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OpenOffice Five Times As Popular As Google Docs

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the still-small-potatoes dept.

Google 207

CWmike writes "Confirming recent comments by Microsoft's Steve Ballmer, an independent report released Friday found that OpenOffice.org's free office suite is five times more popular than Google Docs. This was according to a survey of 2,400 adult Internet users conducted between May and November. Microsoft's share was 10 times that of OpenOffice.org. Microsoft hopes to cement that lead with its upcoming Office Web, as well as online versions of its Exchange and SharePoint products to be announced on Monday. OpenOffice.org may provide some resistance, however. The latest version, OpenOffice.org 3.0, had a strong first week in October, with more than 3 million downloads. After one month, OpenOffice.org 3.0 had been downloaded 10 million times." And reader Peter Toi informs us of the open source release of yet another office suite, Softmaker Office. Its claimed advantages are its compactness and speed (making it suitable for netbooks), its excellent MS Office filters, and the fact that it can be installed to USB flash drives.

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Just in time (3, Funny)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773577)

Just what I need after the news that OOo may get ads.
As soon as it has full ODF support.

Re:Just in time (2, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773779)

I get a good chuckle out of the folks who say OO is to slow as if they're using it to build an embedded real-time OS.

"Oh noes! it takes 20 seconds to boot!" // as if those nerds have anything better to do with their precious time

Re:Just in time (4, Interesting)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773927)

"Oh noes! it takes 20 seconds to boot!" // as if those nerds have anything better to do with their precious time

The problem is not the nerd's time, but the perception of the MS users to whom said nerds show the suite. Startup time for OpenOffice programs directly conflicts with the assertion that wins OSS converts, that OSS software will better utilize existing hardware.

Re:Just in time (0)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773987)

If they're too impatient to wait for a 20-second boot then let them wait themselves into oblivion.

Besides, it's not like Microsoft Office runs fast because it runs on Microsoft Windows or anything!

Re:Just in time (4, Informative)

Smauler (915644) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774137)

You're part of the problem. Usability is key, and if an application takes 20 seconds to start, people will complain. The IT department can railroad it in, but that will lead to resentment, especially if they have attitudes like yours. People who are using office applications are not necessarily nerds, you know.

Anyway, OO is nowhere near as bad as you a painting it. It does not take anywhere near 20 seconds.... I don't know where you got that from.

Re:Just in time (1, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774287)

People who are using office applications are not necessarily nerds, you know.

Yeah, they just have the patience of a chopping block because their conceived productivity is tied to the start time of MS Office which will or will not increase actual productivity.

So what if OO takes 20 or even 30 seconds to start(much less on my computer)! Is that really SO BAD given the boot time of Vista? Shit, Vista loads so slowly that I wouldn't be surprised that Microsoft included an install of Office with every Vista and ran a global hasOffice==true check everytime the user booted so the user wouldn't know any better!

How slow? (4, Interesting)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774365)

The boot time may not be 20 seconds on our machines, but the guy who wrote it might be running old hardware or a bloated box.

Anyhow, here is a real world example of the perception problem from a small office I support with a custom app.

I got OpenOffice accepted at an office with old Dell p4s - don't recall the speed of the processors - and I'm a software guy anyhow, so I didn't make much point of checking before installing OpenOffice on the machines. I do recall that there was plenty of ram for XP machines under their use scenario.

The customer had upgraded to Office 2007, but was having massive problems including unexplained resource locks that would take down machines and lose all unsaved data (this was a number of patches ago, so the MS product may have improved stability since this happened).

Open Office worked fine for everything they needed, but the boot time was at least three times that of the MS offering on those specific machines. Luckily, the controller wanted stability first - but her employees still grouse about her being a cheapskate. Even after using OO for a while they think of it as second tier and the only specific complaint they can back this attitude up with is that OO is slow.

I know their usage pattern and the only slow thing is the suite's boot time, and only then when compared to the older version of Office they were all used to using. So transitioning the customer to OpenOffice was actually harmful to the suite's reputation among the rank and file, and this issue comes up when the controller has to give out bad reviews to employees. Apparently some have cited having to use shitty software as a reason they cannot perform their duties well.

Now any manager in their right mind would think that those employees need to get new jobs, but MS penetration of the market has made it difficult to find rank and file that view OSS as anything other than a 'cheap' alternative, and small companies are not usually willing to part with long time employees over software issues.

