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OpenOffice Tops 21% Market Share In Germany

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the camel's-head-and-neck dept.

Software 252

hweimer writes "A novel study analyzes the installed base of various office packages among German users. (Here is the original study report in German and a Google translation.) While Microsoft Office comes out top (72%), open source rival OpenOffice is already installed on 21.5% of all PCs and growing. The authors use a clever method to determine the installed office suites of millions of web users: they look for the availability of characteristic fonts being shipped with the various suites. What surprised me the most is that they found hardly any difference in the numbers for home and business users."

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252 comments

methodology? (1, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005522)

What surprised me the most is that they found hardly any difference in the numbers for home and business users."

That's probably because of a flaw in the methodology. Also, this study isn't a representative sample -- a lot of businesses don't allow internet access. Perhaps they are more likely to use one office package over another. This study is interesting, but hardly robust.

Re:methodology? (1)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005676)

Or it could be that the same people using OpenOffice at home/work are influenced by their experience and go on to use it at work/home. I know I do--I installed OpenOffice on my work computer because I use it at home and needed to be compatible. Now I use both of them at the same time for their different strengths. (MS Excel is still much better at rendering plots of huge data sets, but OpenOffice Calc can be more convenient to format data from different sources.)

Re:methodology? (1)

Galactic Dominator (944134) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006158)

It's been a long time since I walked into an office environment without internet access. Seems like a good portion of even the run-down, niche-market small businesses even have a hotspot. I think it's a stretch to make your assertion "a lot of businesses don't allow internet access".

Re:methodology? (0)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006246)

It's been a long time since I walked into an office environment without internet access. Seems like a good portion of even the run-down, niche-market small businesses even have a hotspot. I think it's a stretch to make your assertion "a lot of businesses don't allow internet access".

I didn't say it wasn't almost always available... just that they don't want you using it for other than business purposes. Which could skew the results of the survey. That's my only assertion... I'm not trying to claim to know what the policies of a few thousand businesses are, and what the average internet use of each of those looks like... just saying, those policies could bias the result and the researchers have taken no steps to address that.

Re:methodology? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31006338)

Darn, I was about to argue against your point, but I couldn't find a flaw in your argument.

Good one.

Re:methodology? (1, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006628)

Darn, I was about to argue against your point, but I couldn't find a flaw in your argument.

I know. I'm scared too.

Re:methodology? (1)

Lissajous (989738) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007072)

Gee - I guess you don't go into a bank that often.

Re:methodology? (1)

moronoxyd (1000371) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007168)

Being German and doing IT support for two of the biggest german companies, I beg to differ.
Yes, almost any company does have internet access. But only a fraction of its employees can use the internet unrestricted. Many can only access certain sites or none at all.

But then again: Even on the machines of the employees that have internet access, many of the security features of IE *shudder* are activated, so that those machines probably don't participate in the study.

Re:methodology? (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006448)

Not to mention the amount of times its installed but not used.

We pre-install OOo with all new PCs, however most people also buy MS Office as well.

Re:methodology? (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006678)

however most people also buy MS Office as well.

Thus proving most people are idiots, since most of them don't need Microsoft Office for macro compatibility.

Re:methodology? (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007212)

Yup, I use OOo on all my PCs (yes, even a tablet pc) for writing and formatting :)

Save to PDF == win.

OpenOffice Tops 21% of My Dick (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31005530)

What, being first post and all.

Re:OpenOffice Tops 21% of My Dick (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31005580)

This failed first post brought to you by the GNAA.

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If you answered "yes" to at least two of the above questions, then the GNAA might be what you've been looking for!

Repeat... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31005552)

Didn't we already have this story today?

Re:Repeat... (2, Informative)

quangdog (1002624) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006590)

You must be new here....

Gee...maybe (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005556)

> "...What surprised me the most is that they found hardly any difference in the numbers for home and business users."

Wow...you are one easy-t-please individual - would you also be surprised if you found out they are one and the same...?

I wouldn't....and you wouldn't either if you were one of them.

Re:Gee...maybe (2, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005652)

Wow...you are one easy-t-please individual - would you also be surprised if you found out they are one and the same...?

Well, that's rather prejudiced! Germans know how to separate home and work life, and as soon as I find one, I'll give you an example.

