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SoftMaker Office 2010 For Linux Nearing Release

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the put-your-words-in-a-row dept.

Linux Business 110

martin-k writes "SoftMaker Office is a Microsoft-compatible office suite that competes with OpenOffice.org. Its creator, German software publisher SoftMaker, is nearing completion of the latest release, SoftMaker Office 2010 for Linux. This new release offers document tabs, high-quality filters for the Microsoft Office 2007 file formats DOCX and XLSX, and presentation-quality charts in the spreadsheet. It also brings integration into KDE and Gnome, using the system's colors and fonts. A release candidate is available as a free download."

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Ach du lieber! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31635988)

First post, spassmacher!

What's this, (3, Funny)

euyis (1521257) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636078)

Slashad?

Re:What's this, (3, Funny)

spikeb (966663) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636086)

they're called slashvertisments :)

Re:What's this, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31636098)

They used to post slashvertisements for real products. Now it's slashvertisements for a product that has *not* been released. I feel old.

Re:What's this, (1)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636756)

They used to post slashvertisements for real products. Now it's slashvertisements for a product that has *not* been released. I feel old.

I think if it hasn't been released yet it's called "slashporware", or "slashspam" or even just simply "Duke Nukem Forever."

How did this not get binspammed? (4, Insightful)

Excelcia (906188) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636096)

Holy cow, how did this not get binspammed off of the submissions? Someone actually managed to get an advertisement as a story into Slashdot. Actually, it's sort of an impressive accomplishment. Off to the submissions I go to try and make some money!

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (2, Insightful)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636140)

Holy cow, how did this not get binspammed off of the submissions? Someone actually managed to get an advertisement as a story into Slashdot. Actually, it's sort of an impressive accomplishment. Off to the submissions I go to try and make some money!

I've heard OpenOffice discussed [slashdot.org] on Slashdot before, so why not this?

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (4, Informative)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31637496)

Q: I've heard OpenOffice discussed on Slashdot before, so why not this?

A: Because OpenOffice is an open-source, collaborative project that no-one has to pay for.

As an aside, this Softmaker product probably needs a serious amount of advertising to generate any kind of traction in the Linux market. Until today, I had never heard of it, and I've been using Linux for something like 15 years. I would suppose that it might appeal to new users of Linux who are accustomed to having to pay for any software they find useful, but I can't see it appealing to older hands.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31637754)

A high quality office suite for Linux is important for nerds, even if it's not open source. The lack of availability of commercial proprietary products like Photoshop are one of the reasons Linux continues to be a niche market desktop and barebones only platform.

This is news for nerds. Stop trolling.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 4 years ago | (#31637934)

You're not a nerd unless you only use open source software. Clearly you're an MS-fanboy who doesn't belong here.

P.S. Apple rules.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31638044)

Q: I've heard OpenOffice discussed on Slashdot before, so why not this?

A: Because OpenOffice is an open-source, collaborative project that no-one has to pay for.

I'm sure I've heard Microsoft Office discussed on Slashdot before as well.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe only open-source, collaborative projects that no one has to pay for are ever discussed here.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 4 years ago | (#31638076)

Q: I've heard OpenOffice discussed on Slashdot before, so why not this? A: Because OpenOffice is an open-source, collaborative project that no-one has to pay for. As an aside, this Softmaker product probably needs a serious amount of advertising to generate any kind of traction in the Linux market. Until today, I had never heard of it, and I've been using Linux for something like 15 years. I would suppose that it might appeal to new users of Linux who are accustomed to having to pay for any software they find useful, but I can't see it appealing to older hands.

I agree with your sentiments. /. is not the place I'd go to advertise a product given the general type of responses you'd get. Beside the complaining about price; they'll be a number of posts pointing out free alternatives and some informative ones discussing problems and performance issues. Anyone reading it is likely to come away with a mixed view of your software; and if it has a free equivalent the /. readers are likely already using it. Not exactly what I'd call a receptive audience that will generate comments favorable to your product; and anyone doing so will likely get a number of replies along the "yea, but XX does it better... and is free..."

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31638176)

In this case the only thing that OO does better is mangle your documents. OO doesn't even generate clean ODF files, making them break formatting in other ODF software.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 4 years ago | (#31642894)

Q: I've heard OpenOffice discussed on Slashdot before, so why not this? A: Because OpenOffice is an open-source, collaborative project that no-one has to pay for.

Sigh. I know this is Slashdot, but is it too much to ask that people read TFA? From the article: "You can download the release candidate (final beta) of SoftMaker Office 2010 for Linux free of charge here."

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 4 years ago | (#31638584)

This was submitted by a SoftMaker employee, has only SoftMaker links, and only talks about the positives of SoftMaker. The submission fails to mention that it's closed source, GPL incompatible. How about a link to a critical review? A heads up comparison of SoftMaker, OpenOffice, and MS Office?

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (2, Interesting)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636190)

Maybe because it's an ad for a product that's actually useful to the point where it has no real competitors? It has noticeably better MSOffice compatibility than OO.org, and it's much more lightweight, as well. I suspect it would be something that quite a few Linux users could use - so long as they aren't morally opposed to shelling out $50 (or whatever it is these days) for software.

It's 93 bucks (3, Informative)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636224)

It's $93, at today's conversion rate for euros to dollars.

