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LibreOffice 3.5 Released

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the because-it-is-awesome dept.

Open Source 205

First time accepted submitter wrldwzrd89 writes "The Document Foundation, the team behind the free and open-source office suite called LibreOffice, has released their latest and greatest version. As is typical with major releases of LibreOffice, there are significant new features making their debut in this version. The component with the biggest upgrade is Calc, which now has support for up to 10,000 sheets per workbook among its new features. Also noteworthy among the new features is support for importing Microsoft Visio files in Impress and Draw. The full feature list is available in a PDF hosted on Dropbox; LibreOffice itself can be downloaded here."

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10000 sheets per workbook? (5, Funny)

Quantum_Infinity (2038086) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033629)

10000 sheets per workbook? Yup, lack of sheets was exactly what was stopping me from using Calc.

Re:10000 sheets per workbook? (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033683)

Haha, yeah.. had the same thought.

Was like when wikipedia came out saying the reason they were losing contributors was the editing interface was too complicated.

Although I have seen some terrifying excel workbooks .. maybe there are some corporations on the fence about open source, and the ability to have their entire employee management system contained in a spreadsheet was a sticking point.

Re:10000 sheets per workbook? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39033755)

It's not that the interface for Wikipedia is complicated, it's that it sucks ass. The icons are unintuitive, the arcane incantations you have to type to make shit happen in articles are really annoying to learn and unintuitive as well, so you pretty much need some sort of decent IDE to edit. Also as far as I'm aware there's no live preview so you have to click Preview like in the 90s and scroll like a motherfucker just to edit some minor typo...

Wikipedia really needed that new interface. 10,000 sheets per workload is a whole different ball game.

Re:10000 sheets per workbook? (4, Insightful)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034385)

I think the point was that, it was never the interface quality which was putting off Wikipedia contributors, it was the background politics.

Re:10000 sheets per workbook? (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034671)

Indeed.

Don't get me wrong, I agree wiki markup and the interface they built around it is just painful to use and needs to be cleaned up or completely replaced.. but I don't think it was driving people away (certainly not in any comparable way to the real problems).

Re:10000 sheets per workbook? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 2 years ago | (#39035795)

I think Wikipedia needs to do advertising, make it obvious it's an ad, and use something like google/bing, so they have no direct contact with the people being advertised.

Additionally, they should stick to their guns if a sponsor makes pressure. I suggest this, as I see plenty of people saying I would contribute money if..., so the donation model is already demonstrating that it can corrupt. Arms length advertising would be less corrupting, and could be done transparently.

Re:10000 sheets per workbook? (5, Insightful)

mspohr (589790) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034897)

I guess it's time for me to repeat my rant about people using spreadsheets to do work which properly belongs in a database.
It's really impossible to properly audit or verify a spreadsheet. They are so easy to corrupt with improper references and random data entry. Spreadsheets are only widespread because most office drones don't have a clue about proper data management. I shudder whenever I see someone using a spreadsheet to make important business decisions because I know there are errors in every non-trivial spreadsheet.

Re:10000 sheets per workbook? (4, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034965)

I think we see this use so prevalently because it’s quick and cheap. Most business-calculation type stuff revolves around taking tables of numbers, doing calculations, and producing other tables of numbers / graphs. Excel gives you most of that right out of the box. Throw in a little VBA and you can do in an hour what would take a month to do properly.

Even I’ll admit to using spreadsheets from time to time for things that really deserved a proper app.

Re:10000 sheets per workbook? (2)

Abreu (173023) | more than 2 years ago | (#39035133)

Dude, I have seen people using Excel to write letters!

Re:10000 sheets per workbook? (2)

mspohr (589790) | more than 2 years ago | (#39035185)

If all you know how to use is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail.

Re:10000 sheets per workbook? (5, Funny)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 2 years ago | (#39035295)

No kidding... I used to use a hammer to write letters, too. Then I learned how to use the nailgun. Bam!

