is legendary. Their developer's site is nice and quite useful, but that's not going to help the average clueless Joe who wants to know why Office is reformatting all of his documents with the tagline "0wn3d by PH3rN4nd0!," or keeps crashing with the words "missing vsdl95.dll." They charge ludicrous hourly rates to provide the kind of tech support a jr. high school student would consider incompetent. Come to think of it, I sense an opportunity to revitialize our schools...

    Furthermore, their document reads like a argument against closed protocols. "If you leave us, you leave your data. You leave your database. You leave your correspondences. You can't leave us. You're ours." If your file cabinet supplier came to you and told you that your business histories and documents would be shredded if you ever thought about leaving, you would consider it blackmail and would find a new supplier right away, threats be damned. Why do we take this as a viable argument in the computer world?

  • by richieb (3277) <richieb AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday March 28, 2004 @12:02AM (#8693342) Homepage Journal
    For the millions of academic users that depend on simple, powerful annotation for their scholarly work, they're SOL if they use OpenOffice. That's because EndNote drag 'n drop only works on MSWord. The program that most academic writers rely upon is mostly useless with OO. OOps!

    Hmmm.... Maybe these guys should learn LaTeX and concentrate more on the content, not formatting of their papers.

  • by leonbrooks (8043) <SentByMSBlast-No ... .brooks.fdns.net> on Sunday March 28, 2004 @12:17AM (#8693452) Homepage
    many companies base their entire inventory tracking and accounting systems on complex macro programs.

    Perhaps it would be more accurate to say "based" rather than "base". I know of two companies which went bankrupt because their macro-based accounting practices buggered things up.

    One company found that the macros were stuffing things up when their biggest customer complained. Auditors were called in and found that the macros had overcharged for some things (some of them by an order of magnitude) and silently failed to charge for others. When the dust settled, the company had to pay back some humungous amout of money (millions, I think) and they survived that, but then a macro virus went through their business like a bushfire [ee.oulu.fi] through spinifex [picknowl.com.au] and they suddenly discovered that their backup procedures really were as bad as the auditors had claimed. My little Linux gateway box was still faithfully doing its thing when the auctioneers came and took it away with the rest of the office equipment and furniture about three months later.

    The other company rolled out a new version of MS Windows and MS Office, then discovered on Monday that the new MS Office broke their macros. In the time it took them to fix their macros, they nearly went out of business too. They contract out their accounting, now, and use stylesheets and templates to replace their macros for other stuff. If they hadn't done, the poor (absent) error-checking in the macros would have sent them bust as well. Technically, they did go bankrupt but the authorities took note of the reasons for it and let them keep trading for a month or two until their considerable cash flow had dragged them past the danger zone.

    On a similar note, my book-keepers [book-keepi...ork.com.au] make a specialty of rescuing businesses from DIY accounting packages like MYOB. The businesses using them don't understand how the programs work. They enter data, they get regular reports, and not only are the reports wrong because the data's wrong (or in the wrong place), but they aren't able to meaningfully interpret even the wrong results. BKN take their data and paperwork and return reports which are not only rigorously correct but also meaningful in a business sense. On top of this, things like tax forms get submitted correctly and on time, which averts the fines and other cost associated with getting that wrong.

    The moral of the story is that there are some things which bodging past is difficult and dangerous for, and "bodgy" pretty much defines a typical set of MS Office macros.

  • by Nice2Cats (557310) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @12:42AM (#8693596)
    I've been using OOo for about a year now, and it is beyond me why anybody would actually still pay how many hundred dollars it is for MS Office. It has done everything I have needed it to do, it hasn't crashed in the process, it works on every operating system I have, and it's for free. What more can you ask for?

    The only seriously annoying thing about OOo is that they have decided to postpone the Mac OS X version until kingdom come, and I have to fool around with 1.0 via Apple's X11 program. This is partially Apple's problem, too: If they had any sense, they'd get rid of AppleWorks and MS Office for X and push OOo.

