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Why Google Should Embrace OpenOffice.org

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the because-it's-soft-and-squishy dept.

Google 277

CWmike writes "Preston Gralla has a decent idea that could move the office needle: If Google really wanted to deliver a knockout punch to Microsoft, it would integrate OpenOffice with Google Docs, and sell support for the combined suite to small businesses, medium-sized business, and large corporations. Given the reach of Google, the quality of OpenOffice, and the lure of free, it's a sure winner. Imagine if a version of it were available as a Web service from Google, combined with massive amounts of Google storage. Integrated with Google Docs, it would also allow online collaboration. For those who wanted more features, the full OpenOffice suite would be available as a client — supported by Google. wouldn't be at all surprised to see this happen. Just yesterday, IBM announced that it was selling support for its free Symphony office suite. It's not too much of a stretch to imagine Google doing the same for OpenOffice, after it integrates it with Google Docs."

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277 comments

Sounds like a (-1, Flamebait)

lazy_nihilist (1220868) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660059)

GPL fanboys wet dream...

Re:Sounds like a (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660163)

Ssssh! Don't tell anyone else this but a lot of GPL (=free) software runs on Windows and OS X also.

But please don't tell anyone else, okay?

Re:Sounds like a (2, Informative)

i.of.the.storm (907783) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661117)

Also, since when is Google Docs under the GPL?

Re:Sounds like a (2)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661305)

It isn't.

But this article isn't referring to Google Docs per se but the widgets that allow desktop integration - which is what the OP was whining about.

Okay, they're not released under the GPL, I'll give you that, but they are released under the Apache License which is still pretty much "here's the source code, have a play with it".

I just don't get you people that moan about getting stuff for free - who gives a shit? If you don't like it then either contribute some useful criticism or piss off and try something else. You've not lost anything in the process...

Sun and Google actually cooperating? (0)

PFAK (524350) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660091)

Never! When satan skates to work!

Re:Sun and Google actually cooperating? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23660653)

Actually, Satan is known to be an avid rollerblader.

Re:Sun and Google actually cooperating? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23661293)

Free as in freedom does not mean "no restrictions." Think about it for a minute ... in a free society, everyone is restricted by law to respect the rights (including the freedoms) of other members of that society. Without such restrictions, there would be no freedoms. By analogy, free software must bound by certain restrictions in order for it to remain truly free, e.g. the source code must be available for you in order for you to have the freedom to change it as you see fit.

Why? (4, Insightful)

prockcore (543967) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660099)

What does OpenOffice offer the average user that Google Docs is lacking?

And why would Google use OpenOffice to fill that gap when they could just improve Google Docs?

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660303)

what really gets me is that google docs uses Open Document format as it's default output. use open office locally and google docs on the road for the same document.

you can swap back and forth. You can use google docs to store your files pass US customs and download them again quickly and easily once you have passed customs.

i am not seeing the point of the article.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23660427)

More important is what does OpenOffice can offer to Google? Google lives from advertisement, why would they avoid the opportunity of add advertisement doing this? Although, they haven't implemented some way of putting advertisement, I'd think they will do it soon, thus, why would they want to get rid of the possibility?

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660477)

What does OpenOffice offer the average user that Google Docs is lacking?

Not running in a browser on AJAX, the stupidest application 'platform' ever congealed?
Working reliably when offline?
Working reliably with large documents, with embedded images etc?
Performance? Even if you thought OO.o was slow, you'll be amazed at how badly you can bog things down if you implement it in mighty javascript, inside a browser.

And why would Google use OpenOffice to fill that gap when they could just improve Google Docs?

You mean by making google docs a real application instead of a gimped web based browser hosted mess? Why re-invent the wheel? Just enhance oo.o to store docs to google's servers and call it a day.

Personally though, I don't know why anyone would even BOTHER with google docs. If you want web based document access I think we should be striving for remote desktop hosting and application publishing.

Citrix already has this, and if you've ever used MSOffice as a published Citrix web application, you'll know what I'm talking about. None of this flaky ajax crap. Accessible from anywhere. Documents exist on the corporate server. It costs a bundle to license though and I don't know if it supports linux. -- but isn't that where FLOSS shines? I'd rather see this over another half baked AJAX app.

Re:Why? (0, Offtopic)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660537)

A Linux Citrix client has existed for a while.

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660649)

A Linux Citrix client has existed for a while.

That's not the point.

We need a Linux based application *server*, preferably one that is FLOSS.
Publishing OO.o from Windows 2003 Server and Citrix Presentation Server to a linux client almost defeats the point if you ask me.

Re:Why? (2, Informative)

joshtheitguy (1205998) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660731)

I don't know if it supports linux.
Oh it does, my travel laptop at work is running Kubuntu 8.04 and I can access any citrix application hosted on the company's servers flawlessly. Just download the linux x86 ica client from www.citrix.com, install, import the SSL certificate issuer's public cert (if necessary I know I had to but it is easy to do) and you are done.