Re:10000 sheets per workbook? (0)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39035939)

Well, that is preferrable to using hideous Word to do so!

Re:10000 sheets per workbook? (2)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 2 years ago | (#39035181)

Spreadsheets are only widespread because most office drones don't have a clue about proper data management. I shudder whenever I see someone using a spreadsheet to make important business decisions because I know there are errors in every non-trivial spreadsheet.

What do you define as non-trivial? I think a spreadsheet template which has been used a couple hundred times will have all but the most corner-case bugs worked out. As well, business decisions are made by humans, not machines. They rely on things not easily quantifible like customer service, past performance, future projections of costs, etc. Databases are also prone to data entry errors, design errors and the like. Just because you use a database does not mean it does not have to be tested throughly.

Re:10000 sheets per workbook? (2)

mspohr (589790) | more than 2 years ago | (#39035397)

I agree that a spreadsheet which has been well used and tested will have most of the obvious bugs worked out of it. However, it can't really be shown to be free of errors in the same way database procedural logic can be tested. It is also easier to do proper data input checking on a database to avoid "loose nut behind the keyboard" problems. You are right, though, that you have to test everything. It's just much easier to do properly with a database.

Re:10000 sheets per workbook? (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#39035401)

I think a spreadsheet template which has been used a couple hundred times will have all but the most corner-case bugs worked out.

Then you are the most at risk - you think the spreadsheet might actually yield reliable data when used by people who did not actually write it themselves.

While I don't say this is impossible, I have been known to bet on the lottery. The fact is that, unless you wrote the spreadsheet yourself (and often even then), its very hard to be sure what it is actually doing with your data.

Databases are indeed prone to (horrific) errors, however, it is quite a lot easier to describe what they are supposed to do, and then test they do it, and then keep the working code. With a spreadsheet, you never know if it has been modified by accident. Formula to text or vice versa errors are very common, and there is a web site somewhere devoted to this subject (Not the daily WTF).

Re:10000 sheets per workbook? (1)

Yo Grark (465041) | more than 2 years ago | (#39035349)

Blame the lack of easy use of Access.

I routinely wanted to share out a simple sheet, allowable for anyone to edit easily, but have always fallen flat on my face by the complexity of simple tasks.

Yes I'm a novice user, however like Excel, I can use Calc or any similar thing because the interface is similar and or easy to use. I cannot use a database and have people interface with it to updated it without having to create a form, create a web interface or other complex things which are beyond my ability.

Now, you add database like abilities to Excel, and a lot more people would use them (like linking to other workbooks, multiple users editing simultaneously etc.)

Everyone gets help in Office suite, however Access remains the most neglected app. Only education or simplicity can change that, and people are not in the mood to learn new things*

*office drones, 9-5ers

Yo Grark

Re:10000 sheets per workbook? (4, Interesting)

rbrander (73222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39035453)

Where I work, Access is forbidden. Not a copy in the corporation (8000 seats) except where they could not (yet) replace it with an Oracle app. The problem is that people muck up a user-controllable database in painful ways.

But full-blown corporate Oracle apps take this many hours of meetings of the user's time: 10 + analyst_hours * 0.2 + programmer_hours * 0.1.

That is, an app that takes four hours to explain to a programmer by the analyst and six hours for the programmer to write, test, debug and document, will take about 12 hours of meetings for the user. For a small database (say, two tables of information with several hundred records total, and a few more of column values containing 5-50 values each), that has 1-4 users, you will never, Never, NEVER reach the top of the "to do" pile.

So these needed apps pile up until somebody somewhat savvy person does something with a spreadsheet and maybe some VBA. I ended up doing our whole budget system ($200M spent per year, across about 230 line-items) with three Oracle tables hit on by an Excel pivot table and couple of spreadsheet pages that was a database entry forms in all but name.

It's in it's third year and we haven't lost any of the money yet.

Re:10000 sheets per workbook? (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39035613)

It's really impossible to properly audit or verify a spreadsheet.

