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# An Early Look At New Features In OpenOffice.org 3.1

#### kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the hot-bits dept.

260

ahziem writes "With the final release two months away and an alpha version available, it's time to look at OpenOffice.org 3.1's new features: eye candy, better charts, replying to notes in the margin, overlining, macros in Base, RTL improvements for Arabic and Hebrew, and (believe it or not) better sorting. Download and report any bugs you find."

cancel ×

### No Comment Title Entered

#### Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

### what? (-1, Offtopic)

#### Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26542797)

No incognito mode?

### Oh come on! (1)

#### TypoNAM (695420) | more than 5 years ago | (#26542823)

I just finally upgraded to 3.0 from 2.0 on my workstation and installed 3.0 on my laptop, and just now there's a hint of an update coming soon... although a few months away, but still I hate being outdated. ;)

I haven't even bothered to check, but does openoffice.org finally support automated updates like firefox instead of the old, a bit annoying, download and unpack to install latest version routine?

### Re:Oh come on! (3, Insightful)

#### BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 5 years ago | (#26542875)

I haven't even bothered to check, but does openoffice.org finally support automated updates like firefox instead of the old, a bit annoying, download and unpack to install latest version routine?

Firefox updates are annoying too. It bugs me when it finds an update, then it bugs me to ask to install it, then it bugs me to tell me it updated, then my addons do all of that... plus they open their online release-note pages after I have to restart Firefox! Gah, just pulse an "updating" icon to tell me it's happening in the background, and then apply it all silently at next restart, maybe with an "updated" icon - if I want to know more, I'll click the damn icon. No need to make these processes so in-your-face-irritating.

### Re:Oh come on! (4, Informative)

#### KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543383)

Dude, you need Update Notifier [longfocus.com], it wraps all those updates into a nice and tiny button, with a sensible reboot-at-MY-convenience option.

### Disable updates if you want (4, Informative)

#### Manuel M (1308979) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543475)

You can disable all that. Go to Tools -> Settings... -> Update

(Actual names may vary, I'm using Firefox in Spanish language)

There uncheck the three boxes under "Automatically search for updates..."

Then you'll have to click on Help -> Search for updates every time you want to update, but at least thou shalt not be nagged at (yes, I do understand you prefer to have Firefox update itself automatically and naglessly, but in the meantime...).

### Re:Oh come on! (0, Offtopic)

#### DarkEmpath (1064992) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543567)

Getting off-topic, but what gives me the shits is the way a complete download of Firefox is 7MB, but an "update" will be 9MB.

How the fuck does that work?

### Re:Oh come on! (1)

#### ScaledLizard (1430209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543597)

Updating programs should be part of the Windows operating system, just as installing should be. I prefer the centralized solutions for this found in Linux distributions, where one program in the operating system is responsible for installing and updating all others, rather than each program needlessly implementing the same services again and again. On the other side, Microsoft appears to be busy enough just releasing their optimized Vista build, called "Windows 7".

### Re:Oh come on! (4, Funny)

#### LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544057)

Yes, I hope Windows 7 or 8 comes with a package manager like Ubuntu does.

Where can I email Microsoft to implement this?

### Re:Oh come on! (3, Informative)

#### dotancohen (1015143) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544425)

Yes, I hope Windows 7 or 8 comes with a package manager like Ubuntu does.

Where can I email Microsoft to implement this?

I know that you were going for Funny, but MS does have an Idea Submit service. Request it here:
http://www.microsoft.com/globaldev/outreach/ideas/ideaSubmit.mspx [microsoft.com]

### Re:Oh come on! (0)

#### Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26544077)

Microsoft could not do the central repository thing without running into lots of anti-trust issues.

But the resellers could. Why don't have HP, Dell, or the likes any interest in offering such a thing? You don't need Microsoft for that. I mean noone blames Linus for software missing in the Debian repository.

### Re:Oh come on! (1)

#### ScaledLizard (1430209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544319)

Sony has an update service for their hardware, but it covers only Sony apps and device drivers. I am convinced this can be implemented in an anti-trust-free manner. The update servers do not need to be run by Microsoft, software should just set a flag in the repository, "Please check server x every y hours for updates and install them (after prompting user)". Likewise, most installers only copy a few files and install some registry settings. If Windows was aware of these lists, it could check if uninstalls went cleanly and remove software from its list even after failed uninstalls.

