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Tom's Hardware On the Current Stable of Office Apps For Linux

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the everything-is-amazing-no-one-is-happy dept.

Software 121

tc6669 writes "Tom's Hardware is continuing its coverage of easy-to-install Linux applications for new users coming from Windows with the latest installment, Office Apps. This segment covers office suites, word processors, spreadsheet apps, presentation software, simple database titles, desktop publishing, project management, financial software, and more. All of these applications are available in the Ubuntu, Fedora, or openSUSE repos or as .deb or .rpm packages. All of the links to download these applications are provided — even Windows .exe and Mac OS X .dmg files when available."

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KOffice 2 (3, Informative)

pavon (30274) | more than 4 years ago | (#32036410)

Bah, they didn't review KOffice 2, even though it had been released at the time of writing. It will be included in the next version of all the distros, and ignoring it makes their roundup obsolete before they even published it.

Re:KOffice 2 (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32036530)

Not sure if it was released at the time of writing because the article said

This article is the third of five (or so) in Tom's Definitive Linux Software Roundup, and my production machine has undergone a few upgrades since the series began. The new hardware configuration is in the table below. However, the software has changed as well. I started out with Ubuntu 9.04, but switched to Kubuntu 9.10 over the holidays. Therefore, some of the versions may have been from Jaunty and not the newer Karmic repos. Also, some screenshots are GNOME and others KDE.

Its quite possible he did all the testing in Jan/Feb and just now got it published or finished writing it.

But I agree, the article is complete crap. In other words Open Office is the best full office suite there is on Linux, same as it has been for 5 or more years is all that the article says.

Re:KOffice 2 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32036744)

Wrong about that because it also says all of them are inferior to Microsoft Office.

That is an important thing to know, if you are in the market for an Office suite.

Re:KOffice 2 (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038408)

...Because we all know that Microsoft Office runs natively on Linux now? They aren't really in the same category because of this. Its a bit like saying that Ocarina of Time was the best adventure game while discussing PS1 adventure titles. Yes, it may be but if you have a PS1 the fact that a Nintendo 64 game is better is of little consequence.

Plus, OOo is pretty compatible with most formats. Yeah, its not as 'polished' as MS Office but it sure beats running it in WINE or a VM for most tasks.

Re:KOffice 2 (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039284)

Do you know what else isn't polished? A turd. Think about it.

Re:KOffice 2 (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 4 years ago | (#32041050)

Do you know what else isn't polished? A turd. Think about it.

So.. Following the thought process you have provided... Microsoft Office being a shiny turd, it's essentially got useless features that have no practicality.

I see.

KOffice is fantastic. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32036702)

KOffice is fantastic. I was using OpenOffice.org to write my History PhD thesis, but then when I heard about KOffice, I switched and I'm glad I did!

KOffice is fast. You don't realize how fucking slow OpenOffice.org is until you've used KOffice. It's probably because it's based around the best UI toolkit available today, Qt, and the best open source desktop available today, KDE. That, and it doesn't have the heaps of Java shit that OO.o unfortunately has stuck on.

When I used OO.o intensively, it'd crash three or four times a day. This just doesn't happen with KOffice. It's extremely robust.

In terms of functionality, KOffice does absolutely everything I need it to do. I have yet to run into any sort of a problem with it. It actually offers better printing support than OO.o offered me, I guess because KOffice uses KDE's excellent printing support, rather than trying to hack their own.

Re:KOffice is fantastic. (1, Interesting)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32036884)

... and it works well on Windows ...

I know, I know, it DOES run on Windows. If you have KDE for Windows installed ...

Re:KOffice is fantastic. (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#32037734)

Is there a fork of OO.org that has all java stripped out of it? I know you can turn it off, and I always do, but I still suspect it is adding to the bloat and slowness (which is OO's greatest problem).

I use Writer in place of Word, because of OO's greater reliability and accuracy, especially in long documents; but I'm still a bit torn.

Re:KOffice is fantastic. (1)

fusiongyro (55524) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040732)

It's written in C++ and Java, so you're pretty much stuck with it. Not that I think Java by itself turns things to shit, but OO definitely seems to suck in ways that are considered pathologically Java.

Re:KOffice 2 (3, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32036874)

Heh, KOffice 2.0.0 was released on May 28th 2009 so that has been out a looooooooong time. On the other hand, they also said in the release notes:

Targeted Audience

Our goal for now is to release a first preview of what we have accomplished. This release is mainly aimed at developers, testers and early adopters. It is not aimed at end users, and we do not recommend Linux distributions to package it as the default office suite yet.

And no, the bold outline is not mine. Maybe we should wait for the first release that sees any wide testing by normal linux distro users first? And for a review on Tom's Hardware I'd wait until the next release after that when the nastiest bugs are cleaned up. I imagine any review they'd do now would do more harm than good...