What you mean to say, surely, is that such tools are absent from popular shipping office software suites. In general, though, it's bloody damn easy to do change tracking on a an XML-based spreadsheet file format, at least as far as ODS format is concerned. You need to whip up some XSLT or use an XML parser and write a script using it, but calling it impossible is just silly.\

I do agree that pretty much all spreadsheet users don't have a clue about any of it because it's not exposed, thus may just as well not exist -- thus your other points are valid and I couldn't agree more.

Re:10000 sheets per workbook? (2)

ogrisel (1168023) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033703)

I really don't understand why a programmer would put hard limits on stuff like this (besides limites thats comes from 2*32 for unsigned int in the source code). Anyway the UI for this specific feature would probably make it unuseable far before reaching any kind of limit.

Re:10000 sheets per workbook? (1)

CSMoran (1577071) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033903)

I really don't understand why a programmer would put hard limits on stuff like this (besides limites thats comes from 2*32 for unsigned int in the source code).

Perhaps it was this exact limit? Say, no more than 2^32-1 cells in entire workbook or something like that.

Re:10000 sheets per workbook? (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39035163)

It's a question of speed and simplicity. How do you index worksheets? If people usually create small numbers of them (say, 1-10), then an array of 100 pointers to worksheets is fine. The tab just needs to store an index, and you can find the one before and after trivially by just walking the array. If you keep this approach, you can have a thousand, or possibly ten thousand, without a particularly noticeable memory increase in memory usage (especially for something as big as an office suite), but if you really want flexibility then you need to do something like a tree or a skip list that can be dynamically resized. For small numbers, this just complicates the code and adds overhead for no benefit.

Re:10000 sheets per workbook? (5, Informative)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033727)

i find when i get up to about 100 sheets of no more than a screen full of data each, it takes so long to save the workbook, i just start a fresh one to break it into manageable chunks. 10000 would probably take longer than the heat death of the universe to save.

Re:10000 sheets per workbook? (1)

khr (708262) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033775)

10000 sheets per workbook? Yup, lack of sheets was exactly what was stopping me from using Calc.

Dang... And while I was waiting for 10,000 sheets my workbook has grown to 10,001 sheets...

Re:10000 sheets per workbook? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39033927)

The point is not that you can now open 10000 sheets per workbook. It's that you can open more than X, where X is the previous limit (which presumably was low enough to be a hindrance to someone).

Re:10000 sheets per workbook? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39034371)

When a user presses Delete in a cell, Calc should:

A) Delete the contents of the cell
B) Pop a stupid dialog box

Answer carefully now.

A. delete the contents of the cell - like it does (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39034793)

You've apparently not used LibreOffice, which actually gets this right - though certainly OpenOffice.org did not, backspace on the other hand pops up the dialog you hate ;-) c'est la vie.

New features (4, Informative)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034531)

Visio .vsd import
Native PostgreSQL driver
Java 7 support
AES encryption .msi Windows Installer - I understand that .msi is a big deal for corporate installs somehow.

Anyway is it just me or is Libreoffice really really awesome. There seems like a tremendous amount of energy behind the project, and it's all headed in the right direction.

Re:New features (3, Insightful)

uigrad_2000 (398500) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034649)

Well, they're obviously moving much faster than openoffice did. The product looks very clean, opens fast, and is mostly enjoyable to use.

There's still a number of key combinations that Calc is missing (most noticeably ctrl-D to copy cell above), and the background color tool is still horribly designed (only contains colors too dark for use as a background, and it does not remember the last chosen color). It's simple stuff like this that keeps people on Excel.

Re:New features (4, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034803)

Open bugs with that feedback.

Re:New features (4, Informative)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034739)

Many automation tools that push software out to hundreds/thousands of desktops at once only work with .msi files because you can do automated/silent installs. So yes, having a .msi installer is important in the enterprise world.

Re:10000 sheets per workbook? (2)

StormReaver (59959) | more than 2 years ago | (#39035347)

Yup, lack of sheets was exactly what was stopping me from using Calc.

