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Preview the Office 2007 Ribbon-Like UI Floated For OpenOffice.Org

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the trial-balloon-target-practice dept.

GUI 617

recoiledsnake writes "OpenOffice.org has prototyped a new UI that radically changes the current OO.o interface into something very similar to the new ribbon style menus that Office 2007 introduced and which have been extensively used throughout Windows 7. The blog shows a screenshot of the prototype in Impress (the equivalent of PowerPoint), but this UI is proposed to be used across all OO.o applications. Some commenters on the Sun blog are not happy about OO.o blindly aping Office 2007, and feel that the ribbon UI may be out of place in non-Windows operating systems."

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617 comments

How about some nice menus instead? (5, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962489)

The Ribbon is no good even in Windows. And isn't it patented? There's no reason Open Office needs to ape Microsoft's mistakes.

Re:How about some nice menus instead? (2, Insightful)

HillBilly (120575) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962571)

What mistake? The ribbon is fine, it takes 5 mins to pick up unless you have a learning disability or a brain dead MS hater.

Re:How about some nice menus instead? (3, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962917)

It took me five minutes to realize that a UI that either shows or hides its elements based solely on window size is not one I would like to use. Frankly, to get used to something like that would take me certainly more than just five minutes. And then, I would have to find out where's ended up the nice sidebar style list from W2003. And then... Well, you get my point.

Re:How about some nice menus instead? (0, Offtopic)

k3!to (996185) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962921)

"or a brain dead MS hater" Erm... What about disliking unfair practices and monopolistic tendencies makes you "braindead" exactly. I am no MS fan, and I can tell a good UI when I see one. Let MS keep the ribbon, and OOo can ride the Status Quo. The ribbon looks nice but does nothing for productivity.

Re:How about some nice menus instead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28962945)

...Signed HillBilly Gates

The ribbon is freaking awful. I have Office 2007 installed on my machine at work and it's not fine. It's not intuitive. And for people who are used to the way it has worked for the last like 10 years, it's freaking frustrating. There's no way to change it back, that I've found so far. It may be okay for someone who's never used it before, but for someone who has been accustomed to look and feel, it's jarring at best, infuriating at worst. Guess which side people trend more to.

Why don't you assign F5 to delete file and ^S to switch font while you're at it? It's fine, you just have to learn a new paradigm.

Re:How about some nice menus instead? (2, Interesting)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962985)

Ok, I'll bite. First, it doesn't take five minutes to learn, unless you really don't know woh to use Office advanced features, it takes a complete relearning of the interface. That usualy takes a few mounts of practice.

Second, name a single advantaje of the ribon. Even if it did take five minutes to learn, what return there is in spending those five minutes?

Re:How about some nice menus instead? (3, Interesting)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 4 years ago | (#28963099)

Damn, you are old.

It wasn't that hard to get used to. More than five minutes, but now I can get to a ton of features a lot faster than I used to. The first week was a pain in the butt for sure. After that, I have a hard time going back to Office 03 menus.

Re:How about some nice menus instead? (1)

Tdawgless (1000974) | more than 4 years ago | (#28963045)

I concur with this statement. The Ribbon was an easy convert...

Anyways, no matter the operating system or application, menus and ribbons are for amateurs, not people who know the fast way to get things done: Keyboard shortcuts.

Re:How about some nice menus instead? (2, Interesting)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962581)

Good Lord, I agree wholeheartedly. The ribbon is nigh-incomprehensible to first time users. I just had to use a version of Office with the ribbon for the first time a few weeks ago, and I had a hard time with it.

Now, I don't know what it's like once you're used to it, but it didn't seem like a step forward in intuitiveness compared to the old Office menus. I don't think that I can chock that up just to me getting older and being used to the old ways.

Ribbon = Bypass for Menu hell (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28962705)

The problem with Office, aside from requiring a multitude of options/features to make it Everything for Everybody, is the menu navigation hell that was introduced back in '97.

The ribbon takes the concept presented with the (brain dead) AI that brought you the shortened menu with commonly used options (and made you think all your menu items were MIA), and laid them out with slightly larger, slightly more descriptive icons and sensible grouping.

May I be the first to say (and be damned for doing so) that a 'ribbon' interface for the GIMP would do wonders.

