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OpenOffice.org Team on OO.org (and Upcoming v2.0) 251

Aditya Nag writes "I recently got the chance to ask the OpenOffice.org team a few questions about OpenOffice.org in general, and their upcoming release. The questions were answered by Louis Suarez-Potts and Colm Smyth. Louis is OpenOffice.org's Community Manager, member and chair of the Community Council, and lead of many OpenOffice.org projects including the Native Language Confederation. Colm is a StarOffice Architect, and was responsible for defining the product concept for OpenOffice.org 3.0 (or StarOffice 9). The interview is fairly long and detailed, and there are a few interesting tid-bits, like Louis' assertion that there will come a day when there will be no proprietary file formats for Office Suites." This is the full interview from which excerpts were linked in the recent post about OO.o's beta candidate for 2.0.
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OpenOffice.org Team on OO.org (and Upcoming v2.0)

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  • Timothy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 19, 2005 @05:58PM (#11986858)
    This is the full interview from which excerpts were linked in the recent post about OO.o's beta candidate for 2.0.

    You're a Slashdot regular Timothy, if you want to say your articl'es a dupe then don't beat about the bush just say "Yep, this is a dupe".
  • Anybody using it? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lottameez ( 816335 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @06:02PM (#11986888)
    Anybody actually using open office in a, er, office? How about some real experiences with it?
    • I've been using it for more than a year now at the office. There's still no way to read MS Access database files, which is a major drawback. Other than that, I prefer Calc over Excel because of features that make data import/export/retouching easier. I also get lots of use out of Draw, something which MSO really should consider. 'Write' gets the work done, but as of 1.1.3, it has problems exporting to Word 97/2000/XP format (their name, not mine), where it dumps something in the file that totally screws up
      • Actually, you *can* read Access files, it's just really confusing... First launch one of the other apps, then press F4 to bring up the data sources navigator (I think that's the name) Right-click on the left part and click "Administrate data sources"...

        Choose ADO as the database type, and enter something like this (all on one line):

        Data Source=c:\somepath\myDb.mdb;
        User Id=admin;Password=

        Click on the "Tables" tab and you should know right away if it worked.

        That's as goo
      • Re:Anybody using it? (Score:3, Informative)

        by fireduck ( 197000 )
        OO 1.97 routinely mangles formulas entered in Writer. I'm trying to type up notes for my students. Maybe 7-10 page documents with a few formulas per page. Guaranteed when I reload the complete document at a later point, equations will have been modified beyond recognition. Half the time its copied earlier formulas in place of later formulas. Other half, it's odd bits of half formulas. Usually they involve really odd size changes as well (original formula's frame size with new formula either stretched
    • Re:Anybody using it? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mehaiku ( 754091 )

      Yes, I am. We have many office docs stored on the network - word docs, spreadsheets, etc. I knew from day one I would use OpenOffice. (This is in an environment of sales people. We are all self-employed and bring our own machines.) One of my co-workers had Word but not MS Office, so she couldn't read the spreadsheets on the network. I showed her how to install OpenOffice. Now she reads the spreadsheets.

      I told the head honcho who wasn't pleased about this. He said the office may end up going all Microsoft

    • Re:Anybody using it? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      We've got OO deployed across 15 machines, PC's and Macs (using X11). No complaints other than lack of Access file portability. The suite should add MySQL wrapped in a nice UI.

      In general we've spent the past two years moving away from MSFT and into OO and generic hardware. We're getting IT spending down to a point where I'm not hearing complaints from mangagement any longer. We're even considering installing MacMini's as the new default hardware.
    • Re:Anybody using it? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by __aamcgs2220 ( 792986 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @06:37PM (#11987083)
      I'll give you three guesses which owner of SuSE is converting their entire company to OOo and getting rid of MSO... Ask your friendly neighborhood Novell employee what s/he thinks. I've heard good things from them, but the guy I know says he really doesn't use any office products that much.
    • Re:Anybody using it? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Here in a rural county, we are using OpenOffice.org quite a bit. The local ag extension office has moved to Linux boxen and OpenOffice.org for all of their personnel (the extension service, like a lot of state government agencies, are having to serve more people with less money these days). I work at an agency where I counsel entrepreneurs and small business owners. I have been distributing OpenOffice.org to my clients, and many of them have been using the software to create business plans and other busi
    • Re:Anybody using it? (Score:5, Informative)