Re:Just in time (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774395)

Anyway, OO is nowhere near as bad as you a painting it. It does not take anywhere near 20 seconds.... I don't know where you got that from.

On my machine, it takes 20 seconds *exactly*. You don't see the splash screen until seven seconds have passed.

Re:Just in time (4, Informative)

influenza (138942) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774667)

I just tested it on my system (a core 2 duo laptop running Ubuntu 8.04). OpenOffice 2.4 loads up in 12 seconds and the splash screen appeared after 4 seconds. I closed it and ran it again, the second time it loaded in 2 seconds.

OpenOffice is also very fast for me at least at opening new files when it's already running. If I'm doing a lot of office suite work (like, all day at a job for example) how likely is it that I'll be closing OpenOffice completely and relaunching it every time I need it?

Honesty, I think the big problems people have with adopting free software are brand loyalty and natural resistance to change. Microsoft is out there constantly delivering messages to people that their software is empowering and helpful. Windows and Office are easily two of the most recognizable brands amongst people that use computers. It's easy to see how people will dislike an alternative that they had never heard of until recently. Especially if they equate cost with value as many do. Office is several hundreds of dollars, so OpenOffice must seem terrible if it's just given away.

Re:Just in time (4, Interesting)

davolfman (1245316) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774189)

I work from explorer rather than from OpenOffice. A sever delay when I double click something is a royal pain. This is the same reason Adobe Reader sucks.

Re:Just in time (4, Informative)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774229)

And precisely why I ditched Acrobat Reader for FoxitPDF which is small and fast.

OpenOffice is a great alternative to Microsoft Office if you want open formats. OpenOffice is also fairly feature-rich. However the app does take considerably longer to start (cold or hot) than MS Office on the same hardware.

That complaint is not only valid, but one share by many OOo devs who complain themselves at the performance. OOo's codebase is mammoth (comparable to the entire KDE codebase, including Koffice) and ancient. It is also very monolithic, as the suite exists as one huge app. Throw in the occasional Java feature that forces users to wait for Java to fire up, and they're just not going to be happy with performance.

I believe that OOo provides all the features that 95%+ of the users will want. Really I'd like to see Sun/Novell/Whomever to focus on stripping legacy code, making OOo more modular (don't load every aspect of the program unless it is needed at boot, move some features/aspects into libraries that can be loaded later if needed) and improve the interface.

I don't believe copying the MS Office 2007 ribbon is the way to go, but a more intuitive, clear and attractive interface would go a long way towards winning over more users.

Derivative works like Red Office and Symphony have nicer UIs. How come OOo's UI has remained so static over the years?

Re:Just in time (2, Interesting)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774741)

I don't get this. My co-worker recently got MS Office 2007 and it takes almost a minute to start up. 2003 was fast. She doesn't have OO.o, so I can't compare on the same machine, but 2007 seems to take forever.

Re:Just in time (3, Informative)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774247)

One of the reasons MSOffice loads so quickly is that it adds a "quick launch" app to Windows Startup. Part of the code loads every time you boot (adding to boot time and sucking up system resources) so that Office can load quicker. Nice, if you're constantly using Office, opening, editing, saving and closing. Not so nice if you only use it once or twice a week, and you're wondering why your computer takes so long to boot. Of course, the installer doesn't mention it's doing this unless you do a custom install and decide not to load that module. Take out Quick Load, and I'll bet the load time for Office is just about the same as for OpenOffice.

Re:Just in time (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774493)

See above. [slashdot.org]

First Principles.

Re:Just in time (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774499)

One of the reasons MSOffice loads so quickly is that it adds a "quick launch" app to Windows Startup. Part of the code loads every time you boot (adding to boot time and sucking up system resources) so that Office can load quicker.

Despite that fact that I use the MS Office applications a lot, I delete the shortcut to the quick load app because all it seems to do is slow down boot time without speeding up the loading of any Office apps.

Of course, since most of the apps load in less than 2 seconds on my moderately modern hardware (2.8GHz dual core, 3GB RAM), I'm not sure how you could speed it up.

Re:Just in time (4, Interesting)

skaet (841938) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774501)

Take out Quick Load, and I'll bet the load time for Office is just about the same as for OpenOffice.

It doesn't. I've always disabled programs from pre-loading at bootup (for ongoing performance issues, not just initial boot times) and Word 2007 opens a fresh document in 3 seconds (no previously opened documents or Office apps). After closing Word and re-opening, it loads a fresh document in 1 second.