Let me save you some time... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32037300)

All options are a pathetic joke. Just get Windows or a Mac already so you can run the best [microsoft.com] .

Re:Let me save you some time... (2, Informative)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#32037644)

But not the best for the money ... I find OpenOffice does everything I need it to in the word processing component anyway. The office suite costs more than I paid for my computer.

Re:Let me save you some time... (3, Informative)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038246)

I'm a big Linux geek, but I'd have to agree with you when it comes to features like "Track Changes". On the other hand, none of the engineering companies I've worked for really had any clue how to effectively use those features.

In my experience, OpenOffice has been great for classwork and day-to-day stuff. I wouldn't get all fancy with graphing, however, since the formatting and scaling still kind of stinks and is crash prone (though it's improved greatly on recent releases, like 3.2+).

For anything more than casual use, I'd go straight to a combination of Lyx + gnuplot / octave .

Most of my casual spreadsheet use is actually done in gnumeric, which is very light, fast, and stable. Unfortunately I can't say the same about Abiword, so I tend to stick to OpenOffice for documents.

Finally, most of my presentations are exported to pdf and displayed using keyjnote / Impress!ve [sourceforge.net] for its dead-simple but awesome usable GLX eye-candy.

If I really need MS Office compatibility to fill out someone's stupid form (which happens often for heavily formatted documents -- different versions of MS Office still can't even share these with each other even with all the compatibility packs), I boot up Windows in a VM (either the free VMware server 2.0 or VirtualBox, which actually tends to be easier to install and works better).

Re:KOffice 2 (3, Informative)

notjustchalk (1743368) | more than 4 years ago | (#32037580)

Maybe this was added on later (?), but they did give a reason for not putting in KOffice 2:

Please note that I used KOffice version 1.6.3 for this roundup. Version 2.0 of KOffice gets full KDE 4 integration and a major face-lift. Though the long-awaited 2.0 has been officially released, it was not yet available via the official repo of any major distribution at posting time. Also, the KDE project tends to make its .0 releases the first look at the development of a new version, not a stable milestone like most other software houses.

I think he's got a point about the "stable milestone" part - remember KDE4?

No LaTeX, R, etc. (3, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#32036456)

I didn't see any mention of LaTeX (or Beamer), R, or PostgreSQL. No, these aren't your typical office packages. They're better than your typical office packages.

Re:No LaTeX, R, etc. (2)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32036598)

They didn't mention LyX too, I pressume (since you would mention it, I guess, while lamenting lack of LaTeX; reading TFA? Nah). Also quite nice and one would thought not too scary...

Re:No LaTeX, R, etc. (4, Funny)

toastar (573882) | more than 4 years ago | (#32036618)

I didn't see any mention of LaTeX (or Beamer), R, or PostgreSQL. No, these aren't your typical office packages. They're better than your typical office packages.

What? PostgreSQL? LaTeX?

Are you going to be dictating to your secretary who's typing in SQL statements?

Re:No LaTeX, R, etc. (1)

Quantumstate (1295210) | more than 4 years ago | (#32037208)

The article did contain a section on database applications.

Re:No LaTeX, R, etc. (2, Informative)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32037706)

But the article talked about database applications, not database engines.

Quite different things.

Re:No LaTeX, R, etc. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038002)

That's what pgAdmin is for.

Re:No LaTeX, R, etc. (2, Informative)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038140)

That's what pgAdmin is for.

*Laugh*

No it's not. The clue to its use is in its name.

LaTeX is great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32036704)

LaTeX is great, when you need it, but for most of what I use an office suite for, I don't.

I use LaTeX when I need to do serious lifting, like putting together a technical report, for most smaller things, it is just not worth the effort to get off the ground.

Maybe with LyX it would be worth it for small things, but seriously, your not going to get joe windowsUser to give up Office for LaTeX. The barrier of entry is just too high.

Re:No LaTeX, R, etc. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32037026)

The really amazing thing is that it took only two posts for someone to completely miss the point of the article and go straight to unabashed holy wars. TFA is about helping Windows immigrants use Linux, not the shortcomings of GUIs. FOAD, sir. FOAD.

Re:No LaTeX, R, etc. (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 4 years ago | (#32037784)

Follow the KISS principle. The whole point of computers is to make work easier, not complicate it by eighteen quadrillion times.

Re:No LaTeX, R, etc. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#32037962)

Putting in a little work up front pays off in the long run. Using good tools like LaTeX and R will make your life a lot easier when you do something important. Why deal with spaghetti code in Excel when you can do the same thing with a neatly managed R program? Why fiddle with consistently formatting a long Word document when you can just load a document class in LaTeX?

Re:No LaTeX, R, etc. (1)

smash (1351) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040282)

Because 99% of general day to day "office" work is stuff that is written in 5 minutes and then discarded, or a slight modification of an existing template (code stays same, data changes).