Re:Gee...maybe (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006964)

As soon as you find what? a german, a home, a work, or a life?

If you consider... (4, Insightful)

brennanw (5761) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005570)

... that StarOffice was a wildly popular office suite in Germany in the 90s (before Sun bought the code), I'm surprised the percentage isn't higher.

Re:If you consider... (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005770)

You can still buy WordPerfect, but that doesn't have a lot of bearing on today's usage.

Re:If you consider... (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006336)

It does in Utah. ):

Re:If you consider... (2, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005822)

That’s reeealy long ago. Also, most people do not know at all, that they are related.
Plus, I find OpenOffice to be a badly-designed sluggishly slow and crappy Office suite. Different than MS Office, but not better or worse.

The reason is, that they both are waaaayyy over their maximum lifespan. They should have had a complete rewrite about 5-10 years ago.
Until that is going to happen, they will become more and more the upside-down pyramid of software design, that killed pre-NT Windows with ME.

Or in short: It needs a revolution. (And I’m on to one, actually.)

Re:If you consider... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31006446)

... that StarOffice was a wildly popular office suite in Germany in the 90s.

David Hasselhoff is popular in Germany too. I'm not sure that proves anything.

Re:If you consider... (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007052)

Was. Just after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Back then the Germans were so euphoric that pretty much any happy song back then became popular. The current generation probably doesn't even know who David Hasselhoff is.

99% of non-techie readers would say "open what?" (0, Flamebait)

mykos (1627575) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005574)

This survey is a pretty big pill to swallow. I am pretty sure that nearly all the non-IT people I know would have no idea what Open Office was, and I'm sure there are many others who would feel the same here on Slashdot.

Of course, anecdotal evidence isn't a great benchmark, but come on...

Re:99% of non-techie readers would say "open what? (1, Flamebait)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005704)

So you admit that your opinion is worth even less than a flawed survey of actual users? Thanks for sharing.

I have seen OpenOffice gaining plenty of market share--frequently installed alongside MS Office on campus computers and such. It's true that non-techie people are still clueless, but the ranks of the techies are getting larger with every generation. So there's some anecdotal evidence to counteract your anecdotal evidence, and we're back to square one.

Oh, and don't forget those markets in which Linux has a large market share (like China) where OpenOffice is one of the only viable options.

Re:99% of non-techie readers would say "open what? (1)

mykos (1627575) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005856)

That statement was made tongue-in-cheek. No need to flame.

Re:99% of non-techie readers would say "open what? (1)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005898)

Sorry about that, so was mine, I didn't mean to come off quite so serious.

Cheers!

Re:99% of non-techie readers would say "open what? (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007124)

The vast majority of my friends are not tech savy. Many of them use open office. I'd put it at around the 30%. Those that don't use it, know what it is. I'm not aware of any personal contacts that do not know what it is.

Forget openoffice (2, Informative)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005600)

I use neooffice on my mac!!!!!!

This is Oracle's OpenOffice now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31005744)

Quote from Neooffice.org:
We have created an office suite that is adapted to the unique needs of Mac users by taking the features in Oracle's OpenOffice.org office suite and adding improvements

I know they bought SUN but do they "own" (as in possessive form) the OpenOffice?

I have introduced a lot of people to OO.org (3, Interesting)

MarkWatson (189759) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005606)

I have used OO.org to write several books, and it is what I recommend to people.

That said, I prefer Latex :-)

Re:I have introduced a lot of people to OO.org (5, Interesting)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005806)

I maintain a 500 page RPG rules book with Ooo which has complex layout, cross referencing, tons of graphics (going to OOo shrank the size of the documents by 75% because of how I could treat the graphics).

I went to OOo because 2007 would NOT print the 2003 version of the documents.

The first document took me about 8 hours to convert.

It finally dropped to about 2 hours to convert 100 pages.

First thing was to set up default styles, ( finally had a template document which I just opened empty and pasted the content into).

Then I would rip out all the sections and put them back in manually (it's mostly dual column but with occasional single column for headers and the conversion engine created sectioning which was way to complex).

The toughest thing for me to solve each time was 1-3% of the graphics which were at the top right corner of the page. They would float incorrectly and randomly until I nailed them down.

