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Microsoft Open Source

LibreOffice 5.3 Released, Touted As 'One of the Most Feature-Rich Releases' Ever (omgubuntu.co.uk) 224

An anonymous reader shares a report: A new month, and a brand new version of open-source office suite LibreOffice is now available to download. And what a release it is. LibreOffice 5.3 introduces a number of key new features and continues work on improving the look and feel of the app across all major platforms. The Document Foundation describes LibreOffice 5.3 as "one of the most feature-rich releases in the history of the application." One of the headline features is called MUFFIN interface, a new toolbar design similar to the Microsoft Office Ribbon UI.
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LibreOffice 5.3 Released, Touted As 'One of the Most Feature-Rich Releases' Ever

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  • by TechyImmigrant ( 175943 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2017 @02:07PM (#53782433) Homepage Journal

    I didn't like using Word for large documents.

    I invested time and learned to use Latex. It has addressed my problems.

    Using an alternative office clone that doesn't also solve the problems of wysiwyg editors is not appealing.

  • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2017 @02:11PM (#53782479)

    Touted As 'One of the Most Feature-Rich Releases' Ever

    That is a very Microsoft like statement, "goodness" defined by feature count, and probably not a good path to go down.

    • Usually a new release increases the feature-count with features the previous didn't have but in this case they appear to be not quite sure.

    • That is a very Microsoft like statement, "goodness" defined by feature count, and probably not a good path to go down.

      Agreed. Take word processors, for example. The features available in standard word processor software 30 years ago are still probably adequate for 97% of tasks today. If companies like Microsoft had just focused on improving those core features, that would have been great. But instead, you get these bloated hybrids that don't work well for text-editing and basic word processing (because they're overfull of unnecessary crap, some of which screws up basic editing). And they're not good for proper "deskto

      • by Nutria ( 679911 )

        The problem with your thesis is that your 97% isn't *my* 97%.

        • The problem with your thesis is that your 97% isn't *my* 97%.

          No, I'm talking about 97% of general office tasks, not MY tasks. MS Word is crap for many of the tasks **I** want to do.

          Most people in offices use MS Word to do pretty basic stuff on an everyday basis -- crafting memos, simple short documents, etc. Outside of offices, the primary uses are probably people like students, who need to write short papers and such. All of these things could have been done with the features of MS Word decades ago.

          For the majority of more complex common office tasks (e.g., m

      • But what are the lighter and GOOD alternatives out there?

        Get a copy of WordStar 5.5 from somewhere and run it with DosBox.

        You think I'm joking but it does all the basics. In its time it was considered great stuff. What's better about today's word processors? More fonts, lots of graphics? Fine if you're doing a newsletter or an advertising piece. If you're writing a report or a letter or a memo, not much added value.

        • by mmell ( 832646 )
          I'll bet you liked VisiCalc, too.

          Oh, wait - I liked VisiCalc. Lotus 1-2-3 wasn't bad either, now that I think of it.

      • This path may be even worse for an open source project. At least Microsoft can pay people to work on uninteresting things and bloated/complicated code. For a volunteer based project its more difficult. Its much more interesting to add something new. If maintenance is made more difficult it could endanger the project.
    • I just adore the Keynote/Pages interface. Actually I adore the previous version where it had the NextStep Inspector interface. The new one isn't as good. But both are a step way above Microsoft's office.

      What galls me with Pages and Keynote is they aren't compatible with Zotero the footnoting/reference manager. Ergo I must use Microsoft Office. oh the agony of that.

      If only there was a work alike for keynote or pages interface but was open source. Then we'd have something.

      Copy a good interface if you ar

  • so... is that another way of saying that the current version has less features than previous versions?

  • Feature-rich (Score:5, Insightful)

    by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2017 @02:12PM (#53782497) Homepage Journal

    In my experience, there's a direct correlation between "feature rich" and "buggy" for any new release.

    In other words, I'll presume it to be the most buggy release ever, until I hear otherwise.

    • Maybe git it a try and see for yourself.

      • by arth1 ( 260657 )

        Maybe git it a try and see for yourself.