      by hermeshome.se ( 233303 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @06:40PM (#11987101) Homepage
      Yes. Our company (7000+ employees) has migrated from MS Office to Open Office. Unfortunatly most comments in the beginning was negative. I do suspect that it was due to the transaction to a "new" program(s) and interface. People are used to use MS Office and with little to none real computer experience, it is scarry to try out "new stuff". Thus, everything new is dagerous and should be regarded as evil.
      Now, two years later, nobody reflects over the fact that we uses another office suite. The only problem that we have are some conversion from Excel to OO Calc.

      To sum it up. If you got a user base with good common computer skills there should be no problems. Just remind them to keep an open mind. If you then can point out that by changing office suite to a free alternative, your company saves money and maybe your job are a bit safer, you should be homefree.
      Do not, however, engage in ideological arguements. That will only confuse, and poeple in general think any mid to big sized company are made of money...
      • Maybe you can help me then.
        All I really want to do is have text files (like any text file, regardless of extension, since I always use my own random extensions ) to open up in Calc, not Writer, without having to first select "txt/csv" from the drop down menu.

        Why doesn't it realize that I want to open something as a spreadsheet from the speadsheet program!
    • Re:Anybody using it? (Score:5, Informative)

      by johannesg ( 664142 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @06:47PM (#11987136)
      We tried it. It failed to read our existing Word files correctly (standard company document features coming out wrong, that sort of thing), so we decided against using it for now.

      However, we also reported every problem we could find and the good news is that quite a few seem to be fixed now. Once 2.0 gets released we'll reevaluate it for use in the office.

      OOo Writer has at least one killer feature: PDF export, which is something we need badly and which is a pain with Word.

      And unlike Word, OOo Writer hasn't yet gone and destroyed any of my documents. Word tends to do that, and I believe it is using its Intellisense to sniff out approaching deadlines so it can concentrate its evil powers where it can do the most harm. Example: last week we lost a day's worth of work on a document when it was inexplicably eaten by Word at the end of the working day. Yes, we keep backups. No, they don't run halfway through the day. And then the next day it happened again with the same document, repeating the same changes as the day before. Buh...

      • Re:Anybody using it? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by XSforMe ( 446716 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @09:05PM (#11987884)

        My experience with Openoffice has been very similar to yours. We produce very large reports with custom made headers and footers. Lots of embedded pictures, and quite a few tables along the way. OO can open them, but the tables are misaligned and the headers/footers are screwy. I am really looking forward to OO 2.

        ... OOo Writer hasn't yet gone and destroyed any of my documents. Word tends to do that...
        One of the things OO outshines MSO is... opening its own corrupt documents! Yes, most of MSO SNAFU's are recoverable by OO (at least the content). Give it a try, you'll be amazed and your users will worship you.

        OO is the real underdog of Open Source. I see lots of people bringing Linux and Mozilla when they discuss open source, but in my opinion the real fight against propietary software will be carried in the office arena.

    • Re:Anybody using it? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Mac Mini Enthusiast ( 869183 ) <mac DOT mini DOT ... AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday March 19, 2005 @06:48PM (#11987139) Homepage
      My brother works for a financial firm in Wall Street, and uses Excel all the time. So hes a "power user" w/ Excel, and often makes complicated spreadsheets.

      While we were at my other brother's house, he wanted to create a mortgage spreadsheet to show my father various options to buy a house. The computer there only had Linux and Open Office, but my brother was able to whip up the spreadsheet in no time on his first try using OpenOffice. He only ran into a few small bumps where certain items were located in different menues, etc.

      So this was a real kind of spreadsheet application that he'd use at his work all the time, and he was able to integrate into OpenOffice just fine within a few minutes. He was amazed at how smoothly it was, and even more amazed that it was available for free (as in beer, not speech).

      On top of that, he occasionally sends me various complicated spreadsheets that he's made up for personal finance things on Excel, and all of them have opened just fine in OpenOffice. In fact, they work better there than in Apple's Appleworks!