Re:How about some nice menus instead? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28962817)

The ribbon is nigh-incomprehensible to first time users.

And yet, myself and other people where I work have had little to no issue picking up the ribbon when we had the opportunity to upgrade to Office 2007. Don't try to lump everyone in your claims just because you were too incompetent to learn it.

Re:How about some nice menus instead? (1)

sxedog (824351) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962935)

I hear you Brother. I installed Office 2007 on a test machine for work. Loaded up Word played around a bit then went to Print... Be damned if I couldn't find the freakin button that WAS NOT ON THE MAIN MENU BY DEFAULT. I mean, what do you do with a document? Type...bold...Print... ? That sealed the deal for me and I have not used it since.

Re:How about some nice menus instead? (2)

Desler (1608317) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962979)

You click the office button and then go to print. Wow, that was hard.

Re:How about some nice menus instead? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#28963047)

That thing where the sys menu should be? (Yeah, the sys menu... you know, the restore/move/size/minimize/maximize/close thing?) They put "print" there?!

Re:How about some nice menus instead? (3, Informative)

orev (71566) | more than 4 years ago | (#28963055)

"I just had to use a version of Office with the ribbon for the first time a few weeks ago, and I had a hard time with it."

That seems to imply that you're only a first time user /of that version of office/. And if that's true, then you had a hard time with it because you are probably used to the old interface, or the interfaces of similar programs. The ribbon is made to be easy to use for people who have *never used Office before*. And if you think no one is in that boat, take a look at your kids.

The fact is that the ribbon IS a much better interface than menus, and exposes options and settings that are easy to reach and understand. The ribbon is a GUI revelation, and anyone who says different is just afraid of change.

Re:How about some nice menus instead? (4, Informative)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962595)

It's disallowed by MS specifically for Office-like applications. (nothing else)

I have always assumed that clause was added to gain a usability edge over OpenOffice.

So this could be interesting. *grabs popcorn*

Re:How about some nice menus instead? (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#28963081)

But any such restriction are limited to Microsoft's implementation - Microsoft doesn't seem to have any patents on the ribbon (yet). Why would OpenOffice.org (which is not a Win32-exclusive application) use Microsoft's UI tools?

Summary double-take (1)

schon (31600) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962623)

Anyone else read that line as

The blog shows a screenshot of the prototype it's a mess

Re:How about some nice menus instead? (5, Insightful)

haifastudent (1267488) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962683)

The Ribbon is no good even in Windows. And isn't it patented? There's no reason Open Office needs to ape Microsoft's mistakes.

As a casual user with no time or interest to do a full OOo course (or even RTFM usually) I welcome the Ribbon UI. I understand that experienced and advanced users may not like it, but assuming that the original interface is not removed then the addition of the ribbon would certainly help weekend users like myself.

Re:How about some nice menus instead? (5, Interesting)

Abreu (173023) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962939)

I resisted my organization's upgrade to Office 2007 tooth and nail... I complained several times...

The IT department installed Office 2007 anyway.

And I hated the ribbon, with passion... for about two weeks, until I grudgingly admitted that, once you get used to it, it is quite easy to use and it puts the similar functions together in a intelligent way.

So yeah, I like it now

Re:How about some nice menus instead? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28963001)

It's kind of like anal sex, you don't like it at first, but you get used to it after a while...and then you really enjoyit.

Re:How about some nice menus instead? (4, Insightful)

A Friendly Troll (1017492) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962983)

The Ribbon is no good even in Windows. And isn't it patented? There's no reason Open Office needs to ape Microsoft's mistakes.

What mistakes?

Microsoft invested an incredible amount of time (and money) into usability research for the Ribbon, conducted with vast thousands of people (close to 10k, I believe) with various levels of computer literacy. The Ribbon is a result of that, and it's - objectively speaking - a massive improvement over standard Office menu hell.

Calling that a mistake is, well, a mistake.

If you have a problem with the Ribbon, it's YOUR problem, and it's statistically insignificant.

Re:How about some nice menus instead? (4, Funny)

amorsen (7485) | more than 4 years ago | (#28963085)

Microsoft probably did quite a bit of usability testing before launching Clippy...

Knew this was going to happen. (4, Insightful)

mingot (665080) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962501)

It only sucks in office until OO.o can implement it. Flame on.