Yes, code maintenance is nice, but for 99% of OFFICE workers (as opposed to geeks, admins, etc) it isn't an issue.

Re:No LaTeX, R, etc. (1)

grcumb (781340) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040604)

Why fiddle with consistently formatting a long Word document when you can just load a document class in LaTeX?

I spend my days building systems to process legal documents from over twenty countries. Words like yours make me weep with despair.

If I had my way, I'd do away with word processors entirely. Really [imagicity.com] .

I couldn't agree more that a little bit of structure goes a long way. But the problem is, the benefits derive to people other than the document authors. In effect, the case you have to make is, "If you would only make a slightly greater effort. my life would be easier."

When it comes to closed systems (e.g. large organisations with strict documentation requirements) and very small, very specialised operations (academic researchers), you can make the benefits felt pretty quickly....

But try telling a Chief Justice that his Word documents aren't up to snuff and that he needs to get his already overworked staff to take some time from what they're doing in order to make things easier for everyone. More often than not, they'll glance at the document, decide that it's perfectly legible (which wasn't the issue) and tell you to get out of their office.

Sometimes you can make the case, and the results are a treat. But sustaining the new standards is a constant battle. Even when you do manage to establish standards and processes, it only takes one new manager to tear it all down.

So now, for my sins, I'm forced to content myself with trying to convince people to use Word styles instead of visual formatting.

Re:No LaTeX, R, etc. (1)

MarkWatson (189759) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038548)

I do a lot of writing. When I use LateX instead of OO.org or Pages, I save a lot of time and effort. Lots of time and effort, actually. There is a learning curve for LateX but IMO it is well worth it.

Re:No LaTeX, R, etc. (1)

smash (1351) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040268)

good luck getting the average office drone (you know, the people who actually need to USE office suites day to day) to learn those options. the average corporate office drone doesn't have time to learn SQL. Access (as evil and broken as we all know it is) allows them to do something quick and dirty to solve a problem on the spot within a few minutes.

Re:No LaTeX, R, etc. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32041890)

I don't see any irony tags so I'll assume this is a genuine suggestion - they hardly fit into the "easy-to-install Linux applications for new users" do they.

Times are changing (5, Interesting)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32036458)

It's great to see major websites like Tom's Hardware publishing articles like these. I'll forward it to a collegue of mine. He's not a computer nerd in any way, yet being fed up with how crappy Windows was running on his netbook, he managed to find out about Ubuntu and install it on his machine completely by himself. It's quite amazing to me that someone with so little tech-saviness can achieve this. I'm not saying it's going to be the year of the Linux desktop or anything, but times are definately changing.

Improved driver support (5, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32036624)

The main thing that changed is now manufacturers are trying to get Linux drivers out to the masses. I remember back when I first started using Linux (Fedora Core 4 then later Puppy Linux on an old PIII) and having trouble getting basic things like PCI wireless cards to work. The days of Ndiswrapper and painfully extraction various .exes found on questionable Russian driver sites to try to get Linux to work with them are long gone. And quite honestly, I found installing Windows 7 on a spare partition to be a lot harder than installing the latest Ubuntu release because Ubuntu detected all my hardware whereas I was searching for drivers on almost every piece of hardware for Windows.

Re:Improved driver support (3, Interesting)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32036734)

Yeah, that big old monolithic kernel is really starting to pay off. Today the same collegue I was referring to in the GP wanted to install the office printer on his netbook. It's a Samsung SCX-4500W, a laser-printer connected through WiFi. On Windows, installing this baby means going through a series of installers, which you have to find on Samsungs website. Installing it in Ubuntu is a simple click on a button, as the printer is completely auto-detected and drivers are already present. It's really quite bizarre that out of all desktop operating systems, Windows is actually the one hardest for users to work with.

Re:Improved driver support (2, Insightful)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32037014)

What does that have to do with micro vs. monolithic kernel?

Re:Improved driver support (2, Interesting)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32037154)

Isn't the monolithic Linux kernel the reason that all drivers (including the one for this "exotic" printer) are included in every Linux distro?

Re:Improved driver support (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 4 years ago | (#32037264)

Printer drivers are most certainly not included in the kernel... for obvious security reasons.

Re:Improved driver support (2, Informative)

Antiocheian (859870) | more than 4 years ago | (#32037340)

No

Re:Improved driver support (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32037364)

no, its the lack of an ABI that drivers are included in the 'kernel' distro. If the Linux kernel had a defined, never-changing interface for drivers, then you'd probably find them on every manufacturer's website. As it is, every so often a change is made to the interface requiring the drivers to be modified (even if slightly) but as the source code to the drivers are in the kernel source tree, the modification gets made and they get recompiled for the new kernel version.

The goals of source-only drivers is good, but I think practicality is more important - for drivers that is.