Re:It's 93 bucks (2, Insightful)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#31637040)

This is completely off-topic (and definitely feel free to mod me such; it's not like I lack kharma), but your user name is incredibly awesome.

Why thank you! (1)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 4 years ago | (#31641192)

Subject says it all.

Re:It's 93 bucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31637770)

It's US$79.95. Don't forget that you non-EUians don't have to pay Euro-VAT

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (4, Informative)

markdavis (642305) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636522)

Let's see:

1) It lacks vector drawing (Draw)
2) It lacks database (Base)
3) It is closed source
4) Although it supports Linux, it seems to not support MacOS
5) It costs a lot more than OpenOffice

Sorry, it is hard to get all that excited.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31636600)

it seems to not support MacOS

MacOS X simply doesn't have the marketshare to make a port worth while. Unfortunately, companies simply can't support every niche operating system on the planet.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (0, Redundant)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31637234)

MacOS X has a larger marketshare than Linux. Furthermore, because OSX is Unix based, porting almost any application from Linux can be done in a few days (although the GUI might not have a native feel).

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31637750)

Yeah but that only really applies when it's open source.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31637924)

SWOOSH!

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

i ate my neighbour (1756816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31637932)

Sorry, nobody seems to get the joke.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636668)

The story is about Linux. What relevance does OS X have here?

If you just want an office package for Linux, OO.org will probably suit you fine. The point of SMO is to 1) assuredly open/save MSOffice files (for which only Word/Excel/PowerPoint are really interesting), and 2) run with decent performance on slower PCs.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#31637190)

The story is about Linux. What relevance does OS X have here?

In many scenarios, it's useful to have the same application software on multiple platforms. Such as, oh I don't know, business and education?

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#31637304)

In many scenarios, it's useful to have the same application software on multiple platforms. Such as, oh I don't know, business and education?

Why would a business or educational institution want multiple desktop platforms? Especially OS X and Linux? I can picture OS X only, and I can picture a mix of Windows/Linux (say, mid-migration) - which is handled (SoftMaker has a Windows version), but aside from that...

Also, if you have multiple desktop OSes in an enterprise setting, having same software for them is going to be the least of your worry - UI will still be different enough to cause major headaches with user training etc.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#31637372)

Why would a business or educational institution want multiple desktop platforms?

Different users have different preferences, for one. There are also areas where different platforms have speciality applications that are unavailable on other platforms - such as video editing on Macs, or AutoCAD on Windows. Or perhaps a company wants to migrate to Linux, but make the transition gradually, with familiar tools.

Whatever their reasons, isn't really a concern of yours. I'm just saying it can be a valid consideration.

Also, if you have multiple desktop OSes in an enterprise setting, having same software for them is going to be the least of your worry - UI will still be different enough to cause major headaches with user training etc.

I haven't found this to be the case. For example, Adobe's Creative Suite is almost identical on Mac or Windows, with minor differences that don't affect the core interface. MS Office is more divergent, but still works in basically the same way. Firefox is basically the same across platforms.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

centuren (106470) | more than 4 years ago | (#31641270)

Also, if you have multiple desktop OSes in an enterprise setting, having same software for them is going to be the least of your worry - UI will still be different enough to cause major headaches with user training etc.

I haven't found this to be the case. For example, Adobe's Creative Suite is almost identical on Mac or Windows, with minor differences that don't affect the core interface. MS Office is more divergent, but still works in basically the same way. Firefox is basically the same across platforms.

Open Office is a great example of this. Run it on Windows, Linux, OSX, etc; a user who is familiar with it on one platform should be perfectly at home on the others. For jobs that just use the OS to run software, it's not the OS that matters -- it's the application. That's one of the reasons Mac OS has survived; they always managed to attract developers who produced good quality software for the professional user in one field or another.

There are jobs where the OS does matter, such as using OSX's superior integration (vs Windows) of bash, ssh, along with it's ability to install so many Linux tools (via MacPorts and whatnot). So, when the central applications can run over multiple platforms and maintain the same user experiences, then OS choice becomes more about user specific needs and what software is needed for the specific job or department. In many cases where applications that everyone in the business must have installed, OSX can be a welcome alternative to a Linux user in an office that's Windows-centric. They can run the native applications and have a native terminal at the same time, all in a company-approved package (such as a company laptop).

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

centuren (106470) | more than 4 years ago | (#31641120)

In many scenarios, it's useful to have the same application software on multiple platforms. Such as, oh I don't know, business and education?

Why would a business or educational institution want multiple desktop platforms? Especially OS X and Linux? I can picture OS X only, and I can picture a mix of Windows/Linux (say, mid-migration) - which is handled (SoftMaker has a Windows version), but aside from that...

Also, if you have multiple desktop OSes in an enterprise setting, having same software for them is going to be the least of your worry - UI will still be different enough to cause major headaches with user training etc.

As I understand it, a major issue for readers of Slashdot when it comes to using Linux on their machines is the ability to maintain compatibility with the documents they have to handle coming from coworkers, using the in-office set up. That is, someone wants to avoid buying Windows and Office, and run free, open source alternatives on their home desktop, but they have to still consider the work that trickles home from the office.