I can't see going back to Word now. Even at $10 for a legitimate corporate user, home copy.

Re:I have introduced a lot of people to OO.org (1)

sapphire wyvern (1153271) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005864)

Which book?

Re:I have introduced a lot of people to OO.org (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006548)

Since you have some experience could you then answer me this. How do I set it up so that I can add chapters with the chapter title in the top right like a normal book? I can set it up so that the header has a title in the top right however it would be the same for every page in the whole document.

Re:I have introduced a lot of people to OO.org (1)

udippel (562132) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007152)

We also wrote a book, completely in OpenOffice. I can only suggest you go and buy it; and, yes, it has the main chapter title in the left header, and the sub-chapter title in the right header. Automagically; offered by OpenOffice. I hope you can forgive me for not remembering; I did it once, and we've been having it ever since. Ask the very helpful forum, if you don't find it in the help file.
And this is the book:
http://www.stauffenburg.de/asp/books.asp?id=1112 [stauffenburg.de]

Re:I have introduced a lot of people to OO.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31006778)

Have to say, that I prefer my gal on the pill, but hey, to each their own.

Newsflash: Linux users install fonts, too! (2, Insightful)

Alan426 (962302) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005622)

What about everyone who installs msttcorefonts [sourceforge.net] for compatibility? Not to mention all the other random fonts [mondaybynoon.com] you have to accumulate to open documents?

Re:Newsflash: Linux users install fonts, too! (1)

clarkn0va (807617) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006026)

My thoughts exactly. But considering that they must have a way to also distinguish Windows users with MS Office from Windows users without, it stands to reason that MS Office must install fonts that aren't normally present in a Windows installation, which is what you would presumably get with msttcorefonts. Surely somebody has read the article and can clear up all this conjecture and confusion? :P

Re:Newsflash: Linux users install fonts, too! (2, Interesting)

Japher (887294) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006280)

I don't speak or read German, so I'm relying on the Google translation and a little intuition here, so please bear with me.

They mention testing for the Open Symbol font as the indicator for an OpenOffice install. Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't most Linux boxes come with Open Symbol installed? I know Debian does. How can they know that OpenOffice installed the font? I have a laptop on which I have never installed OpenOffice, but I do have XMing and it's font package. Guess what... my system has Open Symbol.

Take that along with the fact that they admit an error of +/-10% in the Microsoft numbers and it's clear that this study is seriously flawed.

Even if the font they're checking for could only have come from an OpenOffice install, the best they can say is that 21% of the computers had OpenOffice installed on them at one point. There is absolutely no guarantee that it wasn't removed but left the fonts behind.

I also couldn't find any information about the website they used to collect data. They could have a HUGE sampling bias here. What if, for example, the web site promotes open source software? Or is a resource for programmers and developers? Those users are far more likely to have OpenOffice installed than the average user.

Take this study with a grain of salt.

Re:Newsflash: Linux users install fonts, too! (1)

mvdwege (243851) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006862)

don't most Linux boxes come with Open Symbol installed? I know Debian does.

No it doesn't. Open Symbol is a dependency of openoffice.org-core, so by default it only comes with an OpenOffice.org install.

Mart

Panopticlick? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31005666)

This same data could be mined from what is collected by EFF's Panopticlick. Would be interesting at the very least...

Problem is (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005698)

The problem I see with OOo is that it is marketed and used as "hey, there is a free (as in beer) MS Office clone!" rather than "Hey, this is better than MS Office" but the problem is the second statement isn't true. Firefox won out over IE not by "hey, we have a clone of IE" but by being -better- than IE.

Re:Problem is (2, Insightful)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005840)

The problem I see with OOo is that it is marketed and used as "hey, there is a free (as in beer) MS Office clone!" rather than "Hey, this is better than MS Office" but the problem is the second statement isn't true.

I'd say OOo is already better than MS Office because it doesn't have those annoyingly stupid ribbons. What a way to complicate usage - makes it difficult to find anything. (I have to use the MS version at work, unfortunately - damned SOE's.)

If OOo *ever* gets ribbons I'll stomp on the feet of the developer who added them!