### Re:Oh come on! (1)

#### Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543829)

If you run limited user, it never bothers you. ;-)

### Re:Oh come on! (3, Informative)

#### quercus.aeternam (1174283) | more than 5 years ago | (#26542965)

Just use a package manager.

Even if you don't run linux, there are various windows-based options [wikipedia.org]

### Re:Oh come on! (1)

#### gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543105)

I'll leave that to my distro's packagers.

### Re:Oh come on! (1)

#### Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543151)

Meh, it's coming in near the end of March [google.com], on the same day that Ubuntu 9.04's beta is expected.

### Can't wait for Beta. (3, Informative)

#### f1vlad (1253784) | more than 5 years ago | (#26542829)

Among personal favourites is sql syntax highlighting, more advanced notes, collaboration tools.

### The only feature I want... (4, Insightful)

#### caerwyn (38056) | more than 5 years ago | (#26542833)

... is the one feature I never see under OpenOffice release notes: Improved performance.

I keep trying OpenOffice, under multiple OSes... and I keep removing it in frustration. Eye candy? That's the last thing we need when the program is already so very painful.

### Re:The only feature I want... (5, Funny)

#### ejsing (1453147) | more than 5 years ago | (#26542863)

Eye candy? That's the last thing we need when the program is already so very painful.

It worked for Apple

### Re:The only feature I want... (2, Funny)

#### Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543173)

Sun doesn't have anybody that generates a Reality Distortion Field.

### Get someone who does. (-1, Offtopic)

#### Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26543353)

I hear Karl Rove is pretty cheap now.

### Re:The only feature I want... (0, Offtopic)

#### Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26542895)

Note to moderators: A Post isn't insightfull when bashing something without giving the slightest clue of whats wrong.

### Re:The only feature I want... (1, Informative)

#### Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26542913)

Maybe they all already know what he's talking about? I haven't used OO itself in quite a while, but I do periodically try NeoOffice, which is OO adapted for Macs. I have consistently found it to be the slowest and most unstable program on my system. It's simply not usable.

### Re:The only feature I want... (4, Interesting)

#### The Master Control P (655590) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543045)

I think you need to work on reading comprehension, he stated exactly what's wrong: It's slower than molasses, and I agree with him.

Start OO writer. Mash the keyboard, perhaps inputting FGSFDS. Hit save, enter "fgsfds.odt" as the filename. Press enter. Why does it take a significant fraction of a second to save this? Kword and Abiword both save and are ready to type again in about the time I can blink twice. Last time I tried with OOo I seem to recall being able to follow a progress bar in the lower status display.

This is supposed to be one of the flagship FOSS programs, and it's so slow to save things it's embarassing.

/Doesn't really have a dog in this fight
//LaTeX > *

### Re:The only feature I want... (1)

#### Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543387)

The only OO problem I ever had was with Calc lagging when moving to another cell. It was sporadic, but seeing as how I was doing econometrics stuff in it, there were a LOT of numbers and it really got on my nerves. Also, this only happened under Ubuntu, never had that issue with OO on XP. I agree though, they should do something to speed things up.

### Re:The only feature I want... (5, Insightful)

#### MadKeithV (102058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543515)

It's not that simple though, because then you get people complaining that memory usage temporarily doubles when saving because a copy is made to allow the user to continue editing while the saving thread is storing the previous changes.
So then the dev team has to implement a memory data structure that can copy parts of a document that are being edited.
And then they get bored and decide that it's cooler to add SQL syntax highlighting.

### Multithreading doesn't always speed things up (1)

#### Viol8 (599362) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544467)

Especially on a single core CPU. Any coder worth his salary knows how to do single threaded non blocking/asynch I/O , using multithreading is just a lazymans approach plus it gives rise to potential deadlocks and race situations.

### Re:The only feature I want... (2, Interesting)

#### sunwolf (853208) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543089)

I haven't tried it myself, but I've been meaning to test out Go-oo, which is purportedly faster. From the site:
"A Faster application

From first-time startup, where we sort I/O to reduce seek cost, to a highly optimised second start application and a systray quick-starter on Linux we are faster. We use less memory than up-stream, we link faster, use better system allocators, and don't waste so much time & memory in the registry. Go-oo performance is hard to beat. "

http://go-oo.org/ [go-oo.org]

### Re:The only feature I want... (5, Informative)

#### Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26543137)

I've been meaning to test out Go-oo, which is purportedly faster.

