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LibreOffice Developer Community Increasingly Robust

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the you-could-almost-call-it-jolly dept.

Open Source 180

New submitter someWebGeek writes "LibreOffice, the community-driven fork of OpenOffice, appears to have a very healthy and growing group of code contributors. The Document Foundation has published new stats that portray the climbing rates of developer involvement both in terms of numbers of people and numbers of code commits. One of the most encouraging aspects, as noted by Ryan Paul in an article at Ars, is that non-corporate code contributions by independent volunteers constitute the largest slice of the latest commit-pie."

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180 comments

Large Deployments (5, Insightful)

ninetyninebottles (2174630) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930023)

I really think Libre Office could take off and become a huge OSS success story on the order of Webkit or Apache. It just needs a few extremely large installations by companies or organizations with the funding and will to constantly improve it. Just a few major corporations that currently license MS office, dumping Word and moving to Libre Office while still investing say half or a third of the same budget into targeted improvements for their needs would tip the scales.

I find it about on par with MS Office now, which is to say buggy, erratic, unable to consistently read MS Office formats, and with some really poor UI choices. When used only with the native format, however, it pulls ahead and such a course of action is fairly doable at least within a company, whereas it never seems to be with MS Office (someone is always stuck using a different version, even if it is just a Mac version, and then the documents get messy and weird). Also, I really like the PDF editing. I'm surprised no one else has jumped on that particular gem of functionality.

Re:Large Deployments (-1, Flamebait)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930057)

You are so full of shit. I'm all about the open source, but Office's speed, features, and reliability kick the living dog shit out of any sludgy Java catchpenny open-source alternative.

There's a reason for that - Microsoft Office runs on Microsoft Windows. Imagine that!

Re:Large Deployments (5, Informative)

ewanm89 (1052822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930083)

Considering Libre Office will run fine without java, okay it's slow to start while it looks for it. But that's about it. It only uses it for openoffice base and a few little usually unnoticed features.

Re:Large Deployments (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38930243)

If it's not Java's fault that Libre Office is a sludgy, catchpenny piece of shit, whose fault is it?

Re:Large Deployments (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38930429)

Ultimately, it's Microsoft's fault. They invented (and defined) this whole category in the first place, and any imitation of Microsoft Office will end up suffering the same massive feature bloat and quickly become a slug.

Re:Large Deployments (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930709)

oh so thats why LibreOffice that seems to have a slightly less featureset than MS Office 2000 is slow as fuck on my linux machine ... thanks for clearing that up

Re:Large Deployments (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38931355)

oh so thats why LibreOffice that seems to have a slightly less featureset than MS Office 2000 is slow as fuck on my linux machine ... thanks for clearing that up

Microsoft Office 97 was the last real innovative with a useful feature set office software. Seriously what do you expect to have in a word program to let you write medium long reports ? No one, and I mean no one would have upgraded from office 97 if Microsoft werent' introducing voluntary incompatibilites in its files formats. This is the truth.
Office productivity software is an evolutionary dead end, commercial or open source.

Re:Large Deployments (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38931453)

Microsoft Office 97 was the last real innovative with a useful feature set office software.

Still using '97, works great for me. For a couple of years I was occasionally annoyed by .docx files, but now with Google Docs, it's easy to convert back to .doc and download for local viewing and editing. Same for .xlsx, Google lets me save in the old formats.

I believe that '97 is also the last version that doesn't try to call home?

Re:Large Deployments (2)

Koen Lefever (2543028) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930889)

Ultimately, it's Microsoft's fault. They invented (and defined) this whole category in the first place, and any imitation of Microsoft Office will end up suffering the same massive feature bloat and quickly become a slug.

You really believe that Microsoft invented "office software" as a bundle of wordprocessor, spreadsheet & database?

MS Office was introduced in 1990. Forefront's (later bought by Ashton-Tate) Framework [wikipedia.org] was in 1984.

(And to my surprize, it still exists. [framework.com])

Re:Large Deployments (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38930541)

I seriously wouldn't put reliable and office together.
Word craps out on long documents, excel has a lot of bugs and powerpoint is SHIT.
What exactly are you paying for ?

Re:Large Deployments (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930799)

Word craps out on long documents, excel has a lot of bugs and powerpoint is SHIT.
What exactly are you paying for ?

The sad thing is Word used to be pretty good about not crapping out. I can't figure if it was when they went to XML storage or when the added that god aweful ribbon, but it has gotten progressively worse over the years.

At work we wrote and edited several very large complex documents in word with no problem, (Office 2000 version). Very big documents. Now it scares me. OOO or LO seem to handle these documents ok, but I've seen a few crashes there as well, but I haven't totally lost anything with either of them yet.

As for Paying, I stopped upgrading Office/Word a long time ago, and we cut over to OOO, and are now using a mix of OOO and LO.
Not paying for that stuff anymore.

Re:Large Deployments (0)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38932213)

I'd love to be able to offer discouraging first-hand accounts, but the truth is that even on 6 year old hardware with upgraded RAM, MS Office offers excellent performance. That's my anecdote, and I'm talking about systems that have both latest LibreOffice and MS Office 2010 installed -- old Windows XP based Dell clunkers, off-corporate-lease. LibreOffice is glacial at startup (roughly order of magnitude slower), and it's glacial at reading MS Office formatted files. Never mind the incompatibilities: try explaining to our office administrator that it's MS's fault. We had to pony up the cash for Office, people have to work with externally provided documents and no one wants to waste time reformatting them to work. MS knew full well what they were doing by not doing any formal specification of office document formats (formal in what a computer scientist would call formal -- I'd expect to see plenty of logic expressions, automatons, etc).