Re:Why? (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660965)

Oh it does, my travel laptop at work is running Kubuntu 8.04 and I can access any citrix application hosted on the company's servers flawlessly. Just download the linux x86 ica client from www.citrix.com, install, import the SSL certificate issuer's public cert (if necessary I know I had to but it is easy to do) and you are done.

I know there is a citrix client. But can host one publish Linux Applications from a Linux Server? That is what I was referring to. And if not with Citrix... with anything?

Re:Why? (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661433)

Well, in theory X11 has always worked that way. Just point your DISPLAY at your local terminal.

The main disadvantage of X11 is that it doesn't handle latency well, unlike Citrix. NX helps this a bit - a FOSS equivalent would be nice.

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660849)

> Not running in a browser on AJAX, the stupidest application 'platform' ever congealed?

Web apps are shit, period. If you want security, run in a virtual environment, or just stick with apps from people you trust, like Google.

Otherwise you get flaky, embarrassing, unresponsive bollocks which fails the second there's a network problem anywhere between the servers in the States, thousand of miles away from me, right up to my ISP and the little bits of metal connecting to me. Plus my data isn't being sent halfway around the world for some spotty bedroom boy to packet sniff and/or fuck about with. That's the worse possible solution.

Surely you want the opposite - apps downloaded from the net, run locally, with internet access as and when needed - infrequently, probably.

Re:Why? (5, Informative)

dave562 (969951) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660877)

Citrix already has this, and if you've ever used MSOffice as a published Citrix web application, you'll know what I'm talking about. None of this flaky ajax crap. Accessible from anywhere. Documents exist on the corporate server. It costs a bundle to license though and I don't know if it supports linux.

And if you want to take it to another level, you can implement something like this...

http://www.sonicwall.com/us/products/Secure_Remote_Access.html

It will do RDP or Citrix connections via a web browser, no VPN client software required. So anywhere you have a web browser and internet access, you have access to your applications and documents. Of course it isn't free, but when it comes to IT, I find that you get what you pay for.

Re:Why? (3, Informative)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661011)

Just use FreeNX+OpenOffice.org. Free, works great with Linux, does the job at least as good as Citrix, if not better.

X11 is a wonderful thing, and extensions to it like FreeNX are quite incredible.

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661063)

For the most part I agree with you. However, remote access doesn't offer the realtime multi-user collaboration that's a part of Google's online office tools. Setting up centralized documents on the cheap is quite possible these days - I work for a company that sells that kind of thing, but for all intents and purposes it's an interface wrapped around a glorified subversion repository with some unrelated features that deal with the rest of that whole intranet thing. Hell, truly dumb it down and just have an FTP server. DropBox is one of those newer Web2.0 things that's basically a fancy wrapper around FTP (once again, we're starting to realize that user interface and ease of use is key to adoption); it's only meant for one user at a time and is more of a personal cross-computer document syncing tool. However, none of those to my knowledge deal with what happens when two people want to work on the same document at the same time. What we have at work has a check-in/check-out system, and DropBox would probably just give one user a read-only copy (since it treats it more like a network drive than an ftp server, and that's what happens on a local network). Google Docs/Spreadsheets, on the other hand, allows multiple users to edit the same document in real time and have each other's changes pushed to all other editors as they're being made, much more along the lines of SubEthaEngine [codingmonkeys.de] .

Granted, not a whole lot of people need that kind of functionality most of the time. For what I do, it's actually a great asset - it sure beats the hell out of emailing a document back and forward a dozen times over the space of ten minutes. And the functionality, again for what I do, is plenty - I'm just sharing lists of ideas with colleagues and clients 95% of the time. All of your points against Google Docs are very much valid, and I was going to point them out myself. The accessibility during offline time is the real killer for me, as I don't have a cellular card for my laptop and can't be bothered to pay for wifi at hotspots, so it certainly can't replace a desktop text editor. Some combination of a desktop editor, the "push FTP" of DropBox, and the realtime collaboration of Google Docs would be THE winner, but that's asking for a lot.

At the end of the day, there's no one tool that's right for everyone right now. OOo is free, functional, and will get the job done for most people. Word is expensive, more functional and stable, somewhat faster, and has advanced features for power users that most people will never go near. Google Docs is free, limited in functionality, but doesn't require installation or local storage.

(Yes, I know I didn't really address the whole Word/Citrix thing; however, assuming you have VPN access then you're already able to get to the central repository and then there should be no reason to bother with the published web app through Citrix thing since you could just locally install OOo/Word - the file access is the crucial thing there more so than the app itself. Yes, this still isn't quite what you meant, but humor me)

Re:Why? (3, Interesting)

ady1 (873490) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661217)

I have used Citrix and to be honest, it is horrible. A royal pain in the ass to use on a regular basis. I would take Google docs any day over that torture.

Re:Why? (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661499)

Are you sure it wasn't a poor implementation? Citrix works pretty well, and I've seen it used in lots of places with thin client terminals (hospitals in particular). Now, if you're not using it in seamless mode than that IS a pain!