Re:Problem is (2, Insightful)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005916)

All ribbons did was take the menus and turn them into tabs, then the items buried under the menus are now out in the open once you select the tab. Most normal people actually find the ribbon much easier to use because they (and I as well) never wasted the countless hours to memorize how many menus deep you had to go to find X rarely used feature. Now X rarely used feature is out in the open once you select the tab for what general thing you're trying to do - no more digging for it.

Re:Problem is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31006006)

Great, so what if I get X rarely used feature when A, B, C, D, E, F and G commonly used features are hidden away? There's a reason why rarely used features are hidden away... to give more screen real estate to commonly used features!

Re:Problem is (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31006310)

But in the menu system they aren't given more real estate. Everything is hidden away, just more or less based on one idea of what is more important.

I tend to use a small subset of features frequently. The subsets may change depending on what task I am currently doing with the document (Formatting, Layout, Revision, etc) and the ribbon tabs allow all the features I will be using for one task to be clearly visible on the screen without any other features I don't use.

That's the part that makes the ribbon user friendly. You can make your own ribbons with your own sets of features that you use, and it already has standard ones for the most obvious tasks. A feature most people never use may just be a feature that someone uses all the time. Why shouldn't that person be able to give more real estate to that feature?

It doesn't have to be a 'ribbon' or a 'menu' but MS has given individual users control over what features they see and where instead of just telling their customers 'there's a reason your feature is 6 menus deep, it's because you're not important enough to us'

I doubt that most users care how features are delivered to them, as long as the features they want are the most accessible for them.

Re:Problem is (4, Informative)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006626)

All ribbons did was take the menus and turn them into tabs, then the items buried under the menus are now out in the open once you select the tab.

That's a notorious lie and people should really stop parroting it! No, a lot of commands are not now available, at least not through the ribbons. And worst is, you can't even add them to the ribbons, even if you know they exist (and they do, because you can find them when you try to add buttons to the button bar, which however the new Office discourages you from using).

So please, just fucking stop repeating this mantra that you can access all the commands through the ribbon - any even slightly advanced user of Word or Excel knows that's bullshit on a popsicle stick.

Re:Problem is (1)

tokul (682258) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006662)

Most normal people actually find the ribbon much easier to use because they (and I as well)

Overgeneralization - assumption that you are like most of people.

Most of Office users used older Office versions. They are used to menus. Ribbon wastes screen space. It might provide shortcuts for people, who use 10% of office features, but the moment people start using other 90%, they are confronted f###ing ribbon trying to hide features from them and preventing efficient use of those features.

Re:Problem is (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007108)

Overgeneralization - assumption that you are like most of people.

No, my "assumption" is from deploying Office 2007 as a replacement for Office 2003 at multiple companies and hearing user feedback.

Trees have outlived their usefulness (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006780)

I find no noticeable difference between menus and the ribbon as far as finding stuff. One still has to learn where the options are to find them fast. A better approach when you have gazillion options would be a quick text search of options where you can type in a small portion of a word(s). Mini-Google, if you will. If you cannot find your option, you can add your own synonym so that your word works the next time. Maybe common synonyms can be sent back to HQ where they are incorporated into the next version. Easier-to-customize tool-bars would also help. There's a point in feature quantity where hierarchical menus and ribbons are the wrong tool for the job.

Re:Problem is (2, Informative)

jacquems (610184) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007028)

The ribbon is fine for average users; it has the tasks that average users need to do on an average day. However, the REALLY rare tasks are now so hidden that I had to enable the Developer tab to be able to do things like work with templates. As a professional user (I'm a technical writer. We mainly use Framemaker, but sometimes have to use Word for some documents), I find the ribbon horrible inconvenient.

Re:Problem is (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006092)

I bitched about the ribbons and having everything moved around, but after getting used to it, I'd say that it's a better UI than the old office. I don't have to go digging through some sub-sub-menu to find what I want. Almost everything the average user will need is immediately available on the ribbon. I have some disagreements over which tab certain items are place on, but for the most part it's a fairly sane design.

Compared to all of the other problems that Word (Or any other MS Office application.) has, the ribbon is the least of my reasons to dislike the software. For whatever reason they make it an absolute pain in the ass to mix portrait and landscape pages together and have functional page numbering. Yeah, yeah, it's not a layout editor, but the majority of graduate students do their thesis in Word and it's a pain to support because it fails to 'just work' in so many ways.