    • At Free Geek [freegeek.org], we use nothing else. Of course, since we are a Linux only shop, our other choice is...Abiword.
      It works very well for all our in house needs, which are mostly spreadsheets and word processing.
    • Re:Anybody using it? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by vandan ( 151516 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @07:09PM (#11987258) Homepage

      I've got about half our office on it. We moved to StarOffice 5.2 after the BSA sent us letters demanding that we explain our software licensing before someone comes and inspects things for themselves. The other half of the office are using some pretty complicated spreadsheets with stacks of VB code, and it's just not feasible to port it to OOo ( even though it would be technically possible ) at the moment.

      At the moment I've got all the OOo people on the 2.0 beta. It's working very nicely. The compatibility with Office is much better. Documents that used to have severe formatting issues now work either flawlessly, or damned close.

      I've done some simple dialogs in OOo for our sales department. They enter a prospect's code and get a combo box showing all the locations and contacts for that company. They select from combo boxes and hit a button to copy all the info into a word processing document. Simple but effective. The scripting language isn't as easy to use as VB, but it's not too bad, and the macro recorder makes things easier.

      I've also done a Perl-Gtk2 database front-end for them which is working remarkably better than MS Access. I've written a little Perl module, at http://entropy.homelinux.org/Gtk2-Ex-DBI/ [homelinux.org] ( screenshot available at that link ) that makes Gtk2-Perl apps designed with the Glade GUI builder data-aware. It handles all database querying, via DBI, 'paints' records onto your Glade-generated form, detects user-changes, updates the database, etc.

      I've just started on a Perl-based report writer that outputs to PDF via PDF::API2. Obviously this is to replace Access reports. It's coming along very nicely.

      OOo 2 has a database engine and front-end, but honestly I find that ( at least currently ), Access is far more powerful, easy to use, and stable. Of course the OOo 2 one is young and improving, but I think that no matter how good it gets, the Perl-Gtk2 way is always going to be much better ( and more fun ). Perl really is a nice language to be programming in, and Perl-Gtk2 is just so simple and logical, and yet powerful and fast that it really is a compelling option.
    • Anybody actually using open office in a, er, office?

      Powerpoint files were a pain until a release a few months back and loading a few more fonts - since then about a dozen people running it have found no problems with powerpoint files. Two users have MS Powerpoint, and they can read the OpenOffice generated stuff OK, while others can view theirs. Win4Lin used to be used exclusively to run MS Powerpoint, but now no-one is bothering to do that, they all just run OpenOffice.

      Printing setup wasn't put in an ea

    • I work in an evironment where most people use Word.

      However, about a year ago Word (and other MS Office software) started to fail to load on my windows 2003 box. IT couldn't figure out what was going wrong, so after a few tickets I finally gave up and just installed Open Office.

      I've been using it ever since, at home and at work. I would say light use but I've had to mix heavily with other Word users and it's worked fine - mostly Powerpoint and Word use, not so many spreadsheets.

      One thing I would say is
    • I recieved a new computer a couple of years ago right in the middle of a project. Rather than migrate everything over to the new one I bought a KVM and used new and old side by side for a while. OOo was the only office suite installed on the new computer. I'd estimate only 5% of the time I'd have to switch to the old computer and use MS Office to open or print something.

      Acid test was when one of the owners came in and wanted to edit a spreadsheet for his other business. He sat down, opened his email, load

  • Latex...? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sewagemaster ( 466124 ) <sewagemaster@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Saturday March 19, 2005 @06:02PM (#11986889) Homepage
    wouldn't it be nice if there's a better latexOO/doc conversion? One of the biggest problem is with math equations, but isn't mathml also some sort of a standard that shouldn't be that hard to covert into? also there are lots of problems with tables.latex2rtf and some other sharewares are nice, but they don't seem to do the conversion too well...
    • Re:Latex...? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @06:21PM (#11986995) Homepage Journal
      If you have to use OpenOffice, but want real equations in documents and presentations, there's always this [ucl.ac.be]. It's quite a nice little plugin for OpenOffice that uses TeX to render math to an image file, which it then inserts into the document. The TeX commands used to render the image are inserted into image attributes in the header so that you can go back and edit equations as well. Simple and ingenious, and ought to become standard for OpenOffice. As nice as their equation editor is, it's rendering is ugly as sin compared to TeX.

