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Sun Microsystems

One Year Of OpenOffice 215

no parity writes "Last year on October 13, much of the source to Sun's StarOffice was released as the OpenOffice project. They have set up a birthday page to celebrate what they have achieved in that one year - yes, it prints, spellchecks and has online help. Keep up the good work, guys!" Yep - and my installation still spits up, too. *grin*
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One Year Of OpenOffice

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  • by Roofus ( 15591 ) on Sunday October 14, 2001 @04:29PM (#2428241) Homepage

    I just checked out news.com - Guess what one of the headlines are?

    Anthrax found in Microsoft office [cnet.com]

    Can the DOJ show that MS does harm consumers now?
    • Don't worry, it's a microbe, not a virus (:-))

      --dave
    • Old news (Score:2, Troll)

      by RelliK ( 4466 )
      Anthrax was in Microsoft Office for a long time. But most people called it "The Clippy..."
    • That 75 Microsoft employees came in contact with the envelope... which contained porn ;)

      F-bacher
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Are you sure that this wasn't just that someone said "hey - someone's sent me some (white) powder stuff - come and have a sniff!"

        Hmmmm....

        Antrtax isn't good - especially if it's in your pick and mix!
      • Putting aside how "funny" it may be that people were exposed to anthrax, all reports I've seen to date say 6 people were exposed.

    • I wonder if everyone would be yucking it up and joking so much if this letter was sent to the FSF [gnu.org]? I dislike MS as much as the next geek but making wise cracks about this is pretty low and tasteless. I wonder if you would mind telling that joke in front of the affected people's familes? If the thought of that makes you uncomfortable then you know you shouldn't say it in the first place. If it doesn't bother you then any words would be air better used elsewhere than talking to you...

      -Pato
      • You probably didn't check the CNN link. "FSF office" would not have the second meaning, unlike "Microsoft office". Still I would expect some jokes to appear.

        Regarding "the affected people's familes". You still have "better" chances to be killed by a shark than by anthrax (if you live in the United States; it may be different in Afghanistan). Anthrax is just another scare made up by the media, just like sharks, evil Gary Condit etc. Soon it will be forgotten. I would avoid jokes about sharks in presence of people whose relatives were killed by sharks. I would avoid jokes about anthrax in front of people who lost their loved ones from that disease. Still it doesn't make those jokes inappropriate on a site for computer geeks from all over the world.

      • Get a sense of humor.

        It is quite obvious the joke isn't that Anthrax was sent there. The joke is how they titled the story.

        This is no different than "Always include children when baking". Yeah, no one thinks kids should be stuck in pots but we still laugh at it. By "we" I mean me and the many others I've said that one to.

        You should be ashamed that you are asking people to give up their sense of humor because of this. There's nothing less funny than people giving up basic rights (like the right to enjoy a funny) because of a terrorist/looney (your choice).

        No, sending anthrax to the FSF would not be any cooler than sending it to BG himself. That isn't funny at all. "Gnu found eating copy of GPL in RMSs pocket. RMS may need ass surgery." would be (best I could come up with in the time). Not because I would like to see RMS hurt (I wouldn't) but because the sentence is funny. Well, maybe not but you get my point, I hope.

        >If it doesn't bother you then any words would be air better used elsewhere than talking to you...

        Same thing here. I've talked to humorless individuals like you who can't handle the slightest bit of macabre humor (this wasn't even that -- no one died). It sends chills down my spine to think people so stolid can exist in the free world.

        >I wonder if you would mind telling that joke in front of the affected people's familes?

        Out of place and totally not cool.

        Part of having a sense of humor is tact, which your berating statements lack in droves. Dislike breeds dislike and that's why I'm here. I don't like people who can't have a laugh.

        >I dislike MS as much as the next geek but making wise cracks about this is pretty low and tasteless

        Low maybe. Tasteless would be to directly involve people who were infected, such as cracking jokes about the effects of the disease on them.