Re:Knew this was going to happen. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28962599)

Exactly. As usual, commercial software innovates while open source software imitates.

Re:Knew this was going to happen. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28962929)

How is that flamebait? It's the truth and only someone who was either blind or absolutely in denial wouldn't see that.

Yeah, Microsoft didn't come up with the ribbon interface and OpenOffice didn't copy it just now... This story is a big lie and none of this ever happened... Deny, deny, deny. Maybe it will come true.

Re:Knew this was going to happen. (1)

xs650 (741277) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962673)

"It only sucks in office until OO.o can implement it. Flame on."

You are absolutely correct.

Re:Knew this was going to happen. (5, Informative)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962873)

It only sucks in office until OO.o can implement it.

Correct. After that, it sucks in both of them.

Re:Knew this was going to happen. (1)

amplt1337 (707922) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962903)

Right. After that, it sucks in BOTH Office and OO.o.

This looks like an excellent reason to pin OO to 3.0.

Re:Knew this was going to happen. (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 4 years ago | (#28963087)

Funny, I will hate the ribbon either way, for a long time. But you're right, from the screen shot openoffice.org is missing that little wonder of utility the "small box in the lower right hand corner of the ribbon's subject section you click on to go to a menu to get more hopefully relevant options" - thingy.

Sounds like a bad idea to me (5, Insightful)

danaris (525051) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962507)

They want to take what's probably the single most reviled "feature" of MS Office 2007 and put it into OpenOffice? When one of the big selling points of OpenOffice, among people I've talked to, is that it looks and feels more like the Office they're used to?

Please tell me they're only thinking of putting it in as an opt-in option, not as the default or only option...

Dan Aris

Re:Sounds like a bad idea to me (4, Interesting)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962587)

Yeah, you beat me to it.

Let's face it, most companies out there use MS Office. And most users of MS Office got used to the setup that hadn't changed in quite a while. When Office 2k7 came out, my CEO wanted it on his computer so he could test it out. As CEO, he reads/edits/writes a lot of documents.

Because of the god-awful changes, it took him quite a while to get up-to-speed. So much time, in fact, that he requested we A) not upgrade anyone else and B) remove it from his machine and put Office 2k3 back on it.

Now, he's not the most technically proficient person out there, but he's better than most (compared to average users I mean) and for him to say it was pretty eye-opening.

I can't comprehend why OOo did this. Not a good idea.

Re:Sounds like a bad idea to me (1)

WebmasterNeal (1163683) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962997)

I've always wondered what CEOs 'actually' do all day. Now you've explained it for me.

"reads/edits/writes a lot of documents"

Re:Sounds like a bad idea to me (2, Interesting)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962629)

If it as an opt-in, I say why not. It might convince the, I don't know, 5 or 6 people that like the ribbon to switch over to OO.o. If this is going to be the default... well...

Re:Sounds like a bad idea to me (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962801)

This is why the interface should be distinct from the core. They should just focus on writing a good word processing engine, and let others design user interfaces for it.

Re:Sounds like a bad idea to me (4, Interesting)

Desler (1608317) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962871)

They want to take what's probably the single most reviled "feature" of MS Office 2007 and put it into OpenOffice?

Do you have any evidence that the ribbon is actually reviled in mass among the majority of users or are you just wrongly extrapolating to all users based on what people on sites like Slashdot say? Plenty of people where I work absolutely love the new ribbon interface and mention how they don't want to have to go back to any previous version once they get really used to it.

Re:Sounds like a bad idea to me (1)

danaris (525051) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962933)

I'm extrapolating from what I hear on Slashdot, what I hear on other online sites, and what I see and hear in my own workplace and personal life.

I don't know of any scientific studies that have investigated the matter, but if you know of some proving that the ribbon is the best thing since sliced bread, please feel free to share them with us.

Dan Aris

Re:Sounds like a bad idea to me (4, Insightful)

Desler (1608317) | more than 4 years ago | (#28963021)

I'm extrapolating from what I hear on Slashdot, what I hear on other online sites, and what I see and hear in my own workplace and personal life.

So basically you have little to no basis to make such a sweeping claim.

I don't know of any scientific studies that have investigated the matter, but if you know of some proving that the ribbon is the best thing since sliced bread, please feel free to share them with us.