OSX isn't FOSS like that, but the same idea largely applies. Maybe someone has a Linux desktop set up, and has bought an Apple laptop. Sure, it's Apple and OSX, but it still has a usable bash terminal and a POSIX backbone (MacPorts comes into play here). Anyway, the point is that OpenOffice runs on both scenes in this scenario, and, AFAIK, handles Word documents well enough.

Anyone who needs 100% Word compatibility and increased speed, etc, seems to be someone who needs to use Word. It's like Photoshop or Illustrator; if your job is using one of those applications, you're going to have to use the actual application. Alternatives to Word like OpenOffice are quite useful for situations when Word isn't required, like if you mainly write code and only get a Word document once in a while (and formatting isn't mission critical to your contributions), or if the whole office uses the alternative for advantages such as cost-savings and multi-platform support.

If your job revolves around MS Word and slight compatibility issues aren't acceptable, it's probably prudent to use Word and Windows. If you're a company looking to switch from MS Office to save costs, it makes sense to go for the free option instead of the "cheaper than Office" option, unless what you pay for really is worth it. Looking over the feature list, at this point in Softmaker's development, it hardly seems so.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 4 years ago | (#31638806)

>The story is about Linux. What relevance does OS X have here?

The obvious comparison is to OpenOffice. One of the *major* advantages of OpenOffice is that it runs on all platforms of modern interest- Linux, MacOS, Solaris, and MS-Windows. You can select one application and know it will run on whatever machine you come across, use, or want to select later. It frees you from platform lock-in. It creates a bigger support community. As a school, you know everyone can run it at home. At work, you can know everyone can run it at home or at all other businesses you interact with, or even your customers. In government, you know all citizens and businesses you interact with can run it.

It is a feature far more important than being a bit faster or having slightly better proprietary file format compatibility.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#31641006)

You do not need a single app for all platforms for that. You just need to use an open, standardized file format, like ODF.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

centuren (106470) | more than 4 years ago | (#31640948)

Let's see:

1) It lacks vector drawing (Draw)
2) It lacks database (Base)
3) It is closed source
4) Although it supports Linux, it seems to not support MacOS
5) It costs a lot more than OpenOffice

Sorry, it is hard to get all that excited.

It seems like they're suffering from being closed source. At least, I see no reason why they would brag on their feature list about having spelling dictionaries for 20 languages; isn't that something aspell or another open source equivalent would immediately improve? Are they writing their own to keep GPL'd code out completely?

It may have better MS Office compatibility, and if that's a major need for someone who doesn't want to mess about with MS Office and Wine, they should try it while it's free. Aside from that, I couldn't really find anything in the feature list that didn't seem to belong under the single theme "default word processor features" (it read and writes files using ASCII formatting!). Something about image manipulation, I suppose, but I'd rather keep that separated, just as I'd rather not have a word processor inside my image editor.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636528)

It's still not a competitor, because OOO is free. Therefore, it competes in a different market. (Much different, if it's nearly $100.)

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (2, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636678)

All applications, free or not, ultimately compete in the "get the job done" market. For some, Google Docs does that. For others, OO.org does that. And others yet might not be content with OO.org, either for performance or compatibility reasons - in which case this thing may be the only one they can get for their platform for any price.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

centuren (106470) | more than 4 years ago | (#31641304)

All applications, free or not, ultimately compete in the "get the job done" market. For some, Google Docs does that. For others, OO.org does that. And others yet might not be content with OO.org, either for performance or compatibility reasons - in which case this thing may be the only one they can get for their platform for any price.

And it's worth pointing out, that for some, a good rich text editor is all that's required. An office might use Word all the time, but that doesn't mean every job in that office needs to do word processing. On the development/engineering side of things, when asked to review a section of a document, if you don't need the document, just the text in some readable form.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#31644538)

Horsepucky.

That's like saying that Farmer Brown's peaches at $5/pound compete with the tomatoes in your garden. After all, ultimately they're both fruit.

Something that costs $100 does not "compete" with something that is free for use, at least for the vast majority of people. The demographics of those two markets are quite different. Similarly, many people simply won't put business documents online. For those people, Google Docs does not compete with either of those other software suites. I am not arguing in that case that is most people, but it is still a good part of the market.

Some people might not be content with OO.org, true. But I would bet that is a small minority. OO.org is compatible enough with MS products that you have to do some relatively arcane things before you will notice much difference in the end product. The majority of people mainly do simple documents/spreadsheets in which any differences are negligible.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31637554)

Therefore, it competes in a different market.

This is true. However, I have a suspicion it might not do so for long. I am reminded of Applixware (I think it was called), a commercial office suite available for Linux back in the late '90s. Although at the time Linux was poorly supplied with useful office suites, Applixware got little traction, and was essentially wiped out when Sun started distributing StarOffice for free.

Until then, I had made do with legacy free releases of WordPerfect and with the various Gnome office programs which were of rather variable quality. (Abiword was a godawful POS, while Gnumeric was actually quite powerful and useful.)

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#31644572)

But StarOffice is still based on OpenOffice (with additional proprietary features). Pretty much the same way Red Hat has worked and does work. So what's your point?

And by the way, the price for the full Star Office is still only $50.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (4, Insightful)

Arker (91948) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636646)

It has noticeably better MSOffice compatibility than OO.org

Noticeable? Really? I have yet to notice any problems importing MS files to OO so that's hard to see.

and it's much more lightweight, as well.

