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OpenOffice.org to Get Firefox Extensions and More 207 207

I_am_Rambi writes "OpenOffice.org is set to get new features including Firefox-like extensions. From the article: 'Second, and I think that although we have no clear road map for this yet (besides, our version naming scheme is going to change once again ), OpenOffice.org and StarOffice shall include the Mozilla Foundation's Thunderbird and Sunbird (calendaring application) in the future. Besides the inclusion of those two softs inside the office suite, connectors to Sun Calendar Server and Microsoft Exchange will also be developed accordingly.'"
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OpenOffice.org to Get Firefox Extensions and More

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  • by Noksagt (69097) * on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @01:19PM (#16147181) Homepage
    LinuxJournal ran an article on OpenOffice.org Extensions [linuxjournal.com] a couple of months ago. They link to the project wiki and summarize a few extensions, including a grammar checker, Wikipedia integration, and a blog posting tool.
  • by Noksagt (69097) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @01:21PM (#16147200) Homepage
    OpenOffice.org and StarOffice shall include the Mozilla Foundation's Thunderbird and Sunbird (calendaring application) in the future.
    This is an interesting move. I am Thunderbird and Sunbird user, so am not opposed to this change. I certainly know a lot of people were clamouring for Outlook-like functionality and integration for OO.o. I do wonder why these were chosen over Evolution [gnome.org], which is more like Outlook & already has integrated calendaring. I also wonder why Sunbird was selected--while I'm happy with it, it hasn't yet hit a 1.0 milestone. I still use it in production, but I know others avoid it & I think Mozilla would discourage it. And why Sunbird, rather than Mozilla Lightning [mozilla.org], which integrates into Thunderbird?

    Finally, Thunderbird seems to release updates more rapidly than OO.o. Does anyone know how updates will work? Will those who installed it through OO.o immediately get Thunderbird updates? Or will they wait until the next OO.o version bump?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cynicalmoose (720691)
      Moreover, Evolution already has (slightly limited) support for MS Exchange. That's important, because Exchange uses a weird and undocumented version of extended MAPI to interact with clients (i.e. Outlook), which makes building interfaces with it hard. If you want to see Exchange support in Outlook, vote for bug 128284 (bugzilla rejects links from slashdot).
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @01:46PM (#16147377)
        "If you want to see Exchange support in Outlook"

        I want it removed, thanks very much.
      • On the other hand, if you want Exchange support in Mozilla, vote for bug 128284 [mozilla.org].
        • On the other hand, if you want Exchange support in Mozilla, vote for bug 128284.

          Chances of this happening is slim to none, unless some funds the 10,000's of man-hours necessary to do this.

          It's not just extended MAPI they want to implement since MAPI is an API not a transport protocol. They need to reverse engineer MS's private RPC implemention, on which some private variant of MAPI is used. Good luck to the poor soul tasked to do this.

          License-wise, this does not save you anything either, since ever

          • by kimvette (919543)
            The Exchange Connector from Ximian Evolution provides an OWA implementation, right? It may be low, but for outfits looking to migrate to OSS solutions where possible, or true interoperability, but are stuck with Exchange for the time being, it's one option. The connector is open source and should not be discounted as a code base, or if nothing else, a point of reference. So, the tens of thousands of man-hours you're referring to (reverse engineering) is not a necessity.
          • by bunratty (545641)
            Chances of this happening is slim to none, unless some funds the 10,000's of man-hours necessary to do this.
            Why does TFA say "Besides the inclusion of those two softs inside the office suite, connectors to Sun Calendar Server and Microsoft Exchange will also be developed accordingly." then?
    • Why not Evolution (Score:5, Interesting)

      by overshoot (39700) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @01:29PM (#16147260)
      I do wonder why these were chosen over Evolution [gnome.org], which is more like Outlook & already has integrated calendaring.
      If it were me, I'd say it's because Evo is a toad, complete with hard-coded URLs. Gag.