No one said that the ribbon is the best thing since sliced bread, but to claim make a claim that the ribbon is "the single most reviled "feature"" requires some actual evidence beyond what a few tech sites say. If one were to listen to what Slashdot users and other tech sites say, people were supposed to have dropped Microsoft and anything closed-source years ago and we're all supposed to be running Linux on our desktops.

Re:Sounds like a bad idea to me (1)

elashish14 (1302231) | more than 4 years ago | (#28963091)

Oh come on. The computer-savvy /. community may be perfectly fine with a menu-based interface, but I've heard from tons of people that love the ribbon UI. I'm on the side of slashdotters but i'm still welcome to seeing a new interface for OOo. The one that they have now is still somewhat pathetic and filled with buttons that at first glance make little sense. The great thing about ribbon is that although it still uses the same meaningless icons, at least it gives them some context to understand.

Not only that, as OOo is still playing catchup to office with a smaller market share, they have no choice but to tag along. As more users are using Office 2007 as their first office suite, they're going to find the transition back to menus even more foreign if they switch. They're not doing themselves favors by not catering to those that are familiar with the way that things are done in MSOffice.

I don't think this prototype looks that bad, but it needs a whole lot of cleanup. As long as they keep/make optional the menus and the ribbon, I'm not complaining. And they better not put in that weird globe-y thing that's at the top-left of Office (what the hell is that??). And if this isn't the case, well I'm going to get real good at LaTeX soon.

out of place in non-windows OS'es? (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962525)

Let me be the first to assure that the interface is also out of place in Windows OS'es. I'm still at a loss to figure out exactly what functionality that new interface added to Office. It did require us to purchase all new manuals and devote a considerable amount of time to retraining our users. Perhaps that was the "goal"?

Re:out of place in non-windows OS'es? (1)

haifastudent (1267488) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962723)

Let me be the first to assure that the interface is also out of place in Windows OS'es. I'm still at a loss to figure out exactly what functionality that new interface added to Office. It did require us to purchase all new manuals and devote a considerable amount of time to retraining our users. Perhaps that was the "goal"?

First of all, TFM is available for free here:
http://documentation.openoffice.org/manuals/ [openoffice.org]

Seceond of all, for non-trained users, the Ribbon is easier to use. So long as the menu-driven interface is optional (whether is it the default or not) then power users can continue as they always have.

Re:out of place in non-windows OS'es? (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962847)

Okay, write the instructions for making your paper double spaced in office 2007.

Foot meet mouth.

Re:out of place in non-windows OS'es? (2, Informative)

Abreu (173023) | more than 4 years ago | (#28963017)

Open document, select text to be double-spaced, click on the lower right corner of the square named "paragraph", select "double spacing" in the third section of the menu that pops up.

There, it wasn't so hard, was it?

Re:out of place in non-windows OS'es? (2, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962727)

I think the goal had nothing to do with selling manuals, or greater usability, or anything practical.

The goal was to make the new version of Office seem "different" so that people would justify spending lots of cash on it.

Small, incremental, behind-the-scenes upgrades to a product, while truly valuable, just don't get the same "I got something for my money" reaction that a UI change does.

In short, the ribbon was a marketing ploy.

Re:out of place in non-windows OS'es? (2, Interesting)

blincoln (592401) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962797)

Let me be the first to assure that the interface is also out of place in Windows OS'es. I'm still at a loss to figure out exactly what functionality that new interface added to Office.

My theory is that it's another step in the bizarre UI design model that MS seems to have come up with, where the Windows UI is the same across every type of device (desktops, servers, tablets, handheld PCs, cellphones, etc.).

It began with them putting the Start menu on handhelds and cellphones, which IMO was a stupid idea. Something like the Start menu is useful on desktops because you have a mouse to navigate with *and* you are very likely to end up with a ton of software installed that requires a navigation hierarchy instead of a flat list. On a mobile device it slows the user down and adds unnecessary complexity.

The ribbon is the next step. IMO the ribbon UI would make a lot of sense for a device with a touchscreen, because it's much more friendly to fingers than a traditional menu. But on a desktop? It's a huge waste of screen real-estate, and it shows because so many of the functions I use in Office don't fit into the ribbon and I have to get to them in some new and stupid way now.