Open Office would be a better product if they used the same UI. For people like you who prefer the old method or can't be bothered to learn the new ones they can provide the classic view. Everybody wins.

Re:Problem is (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006588)

Open Office would be a better product if they used the same UI.

I don't think it's possible because Microsoft has some patents on it, however I'd rather not. Not because I think the ribbon design is bad but because I'd like to see Open Office innovate and come out with something better like firefox did for tabbed browsing.

Re:Problem is (0)

schnablebg (678930) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007194)

Firefox did not invent tabbed browsing and OO will never be anything more than a buggy clone of MS Office 2003. I want to like but I just can't. MS Office is a very good product.

Re:Problem is (3, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006038)

The problem I see with OOo is that it is marketed and used as "hey, there is a free (as in beer) MS Office clone!" rather than "Hey, this is better than MS Office"

It's not going to be "better" than MS Office as long as .doc remains the de facto format. There are headhunters who require .doc resumes, entire departments who use only .doc, and there are professors who require .doc assignment submissions.

One infuriating "feature" of OOo is the inability to permanently disable that annoying auto-numbering and auto-bulleting. The help and searches reveal that you have to manually turn one or the other off each time it thinks you want a list when you don't. It's especially annoying for writing code-style, where tabs and indents are done manually.

And, in Math, formulas don't render correctly when converted to .doc, at least not when printed from a Windows computer. Multiplication symbols show up as hollow checkboxes. It's impossible to use superscripts and subscripts simultaneously, as when using chemical symbols (in before "use TeX").

Re:Problem is (1)

onefriedrice (1171917) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006046)

Firefox won out over IE not by "hey, we have a clone of IE" but by being -better- than IE.

It also helps that the government seems to be actively engaged in getting people to ditch IE. In other parts of the world, the uptake of Firefox has been slow at best and has stalled in some cases. Frowny face.

Re:Problem is (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006268)

Or the recommendations of government just reflect position on the issue of large enough portion of society (you know that govs are ultimatelly a reflection of society, right?).

Alternative browsers (yes, not only FF; Opera is big for example here and there) gained large market share in Europe organically; some governments actively engaged in getting people to ditch IE only after there was considerable enough number of people for this idea to break through.

Re:Problem is (1)

onefriedrice (1171917) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006608)

Or the recommendations of government just reflect position on the issue of large enough portion of society (you know that govs are ultimatelly a reflection of society, right?).

Yeah, I just didn't know I had to state the obvious. None of that is at odds with the fact that government policies and announcements undoubtedly have helped adoption of alternative browsers in Germany. I would never say that this is a the most significant cause, but, like I said, it helps.

Re:Problem is (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006062)

I see this with both the GIMP and OOo. People market them as Photoshop or OOo clones. However, they are not. Marketing them as clones always puts them forever into catchup mode, trailing Microsoft or Adobe.

I'm not a dedicated artist, so for what I do, the GIMP is an excellent tool. It does what I need it to, be it resizing pictures, changing formats, some basic touch-up work.

OOo is similar. Base is an excellent utility for small database applications (I use it for names/character/places for my SF writings.)

The key is to offer the product as another tool for the job. For example, for a bolt, I can use a socket wrench, a crescent wrench, an adjustable wrench, or a set of pliers. Open Office should be pitched as a crescent wrench to extract a bolt. Not a socket wrench clone. Different type of tool, but the job gets done (ceteris paribus.)

Re:Problem is (4, Insightful)

ratboy666 (104074) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006106)

But... openoffice.org is better than ms office. And, it's not an ms office clone.

Right now, I am giving presentations with impress. Slides to the projector, and my presenter screen on the laptop has the slide, the next slide, presenters notes and a clock.

openoffice.org actually runs on the platforms I use (Solaris and Linux).

openoffice.org integrates with LaTex.

openoffice.org offers PDF/A-1a export. openoffice.org font selection shows the font in the pulldown. (maybe recent MS stuff does these things too -- but MS needed to catch up).

Since openoffice.org runs on Solaris and Linux, and MS Office doesn't, it's absolutely a no-brainer. openoffice.org is better.

Re:Problem is (1)

plague911 (1292006) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006356)

The difference is that you have to pay more to have Microsoft office on your computer where Open office is free. Vs a kinda free IE and a free Firefox. Those are significant differences.