Re:Improved driver support (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038350)

If you favour practicality over ideals, then you should certainly favour the fluctuating kernel ABI. It is practical for good kernel development. Also, it pretty much forces all drivers to come with the kernel, which means that they are well maintained and easily accessible.

Find an old but useful piece of hardware. Bonus points if the manufacturer is out of business. Try it on Linux. Try it on windows. Then you will truly appreciate the practicality of the kernel ABI.

Re:Improved driver support (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 4 years ago | (#32037406)

Except printer drivers are PPD files, plain old text.

micro vs. mono doesn't matter, since I assume that with a micro kernel you could still have loadable modules, just like with the monolithic kernel in Linux. And distros ship with just about all of the modules available and compiled for the sake of the end user.

Re:Improved driver support (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038216)

Except printer drivers are PPD files, plain old text.

PPD files aren't drivers, they just describe the printer, including what filters to use, what options to set and where to send the output. The actual "driver" is the combination of the PPD and one or more filters, which are usually binary executables.

In any case, the specific printer drivers aren't in the kernel. All that's in the kernel is the drivers for passing data through USB ports, parallel ports, etc.

Re:Improved driver support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32037366)

I'm guessing the GP meant it as a tongue-in-cheek remark regarding http://www.educ.umu.se/~bjorn/mhonarc-files/obsolete/msg00000.html [educ.umu.se] . I mean, we all know that Minix is the way to go and this Linux thingy ist just a fad, riiiiight?

Re:Improved driver support (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038560)

What does that have to do with micro vs. monolithic kernel?

Technically nothing, but I imagine a micro kernel would have a much more persistent API/ABI in practice. Linux changes the kernel module interface very often so it's a lot more practical to have the source in the main kernel and let the kernel maintainers update the driver than to keep up with a binary driver. The nvidia and catalyst drivers are exceptions because they're huge graphics processing engines but all the other hardware is really better off in the kernel because of it.

Re:Improved driver support (1)

Zantetsuken (935350) | more than 4 years ago | (#32041574)

Even then, at least Nvidia is getting slightly easier on Ubuntu with their newer hardware - https://launchpad.net/~nvidia-vdpau/+archive/ppa [launchpad.net] allows you to install the Nvidia binaries and then have them update with the rest of the system.

Yes, it is Ubuntu/Deb only, and it would be better if it were hosted by Nvidia with proper regression testing. Or to just have an open driver to begin with that could be included in the main kernel. But you know what? It's a step (maybe a half a step) in the right direction...

Re:Improved driver support (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038798)

I came to the same conclusion a couple of years ago. As long as your hardware is built upon open/industry standards and not based in proprietary, closed, one-off systems, Windows is quite inferior to any other system. As more and more systems get moved to the network and have to support a wider variety of devices that are not Windows-based, they will start using more and more the established standards any decent IT shop has been using for years. For printers this means moving to IPP (and Bonjour for auto-discovery) and supporting PostScript which is a pain in the butt to use on Windows.

Another problem is that Windows practically requires a specific driver for any hardware while Linux has been using standard drivers for years. USB ports and SATA ports are another example. They are based on AHCI for SATA, UHCI for USB. However if you change the host for either device controllers in Windows you'll end up blue screening or even not even loading the boot-loader (saying it can't find the hard drive).

Netcraft won't confirm that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32037578)

The days of Ndiswrapper ... are long gone.

WiFi.

Yes, sure, it's nothing like it used to be, but like the floppy, Ndiswrapper is going to be with us for some time yet.

Re:Netcraft won't confirm that (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038788)

True. It was quite an odyssey to get the Realtek 8192SE on my notebook to work reliably.

Worked fine (despite the need to compile it by hand) until one kernel upgrade lead to kernel panics when switching between eth0 and wlan0.
I'm glad the newer kernel in Ubuntu 10.04 has corrected that again.

Re:Improved driver support (1)

LinuxIsGarbage (1658307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040064)

I found with Windows 7, as long as it had a functioning network driver, and a functioning HDD controller driver, all you have to do is go to Windows update and it will find the rest. It found my video driver (even pulling XP drivers where necessary for the Intel i915), found printer drivers, and even found drivers for my old no-name non-standard web-cam. Unlike XP on modern hardware, 7 on modern hardware is able to communicate with most SATA controllers without any intervention.

Re:Improved driver support (1)

udippel (562132) | more than 4 years ago | (#32041828)

Amen!

Re:Times are changing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32036726)

Changing radio to Bob Dylan.... now!

Re:Times are changing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32037158)

Anonymous coward says it: 2010 or at the latest, 2011 is the year of the linux desktop (unless that has passed all ready without us noticing).

Re:Times are changing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32037280)

I take it noone read the conclusion?
Nothing like someone who is comparing products to get the best MS equivalent, but the writer admits that the last version they used is Office 2003.
Way to go, only 7 years of features to miss out.
Next up, comparing which distro beats windows xp on features.