Go-OO is the slowest of all based on these benchmarks [oooninja.com] from the same site as in the OP.

One thing to keep in mind is that Go-OO is the Novell version of OpenOffice.org and what with the patent threat due to their Microsoft agreement [softwarefreedom.org] (best explanation of this threat is here [youtube.com]) you should be careful not to tie yourself to one particular office suite through proprietary formats. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) the ODF format is like HTML and you can reference and include proprietary files in it.

### Re:The only feature I want... (0)

#### Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26544179)

Why is that the best explanation? Because it is the most funny one? At least I started laughing when he talked about the "be afraid tour". It was not that funny on itsself. But he build it into his own "be very afraid speach" with a "be very afraid" face.

So is the moral of the speech that not only Microsoft is in the business of scare-mongering?

And in the end he sounds like he thinks that Microsoft might have some valid patent claims and he fears to lose the protection of the enterprises.

### Re:The only feature I want... (3, Interesting)

#### lorand (764021) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543401)

... is OpenType font support, but also keeps being ignored, yet these fonts have the widest Unicode support, among other advantages.

### Good enough (5, Insightful)

#### mcrbids (148650) | more than 5 years ago | (#26542901)

OO.o is NOT Microsoft Office. If you want Microsoft Office, go bite the bullet, pay the price, or deal with the hassles of your bootleg copy.

However, OO.o has reached the point where it really and truly is "good enough" for most anybody. Enough that we now recommend it to our clients - it's on the privileged "recommended software" link in our product, effectively putting OO.o front and center for hundreds of schools and tens of thousands of students.

Killer? No. I honestly don't know how many people pay attention to our "recommended software" download link. However, we've been pretty up-front about all-but-requiring Firefox for all our users, and we have about 80% hit rate on Firefox.

Officially, we support Firefox, IE, and Safari, but FF is in first place. We develop for Firefox and backport reported bugs in IE or Safari as they are reported. Honestly, since we stick to relatively simple HTML for our web-based product, we haven't had much problem with this strategy.

But the killer reason why most of our FF switchers have switched? When you hit the "Back" button in FF, it remembers what you typed in on a form. IE forgets. Such a simple thing, yet we've switched thousands of users (possibly forever!) to FF for this one feature ALONE.

Now, back to OO.o - I use it on my Fedora Core laptop, and have used it instead of MS Office for years. It's plenty good enough. I can read/write Office dox with minimal translation problems, and it does everything I've ever really wanted.

The only limit I've run into is that when I produce a presentation using Impress, where it's going to be displayed in MS Power Point, I open the file in MS PowerPoint before presenting to make sure it's going to display OK. Sometimes, fonts will be different, carefully aligned elements will be out of order, graphics scale the wrong size, etc.

But there have been a few times that I had to present "in the raw" and still haven't had much problem. The dirty secret of MS Office is that it's often incompatible with itself! If you're using Office 2000 or 2003 and try to use 2007 to render your presentation, you are probably about as likely to experience similar issues!

Perhaps the only issue is that if you open a file in MS Office and it's "corrupted", people will tend to fault the file - "these things happen!". But if you open the same file in OO.o and it's "corrupted", people will tend to fault OO.o - "Software just doesn't work right!".

And this may take a while to overcome. But OO.o is clearly doing it!

### Re:Good enough (3, Insightful)

#### Your.Master (1088569) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543195)

What hassles?

You partially answer your question in the next paragraph.

The only hassles of pirated software are when people don't have enough experience acquiring such software.

Hassle #1: gaining and maintaining experience in pirated software.

sorting by seeders and skimming the comments ensures you'll get something of quality, for the most part.

That's hassle #2 right there.

Hassle #3 can come with the potential for updates not working in the future.

I figure, I've payed for the legit copy, so morally I've done nothing wrong. Have I?

Not as far as I'm concerned.

### Re:Good enough (1)

#### genik76 (1193359) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544431)

An additional hassle is that you cannot ever really trust pirated software. Maybe there is a trojan, virus or worm, which will be activated in the future on a specific date, or after a specific event or series of events. Maybe when you have typed enough credit card numbers worth sending. There's just no way to know (practically).