        No, my time is too important to spend it on being a guinea pig.
        I'd like to see what others have to say, as well as how many/severe bugs are reported first, before investing any time.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I've been holding off switching away from Office because I use the Ribbon constantly and navigating through the maze of pulldown menus in other office suites seems like transporting back to the 90's and using punch cards. I'll dl this version and give it a shot.
  • One disadvantage Calc has had compared to Excel, is it didn't support multicore when processing large spreadsheets. Has this been addressed yet..?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If you need multi-core threading to evaluate your spread sheets you are doing it wrong. Cell errors in spread sheets of that size can be pretty much impossible to find. At that size the process described by the calculations in the spread sheet is too big to be checked/audited. There are better ways to do things that are less subject to errors than multiple page thousand line spread sheets.

    • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2017 @02:45PM (#53782825) Journal

      One disadvantage Calc has had compared to Excel, is it didn't support multicore when processing large spreadsheets. Has this been addressed yet..?

      They put HSA support in a while back which had the interesting side effect of meaning a puny AMD APU absolutely caned the top end i7 for spreadsheet calculation. One of those tasks where having near zero latency, memory coherent access to a huge array of floating point processors helps I guess.

    • Maybe this [techenablement.com] is what you are looking for.

  • Derpy approves.
  • A ribbon clone? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rnturn ( 11092 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2017 @02:16PM (#53782551)

    Was there serious demand for this? I suspect one of the features that many -- if not most -- users of LibreOffice enjoyed was that it didn't have the damned ribbon.

    I do more writing using Emacs/LaTeX than I do with any word processor but when I do need to create a Word-compatible document I do resort to Writer (and save as ".doc"). Thanks guys for bringing the Office ribbon hassles to Writer. I'm sure everyone's tickled pink to now be able to experience Word's ribbon headaches on Linux.

    • Not a fan of ribbons myself but the LibreOffice ribbon is completely optional and can be turned off. Soooo, no real issue there. Also, RTFA. ;)
      • by rnturn ( 11092 )

        Sorry. I did but I didn't see the words "option" or "optional" anywhere in the article where the ribbon was being mentioned. It was mentioned as optional in a linked page, though. No, I didn't watch the damned video.

        If it's optional, then fine. My big feature request would be to reduce the time it takes for Writer to become usable--which takes around ten seconds on my desktop system. I'm hoping that's part of this release and, frankly, I'd rather they work on things like that instead of "features" that wer

    • Maybe adding this feature will attract more people to move away from MS Word. If the UI works the same it will take lees re-training to move.
      • by Nutria ( 679911 )

        it will take lees re-training to move.

        Who else remembers when MS said it would take too much retraining to migrate from MSO to OO.o (and then introduced the Ribbon Bar, which required lots of retraining)?

    • by afgam28 ( 48611 )

      Yeah, I really wish LibreOffice wouldn't spend its time copying a 10-year-old design that was quite poorly received at the time.

      The ribbon interface always struck me as the result of a company that just couldn't make decisions. I imagine product managers at Microsoft were fighting over whose features were important enough to be on the toolbar, and which ones would be hidden away in the menus. Corporate empire builders would fight to keep their pet features prominently advertised, and they'd get locked in a

    • Re:A ribbon clone? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AthanasiusKircher ( 1333179 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2017 @03:33PM (#53783289)

      Was there serious demand for this? I suspect one of the features that many -- if not most -- users of LibreOffice enjoyed was that it didn't have the damned ribbon.

      Yes, I rarely pay much attention to this, but on the few occasions I've checked in with LibreOffice's forums, I've definitely seen people complain about the lack of a ribbon OPTION. Like it or not, MS Office has had that interface for about a decade now, and many younger users have never used anything else.

      [Personally, I dislike the ribbon and have never gotten used to it. The only reason I am able to use MS Office at work in a reasonable fashion is because I have a Mac that still has actual menus. But I also know a lot of people who LIKE the ribbon, or at least grew to like it over the years.]

      Thanks guys for bringing the Office ribbon hassles to Writer. I'm sure everyone's tickled pink to now be able to experience Word's ribbon headaches on Linux.