Re:Times are changing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32041382)

Wait till the poor sod tries to get one of the half-baked applications to do ~all~ that it advertises.

I've recently tried to get Inkscape to export my work as .dxf: some blooming hope! Oh you need to install blahblah.hows-yer-father. Did that. Can't run because AbcAbc dependency is missing and so on, and so on. Try again but to export as .ai. Repeat of the earlier frustration. Why does the most-up-to-date version of the application offer things that it cannot/does not deliver? What totally Amateur Crap.

I used to be a geek, writing my own software in RiscOS, then later for Windows but I am nowhere near geek-enough to get very much to run ~properly~ in Linux.

Geoff

So in other words... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32036464)

So in other words OOo is still the best office suite available for Linux like it has been since... oh 2004? And there are some niche programs that can help with specific jobs like GnuCash?

I really don't get how this is a story for the /. crowd. Perhaps it might be interesting on Engadget or Gizmodo, but for the readers of /. , we already know 99.9% of what is in the article.

Only if you care about TFA, which nobody does (2, Funny)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32036636)

But by posting this article on Slashdot, we get another excuse to fight out some holy wars and rant on about various random topics involving Linux, Microsoft, Windows, OOXML and whatever you can think of. I wouldn't be suprised if somewhere in the comments people would start another browser war or say something about the ridiculous policies of Apple regarding the App Store.

OpenOffice getting worse (1, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#32036658)

In some ways, OpenOffice 2 was better than OpenOffice 3. At least it crashed less. Google "OpenOffice crashes". [google.com] (764,000 hits.) It crashes on SUSE. It crashes on Ubuntu. It crashes on Windows. It crashes on launch. It crashes on exiting. And what's the support advice? "Delete your OpenOffice profile". "Clean the registry". None of that helps much.

Since Oracle took over, the online "support" is best described as "developer in denial".

Re:OpenOffice getting worse (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 4 years ago | (#32036782)

I think NeoOffice [neooffice.org] has a slightly better track record -- for me at least. I have had it crash once in the last 1.5 years of using it. Maybe I'm just a weird user or something. I know it's just OO.org, but methinks the use of their custom (java-based) UI frontend somehow helps with things, somehow.

I've tried native OO.org for OS X recently, and it felt like crap in comparison. And yes, it did crash -- twice during one day of testing.

So I hold NeoOffice folks in high esteem. But that's just me.

Re:OpenOffice getting worse (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#32036804)

I have to say that I find Calc on OO to be painfully slow.

Re:OpenOffice getting worse (1)

Antiocheian (859870) | more than 4 years ago | (#32037412)

I disagree. I've been testing OpenOffice since the day it went public on Windows and always went back to Office 2000 frustrated. I really wanted to like OpenOffice but I couldn't... until version 3.1 which finally provided me all that I needed to make the move.

I've never seen OpenOffice crash but of course I am not a seasoned user, yet.

Re:OpenOffice getting worse (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 4 years ago | (#32041006)

In some ways, OpenOffice 2 was better than OpenOffice 3. At least it crashed less. Google "OpenOffice crashes". (764,000 hits.) It crashes on SUSE. It crashes on Ubuntu. It crashes on Windows. It crashes on launch. It crashes on exiting. And what's the support advice? "Delete your OpenOffice profile". "Clean the registry". None of that helps much.

You think that's bad? I just googled Microsoft Office Crashes and I got 3,190,000 hits!!!

The Lotus Fallacy (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32036660)

Most people simply never needed $400 desktop productivity apps.

The idea that everyone needed to be completely compatible with the market leader quickly
took hold and helped strangle the industry. Documents should have no more vendor-lock
associated with them than image files.

Those of us that don't really need Word, nor really even like it, should not be held hostage by those that do.

Re:The Lotus Fallacy (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32036886)

We should not be held hostage, but we have no choice. AN example of mine from last week. Agency wants CV in word format, I do it in OpenOffice. Open it in Word and even the pages are all wrong with one page spilling over on to the next etc. I had to redo my CV again in a VM so that I have a better chance of it not looking like an unprofessional piece of crap on the recieving end. Until the basic layout of a document is the same on OpenOffice and Word, it's not possible to exclusively use OpenOffice.

my word, they sound picky (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 4 years ago | (#32037698)

Why can't they take a pdf? Isn't that common enough? Don't they show up the same across platforms?

Re:my word, they sound picky (1)

LinuxIsGarbage (1658307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040092)

Some recruitment agencies want to easily strip your contact information out of the resume or otherwise modify it so the prospective employer won't try to contact you directly. Where possible I try to submit resumes as PDFs.

Re:my word, they sound picky (1)

Eskarel (565631) | more than 4 years ago | (#32040790)

Some slave traders like to reformat your resume or otherwise adjust it, with a PDF they can't do that, so they won't bother.