Re:Large Deployments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38932387)

Rubbish. LibreOffice starts faster than MS Office on the same machine.

Re:Large Deployments (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38930075)

I believe that LibreOffice will never make it in the corporate world for one single reason: It doesn't include a program that can use MAPI to connect to Exchange. Outlook is very, very ingrained in the corporate world and that alone will prevent any organization using Exchange from switching.

Re:Large Deployments (5, Interesting)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930161)

^this^

I would and could move my company to OpenOffice or LibreOffice.. but the lack of a mail server/client on par with Exchange/Outlook that is significantly lower in price to justify licensing it and not just going the MS route is the the largest barrier. If we get rid of MS Office we have to replace Outlook, if we keep Outlook only we might as well just license the whole suite so that we have working integration. If we LibreOffice had a mail client that had good exchange support and was on par with Outlook then we could move to dropping MS Office and only running exchange and buying cal's. While i know there are alternatives to exchange/outlook most of the good ones are not much cheaper to license.

Re:Large Deployments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38930375)

sudo apt-get install thunderbird

Re:Large Deployments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38930475)

That's great software, but it's not the same as Outlook, don't pretend otherwise.

Re:Large Deployments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38931041)

No it's not. It's easily configurable.

Re:Large Deployments (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38931755)

Outlook is not (just) an e-mail client, and configuration options are not its biggest problems. I know it's easy to bash if you've never used it (recently), but let's try to keep it real here...

Re:Large Deployments (4, Insightful)

SpzToid (869795) | more than 2 years ago | (#38932231)

Microsoft Outlook is a massive organisational security risk that is also used as an email client.

Re:Large Deployments (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930451)

Outlook is a bad email client, and Exchange is, well, bad lacks enphasis to express it, email server. So, if you are really complaining about the lack of a email client/server go look at an alternative (just one, any one, it will be better than Outlook/Exchange. Tried Pine lately?).

But you may be complaining about the lack of the other functionality that Outlook and Exchange provide, that big companies love with some reason. Well, I don't know anything that provides that and is cross plataform. There are some good stuff for Linux, but Windows software is way behind.

Re:Large Deployments (2)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930495)

there's Zimbra, Horde and similar that provide the same groupware functionality as Exchange, but I think most of that is irrelevant. Most corporates I know use email, calendars and shared contacts as the two parts of Outlook/Exchange. There is a certain amount of archiving that's needed too, but that's trivial to support with other email servers.

Thunderbird is a great client and has calendar plugins for it, so the client should be no problem.

If you must migrate from Outlook, but keep exchange, you can use the OWA connector to Thunderbird. This is DavMail and is great - I used to use Thunderbird in a all-MS corporate environment for a while.

Today, I use Thunderbird (and lightning plugin) with Google calendars and it works fine. I don't have any problems and no lost functionality that was present with Outlook - except for a shared contacts list, but TBH most corporates put all those on a sharepoint site anyway. Go figure, even corporates prefer not to use the basic exchange functionality :)

Re:Large Deployments (2)

djl4570 (801529) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930691)

I wouldn't use "bad" to describe Outlook, yes it could be better and it is overly complicated for the vast majority of the userbase. It is important to remember that Outlook is more than just an email client. Outlook is firmly anchored in the corporate world by the integrated calendar and automatic reminder notifications. Add integration with Office Communicator and you have tools that provide email, meeting scheduling, instant messaging, voice chat and even desktop sharing. I don't see Libre Office or Open Office doing that anytime soon.

Re:Large Deployments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38931295)

Not in one tool, no - but then, jamming all that stuff into one tool is one reason why Outlook is such a nightmare to configure, support, and use.

Re:Large Deployments (2)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 2 years ago | (#38932037)

Here's the problem: Exchange isn't just a mail server, it's also:

* An address/contact book server for:
- personal addresses/contacts
- shared/group addresses/contacts
- organization/server-wide contacts

* A calendar server
- personal
- shared from internal exchange users
- shared from server/organization-external exchange users
- local/server wide shared

* connected to the same authentication backend your workstations use (Active Directory) and configurable through such

* single authentication/configuration point for all of those things

So, what we need then is:
* an open MAPI server implementation/gateway
* something to control said configuration/backend through AD (or some other directory which we can also auth our workstations through) - Samba would be the natural choice for this; unfortunately, Samba 4 has been in process since at least 2005, and is still yet not even usable at a 2000-level AD controller without significant problems. :(

Re:Large Deployments (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930471)

"If we get rid of MS Office we have to replace Outlook, "

Why? you guys running an illegal copy of Exchange server? because that comes with as many Outlook licenses as you have user licenses.

Re:Large Deployments (2)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930679)

Exchange does not come with Outlook Licenses, they stopped doing that with Exchange 2007 & Outlook 2007.

Re:Large Deployments (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930769)

yea but what are you going to replace outlook with, it does more than simple email

Re:Large Deployments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38930963)

With the copy of outlook you already have. duh.

Re:Large Deployments (2)

alexgieg (948359) | more than 2 years ago | (#38931151)

the lack of a mail server/client on par with Exchange/Outlook

Other than opening Outlook once or twice in computers with Office, I haven't ever used it, much less with Exchange, so I don't know what it provides that's different from other e-mail and calendaring programs. I'm familiar with Gmail, Thunderbird, Eudora and a few others, plus the standard feature set of IMAP/POP3/SMTP, but that's about it. Could you provide a short list of the specific features corporations particularly like, specially when it comes to integration with other Microsoft solutions, that isn't available (or as easily available) in alternative solutions?

Not trolling, just curious.

(By the way, I use, and like, MS Office 2010, but it's a home installation, not a corporate-integrated one.)