Re:Problem is (1)

zaivala (887815) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006652)

Hey, if OpenOffice.org actually worked as better than or even ALMOST equal to M$ Office, everyone at the small epublishing company I work for would be using it. But we have spent MANY hours having to fix OOo documents that just don't work in Word, and have had to require M$ Word. And when we report the bugs, OOo tells us they are not interested in fixing it. I WANT to use OOo. I simply can't, it makes my work MUCH harder. I am happy for those of you who don't have any problems with it. Usually the only way that I can effectively use an OOo DOC or RTF is to convert it to TXT, open it in Word, and add the formatting back in. I am one of dozens of people I know who want OOo to work, and they have thumbed their noses at us and others. I would not need to use a Windoze machine at all if the open-doc office package was available that actually could be used. (Amazingly, AbiWord has fewer problems -- ad KOffice more-- and Ashampoo Office (for Windoze) even fewer, but still not quite good enough.)

Re:Problem is (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006748)

Being "better" doesn't really matter in most cases.
MSOffice itself was never better than wordperfect, it was just cheaper and better marketed and look what happened there. OO is already cheaper, but it isn't well marketed right now. Start pushing it heavily and businesses will switch if only to save money.

Re:Problem is (1)

mvdwege (243851) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006894)

"Hey, [OOo] is better than MS Office" but the problem is [this] statement isn't true.

In what way is it not better? Simply asserting that it isn't is not enough. How about some backup on that assertion?

Personally, I think it is horrible, but MS Office is worse. At least OOWriter encourages formatting through styles a lot more, and handles complex formatting in longer documents better, to give just an example.

Mart

All about the fonts, baby (4, Funny)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005732)

That's right. As long as Microsoft controls Zapf Wingdings, OpenOffice will never take off.

bloatware vs. bloatware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31005746)

Both suites were smaller and arguably better six years ago. At a certain point, Fred Brooks ("The Mythical Man Month") gets called in to apply his laws.

If you think THAT'S something.. (1)

Reed Solomon (897367) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005790)

... Just wait until the David Hasselhoff special edition is released.

Information leakage (2, Informative)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005796)

they look for the availability of characteristic fonts being shipped with the various suites.

I love that my web browser can broadcast which office suite I am using.

Re:Information leakage (1)

nyctopterus (717502) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007148)

Actually, it's Java and Flash, not your browser per se, but yeah it's a bit disturbing.

Getting through the university barrier in the US (2, Informative)

hedgemage (934558) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005892)

I was perfectly happy using OpenOffice for all my home needs, but then when I started up a master's program, I could digitally submit assignments (depending on the prof) for most of my courses. The only problem was that even though I would save things in OpenOffice so that they would be readable on MS products, not a single one of my professors could get them to open, and weren't really interested in going through any additional steps aside from double-clicking to open them up. So, because I needed to submit deliverables in a format that they could read, I was forced to purchase MS Office. Ribbons bleh.

Re:Getting through the university barrier in the U (3, Insightful)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005932)

If they couldn't open your documents then either one of you were screwing things up - perhaps they only had Office 2003 and you were saving as .docx? I've sent files back and forth between MS Office and Open Office with no problems plenty of times.

Re:Getting through the university barrier in the U (2, Insightful)

plague911 (1292006) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006372)

Open office and Microsoft office have significant formatting differences. Ive had 0 success loading saving a file in OO and having it look the same in Microsoft office. Additionally ive tried several builds of OO and I have again had significant problems with saving in OO and having it open the same the next day in OO...

Re:Getting through the university barrier in the U (1)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006708)

Interesting - you didn't submit the document back to OOo did you? Because if you did, that might actually be useful!

In my experience, I've been using OOo for years. It's damned nice software, and works well for me on Windows, Mac, and Linux with minimal issues. It's true, documents saved in either MSWord or OOo will look a little different in the other. Fonts will be different, spacing a little different, etc.

But I've successfully edited/saved documents back and forth with a Word user, highlighting text, bullet points, and the whole works with very little problem while negotiating contracts. I question the trouble that you mention. I've never had OOo fail to open a document created therein, but have a number of times "recovered" documents that Word couldn't open but OOo could!