Well that part does sound good.

I suspect it would be something that quite a few Linux users could use - so long as they aren't morally opposed to shelling out $50 (or whatever it is these days) for software.

I have no objection to shelling out money (it's actually closer to $100 US but no matter) for good software, however best I can tell you dont actually get any software for your money here, just a binary blob. I wont pay for that.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636732)

Noticeable? Really? I have yet to notice any problems importing MS files to OO so that's hard to see.

A quick Google search will tell you that you're the lucky one. I mean, did you never hear horror stories about people opening .doc/.docx files to find wrong fonts, messed up tables etc? Or saving as .doc/.docx in OO.org so as to give the file to someone else, and later find out that it got reformatted to the point of being unreadable to them in the process?

Then again, it largely depends on the amount of documents you're working with, and even more so on their complexity. There are many people for whom OO.org is perfectly adequate, and even some businesses. My mom's pharmacy runs OO.org (on Windows) on my advice, to avoid forking out cash for 3 copies of MSOffice they'd otherwise need, and so far there have been no complaints. But then they mostly use it for internal documents - bookkeeping etc - not something that comes from outside.

To sum it up: if you don't see any problems with OO.org, and are content with it as it is, then this thing is probably not for you (I find it hard to believe anyone could possibly justify a $100 price tag for, at best, a moderate speed improvement). If you have problems with OO, though, I don't even need to explain you what they are, and how this thing can help you there.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 4 years ago | (#31639052)

>Or saving as .doc/.docx in OO.org so as to give the file to someone else, and later find out that it got reformatted to the point of being unreadable to them in the process?
>Then again, it largely depends on the amount of documents you're working with, and even more so on their complexity

One of the major, MAJOR factors that causes "formatting issues" like you mention is when a document is poorly formatted. I can't tell you how many HORRIBLE MS-Word, OO, and WordPerfect documents I have seen over the years. There are certain rules in word processing, and when they are violated, the document is certain to fall apart when opened in anything but an absolutely identical machine with identical OS (and version), identical software (and version), and sometimes even identical printers.

Examples? Using spaces instead of tabs. Using spaces instead of indent. Using non-standard fonts. Using hard returns as space filler. Using frames for page numbering instead of auto-numbering. Using manual character attributes for headings instead of using styles. Using hard hyphens instead of soft ones. Trying to emulate dot leaders manually instead of using the correct auto function. Manually creating a TOC or index instead of letting the software generate them. Etc, etc, etc.

The list is endless as to how a user can screw up a document to make it incompatible with other systems. And such poorly formatted documents are also almost impossible to properly edit later on ANY software.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

centuren (106470) | more than 4 years ago | (#31641356)

Noticeable? Really? I have yet to notice any problems importing MS files to OO so that's hard to see.

A quick Google search will tell you that you're the lucky one.

Maybe he meant noticing problems importing MS files that qualify as above and beyond the problems that Word itself has importing certain versions of it's own Word files. I mean, fonts can mess up even using the same version of Word on both ends, if the initial creator uses non-universal fonts and doesn't include them when sharing the document.

To sum it up: if you don't see any problems with OO.org, and are content with it as it is, then this thing is probably not for you (I find it hard to believe anyone could possibly justify a $100 price tag for, at best, a moderate speed improvement). If you have problems with OO, though, I don't even need to explain you what they are, and how this thing can help you there.

I agree with you here; if you don't see problems with OO.org, then you have nothing to try to fix (and certainly no reason to spend money). However, if you do have problems with OO.org, there may well be simple file handling practices to look at adopting first, before investing the time and money in switching.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636748)

Noticeable? Really? I have yet to notice any problems importing MS files to OO so that's hard to see.

Clearly you haven't tried to open a PPTX file in Impress; that import filter is barely alpha quality at best.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#31637004)

Clearly you haven't tried to open a PPTX file in Impress; that import filter is barely alpha quality at best.

And if you want to see justification for this statement, I just put together a small page [wisc.edu] to annotate some screenshots I've been collecting over the last couple OpenOffice releases that compare what a couple slides should look like vs what they actually do look like in Impress.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31637540)

Admitedly OO.o's import filters are far from perfect but this doesn't seem entirely fair, have you compared to powerpoint 2003 loading the pptx files with a plugin, or a similar presentation created in openoffice using its 3D objects and other proprietary features loaded via an ODF plugin for office? It's a shame that powerpoint 2007 gives no way to simply ditch incompatible filters and produce an editable PPT sans special effects, are you sure rasterising is the only option office gives you when saving to a legacy format?

I'm curious, is OO.o simply getting the object stack orders totally wrong when it drops the text below the boxes or are you using filters to allow the text to show through from below in office?
It would be very nice to have oo.o at the very least capable of importing the basics in a sane way, i agree the current performance is appalling, that arrow misrender and stack order problem are unforgivable.

Sadly, having just tried the softmaker release candidate, it appears that pptx support isn't available yet.
Go-OO.org's version of openoffice 3.2 makes less of a hash of things(no dates or boxes) than the version you tested with, but only barely.

Until MS office gets perfect ODF export or OpenOffice perfect emulation of office 2007 graphics filters, I suppose your best bet is to create presentations in OpenOffice and save ppt versions for those students who don't have access to it.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 4 years ago | (#31639102)

>Until MS office gets perfect ODF export or OpenOffice perfect emulation of office 2007 graphics filters, I suppose your best bet is to create presentations in OpenOffice and save ppt versions for those students who don't have access to it.