Re:Large Deployments (3, Informative)

rahvin112 (446269) | more than 2 years ago | (#38931619)

Fully integrated email/calendar. The ability to send an appointment while checking others schedules AND scheduling a conference room at the same time. It doesn't help that pretty much every enterprise in the world uses outlook so you can email an outlook appointment outside your organization and have it fully work in not only adding to their calendar at the correct time and provide full details.

A small list of features:
- Email with full calendar support.
- Web-mail with most of the features of the Outlook client.
- Folders and structures including common folders that can be shared between multiple people.
- Integrated Contacts with separate personal contacts and company directories.
- Company directories can store all contact information and in the case of VOIP systems can be linked such that clicking a phone number dials the phone.
- Integrated Instant messaging and RSS feeds that can be secured and restricted to certain people.
- Task handling that will track a task list, even between multiple people and offices.
- Fully shareable calendars and other items allowing people to delegate calendar, email and other tasks to a subordinate.
- Integration of other items such as the ability to schedule conference rooms and such with a calendar appointment.
- Distribution lists, Journals, notes and Internet faxing.
- Push email and calendaring that transfers everything to a PDA/phone automatically with secure handling. Works so well emails often show up on the phone before registering on outlook/exchange.

Many other features, of course MS is one of the best companies at inter-product ties, such that there is integrated handling of all MS products including the ability to directly cut and paste document items directly into emails and have it fully handled and look and behave perfectly. This extends as well to Share-point which is a network enabled file management system that allows collaboration including multiple people in the same document over the Internet along with check-in and checkout library type handling.

It's reached the point that if outlook and exchange are down large companies can't even function. I'm not exaggerating either. I've seen personally an exchange crash idle almost the entire company while it's restored. This list was neither comprehensive nor even all the popular features. Just the ones I'm familiar with in my little tiny slice of life. As it's been stated before, most people only use 10% of the programs, but the features that make up that 10% is different for everyone, meaning everything gets used by someone but on average only a small subset is used per individual/company/business.

To replace MS Office at the enterprise level we have to replace the whole kit and kaboodle. Office, Exhange, Outlook, Sharepoint, etc, precisely because MS has tied them all together so well that they are essentially indispensable to most companies.

Re:Large Deployments (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38932539)

More recently, it also integrates with Lync, which is a pretty decent intranet IM/VoIP solution (at least on the client side, I've no idea how hard it is to manage on the server).

Re:Large Deployments (2)

davidrfoote (2567529) | more than 2 years ago | (#38931721)

We struggled with the same issue, and decided to replace Outlook desktop with Outlook web for the 600 desktops that we are migrating to Linux and LibreOffice. OWA in exchange 2010 is robust enough to address the majority of our enterprise needs. We also found that cross-platofrm compatibility with OWA is much better than desktop clients and prefer OWA on Mac, Windows, and Linux, to a mixed back of clients on each OS. You're right that MS prevents licensing portions of the office suite separately, as we had considered keeping outlook desktop clients, this is annoying to say the least, and played a big factor in our deciding to boot MS Office and windows from many of our desktops altogether.

Re:Large Deployments (2)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38931863)

OWA 2010 is light years head in the right direction compared to previous OWA's.. but i think it still has a bit to go for general ease of use (not MS's fault but the tech just isn't quite there to completely blur the line between desktop and web apps). If MS continues in the same direction and at the same pace they have from 00-03-07-10, then what you have done will be an option on our side as i would expect the newest version of OWA to support some of the up coming offline web app and local data storage support. one of the main reasons we can'd do what you have done is 90% of our users travel and are constantly in and out of their mail and items while in air ports and on planes or at a client site where they have zero access to a network/net connection 90% of the time..

Never going to happen and shouldn't (2, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#38931765)

Why do people think MS Exchange is so good? Don't they know anything about it at all?
Also don't give me the "no other single program" bullshit - MS Exchange is a suite and a not entirely well integrated one at that. Take a look at any mailing list where MS Exchange admins post their cries for help on weird mail munching bugs and you'll get an idea that it's still not yet as good as advertised a decade ago.
As to why it's never going to happen, you are asking to hit an obscured hidden target in a moving pile of spaghetti. A "feature" of MS Exchange is MS Office integration and MS Office integration only, and every time something else works with it a "fix" comes out to stop it.
As for thinking MS Outlook is good, do you actually believe that? I'm a *nix admin but I've wasted vast amounts of time helping out when the MS Windows people didn't have enough manpower to solve problems with corrupted mailboxes, virus infection and all the trouble that comes from using the throwaway free gift with MS Office which is Outlook.

Re:Never going to happen and shouldn't (2)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38931971)

from your post i could make some assumptions to the environment that you have seen it used.. but i don't like taking stabs into the wind.. but i will say we do not have issues like you have described and what i see other people having. mainly because we do not even attempted to use a single tool for all jobs.

Exchange's lights shine as a work group server. while yes Exchange can handle all the functions of a general MTA it isn't good at it.. Sendmail is much much better, same with filtering spam and viruses out of incoming and out going messages.. we use Sendmail SA CAV to proxy/buffer/clean all incoming mail and also to handle external delivery of messages. our exchange infrastructure does not see the outside world except for mobile devices and OWA. we get all of the benefits of exchanges work group functions and integration without most of the headaches you read about.

in fact the only problem we have had in recent memory has to do with incoming message X- headers:
http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/archive/2009/04/06/3407221.aspx [technet.com]

lucky we where not adversely effected by it - but we did add it to our considerations for the next upgrade/roll-out

Re:Large Deployments (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930457)

Why?

Libre office works fine and if you have an exchange server you get a bajillion free licenses for outlook.