        Since you don't seem to have made the distinction, I will have to make it clearly evident [please, anyone who is epilleptic I have the highest respect for you -- the pathetic "joke" is actually taken from an old Cosby Show episode and is only included for educational purposes]:

        eg: Tasteless: "Give an epilleptic a milk, get a milkshake".
        Tasteful: "Blind man hit by invisible bus."

        See the difference? The emphasis is not on the people involved or their disability in the second joke, whereas it is in the first.

        >If the thought of that makes you uncomfortable then you know you shouldn't say it in the first place

        Very opressive words, if I do say so myself. I find it quite offensive you would want me to curb my speech so strongly just to suit you.

        Oh, and if anything ever happens to me and you feel the need to make a joke of it, go ahead. Please don't forget to ferment on the example I formed above when formulating your funny.

        My final words: Lighten Up!

      • I hadn't bothered to read your post until now. But after reading it and doing some soul searching, I've come up with a thought....

        Go fuck youself.
    • To everybody who thinks I'm an inconsiderate prick for making fun of the situation:

      Fuck off.

      The whole point of my joke is that the Cnet post makes it sound like Microsoft Office comes with Anthrax. I'm not laughing at the expense of the employees who have contracted it.

      As for the number of moderations done to my post so far (13 as of this writing), that's just good shit. I'm glad I could piss off many people, and make others laugh at the same time.
      • For the record, I thought your post was funny and would have moderated it up, had I the points. I suspect your karma loss has more to do with the unfunny "joke" from another poster that followed, than with your own. Moderators are not always careful readers, as we all can testify.

  • Getting there (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CmdrTroll ( 412504 ) on Sunday October 14, 2001 @04:34PM (#2428265) Homepage
    My roommate was an intern at Sun last summer, and he was assisting the OpenOffice team with resolving compatibility issues with MS Orifice 2000. He said that was the biggest stumbling block for the project, aside from memory management and speed issues. He also said that the DoJ was privately talking to a few of his co-workers and they were interested in widening the probe into monopolistic file format practices. I doubt that the current administration will give it a green light, but if they do, that would help knock down the last barriers to seeing OpenOffice on every Windows desktop in the near future.

    Wishful thinking...

    -CT

  • CUPS (Score:2, Interesting)

    by redcliffe ( 466773 )
    It doesn't print with CUPS. I've tried for ages but it can't see my printer even though all my KDE apps do. Anyone know if there are any moves in this direction?

    David

    • Re:CUPS (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      638 didn't work with cups, but 638C and other versions did.
  • by pgrote ( 68235 ) on Sunday October 14, 2001 @04:42PM (#2428305) Homepage
    Congrats to all involved!

    What will it take for the stranglehold on Microsoft Office to be overcome?

    Many people have suggested that the "new" offices have to have complete file compatibility with Office, but I don't think that's it.

    Others have said that it is necessary for businesses to adopt the suites.

    What do other think?

    I am really interested in this because for three years or so there were four office products you could choose from: Lotus SmartSuite, WordPerfect Office, Microsoft Office and Microsoft Works.

    Then boom ... it was over. Microsoft ruled.
    • ...due to the file compatibility issue you have mentioned.

      Not that I speak for everyone in a similar situation, but when you work in an enviroment that is 99% msoffice, usually the main stumbling block is "Yeah linux sounds cool but can I read everyone's files under linux? What about Word?"

      It sucks but it seems to be the case in my experience. In fact, that is what kept me strictly a windows user for so long (until recently) was the one or two programs I needed at the time, which we unavailable under linux.

      I'm not saying its right. I'm defending the laziness of the average computer user but it seems that is one of the major issues, and most likely be solved by an open source office suite (which I am impressed with by the way).

      The linux users just have to change the world one user at a time, I can't imagine one single piece of software making that happen.
      • The MS file format thing *is* an issue if a SO user is trying to thrive in a MS office based organisation. That's me. We have template documents for MS Word and Excel for basic business functions. They use macros. They won't work with SO.