They're working on something similar with their current/next wave of server applications. The management consoles for them all use a model that would work very well for a simple touchscreen app but is infuriating as a server GUI because it doesn't take advantage of e.g. having a mouse.

Basically it seems like they're going for a lowest-common-denominator approach that's not going to make anyone happy. UIs that are tailored to take advantage of a platform's strengths are much better, and exceptions (like crazy people who want to manage their servers from a tablet on a regular basis) can be dealt with as such instead of making everyone else pay the price.

One of the main reasons I use OO now... (0, Troll)

xs650 (741277) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962527)

One of the main reasons I use OO now is the ribbon on Orifice 2007.

I like OO file compatibility with MS Orifice, but please don't copy their ribbon user interface.

Re:One of the main reasons I use OO now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28962639)

One of the main reasons I use OO now is the ribbon on Orifice

that's about how much of your post I read.

just fyi.

Re:One of the main reasons I use OO now... (2, Informative)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962813)

that's about how much of your post I read.

And that's exactly how much of his post you needed to read to get his message:

1. He uses OO because it doesn't have the ribbon like Office does
2. He doesn't like Office (hence the pejorative).

Seems to me that he communicated quite effectively.

Of course, you can decide that he isn't worth reading because he pokes fun of a product. If that's the case, I feel sorry for you. Plenty of insight is draped in sarcasm or stupid name-calling.

Re:One of the main reasons I use OO now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28962655)

Heh. Man, open source software can't even be original when it sucks.

Patents? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28962529)

What about patents?

Re:Patents? (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962959)

Ribbon [wikipedia.org]

Microsoft has started the process of acquiring a patent on the ribbon user interface concept. The ribbon design guidelines are confidential and an evaluation copy is only available when a non-disclosure agreement has been signed. No patent has so far been issued. Since April 2008, the Ribbon interface is available as a Visual C++ 2008 feature.

License? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28962543)

Do you think they've read the evil part of the ribbon T&Cs where it says they won't come and get you patent-style unless you *make something which competes directly with office*??

Surely MS have not given permission for this?

(Our company was about to use the ribbon for all our crap until we read that bit - some of our stuff could arguable compete with Publisher or whatever the hell they call it nowadays)

A

Nothing More Than Mac OS Floating Toolbars (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28962545)

How did this inane idea that Microsoft 'invented' some new type of UI interface with this silly 'Ribbon' stuff.

It's nothing more than classic Mac OS era floating toolbars that are overlapped in a menu.

Re:Nothing More Than Mac OS Floating Toolbars (4, Informative)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 4 years ago | (#28963011)

What. The. Fuck.

They aren't even slightly alike. For one thing, it's attached to the window (floating toolbars *gasp* FLOAT). Floating toolbars generally didn't have multiple tabs of obtions in them-- I suppose there's no technical reason they couldn't have, but in my entire time using Classic Mac I never saw one. There's only one ribbon, where the typical Classic Mac app would have more than one floating toolbar. The ribbon has groups and a somewhat fluid grid layout, Classic Mac floating toolbars were just a simple grid.

Who modded this "Informative?" The ribbon is *nothing like* Classic Macintosh floating toolbars. The only similarity I can even think of it "they both have buttons."

Underwhelming (4, Insightful)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962551)

Its a nice idea, I guess, and I understand that if you keep it closer to that one big name competitor, then you can make it easier for people to transition, but I prefer to dedicate my limited real estate on my screen to what I'm actually trying to work on, not the tools that I can use to get the job done. I can't imagine this interface on my eeePc. I think the only thing I'll be trying out on this interface is the option to set it back to the old one.

Re:Underwhelming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28962695)

Indeed. They should have "full screen" mode that really is full screen. With possibly custom background/foreground settings. Why can't I have full screen mode with white text on black background, and -nothing- but text on the screen (not even the mouse cursor---unless I move the mouse).

Re:Underwhelming (1)

haifastudent (1267488) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962749)

Its a nice idea, I guess, and I understand that if you keep it closer to that one big name competitor, then you can make it easier for people to transition, but I prefer to dedicate my limited real estate on my screen to what I'm actually trying to work on, not the tools that I can use to get the job done. I can't imagine this interface on my eeePc. I think the only thing I'll be trying out on this interface is the option to set it back to the old one.

