Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Software

OpenOffice.org 2.1 Released With New Templates 262

Posted by kdawson
from the ooh-shiny dept.
Several readers wrote in to mention the release of OpenOffice.org 2.1. It includes support for 64-bit Linux and a number of other improvements, including multiple monitor support for Impress, improved Calc HTML export, and automatic notification of updates. Also, all of the templates and clip-art that were submitted for the template contest are available to download.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

OpenOffice.org 2.1 Released With New Templates

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @07:15PM (#17215882)
    1. Make it stable on primary platforms (Windows, Linux, Mac OSX)
    2. Make native binaries on Linux AMD64 and Mac OSX.
    3. Increase compatibility with all version of MSOffice.
    4. Make it less memory hungry.
    5. Make it speedier.

    Everything else can wait.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by WillAffleckUW (858324)
      5. Make it speedier.

      I vote for this especially. I use OO on my WinXP laptop, and sometimes it loads so slowly I miss MSFT Office.

      Not that I miss it much, but the load times feel long.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MrHanky (141717)
        On the positive side, it's not all that much slower on slow computers. It's usable on a 266 MHz G3. I don't think it's fast on any computer.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I have only one suggestion: stop trying to be a better MS Office than MS Office (which OO never will be, for several unavoidable reasons) and start trying to provide key functionality better than MS Office does, with a different interface if necessary. Seriously, it's not that hard a target!

      • by melikamp (631205) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @08:15PM (#17216658) Homepage Journal

        The OO development is driven by a community, as far as I know. It means that the community actually sees merit in having a free (as in freedom) MS Office clone. In my opinion, they are right. There are already free products which provide different functionality, like AbiWord, Gnumeric, LaTeX and etc. (I, for instance, stopped using word processors altogether after I've discovered LaTeX; does it mean that everyone would benefit from making such a move? I don't think so.) These are all excellent products, but their existence does not alleviate the perceived need for core MSO functionality, and hence we have OO.

        • by massysett (910130) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @08:47PM (#17217052) Homepage
          You are right about LaTeX. It doesn't try to beat word processors at their own game--and why should it? Unix text processing has a much longer history than WYSIWYG word processors.

          Similarly, Ledger [newartisans.com] doesn't try to beat Quicken or MS Money at their own game. It uses a completely different paradigm (the command line, and a plain text data file) and does it very well. Gnucash, on the other hand, plays the Quicken and MS Money game and, I would argue, does not measure up.

          But Gnumeric really is an Excel clone, just as OOo Calc is an Excel clone. I'd argue Gnumeric is a better Excel clone than OOo Calc, but it's still just an Excel clone. Can you name me an open source spreadsheet-like program that is not an Excel clone? What this would look like, I don't know. I've often wondered if there is a "Unix way" to do spreadsheets--that is, a way to put data in a plain text file and then do analysis on it.

          The other big "office suite" programs--word processing, email--have Unix alternatives that use a plain-text paradigm. The spreadsheet, at least to my knowledge, has no such Unix alternative. The closest things I can think of are awk and Gnuplot, but unlike LaTeX's ability to replace a word processor, I can't imagine using awk and Gnuplot in place of a spreadsheet.

          Maybe open-source is doomed to try to emulate Excel?
          • by melikamp (631205)

            You are going to hate me, but the most powerful spreadsheet application (by far) is the SES module for Emacs ;)

          • by jrockway (229604)
            I've often wondered if there is a "Unix way" to do spreadsheets--that is, a way to put data in a plain text file and then do analysis on it.


            ses-mode: http://emacs.traduc.org/fusion/info/ses/index.html [traduc.org]
          • by killjoe (766577) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @08:59PM (#17217196)
            "Maybe open-source is doomed to try to emulate Excel?"

            A spreadsheet is a spreadsheet. Excel was trying to emulate quattro pro and lotus 123, lotus 123 was trying to emulate visicalc.

            What else do you want from a spreadsheet?

            Personally I think spreadsheets are the most dangerous software on the market. At my last company we routinely lost millions of dollars because know nothing sales people used spreadsheets without understanding the math or the relationships between the data and gave wrong prices to customers. Eventually (I am not kidding) the CIO forbade the use of spreadsheets by the sales people and made them go through accounting instead. Eventually he had the IT staff write a custom app to do the pricing so that business rules could be enforced properly.
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by massysett (910130)
              A spreadsheet is a spreadsheet. Excel was trying to emulate quattro pro and lotus 123, lotus 123 was trying to emulate visicalc.

              Yeah, but Excel and 123 both brought in new features that spurred their adoption.

              Excel ran in Windows, a nice colorful interface with pretty buttons. It was the first spreadsheet to allow the user to select fonts. 123 was much faster than Visicalc.

              123 and, later, Excel didn't take over exclusively because they mimicked the older competitor. Mimicry was part of it, but new features
              • by killjoe (766577) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @11:05PM (#17218212)
                Price, no vendor lock in, open file formats.