Not a problem if you're in a really strong position, but pretty major if you're in a more competitive market.

Re:The Lotus Fallacy (2, Interesting)

Teun (17872) | more than 4 years ago | (#32037768)

The only reason I can see for them to want your CV in Word is that they want to be able to edit it.

Otherwise a pdf would suffice.

Re:The Lotus Fallacy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32037878)

That can happen even with Office by itself; you formatted it wrong. Learn to use the tools correctly.

And if you want to have predictable formatting, send a PDF.

Re:The Lotus Fallacy (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32036934)

Those of us that don't really need Word, nor really even like it, should not be held hostage by those that do.

I agree with your premise. But the question is ... who gets to decide that? I don't think that's a legislative action item. It's not the government's job to make sure people make smart decisions.

openoffice seems to be working out pretty well. I know a lot of people that use it - because it is free, for the most part. Furthermore, it appears to be forcing Microsoft to change it's Office ways... what with office live and all that.

No, I'm not saying MS is now playing nice all of the sudden with all the open standards. I'm saying that they ARE being forced to change somewhat, due to a pretty good product that is available for free that substitutes for normal usage of MS's product...

To me, that is the correct way to go about doing it. Basically a sort of market/freedom-driven solution...

Re:The Lotus Fallacy (3, Interesting)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 4 years ago | (#32037374)

> I don't think that's a legislative action item. It's not the government's job to make sure people make smart decisions.

No but if they themselves set the right example the Microsoft document monopoly would end overnight. Simply forbid the use of Microsoft document formats within or between government agencies or the distribution to the public in those formats. Program their mail gateways to automagically transform Microsoft attachments into something benign. We have an ISO standard now, governments should use it. Then if Office gained the ability to faithfully interoperate in those formats it wouldn't matter what anyone else wanted to use anymore than it matters if a JPG was originally created or modified with Photoshop.

Re:The Lotus Fallacy (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038100)

I would generally agree, and I think the people of a democratic[ish] country SHOULD be able to er .. legislate? ... what software or businesses or solutions or whatever the government itself uses. As long as you do not start legislating what other companies are allowed to use (I understand the monopoly thing, but that has to do with the monopolizing company, not the companies that are utilizing the monopolizing company).

The only problem I see is when you start forcing a government into a single solution, or forcing one solution [or company] OUT of the government... for example, I don't know that we should simply bar Microsoft Office from government computers, or Adobe Photoshop, or Microsoft Windows, etc, nor do I think we should force them to buy RedHat licenses/support...

Etc. It seems like a fairly sticky situation when you start legislating against or for certain companies or organizations...

OTOH, it sure seems like the government could save money by switching to free software. But I get the feeling that most government officials don't REALLY care if they cut spending. They just want to stay in office, and it just so happens that a lot of people support it... or at least, would get really upset if the budget issues aren't dealt with right now...

Re:The Lotus Fallacy (2, Insightful)

Rennt (582550) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038346)

Etc. It seems like a fairly sticky situation when you start legislating against or for certain companies or organizations...

You don't need to, you simply legislate that documents must be in an open format. If certain companies don't want to make their software compliant with the standard that's their problem.

Re:The Lotus Fallacy (1)

Eskarel (565631) | more than 4 years ago | (#32041038)

Open formats accomplish a whole lot of nothing for anyone. A billion open formats don't help the situation, what is required is a standard format, open or otherwise, which essentially legislates what features a document can have.

Re:The Lotus Fallacy (1)

Rennt (582550) | more than 4 years ago | (#32041408)

Um, yes? That is exactly what I was getting at.

Re:The Lotus Fallacy (3, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#32037252)

The idea that everyone needed to be completely compatible with the market leader quickly took hold and helped strangle the industry. Documents should have no more vendor-lock associated with them than image files.

That's an interesting point - you can read jpg and tiff files from anywhere on any system. Even .psd (photoshop native format) readers are pretty ubiquitous. I'm surprised that Linux doesn't have the functionality of Preview / TextEdit in OS X - between the two programs you can read and write to pretty much anything.

Of course, you do lose some fancy formatting, especially with Idiot Word files, but I view that as a feature, not a bug. Complex Word files are an absolute nightmare, even for pure Windows shops. Stripping out some of that garbage goes a long way to making people read the words, not worry about the ditzil brained bullet character.

Now, if you Word users would please go and get off my lawn I'll just retire for my afternoon nap.

Re:The Lotus Fallacy (1)

Quantumstate (1295210) | more than 4 years ago | (#32037258)

"Documents should have no more vendor-lock associated with them than image files."

Although I agree with the sentiment in practice there is a huge difference between an image file and a document. An image is a static set of pixels which is run through a compression algorithm and saved. A document needs to store everything needed for editing which means that creating a compatible format from different programs is far more difficult.