Or for him to at least not use (as he puts it) "fancy new 3Dish effects introduced in PowerPoint 2007"! Comparing just two slides, created by one person, who even admits using "fancy new" effects is hardly a rational or reasonable comparison.

I agree that there are far more issues with OO opening PowerPoint files than with MS-Word or Excel files (I know because I use OO every single day), but declaring it to be "barely alpha quality" is way beyond inaccurate.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

centuren (106470) | more than 4 years ago | (#31641444)

Until MS office gets perfect ODF export or OpenOffice perfect emulation of office 2007 graphics filters, I suppose your best bet is to create presentations in OpenOffice and save ppt versions for those students who don't have access to it.

Or for him to at least not use (as he puts it) "fancy new 3Dish effects introduced in PowerPoint 2007"! Comparing just two slides, created by one person, who even admits using "fancy new" effects is hardly a rational or reasonable comparison.

I agree that there are far more issues with OO opening PowerPoint files than with MS-Word or Excel files (I know because I use OO every single day), but declaring it to be "barely alpha quality" is way beyond inaccurate.

To take it even further, if we're talking about someone lecturing with slides that are provided to students after a lecture, it seems pretty silly to distribute it in a slideshow / presentation format at all. The slideshow is there for the lecture, so one can rely on revealing the next bullet point on cue, which will vary lecture to lecture. Students have no need whatsoever for that, they just need the information. The best solution would be to give the lecture using slides, then distribute something like a PDF with everything that's in the slides, only formatted like notes useful for review (sidestepping compatibility issues in slideshow formatting that is completely useless to students anyway).

On a separate issue: professors, please stop using slideshows in lectures.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31637484)

Clearly you haven't tried to open a PPTX file in Impress; that import filter is barely alpha quality at best.

Clearly you haven't tried to open a PPTX file in SoftMaker - it doesn't even recognize it - only PPS and PPT.
See their blog [softmaker.com] for confirmation.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#31637534)

Oh, I did try, and was (slightly) disappointed to see that. I thought that might be a big reason to do that.

However, Arker didn't make any statement regarding SoftMaker Office's compatibility with MS Office formats, just that "I have yet to notice any problems importing MS files to OO so that's hard to see." I was merely pointing out an area where there is tons of room for another piece of software to step up where OO.org fails.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 4 years ago | (#31637966)

I have yet to notice any problems importing MS files to OO so that's hard to see.

Formatting. When you're sending out resumes businesses expect it to be in Microsoft Office (I don't know, PDF seems better to me) and so if you've got poor formatting then it reflects poorly on you for your employer. If they're getting dozens if not hundreds of job applications, poor formatting is enough to get your resume dismissed straight out the door.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

YttriumOxide (837412) | more than 4 years ago | (#31638122)

When you're sending out resumes businesses expect it to be in Microsoft Office

Is that really true? I've been in the same company for the last 8 years, so don't really know in great detail what the job market is like these days, but I do recall that back then, companies never specified the file format. I always used PDF and no-one ever said anything about it.

Also, these days I am occasionally called upon to sort through a pile of electronically submitted CVs before handing them on to someone else, to "weed out" those without the appropriate technical skills (something which HR wouldn't do so well since they can only look for keywords without understanding the actual subject matter). When I do, I'd say around 75% of those that I get are PDF, 20% Microsoft Word, 3% ODT and 2% other (plain text, HTML etc). The only ones I automatically reject on file format are those that do not open on my main work computer (the VERY rare "exe" and so on).
I do wonder if it may depend on the type of job and type of company though. I imagine the percentage of MS Word documents would be significantly higher for non-technical roles.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 4 years ago | (#31642256)

Most I've seen either don't specify or say either PDF or plain text only. My guess (and it is just a guess) is I've seen less than 10% (maybe a lot less) ask for Word specifically.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 4 years ago | (#31639142)

>so if you've got poor formatting then it reflects poorly on you for your employer.

Bingo. And 95% of the time, the "poor formatting" is due to the person formatting the document and it has little nothing to do with file comparability. There are a zillion ways to poorly format any document in any program (and I recently listed a dozen examples I see all the time in another posting). And such poorly formatted documents will FALL APART when not viewed with identical software versions with identical fonts available, etc.

So yes, if you can't properly format a document, it is bought to have even poorer formatting when it is converted from one platform to another. And if your job requires any type of word processing skills, then you certainly have just revealed something to a potential employer :)

So if you can't properly format a document, then your best bet is to supply a PDF. Or at least a PDF IN ADDITION to the MS-Word document.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (1)

centuren (106470) | more than 4 years ago | (#31641488)

I have yet to notice any problems importing MS files to OO so that's hard to see.

Formatting. When you're sending out resumes businesses expect it to be in Microsoft Office (I don't know, PDF seems better to me) and so if you've got poor formatting then it reflects poorly on you for your employer. If they're getting dozens if not hundreds of job applications, poor formatting is enough to get your resume dismissed straight out the door.

Companies are more interested in finding a fit for the job than if the header styles line up properly. If you are sending a basic, professional resume (and not using a template in your word processor), there won't be any issues anyway, as you don't need anything more than rich text formatting to do it. If you need something with more "pizazz" to impress (perhaps you're a graphic designer), then using a word processor at all seems limiting.