Re:Getting through the university barrier in the U (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31006832)

I've seen the crap that some people put together in Word or whatever and the documents don't open in Word or Open Office. However, repairing one of these in OO is possible but in Word, forget it... 10 minutes in OO produces something that prints. 30 min in Word produces nothing but garbage.

Really, all these people that have trouble are probably doing something bizarre, like using spaces to tab, or returns to get to the next page. Formatting goes wonky really fast with goofy methods.

That said, I never have a problem with Notepad documents. They always print what's there.

Re:Getting through the university barrier in the U (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31005964)

PDF?

Re:Getting through the university barrier in the U (5, Informative)

iammani (1392285) | more than 4 years ago | (#31005978)

Why not submit them as PDFs? They can open it in any platform and it will appear as I intended. Besides it would make you look cool.

Its working fine for me at my university.

Re:Getting through the university barrier in the U (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31006064)

simple. word counts.
universities often require writing intensive courses to have x amount of word written a semester. professor will often dock major points (being 100 words under for 15 hundred word document can fail you) if they can't just see how many words are in a paper at a glance.

that and he plagarism checker databases like turnitin lack the ability to parse anything but word files. hence you see why many universities just tell students to shut up and buy MS office.

(I personally think its stupid and counterproductive)

Re:Getting through the university barrier in the U (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006404)

Well, that certainly wouldn't fly in Germany, with their compound nouns. For example (yes, extreme one ;) )

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rinderkennzeichnungs-_und_Rindfleischetikettierungsuberwachungsaufgabenubertragungsgesetz [wikipedia.org]

BTW, do those word-counting universities have a stated goal of "simplifying" the language? Are they the same bitching about poor literacy of students?

Re:Getting through the university barrier in the U (2, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006544)

BTW, do those word-counting universities have a stated goal of "simplifying" the language? Are they the same bitching about poor literacy of students?

In the American university setting they're about bloating, not simplifying. They wouldn't use word count as a metric if they cared about the clarity and substance of what was written.

Re:Getting through the university barrier in the U (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007042)

Yes, though to me the aspect of it that promotes long, monotonous forms which could be gotten rid of with one or few precise, but uncommon words or constructs can be adequatly descibed as oversimplication. Of the clarity-harming kind, too; for lack of better words to descrive it ;p (luckily I have a good excuse, not being a native EN speaker)

Re:Getting through the university barrier in the U (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007186)

Please tell us about your synergy and paradigms and being in the ballpark. And lean manufacturing with your SCRUM mastery.

Re:Getting through the university barrier in the U (5, Informative)

esmrg (869061) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006514)

plagarism checker databases like turnitin lack the ability to parse anything but word files

I didn't believe this statement so I looked it up.
According to their student guide at http://www.turnitin.com/resources/documentation/turnitin/training/en_us/qs_student_en_us.pdf [turnitin.com]

At the top of page 2:
" We accept submissions in these formats: MS Word, WordPerfect, RTF, PDF, PostScript, HTML, and plain text (.txt)"

So while I think plagiarism checkers are kind of a waste of resources, your statement is still false.

Re:Getting through the university barrier in the U (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31006530)

That's terrible... At my university "word count" is meant as a guideline only, you don't have any issues unless you're over/under by like 500 words. Even then we are told that as long what we have written is quality work it doesn't matter too much if it's under/over the word count.

Your statement about TurnItIn not accepting PDFs is incorrect, they have done so for at least as long as I have been at university (4 years). From their website:

Turnitin currently accepts the following file types for submission: MS Word (.doc), WordPerfect (.wpd), PostScript (.eps), Portable Document Format (.pdf), HTML (.htm), Rich Text (.rtf) and Plain Text (.txt). All files submitted to Turnitin must be text based. Papers which have been scanned must be sent through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software before they can be submitted to Turnitin

I'm pretty sure it calculates the word count and shows it to you before you submit it regardless of the format it is submitted in and that the lecturers/professors can see this when they open the document.

Granted there's many other reasons to disapprove of TurnItIn.

Re:Getting through the university barrier in the U (1)

Macrat (638047) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006022)

PDF?