Comparing this to OOo 3 and it takes 7 seconds for initial launch and 4 seconds for subsequent launches. To me, this is pretty conclusive that Quick Load isn't the reason MS Office loads faster but probably speaks for the MS Office team doing a better job writing optimised, modular code. These test results are of course subjective depending on the hardware you have but it's the kind of thing people notice when trying to convert them away from MS Office.

It's been said before but OO's problem is the monolithic and legacy nature of the code causing it to bloat. I imagine if OO developers completely rewrote the code, stripped out all the shit and didn't use Java then they could compete with MS Office for performance. Maybe, just maybe...

Re:Office faster even in wine (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25774547)

That still doesn't explain how MS Office under wine/crossover is faster than openoffice, even though it has to load not only itself but the win32 libraries as well. There is no quick launch when using wine either, so that doesn't explain it.

Re:Just in time (1)

rubah (1197475) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774773)

Well, Let OO.O include the same [unchecked by default?]

I remember this came up with the 'omg firefox takes so long to load'.

Re:Just in time (1, Interesting)

Dwedit (232252) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773905)

If it gets ads, someone will fork it to remove them.

Re:Just in time (4, Informative)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774239)

I recommend to everyone to use Novell's fork/not-fork located at go-oo.org as it is. It uses less memory, provides more features, runs faster, etc. Yes, Novell signed a deal with the devil, but they're putting out a good product for free, so using it isn't supporting Novell. It is just using the superior product.

Is Schwartz serious? (1)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774147)

From Jonathan Schwartz's Blog [sun.com] :

"An auction's afoot (no pun intended) to see who we'll be partnering with us to integrate their businesses and brands into our binary product distribution - the possibilities are limitless: people tend to print those documents, fax them, copy them, project them (and I know this annoys my friends in the free software community, but branding allows us to invest more in OO.o community and features, from which everyone benefits)."

Does this mean Sun intends to place ads on the documents I "fax ... copy ... [and] project"? Ads in my documents?

If so, it's goodbye OpenOffice.org!

Re:Is Schwartz serious? (2, Insightful)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774427)

It really will be. Nothing causes a flock away from a product than ads. It's the same as raising a price. The more you raise, the less people purchase, the more you may end up losing. The price in this case are the ads.

not surprised (4, Insightful)

siddesu (698447) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773585)

having used all three, i find the oo (especially the last version) to have the features, availability and deployment options i need and a price i don't disagree with.

Softmaker Office (4, Informative)

dnwq (910646) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773593)

Softmaker Office looks like a freeasinbeer release of the 2006 version to promote sales of the 2008 version. There's no link to sources on the site, anyway.

Re:Softmaker Office (2, Informative)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773597)

Also, it's Windows-only.

Re:Softmaker Office (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25773679)

What do you mean?

http://www.softmaker.com/english/ofl_en.htm

Re:Softmaker Office (4, Informative)

spandex_panda (1168381) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773689)

its not windows only, there are .debs and .rpm and tar archive. But the full version is $80 USD. I haven't used softmaker but I know that abiword and gnumeric are lightweight, full featured and free as in speach so why this limited free software?

Re:Softmaker Office (2, Informative)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773983)

Try loading a 100 page document under abiword. AFAIK, abiword starts becoming pretty unresponsive after ~20 pages. While 100 page documents might not be commonly used, it's pretty ridiculous for a word processor to choke. That's the main reason I tend to avoid abiword. So, any other suggestions on lightweight, full-featured word processing free software?

Re:Softmaker Office (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774045)

I hear KOffice is coming along nicely.

KOffice (2, Informative)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774251)

I'm a big fan of KDE and their products, but KOffice is a very different beast than MS Office and OOo. To some that is a very good thing, but it isn't going to replace OOo for me, despite being lean and mean. I'm not entirely sure it is meant to compete in the same arena.

However, run it for yourself and make your own determinations. Pull the packages in your distro if you're on Linux, or grab them here on Windows.

http://techbase.kde.org/Projects/KDE_on_Windows/Installation [kde.org]

There should be native packages for Mac and OpenSolaris as well.

Re:Softmaker Office (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25774071)

I tried Abiword. Nothing printed properly on it.

I use OO at home, and at school. It's perfect for me. It works without fuss.