    OOo, Mozilla Firefox [mozilla.org] and Mozilla Thunderbird put you in the wonderful situation of not having to give a damn about which operating system you use. This is terrible for Microsoft, of course, but great news for the rest of the world. We can now concentrate on fighting about other and far more important things -- like who makes the best chocolate bars, or who is the cutest witch on TV, or which sequal to the "Matrix" was the worst...

  • by mabhatter654 (561290) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @01:02AM (#8693693)
    Because X is running a real interactive session on the host machine...similar to how telnet works. When you loose the connection, the computer frees up those resources again unless you have authority to run the applications under a "master" account. That's nothing new, it's how mainframes and minicomputers were built to operate. VNC on the other hand "takes over" the actual X window on the machine as if you are sitting at that machine's keyboard. So when you log off the VNC session you mearly "stepped away" for coffee as far as the computer cares...

    Terminal services on Windows is a lame attempt to be like Unix. Windows isn't designed for multiple users CONTROLING the same system...It's meant for users to call program APIs not have seperate sessions. So terminal services tries to recreate another desktop for the additional users...meaning it has to recreate much of the MS windows overhead in order to keep everything stright.

    Really, it's not good or bad, it's just that Windows is simply not designed to be an efficent multiuser system...it's designed to be a 1 user-at-a-time end station. Linux is having growing pains with being a desktop because desktop effeciency directly conflicts with having good design to serve many users at once. Single station users drag from keeping all that multi-user overhead going ...it's all about the right tool for the job!

  • by bgspence (155914) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @01:19AM (#8693763)
    Ok, I downloaded OpenOffice and tried to use it for some of the same work I have been doing with Excel. I have a data set of 32 columns and 8k rows that I chart to look for various patterns. No formulas, just a simple array of floating point data items.

    Excel has many more chart options. The few charts in OpenOffice draw extremely slugishly. I cannot change any parameters of an OpenOffice chart without it hanging up completely.

    OpenOffice looks a bit like Excel, but for my needs it's performance is a joke. It's not yet ready for prime time. I'd love to see the open source movement succeed, but OpenOffice's spreadsheet engine needs a major tuneup before I can use it.
  • Re:PDF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Viceice (462967) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @01:44AM (#8693871)
    I would think that because as desktop publishing tools, MS Word and even MS Publisher totally SUCKS ASS!

    Paragraphs run, fonts don't kern correctly, line widths magicly change when you open the file on other PC and the list goes on and on.

    Word is only good for 1 thing. Word Processing. Publisher is good for zip.
  • by bonch (38532) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @02:43AM (#8694067)
    Ok, so in general, Slashdot is anti-Microsoft. What, precisely, is your point?

    You don't find it a bit twisted that VA Linux owns a site called Slashdot that posts articles that bashes competitors and calls it "tech news?" Imagine the outcry if some other company owned a site that called itself a news site and posted articles negative toward Linux. We'd hear endless rants from the zealots about how it's "biased."
  • Re:Speed? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mike Van Pelt (32582) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @03:03AM (#8694146)
    Yes, speed.

    I last used OpenOffice 1.0.1, I think it was. Its slowness was horrible. Not just the time it took to load the word processor, but the time it took to open a document, the time it took to do anything. Click "Open", then go outside to watch the continents drift and the galactic spiral whirl while it loads the document.

    This on a Pentium III 600MHz with 128MB of RAM.

    At work, I have an ancient computer that's less than half this machine, and runs Microsoft Word comfortably. (Well, as comfortable as it gets with Microsoft.)

    Eventually, I happened to look in the bag of documentation that came with my PC, and lo and behold, there was a Lotus SmartSuite CDROM that I'd never installed. The Lotus word processor runs very well and very fast. I'm much happier with that than I ever was with Open Office.

    Especially since it opens Word for Windows 2.0 documents, which I have zillions of, and which Open Office won't touch.