        But we don't send Word documents out of the organisation, we convert them to PDF so they can't (easily) be changed. If the organisation were to have SO as its primary platform, then all the interchange of internal documents would be in SO. Dealing with MS Office would *only* be an issue for documents coming from outside. In this case they would need to have access to a few machines with MS word for the peripheral stuff, with the capability to change it to a more portable format before they proceed into the organisation. Hey presto, you've removed your vulnerability to Word macro viruses.

        Sending documents outside your organisation in a format where the reader is also an editing tool strikes me as foolish. Yes, digital signatures are the proper answer, but even a PHB ought to understand that anything which doesn't need to be in a modifiable format needs to not be in a modifiable format.

        Dunstan
    • What will it take for the stranglehold on Microsoft Office to be overcome? One big stumbling block is finding employees who know how to use the new software. I work for an employment service, and people with MS Office skills are thinner on the ground than you would think. So given the high costs of finding, hiring, and training workers, if it's hard enough for an employer to find new employees who know MS Office, they will be unlikely to want to switch to a different product, where skilled individuals are even rarer. I would think that breaking MSFT's stranglehold would require, along with file compatibility, making the UI of competing office suites as similar to MS Office as possible, so that it will be easy for people who only know MS Office to switch over. I don't know how feasible this is, especially re: "plagarism" concerns.
    • by Tumbleweed ( 3706 ) on Sunday October 14, 2001 @05:16PM (#2428450)
      Well, _most_ businesses wouldn't bother unless it _can_ read and write with MS Office apps. I think that's what the DOJ should really do - force MS to open their file specs.

      I think it'd be great for Lotus to open the source to SmartSuite - since IBM owns them, one wonders what the chances are. Then again, they've not opened the code to the OS/2 WPS. *shrug* I've heard from people inside IBM that there's too much licensed code inside those products for them to be able to do that - they simply don't outright own the code those products are made from. That's a shame.
      • I think it'd be great for Lotus to open the source to SmartSuite


        This would be kind of silly and wouldn't benefit the Linux community at all. SmartSuite is all Win32, and even the OS/2 port was partly done using a windows-compatibility library (this forms the basis for Project Odin, actually). Mind you, I used Ami Pro in the early 90s, and if quality really mattered, I believe strongly that it would be the dominant word processor right now. But this wouldn't accomplish anything. It would be far better for IBM to support the existing *nix office software efforts.
    • I've used StarOffice (Sun's implementation of OpenOffice) since Sun took it over. I'm very happy with it, and though in the beginning it didn't totally convert file formats successfully, but does much better now. My one main gripe is that StarCalc isn't quite as easy to use as Excel, but other than that, I'm almost ready to switch over to StarOffice completely. Now, if I could just get everyone else to switch I'd have no problems.
    • I am really interested in this because for three years or so there were four office products you could choose from: Lotus SmartSuite, WordPerfect Office, Microsoft Office and Microsoft Works.

      Yeah, today there's only Lotus SmartSuite, WordPerfect Office, StarOffice, Microsoft Office and Microsoft Works. Where's the government when you need 'em?

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Lotus was put into maintenance mode last year.
        • SmartSuite Millennium Edition came with a laptop I just bought.. and you can still buy it [buy.com] at retail.

          Plus, this is from the Lotus Web site: The next release of SmartSuite for Windows will be SmartSuite Millennium Edition R9.7 (available in international English late this year, with other language versions to follow). This release will work with Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows ME, and Windows XP. SmartSuite 9.7 for Windows will include an improved installation module, and numerous quality improvements. In early 2002 we will also offer SmartSuite 1.7 for OS/2, which will also include numerous quality improvements.

  • Ok, so they had a good start. Still, the rewrite is fairly large and Staroffice 6.0 beta feels like a champ. Sure, I know people would like this and that, more speed, less space and so on. But face it, staroffice will never start as fast under linux as word does under Windows. The linux OS is to heterogenous for that. This is the price we pay for choice and at least I am happy to pay it.
    I hope it works OK on windows too, because there's a lot of users there and
    we don't need them feeding you know who.