      It's an OPTION. Apparently one of FOUR possible ways to organize your UI [omgubuntu.co.uk]. If you don't want it, don't use it.

      But if LibreOffice actually still wants to sell itself as a competitor to MS Office, it needs to present a UI that isn't a shock to new users... many of whom have been using a "ribbon" in MS Office for years.

      You're correct that there was a big upsurge in use of LibreOffice (back then, OpenOffice) with the introduction of the ribbon interface. The issue is that users didn't want to learn a new interface, so OpenOffice was a good alternative. Now LibreOffice has to adapt to a new public, whose default experience is WITH the ribbon.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        I'm one of the people who likes the ribbon and was looking forward to this. Unfortunately it's not really much of a ribbon, more like just a different kind of toolbar. The key features of the ribbon, like showing examples of the settings rather than just a generic icon or applying them temporary when you hovered over them are missing.

        I have LibreOffice installed but I find that apart from the odd letter I usually end up with Google Docs. Google's spreadsheet app is a bit slow sometimes but a mixture of easy

      • "The issue is that users didn't want to learn a new interface"

        No. My issues with the ribbon are:

        • Keyboard shortcuts?
        • "Responsive" design moves the icons around as you're using the product... e.g., shrink the window to work on two docs side-by-side
        • Cryptic icons require hovering over or clicking on to figure out what they do, icons change between versions of course
        • Screen real-estate wasted displaying 80% of features I rarely or never used
        • Features given prominence which sabotage the use of styles and
    • I know, it's worrying, I mean, they implement the Ribbon, but they haven't implemented Clippy yet? Does this mean they'll never get around to implementing Clippy?

      Well, good news...

      • You don't have to use the Ribbon UI. It's simply there for those who either like it or never used Office prior to its introduction.
    • Yes there is demand for it. The ribbon interface can actually be productive. If only the office 2007 developers had been employed to do the windows 8/10 start menu...

      And libreoffice's implementation seems to be quite flexible

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rahvin112 ( 446269 )

      I hated the ribbon as much as you do. But after using it for a while I see why it's better and also easier for new users to learn. MS was right about this UI change, in fact I'd argue it was their most researched and tested UI changes that they've ever implemented. The one problem was it made learning it for existing users harder but the trade off in usability was worth it IMO.

    • "I'm used to this" does not equal "it's better for everyone," just as "I'm not used to this" doesn't mean "it sucks." And it works in both directions. If you are proficient in lightweight editors (VI, etc.), they are fast, effective, and do most of what you need. But there is a learning curve (am I in edit mode? Did I save my changes?). I certainly understand why people, if exposed to both, side by side, for the first time, would choose a GUI-heavy app. And then to have one with pictures in the menu th
    • People who work in an office or go to school are used to the ribbon now, and have a hard time finding what they want among the various drop down menus.

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        People who work in an office or go to school are used to the ribbon now, and have a hard time finding what they want among the various drop down menus.

        But they only have to look once and then it's easy to remember. With the ribbon you've got to look every damned time for that little picture to click on and move across half the screen or more to get there. You even have to look to be sure your are on the correct tab (fuck that "ribbon" terminology - it's nothing like the thing it was named after).

  • Last time I tried it, it was crashing way too much to be useful

    • Sounds like the last time you tried was years ago. I see the occasional crash, but pretty rare as in weeks or months, and losing work is even rarer. Probably, stability is similar to Microsoft's product. Pretty damn good for what you pay.

      • by rnturn ( 11092 )

        Yeah, it only occasionally crashes. The bad thing about that is that, when Writer goes and crashes, it seems to want to take down the spreadsheet I have opened on a different virtual desktop--or any other LO component I have running. Sure, there's likely some memory savings by having Writer and Calc sharing some code but there's something just wrong about a Writer snafu taking down the whole LO environment.

  • Not really... (Score:5, Informative)

    by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2017 @02:42PM (#53782791)

    ...One of the headline features is called MUFFIN interface, a new toolbar design similar to the Microsoft Office Ribbon UI....