Re:Softmaker Office (2, Informative)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774085)

Okay, I should have been more specific--the free-as-in-beer version is Windows only.

Re:Softmaker Office (3, Interesting)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774145)

also, the SoftMaker feature comparison (MS Excel 2003, PlanMaker 2008, and Calc from OO.o 2) page is rather deceptive. their screen shots seem to suggest that PlanMaker and Excel support AutoShapes whereas Calc does not, which is patently false. there are also intentionally manufactured discrepancies between the documents displayed in Calc versus those displayed in PlanMaker/Excel--such as using different gradient colors, font sizes, chart & graph styles, etc. to make Calc appear to render documents differently from PlanMaker/Excel.

i think this kind of intentionally deceptive marketing says a lot about the developers. i wouldn't be surprised if this "Peter Troi" mentioned in the Summary is an astroturfer working for SoftMaker, or that he intentionally lied about its being open source to mislead the editors and get free publicity for their proprietary office suite.

Re:Softmaker Office (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25773711)

"the fact that it can be installed to USB flash drives."

That's not unique to this suite because there's OpenOffice.org portable [portableapps.com] .

Yup, kdawson screwed up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25773795)

The original submission [slashdot.org] noted that it was "free," but used it to mean "gratis." The submission is black & tagged binspam.

Re:Softmaker Office (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25773921)

softmaker....what an absolutely awful name

Re:Softmaker Office (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25773935)

I like how they changed the B/I/U buttons in the foreground screenshot to read F/K/U.

Say what you want about Apple (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25773609)

But nothing beats Keynote.

Re:Say what you want about Apple (0, Flamebait)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773631)

Sounds like an excellent way to distribute documents others can't/won't read.

Re:Say what you want about Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25773757)

Just because it's in an OpenOffice format doesn't mean others can read/edit it either.

Send an OpenOffice document to someone on dial-up. He'll tell you where you can put your 500MB+ download.

Re:Say what you want about Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25773889)

Just because it's in an OpenOffice format doesn't mean others can read/edit it either.

Send an OpenOffice document to someone on dial-up. He'll tell you where you can put your 500MB+ download.

And you can tell him where to put his dial up in the year 2008.

Re:Say what you want about Apple (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773891)

Yep, the same place you can put the Word document.

of course, you could just tell your dial up hold out friend/coworker to either deal with it or join us in the current century of broadband access.

Re:Say what you want about Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25773909)

500MB? Really? [sourceforge.net]

Re:Say what you want about Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25773879)

Say what you want about Apple/Microsoft/Sun/whatever, but nothing beats Beamer [sourceforge.net] (plus KeyJnote [debian.org] if you are talking to idiots impressed by bling).

Even worse! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25773613)

Google docs was found to be almost a hundred times less popular than World of Warcraft.

Whatever will Google do to escape from this calamity?

Re:Even worse! (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773763)

World of Goo [worldofgoo.com] gle, of course!

Re:Even worse! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25773815)

And World of Warcraft is about 100 times less popular than chess.

Re:Even worse! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25773943)

And chess is about 1048576 times less popular than sex.

Re:Even worse! (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773949)

What does chess [gpnotebook.co.uk] have to do with any of this?

Re:Even worse! (1)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773847)

Introduce Elvish as a language option?

OOO Works on USB too (4, Informative)

Gonoff (88518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773615)

Perhaps they haven't hear of http://portableapps.com/ [portableapps.com]

Or, more likely, they have but are just pretending...

openoffice base blows chunks (1)

m1ndrape (971736) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773643)

openoffice base crashes on the mac (not sure about other platforms) so much leaves me with little faith in the rest of it.

Re:openoffice base blows chunks (0, Troll)

Zencyde (850968) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773843)

Open Office is well known to have poor support for OS X. I'd like to blame the Cocoa API... so would the OOo team.

Re:openoffice base blows chunks (1)

AceofSpades19 (1107875) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773965)

I think they changed that in Oo.o 3

Re:openoffice base blows chunks (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774265)

I thought OOo 3 supported Cocoa natively and no longer requires X11 to be installed for Mac users.

There is always NeoOffice as well. It is an OOo fork aimed at Mac OS X.

http://www.neooffice.org/neojava/en/index.php [neooffice.org]

Re:openoffice base blows chunks (1)

theurge14 (820596) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774453)

What they should be blaming is themselves, because unlike Linux, Mac users have a native version of Microsoft Office available to them. They also have the choice of iWork '08 if they so desire. Both choices are attractive to Mac users and seemingly have made the demand for a better OOo on Mac not as dire as it would be on Linux.