    Go Sun
    • Re:A good start (Score:2, Interesting)

      Works fine on Windows on my laptop (pentium MMX, 96mb). It normally pre-loads from the startup group (like MSOffice does) - once this is done the time to open a new document is about the same in each. .doc and .xls support seems good, and can be set as default (makes it easier to work with MSOffice users on a network).
  • Last year at ComDex I got a freed disk with StarOffice on it. I gave it a chance and it was ok, but I still use M$ office for most of my file massaging, and yes that's where I point the kids when it's report time. I will have to give version 6 a download and see if it everything that /. people say it is. Maybe I'll install it on one or two of the kids computers.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I realize this statement was tongue in cheek but please keep in mind these people are trying to create an office suite that is comparable in functionality with Microsoft Office, currently the best office suite period, that is not only free for download, but also open source. Give the developers some credit for even attempting such a Herculean project.
  • StarOffice (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dmarx ( 528279 )
    I just downloaded this yesterday, as I was unable to provide Micro$oft with the pound of flesh to use Office XP. I just used it to do a paper for school. I LOVE this program. Keep up the good work, Sun!
  • by sakusha ( 441986 ) on Sunday October 14, 2001 @04:49PM (#2428344)
    Since StarOffice dropped official support for MacOS X, OpenOffice needs more MacOS X programmers. Microsoft is going to make a huge marketing push for Office X, but if we had working OpenOffice versions, their monopolistic push could be thwarted. But it's too late for now. We need help!
  • A real good start! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by albat0r ( 526414 ) on Sunday October 14, 2001 @04:53PM (#2428362)
    I've look at the features list, and tried it too, and I must say that it's a really good start! And I hope that it will continue like it.

    But, even if I know that a lot of you doesn't like Microsoft (and I understand it!), an office suite for Linux can only be complete if it can read/write in .doc format. I'm not saying that this format is better than anything else (an empty .doc file is far from 0k in size, and I've never understand what it can have in it to take that much space on my hard drive...!), but in my case, I have contacts with many people that use Microsoft Office, and I need to share files with them, and read there works and show them mine. Without the support for .doc, this thing become more hard to do; some people don't want to use other things than .doc format. So by now, I use Star Office and KOffice, but I've have trouble with both of them with .doc sometimes. So, if Open Office support this format one day, and handle them good, I'll be very happy to use it!

    So, everybody that work on Open Office, continue your good work!
    • If all you need to do is read/show, just give them an acrobat file. WHy should you have to read/write to a format that is 1)not documented, and 2)not native? It doesn't make sense to be saving to .doc things that you created. If you don't need to edit, just have them give you acrobat files to read/print, and you can do the same. If you really do need to both edit the docs, well, too bad they are using a closed proprietary inefficient crap format on a word processor that does what it wants rather than what you want, eh?
      • Those of us who understand why .doc is not an appropriate format for data interchange are in the distinct minority. If we demand that others burden themselves with extra steps in order to communicate with us, we will be perceived as handicapped and possibly excluded from some discussions. Like it or not, .doc is dominant in the business world. To succeed in that world, we have to deal gracefully with .doc.
  • Does the word processor have an automated way to build a table of contents? That's the only advanced feature I use is MS Word and I can't switch without it.

    Aside from that, I don't see a high "cost" in moving from word to Open Office. (I don't really use the rest of the suite)
    • Re:TOC??? lyx does (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      others probably do too, but i know that lyx does.
    • Re:TOC??? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yes it does, Insert->Indexes->Indexes
    • Yes, and it does a very nice job of it too. No fighting the word processor to make it look the way you want it like you have to with word. The implementation is very clean and easy to use as well.
    • Does the word processor have an automated way to build a table of contents?

      StarOffice 5.2 does (not sure about Open Office, but I wouldn't be surprised if it did). I agree - it's an indispensable feature for large documents. My group used SO5.2 for our design project reports and it was quite good (the final report included a 4 page, auto-indexed TOC).