                Three big pluses.
            • by RealGrouchy (943109) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @11:19PM (#17218310)
              know nothing sales people...without understanding the math or the relationships between the data and gave wrong prices to customers


              Did this company happen to be Verizon [blogspot.com]?

              - RG>
            • by kabloom (755503) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @12:36AM (#17218872) Homepage
              Maybe open-source is doomed to try to emulate Excel?

              A spreadsheet is a spreadsheet. Excel was trying to emulate quattro pro and lotus 123, lotus 123 was trying to emulate visicalc.

              Spreadsheet 2000 [wikipedia.org] is certainly a different concept in the realm of spreadsheets.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by melikamp (631205)

            You are right when you say that Gnumeric is a clone of Excel. But my original point was that it is not a clone of MSO, because it tries to accomplish a slightly different goal (what the root poster wanted OO to do, with no good justification).

            I also agree with you if you are implying that Excel kicks ass, and there does not seem to be a better way to program a spreadsheet application. That may well be true, but there is no shame in trying to emulate it. Who cares if Microsoft came up with an idea first? I

            • by massysett (910130) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @09:23PM (#17217472) Homepage
              I do agree that Excel kicks ass--or at least that nothing else has come close to it. Every other spreadsheet I have used for Linux is inferior.

              But I think it's futile to try to create an Excel knockoff. No one is going to beat Excel at its own game. Look at all the top-notch Linux and open-source software:

              * text editors, like Vim and Emacs. These both come from a long Unix tradition. They're not trying to mimic a proprietary app. Both have unique features you can't find anywhere else.
              * Firefox. It didn't try to mimic IE. It introduced tabbed browsing (before IE did, anyway--yes, Opera had it first) and has a thriving extensions scene (which Opera and IE do not.)
              * Apache. There was and is nothing comparable.
              * text procesing, like LaTeX. Has a long Unix tradition; isn't trying to mimic anything.
              * X. I know of nothing else that has its robust network transparency. That certainly isn't mimicking Windows.

              Now, what top-shelf open source programs got there by trying to emulate a dominant proprietary application? Maybe Samba. Any others?

              If Gnumeric, OOo, and Kspread are any indication, cloning Excel is a futile exercise.

              I think the best thing that might happen to all these programs is the new MS Office ribbons. If open source doesn't try to emulate ribbons, but instead goes off in a new direction, there might be hope. If they try to clone ribbons, we're doomed.
              • by melikamp (631205) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @09:36PM (#17217596) Homepage Journal

                <Boring RMS voice>
                This exercise is not futile because using a free application is better than using a non-free one, even if the latter is functionally superior. Excel is going the way of the dodo, if only because it is a non-free commodity application. On economic grouds only, it has no chance of beating free software in the marketplace (give it some time). And when it finally fizzles, the free alternative will be much better than anything that could be possibly produced by Microsoft. In fact, this is one of the reasons why it will finally go away.
                </Boring RMS voice>

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by melikamp (631205)

                At present, it appears as though the free software community has little in original ideas when it comes to a commodity application. Even Firefox has its roots in a non-free world. But I am convinced that it is caused by the circumstances, and not by the nature of communal software development process. Many ideas were generated by the private interests, and they are good ideas, and we need free implementations of those. As the free software movement gains momentum, we will see it winning in all areas where i

        • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @09:32PM (#17217558)

          It means that the community actually sees merit in having a free (as in freedom) MS Office clone.

          Or just that the groupthink and/or drive from Sun (who pay for the vast majority of OOo development) currently tend towards emulating Microsoft.

          I look at it this way: the biggest OSS success stories, IMHO, are Linux and Firefox. They have successfully displaced a worthwhile amount of market share from an established, commercial competitor, something few other big name OSS projects can claim to have achieved so far. And they didn't do it by trying to be Windows and IE, they did it by trying to be a good OS package and a good web browser. I didn't switch to Firefox because of its similarities to IE, I switched because of the differences, from the overall design philosophy (simple main app, plug-in culture) to the subtle UI touches (unobtrusive find bar when I hit Ctrl+F).

          Word, in particular, is crying out to be overtaken by a piece of software that provides WYSIWYG cuteness for the masses but makes it easier to create serious documents. Word should have no market: it should be being beaten for those who only write letters and to-do lists by simpler and cheaper tools, for those doing basic DTP by the low-end DTP packages, for those writing heavyweight long documents like books by typesetting packages or high-end DTP, and for the countless users writing diverse documents with a bit of structure and formatting by... an application that no-one's written yet, which is why we still use Word at the office.

          I'm sure I'm not the only person who programs, writes lots of different kinds of document, and has had many ideas for alternative document creation tools. IME only, the main activities for a word processor user in a typical office are:

          • typing into boilerplate documents; and
          • crucifying document formatting and structure.

          Other activities common among more knowledgable users are:

          • using a spelling checker;
          • gathering stats, particularly word counts;
          • inserting cross-references and tables of contents;
          • using common document structure and formatting features, particularly
            • headings,
            • tables,
            • numbered/bulleted lists,
            • headers and footers, and
            • inserting pictures;

            and

          • using collaboration features such as adding/reviewing comments.