Re:openoffice base blows chunks (1)

Zencyde (850968) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774517)

You're acting as if OS X has a huge market share. It's not like porting an entire office suite to a new API is an easy thing. Not to mention the fact that many of the tools for Linux work on Windows as well. The way I see it, they were aiming for the largest audience while making interoperability a secondary priority. Cocoa can be difficult to port to, so it would make sense that there were some difficulties.

Re:openoffice base blows chunks (1)

theurge14 (820596) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774573)

It has a larger market share than Linux.

Did they ask the right question? (-1, Flamebait)

blair1q (305137) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773669)

If they asked the question as "How much time do you spend using the following tools: a) OpenOffice.org, b) Google Docs, c) Microsoft Office, d) Pencil and Paper?"

Then the answer is not that OO.o is more popular than GD, but that it takes 5 times as long to do the same job in OO.o, so people spend more time in it.

In fact, I'm waiting for a CPU upgrade so OO.o can finish opening a Word document I clicked on yesterday...

Re:Did they ask the right question? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25773707)

Wow, you must have *old* hardware.

Like 1998 era stuff.

Ram's cheap grandpa, upgrade!

Re:Did they ask the right question? (0, Flamebait)

blair1q (305137) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773755)

3.06 GHz quad-core Yorkfield.
4 GB of 1333-MHz DDR-3 DRAM.
You don't want to hear about my main-disk RAID-0 array.

OO.o is a pig. Even if the quick-start daemon is running, it takes for-fucking-ever to open the first document, and all other operations in it feel clunky.

Open-sourcers need to pay some attention to performance issues or they'll be marginalized by low-cost/free closed software.

Re:Did they ask the right question? (1)

Zencyde (850968) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773855)

I honestly have no idea what you're talking about. On both Linux and Windows I haven't had any problem with excessive load times from OOo. I've got a 2.4 Ghz P4 with Hyperthreading enabled and 2 gigabytes of RAM. Yeah.. Netburst, remember that? I don't have ANY trouble opening OOo. It takes about 20-30 seconds to get it to launch the first time in a session for me.

Re:Did they ask the right question? (2, Informative)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773863)

Something is wrong with your setup, OO.o is snappy and responsive, even on my netbook.

Re:Did they ask the right question? (2, Interesting)

AceofSpades19 (1107875) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773955)

Ya really, on my laptop which has a modest 1.8 ghz celeron M and 2 gb of ram, OO.o takes at most 10 seconds to start but it usually takes around 5 seconds

Re:Did they ask the right question? (2, Interesting)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774115)

I run openoffice on my eee 900. It opens in about 10 seconds and never stutters. Sounds like someone needs to clean their computer out.

Re:Did they ask the right question? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25774179)

Sounds like someone needs to clean their computer out.

Its a trick from MSDOS/Win3 days. They make OO run slower so MS Office seems faster.

Re:Did they ask the right question? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25773709)

Then the answer is not that OO.o is more popular than GD, but that it takes 5 times as long to do the same job in OO.o, so people spend more time in it.

You'll probably get modded to Hell for dissing a major open source app but ... yeah, Open Office has some performance issues.

Google Docs really isn't ready. (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773705)

It has most of the features of Microsoft Works 97. With less fonts. The UI is clunky and slow. Granted it is great for being web based however compared to Office or Open Office it is way behind. Also I think people like their documents to be on there system and be able to disconnect from the internet all together sometimes just so they get their work done without the internet whispering in your ear "browse me"

Re:Google Docs really isn't ready. (1)

akarnid (591191) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773809)

The big problem with Docs is that it isn't really secure. If it's gonna be cloud computing all the way, then I as a user have to be sure that my docs aren't gonna be intercepted by a MITM or a cross-site scripting flaw. I use the Writely part of it at work as a quick repository for info I need quickly, but the company firewall recently blocked it and I when I asked why I was given links to posts from security researchers exposing big time cross site scripting flaws with it that made me rethink how I use it. Other than that, OO all the way for me!

Re:Google Docs really isn't ready. (2, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773923)

God forbid the Russians get your muffin recipe.