That is what we do for now. we install Libre office and our free copy of outlook on every PC. 100% legit.

i know a lot of other businesses doing the same thing. Although we will be ditching the Exchange server soon for Google Mail. It's stupid to run your own Email server anymore with a tiny business that has less than 2000 employees.

It is far cheaper for us to let google do it for us and eliminate the Exchange server manager position we had. Saves over $40K a year in operation costs in the IT budget, and the guy was a jerk.

Re:Large Deployments (2)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930591)

Saves over $40K a year in operation costs in the IT budget, and the guy was a jerk.

If you were only paying me $40K a year I'd be a jerk too. I'm not saying his skill set was worth more but I'm sure HE thought it was.

Re:Large Deployments (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930969)

Well google corperate mail is not free so add that cost +40K and you have your answer. Still overpaid for a MCSE.

Re:Large Deployments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38930747)

Exchange doesn't come with Outlook licensing anymore.

Re:Large Deployments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38930493)

It already does,, my company (telecommunications) that has around 3000 employees, has changed most of the workstations to LibreOffice + Thunderbird + Outlook Web Access, giving up on Office and Outlook, only senior team managers kept using Office, or someone who could justify it (for instance i kept it because i need to run some excel vbs that calls external code). Does it work has good has office? No. Does it integrated has well with Sharepoint? No. Does thunderbird works with everything else other than email has Outlook does? No. But we are using it because it means some cost savings...

Re:Large Deployments (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930775)

Well there is that and it would need a lot more love to their replacement for Excel and Access. you'd be amazed how many companies have these huge applications built out of Excel and Access. Would it have been smarter to hire actual coders? of course but companies are conservative and "if it ain't broke" is law, at least in these parts.

Just tell me they are recoding the thing to get rid of Java please? Its irritating as hell it wants to install a program with a history of exploits that frankly nobody uses on the desktop anymore. Its just not smart to stick on Java if you don't have to, especially for only a single program. Java may be big in the server space but frankly it and .NET are dead on the desktop, at least around here. Hell you can't even run their version of Access without Java can you?

Re:Large Deployments (3, Informative)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 2 years ago | (#38931149)

AFAIK they are doing so ; the main use of Java is for Base, which few people use AFAIK. The secondary use of Java is for some of the file export filters - like the "flat" XML outputs which are good for some XSLT sheets. I think these are getting rewritten in C++.

Re:Large Deployments (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38931275)

Cool as I don't mind it asking to install MSFT Visual C++ like it did last time I installed it, as everyone and their dog has MSFT Visual C++ installed anyway. All the games use it, and many of the freeware programs use Visual C++ the way they use to use VB back in the day. it also gets updates through WU so no need for a constantly running third party updater like with Java.

I did find it strange with so much hatred in the FOSS community they would use Visual C++ but i think its a good sign, they are using the best tool for the job on each platform and on Windows Visual C++ works great and is widely deployed.

Re:Large Deployments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38931509)

Unless my memory is faulty, Microsoft doesn't have a history of abusive licensing practices with their dev tools. I remember the eighties when most vendors weren't content with selling you tools, they cravenly wanted a piece of your business as well. Microsoft and Borland were the exception. Fundamentally though it will be nice when Libreoffice finishes removing Java, then it can be gone from my desktop.

Re:Large Deployments (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38931947)

Well that was one area where MSFT was smart, the whole "developers developers developers" bit. They've always been quite good with giving you plenty of docs and a large KB to work with so using their tools is pretty painless. Now you can even download Visual Studio Express for free, so it doesn't cost anything to use VS for some small project. I agree with you though that the sooner Java is history the better, I don't install anything but writer with my new builds now simply because i don't want LO asking for Java, once its completely out of there I'll start installing the full suite again.

Re:Large Deployments (1)

micheas (231635) | more than 2 years ago | (#38931161)

It's on the roadmap, the last I looked at the issue they were looking at a replacement for the java odbc connector. which is the main java dependency as I recall.

Re:Large Deployments (1)

styrotech (136124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930973)

MAPI? MAPI was 'deemphasised' in Exchange 2007 and I think actually deprecated in Exchange 2010.

Writing MAPI clients these days is wasted effort considering even MS wants to move away from it. The Gnome Evolution connectors have shifted away from the original OWA based version (for Exchange 2000/2003) as well as the MAPI version (for Exchange 2007) to concentrate on a new web services one for Exchange 2010 onwards.

Also I seem to recall that if your Exchange server predates Exchange Web Services (eg 2003 and earlier), those older versions bundled Outlook licenses with the Exchange CALs anyway.

Re:Large Deployments (0)

nadaou (535365) | more than 2 years ago | (#38931105)

> I believe that LibreOffice will never

ponder the chronistic implication of the word "never" for a moment, and which direction on the time-axis it applies to.

> make it in the corporate world for one single reason: It doesn't
> include a program that can use MAPI to connect to Exchange.

now for a moment, ponder the tense of the word "doesn't", and which direction on the time-axis it applies to.

the magic word you are missing is "yet". (where in the sentence you place it depends on your view of split infinitives)

LibreOffice can't connect to Exchange? (1)

dgharmon (2564621) | more than 2 years ago | (#38931595)

"I believe that LibreOffice will never make it in the corporate world for one single reason: It doesn't include a program that can use MAPI to connect to Exchange. Outlook is very, very ingrained in the corporate world and that alone will prevent any organization using Exchange from switching.

What prevents you using Outlook to connect to Exchange after installing LibreOffice? Unless your corporation would lose the ability to do business if they couldn't click on 'File - Send - Document as E-mail' in MS Office?

Re:Large Deployments (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 2 years ago | (#38932003)

Yes - except most things don't need MAPI, only email.