          Power users also do things like:

          • mail merges; and
          • creating templates for various document types.

          I have never yet seen a business taking anything like full advantage of the automation interfaces of any word processor, nor any effective use of abominations like WordArt and not much of Equation Editor.

          From my own experiences, then, I might guess that a good writing tool (in the sense of being quick and easy for users, and producing high-quality documents) would focus on letting power users set up document structure and formatting, and then presenting a vastly simpler interface to actually edit the document: almost a "fill in the blanks", with simple commands for things like checking spelling and word count. Let people apply predefined formatting and structure (based on things like what power users would call stylesheets, not randomly applying bold, all caps, double-underlined, centred, hand-typed numbering, etc.). Let them insert cross-references, again with predefined appearance. Have the software automatically reuse key text, so typing something in the "title" area on the front page automatically updates the headers as well, and changing a heading automatically updates the table of contents; this is one of the most common "unprofessionalisms" I see in documents, and it's not like it's rocket science!

          Basically, put the focus on what the user is writing, with simple interfaces for the common tasks everyone needs. Then leave things like the details of formatting and document structure to the power users who can

          • by melikamp (631205)

            For contradiction, assume that:

            Word, in particular, is crying out to be overtaken by a piece of software that provides WYSIWYG cuteness for the masses but makes it easier to create serious documents.

            To restate the assumption, there is a huge community of people who need an application with properties outlined above. It follows that there exist a smaller, but still signficant community of programmers who are working on implementing the said application. But no such community exists. QED.

            As much as you

            • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @10:18PM (#17217936)

              Your conclusion is fundamentally flawed: it does not follow that there exist a community of programmers working on something just because a lot of people would benefit from it. For a start, that would require a significant number of programmers (a) to appreciate the need, (b) to collaborate in order to produce a solution, and (c) to be willing to do so for little or no compensation if you think they're going to write it as OSS, and (d) to be willing to do so in an apparently crowded market with a dominant commercial player, established OSS projects as competition, and a user base who have been demonstrated for the most part to prefer paying Microsoft for their offering year-on-year rather than investigate alternatives that might suit them better.

              As much as you wish it, there is no need to create an application that is easy for masses to use and is at the same time capable of creating advanced documents.

              Of course there is. A gazillion people use Word in this role every day. Word isn't very good at it, but most people don't appreciate that because they have little experience of anything else in recent times.

              That doesn't change the fact that at a videoconference last week, with several relatively senior members of staff from all around the world and with very limited time available, we wasted upwards of five minutes while the expensive external consultant leading the presentation tried to get his bullet lists in Word to look consistent using Format Painter (which kept turning his text into Greek). He did the same thing the week before, too. Leaving aside the opportunity cost of that time, the cost to the business just to pay all those people to sit around and watch the consultant getting his document in a mess a couple of times was probably $500. In a smart document editor, his new bullet point would have just dropped into the list and formatted itself nicely the moment he typed it, or at worst required a click or two to say "this paragraph is a new item extending the list above it".

              At the same company the week before, I spent most of an hour swapping e-mails and calls with a colleague on the same team who couldn't work out why a document with an included image looked fine on her machine but didn't work when uploaded onto the network for others in the team to see; this turned out to be a linking vs. embedding problem. The cost to the business for the time for two of us to fix that and the resources we used in the process was probably $200, and again that excludes the opportunity cost for our time, the time lost as I got back to my own work after the interruption, and so on.

              These little things punctuate the daily lives of countless office workers around the world, wasting $100 here or $1,000 there. Those two anecdotes come from just my personal observations of one team at work over the past couple of weeks, and probably total $700 of loss to the business. This is more than enough to send the culprits on a basic training course, or to buy a couple of licences for better software. As the saying goes, if you think training is expensive, try ignorance. Likewise, a smart craftsman with good tools will tend to get better results faster than a low-skilled worker with inadequate tools, even if the latter doesn't realise what he's missing.

              • by melikamp (631205)

                [...] at a videoconference last week, with several relatively senior members of staff from all around the world and with very limited time available, we wasted upwards of five minutes while the expensive external consultant leading the presentation tried to get his bullet lists in Word to look consistent using Format Painter (which kept turning his text into Greek). He did the same thing the week before, too.

                That is your justification for needing a better text processor!?? My immediate response is:

                Use

      • by h4rm0ny (722443) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @08:15PM (#17216666) Journal

        Amen to that! No more new features. No more wizziness. Stop it freezing and crashing (especially base on Linux which is close to unusable), and make it work. It may not be as exciting as adding on another widget, but it is what OO really, really needs.
      • Seriously, it's not that hard a target!

        Quick -- name ten things you think MS Office doesn't do great, and how you would fix them in OOo.

        It's a harder target than you think.
        • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @09:56PM (#17217764)

          OK, here's an immediate reply, right off the top of my head after reading your post. What's more, I'll only refer to the word processing component. I bet I get to ten within two minutes.