The default MSO 2007 installation with the Ribbon takes up _less_ screen real estate for the UI than does the default MSO 2003 with toolbar, despite the larger icons.

Re:Underwhelming (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962837)

Takes up less space overall maybe, but what about options per space used? You could have a half the size of the ribbon and say it takes up less space, but if you only put a single button on it, it is pretty useless.

Re:Underwhelming (5, Informative)

hannson (1369413) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962787)

I have a eeePC myself and I love the ribbon after I've minimized it, after that it works like a horizontal dropdown menu which is a plus because of the limited screen size. A minimized ribbon is actually smaller than menubars and toolbars. YMMV

If OO.o allows me to revert to the classic UI.. (2, Insightful)

NervousNerd (1190935) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962561)

If OpenOffice allows me to revert to the classic UI, or even a hybrid mix of the classic UI and the "ribbon-ized", then I think it's a good idea. However, if not, at least Gnumeric and AbiWord still have a sane UI.

Why is MS always aped and not OS X (3, Insightful)

sauge (930823) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962577)

I use Linux, Windows, and OS X. I have always found OS X to be the easiest of the three to use GUI-wise. Why is there such a following to a windows like interface? Go for better! 3-D, or maybe a new scheme all together. MS interfaces are just the most horrible things - stuff hidden in illogical places, five or six mouse clicks to do things... I can go on but perhaps others following will. There are other ways.

Re:Why is MS always aped and not OS X (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962717)

MS interfaces are just the most horrible things - stuff hidden in illogical places, five or six mouse clicks to do things...

Sounds like Photoshop to me (one of Apple's main selling points.) Although I've mostly used the intentionally crippled Elements.

Word is tops for a reason. I don't like the ribbon, but only because it replaces things that should be handled by hotkeys with enormous buttons taking up screen real estate. Yes, early users need them. But people shouldn't be given excuses to avoid learning basic keyboard shortcuts. I understand those who don't want Emacs. However, not using the basic CUA commands for copy+paste and print wastes a lot of time.

But, if you want people to use these things regularly, I can see why the ribbon makes sense.

Optional or not? (3, Insightful)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962583)

If the new UI is a user-selectable option, I can't see anyone having an issue with it. It may even help the adoption rate of Open Office, since it would be an easier transition for people used to MS Office.

If the new UI is the only UI, I predict a lot of yelling and screaming. Changing an existing UI is never a pleasant thing.

Re:Optional or not? (1)

rrhal (88665) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962755)

Since the ribbon interface to M$ Office 2007 sucks, and most people hate it, I would think that offering a clean ribbon free office implementation would be appealing to most office users. OpenOffice would be a natural step for most people to take so they can have their old comfortable interface back. If there is an option to turn the ribbon on I have no problem with that.

No Please no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28962585)

Don't do it.
Keeping the current styles works just fine. The Office 2007 thingy is awful and a real PITA to use

I remember that UI style (4, Interesting)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962641)

I think the program was called GeoWorks. It used a layout of icons very similar to what I saw in the screenshots. We've come full circle. The old is new again.

Re:I remember that UI style (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28962841)

It's the nature of the business. Wait for the patent to run out then take and run with it.

open sores (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28962651)

Once again the open sores community shows that it is only able to imitate, not innovate.

I'll say.. (1, Interesting)

qoncept (599709) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962653)

"... and feel that the Ribbon UI may be out of place in non-Windows operating systems."

Ya think? The Ribbon UI is out of place in Windows. With Outlook 2007 running on one of my screens, you couldn't come up to me and tell whether or not that window was in focus. It doesn't match anything else in windows, it doesn't look cool, and its a huge, huge step backward in usability. I finally gave up Office 97 for Open Office about a year ago, and now I just do my best to not have to use either because they're both complete garbage.

Re:I'll say.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28963051)

Outlook 2007 doesn't use the ribbon interface.

cue openvpn suggestions.. (-1, Offtopic)

hansraj (458504) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962657)

Before people start suggesting openvpn.. some wise guy on slashdot once pointed out that openvpn guys hijack all your google searches.

I went ahead and installed my own dns server.