### Re:Good enough (1, Interesting)

#### Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26543065)

Hmm. Dunno if this carries over into the "I make presentations for a living" crowd (who probably buy MSOffice anyway), but I've always found that .pdfs made in OO.o Writer (landscape size, of course) make for very reasonable slideshows that have never had any presentation issues, whatsoever.

### Re:Good enough (1, Informative)

#### Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26543413)

Or...

You might as well save your Impress presentation in ODF and carry the ODF plugin for MSOffice in an USB stick. That way, you just install the support for ODF and you'll be up and running to view the presentation.

### Re:Good enough (2, Informative)

#### jabithew (1340853) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543487)

On the topic of corruption, I've used OO.o to rescue a friend's document that was corrupted. It was a research project write up, he saved it in only one place. He learnt a valuable lesson in backing up (with the half hour of ohshitohshitohshit) without any long term harm.

But yes, my production environment is a mix of Office 2003 and Office 2007, and I run Office 2008. Compatibility problems are rife, especially with equations.

### Re:Good enough (1)

#### Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543867)

It was a research project write up, he saved it in only one place. He learnt a valuable lesson in backing up (with the half hour of ohshitohshitohshit) without any long term harm.

Then he probably didn't learn anything... I hope he did, but I don't think so.

### Re:Good enough (2, Interesting)

#### Erikderzweite (1146485) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544073)

I've been using OO Portable to restore broken word documents for my colleagues at work on a monthly basis. People do backups, sure, but even losing a couple of hours of work and re-doing it is annoying as hell.

As for equations -- I have yet to see an equation editor superior to LyX's one.

### Re:Good enough (1)

#### TheReaperD (937405) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543899)

The only limit I've run into is that when I produce a presentation using Impress, where it's going to be displayed in MS Power Point, I open the file in MS PowerPoint before presenting to make sure it's going to display OK. Sometimes, fonts will be different, carefully aligned elements will be out of order, graphics scale the wrong size, etc.

One way to solve this is to download OpenOffice Portable [portableapps.com] and install it on your flash drive (or network drive). This way you never have to care if M\$ PowerPoint will render your presentation correctly.

### Re:Good enough (4, Informative)

#### Erikderzweite (1146485) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544037)

I totally love the presentation mode in Impress where you have your slides on projector and slides thumbs (so you can see the next slide coming) along with notes on your laptop screen. And it shows you the time you spent presenting -- priceless during university seminars. Didn't know it was there, now I can't live without it. Don't care if PowerPoint has similar features -- it has to run on my Linux first.

### again? (1)

#### bugi (8479) | more than 5 years ago | (#26542933)

No matter how many times you post this story, I still say overlining is underappreciated.

### Re:again? (1)

#### Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543883)

No matter how many times you post this story, I still say overlining is underappreciated.

______
agreed

### Sorting still lacks... (2, Interesting)

#### charlener (837709) | more than 5 years ago | (#26542961)

I know it's hoping against hope, but I still hope someday some spreadsheet program will do sorting that will actually ignore the "A, an, the" that can begin lines, along with extra blank spaces. Most suggestions in this area tell you to put those words in a separate column then do the sort, which isn't particularly elegant.

### Re:Sorting still lacks... (2, Interesting)

#### Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543887)

Why not change the data? For example, if it's a list of books, write "Great Gatsby, The" instead of "The Great Gatsby". It's just a suggestion and it doesn't involve extra columns.

### Re:Sorting still lacks... (0, Flamebait)

#### jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544145)

I hate to put it like this, but you've made an assumption which is remarkably common in the F/OSS world.

You assume that the OP provides the data himself and can easily change it. If it comes from some other system, that may not be the case.

### Re:Sorting still lacks... (1)

#### Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544235)

I actually live in the real world (F/OSS is seen with a very very weary eye at the company I work for). This is fixed with a few regexes, come on....

I didn't need to assume anything at all, but you assumed that it couldn't be done easily.

### Overlining (4, Informative)

#### dcollins (135727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26542967)

Here's an enormous sigh of relief. As a statistics professor, my #1 gripe with Open Office has been my inability to easily create an x-overbar (sample mean) character. That alone has been the reason I've had to keep booting up a copy of MS Office to edit student handouts.