      Cheers,

      Darryl
  • I want a e-mail program with the same features of Outlook 2000/XP. I'm a college student and I love the Outlook Today feature, which displays your calender, task list, and what new messages you have in your mail folders. It's perfect for me, since reminders always pop-up at the time I set them to and I can, at a quick glance, tell exactly what is going on in the next 7 days + what assignments I need to do. I've switched to Mozilla for browsing, and I am testing StarOffice 6 Beta with my hundreds of Word Documents. But I won't switch e-mail programs until someone offers a program on Windows that offers an Outlook Today-like feature. Until then, I pray that Norton AntiVirus will pick up any viruses that come through the e-mail.
    • I don't really think StarOffice is your answer for email. Try Xiaian (formerly Helixcode)'s Evolution. Its still a beta but it works just fine.

      I'm not sure if its available on windows yet. (I don't generally use that "operating system")

      www.ximian.com
    • You want an email program that displays your calendar en task list. Of course, what else would you use an email program for?

      Having said that, I'll bet DaveCentral.com has something to your likings.
    • My main point in my post is that I hope StarOffice will someday offer this type of component to their office suite. I work at a bank during the summer and the workers there use Outlook (which is how I got exposed to it) to manage all of their e-mail accounts, tasks, and calender stuff (all intergrated). If there were any hope of them switching to a different office suite (they hate Microsoft's licensing pratices), it will have to have an Outlook-type application within it. The main thing everyone likes about Outlook is how similar it is to other Microsoft products...learn one, you can pretty much use them all. And trust me...with some of the workers there at the bank who need someone holding their hand if someone rearranges their desktop icons, they need applications that are as close as possible in look and feel. Sure, I (or the bank) "could" download a separate e-mail client that does all of the stuff Outlook does and use that alongside StarOffice, but that kinda defeats the purpose of an office suite, that should offer a Word processor, spreadsheet program, presentation program, and a e-mail/tasklist/calender program, all with a similar interface. I don't want 3 separate programs running to duplicate what Outlook does, since none of them will be intergrated with each other.
      • Outlook-type Application --> Netscape Communicator and the forthcoming corporate version of Netscape 6.

        Exchange-type Application --> Sun iPlanet server products (formerly Netscape).

        (Think Nutscrape isn't close to Outlook? You're probably right, but it beats starting from scratch.)
    • P.S. (Just thought of this). I wish I could switch to linux, but it's pretty hard when your college information techonology major requires windows, office, visual basic, visual C++, dreamweaver, etc. So I run Windows 2000. So I can't use Evolution (which I wish I could, it looks like exactly what I need).
      • I thought the point of earning a degree was to learn how to think and do research? What the hell does knowing how to use some dumb software package have to do with that?

        It always amused me in college how business majors actually had *CLASSES* on how to use spreadsheets. Sheesh. We had to use them for everything we did (ok, you could do everything by hand or write a quick FORTRAN program...did I just say that?...but no required class on it.

        Computer Programs are just tools. They aren't the thing you are supposed to be getting an education on. It's sad the things colleges offer as courses of study these days.
    • Technically speaking, I believe Outlook is an organiser application. Outlook Express, which is integrated into it, is the much smaller email application. But you're right; it would be useful. In my city council where I worked as a sysadmin, Outlook was used extensively for organisation and coordination between departments. It seems to be a very useful and, now, a very critical tool in keeping things running smoothly in most businesses, so it's surprising that the OpenOffice people haven't made some kind of a shot at it already.

      Does anyone know if a project like this is in the works for OpenOffice, and just hasn't been completed yet? It would probably be a fairly extensive addition.

    • Check out KDE's PIM suite [kde.org]. It's still feature development, but is really shaping up nicely (like much of KDE has been;)
    • Ximian Evolution (www.ximian.com [ximian.com]) has a pretty good Outlook Today type feature called Summary.

      Also and as an alternative for those of us in mixed *ix/MS environments, I'm told that Insight (www.bynari.com [bynari.com]) can interact with MS Exchange for the purpose of calendar booking/sharing, etc.