      However, it's not me -- it's Sun. And for Sun, the deal-breaker is that Evolution is GPL-licensed. The Mozilla license is much more suited to their private-branding model.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by shoegoo (674914)
        I'd guess another reason for choosing Thunderbird/Sunbird is that they already have working ports on other platforms (granted Sunbird is still not of great quality). The last I heard about the Evolution Windows port was that it was finally compiling...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kunta Kinte (323399)

        And for Sun, the deal-breaker is that Evolution is GPL-licensed.

        Oh yeah, Sun hates the GPL [linux-watch.com]

      • by Nutria (679911)
        If it were me, I'd say it's because Evo is a toad, complete with hard-coded URLs. Gag.

        However, it's not me -- it's Sun. And for Sun, the deal-breaker is that Evolution is GPL-licensed. The Mozilla license is much more suited to their private-branding model.


        Let's not forget that Tbird is cross-platform, whereas GNOME apps are iffy (if at all) at running on Windows.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Ashe Tyrael (697937)
      Why not Evolution? Put simply, the windows port of Evolution is still in the "we're trying to get it to work properly" phase, whereas the others are all the same pretty much across all platforms.

      This isn't to say I'm not waiting and hoping for the windows port of Evo, but if they need something there "now" to base their integration on, then they have to choose something thats there.
    • Really weak vision (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I think that this is a really weak vision. Integrating a calendar and mail program doesn't really do any big wonders for the office workers. People can already use existing mail and calendar applications and some of them integrate ok with OpenOffice.org. What I'd like to see is features for collaborative work and other groupware features.

      I also fear that the code base for OpenOffice.org is too heavy and difficult to work with. I foresee a long time when almost nothing will happen while they rewrite the

      • by vhogemann (797994)
        I agree with you.

        When I read the topic the first thing that came to my mind was "But they should be trying to reduce the bloat, not add more!".

        What I really want to see from OpenOffice is the ability to install separated applications... I shouldn't be forced to install Impress and Calc if I only wanted Writer...
    • by hswerdfe (569925)
      probably because its cross platform.
  • by Hahnsoo (976162) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @01:23PM (#16147212)
    Toss in an automatic Term Paper writer extension, and I'm in! Wait, crap, I'm not in school anymore. *sigh* I always felt that I was born a decade too early.
    • by russ1337 (938915)

      Toss in an automatic Term Paper writer extension, and I'm in!

      But seriously, Is there a plugin similar to the 'APA referencing Macro' for MSOffice? (allows autoformatting and reference placement of references, in the correct APA format for all the types of sources - web/book/journal/speech/tv, with correct punctuation italic etc...

      It was always my crappy formating of the referencing that got me caught out until i started using 'APA refrencin Macro'...

      Also, if anyone knows of a free alternative (apart

      • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @01:40PM (#16147335)

        But seriously, Is there a plugin similar to the 'APA referencing Macro' for MSOffice?

        I'm a little concerned by the plug-in trend for applications. I think it is implementing functionality at the wrong level. How much work does it take to create a plug-in to make references like this that work with Word's macro feature. How much effort to make it work with OpenOffice's plug-in system? How much work to implement it once for every application you might want to use references within?

        Mac OS X has introduced system services. One plug-in that works on all text that uses the standard APIs in any program. There exists one for automated formatting of references, by the way. If other OS's would just adopt a similar system, or better yet adopt a standard for all of them, we could remove so much duplication of effort and users would get to choose the best of breed for anything they wanted. I mean one spell checking plugin for Firefox, one built into Word, one built into InDesign, one built into Eudora, and none available for photoshop, IM, IRC, and your favorite text editor is a serious waste and failure to properly use the resources put into these tasks. I'm very unhappy with this trend towards application specific plug-ins when what is really desired is modular plug-ins that can be used anywhere.

        • by ronanbear (924575)
          KOffice works like that already. It's a great idea and I'd love to see it in operation. OOo would be better off IMHO to split so that the applications can be run in a more standalone manner. This would especially be true for the applications that are typically used in conjunction with Writer such as editing equations, references or SVG graphics.
          • KOffice works like that already. It's a great idea and I'd love to see it in operation.