    I'd like to be able to say that Open Office is great. Maybe 1.1 is; 1.0.1 was definitely not.
  • by gtshafted (580114) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @04:54AM (#8694544)
    Aestethics -PHBs are going to look at both documents. The one from MS is nicely colored and designed in terms of layout. The Open Source document is almost plain text in black and white - very boring.

    Guess which one be read?

  • by Wellmont (737226) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @05:49AM (#8694686) Homepage
    The only problem is that MSOffice is like using a 18 wheeler to get you around the city when clearly a fuel efficient VW bug will do....heck it even parks easier, just doesn't start up quite as fast.

    -hopefully you can get past my complicated analogies and simply see that OO.org is FREE, MSOffice is 3 times more expensive than it needs be.
    Needless to say the Office division at MS should be rolling out cheeper, smaller, more educational based versions. Instead they've made one huge clunker of a program and cut off non-essential pieces to sell in 3-4 smaller less "professional" programs.

    I could also write a thesis on how MS charges more and more each year for the "business" portions of the program: Access, Powerpoint, and Publisher.....needless to say those parts are quickly becomming outdated, i wouldn't use PowerPoint if someone payed me minimum wage to do so, and i wouldn't touch publisher with a twenty foot pole.
  • Rebuttal... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Munra (580414) <slashdot@jonathanlove.c o . uk> on Sunday March 28, 2004 @08:00AM (#8694961) Homepage
    While I use OpenOffice.org, instead of MS Office, I do think the author's argument is weak, in places.

    Data Migration and Testing: In migrating Microsoft Office documents to OpenOffice, some advanced formatting may be lost - and this is a problem, but it is unreasonable to demand this because of the fact that Microsoft does not make it's data formats public.

    It may be unfair to expect the OpenOffice.org team to get 100% compatibility with a closed source product but it isn't unreasonable to demand it. As far as a corporation/business relying on MS Office is concerned, they're not going to look at the alternative and say "Oh, well, it's hard for them to have all those features" and buy them out of sympathy. It certainly is reasonable to demand it.

    OpenOffice does not use Visual Basic for Applications, but has a macro language of it's own. It should be noted that Microsoft's macros are also incompatible with those of OpenOffice. Therefore, this is a valid point and would be part of a migration cost, yet one has to wonder at how complex such macros would be in a SMB.

    Another poor argument: "Although ours is incompatible with yours, yours is also incompatible with ours!" For a company thinking of switching to OpenOffice.org from MS Office, the fact that OpenOffice.org won't work with their current macros could potentially be a massive deal (from my limited experience) - the fact that if they rewrote all their macros in OO.org's macro language they couldn't be used by MS Office is pretty much irrelevant.

    Training: OpenOffice is, for the most part, the same as Microsoft Office XP for a user, but there are things that they will need to learn how to do differently. All things being equal, if a company's staff need formal training for OpenOffice, then they probably need it for every new version of Microsoft Office. Therefore there is a cost on both sides, and they are at least equal.

    A cost on both sides does not make things "equal". Let us assume it costs a certain amount to learn a new application, but a bit less than that to learn a new version of application (for the sake of argument; I think we can agree it won't cost more). It's therefore cheaper to stick with MS Office and upgrade it occasionally, than to choose a new application.

    Email client: Microsoft notes that OpenOffice lacks an email client. This, however, would take us to Mozilla, which is a standalone web browser with more features than Internet Explorer (such as tabbed browsing), and is much more secure than Microsoft Outlook as a default.

    Poor argument since comparing email clients would be a whole new argument in itself.

    Support: Microsoft says that there is no dedicated team for the OpenOffice suite. What Microsoft fails to realize is that the 'dedicated team' are mainly the users; OpenOffice has a community whereas Microsoft users have support groups.