          1. Building and using document templates
          2. Defining and using styles for formatting
          3. Numbered/bulleted lists
          4. Tables of contents and indices
          5. Cross-references, citations and bibliographies
          6. Intelligent reuse of key text
          7. UI for importing from or linking to graphic files
          8. Commenting and review by people other than the author
          9. UI for table formatting
          10. Grammar checking

          I think that's ten, and I basically haven't stopped typing for more than a few seconds between each.

          As for how I'd fix them, well, I gave some description of how I'd organise a document preparation tool above. I wouldn't try to fix them with OOo Writer in its current form, because it has too much baggage: IMHO, you need a fundamental change in approach and UI priorities.

          • Suggestions 1 through 6 suggest you want LyX.

            • Personally, I prefer just to edit LaTeX files with my trusty text editor and process them every now and then to see how things are looking. Your point is well taken, however: current typesetting tools are indeed much better at structuring formal documents than current word processing tools. IMHO this is mainly because current word processors are lousy at coping with the semantic significance of any given text, while if you're typesetting, you pretty much always mark up semantically by default.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Ant P. (974313)
        For me, the builtin PDF export function in OO.o is its killer app. It's saved my ass several times now.
    • Of course removing the Java dependency may be a good start.

      • currently the cost of Sun Microsystems purchasing Star Division and StarOffice and open sourcing it all. :-/
        IMO, if they're gonna include JAVA, what OO uses should be compiled to native code and then let any extension/addon/etc which would use JAVA be interpreted and have an option to compile those too.

        JAVA isn't bad, it's just not for everything.

        LoB
    • by 0racle (667029)
      I doubt OO.o developers see OS X as a primary platform. It's treated as an aside.
      • And that's a mistake, considering all the people who use OS X and all the people thinking of switching to OS X. Not to mention the fact that Microsoft is abandoning Office/Mac...

        • by gnarlin (696263)
          Perhaps you should check out Neooffice [planamesa.com]
          It's an excellent port that uses the native osx widgets. I'm going to be deploying it where I work next January on hundreds of iMacs.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mrchaotica (681592) *

            First of all, NeoOffice lags behind OpenOffice. Second of all, NeoOffice just isn't "OpenOffice." I realize it's irrational, but it's important for public perception that there be an "official" native Mac version (i.e., one named OpenOffice).

    • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @07:52PM (#17216408) Homepage

      You make it sound like that's a small list that doesn't encompass much. I don't know, though... I don't really have huge problems with stability. MSOffice compatibility is pretty good, and seems to be getting better all the time. Plus, I somewhat blame Microsoft for the problem, so no point in telling the developers about it-- they know.

      By your complaint about OSX-native binaries, I assume you mean a version which doesn't require X11? If that's the case, you should at least check out NeoOffice [neooffice.org], which is an attempt to bring a native port of OOo to OSX (including Aqua-fying the interface). It's not perfect, but it's pretty damn good considering their lack of resources. Last I heard, it was a two-man operation. Still, it would be nice if the OOo people would either support the NeoOffice guys, help out, or make some effort toward bringing their own port to OSX.

      So I guess we're really left with making it faster and lighter. I can't say I disagree, but it does seem like that might be a difficult task. Someone involved in the project might be able to tell me, would it make the whole thing run faster and use less RAM if you broke the thing out into separate applications? Personally, I can deal with the increase hard drive space, as well as the increased overhead of running multiple concurrent executables, if it means that any given executable can be launched more quickly and with less overhead. But maybe that's just me.

      Either way, yes, I'd like to see OOo faster. Also, if I could add to your list, I'd really like to see the whole thing be prettier. I know, it seems like a minor thing, but it's easier to sell people on an application if it's pretty, and I do occasionally try to convert people to using OOo. I guess it'd be more accurate to say, it'd be nice if the Windows and OSX versions of OOo were to blend in better with their perspective operating systems. Running on X11 in OSX is a bit silly, and the icons and toolbars tend to look a little "off" in Windows. They just don't quite fit in with native applications. In Windows, it's a very minor complaint, but a complaint none the less.

      Otherwise, I wouldn't want to end the post without being thankful and happy at OpenOffice's continued development. It's a fantastic application, keeping me free from needing Microsoft for most of my day-to-day tasks. And you really can't beat the price! So, if any OOo developers managed to read through all this, and didn't feel like beating the crap out of me for my nit-picking, thank you very much!

      • Sorry... For clarification, I am under the impression that OOo uses separate executables these days, but I'm also under the impression that it's still a bit of a monolithic work. My real question (above) was as to whether things could be faster if the whole thing was broken up a bit more. Honestly, I only ever use the word processor and spreadsheet, and only one at a time at that. So is there any way in which things even could theoretically be separated further to make each component more efficient by it
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by mspohr (589790)
          I don't know what the problem is with size. If you open one application such as Writer, it takes about 43Meg. When you open a second application such as Calc, it moves up a few megs. If you open everything (Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw), it uses a whopping 59 Megs! This doesn't seem excessive to me.

          I just did a comparison with MS Office XP and it takes about 30 Meg each for Word and Excel, Powerpoint only adds another 8 Meg. Total for the three of about 65 Meg.