            I believe said functionality only works for KOffice components, though. For example, a grammar checking plug-in that works with KWord will not work with GAIM. Is this still the case? My reliance on these plug-in type services is one of the main reasons I'm using OS X for my primary workstation instead of Linux.

            OOo would be better off IMHO to split so that the applications can be run in a more standalone manner. This

        • by AuMatar (183847) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @02:10PM (#16147577)
          This idea has been tried, and tried, and tried, and tried. It was called COM, DCOM, CORBA, etc. In reality it just doesn't work- someone doesn't like how the default works and writes their own service, with a new improved API. The user base splits. The end result is everyone writes their own "system level" service. Its a nice idea thats utterly impractical and fails every time.
          • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @02:26PM (#16147727)

            The end result is everyone writes their own "system level" service. Its a nice idea thats utterly impractical and fails every time.

            ...except it works on OS X right now and has been working for years. It is probably the second most important reason Linux is not my primary workstation OS. I keep reading how Linux is "catching up" on the desktop, but every time I use it I find it is still behind in vital areas such as this, because no one cares to implement these right and all the people that need or really want these features have moved to OS X and abandoned Linux except for servers. Maybe having one company that can just do it is always going to be the reason Linux lacks functionality. All I know is unless I can use my spell checker, grammar checker, translations, scripts, statistical analysis, dictionary lookups, thesaurus, online resource lookups, text manipulations, biblio reference formatting/creation, and other services in all my major applications and without having to configure preferences separately, I'm unlikely to ever move to Linux.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by AuMatar (183847)
              YOu can do that in linux today- use CORBA and/or a shared library. For example, the 2 big libraries for spell checking are ispell and aspell. THe fact is that in practice noone does this. The reason is that when you don't have 1 company driving that "Everyone must use application X", people use what they think is best. Guess what- people differ on what is best. So you end up with an array of products instead of one- for example 4 or 5 major desktops, each with their own API. Its less integrated, bu
              • YOu can do that in linux today- use CORBA and/or a shared library. For example, the 2 big libraries for spell checking are ispell and aspell.

                That isn't the same thing at all, because a program author has to build in support for that library, it does not work by default on all text you see on that OS. The iChat team at Apple and the Adium programmers (whoever they are) did not sit down and decide to include spell checking functionality in their IM clients. Nor did they decide to provide support for transl

                • by AuMatar (183847)
                  THe application has to have support enabled in it- it has to know to call the third party service. They may not know every service- they may have created a framework where user input to text boxes are passed up through a series of plugins. Of course, the problem there is that its sent to every plugin regaurdless of wether the application wants it or not. Huge, huge, huge security hole. Remind me never to go to my banks website on a mac.
                  • THe application has to have support enabled in it- it has to know to call the third party service.

                    The user calls the service, unless the program author incorporated it in some other way.

                    They may not know every service- they may have created a framework where user input to text boxes are passed up through a series of plugins.

                    Nope, text the user selects is passed to the service they select. For example If I highlight some text "this works" then select the Safari: Services: Convert: Rotate-13 the text

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by abigor (540274)
          In KDE they are called KParts, and any KDE application can load and use them. For example, spellchecking is used by many apps via a KPart, including the khtml component, which is itself a KPart - so KParts can even use other KParts.
          • In KDE they are called KParts, and any KDE application can load and use them. For example, spellchecking is used by many apps via a KPart, including the khtml component, which is itself a KPart - so KParts can even use other KParts.

            Okay, so if I install KDE (I only have a Gnome machine right now) and I install a random application like an IM client. Can it automatically use the spell checker without the programmers having taken that into account? Can I globally install a KPart that translates from German

            • by abigor (540274)
              The applicaton obviously has to be KParts-aware. Kopete, the KDE IM client, uses the spellchecker, I believe. So does Konqueror when you're filling out web forms, etc.