This is a welcome addition, even if I've only needed the feature once ever; but recently. I'm implementing a new subsection for the office management software I wrote for a client. They have been storing all of their information for this new subsection in an Access database with 487 sheets. In order to get the data into PostgreSQL, I wanted to use Calc to load the database and then export it as tab-delimited text. Needless to say, that didn't work since LibreOffice didn't support enough sheets.

Worse, the Linux command line tools that read Access databases didn't convert the money amounts correctly, so I couldn't use them for the conversion. I had to find someone with Microsoft Office to do the conversion for me.

So just because you don't have a need for that many tabs doesn't mean that the need isn't real for other people.

Re:10000 sheets per workbook? (1)

Giloo (1008735) | more than 2 years ago | (#39035459)

Thought the same, and the obligatory xkcd reference: http://xkcd.com/619/ [xkcd.com] ;)

DropBox? (3, Insightful)

Joehonkie (665142) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033635)

They don't have their own hosting for this stuff? More seriously, how much RAM does this take up.

Re:DropBox? (2)

samael (12612) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033685)

Particularly as those of us behind corporate firewalls can't get to Dropbox...

Re:DropBox? (5, Informative)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033711)

Re:DropBox? (1)

samael (12612) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033847)

Thank you!

Re:DropBox? (2)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033943)

No problem. Can't imagine what the hell the submitter and editors were thinking. Business as usual for this place, I guess...

Re:DropBox? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39034405)

Submitters and editors on Slashdot, "thinking?" Are you sure you're talking about the right site? Timothy's summaries are so far detached from reality that he might as well be writing science fiction on the Whitney Houston Nose-candy Diet(tm).

315ml (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39033649)

importing Microsoft Visio files in Impress and Draw.

Somewhat off topic, but visio seems to be one of those killer apps for which there is still no decent open source solution.

There are a few options that kinda do what visio does (dia, kivio, umbrello etc..) but I’ve never seen anything that even comes close. It’s on of the list of things Microsoft did right (or more likely, whoever actually developed visio initially did right.. I seem to remember they bought it from someone).

And before anyone says “so go write one yourself” ... I actually tried (and failed). This isn’t an attack on the open source community, more just an interesting observation. Certain software just isn’t interesting enough and as such doesn’t seem to happen unless someone is being paid to write it.

Also... libreoffice is still a terrible name. Openoffice.org wasn’t great either.. but most people dropped the .org part and it sounded ok. “Libre” just doesn’t roll of the tongue well you feel like a tool saying it out loud. And "office" doesn't compliment it. The whole combination just doesn't work.

Re:315ml (4, Interesting)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033907)

MS did buy Visio from someone else.. but they have also made alot of improvements over the years to it.

another missing open source solution is something to replace MS Project.

Re:315ml (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034825)

Re:315ml (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#39035223)

let me rephrase that.. MS Project + Project Server replacement

Re:315ml (2)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 2 years ago | (#39035039)

I recommend OpenProj: http://sourceforge.net/projects/openproj/ [sourceforge.net]

Re:315ml (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#39035251)

OpenProj is nice - the missing bit is the integration MS Project has with Project Server.

Re:315ml (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 2 years ago | (#39035123)

Due to licensing policies, I do not have Visio installed on my corporate desktop. I used in past for many purposes the OO Draw and I find it pretty OK for the diagrams and whatnot.

Many people also praise the Dia [dia-installer.de] , though I have no personal experience with it. Specifically, several interns I knew actually complained that for the labs they needed to use the Visio, while Dia was much better tool for the job.

10000 sheets per workbook? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39033655)

Are those sheet double ply?

Re:10000 sheets per workbook? (1)

CSMoran (1577071) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033919)

Are those sheet double ply?

No, but they are double precision.

Re:10000 sheets per workbook? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39034761)

400 thread count

While, in the same time... (4, Insightful)

jcreus (2547928) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033687)

OpenOffice.org is in version 3.3.0 and remarkably worse than LibreOffice. LibreOffice has way more future.