If you want to install your own dns server and if you don't know much about it (like me), keep in mind that on linux /etc/resolv.conf needs to specify 127.0.0.1 as the default DNS server. Also, this file is autogenerated when your machine acquires an ip address via DHCP so writing to this file does not result in a permanent change. To make the localhost your preferred DNS server permanently you need to put "prepend domain-name-servers 127.0.0.1;" (without quotes) in /etc/dhcp3/dhclient.conf

Re:cue openvpn suggestions.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28962781)

Someone mod this guy up! He's clarified all my OO.o "ribbon" thoughts in one simple post.

Re:cue openvpn suggestions.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28962963)

Really? That's some serious ADD you've got going there...

Re:cue openvpn suggestions.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28963067)

Not only are you off topic (you mean this topic: http://tech.slashdot.org/story/09/08/05/1926257/Comcast-the-Latest-ISP-To-Try-DNS-Hijacking ), but you're wrong on the name too. Its OpenDNS, not VPN.

And yeah, they do hijack DNS too, I hate the fact that the name implies they're "open" when they're not.

Oh, dear god! (3, Insightful)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962661)

I like the Office 2007 ribbon now that I'm used to it, and the simplicity from tabbed toolbars over deep hierarchies in tall menus.

BUT... That "ribbon" in the article looks horrible! They've lost like ALL functionality but the buttons in them, and the design looks like a big step backwards. Note how Office 2007 ribbons add/remove rarely used commands as you resize the window, and crams in much more features in the space than OO.o there. I hope the end result will look nothing like in the preview. There are ribbons, and there are ribbons. :-(

What's the point? (2, Interesting)

igotmybfg (525391) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962679)

Is the Ribbon UI that groundbreaking? To me, this argues that we are just shuffling & renaming things and calling it a new version. Software word processors have been around for at least 30 years, are you really trying to tell me that this "innovation" will change everything and make me super productive? Honestly, development on this could have stopped right around when mail merge was added and I think we'd all have been fine with it.

Oh, cool... (5, Funny)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962685)

I like the ribbon, it's helped me convince people to use Open Office.

Wait, what? Ah, shit...

Keep this thing off my netbook (1)

pmontra (738736) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962699)

I could consider using it on my 1680x1050 notebook but not on my 1024x600 netbook: it's either the ribbon or the document, and I value the document more than the ribbon. I really hope there is the option to keep using the old menu system and that they think about small displays.

Re:Keep this thing off my netbook (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962907)

Perhaps this is why netbooks keep increasing in size... Not enough room for "branding" the screen with useless ui components.

Nice Feature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28962753)

I personally like the ribbon-like interface. All it comes out to be is tabs for toolbars. If Micro$oft were the first to come out with tabs for IE, I think everyone would be giving Mozilla a stink about including tabs on Firefox. I usually don't support Micro$oft, but hey, they can produce some quality products every now and then. So quit your whining!

Open Office stealing "features" from Microsoft? (1)

ocip (200888) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962761)

Open Office is to Microsoft Office as Microsoft Windows is to ...

Re:Open Office stealing "features" from Microsoft? (1)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962893)

Open Office is to Microsoft Office as Microsoft Windows is to ...

Everything else?

As long as they make it optional I'm ok with it. (4, Insightful)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962765)

When I started rolling out Office 2007 at a company I used to work for I was asked, often, if the ribbon could be disabled. I went to the office support site (which is something Microsoft actually has right) and started watching training videos to see which ones I should suggest to users. The first thing the video said when addressing the ribbon was you were stuck with it, can't turn it off.

I personally prefer OpenOffice.org. I have a copy of Office 2008 for my Mac that I was given, I don't even have it installed now that I don't have that job anymore, I prefer using Neo Office on my Mac, and OpenOffice.org on my Linux machines.

That being said - the interface is fine, as long as it's optional, I'm all about customization and user preference.

Re:As long as they make it optional I'm ok with it (1)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962973)

I use AbiWord because gedit/wordpad just don't quite cut it sometimes.

What? Some people need to type things to be printed out, occasionally but don't give a rat's ass about fucking presentations, spreadsheets or all that other bullshit nonsense business people desperately require for their organization.

The current model needs to be brutally eliminated and rebuilt from the ground up. Outlook is a demon with no master and email are its hatred, incarnate.

alright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28962783)

Let's go KOffice!

There's always Symphony (1)

itomato (91092) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962827)

Which is better anyway.