              So, to answer your question, no. KParts only work with KDE apps, not any random app you might install. That's reasonable, since you wouldn't expect OS X services to work with, say, Mac OS 9. That said, no Linux desktop will give you the same rich experience you find on OS X.

              • The applicaton obviously has to be KParts-aware. Kopete, the KDE IM client, uses the spellchecker, I believe.

                I'm still unclear on this concept. So Kopete is "KParts-aware." Can I download a KPart that translates English to German and German to English. Can I install that KPart globally, and will Kopete then be able to perform these translations on my chat messages, without the Kopete developers doing any additional work?

                I don't believe shared libraries are an adequate replacement for services because sh

      • APA Style (Score:3, Interesting)

        by overshoot (39700)
        Also, if anyone knows of a free alternative (apart from learning them), I'd be interested.
        You can always give LyX [lyx.org] a try -- it's LaTeX based and has APA styles that let you fill in the blanks for publication-quality output.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wrook (134116)
      Didn't someone mention a Wikipedia plugin?
  • Seriously?

    And it only took how many years of people begging for this one feature?
  • by overshoot (39700) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @01:25PM (#16147234)
    ... is whether they're even considering items that have been highly-voted on requests for several years.

    Examples: Gallery import between versions, [openoffice.org] or the all-time champion outline view [openoffice.org] -- the longest-lived request with a huge votecount, declared by quite a few professional writers and educators as the show-stopper keeping OpenOffice.org out of their offices and schools. Apparently the team has other priorities.

    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @01:33PM (#16147293) Journal
      Speaking as a professional writer, I don't see the advantage that an outline view has over the current Navigator (in case you haven't used it, it's a floating outline view that can be used for quick navigation). But then, speaking as a professional writer, there is no possible way in which you could convince me that a WYSIWYG word processor is the right tool for any jobs I have; they are toys for people who have grown out of finger painting, not tools for people who deal with large quantities of text.
      • Professional writers (Score:5, Informative)

        by overshoot (39700) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @01:41PM (#16147342)
        But then, speaking as a professional writer, there is no possible way in which you could convince me that a WYSIWYG word processor is the right tool for any jobs I have; they are toys for people who have grown out of finger painting, not tools for people who deal with large quantities of text.

        I quite agree that if your output is primarily text, you're much better off with LaTeX or the like. Gorgeous results without the constant distraction of formatting.

        However, there are a lot of professional writers who have to integrate high proportions of graphics into their work, and for them a WYSIWYG tool is quite appropriate. The ability to restructure a document (the big missing feature in the Navigator) is a serious handicap there.

        I'm not a professional writer, I just sleep with one.

        • have to integrate high proportions of graphics into their work, and for them a WYSIWYG tool is quite appropriate

          I would say the opposite. It is much more important that you don't use a WYSIWYG tool when you've got graphics. You want to be able to say "I don't know what page this is going on, but when it gets there, put it in the upper right corner and cause the text to flow around it seperated by a 10 point border." ...or other things like that. WYSIWYG editors are very bad at this. Especially Word. Wr
          • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @02:19PM (#16147666)

            I would say the opposite. It is much more important that you don't use a WYSIWYG tool when you've got graphics. You want to be able to say "I don't know what page this is going on, but when it gets there, put it in the upper right corner and cause the text to flow around it seperated by a 10 point border." ...or other things like that.

            If you've ever used Framemaker or Quark or InDesign, you'll know those are WYSIWYG tools designed exactly to address this issue and there is a reason almost the entire publishing industry uses them.

            WYSIWYG editors are very bad at this. Especially Word.

            Word is WYSIWYG, but it is not really a layout tool at all. If you're trying to use it for the wrong task, you'll have a lot of problems. Now go try a real WYSIWYG layout tool and notice how easy it is.

            Adding new things and reformatting takes forever due to Word's horrible reformatting problems.