For that, you've got Thunderbird. Thunderbird is fairly mature of late, but it's still got a lot of work which needs to be done. It outperforms Outlook by quite a bit. The only thing missing is (like you said) MAPI.

Since Android has probably a bazillion implementions that do MAPI, I'm kind of surprised there's no Outlook alternative which does MAPI well. The only thing I'm aware of is Evolution, and that won't work with the online version(s) of Exchange (BPOS or whatever MS is calling it now).

Re:Large Deployments (5, Insightful)

FaxeTheCat (1394763) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930093)

The problem is that those corporations who have money (I work in such a company) could not be bothered to use resources on development and doing extensive work on specifying improvements or changes. Those corporations who have money want something that works NOW, not something that (maybe) works in 2 - 3 - 4 years.
And for those companies, the Office license is not a major expense that management will divert attention and resources to save.

Then add that those companies with money also will have the full Microsoft suite like Exchange, Sharepoint and Lync. Not having Office with those would be pretty stupid, as they work best together (yes, you may call it lockin, but I just tell it like it is).

The companies of any size who would want to save money, would do that by using LibreOffice or one of its cousins without paying.

Re:Large Deployments (5, Interesting)

jjoelc (1589361) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930295)

Wile I don't fit into that large deployment category, I do what I can to promote LibreOffice. We have roughly 100 desktops, and the reality is that well over half of them have no use for MS office in any real capacity. I. deploy LibreOffice to every workstation mainly to make sure everyone has at least that baseline functionality. I store all of my documentation and send out all of my memos etc in an open document format. even if very few people regualrly use LibreOffice to do anything more than read the stuff I send them or open the occasional word document attachment... At least they have been exposed to it, and I have actually had a few people ask me about it when they buy new computers, and see the price of MS Office. It's not much, admittedly, but it works. I'm not pushy about it, I don't evangelize... But they all get some exposure to it, and at least know that there are options when they are personally in the position to make that choice.

Re:Large Deployments (2)

FaxeTheCat (1394763) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930363)

The problem is that LibreOffice is stuck as the cheap option.
The question is how can they get out of that position. The answer is: Money, and somebody with a vision. It seems both are currently lacking, and is there any plans to change it?

And just so there is no misunderstanding: There is nothing wrong with what you do. It is what many people do. Spreading it will put pressure on Microsoft, and judging by the profit of the Office division, they need it...

Re:Large Deployments (1)

ninetyninebottles (2174630) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930433)

The problem is that those corporations who have money (I work in such a company) could not be bothered to use resources on development and doing extensive work on specifying improvements or changes.

But those companies do just that when it comes to Apache or SQL or Linux. I've certainly been paid by corporations to make needed improvements to OSS software and lots of staff at corporations spend time working on OSS the company uses.

Those corporations who have money want something that works NOW, not something that (maybe) works in 2 - 3 - 4 years. And for those companies, the Office license is not a major expense that management will divert attention and resources to save.

MS Office is a significant expense, just not one many major companies or organizations have learned to expunge yet. LibreOffice does work now and many businesses do use it. It simply doesn't have the market yet where the development is shared by enough parties to make it super-cheap and development rapid. That is slowly improving, as noted in the article, but one or two big corporations would really push it over the edge.

Then add that those companies with money also will have the full Microsoft suite like Exchange, Sharepoint and Lync. Not having Office with those would be pretty stupid, as they work best together (yes, you may call it lockin, but I just tell it like it is).

Clearly you are a liar. You used the word "Sharepoint" in conjunction with "works". Seriously though Lots of corporations don't use Exchange. Many do but just as many do not. There are plenty of corporations reliant on OSS servers, Web mail, etc. where Libre Office would not have any compatibility problems with their other, internal systems.

The companies of any size who would want to save money, would do that by using LibreOffice or one of its cousins without paying.

Companies can and do use it without paying, but major corporations sometimes need some improvement and the cost of having a developer helping to guide the project is very small considering the returns are shared across every desktop in the company. It is just like how many companies use Apache without paying, but then some do pay for development because they are a huge user and have needs that others have not already taken care of.

Re:Large Deployments (1)

FaxeTheCat (1394763) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930665)

That is slowly improving, as noted in the article, but one or two big corporations would really push it over the edge.

I just explained why big corporations are not pushing it over the edge. You had lots of reason why I was wrong. Still no big corporation has started paying for LibreOffice development. That must mean that I may closer to explaining how big corporations think than you are.
Changing from MS to FOSS on the desktop is a big issue in these corporations. It is a boardroom issue. Before you can get that kind of decision through the boardroom, you need to present something that works. Today. That is the chicken and egg situation here.

Re:Large Deployments (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930465)

Those corporations who have money will have quite a poor future if they don't stop using inapropriate software, and deploy something that let their people be productive, and their data be secure.

Maybe they'll even stop being corporations who have money. That is, if the government doesn't interfere.

Re:Large Deployments (1)

FaxeTheCat (1394763) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930751)

Those corporations who have money will have quite a poor future if they don't stop using inappropriate software, and deploy something that let their people be productive, and their data be secure.

Maybe they'll even stop being corporations who have money. That is, if the government doesn't interfere.

I think those that run billion dollar companies with offices in 100+ countries probably know more about running a business than you do. For some reason, the one I work for choose Microsoft. Not because they want, but because it currently is the best. Not because it is perfect or anything, but because it is best by a good margin. And because it improves productivity. We are still well below the average IT cost in the industry. Maybe those who run the company know something you do not?