Re:Google Docs really isn't ready. (1)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774027)

Giving aid or comfort to the enemy is treason, and by God if those muffins aren't comforting!

Re:Google Docs really isn't ready. (2, Funny)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774065)

My muffins are moist, fluffy, and ridiculously good. I'd encrypt them if I could.

Re:Google Docs really isn't ready. (4, Informative)

Potor (658520) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773837)

That's all true, plus no footnotes. Absolute deal-breaker.

I used it for a while when I was writing short texts that I wanted to access anywhere, but I quickly discovered that this offered no more advantages than writing these texts in emails I sent to myself. The formatting and other capabilities of GDocs are just that bad.

I also tried using it collaboratively, but I found that the changes I made while simultaneously working on a doc with a colleague were not instant enough to be of any synchronic use - we spent a lot of time discussing (on skype) what changes we did or would make. So again, not much better than asynchronous email.

Re:Google Docs really isn't ready. (4, Interesting)

cmacb (547347) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774057)

That's all true, plus no footnotes. Absolute deal-breaker.

It's had footnotes for a few weeks.

I had never expected Google Docs to match Office in features. Feature bloat is after all one of the thing I was trying to escape.

I load e-mail attachments that are in doc format directly into Google Docs and in most cases they come out looking just fine.

For those that don't I use Open Office, at least long enough to convert it to a simple readable form.

For those that don't open in Open Office I contact the sender and explain to them how they are idiots for using special fonts that most people don't have, setting margins and table widths outside of page boundaries and using tables for bizarre page placements, often leaving huge numbers of empty cells from hours of tinkering, or worst of all, leaving change tracking on so that I see bits and pieces of every document they have ever created in what should be a one page 20K company newsletter.

Nevertheless it will be interesting to see the competition that this initiates.

Microsoft faces a rock and a hard place. If they make the online version too feature rich and also free, they will hurt their own sales. If they don't, Google will continue to grow its user base (and my guess is that Google is content for that base to grow slowly for now).

Beyond feature competition I think the game is who can most cost effectively do this with a combination of efficient server techniques, advertising, data center placement, etc. It's hard to imagine Microsoft winning such a competition and even if they win they will have significantly reduced their profit margin from what it is now.

Re:Google Docs really isn't ready. (2, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774079)

You do realize that feature bloat isn't that much of an issue for a SaaS solution. As it is not your resources that you are filling up. In theory you have the Web Office Suit take a terabyte of code and it wouldn't effect you. As long as they made the UI clean enough to handle it.

Re:Google Docs really isn't ready. (1)

mixmatch (957776) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774587)

Most of the new interactive web stuff is done with client-side javascript or, more rarely, java. In these cases, feature bloat can definitely affect you.

Re:Google Docs really isn't ready. (1)

cmacb (547347) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774681)

As long as they made the UI clean enough to handle it.

Right.

"Independent" company does paid research for MS (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25773715)

The CEO of ClickStream, the independent company that did the research, used to do the exact same market research WHILE HE WAS AT MICROSOFT. Though they claim Microsoft didn't pay for this research study, they do say that Microsoft is a client for other studies...I'd hardly call this independent.

http://www.clickstreamtech.com/about.html

Enough compairson of OOo and Google Docs (2, Insightful)

onegear (802747) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773825)

How many articles like this are we going to read over the next couple of weeks? Seriously! With OOo and Google Docs, they're comparing apples to oranges. They're both very good software, just done a different way. If what I read is true, and OOo is going to start sticking ads in the app, then lots of people will be moving to something else for sure.

No surprise here (3, Insightful)

TFGeditor (737839) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773941)

Most people are accustomed to internet outages, whether the fault of their ISP, broken backbone, or individual sites. So, they are naturally reticent to use web-based utilities in favor of applications hosted on their local machine.

Until the 'net is bulletproof, on-line apps will never usurp local utilites and apps for critical applications--or even "casual" applications.

Anyone who thinks Web based Office suits are it (2, Interesting)

tyrione (134248) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773977)

... are truly delusional. This notion we all want to put our corporate documents, small business docs and more on Google's dime shows a glaring weakness in Google's strategy.

With Web Services available for companies to easily develop their own Corporate presences, it makes more sense to have WebDAV services for clients on your own sites, virtually deployed around the nation in various data centers to then route to the closest path possible. Let's not forget that 90% of the Industry doesn't need the "global reach" of Google since most of their clients are local.