    From TFA:

    ...We’ve told you about the MUFFIN interface project — MUFFIN stands for My User Friendly & Flexible Interface — a fair bit over the past few months, but if you haven’t heard of it it’s a new UI initiative that introduces 4 different layouts for LibreOffice applications, including a Microsoft Ribbon-esque tabbed UI and a slim, simplified, single panel toolbar....

    .
    It appears that the new interface will allow the user to use the ribbon-esque interface, a feature for the one or two people who actually like that UI. Muffin also provides other interfaces besides the weird ribbon-esque one, if you prefer a more intuitive UI.

    • by hawk ( 1151 )

      MUFFIN is quite important, even critical: without it, you can no longer boot your older 13 sector diskettes from prior to DOS 3.3 . . . :)

      hawk

  • Is it better than Office 2000 yet?
  • I have been using the presentation in LibreOffice on my various macbooks for over 7 years and you know what it has only gotten worse. Sure they change user interface, but not really much else. Minimal bug fixes, but no improvements to performance.

    It crashes so often, in order to turn my slides into PDF file, I not only break up my presentations into small files, but I wrote a shell script to keep trying the conversion until LibreOffice manages to not crash.

    Serious question, is there a latex-like tool for ma

    • Dunno if this is what you are looking for, but check out DocOnce: http://hplgit.github.io/doconc... [github.io]

    • by N7DR ( 536428 )

      Serious question, is there a latex-like tool for making presentations.

      There are several of them. The most common is probably Beamer: https://bitbucket.org/rivanvx/... [bitbucket.org]

      A couple of others are mentioned on the Beamer Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      • Thanks for the recommendation, but typing this out seems to be a lot more tedious that copy/pasting an image.

        \begin{frame}{Example of columns 2}
        \begin{columns}[T] % contents are top vertically aligned
        \begin{column}[T]{5cm} % each column can also be its own environment
        Contents of first column \\ split into two lines
        \end{column}
        \beg

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      IMHO the stupid powerpoint slideshow idea should have been dead and buried in 1996.
      Do it as a web presentation since intranets are the final resting place of any slideshow of any importance. You'll save yourself or another conversion hassles and future compatibility problems.
  • by ukoda ( 537183 ) on Wednesday February 01, 2017 @03:26PM (#53783215) Homepage
    It's great software but I do wonder when they will fix the spell checker so you can change the language from US English to the local language without the need to read help pages every time.
  • New version? BAD (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Merk42 ( 1906718 )
    New version of {thing} came out. We all know {thing} is bad because it is new. MY issue wasn't fixed, therefore nothing the latest version of {thing} has to offer counts.
    • Depends on the issue. In my case, transitions in Impress are fundamentally and shockingly broken, and it's been like this for years with no change in site. I haven't tried the Windows version, but both in Linux and Mac the OpenGL transitions just plain don't work, which makes presentations look like all you did was dust off something you made in the early 90s.

      It's shockingly unprofessional, and quite frankly, embarrassing. If they wanted to be taken seriously as a competitor to Microsoft Office, they *ne

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        transitions in Impress are fundamentally and shockingly broken

        IMHO if you want effects like that do a movie. Going halfway between a static slideshow and a movie is almost asking for pain if you push up from the slideshow end. If it's art use an artists tools. If content is more important than distraction perhaps the effect isn't so important - not to excuse how broken it is, just to point out the effect is an afterthought outside of the purpose of content presentation.

        So yes, while it would be annoying

  • Cue all the "@#$!^@!%$# the Ribbon, and #@$%^@! these guys for caving in and selling out and being sheep and all the other overused phrases I've read on line for years that I can fit in my post.... Argh I'm just SO ANGRY over stuff that I can ignore and still be happy!"
  • Argh. I just got that last week. :( Why even release v5.2.5 if v5.3 is out?

  • Does it have an Outlook clone yet that works with Exchange?
    • by dbIII ( 701233 )

      Does it have an Outlook clone yet that works with Exchange?

      The automatic virus vector functionally is taking a bit of time. Unlike Outlook you currently you have to click on the malware, save it and tell it to run.

You're using a keyboard! How quaint!

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