Re:Large Deployments (2)

davidrfoote (2567529) | more than 2 years ago | (#38931693)

I think this depends on organizational perspective. Mine was that 1M USD to license Windows and Office every three years is not chump change. So we are moving approximately 600 desktops to Linux and LibreOffice. As we move our workforce increasingly towards web based systems and workflows, desktop tools in the MS Office suite rapidly decrease in value. Similarly the value of windows as the default corporate OS is also rapidly decreasing as we look to cross platform solutions where we can work from next-gen mobile devices and tablets. Saving ~330K USD per year and reinvesting a small portion of that savings into tool improvements and customizations that can be shared with the community sounds like a win-win, and a morale boost for our internal dev teams. Sure we would never make a business decision to replace something that works now, with something that doesn't. But Libre office works well enough now (we tested), and MS office has plenty of its own challenges and limitations. These tools working best together is also subjective. There are better document management systems than share point in the marketplace, and evolving standards such as CMIS for content interoperability between systems that Sharepoint now supports. Microsoft's lock-in strategy has been a double edged sword, as focus on making sure that their systems work better with each other has been counter to ensuring interoperability with other systems in the enterprise. For large enterprises Microsoft systems to not represent the majority.

Re:Large Deployments (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#38932275)

My organization's was money as well. We do government contract-based employment services work. The cost of MS-Office licenses were absurdly high, and after some attempts to negotiate some lower per-seat rates I finally just threw up my hands and told our sales reps to forget it, I'd throw OpenOffice on the thirty computers in question and be done with it. It's not a completely perfect solution, and some documents, particularly resumes, with lots of formatting, can be problematic, but it's workable enough.

All our staff are running either Office 2003 or Office 2007, and I doubt we'll be upgrading. They work well enough for what we want. It's not as if Office 2010 offers anything all that spectacular, other than, of course, it will be supported longer than the older software. I suppose at some point Office 2003 at least won't install on some later version of Windows, and then we'll be forced into the difficult decision, but I doubt we'll be doing any major OS updates in the near future.

Re:Large Deployments (2)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930219)

The biggest dealbreaker for me is that LibreOffice will friggin' mulch Office files. I've opened up a .docx with it, modified it, and then saved. What I got was a mess. Formatting wrecked, tables gone, figures gone...ugh. Maybe it's fine if you stick to ODF formats, but MS Office interoperability is borderline useless until then get the formatting figured out.

Re:Large Deployments (2)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930355)

While we're dueling anecdotes, I was once able to fix a corrupted Word file for my mother that nobody could open because it confused their parser, and all their products have the same one. OO.o (at the time) was able to open and re-save the file so that it would work correctly, with no loss of formatting.

Re:Large Deployments (3, Informative)

ninetyninebottles (2174630) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930369)

The biggest dealbreaker for me is that LibreOffice will friggin' mulch Office files. I've opened up a .docx with it, modified it, and then saved. What I got was a mess.

I have the same problem with various versions of MS Word. My solution is, sans one client, avoiding the hell out of docx files. They are awful and older versions of Word can't read them either. They are simply a bad idea.

Re:Large Deployments (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930651)

They are awful and older versions of Word can't read them either. They are simply a bad idea.

you need to upgrade to the latest version of Office. That'll be $loads please.

Who says it was a bad idea.... for Microsoft. How else do you think they make billions in revenue?

Re:Large Deployments (2)

Freultwah (739055) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930771)

Older versions of Office can read and write docx, xlsx etc just fine. Head to microsoft.com/downloads and fetch the free Office Compatibility Pack. Done and done. Docx for me has time and again proven more robust than doc, which is why I've started to use it more or less exclusively. I'd use odt, but nobody else does, and I must work with others, so tough luck.

Re:Large Deployments (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930851)

Really? Because I have the ancient MS Office 2K and it reads docX just fine with the converter pack which is free. hell I can even save in DocX if I wanted, but I prefer plain old .doc which seems to work on every version I've encountered. I even had to deal with a 6.5Mb doc that had headers, footers, tables and graphs, and we had MS Office 2K, 2K3, 2K7, and the one for the Mac at the time, 2K6 i think. the ONLY one that couldn't deal with it was the guy running OO.o 2.0 which turned it into word salad and totally trashed the fonts. Luckily one of us had a copy of 2K3 we won at a technet and didn't need so we just handed him that.

Don't get me wrong I give the LO guys credit, considering what a creaky mess they got from Sun they've made leaps and bounds and I still hand it out as the baseline functionality on new boxes, but when it comes to doc they still got some work. ODF is fine if you are ONLY gonna be using it internally but like it or not .doc is the format everyone uses. I've found that the LO docs just don't play nice with MS Office and vice versa and when you get your grade dinged because the teacher opens your LO doc and gets word salad or you send in a resume and it gets tossed because of formatting being wonked suddenly that MS Office Student copy don't look so bad. Oh and before someone uses the "Just send PDF" meme PDF is for PRINTING and most places will file 13 if you send PDF. The software the HR depts use doesn't parse PDF and teachers want to be able to write notes in the doc which cuts PDF right out.

Sorry but while LO still goes on every machine so they can at least view docs and its fine for home users that are just gonna print little Billy's report I've found things get nasty real quick if you have to do any interacting with the outside world. I'm sure with the extra help the LO guys will fix the problem, its just gonna take them some time.

Re:Large Deployments (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930489)

Office 2010 does that to office 2003 files.

Only Libre office will open them for us and it even runs the Excel scripting perfectly.

I guess it depends on what special formatting ot scripts you have in the document.

Re:Large Deployments (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#38932285)

I find LibreOffice docx support pretty weak. I wouldn't dream of saving anything beyond a trivial file in OOXML format in LibreOffice. I usually save either as a .doc or .odt.