Re:While, in the same time... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39033809)

Libreoffice basically shed its skin and left openoffice behind in the dust.
The new features already put libreoffice ahead of openoffice, but I think the changes that were most significant were under the hood.
It has been going under a massive cleanup effort making it easier for new devs to contribute and for existing bugs to get squashed.

Re:While, in the same time... (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034171)

Maybe it has more future, but I've resorted to Kingsoft Office: http://www.kingsoftstore.com/kingsoft-office-freeware.html [kingsoftstore.com]
It doesn't have as many annoying bugs.

When I last tried LibreOffice, Writer was still very buggy and hung a lot for simple stuff like undoing after a step by step replace within selection (at least the step by step replace within selection finally works, it used to replace the entire selection with the replacement text! And that replace bug was present for years in OpenOffice, so yeah there's some progress but the code base must be really crap).

And Impress was a piece of crap.

Re:While, in the same time... (1)

ilsaloving (1534307) | more than 2 years ago | (#39035043)

I've never heard of Kingsoft Office before. How is it?

I certainly hope it's better than it's website shows. http://www.kingsoftstore.com/windows/professional-office-difference.html [kingsoftstore.com]

That comparison is absolutely painful to read. The fact that they treat creating, viewing, editing, saving and printing to be separate and unique 'features' implies that the suite really doesn't do very much, so they have to pad their feature list with fluff to make it look good.

Not being able to make a title page or make adjustments to paragraphs in the free version makes me not even want to bother giving it a try.

Re:While, in the same time... (1)

uniquename72 (1169497) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034307)

OpenOffice.org is in version 3.3.0 and remarkably worse than LibreOffice. LibreOffice has way more future.

I agree, but I run OpenOffice Portable in Dropbox. LibreOffice is much larger, and OO does what I need it to.

Visio import FTW (4, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033705)

Visio has long been one of the programs for which there is no satisfying substitute.

Is there a non-crossing line tool in Draw? :)

Re:Visio import FTW (4, Interesting)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033773)

Visio has long been one of the programs for which there is no satisfying substitute.

Indeed. I run a windows VM just to use visio. There really is nothing decent out there (and use of dia for any length of time is bad for your sanity) that even comes close.

Re:Visio import FTW (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39034137)

METAPOST beats visio like a rented mule.

Re:Visio import FTW (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034453)

Kinda different areas of use...

If you are using visio for scientific modeling.. you have every right to be bitter!

Re:Visio import FTW (2)

ITShaman (120297) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034283)

There's also OmniGraffle...
http://www.omnigroup.com/products/omnigraffle/ [omnigroup.com]

Re:Visio import FTW (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034543)

I didn't excplicitly say "open source" or "for linux" so that's fair.

For that matter, there's lots of proprietary options for windows and I assume mac. Just doesn't seem to be a decent open source one.

Probably like audocad.. making one is just such a pain in the ass, and not enough users want it, and can easily be run in a virtual machine when needed.. that we probably won't see a decent open source visio clone.

Re:Visio import FTW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39035345)

Re AutoCAD - well worth giving DraftSight a go, given that it's free. By far the best CAD programme I've used that isn't AutoCAD, and there are Linux and Mac versions too.

Re:Visio import FTW (2)

xaxa (988988) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034183)

Is there a non-crossing line tool in Draw? :)

I can't see one, but I've not used Draw before.

Inkscape has connectors, and a button to "Make connectors avoid selected objects". It works -- but I don't know if it would be reliable with real work (Visio, in my experience, isn't, and gets 90% of things OK, but then requires fiddly tuning to make a few odd connectors not overlap shapes).

Re:Visio import FTW (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034505)

Inkscape has connectors, and a button to "Make connectors avoid selected objects". It works -- but I don't know if it would be reliable with real work

As you say, since Visio isn't 100% either, it doesn't have to be perfect. If it's not suitable now it's an interface tweak away, most likely. I will give it a look, thank you.