Where it shines the most is with client-server applications over high latency WANs. Most client-server apps aren't designed to handle latency - but Citrix is and it isolates the app from the link. I've seen client-server apps that took seconds to respond to entries that went to almost-normal responsiveness when Citrix was employed. That is what makes it fairly popular in global corporations.

Re:Why? (1)

gregbot9000 (1293772) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661575)

Google docs is actually very useful if you're working on computers that don't have word processors, such as library catalog computers.

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660563)

First, it doesn't operate entirely over the network ajax-style. For most things, you don't need the document to be online and updated live. When I'm using Google Docs, especially the spreadsheet program, it's dirt slow and slows down the rest of my browsing, too.

Second, it provides an interface that's familiar to people, better than google docs. For a nerd like me or most of the people on slashdot, google docs works just fine; for people like my parents, OpenOffice is more familiar. Google can make internet browsers sing and dance, but the browser just can't replicate the experience as well.

Third, it gets existing OpenOffice users to switch to google docs. The ability to save to google docs as easily as to the hard drive would be a compelling feature, at least to me. I run a DnD game online and I use google doc's spreadsheet to manage characters; this would make it a lot easier for me and my players to use it all.

I would use this for my DnD game and most of my documents that I could possibly want in multiple places (and that wouldn't be interesting to law enforcement or identity thieves).

Exactly (3, Insightful)

R_Dorothy (1096635) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661573)

It's analogous to using $your_favourite_mail_client to access Gmail via IMAP. You still have the web interface if you want/need to use it but you can also take advantage of a familiar application running locally that's specifically designed for the task.

lowest common denominator software (3, Insightful)

sentientbrendan (316150) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660769)

>What does OpenOffice offer the average
>user that Google Docs is lacking?
Why should we ever improve on software? Why should software ever do more than perform basic tasks poorly?

These are the attitudes behind your statement. Google docs is not as good as open office. Open office is not as good as microsoft office.

The arguments that people usually make are, "do you really need those extra features?" and to some extent it is true. I don't *absolutely* need everything that Microsoft Office has to offer, and so I save myself some money and download Star Office via the google pack.

Indeed, a lot of free and open source software tries to succeed, not by being the best software of its kind, but by being the *cheapest* software of its kind. Sometimes that strategy works, and sometimes it doesn't, but as a *developer* I'm always kind of disgusted by it.

Really, what's the point of being a software developer if all you ever aspire to do is put out crappy software that people will only use because it is free?

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661155)

There is a character limit to Google Docs. I thought it would be a good idea to get some video game walkthroughs saved to my Google Docs, so I didn't have to look them up all the time, so I copied the text to Google Docs and some of the files had too much text for Good Docs to handle.

Re:Why? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23661309)

Can I stick a cig in your bum?

Re:Why? (2, Interesting)

J Story (30227) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661183)

What does OpenOffice offer the average user that Google Docs is lacking?

And why would Google use OpenOffice to fill that gap when they could just improve Google Docs?
Footnotes. Text boxes. Styles.

Whether Google can put these into their online Docs is a valid question, but it doesn't look easy.

FTW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23660117)

Seamless integration between oo.o, gmail and googles online suite of office apps sounds too good to be true.

Basically, they already do (4, Insightful)

yog (19073) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660121)

You can already import and export to OpenOffice from Google Docs. What more do we really need? Furthermore, I doubt that Google would gain much from taking sides. They are the premier provider of web services and that is where they should stay. Desktop applications are the past, web services are the future. Microsoft Office as a desktop application will eventually fade, too.

Now, if Google wanted to give OOo a nice grant, that would be most welcome :)

Re:Basically, they already do (1)

KGIII (973947) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660583)

Meh... Color me blind but web services are the past. Am I the only one who recalls getting compute time scheduled and then using a terminal or accessing most everything over the network from a terminal? All that is old is new again.

Re:Basically, they already do (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661315)

It all goes in a big cycle. If networking were truly ubiquitous and fast, and your cellphone or credit card was a powerful computer and reliable authentication device that could inspect a display for eavesdropping devices and so forth, you would happily run all your applications, everything, over the network, simply for the convenience of never losing any data.

Since they aren't, we carry bigger devices around and do a poor job securing them, but we live with it, because it makes the most sense given current network costs, hardware costs and hardware capabilities. When network costs, hardware costs and hardware capabilities change, people change their behavior in response to the new situation.

Re:Basically, they already do (0)

inKubus (199753) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660695)

Yeah, Google doesn't give a rat's ass about anything they can't put ads on and make money.

Re:Basically, they already do (1)

greenguy (162630) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661257)

Furthermore, I doubt that Google would gain much from taking sides. They are the premier provider of web services and that is where they should stay. Desktop applications are the past, web services are the future.
How is that not taking sides? In the unlikely event web services eclipse desktop apps, Google will have an enormous head start, and they'll most likely allow and even encourage folks to use ODT.