I don't like sending resumes as Word doc files, but I'm not 100% happy with PDF either. If they're using Windows, they probably rely on Adobe for PDF, and the last thing I'd wish on anyone is to make Acrobat fire up when they open my attachment.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31638578)

Have you tried opening an rtf file? At our office this was the reason for stopping migration to open office. sad but true. and checking oo's list of bugs i see that nothing has changed in a year. i wonder what happens to oo now that oracle has acquired sun. hopefully they release oo as a truly open source sw and they abandon dictatorship they are currently abusing.

Re:How did this not get binspammed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31641764)

Is OOo really so heavy that you need to pay for a lightweight office suite? I don't really have much use for office software, so I'm not the best judge, but OOo only takes 10s to open on my netbook on first-run which is quite tolerable, it seems a bit heavy on the RAM, but RAM is cheap, so if OOo is too heavy for your hardware it seems like a better investment to put the money towards a hardware upgrade rather than lightweight software.

Why is this not relevant? (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636626)

Holy cow, how did this not get binspammed off of the submissions?

Every corporate press release about a new product could be considered advertising, I'm not sure why this one is getting singled out. I thought it was interesting.

Paying for OO.o (1, Insightful)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636184)

So essentially it's Open Office, except with only 3 programs (word processor, spreadsheet, presentation) and they want 70 euros for it? I'm sorry, but I fail to see why anyone would pay 70 euros (10 I could possibly see) when you can get Open Office for free.

No shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31636260)

If I wanted to waste money I'd be a windows pirate and spend the money I SAVED on strippers to while away the time from, well, having to be a windows Luser.

Mentos is the only true FRESHMACHER !!

Re:Paying for OO.o (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31636272)

Open Office is not bad, but it doesn't feel as polished as MS Office. Then again, what do you expect for free, largely developed by volunteers right? So this German company is trying to fit a niche in the middle. The three apps they provide are the ones that people most commonly use.

Re:Paying for OO.o (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636378)

I understand that, but 70 euros is way overcharging for adding a little polish. That's why I said 10 euros I could understand, but 70 is just way too much.

Re:Paying for OO.o (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636700)

Well, this is more than just a reskinned and repackaged OpenOffice; it seems to be an entirely different piece of software. Keep that in mind.

Is it worth it? That's a completely different question, and I have no idea.

Re:Paying for OO.o (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 4 years ago | (#31637514)

No, it has nothing to do with OO.org. SoftMaker is in the Office software business since the late 1980ies, when they were first publishing TextMaker.

Look at Evermore. It's got lots of potential too (2, Interesting)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636188)

This office suite [evermoresw.com] has got lots of potential too. Now if only they could release a Linux version.

Re:Look at Evermore. It's got lots of potential to (1, Interesting)

boogahboogah (310475) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636372)

Looks interesting, and it's certainly cheap enough. Too bad I don't trust the Chinese...

Re:Look at Evermore. It's got lots of potential to (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31636444)

Looks interesting, and it's certainly cheap enough. Too bad I don't trust the Chinese...

Are you some kind of racist? Let me guess, you trust the white/Aryan Germans just fine, even though both Germany and China are foreign nations.

Re:Look at Evermore. It's got lots of potential to (2, Interesting)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636464)

Germany is a first-world democracy. China is a paranoid third-world totalitarian dictatorship. Do the math.

Re:Look at Evermore. It's got lots of potential to (2, Interesting)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 4 years ago | (#31638008)

Considering the Chinese government pays hackers to steal foreign companies secrets and spread propaganda to their own people, who knows what they've paid the company to insert into their office software. Perhaps nothing. Perhaps something. Why take that risk?

Re:Look at Evermore. It's got lots of potential to (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31636478)

Wait wait wait... did "boogahboogah" just respond to "bogaboga"?

Small world.

Re:And drop the "register to download" stuff (1)

symbolic (11752) | more than 4 years ago | (#31637810)

...If I have to register to check out anything that I may find interesting or useful, it's a complete non-starter.

ooh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31636474)

Does it work with Gnome-GlobalMenu? Does gnome actually have a native slide show presentation app now? What about Bespin's XBar in KDE?

I'm downloading the beta. Can't be uglier than OpenOffice.

Re:ooh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31636540)

I take it back. It is uglier and less native than openoffice.

I might be interested in an openoffice alternative (3, Interesting)

lotho brandybuck (720697) | more than 4 years ago | (#31636974)

Openoffice causes me trouble occasionally when I've got a document with a lot of figures in it. The worst is when I accidently try to edit a picture, and it crashes because it can't find a Java VM. In my experience... Openoffice has been a little bloaty and a little crashy sometimes, generally at the worst of times. (big report that I'm just about done with)

I'm running OO 2.4 at work, 3.1 at home.. I'm scared to upgrade at work until I've got time to really sit with it.

I don't run OO because its free, I run it because it runs on Linux. I am willing to pay for software to run on Linux... I am running Cadsoft Eagle for board layout, and Varicad for mechanical. I probably spend more time in front of OpenOffice than both these put together, so getting something that could make me look better and improve efficiency wouldn't be a bad deal.