Re:Visio import FTW (1)

MagicM (85041) | more than 2 years ago | (#39035343)

Visio has long been one of the programs for which there is no satisfying substitute.

I don't know if it handles all of Visio's use-cases, but I've been using yEd Graph Editor [yworks.com] with great success for all my diagramming needs.

Re:Visio import FTW (0)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 2 years ago | (#39035519)

Is there a non-crossing line tool in Draw? :)

It's probably a bullshit Microsoft patent :(

Here we go again (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39033795)

Great, a major LO upgrade. That means I download it, install it, and see how many minutes it takes me before I hit a large enough Office compatibility snag that makes me delete it and swear off giving it another shot.

Don't get me wrong -- I would LOVE to have a viable alternative to MS Office, and would gladly pay the price of Office for such a package, if only to promote it and piss off MS at the same time. I've been using MS's software as long as they've been in existence, and Office has to be one of the most useful and utterly frustrating of their products. But OO/LO simply aren't (yet) viable full-time replacements for everyone.

Re:Here we go again (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39033951)

Great, a major LO upgrade. That means I download it, install it, and see how many minutes it takes me before I hit a large enough Office compatibility snag that makes me delete it and swear off giving it another shot.

Don't get me wrong -- I would LOVE to have a viable alternative to MS Office, and would gladly pay the price of Office for such a package, if only to promote it and piss off MS at the same time. I've been using MS's software as long as they've been in existence, and Office has to be one of the most useful and utterly frustrating of their products. But OO/LO simply aren't (yet) viable full-time replacements for everyone.

What a bullshit post yours and the many others that think like you man.
LibreOffice or any other office package is NEVER going to have 100% microsoft office compatibility. How the fucking hard is this to understand ?
So if you want a 100% free microsoft office just download a warez version and be done with it. Otherwise use LO for its strengths such as the open document format. Gosh you can even make pdfs and send them with no problem and this should be the preferable solution when your recipient doesn't need to edit your document.

Re:Here we go again (5, Insightful)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034251)

Great, a major LO upgrade. That means I download it, install it, and see how many minutes it takes me before I hit a large enough Office compatibility snag that makes me delete it and swear off giving it another shot.

Instead of swearing it off, get in touch with me and we will file bugs. Sure, it might take a year or three until they are fixed, but most of them _do_ get fixed in LibreOffice. I would say that the last year in LO has closed more of my bugs than the past five years of OpenOffice.org, including one very critical bug that has been open for almost _ten_years_:
https://issues.apache.org/ooo/show_bug.cgi?id=5556 [apache.org]

Fixed in LO six months after filing:
https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=37978 [freedesktop.org]

You can contact me here, please have a file that demonstrates the issue handy or clear reproduction instructions:
http://dotancohen.com/eng/message.php [dotancohen.com]

Thanks.

Re:Here we go again (5, Insightful)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034779)

Office documents are fundamentally fragile.

In a text processing program the tiniest change to character spacing rules or line breaking rules or margin rules or image placement rules can radically change the way a document is rendered. So the only way to keep complete compatibility is to NEVER change any existing behaviour of the rendering engine. In a calculation program the tiniest change in formula imlementation can change the calculated results.

The problem with word processors and spreadsheets is they blur the line between input and output. The user is continuously looking at the output so the user thinks of the file as storing the output but what is really being stored is the input. So they load the file into a program with a slightly different engine and get surprised when the results of thier poorly formed (remember the user doesn't see the input so they don't see how horriblly unstructured it is) turn into a mess.

Frankly I find it damn impressive that OOo/Lo do as good a job of dealing with MS office documents as they do.

Unlike Mozilla... (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033823)

As is typical with major releases of LibreOffice, there are significant new features making their debut in this version.

There's a Mozilla joke in there somewhere.