### Re:Overlining (1)

#### Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26543095)

*cough*LaTeX*cough*

### Re:Overlining (2, Insightful)

#### dcollins (135727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543275)

I'm not going to learn a whole new markup language just for "x-bar". That's ridiculous.

### Re:Overlining (0)

#### Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26543373)

I have to say, honestly I'm shocked. You have made professor in an area of mathematics whilst using office?

I would say there are many even more compelling reasons to learn tex than just for the \bar{x}. Seriously, have you ever published anything in a maths journal?

### Re:Overlining (0)

#### Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26543405)

What's rediculous is a *professor* who has decided that learning is rediculous.

Latex will do what you want with \bar{X} ..

### Re:Overlining (2, Insightful)

#### jabithew (1340853) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543499)

Professors, especially ones in real subjects at good schools, tend to have very little time in my experience.

### but they also already know LaTeX (4, Insightful)

#### Trepidity (597) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543599)

I don't know of any statistics professors who don't already know LaTeX. How would you publish? In my experience, most math and statistics journals either require or strongly encourage authors to submit their manuscripts formatted in LaTeX.

### Re:Overlining (5, Insightful)

#### rsidd (6328) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543717)

I have to second anonymous's surprise. Every mathematician I know uses LaTeX, not just for documents, but also for presentations. Some physicists use powerpoint or keynote, but always with a LaTeX plug-in for math. MS Office's math support is a joke. Do you actually write mathematical documents?

### Re:Overlining (1)

#### Psychotria (953670) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543331)

Well, couldn't you have just highlighted the character, inserted a frame, played with the borders and repositioned the resulting character with custom kerning and anchor it to the preceding text?

### Re:Overlining (1)

#### iNaya (1049686) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543553)

I did it!!! It only took 20 min!! Yay!! I didn't actually know about frames, so thanks for enlightening me... However, it does take a lot more effort than it does in CSS or MS Word

### Re:Overlining (1)

#### MSojka (83577) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543625)

What's wrong with U+0305 COMBINING OVERLINE?

### Re:Overlining (0)

#### Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26543637)

You should be able to do this in any program by writing an "x", then opening Character Map and searching for "overline" and finding the U+0305 Combining Overline character and then pasting it just after the "x". Or write an HTML page with "x&#x305;" and copy-and-paste from that. The quality depends a lot on the font, though.

### Re:Overlining (1)

#### phatsphere (642799) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543853)

type in x, highligh it, menu: insert > object > formula (iirc there is a shortcut for that) and then click on it and edit the formula to "overline {x}" click somehwere else and you are done

### Base not up to it (3, Interesting)

#### vandan (151516) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543005)

Macro support in Base? Hmmm.

I did some extensive testing of Base a little while back. It's OK for very limited use, but let's be brutally honest ... you don't create solid, complex systems on Base.

But people still want to create database front-ends on Linux, and have to use God-aweful web-based UIs.

Despair no longer - I have created a cross-platform, open-source framework to implement 'forms', 'dataasheets' and 'reports'. I'm even part-way ( 30% or so ) through creating a GUI builder to tie everything together. But the libraries are already complete and in production ( heavy use, I might add ). To download / view screenshots or just check out what's going on, it's all on my website: http://entropy.homelinux.org/axis/ [homelinux.org]

oh, noes! perl!
back to 4chan

### Re:Base not up to it (2, Funny)

#### Psychotria (953670) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543377)

Dan? Is that you? I just read on your website under the GUI Builder section that you've just had a baby. Do you have a link to your peer-reviewed journal article where you described the experience of a male having a baby? :-)

Seriously though, that's a pretty impressive project you're working on. Keep up the good work. Are you doing it by yourself?

### Re:Base not up to it (1)

#### Arterion (941661) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543519)

Macro support in Base? Hmmm.

I did some extensive testing of Base a little while back. It's OK for very limited use, but let's be brutally honest ... you don't create solid, complex systems on Base.

Have you looked at the state of many critical business "applications" that are in Access? I'm not saying it smart, but there is definitely a market for that kind of software out there.

Then again, I've only skimmed over Base. For all I know it might be worse than Access, but I'd find that very hard to believe.

### mod 3o3n (-1, Redundant)

#### Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26543017)

thAn this BSD 3ox,

### New and Improved (1)

#### tdwMighty (1453161) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543035)

Now even more like the latest version of Microsoft Word! How innovative! OO.org is great, and I've used it off and on for years, but I'd like to see them be a little more innovative. Copy the good stuff from Word but leave out the crap and add some differentiating features maybe?