I'm also nervous about what Oracle is going to do with OpenOffice... I'd like to see them take it on and improve it, maybe fund some good fonts. Maybe do some tearing up and fixing up for stability and speed. But I'm not sure our definitions of "improve" would be the same, and I'm not at all sure I trust Oracle anyways.

Not FOSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31637320)

therefore it is not /. worthy.

Objective comparison with OO.o (5, Informative)

chrae (159904) | more than 4 years ago | (#31637486)

I downloaded and installed SoftMaker Office 2010 Beta (rev 580) and ran a comparison to OpenOffice.org version 3.1.1. My system is a stock Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala). It has dual-core atom processors with 2gb of ram.

Startup speed:
  • From a fresh reboot: SoftMaker Office, 12 seconds; Open Office, 9 seconds.
  • From cache (opened again after closing): SoftMaker Office, 6 seconds; Open Office, 3 seconds

Compatibility with Microsoft Office 2007:

  • Powerpoint 2007 .pptx files (I used some sample shapes and text with some of the new shape effects): SoftMaker Presentations would not even open at all; OpenOffice.org Presentation opened the file, loaded the text and shapes of my test file, but failed to load some special shape effects like the halo.
  • Word 2007 .docx files (I used some sample text with a funky font, a table with some formatted borders, a graph, a diagram, and a shape): SoftMaker TextMaker failed to load the font correctly, improperly formatted the table, failed to load the graph, failed to load the diagram, and loaded the shape fine; OpenOffice.org Word Processor failed to load the font correctly, imported the table perfect, failed to load the graph, failed to load the diagram, and loaded the shape fine.
  • Excel 2007 .xlsx files (I created a column with conditional formatting, a column with a colored background, and a column with a border around it): SoftMaker PlanMaker failed to load the conditional formatting, but showed the column data. Failed to load the column with the colored background entirely, showing none of the data. Failed to load the border around the last column. Open office failed to load the conditional formatting, but showed the column data. Loaded the column with colored background perfectly. Loaded the column border perfectly.

Conclusions:

OpenOffice.org is faster, more compatible with Office 2007, blends in well with my native theme, and is Free. SoftMaker is slow, not as compatible as OO.o, uses it's own theme and widgets, and is 70 Euros.

Re:Objective comparison with OO.o (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31638048)

It took me 1 file to discard all their work...
File name that content Chinese character are not displayed correctly... and if you open it... all the Chinese characters are gone...

sorry to say that... but it failed

Re:Objective comparison with OO.o (1)

pkphilip (6861) | more than 4 years ago | (#31638182)

Softmaker doesn't appear to support Office 2007 (.xlsx, .docx, .pptx etc) formats. You should try softmaker with the older .doc, .ppt or .xls format.

Softmaker not having support for the Office 2007 format is a major negative.

Re:Objective comparison with OO.o (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31638538)

Never recommend OO.o to anyone unless your willing to take the abuse for constant crashes and annoying glitches.

Re:Objective comparison with OO.o (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 4 years ago | (#31638836)

I have 150 users using OO under Linux and it almost never crashes. There are some annoying bugs, but that is also the case in most proprietary software I have come across.

Re:Objective comparison with OO.o (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31638858)

Except their front/home page (linked from the submissions) says it does work with docx and xlsx, specifically mentioning 2007. Not that I'm surprised there are issues on this front, in a release candidate.

Re:Objective comparison with OO.o (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 4 years ago | (#31638982)

Thank you for the interesting and informative comparison.

The only flaw I see it in is fonts. If you don't have the font loaded on the target machine, it doesn't matter what software you use, it will not render/load it, because it doesn't exist. Almost no "office" program embeds fonts. So that cannot be a valid factor when comparing compatibility.

If you have an MS-Windows machine running MS-Office and create a document with a specific font, then try to load that document on an IDENTICAL machine in the IDENTICAL software that lacks the font, you won't see that font- it will have to substitute some other font.

Re:Objective comparison with OO.o (1)

404 Clue Not Found (763556) | more than 4 years ago | (#31641224)

Almost no "office" program embeds fonts. So that cannot be a valid factor when comparing compatibility.

Sure, I guess, if you discount minor players like MS Office. It's supported embedded fonts since '97 or so.

Re:Objective comparison with OO.o (1)

centuren (106470) | more than 4 years ago | (#31641546)

Thank you for the interesting and informative comparison.

The only flaw I see it in is fonts. If you don't have the font loaded on the target machine, it doesn't matter what software you use, it will not render/load it, because it doesn't exist. Almost no "office" program embeds fonts. So that cannot be a valid factor when comparing compatibility.

If you have an MS-Windows machine running MS-Office and create a document with a specific font, then try to load that document on an IDENTICAL machine in the IDENTICAL software that lacks the font, you won't see that font- it will have to substitute some other font.

I believe that was known, and the primary reason for using such a font in the test. It let us see how the two programs compared when it comes to handling a font that doesn't exist on the machine, and see if it substitutes correctly and keeps any formatting, or does something unexpected and buggy.

Re:Objective comparison with OO.o (1)

martin-k (99343) | more than 4 years ago | (#31639026)

If it takes 12 seconds to start a SoftMaker Office app, there is something seriously wrong with your setup. If you care, start it with "textmaker -debug", and it will create a log file (tmlog.txt) that protocols the launch process. Might be interesting to figure where it's idling.