Re:Large Deployments (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38930223)

I don't have Office at home (being both tight and honest) so I use LibreOffice. But it's compatibility with Office is poor. It handles most things well, but not pictures. There are so many "LibreOffice opening an Office document without pictures" bugs that there's recently been an effort to consolidate the bug reports.

If I needed it for professional work I'd buy Office. Being unable to read documents with pictures is intolerable.

Re:Large Deployments (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38930875)

Can Microsoft Office read LibreOffice files? No, it cannot. It is not supposed to.

The same can be said for LibreOffice, although it strives to have that extra capability.

When are people going to stop focusing on this one apparent shortcoming of LibreOffice, i.e. that it can't successfully read all MS Office files. LibreOffice is not supposed to be a substitute for MS Office. LibreOffice is an independent office suite and it should be judged on its own merits, which are quite substantial.

The problem is that most people are so locked into the MS paradigm that they cannot appreciate anything else. For them, anything that claims to be a word processor or spreadsheet has to be an exact Microsoft clone or it is somehow unworkable. This attitude is truly stagnating.

Re:Large Deployments (1)

dumeinst (664891) | more than 2 years ago | (#38931391)

Also, I really like the PDF diting. I'm surprised no one else has jumped on that particular gem of functionality.

Holy crap - I didn't know it could edit PDF's. I'm sure it's not perfect but sometimes I just need to make a simple change. See - this is why I still read slashdot :)

Re:Large Deployments (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 2 years ago | (#38931961)

Most certainly. If Microsoft has it's way (which I'm sure they will) with Office 2012, there will be a wide open field for LibreOffice advancement.

Let's see: Office 2012 is supposed to be something like "the biggest innovative complete re-implementation" of the Office framework to allow it to use the new Windows Phone/8 style UI elements. They may be doing away with the Ribbon UI (which, once I understood it as being modal, made decent sense and was implemented fairly well in 2010.) Over the minimalist cubism of WP7/W8, pretty much everything is desirable. (I'll go back to wordgrinder [sourceforge.net], thanks...)

From what I've seen of late, people hate Outlook and will switch to Thunderbird if they can. Likewise, people who are familiar with the Ribbon UI tend to like it, but still in some ways prefer the older UI still present in LibreOffice. From what I can tell, LibreOffice is all but a replacement for Office, except for some shortcomings in the spreadsheet application regarding support of complex Excel workbooks (that's what I hear).

LibreOffice, with the option for different UIs as well as with the upcoming 'porting' effort to make a web-enabled UI for LibreOffice, is starting to get quite a bit more appealing.

Re:Large Deployments (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38932571)

Let's see: Office 2012 is supposed to be something like "the biggest innovative complete re-implementation" of the Office framework to allow it to use the new Windows Phone/8 style UI elements. They may be doing away with the Ribbon UI (which, once I understood it as being modal, made decent sense and was implemented fairly well in 2010.) Over the minimalist cubism of WP7/W8, pretty much everything is desirable.

That Ribbon is not going away any time soon, is evidenced by the fact that Win8 has more Ribbon, not less - e.g. Explorer is now ribbonized [lifehacker.com].

And of course no-one is going to redo Office entirely in Metro stile. What you'll likely get is a separate version of Office for Metro, just as IE10 comes in both desktop (same UI as today) and Metro ("cubism") versions in Win8.

Re:Large Deployments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38932425)

NeoOffice is the future.

Activity-based metrics tell us little (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38930165)

I was never a big fan of activity-based metrics. Do they really tell you anything? Do you really care how many people it took to build your car? Or do you care how well it works? Would making a car with twice as many people make it better? Or worse?

Ditto with software. Don't tell me how much you spent, in subsidized and volunteer programmers. Tell me what you accomplished. Large numbers don't guarantee anything. And small numbers don't necessarily hurt you. Look back at earlier generations of office applications, where Quattro Pro was originally written by four programmers, and Emacs by one.

Telling us how many people it took to make a particular version of LibreOffice actually tells us nothing.

Re:Activity-based metrics tell us little (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38930279)

exactly my thoughts, mod this up.

Re:Activity-based metrics tell us little (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38930319)

Exactly, Hurd is totally better than Linux. Activity has absolutely no correlation with anything.

Re:Activity-based metrics tell us little (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38930593)

A-effing-men. Libre/Open/StarOffice sucks and is perhaps the most glaring failure of the FOSS movement. I guess getting real work done just isn't cool enough.

Re:Activity-based metrics tell us little (3, Insightful)

styrotech (136124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38931073)

Telling us how many people it took to make a particular version of LibreOffice actually tells us nothing.

Sure it does. It tells us that more developers are now able or willing to work on LibreOffice and that the fork is working.

It tells us that the development community is growing and and momentum is building after stagnating under the watch of Sun and Oracle.

Surely a growing active community is better than a shrinking and stagnating one?

Re:Activity-based metrics tell us little (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38931423)

Actually, it could merely indicate that there are now more part-time developers compared to the full-time developers that Sun had working on OpenOffice. But are you replacing X full-time with 2*X half-time developers? Or with 2*X developers working 25% time? The net result could be that there is now far less coding going on now than there was before. That is why looking at developer counts is meaningless. If you have feature accomploishments, real work that occured in LibreOffice, beyond merely integrated prior OpenOffice feature branches, then let's here that story. That would be interesting.

Now just find a better name (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38930183)

And you're all set! :)

Still an Infant Office Suite (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38930263)

If anyone knows has been able to work with the styling tools for higher level education would love to see that documentation. So long as that is not addressed this will not fly in the US university environment where concise formatting impacts your grade letter.

I wish I could use it (1, Informative)

ISoldat53 (977164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930277)

But it crashes nine times out of ten when I try to open a document.