Re:The Lotus Fallacy (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32037432)

Mod parent up! I am going to send out a petition (see the attached file: noMoreOffice.docx) Please open it up, add your name, and pass it on to the next person.

The Geek's "Retail List" Fallacy (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#32037744)

Most people simply never needed $400 desktop productivity apps.

Almost no one pays retail list for the boxed set of MS Office.

The "Ultimate Steal" at $60 for those with student ID. MS Office for $10 if your employer participates in Microsoft's Home Use program. [microsofthup.com]

Those of us that don't really need Word, nor really even like it, should not be held hostage by those that do.

The office manager has work that needs to go out by the close of the business day. He is employing fifty to one hundred and fifty temps he needs to be productive at every empty desk he has to fill.

That makes MS Office skills marketable at any age and at any job site south of the Arctic Circle.

Classes and certification programs no farther away than your local high school, community college, senior center, or public library.

Re:The Geek's "Retail List" Fallacy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32038238)

The "Ultimate Steal" at $60 for those with student ID. MS Office

Not really. [openoffice.org]

The office manager has work that needs to go out by the close of the business day. He is employing fifty to one hundred and fifty temps he needs to be productive at every empty desk he has to fill.

More power to short-sighted companies that put themselves in positions such as your particularly contrived example making it necessary to waste money on overpriced proprietary software just to get work done. We'll spend our money on benefits and salaries for our employees thank you very much. And as a nice side benefit, we'll put what's left over after that in our pockets.

Classes and certification programs no farther away than your local high school, community college, senior center, or public library.

There have been classes and certifications that supported obsolete business models and practices for long before you or I got here. Fortunately, market inefficiencies tend to be self correcting in the long run. Although, sadly, that tends to only happen after many businesses that hitched their wagons to an out dated model have bitten the dust.

Not good enough if you deal with customers. (0)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32036892)

When the Calc spreadsheet was saved as an .xls file, it displayed almost perfectly in Excel 2007. Only a single cell border was missing.

When you're doing something for a potential client or for a client, having little imperfections like that, imperfections that are uncontrollable, does not make a good impression. That concerns me that there's little things like that that still crop up.

Re:Not good enough if you deal with customers. (3, Insightful)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 4 years ago | (#32037142)

It has been my experience that 1600 seats @free per seat will often offset a single missing cell border.

Re:Not good enough if you deal with customers. (0)

guanxi (216397) | more than 4 years ago | (#32037662)

1600 seats @free per seat

Most of the cost is not buying the software, but testing, deploying, supporting, integrating, maintaining, and upgrading it. That's a big reason why businesses don't often use free software -- it's not free.

Re:Not good enough if you deal with customers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32038448)

Most of the cost is not buying the software, but testing, deploying, supporting, integrating, maintaining, and upgrading it.

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you aren't enough of a moron to pretend that anyone ever actually said that "testing, deploying, supporting, integrating, maintaining, and upgrading" any software is free.

With that out of the way...

That's a big reason why businesses don't often use free software -- it's not free.

So, what you are saying is, you have studies that you can refer me to that have surveyed a large enough sample of businesses to be statistically significant that haven't made the switch yet to free software that prove your implied statement, I presume? Your implication, obviously being that in the long run, proprietary software is cheaper. Or, more specifically, to stay on topic, MS Office is cheaper than OpenOffice. Of course, this doesn't even take into account the question of are many businesses even competent enough to make an intelligent and informed decision between the various office suite options. Also, of the businesses that have switched, what percentage have thrown up their hands later and switched back? I mean, surely if open source is more expensive, many would come crawling to their former vendor on their hands and knees, right?

Oh, you were talking out of your ass. Thought so.

Re:Not good enough if you deal with customers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32037594)

doesnt really matter, I can show you a million times where excel 2000, 2003 and 2007 produce little glitches

and if your customers are really THAT anal, I honestly feel sorry for you

Re:Not good enough if you deal with customers. (2, Insightful)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32037652)

So you send your client a PDF. Problem solved.

Re:Not good enough if you deal with customers. (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 4 years ago | (#32037806)

Just include the link for downloading OO.

Re:Not good enough if you deal with customers. (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038040)

When you're doing something for a potential client or for a client, having little imperfections like that, imperfections that are uncontrollable, does not make a good impression. That concerns me that there's little things like that that still crop up.

If you've never run into this between versions of MS Office, then I'd say you've not used Excel often enough.

Unless you're saying the way you "control" these imperfections is to have multiple versions of MS Office installed/laying around. That's not what most customers have, and I wouldn't expect them to.

They deal with the imperfections, just as we all do when we get a file saved from a different software version.

Re:Not good enough if you deal with customers. (4, Informative)

Jim Hall (2985) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038082)

"When you're doing something for a potential client or for a client, having little imperfections like that, imperfections that are uncontrollable, does not make a good impression. That concerns me that there's little things like that that still crop up."