    Businesses do not want to have to search the internet and post to newsgroups, mailing lists and forums to find solutions. That's not to say those support methods are not very helpful but a business wants a dedicated team. This argument is like saying "Well, no, we don't have a tyre for your car but we do have some rubber, and a furnace [or whatever], so you can make a tyre yourself."

    I just think this rebuttal was a bit lame; it's looking at the original article from the wrong angle. Not that I think its sentiment (that OO.org is not inferior to MS Office) is wrong; I just think the article is poor.

    Manta
  • Re:PDF (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gnu-generation-one (717590) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @08:03AM (#8694968) Homepage
    "Word doesn't produce pdf files because thats not really a word processor format, its a cross-platform display format. They are making it a .pdf format so that the majority of their target audience can read it."

    If they'd used OpenOffice, they could have used their word-processor to create the PDF, saving time and effort compared to using Microsoft Office and having a standalone program on an Apple computer to create PDF files.
  • Re:Target audience (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Quazion (237706) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @08:42AM (#8695035) Homepage
    I think its because, MS thinks people with OOo cant read word documents, so they have to spread it in a world readable format, cause else only MS word users would read it. Who ofc are allreaddy using MS Office :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 28, 2004 @09:36AM (#8695175)
    No new news here. /., time to move on. This is not news for nerds, it's news for linux fanatical extremists.

    If /. would stop the negative articles on Microsoft, the worms attacing their site would subside. This negative propaganda is just like what Hitler did during WWII.

  • by uradu (10768) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @09:59AM (#8695256)
    My wife has been using Endnote for her dissertation and hates it. While it is very feature-packed and comprehensive, the integration into Word is buggy as hell. She's had Word crash on her so often because of the Endnote plugin that she has stopped using it that way. If OOo had something even remotely comparable, I'd have no problem getting her to switch. What also makes OOo attractive is its built-in PDF generation. I already got her using Firefox after she became utterly disgusted with IE's popup vulnerability.
  • by Felinoid (16872) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @10:58AM (#8695506) Homepage Journal
    If this were NOT a Microsoft artical you'd have someone posting "if this were a Microsoft artical" and getting mod 5 for it.
    Thies are starting to become no diffrent than your typical "First Post" and "Hot Gritz" posts.

    Compair and contrast this with the Apple Patent story (only like 3 storys later I think). The summery dose a pritty good job attacking the patent.
    In the comments someone has posted an obigitory "If this were Microsoft" post.
    "If this were Microsoft the summery would be a long judgmental rant".
    Yet here we are... no less than 3 story before and... Long? No, Judgmental, Yes. But so is the Apple patent summery and the Slashdoters are ripping Apple for it. Well most are there are a fair amount of Apple defenders.
    And how is that diffrent from any Slashdot story where Microsoft is the focus?
    Nothing...

    No joke the typical Slashdot user hates Microsoft with a purple passion but it's hardly as bad as the Microsoft defenders would have you believe.
  • Ms vs Open (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Felinoid (16872) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @11:38AM (#8695696) Homepage Journal
    Open office lacks all the powerful features no user would ever need but is absolutly nessisary if your writing a document virus.
    Microsoft office has virus protection built in (of course that protection wouldn't be nessisary if they hadn't made it virus enabled in the first place).

    I've said it before and I'll say it again.. Windows is NOT user friendly.
    Microsoft has inserted scripting and macro languages into every application.
    The only people who COULD use that feature are coders. However coders do just as well doing the whole task under perl, TCL/TK, C, Python or any other programming language.
    Back on the Commodore Vic 20 and 64 I always wrote unique database appications myself every time I needed one.

    (With due respects to SQL DB coders...
    It's one thing when your database runs on one 6502 processor and can be no bigger than two Commodore format floppys.
    It's quite annother when your database has to be accessable by no less than 4 diffrent high end multitasking computers making thousands of requests a second each and the database is split accrost a 500gig RAID.)

    I have access to Microsoft office at work.
    I have koffice and open office at home.