More likely is that the line between desktop and webtop apps will gradually blur (e.g., "cloud computing"), and... Google will still have an enormous head start. Rather than OOo and Google Docs trying to replace each other, they will probably fade into each other over time.

why embrace creators' planet/population rescue (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23660139)

no need to decide until you've weighed all of your other options. the lights are coming up all over now. conspiracy theorists are being vindicated. some might choose a tin umbrella to go with their hats. the fairytail is winding down now. let your conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.google.com/?ncl=1216734813&hl=en&topic=n
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/29/world/29amnesty.html?hp
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/06/02/nasa.global.warming.ap/index.html
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/weather/06/02/honore.preparedness/index.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/01/opinion/01dowd.html?em&ex=1212638400&en=744b7cebc86723e5&ei=5087%0A

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=weather+manipulation&btnG=Search
http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece

What a stunning revelation... (5, Interesting)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660143)

Imagine the repercussions if a large technology company like Sun Microsystems helped the development and support of OpenOffice.

They could twin its codebase with their own corporate version [sun.com] and then the sky would truly be the limit.

Re:What a stunning revelation... (1)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660599)

Yeah, I think the article completely ignored Sun's role in the OpenOffice.org project. Of course, this would be great thing if it wasn't already happening...or was the suggestion to also do a corporate takeover of Sun?

knockout punch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23660151)

this term, it does not mean what you think it does

Microsoft isn't going to get knocked out by FOSS. Yes, FOSS will eat into its profit margins (and already has), and will give it stiff competition, but let's be real here, mmm-k? Microsoft and it's hundred billion in cash isn't going anywhere.

pole (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23660179)

pole

OpenOffice just isn't very good. (5, Insightful)

Wulfstan (180404) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660181)

I was working with a teacher on Sunday night trying to prepare a presentation in OpenOffice (it was running incredibly slowly) and she said "I hate OpenOffice". She isn't a geek, she doesn't particularly like computers, but to her it was a huge disappointment to have to use OpenOffice instead of being able to use PowerPoint.

So far from a knockout punch, I think OpenOffice barely registers in terms of it's disruptive influence. I don't use it, my employees don't use it and everyone I know who has to use it hates it. Perhaps it's time as a community we considered alternatives. The "quality" of OpenOffice isn't something I think people are particularly happy with.

Re:OpenOffice just isn't very good. (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660329)

I'm not sure it's right to call it the "quality" of OpenOffice that people have a problem with. Sure, people dislike qualities of the software, but they don't dislike it for being "poor quality".

There are probably still people who are stuck on Word/Excel because of some particular feature. The rest of people who aren't happy with it, in my limited experience, it's because it doesn't look great and it runs slowly.

The first could be done with an interface facelift. Probably not a huge deal, if there's the will to do it. The problem of slowness, I don't know what the problem really is. If they can fix those two things, I'd say the general level of quality is more than sufficient.

Re:OpenOffice just isn't very good. (2, Insightful)

blazer1024 (72405) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660579)

I hate OpenOffice because of its quality.

I'm not a heavy office user.. I mainly use it to write an occasional report... maybe draw a diagram.

But it's SO damn buggy I can barely use it! For example, I was illustrating a graph algorithm with Draw, and it was working quite nicely until I had to undo several levels.. then the alignment of everything went screwy. Nothing that moved during the undoing was anywhere it should have been. A redo didn't fix it either. (Not that alignment is ever quite right in that thing...)

Writer's a bit better, but I've seen problems with it too... and almost all of my problems involve undos and redos... stuff which I do ALL the time.

I was quite dissapointed, because overall I like OO.

Re:OpenOffice just isn't very good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23660871)

I'm not sure it's right to call it the "quality" of OpenOffice that people have a problem with. Sure, people dislike qualities of the software, but they don't dislike it for being "poor quality".

There are probably still people who are stuck on Word/Excel because of some particular feature. The rest of people who aren't happy with it, in my limited experience, it's because it doesn't look great and it runs slowly.

The first could be done with an interface facelift. Probably not a huge deal, if there's the will to do it. The problem of slowness, I don't know what the problem really is. If they can fix those two things, I'd say the general level of quality is more than sufficient.

The problem and the main reason why OpenOffice is so damn slow is because its written in Java.

Re:OpenOffice just isn't very good. (4, Informative)

caseih (160668) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661265)

Wrong again. OpenOffice is written primarily in C++. It's surprising to see this myth perpetuated. Certain things like Base and various import export plugins require Java, but certainly not OpenOffice itself. Please stop spreading this kind of untruth. Besides being untrue, it's not relevant.

Re:OpenOffice just isn't very good. (3, Insightful)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660393)

OpenOffice sucks. I'm sorry, but it does.

Maybe under ideal conditions - like, oh, the same sort of environment that would make Crysis happy -it's "fine", but it's not an Office killer.

It's a bloated pos that's nothing more than a clone of Office. Not a very good one, at that.

Show me an Office-compatible suite than I can install on a PII / 300MHz (one of the boxes within my reach), that doesn't have performance issues, and I'll show you The Office Killer.

Re:OpenOffice just isn't very good. (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660543)

Anybody try Lotus Symphony yet?