    • I'm actuallt quite impressed with OO.orgs compatability with Microsoft Equation objects. I used it to open some pretty hefty .docs I made during my maths degree and although it took a little while loading the equations it seemed more stable than using word with lots of equations (I have problems with running out of memory and general system slowdown sometimes when working with lots of equations in word) I use OO.org on and off but sometimes end up drawn back to office due to familiarity but OO.org is a pre
      • Re:Latex...? (Score:3, Informative)

        by Coryoth ( 254751 )
        Adding some better scripting/macro capabilities should I think become a priority so people can make the same sort of mini-applications which are possible in excel/word

        Well, given that they now have support for scripting in Python [openoffice.org], things will definitely get better. Of course there's still the issue of the underlying APIs that the scripts are using. Having not actually done any OOo scripting work I can't vouch for those. Generally, though, it does look like they are payng attention to making scripting b
  • by mao che minh ( 611166 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @06:07PM (#11986907) Journal
    OO.org really have their work cut out for them. I'd really like to see OO.org approach computer manufacturers like Dell and present a strong case as to why distributing OO.org with their systems will add value for their customers - perhaps as part of the free software suite Dell customers already recieve with new systems?
    • What they really need is to be approaching corporations and presenting a strong case why deploying OO will reduce costs and add value to their employees/customers/clients experience.
    • OEMs distributing OOo is unlikely, as they're already distributing trial versions of MS Office on their systems. Does anyone know how much OEMs have to pay per system for the trial version? Would it really be worth it to ship OOo instead?
    • More uphill? I disagree completely - while Firefox competes against MS's "freebeer" program already installed on most computers in the world today, this one competes against quite an expensive package. And guess what? It fulfills the needs of most users just fine, just as it handles most MS office documents just fine. YMMV, but it's freebeer.
    • I suspect the problem is name recognition. They can probably get Word Perfect or Lotus Smart Suite for pennies a disc. Although OO.org is free, it doesn't have the recognition for lowly end users that Word Perfect or (*gasp*) even Lotus.

      That said, perhaps more education is in order. My father in law wanted me to find him a "good deal" on a legal copy of Office 2003. When I showed him what it was going to cost, he balked. I suggested he try OpenOffice. He asked what it was, and after explaining to him
    • Shouldn't be all that hard.

      With IE vs Firefox, the argument about lower costs with Firefox is harder to demonstrate, as IE is free-as-in-beer.

      With OpenOffice, people are aware of the obvious cost difference from the start ... without requiring one of us to sit them down and explain it to them.

      Once the functionality is at the right level ( OOo 1 was close, OOo 2 might just do it - it's working damned well for us in testing ), people should flock to it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 19, 2005 @06:08PM (#11986910)
    Go to Microsoft Office's suggest feature page [microsoft.com] and ask for
    "Please add read/write support for the OASIS document formats found in OpenOffice.org 2.0."
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Already did that... But I don't know it was a Good Thing. They would probably allow to _read_ those files, but not write them (or atleast not with some extensions of their own).

      This way, this document standard will also benefit them, as people will just treat them as ms-office documents. Then when they hit save, the whole thing will become an ms-office document.

      Not only that, but even if you would (should you be able to) install support for _writing_ documents in this standard, a warning would be presente
    • Why would Microsoft elect to support OASIS? If support for their proprietary formats were no longer a necessity, then Office would become increasingly obscure.

      On the other hand, perhaps they might adopt a proprietary variant of the OASIS format. No intelligent businessman, however, would jeopardize his "bread and butter" product in order to satisfy a competitor.
      • Microsoft keeps its formats proprietary as a stragetgy to keep customers. It also solicits and uses customer feedback to keep customers. Sometimes the two strategies are at odds. It could be helpful to use its conflict against itself, if only to see which is a higher priority. Or it could produce OASIS support, if they prioritize customer demand. It might even have ripple effects of further undermining MS, if they deprioritize customer feedback to protect format hegemony. Helping tip MS to be less in sync w
      • by say ( 191220 )

        They might need to support it, because when a lot of people start using OASIS standards, it would be an easy point for the FOSS enthusiasts ("Look! Our OO.o can open documents in open standards AND MSOs proprietary standards, while MSO can only open its own standard"). At least in the home market, that might be a major "selling" point for OpenOffice. I'm beginning to receive OpenOffice documents from completely computer illiterate people.