            Here's an exercise. Take LaTeX and Adobe InDesign and go build a 50 page magazine including five or more graphics on each page, with good, but unique layout and colors on each page. Note that they are both using the same layout engine, but one of them offers a WYSIWYG mode in addition to a text/XML editing mode. Notice one of them lets you insert, scale, set transparencies and filters on graphics easily and one is a huge pain in the ass.

            You don't have to be a graphic designer to appreciate the difference. Even working with highly technical explanations of engineering manuals that follow a very formulaic layout, you can't deny that Framemaker is simply easier to use, make edits and use all those crazy features like graphics, color, and hyperlinks that are hacks in LaTeX.

            and a lot of those people cringe in fear at the thought of actually doing anything at all outside of a WYSIWYG. So a WYSIWG, while much worse at actually getting things done, is the only thing that they can use.

            I like vi. I hack PHP and a little C together and build custom XML formats and help systems. I prefer to do my HTML work in a text editor instead of a WYSIWYG. That does not mean WYSIWYG is better or exclusively what I want to use for all, or even most word processing and layout tasks. It's time to stop speculating as to why those poor incompetent "graphics people" are using WYSIWYG tools and actually evaluate them and notice that they are the best UI for some jobs.

            • Even working with highly technical explanations of engineering manuals that follow a very formulaic layout, you can't deny that Framemaker is simply easier to use, make edits and use all those crazy features like graphics, color, and hyperlinks that are hacks in LaTeX.

              I won't argue about graphic layout; this is simply outside my expertise. But for making hypertext documents,
              LaTeX+package hyperref+TeX4ht+pdflatex works extremely well and produces nice HTML and PDF documents from
              the same source. For the wor

          • It is much more important that you don't use a WYSIWYG tool when you've got graphics. You want to be able to say "I don't know what page this is going on, but when it gets there, put it in the upper right corner and cause the text to flow around it seperated by a 10 point border."

            Say what? One of the core principals in technical writing is making sure the text and the graphics relate to each other effectively. WYSIWYG is the easiest way to make sure it happens. I've been using WYSIWYG editors to produ

            • If you are having problems with short Word documents that contain pictures, I suggest you RTFM and learn how to use styles to control flow, stop inserting blank lines to force layout, and how to paste in pictures so they are in-line text objects and not floating.

              I agree with you that WYSIWYG editors are very suited to this task and it is entirely possible that they are having issues because they don't know how to use Word. There is another class of people, however, who do know how to use Word, but still

        • by richlv (778496)
          The ability to restructure a document (the big missing feature in the Navigator)

          hmm. what did you mean by that ?
          you can promote & demote chapters, change their levels and so on from navigator.
          or is that some other kind of restructuring you want to be able to do from the navigator ?
        • by jmv (93421)

          However, there are a lot of professional writers who have to integrate high proportions of graphics into their work, and for them a WYSIWYG tool is quite appropriate.


          ...or a WYSIWYM [lyx.org] tool.

      • by sydb (176695)
        Your opinion might have more credence if you didn't couch it in abusive language. For most people, a WYSIWYG word processor is exactly what they need for writing letters, reports and such like. You may have specialist (special?) needs but that doesn't make a toy of the tool most people use.
        • by Sparr0 (451780)
          For most people, a WYSIWYG word processor is exactly what they need for writing letters, reports and such like.

          No, it really isn't. What they need is a text editor and a good letter/report/etc wizard/template/whatever. Giving users control of layout when they probably only want, and definitely only need, control of content is a BAD IDEA.
      • But then, speaking as a professional writer, there is no possible way in which you could convince me that a WYSIWYG word processor is the right tool for any jobs I have; they are toys for people who have grown out of finger painting, not tools for people who deal with large quantities of text.