    • Ever try evolution?
      I just fired up Mandrake 8.1 and when playing around opened the latest version.
      Clone of outlook is right.
      What do you want calendering
      tasks?
      It is there and open source.
      Personally it will be the standard mail client at the company I work for as soon as I can get the boss to sit down in front of my computer long enough to realise I am not using microsoft anything. The only thing I need now is one the office sets to intrgrate like Outlook and MS office.
  • Does Sun use StarOffice exclusively within Sun? Maybe I just haven't seen all the press releases of them touting how much money they save and the huge success it has been, but isn't a little funny that they don't make a huge deal of Sun being "100% pure StarOffice -- Microsoft free?"

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Umm, hate to mess with your "sorry, reality bites" attempts, but AFAIK Sun does use StarOffice internally (and has used it before they even bought Star Division, see here [cnet.com]). I don't think they have ever used MS Office, so calculating how much they have saved might be a bit difficult.
      • That story was two years ago. I would believe that they use it internally, I just find it strange that they don't play it up -- at all. Even the StarOffice web site doesn't seem to mention that Sun uses it.

        You can think all you want that it's no big deal, but given McNealys hatred of everything Microsoft, I find it very suspicious that they don't play it up as any kind of success story.

        • I didn't hit JavaOne this year - last place became dot.compost before we had tickets... but the year before I looked but did not see one presenter use StarOffice and only a handful use HTML. Everyone seemed to use PowerPoint.

          Everyone got the CD-ROM pack with Solaris x86, Oracle, J2ME stuff, and _StarOffice_. It would have been nice to see StarOffice used by anyone giving a talk...
      • Sales folks at Sun use MS Office all the time, especially powerpoint. It's not supported. In the office, many of them also run Lotus Notes on Ultra 10's with SunPCI boards running, you guessed it, Windows. Those particular desktops are supported. I worked for Sun doing internal support... where does your information come from?

        StarOffice is now what is used internally, though it's so slow that people only ever want to run it on a SunRay terminal with an E450 on the back end where it's all sitting in RAM anyway. It was hardly ever used before StarDivision was purchased, it definitely wasn't supported before then. The official Office suite at Sun before SO was Applix.
    • they're probably using it to test compatibility issues
      not sure about using it for busy work
    • I work for Sun [sun.com] in the Cobalt Server Appliances [sun.com] group. I personally run StarOffice [sun.com] on my RH7.1 [redhat.com] laptop [hp.com] for doing presentations for customers, etc. It is not _mandatory_ for Sun employees to use StarOffice, but most do. It's the only suite that Sun's internal IT group supports. So people who choose M$ Office [microsoft.com] are on their own for support. Also, Netscape [netscape.com] is Sun's "official" browser and email program. If you read your mail with Outlook [microsoft.com], etc [eudora.com], you're on your own too...
    • by purplemonkeydan ( 214160 ) on Sunday October 14, 2001 @11:32PM (#2429464)
      They are supposed to use StarOffice and Solaris exclusively, but they don't.

      Some Sun sales guys came to my former company and gave us the salespitch for the Spaghetti .. sorry .. Serengeti line of servers.

      They were using Office 2000 on Windows 2000 on a Toshiba laptop. The sales guys mentioned that they were supposed to be using StarOffice, but they said it sucked.

      I guess being in Australia they weren't under as much scrutiny as the US operation, and could get away with stuff like that.
    • Does Sun use StarOffice exclusively within Sun? Maybe I just haven't seen all the press releases of them touting how much money they save and the huge success it has been, but isn't a little funny that they don't make a huge deal of Sun being "100% pure StarOffice -- Microsoft free?"

      Nope! I went to a p2p (p2p2001) conference in sweden in August, and there were lots of guys there giving presentations on JXTA... They were all using powerpoint 2000... Kinda interesting, don't you think?