          BTW, the startup time seems longer for th

          • I think it's down to the fact that Open Office is not natively a Gnome app. Firefox and Thunderbird are similarly memory hungry and similarly cross platform.

            In KDE the word processor apps and web browser are around 1/3 of the memory allocated and I reckon it's largely down to much tighter integration with native libraries.

            These are arguments against Firefox, Thunderbird, open Office and for native equivalents like Abiword, Evolution, Koffice, Konqueror etc. Konqueror is particularly impressive.
      • by killjoe (766577)
        "Last I heard, it was a two-man operation. Still, it would be nice if the OOo people would either support the NeoOffice guys, help out, or make some effort toward bringing their own port to OSX."

        Why doesn't apple do that? It's not like anybody else is going to benefit from neooffice. If not apple how about the mac users themselves.
        • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @09:31PM (#17217552) Homepage

          My response, point by point:

          Why doesn't apple do that?

          Good question. To be fair, I can understand if Apple doesn't want to do it, given that NeoOffice competes with both Apple's iWork suite and Microsoft Office for OSX. Apple want to sell iWork, and they're afraid of losing MS Office, so giving a whole lot of support for NeoOffice might be a bit dicey. You might argue that Apple should ditch iWork and start over with OpenOffice as a base, but Apple would likely feel that they'd need to make too many changes for that project to be worthwhile, create a permanent fork of OOo, and finally rebuild Pages and Keynote on someone else's terms. It doesn't sound probable.

          However, as an Apple customer, I would be in favor of any support Apple would be willing to provide to the guys at NeoOffice.

          It's not like anybody else is going to benefit from neooffice.

          I think it's worth noting that you could make the same argument about the Windows port of OOo. No one will benefit except Windows users, so why doesn't Microsoft do it? Of course, the truth is that we all benefit from having cross-platform support for the applications we use. It means we can move between platforms with a minimal learning curve, and rely on common formats and features.

          If not apple how about the mac users themselves.

          Well, yeah, what do you think NeoOffice is, if not Mac users doing it themselves?

          • You might argue that Apple should ditch iWork and start over with OpenOffice as a base

            Apple doesn't need to do that, but it should ditch Pages' and Keynote's file formats in favor of ODF.

            • by Blakey Rat (99501)
              ODF doesn't support all of Word's features (in a compatible way; of course if Microsoft extended the format to support all of Word's features, imagine the outcry!) It's very likely that ODF also doesn't support all of Keynote's features, and possible that it doesn't support all of Pages' features.

              People on this board make it sound like not supporting ODF is the worst thing ever... in reality, a lot of products *can't* support ODF simply because the file format doesn't support the features they have.
            • I understand why you'd say that, but have you ever looked into Pages' and Keynote's formats? The "file" is actually a folder, which contains whatever pictures or anything that's in the file, along with a compressed XML file. Even if you don't like them, they shouldn't be to hard to decode, so I don't think it's quite as bad as Microsoft formats. Honestly, I don't think we necessarily need everyone to use the same file formats, so long as the formats are open and we're able to convert between them.

              That b

    • by Lord Satri (609291) <alexandreleroux@nOsPAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @08:03PM (#17216528) Homepage Journal
      I never thought clip arts were important, maybe because I don't use them, until my wife (yes, even on /.) really required Clip Arts, and since I'm the pseudo-geek-of-the-house-using-open-stuff-whenever -possible, I had to find public domain clip arts.

      http://www.openclipart.org/ [openclipart.org]
      http://www.wpclipart.com/ [wpclipart.com]
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Clip_Art_Library [wikipedia.org]

      My 10 minutes search on the Internet two weeks ago gave no that much interesting results. Only now I can understand how OpenOffice must also, somewhere amongst the priorities, continue to add clip arts and templates.
    • Everything else can wait.
      No that's okay. It's not the same kind of people at all who would work on making it speedier and creating new templates. If some people have skills they want to use to make even more templates and cliparts and whatnot, they have my blessing.
  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @07:20PM (#17215946) Homepage Journal
    I can't find anything to clarify if this new release of Open Office 2.1 includes (or needed) a patch for either of the two recently discovered vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office and Microsoft Word (one was a Zero Day bug, the other just announced today).

    Does anyone know if it also existed for:

    a. exported WinXP/2000/98 DOC files from Open Office (since I use Open Office on my Win XP laptop and frequently export in DOC for other people);

    b. imported Word DOC files (in other words, was there a vulnerability if you only had Open Office and imported a DOC file to then save as ODT)?

    c. specifically WindowsXP machines - in other words, was it patched in the Open Office 2.1 for WinXP version?

    Thanks! I've pretty much stopped using Word except at work in favor of Open Office, but recent news has been concerning me on these aspects, and I can't figure out if they were real concerns or not.
    • by megaditto (982598) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @07:46PM (#17216320)
      Thank you for supporting OpenOffice.
      Have you considered submitting a Feedback/Feature Request to support the latest ZeroDays?