Re:I wish I could use it (3, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930307)

In my case, I also wish I could use it. But the problem is its lack of a [credible] MS-Access like database. The one found bundled with it sucks big time! It's a non-starter for me.

I could pitch this suite to those who could find its other attributes compelling, but the fact that it's just too ugly (by default), kills the 'appetite' for those who would probably give it a chance.

Re:I wish I could use it (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930535)

you're complaining that it doesn't have Access!!!!!

Fine, Base might suck donkeys (I've never even bothered to try using it). Why don't you try a more functional DB. Even sqlite is better and that doesn't even pretend to be a competitor.

LibreOffice might do well to dump Base completely, Access-style DBs might have been useful 20 years ago, but today putting a (crap) DB in your office suite is a pointless exercise.

Re:I wish I could use it (2)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930687)

depends, for SOHO's access works fine, tons of normal people know how to use it and it there included with your office package.You tell someone like my dad who just keeps customer data in an access db that so and so showed him how to do however many years ago that "SQLite is a software library that implements a self-contained, serverless, zero-configuration, transactional SQL database engine." and watch the fun begin

Re:I wish I could use it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38930553)

It can use any JDBC database. Try SQLLite, HSQL, or Derby. All really easy embedded DB's that are WAY more functional than Access

Re:I wish I could use it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38930565)

The database is one of their priority’s to fix, they have recently integrated a new database driver for a better database, PostgreSQL, to replace the current java based default bundled database. They hope to switch to using it full time for the next release (3.6). See
http://wiki.documentfoundation.org/ReleaseNotes/3.5#Base
for the current status.

Stopped using office suites entirely (3, Interesting)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930337)

Unfortunately LibreOffice hasn't yet managed to fix the horrible memory footprint OO.o had, so I've switched to writing all text documents in TeX (using Lyx) and using Gnumeric for spreadsheets. But for opening files others send me, this is easily the best. It'll even make an excellent effort at rendering shitty formats like .doc.

Re:Stopped using office suites entirely (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930467)

Part of the memory footprint issue is because OO.o (maybe LO too? never checked) had some odd default configurations. Though it's been a while since I remembered the things you need to tweak to make it lighter. I moved to google docs and just use [microsoft | libre] office when I need more functionality, which is fairly rare now.

While everyone else is bitching... (5, Insightful)

elashish14 (1302231) | more than 2 years ago | (#38930537)

I for one, am excited to see what changes are coming in the future. TDF has been in existence for only about a year and a half now. Here's a list of things it's not gonna achive in that short of a time:

1. It will not magically implement all the functionality that's been in MSOffice for over a decade.
2. It will not integrate with LO $REQUISITE_MS_PROTOCOL (and it's not like it's even possible because they're all proprietary anyways)
3. It will not instantly purge LO of all Java dependencies for which replacements are in development
4. It will not be able to make it run in under 10MB
5. It will not have a brand new shiny interface which can resurrect a living unicorn.

So seriously, quit bitching. Having a large, active community is a good thing and should hopefully signal that there's a lot of good stuff to look forward in the future. No, it's not gonna be here today or tomorrow. Like I tell my kids: learn to be patient. Please.

Re:While everyone else is bitching... (4, Funny)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#38931157)

5. It will not have a brand new shiny interface which can resurrect a living unicorn.

... why would a living unicorn need resurrecting?

Sorry, I overthink these metaphor thingies.

maybe oo will stop sucking so hard (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38930557)

Still crashes too much and lags ms office by a decade on features that matter

change tracking loses data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38931741)

We have about 50 seats using it in our US office. Our CEO was using it at my prodding with some lawyers to negotiate a contract for a building purchase. They were all using change tracking and all kinds of data was missing when displayed with LO. I took a lot of heat for it however the CEO was happy enough that I provided Word Viewer for him to see the correct data. I turned in bug reports but was told they wouldn't look at them without the file in question. I could not provide it since it was a contract that they did not want released into the wild. LO told me if I submit the contract they would not keep it private. I think the project will never be able to take over for MS Office.

Libre Office refused to look at bug reports? (1)

dgharmon (2564621) | more than 2 years ago | (#38931911)

"We have about 50 seats using it in our US office. Our CEO was using it at my prodding with some lawyers to negotiate a contract for a building purchase".

What kind of business are you in. Tell me, were you converting the document to msOffice format before sending and then re-importing the msDocument back to ODF format in the other direction. If so, wouldn't it have been a lot easier to get the lawyers to use Libre Office.

"I turned in bug reports but was told they wouldn't look at them without the file in question".

That's really inconvient considering its a confidential legal document. Tell me this, where exactly did you file the bug reports and who told you they wouldn't accept them without the original document and couldn't keep it private?

Re:Libre Office refused to look at bug reports? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38932069)

Filed at https://www.libreoffice.org/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=41041

I talked with the courteous triager over email who told me they wouldn't look at it without publicly releasing the file. So I filed...

https://www.libreoffice.org/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=41049

Re:Libre Office refused to look at bug reports? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38932135)

"What kind of business are you in."

Manufacturing.

"Tell me, were you converting the document to msOffice format before sending and then re-importing the msDocument back to ODF format in the other direction."

They were all working in MS Word format but I don't recall if it was doc or docx.

"If so, wouldn't it have been a lot easier to get the lawyers to use Libre Office."

No the lawyers were in a different part of the country and I never met them nor did the CEO. There's no way I could have made them switch. These guys are dealing with 10's of millions of dollars and here I am trying to keep them from spending 300 bucks. I would NOT have won that battle.

Nothing new here (1)

n2rjt (88804) | more than 2 years ago | (#38932141)

Developers are always become more robust. My own weight has increased more than 25% since I started developing software. Why would LibreOffice developers be any different?

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