    • I guess Sun has changed it's policy. A few years ago Sun's president said he couldn't imagine why anyone would want to use a word processor.
  • I have to say OpenOffice despite all its greatness has introduced a very annoying new behavior that can't be turned off. It uses extended windows style quotes/etc even when authoring on linux in html. I use Open/Star office, but there is a lack of attention to detail in certain areas that kind of annoys me. That being said, I never am tempted to go back to M$.
  • by aliebrah ( 135162 ) <ali@ebrahi m . o rg> on Sunday October 14, 2001 @05:22PM (#2428468) Homepage
    With each release of Star/OpenOffice we're seeing something that more and more resembles MS Windows/Office. Most people here keep on saying that its a bad thing. I think otherwise.

    You'll Microsoft and Apple are slowly tending towards very similar UIs, case in point being Aqua and Luna - they're really similar now. This is because both companies are spending millions of R&D dollars to find out what the best user interface is for their users, and, surprise-surprise, this doesn't differ across platforms.

    That's why I see this trend in SO/OO as a good thing. It's tending towards a much more usable state now. Though, it still has to play catch-up with MS Office. In Office, even if I don't know how to do something, I can easily find out by clicking as few buttons or even some guesswork based on looking at icons/tooltips. SO/OO still has quite a ways to go before it reaches this kinda ease-of-use.

    I just hope that people understand why these office apps are all tending towards a similar UI. It's not Microsoft's UI, or anyone elses for that matter, its just the one that works, and that's what's important.
    • If you think that office has a good user interface, you're on crack. I haven't noticed it making the easy stuff particularly easy (aside from what's on the toolbar, of course, but everyone has had a toolbar with roughly similar buttons for a long time). Nor does microsoft office make the hard stuff particularly doable. For example, writing even slightly complicated excel macros is a nightmare of poor documentation, a shitty development environment, and error messages that are barely worth anything.

      And what genius came up with the magic disappearing menus? I guess that there are a few people who are very new to office who this helps by reducing confusion, but it doesn't make finding menu items any easier when you have to go click on a button to see them.

      Then there is the way that office constantly guesses at what you're doing and then occasionally makes (apparently) non-reversible changes to your document because you're making a bulleted list, or something like that.

      Yes, you can turn off most of the bad options, and you can kill the damn paperclip. The point still stands that you don't have a good UI if users have to disable large portions of its "features" before they can stand it.

      And I've never actually met anyone who has used both MS office and some other office software who didn't dislike office, even years after they've gotten used to it and switched to it (because of corporate decisions).

      The really sad part about all this is that microsoft actually does testing to come up with their user interface. It sometimes makes me wonder just how big a segment of their market they think that people on drugs actually are!
      • Indeed!

        I just want to know who the genius was who decided it would be A Good Thing to force the user to verify that they want to delete a block. Personally, I'd rather just ctrl-z it if I happen to make a mistake, rather than have the software try to prevent my making the mistake. I, for one, delete blocks on purpose a hell of a lot more often than I delete blocks accidentaly, and adding a second keystroke to the process doesn't help me a bit.
    • Personally, I feel it would be better for it to move towards a more WordPerfect-esque interface. I find WordPerfect to be significantly more intuitive than MS Word. As a result, I get stuff done quicker and with less energy with WordPerfect than with MS Word.

      Just a thought.
  • Is a nice package, and it definetly runs better than OpenOffice/Star Office.

    I guess I don't care if it is open or not, but free is great.

    On the Windows side of the fence, software602 makes a nice, small, free office suite.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 14, 2001 @05:57PM (#2428586)
    OK, presumably they're talking about the wait-time for the damned thing to load. Has anyone actually gotten around to using it yet?
    • heh.

      It does take awhile to load the first time. but if you have enough memory (I run with 256 here, but also have mozilla, pronto, several other things running all the time), it loads pretty quickly on successive loads.

      My resume [homeip.net] was done in staroffice.
  • by A_Non_Moose ( 413034 ) on Sunday October 14, 2001 @06:35PM (#2428685) Homepage Journal
    What was the reason for dropping mac support, does anyone know?