      Other than that, you'll just have to wait since, unfortunately, OpenOffice is not yet sufficiently compatible with Microsoft Office to replicate the latter's vulnerabilities in their entirety. But we are working on it!

  • .torrent (Score:5, Informative)

    by defy god (822637) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @07:24PM (#17216020)

    only a bit better than linking to their direct download links...

    http://distribution.openoffice.org/p2p/ [openoffice.org] torrents for Linux, Solaris, and Windows.

    A Mac OS X version of 2.1 does not seem to be available yet.

  • by bcrowell (177657) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @07:39PM (#17216252) Homepage

    I teach physics lab courses at a community college. In the past, we'd had a lot of problems where students made a graph in Excel at school, took it home, and were unable to open it in Excel at home because it was an older version. I figured this was a natural situation in which to evangelize for open source. I got OOo installed on all the Windows computers in the labs, added instructions in the lab manual, and urged my students to use it, explaining the reasons.

    Well, basically it was a failure. Given the choice, they all use Excel. In fact, even the ones who don't know how to use a spreadsheet already have generally chosen to use Excel rather than learning OOo. It doesn't matter that I go out of my way to try to help them if they show interest in OOo. In fact, many of them seem to read the OOo instructions, but apply them to Excel -- which works, most of the time, since OOo is such a total monkey copy of Office.

    I would like to be able to say that their behavior was just irrational, but honestly I don't think it is. Actually there are at least two common graphing tasks that are extremely difficult to do in OOo. (1) Adjusting the scales on the axes. Sometimes it works, and sometimes, no matter how many times I click on the right place, it doesn't work. (2) Fitting a line and displaying the equation. This is dead easy in Excel, but unless they've improved OOo recently, it requires a mystic incantation (typing two different non-obvious, complicated formulas).

    My wife's reaction when I suggested trying OOo was that she wasn't interested, because she'd tried importing complex Word documents, and sometimes it lost some of the formatting. Well, actually, this is an extremely rational reason not to switch to OOo.

    • by bob65 (590395) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @08:03PM (#17216526)
      My wife's reaction when I suggested trying OOo was that she wasn't interested, because she'd tried importing complex Word documents, and sometimes it lost some of the formatting. Well, actually, this is an extremely rational reason not to switch to OOo.

      Actually based on my experience with even the latest version of OOo, importing very simple MS Word documents almost always never works in terms of formatting. And that's enough of a reason for me to not switch. Not saying that OOo should aim to support MS Office formats entirely, but people I work with use MS Word and send me MS Word documents. I have better things to do than encourage them all to switch to OOo.

      Also, I have used MS Word, Powerpoint, and Excel for years. I know how to do what I need to do in them, and I am too lazy to learn how to do the equivalent in OOo. I have a version of MS Office 2000 that works fine for everything I need to do, and I see no reason to use anything else. Heck, I'm reluctant to switch to newer versions of MS Office just because I don't want to learn a new interface.

    • by pembo13 (770295)
      Would you be nice if you submitted bug reports accordingly, as I would like to see OO.org be fully usable in such an environment.
      • The problems he noticed were not errors he got when he tried various things. It was due to the fact that OOo is 1)more difficult to use than MS Excel 2)the OOo conversion of Word docs does not convert the formatting (probably due to current design) or 3)OOo is not as capable as MS Office, thus why would anybody waste their time to learn a product that is not as capable when they are very proficient and productive in Office.

        And many people don't mind paying more for a more capable product.
    • I would like to be able to say that their behavior was just irrational, but honestly I don't think it is. Actually there are at least two common graphing tasks that are extremely difficult to do in OOo. (1) Adjusting the scales on the axes. Sometimes it works, and sometimes, no matter how many times I click on the right place, it doesn't work. (2) Fitting a line and displaying the equation. This is dead easy in Excel, but unless they've improved OOo recently, it requires a mystic incantation (typing two dif

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Calc is an almost worthless PoS. You should give Gnumeric [gnome.org] a try. It works very well and is significantly faster. Plus it actually integrates with the desktop (being a Gnome app) and it can also run on Windows.
        • Perhaps I failed to mention that I'm predominantly a Mac user at the moment*, and I was trying to get it to work in both OpenOffice/X11 and NeoOffice. I don't recall whether I tried installing it from Fink or Darwinports or not, but if I did it didn't work.

          (*I'm waiting on my new laptop, which is a Tablet PC instead of a Macbook -- so it's back to Linux for me!)

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by aaronl (43811)
        I find that even my accounting department has no trouble doing everything they need to with OpenOffice Calc rather than Excel. This isn't to say that there aren't missing features, or poorly implemented features. It is, however, a perfectly usable, functional, and powerful program. It is well known that charting support is poor, though. The next version of charting will be much improved.

        If you still want to use OpenOffice, and need to do fancy charting, you can use Graph on Windows, or gnuplot on anythi
    • by Nasarius (593729)
      I'll add a third common task: plotting more than one line on a graph. It's simply impossible in OO.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gsn (989808)
      OOo is not the solution - nor is Excel. People stick with Excel because the interface is familar and they have it at home but Excel or Calc is still a spreadsheet app and graphing tasks aren't really their forte especially in a physics lab.