Microsoft Office isn't really compatible with itself. I've posted this one before, but I guess I'll mention it again:

In a meeting from about a year ago, one of the attendees sent out some notes for us to read beforehand. We all dutifully printed out our copy of the document, and brought it with us to the meeting.

Despite the fact that the document was created with Microsoft Office, and that we all run Microsoft Office, there were 3 different versions of the printed document at the meeting. You could tell by looking around the table that one version of the notes (printed from Microsoft Office for Macintosh) arranged the text around a table in a weird way. Another version (printed by Microsoft Office 2007) put a page break in a different place and put an extra blank line between a table and its caption. The original version (Microsoft Office 2003) was formatted as intended.

This was a simple 3-page document in "DOC" format, with an enumerated list of paragraphs, so it didn't take long for us to realize our copies printed out differently, and to figure out the correlation between versions of Word and how the document printed out.

I think it just goes to show: if you have a document that absolutely must preserve formatting, send it as a PDF.

Article is worth a quick skim but not a slow read (1)

steveha (103154) | more than 4 years ago | (#32036906)

Those of us on Slashdot are unlikely to learn much of importance from the article, but if you skim it you might pick up a thing or two. I had never heard of Glom [glom.org] before, for example.

I did find it amusing that he showed a list of all his icons, including a Kubuntu icon, and then none of the KDE apps had the Kubuntu icon. I guess if you want to run KDE apps you should use Ubuntu instead of Kubuntu? :-/

I was also amused that he saw Lotus Symphony as a replacement for Microsoft Works. (IBM calls Symphony "Award-winning office productivity software".) Heh.

steveha

Re:Article is worth a quick skim but not a slow re (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32037098)

I found the GNUCash is a replacement for Quickbooks statement to be hysterical. GNUCash doesn't even come close. And until Intuit ports QB to Linux, Linux isn't going to penetrate much into the small business world outside of servers.

Re:Article is worth a quick skim but not a slow re (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038402)

...because every machine has to have QB on it as opposed to just the person who does tha acounting? And I suppose it won't run in a VM either?

Office Apps For Linux? (2, Funny)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32037050)

Naah, I got vi. That's all the office I need, thank you much.

Re:Office Apps For Linux? (2, Funny)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 4 years ago | (#32037350)

I still use ed you insensitive clod!
?

Re:Office Apps For Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32038094)

Ed? Luxury, I have to echo my text into documents!

Re:Office Apps For Linux? (1)

Zantetsuken (935350) | more than 4 years ago | (#32041608)

Except ed is pretty much the predecessor to ALL text entry methods, including echo and cat? The only thing I think is older is writing your binary data by placing pebbles on the ground...

DIA = Dead In Ability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32037402)

Did he really say that VISIO is the Microsoft Office equivalent application?

That's like saying Schwinn is the equivalent to Moto Guzzi.

DIA is nice as far as it goes, but you sure wouldn't chose it for anything except small, trivial projects.

If you have time to play, DIA is a fun way to entertain yourself. You might say that Solitaire is more like the equivalent application.

   

Re:DIA = Dead In Ability (2, Insightful)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32039806)

If you want to make a diagram so complex that it would be difficult to make it in dia, you are doing it wrong.

Remember -- diagram is an illustration, not a formal specification.

Not impressed (2, Interesting)

markdavis (642305) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038112)

I am not impressed at all with the article. One example:

"Sunbird"..."but with so many comparable Web-based calendars available (all editable via a site), why bother? Sunbird is a pretty solid and straightforward stand-alone app, even if the utility of such a piece of software is in question."

Who is writing this stuff? Is he comparing to an in-house web-based calendar or something non-local like Google? If we are taking about Google/etc calendars:

1) Many people do not want their calendar tied to the web-only experience
2) Many companies might not want to be THAT dependent on a live, must-be-last, always there Internet connection
3) Many people do not want their sensitive data in the hands of some other company (like Google)
4) There are significant performance advantages to having a local calendar
5) Maybe a business wants their calendar tied to their local Email for alerts and reminders, not a third party

Why was this "questionable" status just stamped on Sunbird and not the other "stand alone" apps listed? Why was Evolution not mentioned? Why is "calendar" software considered "Office Suite" software but not Email? Why in their "communications" software article don't they stamp the "questionable" status on all the Email clients?

so which is faster? (4, Insightful)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 4 years ago | (#32038480)

Do they even read what they write?

"OO.o Writer is the fastest and most responsive word processor available for Linux today."

"KWord is fast. It's probably the fastest-loading and maybe the most responsive word processor in the roundup."

Article Says No Google Chrome On Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32039512)

Hello? I'm writing this on Chrome and Karmic Koala. Have used it for months. No more bugs than the other browsers so far, and it's faster. Is the rest of that article like that also?

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