    I, for one was looking forward to Star/Open Office 6 for the mac. (drooling for it more like it).

    It just seems a trifle silly, really, if you think about it.
    Everyone that wants an alternative to Microsoft's Office products, but still need the compatability with it.
    I'll concede that the Mac has a smaller market share, but, you gotta admit that it has a more "vocal minority" (kind of reminds me of /. in a way).

    Add to the above thought, that, it is NO secret that Sun's CEO released S.O. free to tweak Microsoft's CEO's nose. (figurativly, of course).

    So, If you see where I am coming from it does not make sense.

    heck, I platform hop enough not only to keep up with the tech, but sometimes the politics of distros, tools and apps.

    Look at the screenshots [openoffice.org] and tell me that this would not look good under aqua, and run under osX.1 really nice.

    I suppose I understood a little in the 10.0.X days becuse a lot of developers and programmers were griping (rightfully so) about the APIs not being coherent and up to spec/snuff.

    But now, seems silly.

    Help me understand.

    Moose.

    • by sabi ( 721 )
      Because Sun cares zip for the Mac. When Sun did anything decent for the Mac, such as their Tcl implementation, their horrendous JDK 1.0 implementation, or their abortive efforts at re-porting StarOffice, it was either because it was historical, or because it was a checklist-item soon to ba abandoned.

      Considering how they're working to oppose Microsoft in platform (Java) and office suite (StarOffice/OpenOffice) dominance, it's just crazy that they don't support the only other currently viable desktop platform. They can't expect everyone to use Solaris, after having put next to no work into improving its usability (CDE? GNOME? uh, no, certainly not in their current state.).

      Sun just fired Lee Ann Rucker [metroactive.com], who worked for Sun at Apple on the OS X Java implementation, in particular the Aqua Look & Feel for Swing, and was doing an incredible job. Check out recent messages on Apple's java-dev mailing list for more. I'm still stunned - I hope Apple is able to hire Lee Ann directly.

  • Although it's not free, I use ApplixWare 5.0 as my main office suite. My experience with StarOffice is that it tries to be too much like M$ Office. I just want a simple, intuitive app. to do word processing, spreadsheeting, drawing, etc. Unfortunately I still haven't seen anything with perfect M$ Office compatibility, so once in a while I've still got to use a Windoze machine.

  • Wow! Open Office has a Marketing [openoffice.org] project too!

    Even though open source projects don't try to make money, there is still a marketing function. Marketing is creating communication between the project and prospective users. Most projects ignore this requirement; some die as a result of not communicating.


    Secrecy corrupts democracy: What should be the Response to Violence? [hevanet.com]
  • Some friends and I compiled OpenOffice many months ago on a PII-450. As I recall, the actual compile time (not including the hours spent collecting required libraries, etc) was over 20 hours and required mad amounts of ram and disk.

    That said, how is compile time with OpenOffice these days and with modern 1-2 GHz CPUs?

    How often is it built?

    • By compiling, I'm presuming you mean "screw j-code interpreters - we're going native mode?"

      If that's what you meant, what was the payoff? How much faster did office run natively rather than as an interpreted program?

      With the cost of RAM being cheaper than shipping charges (unless you buy from Crucial), compiling is one of the perfect applications for RAM disks. It's hard to beat seek time = zero and latency = zero. You don't care about power losses because the only thing in the ram disk is scratch files but boy... does it speed up compiles.

  • by tcc ( 140386 )
    Sorry for being macho but....

    > yes, it prints, spellchecks and has online help.

    ...But it doesn't SUCK, so why do you think everybody is still all over MS Office? :)

  • Another area where MS still has an advantage is support of more foreign languages.

    StarOffice has taken a great step forward with Asian language support, but the small-medium markets (such as Hebrew, Portugese, Finnish, etc.) will still belong to MS until {Star,Open}Office supports these as well...

  • "yes, it prints, spellchecks and has online help"

    Yes, but it doesn't work. Formatting errors, major failures showing/printing imported .docs, crashes and instability.

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