### OMG (4, Funny)

#### thephydes (727739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543077)

It's free ..... it must be a scam. I'd better stay with Microsoft because I know what I'm getting.

### OpenOffice is nice, but... (1)

#### GF678 (1453005) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543123)

I still insist of having a copy of Office 2007 installed because there's that RARE occasion where something completely stuffs up in OpenOffice.

Late last year (after OpenOffice 3 was released), as part of my postgraduate enrollment I had to fill out a form detailing the work done during the year. The idea was for the student to fill out the form electronically and then print it out and submit it. The form was a .doc file and contained various interactive elements such as checkboxes, which I didn't even know Word supported. In Office 2003 and 2007, it loads up just fine. In OpenOffice 3, Writer HANGS INDEFINITELY. It doesn't even bother crashing, it just stays there using all the CPU for no obvious reason.

I suppose I could have printed it out, filled it in by hand and submitted it, but instead I took the easy way out and resorted to Office 2007. Now obviously the Uni should have supplied something like a PDF where I could fill in the details, which would have worked well and worked anywhere, but they didn't, because everyone uses Office right?

Now obviously such .doc files aren't that common, but when you absolutely positively need to read a .doc file the way it was meant to be seen, using MS Office is pretty much the only choice. It's not 100% guaranteed to show things perfectly (as people have already mentioned), but it's still the best chance, particularly for esoteric forms like I had.

And before someone points out that I should have submitted a bug report - (a) I couldn't work out how to, (b) It wouldn't have helped me at the time, and (c) The fact that only now a 2005 bug is going to be fixed in 3.1 shows that bug fixing isn't always a priority with Sun.

### Re:OpenOffice is nice, but... (4, Interesting)

#### vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543215)

Now obviously such .doc files aren't that common, but when you absolutely positively need to read a .doc file the way it was meant to be seen, using MS Office is pretty much the only choice. It's not 100% guaranteed to show things perfectly (as people have already mentioned), but it's still the best chance, particularly for esoteric forms like I had.

In most environments however, they are rare enough that while you need a copy of Office 2007, you don't need a copy of Office 2007 for everyone. At one of the sites I work with the 10 executives have Office, and the 2 IT people have MS Office, and one guy who does brochures and ad work has it. The other 120+ staff have OOo. The execs get it mostly because they want it, and they legitimately deal with enough powerpoint and exchange docs with other companies enough that its worth it for most of them.

The IT people have it primarily so that if someone gets a document that doesn't work, they send it to IT to deal with it for them; usually to simply convert it to PDF. So, they have 13 copies of Office instead of ~130, that represents quite a savings. The amount of time IT has spent dealing with incompatible documents over the last 5 years is almost nil, maybe a dozen documents a year need attention, and as I said most of them can be resolved simply by converting to pdf and forwarding it back.

They've saved thousands by not buying copies of office XP, Office 2003, Office 2007 for everyone.

Its frankly pretty much impossible to wean the average business 100% off Office. But you can usually easily move 90% off Office.

### Re:OpenOffice is nice, but... (1)

#### ricegf (1059658) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544093)

And before someone points out that I should have submitted a bug report...

I couldn't grok the rest of your sentence until I figured out you meant a bug report to Sun. I naturally assumed on first read you meant a bug report to the university for sending you a required form in an undocumented, proprietary format. "Bastion of Higher Learning"? Bah! Epic newbie fail. If it's not open, it's not knowledge. (tm)

(Steps down off soapbox...)

### Base as Access Competitor? (2, Informative)

#### xristoph (1169159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543159)

When will this happen. There were two features mentioned in TFA that make me think they are at least moving in the right direction:

Macros in Base

OpenOffice.org Base gets a huge boost now that OpenOffice.org 3.1 allows macros in .odb files. Furthermore, Base macros can be bound to events. Helping it compete with Microsoft Access, Base developers will save time and enjoy new possibilities such as creating navigation forms (called switchboards in Access).

SQL syntax highlighting

SQL is a first-class citizen in Base. In OpenOffice.org 3.1 the SQL editor highlights SQL syntax, which is helpful for finding typos such as a missed quotation mark.