Re:OpenOffice just isn't very good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23660587)

Lotus Symphony is from the OpenOffice 1.x codebase.

I'm hedging my bets on KOffice.

Re:OpenOffice just isn't very good. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23660413)

Impress may be a particularly weak point. I really didn't want to install PowerPoint, particularly for casual use, so I tried Impress twice (v1.0, and then again for 1.1 because everyone was saying how much better it was than 1.0 and how all the bugs got fixed). Both times it immediately struck me as immensely buggy. I don't mean quirks or missing features. I mean bugs like:

      (1) after entering seven slides and deciding to order them, all text disappeared from seven slides. I found it again all on slide 1, off the bottom.
      (2) Arrowheads rendered as squares when I opened a .ppt This just looks stupid, but
      (3) When saved as .ppt, the squared became permanent and were displayed by PowerPoint as well. In this case, the document had to be modified and sent back to customers using PowerPoint. So modifications using Impress were out. It was a read-only tool for this purpose. (But then, MS provides a free read-only tool for PointPoint already.)

So, I gave up and just installed PowerPoint. PowerPoint isn't buggy enough to drive me to Impress, but Impress was buggy enough to drive me to paying for PowerPoint.

(And before the usual crowd chimes in with the "you have the source; why didn't you fix the bug yourself, you leech?" line, it's of course because I've got a job to do, and those slides are just a means to an end. My job isn't to singlehandledly build all the tools I need to do my job; it's to do my job, and even hundreds of dollars for a commercial tool is cheap compared to the time it would have taken even to begin to set up to modify the Impress code.)

Re:OpenOffice just isn't very good. (2, Informative)

TerminalOldFart (1196043) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660589)

I've written integration software for Office, and then ported it to support OpenOffice. The performance of OpenOffice was literally 10x faster. Things were happening so quickly I had to check to make sure that the code did in fact run. While there may be some feature/function support missing in OpenOffice that is present in Office, I find that as a casual user it meets my needs, and the price is right. I seem to recall a Time Magazine letter to the editor (if I'm remembering this right) where a legal secretary wanted to condemn Bill Gates to writing a precisely formatted several hundred page legal document in Word. I have to admit though, I sure miss the old reveal codes capability in Word Perfect.

Re:OpenOffice just isn't very good. (2, Informative)

dave562 (969951) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660709)

I have to admit though, I sure miss the old reveal codes capability in Word Perfect.

I used to use WP 5.1 and I'm not sure what you're talking about. Word will show you all of the underlying formatting for your document. In Word 2003 you can simply Shift+F1.

Re:OpenOffice just isn't very good. (1)

BoChen456 (1099463) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660787)

I've written integration software for Office, and then ported it to support OpenOffice ... I find that as a casual user it meets my needs
I'm sorry, but thats a oxymoron.

Re:OpenOffice just isn't very good. (3, Insightful)

zx-15 (926808) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660749)

Mod me down as troll but OpenOffice Impress was kind of pathetic. Last time I needed to prepare presentation in it, Impress was really bad - it would use about 50% of the CPU when I was editing text, do something really annoying every two minutes, and crash every fifteen minutes. However, when I tried to reproduce that stuff with my old presentation using OpenOffice 2.4, these bugs got all fixed.

Also Impress seem to be the worse part of OpenOffice, Write and Calc are pretty good, at least for the last two years of using them I didn't notice any significant problems.

Re:OpenOffice just isn't very good. (2, Informative)

junner518 (1235322) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661005)

OpenOffice Impress is not powerpoint. It just isnt. It doesnt have some of the cool templating/artsy fartsy stuff powerpoint has. However, it is usable. And for something that costs nothing it does its job. At least the presentations can be saved as ppt files for interoperability, and recently I did a presentation and everything transferred correctly. And I had pictures, animations, sounds, etc.

You could say I'm impressed :p

Re:OpenOffice just isn't very good. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23660919)

True enough. I tried OOo for 3 months while writing a book chapter. It was good at many things, and useless at some of the crucial things. I then spent another week looking for an alternative to Word, because it too is good at many things, and rubbish at some crucial things, like maintaining the styles and formatting I set. None of the other word processing software did the trick. It was either a steep learning curve (Pagemaker, LaTex), rudimentary (AbiWord), or had other issues (WordPerfect). So I started writing in HTML. Much easier. A bit more time required for writing tags, and none of the fancy features that are also such headaches in Word and Writer. No difficulties fomratting pictures or captions. No sudden reverting to the default dictionary/language/template.

I don't expect to go back to OOo until it has developed generations beyond what it is now.I certainly wouldn't start using Google Docs on that basis.

Re:OpenOffice just isn't very good. (2, Informative)

h4nk (1236654) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661025)

I totally agree. I start to moan whenever I see it firing up. Large spreadsheets and docs are particularly painful as I often get the scroll-lag-of-death where the screen is about 5 seconds behind every click. I've given up on dragging the scroll bar completely.

Re:OpenOffice just isn't very good. (4, Interesting)

Thai-Pan (414112) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661075)

I'm glad I'm not the only one.