        I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with you. As a professional writer I can apply and test formatting much more quickly using a WYSIWYG editor in combination with a view of the underlying markup than I can using a no

      • For the people whose text I edit, OO may be adequate. But it's not yet, and maybe never will be, a tool for serious editing. Speaking as a professional writer and editor who has used both the MSWord and the OO outline views, MSWord's outline is orders of magnitude better. I see a measurable difference in productivity when I have to do substantive editing on a document in OO, not just the spelling checks and wording tweaks that some people call editing.

        MSWord lets me reveal levels, open and close paragra

  • by Alan426 (962302) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @01:34PM (#16147302)
    Is anyone else worried about this becoming a gratuitous push to add new features? Why should OOo include Thuderbird? If I want that application, it's not difficult to install the latest version from their own distribution. It seems to me that refining the core functionality and compatibility of the office applications should be a higher priority than bloating it up with unrelated features.
    • by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot.kadin@nOSpam.xoxy.net> on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @01:50PM (#16147416) Homepage Journal
      It's just the natural order of things, as expressed by Zawinski's Law of Software Development [wikipedia.org]:

      Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can.
      • by Nutria (679911)
        Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can.

        Well, incorporating Tbird is much better than them writing their own MUA from scratch...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ElleyKitten (715519)
      OpenOffice wants to take marketshare from Microsoft Office. One block in convincing people to switch is the lack of an Outlook equivalent. Sure, people can go to Mozilla.com to get Thunderbird, but it's hard to convince people that OO is an MS Office replacement when it doesn't have an equivalent to their most-used program.
    • Is OOo trying to turn into a general distribution of cool software? I hope not. I think they need to stick to the software that they develop and leave the other apps to the other teams.
  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @01:48PM (#16147400) Homepage

    A new attack vector!

    OpenOffice should not have plug-ins. Why copy Microsoft's mistakes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by VJ42 (860241)
      Why copy Microsoft's mistakes.

      I think they are looking at it from the point of view of copying Mozilla's sucesses.
    • A new attack vector! OpenOffice should not have plug-ins. Why copy Microsoft's mistakes.

      There are a few things they can do to make sure OOo plug-ins don't turn into MS Office VisualBasicScript-type attacks.

      1. Make it impossible to embed a plug-in into a document. Even if a document requires a certain plug-in, embedding it for quick installation (or even worse, auto-installing it) would be a very bad thing. The most it should do is pop-up a message reporting what plug-in is missing and link to the trusted

  • It's 1999 all over again! I predict similar results to almost ever other OSS project that tries to tackle this type of software. Ie software that never gets past the Alpha stage and a solution that relies on some proprietary connector that only works partly.

    btw I realize there are some decent OSS groupware project going but the ratio of mature workable solutions vs projects that get announced with big fanfare, promise ease of use, and full Exchange compatibility is about 1,000 to 1.

  • I would be in heaven to be able to bring up a google or wikipedia search with the "select-right click" in a document !
  • Oh NO! (Score:3, Funny)

    by c6gunner (950153) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @02:40PM (#16147858)
    They CAN'T bundle firefox with openoffice! The grammar and spelling nazis will die of loneliness!
    • Don't worry, the new product will be called, "Open Fire!".

      Word on the street is that that the Pentagon doesn't want this in use by the military. Especially if your name is Will.

  • by hswerdfe (569925) <slashdot.org@NoS ... d.swerdfeger.com> on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @03:22PM (#16148249) Homepage Journal
    recipe for disaster:

    Take Massive One Highly Bloated And Slow Open Source Application
    Mix well with Second Highly Bloated Open Source Application.

    Stir and run.....then wait.....

    seriously OOo is way slow an bloated.
    Useful yes, but SLOW!

    This Is not a good idea, I generally don't like half ass attempts at "Integrating" programs.

    either build the Program from the ground up as an API and integrate them fully.
    or don't do it at all.

  • by Rix (54095)
    Extensions are nice and all, but OpenOffice needs to be removing java dependancies, not adding them.
  • OpenOffice.org and StarOffice shall include the Mozilla Foundation's Thunderbird and Sunbird (calendaring application) in the future

    Oh, good. Open Office sure needed to get bigger. ;-)

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