Good thing that there are finally macros in .odb files - and shocks me that before, there hadn't been?! Well, last time I played with Base was some time ago, and I was appalled at the features (or lack thereof), being a former Access developer. TFA makes me want to play with the new version, see if it is at least possible to create simple applications with it.

### Re:'former Access developer' (0)

#### Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26543201)

Isn't that an oxymoron ?

End users use Access

Developers use anything but

### Re:'former Access developer' (1)

#### jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544229)

Isn't that an oxymoron ?

End users use Access

Developers use anything but

End users who like to think they're developers, have an idea which could be thrown together in Access inside a couple of hours (provided you don't bother with such pesky things as design or testing) and they don't want to "mess around" with asking the IT department to resolve use Access.

About a year or two later you discover that their database has grown to manage the entire department and is therefore now business critical, it's got all the problems you'd associate with something thrown together in Access like this and the person who developed it left three weeks ago.

### Re:'former Access developer' (1)

#### nitio (825314) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544471)

Or, as I like to say, my current job supporting 5 stupid access database shit. It could be worse sure. My colleague supports over 40...

### Re:Base as Access Competitor? (1)

#### jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544213)

Macros.... hmmm, bringing viruses in documents to 2009!

### I still have one major problem with OOo (1, Informative)

#### Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26543219)

Here at work, we all ditched MS Office in favor for OOo. But I still got one major concern with OOo where I still have to ressort with MS Office or better, Excel to work it out.

I have a few Excel spreadsheets that are saved as html. Excel can open them just fine and everything looks, OOo opens them but the (simple) layout is all messed up!

Those html spreadshits are generated by an application automaticaly. Renaming them to xls doesnt do the trick either.

So here is something I am waiting for years for OOo to solve, but still nothing!

### Re:I still have one major problem with OOo (0)

#### Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26543375)

Open the html file in a web browser (normally, just double-clicking on the file will do this). Select all of the rows and columns, and copy to the clipboard.

Open OpenOffice Calc, go to cell A1 (or wherever you want the copied table to be inserted) and then paste the copied cells.

### Re:I still have one major problem with OOo (1, Informative)

#### Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26543399)

Can you produce an HTML file as an example? This would help programmers understand what the problem is.

### Two things (3, Insightful)

#### Psychotria (953670) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543277)

Two things I really want fixed before I consider Open Office full-time (and I don't know if 3.1 does so I apologise if they've already been addressed) are: a) font rendering; and b) performance.

Now, the font rendering issue might seem a bit of a nitpick, but if I have to spend over 9 hours a day looking at the thing I want the fonts to look nice. MS-Office is not perfect. But I find it better than Open Office. My experience with Open Office has been horribly rendered fonts that can be ignored if I were just typing a page or two but I need to be comfortable if I am using it day-in-day-out. If I make adjustments to freetype (or whatever the normal OS renderer is) then I want Open Office to render it the same. It needs to render fonts exactly the same as the OS in general.

The performance issue is, for me, less of an issue. BUT it cannot feel 'sluggish'. If I am typing I want my applications to be responsive. Start-up time is less of an issue that I can ignore.

### It's better because it doesn't have a ribbon (2, Interesting)

#### bunbuntheminilop (935594) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543285)

Office 2007 made me feel stupid! I couldn't find the button to bold something. It's openoffice at home and 2003 at work from here on until the end of time!

### Re:It's better because it doesn't have a ribbon (2, Funny)

#### MosesJones (55544) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543737)

Office 2007 made me feel stupid! I couldn't find the button to bold something.

Seriously? I mean I'm not a big fan of the Ribbon but if you couldn't find the bold bit, Ctrl-B or its there on the HOME tab, then its not Office 2007 making you feel stupid. Now picture alignment and others can take getting used to but bold?

Anyway for those of us that like Emacs Office 2007 hasn't gone far enough in hiding stuff, I want obscure macros and at least six key control sequences.

Complaining about the complexity of Word menu structures.... what has Slashdot come to?

### Re:It's better because it doesn't have a ribbon (3, Insightful)

#### dargaud (518470) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544301)

Office2007 came with my work PC. After 2 days trying to get used to buttons moving to different spots between each different ribbon mode, I was going crazy and uninstalled that shit for Open Office. At least it does the job in a consistent way.