    • Even better than telling Micrsosoft they should support it, is try to get on standards bodies in your own company and attempt to include a need for Oasis compliance from software you procure.

      When they start loosing contracts, they might become more accommodating.
  • Exaggeration...? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Infinityis ( 807294 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @06:09PM (#11986918) Homepage
    "The interview is fairly long and detailed..."

    I must have RTFA in the past too many times, as this seems a rather short interview. Even the ones Slashdot sends out have 10 questions, where this one come in at an overwhelming 6 questions.
  • My major Problem (Score:2, Informative)

    dont get me wrong, i love ooo, and i would be sold if it wasnt for the crappy spellcheck. maybe i have been raised wrong, and schooled wrong. but i suck at spelling, and so does ooo. here is the test that i ran. i spelled the word "Meticulously" phonetically, or fonetically if you will. and in ooo 2beta, i get about 10 sugesstions that all start with the letter "r". same thing in ooo 1.1. so i guess that ooo has made no progression in this area. in wordperfect 12, one sugesstion, and it was right. in word i
    • I tried various mispellings, and OO 1.1.4 doesn't seem to have trouble with that word. If you're spelling it 'reticulously', then I don't think MSO or WP is going to have a clue, either.

      Otherwise, if it's that off the mark, I'd venture to guess it's a bug that needs correcting.
    • Re:My major Problem (Score:3, Informative)

      by dahlek ( 861921 )
      I have to agree completely. It's spell check sucks. I've often had to resort to dictionary.com to look up a word - it sucks at phonetic spell-suggestions, and for a bad speller like me, it's a serious limitation...

      "immiedietly" is an example - it simply will not give the right suggestions or anything remotely close.

    • Re:My major Problem (Score:3, Informative)

      by BenjyD ( 316700 )
      Troll [slashdot.org] posted verbatim from the last slashdot openoffice article. And modded up both times.
  • OpenSource (Score:3, Insightful)

    by paithuk ( 766069 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @06:13PM (#11986941) Homepage
    Since everything in the proprietary world of Microsoft and MacOS has to be copied or rejuvinated within the OpenSource community, is it possible that people are forgetting about innovation and focusing too much on mirroring what others do? Apple have come a long way simply through innovating, just like many modern successful businesses but without major goals of innovation, isn't it possible that the OpenSource community may be stuck forever in a game of catch up?
    • Re:OpenSource (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Penguinoflight ( 517245 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @06:32PM (#11987052) Homepage Journal
      Ask yourself what microsoft has done to innovate office in the last 5 years. Fortunately, office software isn't a moving target to compete with. Innovation is only the best thing to do in this case, not the only thing to do.

      Personally I'd just like to see OO get a better UI, and move away from JAVA. With all the help from Sun, Java is probably here to stay, but we can hope for the UI improvement.
      • OpenOffice uses Java?
        • OpenOffice and Java (Score:2, Informative)

          by Tincan2k ( 839706 )
          No. OpenOffice doesn't use Java. OpenOffice does however provide a Java binding to a component model called UNO (Universal Network Objects) which can be used, among other things, to remotely automate OpenOffice. There also used to be some Java components that use a direct Java to C++ bridge to integrate with OpenOffice but I don't know the status of those. Java is less of a requirement and more of an option.
      • I'm willing to guess there was quite a bit of innovation and feature-packing going on in MSO over the last five years. But here's the problem: I don't need most of those features, and neither do my users. Some of the things are counter-intuitive and frustrating to a lot people. I also don't need the MS Office price tag, either. Use only what you need to get the job done and save money. Isn't that what this is all about anyway?
      • Re:OpenSource (Score:3, Interesting)

        by uss_valiant ( 760602 )

        Ask yourself what microsoft has done to innovate office in the last 5 years. Fortunately, office software isn't a moving target to compete with. Innovation is only the best thing to do in this case, not the only thing to do.