When I was a student, before getting assimilated by MS (I am now a MS employee), I ran Linux exclusively on my school laptop and used OpenOffice full time. There's no way around saying it, it was a terrible experience. When it wasn't crashing, losing my documents, or in some other way completely failing to function, it was painfully slow, bordering on unusable.

I stuck by it and fiddled with it until one day in a lab I had to do some extensive spreadsheet work. Specifically, getting data out of a tab-delimited file, approx 15,000 rows and ~5ish columns. Every way I could possibly attempt to open, paste, import this file would throw OpenOffice into a seemingly endless loop. I'd wait 20, 30, 40 minutes, but it couldn't handle this 100kB file no matter how I diced it. I made all sorts of excuses as other students were doing the same thing in mere seconds on their Windows PCs or Macs. It was the last straw for me and I gave up, and used the lab machine with MS Office to do the same thing in about 5 seconds. A similar lab experience only a few weeks later, and I ended up dual-booting my laptop "just for Excel", and before I realized it, I liked the whole Office suite better than OpenOffice. I still used Linux primarily at that time, but every time I needed anything remotely Office related, I simply found OpenOffice to be inadequate.

Sorry, I'm really not trying to be a troll about this, and I know many folks will scream bloody murder at me for even posting because of my bias. But before I had such a bias, I tried so very hard to love OpenOffice, and just couldn't. Like Wulfstan said, the quality of OpenOffice is just not very good.

If I were Google, I'd be working hard to carve out this niche market for online services and stay out of desktop apps beyond perhaps plugins for better online integration. OpenOffice doesn't fit with Google's business model, and frankly, I think Google could probably crank out something superior to OpenOffice from scratch anyways.

Alternatives like... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23661181)

Google Docs?

Re:OpenOffice just isn't very good. (2, Interesting)

jadrian (1150317) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661223)

KOffice has lots of potential. Quite light, the code is much cleaner and very modular. It's also going to be multiplatform. I wish a fourth of the effort being put in OpenOffice was being invested in KOffice instead.

Re:OpenOffice just isn't very good. (1)

siwelwerd (869956) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661529)

I was working with a teacher on Sunday night trying to prepare a presentation in OpenOffice (it was running incredibly slowly) and she said "I hate OpenOffice". She isn't a geek, she doesn't particularly like computers, but to her it was a huge disappointment to have to use OpenOffice instead of being able to use PowerPoint.

Really? My non-geek fiancee has used Open Office on my laptop to do presentations for school and hasn't had any complaints, other than the default save format is not ppt (which I think I could change if the hard drive on that laptop didn't die).

OpenOffice.org as a web service? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23660189)

What a ridiculous idea. I mean -- it's a good idea to get a mature office suite online but OpenOffice.org is StarOffice and StarOffice is desktop software that goes back 20 years. It's desktop software -- it can't move to the web easily. OpenOffice.org has VCF files that provide a GUI abstraction layer but it's not like they could write a web version with an interface.

I mean if they just want a conversion system then use docvert [docvert.org] software... but OOo isn't web software.

Are you kidding me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23660205)

If Google provided it's own document editor ala OpenOffice sure, but OpenOffice itself is klunky junk. The only reason open source people tout it is because it's the only game in town -- not because it's a Microsoft Office killer. It clearly isn't yet.

Re: Why Google Should Embrace OpenOffice.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23660207)

OOo needs to be redone from ground up like Netscape 4 needed to be redone years ago. It's slow, ugly and buggy. ODF is a great format. That piece of junk does it serious injustice.

Re: Why Google Should Embrace OpenOffice.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23661067)

That won't happen.

KOffice is cleaner -- there's more hope there.

quality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23660233)

you have a very poor standard for quality if open office meets it.

Re:quality? (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660421)

Hands up all you home users using MS Office... yep, millions of you.

Now hands up all you home users using MS Office that have legally purchased a copy rather than copying it from work or downloading a torrent... anyone?

I rest my case.

Re:quality? (1)

joelwyland (984685) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660795)

I purchased a copy 3 months ago. I'm very happy with it. I decided to purchase it because I think OO.o is a piece of crap (ugly, slow and buggy) and I got tired of pirating software years ago.

Re:quality? (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661049)

Good on you. But you're one of the few who has.

In my experience, a lot of MS Office home users conveniently forget that they're using illegal free copies of MS Office when they make comparisons to Ooo.

Also, I don't see how "ugly" is relevant - an office suite is a tool, designed to get a job done. If it's laid out logically and is easy on the eye, what's the problem? A desktop environment is for me to work in, not to proudly display to everyone else.

Yep, Ooo does not compete with MS Office on the integration or macros front - but please don't accuse Ooo of being buggy when Microsoft can create a 200MB-odd service pack (3) for Office 2003 and neither forget that MS Office invariably "cheats" by loading a big part of itself into memory when you start up (even if you need that memory for something else) in order to start quicker.