Anyone used its DB component? (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033829)

Anyone used this suite's database component? Does it come anywhere near Microsoft's JET DB with the Access front end in functionality? I mean the ability to program "business logic" into the forms.

docx support? (1)

jarkus4 (1627895) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033837)

And does it finally have proper support for MS docx format? I rarely write anything in Writer and it works good enough in that aspect. Unfortunately my main use for such application is reading docs (specification etc) send by someone else and docx support is just abysmal - I had to install MS Word Viewer for this. And no, getting them to send it in some normal format is not always an option.

Re:docx support? (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033987)

It has had .docx support for quite a while as I recall.

Re:docx support? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39034029)

For opening docx files, I've only ever used OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice. Haven' t had a problem in years.

Re:docx support? (1)

Fast Thick Pants (1081517) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034089)

If you haven't yet, try Novell's build of LibreOffice [novell.com] along with the "OpenOffice.OpenXML Translator 4.0" plugin for import/export of .docx etc. I've found it somewhat satisfactory. Caveats: Windows only, still on version 3.4, registration required for download.

(Not saying this is better than vanilla LO 3.5's .docx support, which I haven't tried yet.)

Re:docx support? (2, Insightful)

Vaphell (1489021) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034155)

even MS sucks at supporting its own formats between versions, so don't hold your breath hoping that LO people will reverse engineer all the obscure corner cases and quirks where things break.

Re:docx support? (2)

xaxa (988988) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034215)

I've had more trouble with older (2003?) versions of Office reading DOCX files (with the plugin). I've gradually gone from trying MS Word first, to trying LO Writer first.

But it probably depends what your needs are. I generally don't need to care about the formatting being exactly the same.

Re:docx support? (5, Informative)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034279)

The .docx support is good enough that I am writing a book in collaboration with MS Office users, including change tracking and comments, and they don't know that I'm using LibreOffice 3.4. If you find any bugs in .docx compatibility, you can contact me here and we will file bugs:
http://dotancohen.com/eng/message.php [dotancohen.com]

Thanks.

Nicely done -- (3, Interesting)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033859)

As difficult as it is to deal with the open/libre office fork, it's beginning to become apparent that the governance issues of oo.o were holding it back. As a truly open source project, Libre is already showing that they can work with contributions from a lot of different developers to move the whole project forward a lot faster than oo.o was doing in the past. This is good news because we're now enjoying a world class office suite that is just getting better all the time.

Of course, now we can expect to hear from all the naysayers who will predictably continue to declare LibreOffice a perpetual failure because they have some weird edge case of an MS Office document that didn't import perfectly...

Re:Nicely done -- (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034295)

Of course, now we can expect to hear from all the naysayers who will predictably continue to declare LibreOffice a perpetual failure because they have some weird edge case of an MS Office document that didn't import perfectly...

And if you do have such a document, then please get in contact with me so that we can file a bug and get it fixed:
http://dotancohen.com/eng/message.php [dotancohen.com]

Re:Nicely done -- (0)

mspohr (589790) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034801)

The main problem with "Office compatibility" has been Microsoft itself. I have found that OO.org and LibreOffice have much better compatibility of MS Office formats than MS Office itself. I often come across documents which open fine in LibreOffice but which have problems in one of the many MS Office versions.
MS Office is such a mess of a "standard" that Microsoft can't even get it right for Office compatibility but LibreOffice often does a better job.

OOo in Ubuntu LTS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39033939)

Meanwhile in Ubuntu LTS land, I'll just have to keep using OpenOffice.org, 'cause that's what's supported (or, you know, not supported, as any bug reports invariably attract "does it do the same thing in LibreOffice?"). I use Ubuntu LTS 'cause it's got long term support. Well, it's meant to have.

Firefox 3.6 got updated to 10 recently. Why can't Ubuntu auto-update OOo to LibreOffice in the same way? I'm not interested in messing around with PPA's to get unsupported software. I just want software that works. That's why I'm on the LTS. But considering that every time I come back from hibernation OOo crashes, I'm thinking to move to Debian when LTS support runs out. (I've reported the issue, so far I've gotten either non-answers like "does it do the same thing in LibreOffice", or "will not fix".)