Re:Getting through the university barrier in the U (2, Interesting)

amiga500 (935789) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006172)

I managed to complete a post-graduate course using Open Office. Assignments were given as Word documents, and needed to be submitted as the same. I always saved in Word 2000 format and my professors never had a problem. If Word was offered at the same price as OO, I would buy Word. I've only used OO because I'm too cheap and don't using office apps enough at home to justify the price. I wish OO were better than MS Office, but it's far behind. When ever I try to format text Writer never does what I want. I've tried drawing diagrams in Draw but soon gave up due to the poor interface, and Impress, well that's the worst of the lot.

Re:Getting through the university barrier in the U (1)

Master Moose (1243274) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006218)

I use OO and never send anything other than PDFs which it handles quite well

Submitting final documents in .doc format ?? (1)

bradley13 (1118935) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006574)

That is a school (and prof) in need of a clue. No one should submit finished documents in an editable format. Formatting problems, accidental changes, intentional changes - this is just asking for trouble. If the school's anti-plagiarism software can't deal with PDFs, it is bad software and ought to be replaced.

Re:Getting through the university barrier in the U (1)

rdnetto (955205) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006604)

You didn't consider a PDF? Seems like the standard way to go, if .doc wasn't working...

Re:Getting through the university barrier in the U (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006620)

Same thing happened to my girlfriend however she was actually using MS word. Turns out her lecturer didn't like using the computer and wanted a paper copy instead.

Germany again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31005900)

It's the nerd country. :-)

Whoopee doo (0, Troll)

Joe Jay Bee (1151309) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006030)

I can't be the only person who doesn't really, truly care about the market share of a particular product. Really, I don't. 20% of people use the same thing I do? Whoopee doo, what do you want, a paper hat?

It doesn't matter. Let go.

Re:Whoopee doo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31006332)

It matters a lot how far (or close) a market is to a monopoly because that info is an indicator of how powerful the main vendor is.
Because we are talking about software, this can mean VERY friggin powerful.
The EU couldn't kick out MS even if they wanted, because that move would cripple the infrastructure. Is there ANY other company with that kind of influence?

If YOU don't care who has power over you, be my guest, but you are implying you don't care who runs your country and makes your laws either.

Re:Whoopee doo (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006794)

Precisely why they should kick them out, no company should ever have that kind of influence.

Re:Whoopee doo (1)

JoshDD (1713044) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006386)

You obviously care enough to comment. And you are probably in denial or to cheap to admit you would rather use MS Office.

Me I use OO because I'm cheap and I use OO mainly for contracts/quote to email customers and PDF is a much more professional way to send such a document.

Open Office getting worse? (2, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006306)

Open Office may have peaked in quality. Open Office Draw 3.1 crashes for me about twice an hour, while older versions never did. Draw also has some weird intermittent bug in selection, were suddenly everything goes grey for a few seconds. The last 2.x versions were solid.

I'm always amused that the crash reporter program wants the user to type in which OpenOffice program they were using. The crash reporter ought to know that.

Re:Open Office getting worse? (1)

WaroDaBeast (1211048) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007102)

I've had the same issue with .doc tables I had to fill in to answer multiple choice questions. Whenever I closed Writer, it would just crash. Sometimes, it wouldn't if I closed the document first, then Writer.

My Anecdotals (2, Informative)

BlindBear (894763) | more than 4 years ago | (#31006494)

FWIW, my anecdotal, non-flaming stats on my OOo experiences of myself,my three adult kids and two grandmothers converted from Windzzz/M$office to OOo over the last few years... Six happy users of OOo ... Five happy Linux users (one kid just won't let go)... Eleven missing licences at Redmond!... Priceless!... I can hear the chairs crashing now. All of us only do the odd letter and I run a spaghetti spreadsheet to track some finances.I figure we have collectively saved somewhere between A$2000-A$4000 over the past five years. YMMV.

FiLrst 4ost? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31006800)

had become like to be aboPut doing clearly become then Jordan Hubbard

OpenOffice is NOT a substitute for MS Office yet (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 4 years ago | (#31007178)

At least not in all cases.
I have a family member (not a computer guru but someone with a fair bit of computer knowledge) who tried OpenOffice and found that it was unusable due to documented being formatted differently in OO.o writer and in Word (and formatted differently in ways that matter). Said family member ended up buying Office 2007 in order to get documents that looked the same as they did on the other machines.

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