OpenOffice Five Times As Popular As Google Docs (1)

DanLew (1345803) | more than 5 years ago | (#25773991)

This is not a surprise, google can not claim to be the best at everything.

Re:OpenOffice Five Times As Popular As Google Docs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25774191)

You're right. It usually takes Google a couple of years to be the best at anything.

What a bizarre conclusion... (5, Insightful)

Junta (36770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774003)

So first off, current incarnations of MS Office are considered the clear market leader. That's a fair observation. A traditionally installed local application manipulating files in a traditional way is popular.

OpenOffice.org is making inroads as a free alternative. More people are starting to find it a viable alternative for many circumstances, and opt not to explicitly buy MS Office. It behaves fundamentally the same way, and does basically the same stuff. Incidentally, I'm happy as it is a cross-platform application, but I think a greater portion of the userbase doesn't think about the source code or the cross-platform, they just didn't have to give money for it.

Then Google docs comes along. In terms of a strong brand to back the concept, it doesn't get much better than the word 'Google'. They find that despite the strong name and potential ability to fulfill at least the basic needs, people aren't excited about using it. The reason seems self-evident, people are more comfortable with traditional software models for this task. They feel they 'own' the software and have the most control over it. They may or may not back up to online storage, but they want to use a local application to edit it.

MS feels this means issuing their own webapp therefore would cement their lead. I think Google's failure indicates that such an offering is moot. People don't want subscription based software if non-subscription software can do the same thing or better. I've seen people throw out how it comes out cheaper in the long haul than buying the software every time, but it ignores the obvious, that people don't buy every iteration. I know people still using their copies of Office97 because they never had a reason to move. MS and many other companies hate this, but it is a simple fact.

Re:What a bizarre conclusion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25774101)

The web-based MS office is to fill the same role as what Google docs is mainly useful for - sharing a document with other users and editing it collaboratively. Sort of a real-time, WYSIWYG wiki. The reason it will probably be more successful than Google Docs is because it will work *with* the already good desktop app and complement it. Google has nothing of that sort, they are banking on solely browser-based apps.

Not just viable...actually superior (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774527)

More people are starting to find it a viable alternative for many circumstances, and opt not to explicitly buy MS Office.

While OO might not have all the bells an whistles of MSOffice some of the features are vastly superior such as equation editing. OO has a plugin, OOLatex, which lets you use LaTeX syntax to enter and edit equations. This is far, far superior to the MSOffice equation editor for those of us with complex equations to present.

Even the built in math editor lets you enter equations in text form, although the syntax is irritatingly not LaTeX. I know this is a rather specialized application but, at least in this one regard, OO far outshines MSOffice or Keynote and is why I use it.

Re:Not just viable...actually superior (1)

spinkham (56603) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774759)

Compared to MS office, OO Writer is mostly as good as Word, and for me OO Calc is better then Excel, but Impress and Base still suck relative to their MS Office counterparts.

Impress is far too slow in rendering, to the point that I refuse to use it for any new presentations.
Instead I've found that LaTex Beamer and keyjnote do everything I want faster and easier.

fris!t stop (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25774021)

[samag.com] in the The goodwIll which don't use thE Despite the

In other news (1)

pcolaman (1208838) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774087)

Google announces ad prices for OpenOffice.org have doubled, since it is twice as good.

Three million downloads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25774109)

Think of the money they're making!

its? (2, Funny)

jhp64 (813449) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774131)

I don't understand the summary: it keeps using this word "its", which I don't think I've ever seen on Slashdot before, or really anywhere on the internet. The poster must have meant "it's"...

Re:its? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25774163)

And reader Peter Toi informs us of the open source release of yet another office suite, Softmaker Office. Its claimed advantages are its compactness and speed (making it suitable for netbooks), its excellent MS Office filters, and the fact that it can be installed to USB flash drives.

There is not a single misuse of the word "its" there. Are you trying to be funny?