      I TAed several undergrad physics labs and we had this problem especially in the classes for non-majors. A lot of the analysis they had to do was reasonably complex and couldn't have been done with Excel or any spreadsheet app in any reasonable amount of time. We had Kalie
    • we'd had a lot of problems where students made a graph in Excel at school, took it home, and were unable to open it in Excel at home because it was an older version. I figured this was a natural situation in which to evangelize for open source. I got OOo installed on all the Windows computers in the labs, added instructions in the lab manual, and urged my students to use it, explaining the reasons

      Your "failed evangelicalism" might have to do with the fact that Calc's graphing functionality is, at best, wild

  • Release Notes (Score:4, Informative)

    by chill (34294) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @07:39PM (#17216256) Journal
    Apparently the submitter has an aversion to useful information, like release notes [openoffice.org].
  • OSX: not available (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dankelley (573611) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @07:43PM (#17216292)
    To save you some time, here's how it works: you click through to tell it you want an OSX version, then you tell it powerpc, then you tell it English. Up pops a form asking you what system (um, I said OSX), what version (well, duh, I got here by asking for this new version), then what language (um, English, as I just clicked), and ... presto ... it's not available. Try other versions, languages, ... oh, jeeze, these are also not available.

    Yeah, whatever. I think maybe I'll just wait a while -- maybe a year or a decade -- until it has a normal OSX interface and it's actually available and (one hopes) working.

    Meantime, MSWord is really quite compatible with MSWord, so I'll continue to use that. And LaTeX is still here, for technical writing.
    • by vertinox (846076)
      Or you could just use Neo Office [neooffice.org] which is just Open Office wrapped in a decent OS X interface (rather than messing around with X11).

      Currently it only uses Open Office 2.0.3 code
  • 64-bit support? (Score:2, Informative)

    by jkloosterman (1017270)
    OO.o has run well compiled for amd64 since the 2.0.3 release, and builds have been available at ftp://ftp.openoffice.cz/ [openoffice.cz] for quite a while. Will OO.o release an *official* 64-bit build for this release? (I could not find one on the main download page) If not, what has changed to make amd64 supported?
  • The main problem (Score:2, Interesting)

    by El Lobo (994537)
    The main problem with OO id that it feels so long back away from MS Office that it's not funny. This very good article was rejected by ./ editors (maybe because it' shows Linux and OO difficulties in catching up MS). http://www.wired.com/news/technology/computers/0,7 2246-0.html [wired.com]

    From the article:

    An user contacted by Wired News who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that while he was optimistic about the prospects of the Linux operating system and noted how his unit had a capable IT support staff,

  • Menu ribbon? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by edmicman (830206) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @08:30PM (#17216862) Homepage Journal
    When will OO get the menu ribbon? It sure is nice to have a good free competitor to Office 97 out there...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I think you're missing the point.

      OO's point is to COMPETE with MS, not outright copy them. I think the lack of the menu ribbon will actually persuade some people to stick with OO.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Nasarius (593729)
        Really? I'm a LaTeX freak, and I was really impressed with Office 2007. The whole blue color scheme is a little strange, but the interface works beautifully. It's pretty, it's fast, it's organized in an intelligent way, and it doesn't try to "personalize" the menus. I can even use my mouse wheel to scroll through the tabs on the ribbon. I don't see how it could possibly considered inferior to OOo, which is pretty much a cheap clone of Office 97.
    • by killjoe (766577)
      What's so great about a ribbon? What's wrong with office 97? I use it all the time.
    • by Blakey Rat (99501)
      Based on how far behind it is on other Office features, I'd guess around 2012. OpenOffice is a fine piece of software, but an Office competitor it's not.
  • by gnarvaez (856674) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @09:42PM (#17217658)
    I've been using OpenOffice for almost a year (mainly on Kubuntu, but almost exclusively on a Mac for the last few weeks). After using Office for many years I am dissapointed that OpenOffice does not mimik in full the several versions of Office I have had to use in the last few years.... not once has it crashed and destroyed hours of work (incremental backup does not always work properly in Office... you get hours of backed up garbage. Sometimes even the "save as" backups would be corrupted). Microsoft Office seems to have a peril sensitivity routines which detect when the need for a document is greatest and the time is the shortest--then it decides to let you know who runs the universe.

    For too long I have had to put up with very unstable software (I mainly use Word and PowerPoint, though now I use Keynote for presentations and love it). Word does not seem to like working with tables, footnotes and graphs. Nor does it seem to like documents longer than 30 pages, or paste and copy within a document, or work nicely between it and Excel (almost 100% crashes on my machines and I have tried all kinds of remedies... not looking how to fix it, don't even suggest it as I don't have it installed anymore).

    My writing is rather boring, Times New Roman, 12 pt. double spaced, an occasional simple table and an image or two. I try not to use footnotes, but do so once in a while. The documents are nothing extra ordinary, yet Office consistantly crashes, not only on one machine, but on three. I have used both 2004 and Vx--same thing.