As for the test documents, is it possible to get them? We take pride in our DOCX and XLSX filters (and their quality has been confirmed by several reviews), so I'd like to check them out.

On 32 bit systems, SoftMaker Office inherits the colors and fonts from the system (if you are running KDE or Gnome). On 64 bit systems, this doesn't work yet.

Re:Objective comparison with OO.o (1)

centuren (106470) | more than 4 years ago | (#31641686)

If it takes 12 seconds to start a SoftMaker Office app, there is something seriously wrong with your setup. If you care, start it with "textmaker -debug", and it will create a log file (tmlog.txt) that protocols the launch process. Might be interesting to figure where it's idling.

With all due respect to your product, this is good user feedback, so I wouldn't sound so dismissive. If there's something wrong with his seriously wrong setup, it clearly didn't affect OpenOffice (or anything else) to the same extent. If you meant something wrong with the StarMaker Office installation process that results in a buggy startup on his functional system, then that's different.

As for the test documents, is it possible to get them? We take pride in our DOCX and XLSX filters (and their quality has been confirmed by several reviews), so I'd like to check them out.

It sounded like they were pretty basic documents, and they were described in his post. I'd suggest contacting him directly about gaining access to the files, since, as a closed source product, not everyone will see an incentive to selflessly contribute in the same way they might in the OSS community.

On 32 bit systems, SoftMaker Office inherits the colors and fonts from the system (if you are running KDE or Gnome). On 64 bit systems, this doesn't work yet.

Given the saturation of amd64 and x86_64 cpus on the market, 64-bit systems should be a major concern, if only when ensuring your 32bit release runs smoothly on them. This runs extra for Linux users, where there's no cost obstacle to downloading the 64bit version of a distribution in addition to the 32bit release. So it's not such a stretch to expect that of the many Linux users that have 64bit chips, basically all of them will be running 64 bit operating systems.

Re:Objective comparison with OO.o (1)

martin-k (99343) | more than 4 years ago | (#31641788)

I didn't sound dismissive, or at least didn't want to. I simply invited him to track this down, if he has the time and inclination to do that. That's all.

Re:Objective comparison with OO.o (1)

heffrey (229704) | more than 4 years ago | (#31641608)

Office 2007, open from cache in less than 1 second on a crap machine!!

Not Free. No 64bit RPM. No Source Available. (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#31637768)

Given the existence of OpenOffice.org, I can't imagine how anyone could justify buying this software. It sounds like a company or product built for the purpose of being bought out by a larger company.

Re:Not Free. No 64bit RPM. No Source Available. (1)

rduke15 (721841) | more than 4 years ago | (#31638660)

Given the existence of OpenOffice.org, I can't imagine how anyone could justify buying this software.

I did. Several years ago already, for Windows at the time.

I hated MS Word, and was longing for the simplicity of old Lotus Ami Pro. OpenOffice felt like just an even more bloated bad clone of MS-Word: the same, but worse.

It is true that TextMaker (2008) doesn't integrate well in my current Ubuntu, and doesn't "look" nice. But I do hope they improve the Linux version and will definitely try the 2010 version. On Windows, it is the best word processor I know (fast, simple, easy to use, with good management of styles; exactly the opposite of Word or OOo). Despite it's defects in the Linux version, it is still what I use in Ubuntu. It is much better (for me) than OOo Writer.

It's Wine, people. (1)

51M02 (165179) | more than 4 years ago | (#31637942)

I just installed the 64-bit deb on my Ubuntu machine and launch it just to see that it's just a Wine application.

It also brings integration into KDE and Gnome

My ass. It's just the Windows version compiled with winelib and on my Ubuntu desktop it is really looking ugly. And I mean more than usual for a wine application. It's all "Windows 2000" greyish.

Look for yourself http://twitpic.com/1b8ds2 [twitpic.com] .

Not free, not native and really ugly. Don't bother with it.

Re:It's Wine, people. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31637972)

Definitely not a Wine app.

And the reason it doesn't import your desktop theme is because you are using 64 bit Linux. They haven't managed to import from that. Theming works very well in 32 bit Linux.

Re:It's Wine, people. (1)

bcmm (768152) | more than 4 years ago | (#31638568)

Hah, I was wondering why the prominent screenshot on the TextMaker for Linux page [softmaker.com] was taken in Windows Vista.

Also, anybody saying that using system colours counts as KDE or Gnome "integration" needs to be taken out and shot. Even OO.o is integrated better than that.

Does not integrate well with GNOME at all (1)

sammydee (930754) | more than 4 years ago | (#31638014)

It almost looks like it's been compiled with winelib, the fonts and buttons resemble wine widgets. It does not integrate at all with GNOME, the fonts are horrible and the interface is clunky.

Logo (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 4 years ago | (#31638596)

Where have I seen their logo before? It looks _very_ familiar...

What SoftMaker is *really* for ... (1)

charlie (1328) | more than 4 years ago | (#31639634)

I've used it on and off for about eight years now.

SoftMaker office isn't really a decent replacement for OO.o on Linux. But there is one place where it's indispensible -- if you have a WinCE or Windows Mobile PDA/smartphone, it's miles better than the Pocket version of Microsoft Office. It actually makes my old HP iPaq 214 useful for writing.

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