Better behaved, better looking, and less '1995' than OO.o 3. Still uses much of the same code, still shows up as 'swriter', but smoothed out a little, so's it won't kill yo sef, but it sho will make yo ugly.

Here come the haters (5, Interesting)

bigredradio (631970) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962911)

I know there will be a lot of "haters" regarding this. However, if the hopes of smoothly transitioning users from MS Office to OpenOffice it will need to give an option to have a similar look and feel.

To transition non-tech employees to Linux, I used an XP theme on Ubuntu. http://ubuntu.online02.com/node/14 [online02.com]

The transition was flawless.

Besides, I wonder how much money was spent by Microsoft on usability studies to come up with this interface. How much money has been spent on usability studies for OpenOffice? Might turn out to be a better way to work in the long run. Just because it is MS does not necessarily mean it is sh*t. That just seems to be the default.

Luckily... (1)

bhunachchicken (834243) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962949)

... a number of other OSS word processors support Open Document, so it'll be easy to just move over to one of those. KWord would be a good choice, since it runs on Linux, Mac and Windows, and the KDE developers would never do anything so radical and alienate their core users.

Oh... wait...

It was a good idea, now find a better one ... (1)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962955)

The ribbon is a good idea because it accomplishes the following:

(a) It makes features more visible. Features are easier to discover when they are visible and have multiple representations (such as text and icons).

(b) It cleans up the user interface. The ribbon cleans up the user interface by combining the menu and button bar representations into a unified representation.

(c) It encourages a workflow. Document are created in stages, since things early editing and early formatting can hinder productivity. By grouping tools by function then maintaining the visibility of those tools in a modal manner, a workflow is encouraged.

That being said, this interface is patented and could probably use some work. OpenOffice.org also has deeper user interface and feature implementation problems than it's top-level menus and toolbars. So maybe they should work on fixing existing problems and then exploring novel interfaces.

informative Go4tGoat (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28962975)

it's going, Come on baby...and resound as fitting Future. Even its readers and with THOUSANDS of asshole to others 'You see, even LATER SSEN IN As WideOpen, Racist? How is Personal rivalries Website Third, you To yet another resound as fitting another charnel DO AND DOING WHAT NIGGER community incompatibilities itself. You can't during which I suffering *BSD this is consistent 486/66 with 8 need to scream that was in the tea I is the worst off contributed code Lube or we sell philosophies must over the same World. GNAA members have left in Don't want to feel Distended. All I list of other To the politically it attempts to Usenet posts. reciprocating Project. Today, as luck I'll find WAS AFTER A LONG centralized models in ratio of 5 to turned over to yet Deliver. Some of Satan's Dick And All our times have

Looks Useful (4, Interesting)

fast turtle (1118037) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962993)

Blasphemy you say!! Well I'm an Office 2007 user so I know what the damn ribbon looks like. From what I can see is that they took the idea behind the ribbon of grouping commonly used features into clusters and unlike MS they went with large enough Icons with decent contrast to be easily visable on a high rez monitor (1280x1024+) like what I use.

So before everyone goes apeshit about this proposed change, take the damn time and actually compare the stinking ribbon with this and you'll see that the change doesn't resemble the ribbon. What I'd like to see is this being offered as an optional customization for those who appreciate its usefulness.

OSS Criticism (3, Insightful)

Ohio Calvinist (895750) | more than 4 years ago | (#28962995)

One of the most frequent criticisms I often hear regarding FOSS is that the applications don't "look and feel" like the OS or other software in the ecosystem. They don't always use the system-default Save/Open dialogs, menu style and common controls and for a lot of users, like it or not, gives the perception of out-of-placeness or inferior. Firefox is a prime example where going out of the way to fit into the UI based on the OS has helped user-comfort and therefore adoption.

If Windows 7 is going to implement the ribbon system-wide, it makes sense that OO.org would minimally make this an option, if not the default on the Windows release, even though I am amongst those who are not fans of the ribbon.

Obnoxious - Horrid (1)

StormReaver (59959) | more than 4 years ago | (#28963025)

The ribbon interface on Microsoft Office is merely obnoxious and overly complex, but having it in Open Office would bring obnoxious to a whole new level of horrid. Scrap the ribbon idea, put down the Crack pipe, and we'll all pretend like it never happened.

Copying bad features is bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28963031)

What's next, copying the security holes?

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