If I could install the PPA of LibreOffice without having to uninstall OOo first, I would. But as I can't have the two installed at the same time, I'm sticking with what works (well, sorta works...). (Same reason I stuck with Firefox 3.6 until it got upgraded, same reason I stick with LTS generally.)

Re:OOo in Ubuntu LTS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39034463)

OOo is dead. The support is an illusion, and you also sound like you have OCD issues.

You should have purged OOo last year, and installed LibreOffice from the PPA, but since you didn't you only have to wait till the April 26th for the next Ubuntu LTS that will come with LibreOffice.

Rapid release (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39033975)

It really has to be liberating to a lot of developers to be able to push out good stuff faster without months or years of cock blocking.

Inability to print transparent layers in Draw (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034039)

This bug was apparently introduced after 3.2 and is not present in later versions of open office. It's been several months and isn't fixed.

If you set shape to transparent, the drawing can be exported correctly to PDF but you can't print them- they become pointy-- the curviness of bezier curves is lost. This occurs on multiple printers and in both windows xp, windows 8, and at least some versions of Linux.

I would like to use Libreoffice but this is a non-starter. Looking forward to when it is fixed.

Still no auto-update. (2)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034083)

How hard can it be to add update notifications and downloads to the app?

Re:Still no auto-update. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39034101)

How hard can it be?

I take it you don't develop software, then?

Re:Still no auto-update. (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034213)

Actually, I do. And adding a simple HTTP client to check status of an XML file on the web is dead simple in most cases. Why do you ask?

Re:Still no auto-update. (3, Informative)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034237)

And actually, looks like they DID add version checking at long last. They just didn't tell anyone about it. Nifty.

Re:Still no auto-update. (2)

truedfx (802492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034663)

They told everyone about it by mentioning it in both of the first two links in the summary, in addition to the New Features page [documentfoundation.org] linked to in another comment.

Re:Still no auto-update. (1)

Shifty0x88 (1732980) | more than 2 years ago | (#39035287)

OMG!!! Finally!!!!

I can understand what they are going through, inheriting.... well maybe commandeering is a better word, old code.

Can't wait to check out the new version

Re:Still no auto-update. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39035817)

Is this a new feature? The Mac version of OO.o has had auto-update for ages, and it's always been a second-tier port. I assumed they disabled it on most platforms because they have a standard way of pushing updates (even Windows in a corporate setting).

Re:Still no auto-update. (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39035081)

On most OSs, the OS itself offers some means for updating software packages. I take it you're using windows. If windows offered some infrastructure for software updates/repositories, then the LO developers might have taken the time.
Creating an auto-update mecanism at the time, would be a huge, windows-specific task, to fill in a role that the OS normally does nowadays.

Re:Still no auto-update. (1)

Shifty0x88 (1732980) | more than 2 years ago | (#39035297)

They do, but they only support Microsh!t programs.

Re:Still no auto-update. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39035107)

So add it! I'm sure they would love the help.

Not available in the repository yet (1)

uigrad_2000 (398500) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034561)

$ yum list libreoffice-core

Available Packages
libreoffice-core.x86_64 1:3.3.4.1-2.fc15 updates

As you can see, I'm on Fedora Core 15. Is it available at other repositories?

Re:Not available in the repository yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39035933)

It's not even in testing yet (https://admin.fedoraproject.org/updates/search/libreoffice?_csrf_token=9eaec6512ecf20b42ca1dfecc1a807581d2a774d), after all it was just released today.

"As is typical with major releases of LibreOffice" (2)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034899)

Have there been enough major releases of LibreOffice to say what's "typical" of them?

Nice going.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39035015)

gzip: stdin: unexpected end of file
tar: Unexpected EOF in archive
tar: Error is not recoverable: exiting now

Yea...thanx.

Crashes before even starting on Win7 64-bit (1)

kriston (7886) | more than 2 years ago | (#39035465)

On Windows 7 x86_64 it, unfortunately, crashes before even starting. This is highly unusual.

I'll be waiting for the point release.

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