        IWM ProWord is a very innovative product based on MS Word. Its features speak for themself, but it's only available in German, for now. You'll never lose time formatting the document again. Among its features:
        - True templating
        - An efficient touch system ("10-Finger System") for editin

  • by bmw ( 115903 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @06:18PM (#11986969)
    The main focus of our efforts and the most important benefits that customers will see is improved usability and significantly improved interoperability with Microsoft Office formats. This addresses the day-to-day needs of many more end users and makes
    OpenOffice.org/StarOffice a real alternative.

    I really hope they mean this. Dealing with MS Office formats has got to be insanely difficult and as of yet no one has really been able to do it well (not even Microsoft!). Life would be so much better if there was another office suite that could handle all the MS formats without choking on everything but the simplest of documents. I've got great hopes for OO.org 2.0 but you'll have to excuse me if I'm still a bit skeptical.
    • I really hope they mean this. Dealing with MS Office formats has got to be insanely difficult and as of yet no one has really been able to do it well (not even Microsoft!).
      No kidding! But it's never going to happen that way. Jeez, assert yourself. Why not pick a suitable format for your document storage needs that will be readable in 10 years, and then pick the application that can read it, and best fits your budget?
  • Until they.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AuSerpent ( 5434 ) * on Saturday March 19, 2005 @06:20PM (#11986983)
    ...make the install dummy proof I won't be recommending it again. I recently had the nerve to suggest that my mother-in-law try it out. She is just a regular internet user. She uses email, browses the web, and has used Microsoft Office on occassion so I thought it would be a snap for her. I emailed her a link and small description of Open Office and she was thrilled to give it a shot.

    Well the downloads (even the stable) for the office suite are a zip file. The zip file extracts to a directory with a horde of different files. She had no idea what a zip file was and when I finally talked her through extracting it she was baffled by the tons of files.

    Installing it this way may seem like a trivial task to the average computer geek but to your casual user this is a very intimidating process and if it weren't for me on the phone with her she would have never figured it out. I don't want to do install support to every person that I think might find use in Open Office so I'm just going to bite my tongue or suggest they shell out some cash for a CD they can pop in and have it hold their hand through the process.
    • Re:Until they.. (Score:5, Informative)

      by jonabbey ( 2498 ) * <jonabbey@ganymeta.org> on Saturday March 19, 2005 @06:30PM (#11987036) Homepage

      2.0 / Star Office 8 is supposed to dramatically improve all of that. No more of that network install / workstation install crap.

      • Speak for yourself. I don't want that Windows set-up autorun, 50,000 confirmations-before-install crap rammed down my throat. OOo's set up program name is 'setup'. What is so difficult to understand there?

        In all honesty, I don't even like that. I'd prefer a directory heirarchy that I can put in a tarball. Leave the final tweaks, like the filetype registration and icon copy in a bunch of separate scripts. For the non-technical user, they can put a setup script in the archive root directory all by itself so
    • The 2.0 beta install experience is much cleaner -- the ZIP has a nice setup.msi, you double click, it goes. No more of the kajillion files (which were a real drawback of 1.x).
      • I'm not sure which version it was, but the "kajillion files" were all 1.4 MB in size. This allowed you to put the program on floppies and install from there if necessary. Not everybody has these fancy schmancy cd-rom things.
        • So put that version out as a separate installer. Call it the "Marty McFly Time Machine Edition" or something.

          Seriously, they could have at least put all those files in a subdirectory so that you didn't have to wade through them all to find the setup executable. On Win32 it invariably showed up at the bottom of the list, so you'd open the folder and be confronted with a long list of files that double-clicking did nothing. D'oh! A little organization would have improved the install experience greatly...

    • Re:Until they.. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Seumas ( 6865 )
      Well, by all means, let's bitch and moan about the old version without even trying the new version to see that the installation could not be any simpler (and is, in fact, far simpler than even MS-Office).
  • by jgarzik ( 11218 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @06:37PM (#11987088) Homepage
    I have been waiting for ages to be able to build OpenOffice.org on 64-bit. When I'm unwinding from a long day of kernel work, I do silly things like porting Fedora Core to Alpha AXP or PA-RISC 64. OpenOffice.org and Mozilla are the two big packages that are a pain to port to new platforms.