    Microsoft office reminds me of those software applications you'd get on a public domain floppy you'd play around with but wouldn't even dream of trying to use for sereous productivity.
    Yes I'm compairing Microsoft Office to Commodore 64 public domain.

    I actually prefer koffice...

    On that note I'd like to point out that people are actually selling Open Office.org on eBay as a cheap alterntive to Microsoft Office and people are buying it...
    They also sell PDF creation tools becouse Microsoft Office dosen't do this alone... While open office dose.
  • by Fnkmaster (89084) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @02:21PM (#8696526)
    No, I'm basing it on a whole slurry of articles that were published 10-12 months ago that I read. Specifically, I remember reading some articles like this [theregister.co.uk] and this one [xml.com]. These two describing the incomplete nature of planned Office XML support. Not to mention looking at the older pseudo-HTML stuff that Word et. al. produce, which generally works and looks exactly as I described.


    As I remember all the negative articles were based on early access MSDN stuff (there were dozens of them at the time), so I'm open to the idea that they were all wrong. Since I don't have Office 2003 yet and I'm still running Office XP, I don't have the interest or means to verify any of this personally. If somebody would care to show me somebody's actual review of the relevant schemas and document that in fact they are complete, human and machine parseable, and do not contain big chunks of essentially unmungeable data, then that's great. Just telling me that you glanced through the schemas yourself doesn't really provide me with much information - did you write an application that parses and displays complete Microsoft Word docs with embedded Excel spreadsheet charts?

  • by fishbot (301821) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @02:32PM (#8696570) Homepage
    From the PDF - 'OpenOffice provides no database client support'
    From experience - I've successfully connected to and/or used various different database types, including MS Access via ODBC. The in build database connection manager and SQL builder is actually reasonably proficient for databases at MS Access level. It just can't do some of the fancy things I make other DMBSs do.
  • Re:Yaaaawwwwnnnn (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ms139us (723585) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @03:26PM (#8696858)
    Is there anything that OpenOffice does that is new?

    It runs under Solaris. My users can now read and compose MS documents without having to install a Wintel box next to their X station.

    As sick as it sounds, we would have probably licensed Office if MS would release a Solaris version.
  • by twitter (104583) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @05:18PM (#8697550) Homepage Journal
    Check the forums - it works as long as your users understand how to do a small install on login. Not acceptable here. I have 24 computers in our labs. No student 'owns' a computer - they sit where there is space. So what, they're supposed to do a quick install everytime they log in to a new computer?

    This kind of thing was worked out long ago on Unix platforms and there are even crude similar solutions for winblows. A portable home directory with preferences that follow the user login is the best answer here. Microsoft has finally come up with that for 2003, but you have to be careful or all user settings get coppied to every machine - what you have now. I suggest you look into this before your workstations need new 120 gig hard drives to hold all of those skeleton files.

    Don't blame OO for working with M$'s pathetic limitations and oddball junk. 2003, despite it's name was only released a few months ago. It will take some time for everyone else to play catch up with the strange way M$ does things. In the very short term M$ Office might have some short term advantage here, but they still suck when you compare the total system offerings to Unix solutions that were working as long as 10 years ago. DEC, Sun and others had the multi user thing nailed down with hardware that would be laughed at today. Free software has adopted those best of class solutions. M$ is doing what it can to patch users into what is essentially a single user mode kernel and file system. It's not OO's fault that Microsoft does things so poorly.

    If you can't afford winblows server and you have not looked into complete free software replacements to that M$ junk, you are shortchanging yourself and your students. MIT manages to offer all the comercial propriatory junk you want over there Athena system. There are better ways of running a lab than swollowing M$ junk whole.

  • Re:PDF (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Master of Transhuman (597628) on Sunday March 28, 2004 @05:46PM (#8697780) Homepage
    > Word doesn't produce pdf files because thats not
    > really a word processor format...

    Oh, please...

    What the fuck is a "word processor format"?

    Is HTML?

    Gimme a break.

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