Re:its? (1)

jshackney (99735) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774731)

I'd guess not. Poor grammar, word misuse, and just plain old fashioned inability to communicate in writing is infiltrating the minds of our young.

tried it (3, Informative)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774173)

I tried it. They have versions for Windows and Linux, apparently not for Mac. It's not open source. They have a trial version that you can download for free and use for 30 days. The trial version is crippled: can't save to any other format besides their own proprietary .tmd format. They also offer a non-crippled 2006 Windows version for free -- but not the 2008 version, and not for Linux. The download page wants your name, country, and email address, and tells you that you'll automatically be subscribed to their email newsletter. It doesn't say that you can opt out of the newsletter. However, down below the form where they ask for this information, it says, in microscopic type, "Leave empty if you do not wish to register." It works if you simply click through to the download without filling anything in. They have the Linux download packaged with installers in rpm, deb, and shell flavors. I downloaded the deb version, but it wouldn't install on my machine, because my machine is x64. I copied the deb to an x86 box, and it installed fine. It made menu entries for itself in the Gnome Applications/Office menu. The first time you run it, it wants to set up a documents folder for you, which defaults to ~/SoftMaker. (I find this kind of thing annoying, and believe that it discourages people from developing good habits for organizing their files.)

I'm a little bit baffled right now as to why anyone would choose it. They claim "compactness" as an advantage, but the download is 80 MB, which doesn't seem very compact to me. (The 2006 Windows version is smaller.) Their web site says, "The Microsoft Word-compatible word processor that is so easy to use that you will wonder why you bothered with Microsoft Word or OpenOffice.org for so long," and then lists some bullet points. One is "Fast, powerful, reliable." Actually it didn't really seem any faster than OOo. On the machine I tried it on, the startup time was basically the same as OOo. "Reads and writes your Word documents seamlessly (Microsoft Word .doc 6.0 to 2007)" AFAICT the only advantage over OOo would be if it can read OOXML. (Although OOo can't write OOXML, I can't see why anyone would care; if you save in an older Word format and give the file to Word 2007 users, they'll still be able to read it.) The price is $80 US. Although that may be a lot less than full retail price for Word, it's a heck of a lot more than OOo. And of course I'd have to live with all the usual hassles of proprietary software. I won't get an x64 version unless they deign to compile one for me at some point in the future. I won't be able to upgrade without paying money. Sorry, I'm just spoiled -- apt-get and OSS work fine for me.

Just tried SoftMaker 2006 - impressed, but... (3, Informative)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774197)

I like it, a lot, especially the very fine equation editor - it's top-notch, although I am used to the style in Open/StarOffice.

However, what I don't like that much is: it does not allow for creating of .pdf files, and it asks me for registration every freaking time I start it. It was supposed to be free as in beer, I thought!? Also, and this is minor, but still: the default document format is proprietary. It does allow you to save in .odf, which I think every non-MS office suite SHOULD do. It just would be nicer if this was their default format. I don't like the idea of yet another proprietary office format around.

A blinding glimpse of the obvious (1, Insightful)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774329)

This is so obviously true, I find it hard to understand why it was published, let alone got to the Slashdot front page. OpenOffice has been out for how many years? Google Apps came out how many months ago? Of course OO.o is more popular; people have had well over ten times as long to adopt it.

Word processor?? What is this word processor? (1)

elashish14 (1302231) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774417)

You mortals!! LaTeX is my (old) new and only word processor!

I for one am really impressed (2, Informative)

bensafrickingenius (828123) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774555)

That Microsoft Office only beats OOo by a factor of 10. I'm not being facetious -- That is a really good chunk for OOo! For the record, I removed MS Office from over 100 lab computers in my organization last year in favor of OOo. I'm also strongly urging staff to use OOo for at least a month. If, after that, they still insist on MS Office, I get it for them. Sadly, most opt for MS. Blows my mind, especially given the fact that the differences between Office 97/2000/xp/2003 and OOo are small compared to the differences between Office 97/2000/xp/2003 and Office 2007.

Apples to orange juice (1)

Ellen Spertus (31819) | more than 5 years ago | (#25774653)

That's a stupid comparison. The two products fill different niches. Both Open Office and Google Docs are standard tools at Google, where I work*, and they're used for different tasks. If I need to do complex editing on a document that nobody else will modify, I use Open Office. If I want to have a shared doc that doesn't require fancy features, I use Google Docs. For other tasks, I use other tools, like emacs. Comparing OO and Google Docs makes no sense. *I do not speak for Google.

Ummmm, wanna trade with me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25774793)

uhmmm... TeX anyone? Document source as editable text to everyone, output to dvi, pdf, ps and whatever else you could possibly want.

Where's the beef.

Chuck

PS - if you are composing DOCUMENTS and wish to SHARE them, don't use proprietary formats. Period.

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