I've used both packages extensively and I can't really see a great speed difference - if anything, if you compile Ooo (in Linux) for the CPU platform you're using, it's a bit faster. Yes, it doesn't have all the "bells and whistles" MS Office has but 90% of MS Office users use about 10% of its features - and for that Ooo is more than adequate.

Re:quality? (3, Funny)

secolactico (519805) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661055)

Hands up all you home users using MS Office... yep, millions of you.

Now hands up all you home users using MS Office that have legally purchased a copy rather than copying it from work or downloading a torrent... anyone?

I rest my case.


So... your point is that OO is so crappy, people would rather break the law than use it?

Re:quality? (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661211)

Do you own any music CDs? Can you download any of them on BitTorrent?

I suggest that you probably can which means, by your argument, that your music collection is crap.

Sorry, but I really don't get you people that constantly criticise free software for not giving you what you want - yet you're more than happy to pay good money for an OS or game that you constantly need to update from the Internet in order that it will do the job it says on the packaging.

It's FREE software - so if you like it, it's a great thing; if you don't, then you've not wasted any money. In which case keep that strength of conviction and PAY for commercial software rather than pirating it.

Nope, thats a bad idea (1)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660251)

I like OOo but would rather not see ads integrated into it. Google selling support for it? I don't see that happening - they aren't in the selling support business, they are in the search and targeted advertising business. The idea of integrating OOo and google docs is nice, but selling support isn't a good model for individual users, ads are.

Re:Nope, thats a bad idea (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660363)

Or they could mine your documents for data. We, the slashdot collective, has already agreed that "Do no evil" doesn't hold. However, this might be even too much for the evil parts of Google.

Just a random thought. Now, take that tin foil hat off.

google rulez!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23660325)

google rulez!!

Knockout punch? How about 10% market share first? (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660385)

If Google really wanted to deliver a knockout punch to Microsoft...
A knockout punch? As we all saw in the "anonymous PDF" thing the other day, even Google can't get off Microsoft Office for basic business documents. I think a lot of people would be happy if Google even started to edge up toward 10% market share in the next couple of years.

That's not how it works. (0, Troll)

westbake (1275576) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661463)

M$'s revenue was down 24% last quarter over the last year. The knock out punch is putting something out that convinces the market NOT to buy M$ Office. The prospect of platform independence, lower cost and higher reliability can convince wavering corporate IT managers that an upgrade to M$XML and ten more years of file format lock in is a bad idea.

Don't feel bad for the Soft, it's something they have done again and again to other companies [roughlydrafted.com] , even when the other company's tech was better. The SCO, Get the Facts, and patent attacks are all evidence of the same kind of behavior. They deserve to fail.

uhhhhhhhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23660411)

openoffice wasn't meant to be a web app, and google docs was. this doesn't make any sense.

Not quite (1)

dread (3500) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660447)

There's a whole lot more to corporate networking and considering that a LOT of the guys out there in the IT departments know nothing about other OS:es (imagine getting them to get kerberos working without Active Directory to help them) not to mention a whole load of other pieces of software that people use and need.... Well, let's just say it will take longer than you think.

businesses lose their documents (1)

TenBrothers (995309) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660461)

Google claims that section 11.1 of their ToS doesn't mean they control copyright on all docs created with Google Docs, but then again, I'm not going to take legal advice from the people shoving me the document I'm going to sign. Would you take legal advice from your spouse's divorce lawyer when arguing who owned your house?

Google docs - pdf tags. (1)

bmsleight (710084) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660517)

File -> Download File As -> pdf

Used to give OpenOffice.org as the pdf creator (within pdf tags), it now gives "Prince 6.0 (www.princexml.com)". So IMHO Google docs are moving away from OpenOffice.org

so... (1)

piemcfly (1232770) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660523)

... when will they scrap Impress and just start from scratch on their powerpoint clone?
I mean, all just praises for the OOo and all hypothetical future popularity-dreams aside, they don't stand a chance at competing with MS Office if they don't actually deliver a solid software package.

I really like Writer, but Impress is a nightmare. The controls don't function well, the interface is messy and unintuitive, the design functionality is rubbish, it's conversion to .ppt doesn't work properly under powerpoint 80% of the time, etc.

Quality? Obviously none of you has ever... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23660641)

tried to print labels or envelopes in OpenOffice. That is a common administrative function in most offices, yet OpenOffice sucks royally at this simple task compared to MS Office.

Re:Quality? Obviously none of you has ever... (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661465)

Well, then I really would welcome your advice in Office 2003.

Because whenever I try to print labels (especially at Christmas) in MS Office 2003 on standard Avery label sheets using the included (or officially downloaded) label template, it never prints a sheet of labels (say on a 2x8 sheet of 16 labels) as they are on the screen. The screen shows all the addresses nicely centralised on each label but you waste half the packet adjusting the printer sp that they're not printed over the edge of labels - even then it's hit or miss on any of the three printers in our house.

I spend hours every year messing about with page setups, margins and printer setups and I have never once got it to work properly without using the "hit or miss" method of inserting a few extra lines between labels.