Office 2007 reminds me of all the DVD player softwares that come with PCs: they always try to make them look like a remote control. Except you can't tell what the button symbols are. Or even if it's a button or just a decoration. They uniformly suck. But keep it simple as in Media Player Classic, and you have great software.

### But, but, but.... (2, Insightful)

#### OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544459)

..the new ribbon does indeed SUCK big time.

It's too big, confusingly laid out, and it doesn't include basic file operations like new/save/save_as or print/preview, and doesn't seem to support customization (or at least I can't figure out how to do it, so gave up after 10 minutes). And where the hell has the old 'Tools/Options' disappeared to ?

I'm sure the OP and I share the frustrations of millions of Office users who suddenly found their productivity reduced by Office 2007 (when compared to previous version upgrades which did indeed improve usability and productivity).

### Re:It's better because it doesn't have a ribbon (1)

#### im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543771)

I hate to break it to you. You must BE stupid if you couldn't find the Bold button in Office 2007. Especially considering it's... practically in the exact same place and uses the exact same icon..

And just in case you still can't find it. I'll give you a hint. It's inside the box labeled "Font". And it looks like a Bolded "B".

Also if you highlight text... A floater comes up and hovers the bold icon UNDER THE POINTER! All you have to do is highlight. Move pointer up 3 pixels. Click. Bold!

It's a miracle you're able to adjust to the variety of interfaces presented to you on the interweb. Since apparently any divergence from Office 97 causes catastrophic reasoning failure.

### still missing (important) features (1)

#### serbanp (139486) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543369)

I use OO.org at home and have been doing that since the 1.2 times. OK, it's still slow as molasses and the font rendering is still very bad, but I can live with these issues.

However, typing a lot with 8859-2 characters, I need the ability to assign certain characters to key combinations. MSOffice had this ability since at least ver. 97, why OO.org is still missing it?

### Re:still missing (important) features (1)

#### dargaud (518470) | more than 5 years ago | (#26544331)

I need the ability to assign certain characters to key combinations

You can do that with an external tool like autohotkey [autohotkey.com]. Advantage: it works in any window.

### They should fix the obvious bugs instead (-1, Flamebait)

#### Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26543507)

I agree that OpenOffice needs a visual overhaul, because the 90s are over and nobody needs blocky icons and an ersatz Clippy. But that's not what they should focus on.

I'm currently trying swriter, but I'm about to go back to Msword. I'm ready to make some concessions for the fact that it's FOSS, but it hangs all the time, it scrolls without forewarning after saving, and every few minutes I have to restart it because the cursor keys stop working at certain positions in the document. These are showstoppers for me. All these bugs are being tracked but apparently not worked on.

### Where is my iPhone/Android version? (2, Interesting)

#### deanston (1252868) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543531)

OOs is usable. I appreciate it at home on non-Windows machines. As a programmer I don't do Office much. I made up my mind to stop using MS Office more than 2 years ago unless I absolutely have to (like my timesheet or open an Access db file). Nobody knows I'm getting away with using OOo or Google Docs most of the time. It's amazing how much you can do without (like other aspects in life).

The thing that really concerns me is this Quixotic quest to match MS Office. By the time OOo v.X is "as good as Office", Office would already be living and moving most of its paid users to the cloud (or whatever web+mobile platform MSFT is moving to). Sun used to have a motto: "we are the 'dot' in 'dot-com'". For all the money and time it could have thrown at the problem, the Dot was stuck on the desktop. Good for Ubuntu I guess. Let's hope it survives on netbooks. (Doubt Negroponte will ever use it.)

### I don't want reply notes in the margin (1)

#### bytesex (112972) | more than 5 years ago | (#26543953)

And I don't just want margin notes. I want that old WP idea back that you can have 'special characters' inside your text to anchor things on. I mean, it already exists essentially in OOo, in the form of page breaks. But there the concepts ends, somehow. Why can't I have special anchors in the text (to be made visible in a certain mode, for example by using coloured dots) to hang things on, like, for example, margin notes ? Or images ? It would make put an end to page breaks being a special case, and it would put an end to images being 'superimposed' on the text. Instead, any anchor would just flow with the text.

And the other thing I want (aside from the pony) is for fonts to (optionally) travel with documents. And to be prompted for the installation of said font when I open up a document on a machine that doesn't have it. So that my documents look the same on whatever machine I choose to open it on.

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