    It would really be nice if 0.000% of the openoffice.org effort devoted to press releases and promotion went instead to increasing the portability of the code :)

    This lack of portability is really a pet peeve of mine. With Linux or NetBSD, you can run the same application on practically any hardware platform, just by recompiling... presuming the software was written without 32-bit assumptions. Linux (and NetBSD) becomes your portability layer, presuming your application meets some minimum standards.

    Another pet peeve is that every big application re-invents cross-OS portability, which actually exacerbates the portability problem.

    In my position, when you have 1000 packages to get running on Alpha AXP, each application's portability glue becomes a portability hindrance. As an example, Mozilla's portability layer is the reason why Mozilla does not build on alpha today.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      It would really be nice if 0.000% of the openoffice.org effort devoted to press releases and promotion went instead to increasing the portability of the code

      Two things:

      - people that can promote open office != people that can increase the portability of the code
      - promotion->more people know about it->more users and developers
  • In the article they said they thought the scientific community would use proprietary formats due to a smaller market however from my experience most of the scientific community uses latex and postscript which I beleive are open (some use pdf too which im not too sure about the licencing status of)
  • by Achra ( 846023 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @06:56PM (#11987179) Journal
    Seriously, this is the single reason that I use it over MS Office (except when I can't help it, like with Rational Soda and RequisitePro).. I used to work next to this guy, he would say "Wow, I never expected it to do that!" in joyful glee whenever MS Office did something truly bizarre with his formatting. Sometimes he would cry when undo didn't work. Office Interface [pcd-innovations.com]
    • Oddly it is for the same reason that I favour TeX and LaTeX. They do precisely what you tell them to do. You can always step in and say "No, I want you to do exactly this! no matter how stupid it looks". Of course the downside is that it all relies on arcane commands, but one you know them you can pretty much do what you want.

  • naming (Score:4, Interesting)

    by juju2112 ( 215107 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @07:05PM (#11987238)
    I don't get why they want to call it "OpenOffice.org". No matter what they, naming your product after your website is just stupid. And then to be all anal about it. "It's .ORG! You have to say the .ORG part!


    I get that it's marketing, but I don't agree with it.
  • by ebrusky ( 819597 ) <ebrusky@ y a h o o . com> on Saturday March 19, 2005 @07:05PM (#11987239) Homepage
    I run a small computer company and I use OOo for all of my business activity. I also recommend OOo to many of my customers and then also ask for a small donation to help the OOo team. I am also trying to convince a couple of local schools to switch to OOo inorder to save money. Though there is resistance, mainly because people don't want to admit that they have wasted their money. The clients of mine that have tried OOo have all given me positive feedback. I have a few complaints, though that may be a bit strong, when working with embedded tables in documents formatting gets screwed up often, and there is an odd scrolling issue on my system when I work with spreadsheets. But these are fairly minor issues. I can't wait to start playing with OOo 2.0 I just need to wait for the stable version.
  • Ever tried installing it? It's *incredibly difficult*. It's not an open source package that a sys admin can simply decide to try out quickly. Installing it involves loads of time and all sorts of system-specific tweaks. Our organization investigated moving to that platform but abandoned it when realizing how large of an undertaking it would be (in both time and skills) to even get it running.

    I've heard that the 1.0 release's main focus is making installation easier, however, it can't even be installe [opengroupware.org]
  • Didn't RTFA (hey, this is /.!), but one thing I'd really like to see are bindings for OO formats for languages like Perl, Python and Java. I recently had to use Perl to create an OO table from some data, and used the OpenOffice::OODoc series of modules, but they looked rough around the edges.
  • by NoMercy ( 105420 ) on Saturday March 19, 2005 @10:39PM (#11988377)
    I don't much like the sound of the extra .org, and can't see how it frees them from trademark issues, the FAQ only states they don't own the 'OpenOffice' trademark.

    Digging around in forums has given me some very muddled answers relating to the ukrane and ripoff copies of openoffice being sold.
  • by flacco ( 324089 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @07:20AM (#11989977)
    in the last answer, colm mentions collaboration features in 3.0 - anyone know where there might be more details on 3.0 features?

What is algebra, exactly? Is it one of those three-cornered things? -- J.M. Barrie