I'm not an openoffice fan (1)

hairykrishna (740240) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660693)

It annoys the hell out of me trying to use it as a 'real' office suite. The excel and powerpoint clones just aren't up to the task. It's ok for quick, casual tasks but so is Google docs. I don't see the advantage for google in adopting it.

core business (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660729)

What a business should be doing is continuously reinvigorating it's core business to meet future needs. Google is the business of selling ads. It could get into the business of selling support, but then it is going to have a problem like MS, where it will do many things, few very well, and the things it does do well will get done less well. Therefore, any discussion about google and openoffice.org has to address how such work will help google sell ads.

The article mentioned IBM. IBM is in the business of selling solutions to businesses. Clearly selling support falls within that definition. They are supporting a client they developed because they support total solutions, not random mix and match. IBM was able to climb back up and deliver a blow to MS in this area because MS was busy building monopolies, not supporting customers.

Google likely has little to worry about from MS. Google is about selling ads, and that is it. It is like TV. Provide a simple to understand product, sometimes useful like the news, sometimes fun, and people will watch the ads. It works. MS, OTOH, is only interested in monopoly positions. They want to take over the living room. They want to take over the search space. They want to take over the web. Nothing is said of providing customer with solutions, or competing within a space. So they go the search route by figuring out how to leverage the desktop monopoly to force people to use thier search engine, rather than building a search engine people want to use, never realizing that search is not the issue, but ads are, and maybe there are other ways to drive ads, other than search, like, i don't know, office apps. But who was there first in office apps on the web? Google. Because google gets it, and MS does not.

Re:core business (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660981)

The point of diversifying is that one business can dip, without hurting the company on the whole. That is part of the reason Microsoft won't disappear any time soon, even if a major product flops.

Google is primarily an advertising company, but they have all kinds of differnt products and services.

The Problem with OpenOffice (2, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660925)

Get your -1 Troll points ready, but unfortunately this is the truth. Sun has a stranglehold on OOo, which often stops developers from contributing code, or playing nice. Because of that, there are a variety of OOo forks out there. China's RedOffice has an Office 2007 ribbon-type sidebar that looks very promising. Symphony's UI is a huge step up over OOo. Go-oo.org and OxygenOffice provide many often requested features, templates, fonts, clip-art, a better solver, etc. NeoOffice seems to be the only one really focusing on solid Mac integration.

All these improvements could be contributed upstream, but because of Sun's tight gripped control, they won't be. Sun isn't just going to hhand it over to Google, and I doubt Google is just going to sell Sun's product, unless Google felt like they had a strong-enough influence in the product's development.

I agree that Google Docs is poor in its execution, but I doubt that OOo is the way to go for them. I see a product like Zimbra, that was developed with the web in mind, not an app forced into a browser, and that is where the future lies.

When Google has an office suite that was designed with a web interface in mind, that works as fast as Zimbra, please let me know.

OpenOffice as a web service (1)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661275)

I'm not affiliated with these guys:
http://www.ulteo.com/ [ulteo.com]

You have 1GB of storage with the free account and can use OO.org as a webservice. They also have a "Virtual Desktop" which is a stripped-down KDE environment with OO in Windows thanks to CoLinux.

I tried it out and found the Virtual Desktop fairly impressive- the sort of thing that Joe Schmoe can use well; but unfortunately adding programs to it is a hassle which makes it unsuitable for my (admittedly fairly specific) needs. Their "online desktop" has other apps besides just OO.org- I think it's just the exact same set of applications that are available in the Virtual Desktop.
Some of you may be interested in trying it out.

I'd rather they developed a word processor... (4, Interesting)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661325)

I'd rather they (or anyone else) would develop a word processor that doesn't make me want to cut my hands off and write raw HTML by whistling morse code into a telephone because it would suck less.

I am SO tired of every word processor out there, including the one by the white kool aid clan, mimicking the worst drawbacks of word because it makes it a bit easier to roundtrip documents to and from Word. I'd rather have the native format something like Docbook, but I'll take HTML if that's the only way to get real nested document structures and markup as THE native format.

hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23661327)

Haha, this is so naive, its like one of batmans rants!

Ugh. no. (1)

pdusen (1146399) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661495)

Personally I'd rather Google developed a whole new desktop office suite... preferable one that wasn't a total hog.

If selling support makes money... (1)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661547)

...isn't that an implicit admission that the product you are supporting is buggy, flawed, and/or has insufficient documentation?

No Ads in My Office Docs (0, Redundant)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661587)

No ads in my Office docs, please. And if they're all going to be stored at Google, I'd rather they're stored encrypted with a password I enter into the page, decrypted on my machine inside the local page's Javascript, rather than encrypted and searchable at Google. I don't want to trust some secret code at their servers. But the local clientside Javascript would be open source, so experts can inspect it for snooping. Maybe just let me store selected metadata, like tags, for searching at the Google servers.

Now that would kill Microsoft. Not just the accessibility, but the trustworthiness. Microsoft is totally lost on that valuable feature.
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