    OpenOffice finally is to the point where I can use it and not miss much (wish it had better EndNote integration, but I am ok with it as is as long as it does not crash and wipe out my document). So far it has proven to be very stable and I have been using 2.04 on a Mac for several weeks.

    While I can understand the reluctance to switch, Word in its last few major revisions was never too stable and very few technical writers (of which I was one for several years) would use it for anything but the simplest of tasks. Back then (and still today, though it is showing its age... Adobe are you reading this?) FrameMaker, even with its archaic UI, was the choice based on its stability and the fact that it could handle very large documents without much problems (something I would never consider on Word... and hopefully never have to again--Good riddence to Microsoft!! And thanks all of those who have made OpenOffice what it is today).


    Finally 100% free of Microsoft!! (Mac OSX 10.4.8, and Kubuntu on PIII laptop)

  • by Smackintosh (1009941) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @12:15AM (#17218750)
    I look at what's been done here...who knows how many endless hours of coding, several different platforms supported, an entire clone of the MS Office suite. What basically amounts to a very large commercial software product offering.

    For free.

    What's the benefit? It's FREE people! You don't have to spend a dime on it.

    It'd be nice to hear a kind word or two in appreciation every once in a while instead of a bunch of ingrate whiney bitches.

  • by r00t (33219) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @02:29AM (#17219494) Journal
    Powerpoint can do 16:9 now.

    Also common is 16:10. Some displays can rotate, so we need also need that: 3:4, 9:16, 10:16.

    Arbitrary support would be good.

    Let me say how to deal with mismatch: letterbox, letterbox-like but shifted up or left, letterbox-like but shifted down or right, stretched (with or w/o maintaining aspect ratio for images), cropped...

    Also, don't crash when I try to force this via badly editing the XML. :-)

  • by Pooh22 (145970) on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @05:22AM (#17220280)
    Ok, longish reply, but I feel I need to get a message out...

    In the real world, there are several different workflows for creating documents, some require pictures, some require cooperation with others, some require extensive version control and change tracking, some require cross platform compatibility, some require all of these and more.

    The problem with almost all wordprocessors I've tried is that they're not workflow oriented, they just have a document format and try the best they can to accommodate a user interface around it that immitates something that the developers know/like. This doesn't help the world create better document workflows or better document creators!

    For my thesis, I used LaTeX and Xfig (and make), this worked ok, but it's not for everyone. Xfig is an old program with a horrible user interface, but it produces wonderful .eps files, which integrate perfectly with LaTeX, which creates wonderful .ps output. It's also remarkably stable in quality and format (it's ascii based, which is always human editable).

    Currently, I'm trying to work with OpenOffice.org and Inkscape to create a similar sized document, in cooperation with several people, some of whom refuse to touch openoffice and send me word files with visio images :-(
    Openoffice doesn't work with SVG files though, and has very limited change tracking. Inkscape is a wonderful vector editing program (though it has some GUI quirks, as most FLOSS has ;-), but openoffice, though XML based, cannot handle XML based SVG at all. Neither does it support its own ODG format for including pictures! The handling of pictures and captions is very confusing and unpredictable as well.

    In order to have a fully functional document editor (in OO writer) in the real world, it must handle including pictures properly, it MUST support its own ODG format and it SHOULD support SVG fully (at least for display and printing).

    One problem with OOo is that a lot of bugs (over 2700) are assigned to bh (Bettina Haberer from Sun) and some of the problems I mentioned are among them and have been open for over 4 years:
    - 5038; Outline numbering lacks commonly-used abilities (may 19, 2002)
    - 6191; Right-click accept / reject changes (jun 27, 2002)

    I'm sure there are more and of course, not just for this one developer (It's not my intention to pick on Bettina, it's just an example)

    For openoffice to progress, it needs to promote developer activity on open bugs and issues, they weren't reported for nothing! To leave such bugs open for 4 years is not respectful to the reporters of the bugs or the users of openoffice.

    Sorry for the long post, I just needed to get this off my chest, so thanks for reading...

    -Simon
  • by Dystopian Rebel (714995) * on Wednesday December 13, 2006 @09:37AM (#17221854) Journal
    "OpenOffice sucks because it does not have my critical feature! Until it does, I'm sticking with Ami Pro!"

    "OpenOffice sucks because of a serious bug that those commie hippies haven't fixed yet! At least when I file a bug with Microsot, they get right on it! Sometimes, they will even patch the bug 10 times. THAT, my friends, is professional service!"

    "OO sucks because it doesn't appeal to my aesthetic values at all! I'm going back to EMACS for all my office needs!"

    "The curse word 'Java' appears somewhere in the installation! I want to be free, I'm going back to Microsot Woid!"

    "OO sucks because it takes so long to compile! How in the world do those Windohs users find the patience?!"

    "OO is grotesquely bloated! I installed it and it used more than 0.02% of my hard disk, forcing me to move some crucial porn and tunes to my NAS box!"

"Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberrys!" -- Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Working...