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German City Says OpenOffice Shortcomings Are Forcing It Back To Microsoft

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the can-of-worms dept.

Software 480

The city of Freiburg, Germany adopted OpenOffice back in 2007, mostly replacing the Microsoft Office software it had been using previously. Now, an anonymous reader tips news that the city council is preparing to abandon OpenOffice and switch back. "'In the specific case of the use of OpenOffice, the hopes and expectations of the year 2007 are not fulfilled,' the council wrote, adding that continuing use OpenOffice will lead to performance impairments and aggravation and frustration on the part of employees and external parties. 'Therefore, a new Microsoft Office license is essential for effective operations,' they wrote. ... 'The divergence of the development community (LibreOffice on one hand Apache Office on the other) is crippling for the development for OpenOffice,' the council wrote, adding that the development of Microsoft Office is far more stable. Looking at the options, a one-product strategy with Microsoft Office 2010 is the only viable one, according to the council." The council was also disappointed that more municipalities haven't adopted OpenOffice in the meantime. Open source groups and developers criticized the move and encouraged the council to consider at least moving to a more up-to-date version of the office software suite.

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Cue the excuses (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005071)

C'mon, gimme your best ones.

Too late (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005085)

Too late for criticizing now, someone has or someones have already been bribed...

Re:Too late (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005163)

Yeah, let's go straight to, "someone was bribed". Whatever you do, don't think about what they said in the article.

Re:Too late (5, Insightful)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | about 2 years ago | (#42005719)

Yeah, let's go straight to, "someone was bribed". Whatever you do, don't think about what they said in the article.

What they DID say in the article is that Freiburg is using OOo 3.2.1, which is two-and-a-half years old. It also mentions that the city didn't consult any open source software experts. That may or may not add up to "someone was bribed", but it sounds at least a little bit fishy to me.

The only way for the Freiburgs of the world to throw off the yoke of MS oppression is to support FOSS. And no level of government has any business conducting OUR affairs using propietary data formats that can be easily held hostage.

I get seriously pissed off with LibreOffice, (and with Linux for that matter). But I stay the course because ultimately, freedom requires watchfulness and maintenance, and we'll never be truly free if we give up control and autonomy for the sake of ease and convenience. It's easy to be seduced by the latest bit of shiny, and that's a good part of the reason why our world is so fucked up.

Re:Too late (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005807)

I'm using a 5 year old version of Office and not having problems.

Re:Too late (5, Insightful)

davidbrit2 (775091) | about 2 years ago | (#42005989)

What they DID say in the article is that Freiburg is using OOo 3.2.1, which is two-and-a-half years old.

Like Office 2010?

What about LibreOffice (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005091)

Well, libreoffice could fullfill their all dreams. It's amazing! Using it every day with my cute Ubuntu 12.04

Re:What about LibreOffice (1)

hduff (570443) | about 2 years ago | (#42005341)

Well, libreoffice could fullfill their all dreams. It's amazing! Using it every day with my cute Ubuntu 12.04

"Cute Ubuntu 12.04"? That's an Enterprise environment? Good argument.

Re:What about LibreOffice (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42005377)

Of course not, because Enterprise means slow, expensive and bug filled.

Sadly this is more often the case than not.

Re:What about LibreOffice (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005627)

Of course not, because Enterprise means slow, expensive and bug filled.

Sadly this is more often the case than not.

Wrong.

Enterprise software means only one thing in business. Enterprise-level support. As long as someone other than me is to blame when it fucks up, I don't give a shit. Sadly this is the case. Always.

And slow, expensive, and bug filled is difficult to see when the grease is still wet on the CxO's hand.

Re:What about LibreOffice (2)

tylikcat (1578365) | about 2 years ago | (#42005547)

It's all fine and good (I'm on Kubuntu 12.10 on my primary box)... until you want interoperability with and MS stuff. Which I wish I didn't, but practically speaking, I often do.

I recently was giving a talk for a class in another department, and created my slides in Libre Office. All fine and good, but when I exported them in .pptx (.ppt no longer even being offerred as an option) and then opened them *in Libre Office* the formatting was completely mangled. Powerpoint (which I hate, and which I hated even when I worked at MS) wouldn't even open them.

Now, as it happens, I'd suspected this might be the case, I'd exported the slides as .pdfs, and I could happily give my talk about the role of chan in martial arts.* But the last time I'd tried to create powerpoint files on libre office it hadn't been this bad.

* Seriously, these kids get to take a class on traditional martial arts. For writing credit.

Re:What about LibreOffice (1)

craigminah (1885846) | about 2 years ago | (#42005507)

I bet OpenOffice could as well but the Germans had to do things the old way and OpenOffice wouldn't do that. Whatever functionality they were missing in OpenOffice would have been worked-around but sometimes the path of least resistance simply involves throwing (someone else's) money at the problem.

Re:What about LibreOffice (4, Informative)

The Moof (859402) | about 2 years ago | (#42005689)

Short answer: No.

Longer answer: OpenOffice (and LibreOffice) chokes on documents created in newer versions of Office (2010, possibly 2012). It can leave out parts of the document entirely. The elements are usually the geometry objects (line arrows, word balloons, etc). This little problem actually got a customer pretty pissed off at me because I referred to the document missing some key components that were actually there when viewed in MS Word.

For personal use, advanced users, or environments where you can strictly control document formats, OpenOffice can work. However, if you need to be able to read documents coming from uncontrolled sources, it still has a very long way to go to become viable replacement for Microsoft Office.

Re:What about LibreOffice (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#42005849)

I know that LibreOffice chokes on a lot of docx formatting. For simple documents it does fine, but it's docx support otherwise sucks serious donkeyballs. We finally gave up on it. The price just wasn't worth the hassle.

I think if you were running a pure OpenOffice shop with not much in the way of correspondence in or out of the organization, it would probably work fine.

Re:What about LibreOffice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005569)

More open sores jankiness?

Maybe for you in your basement run business selling stale Cheetos but not in a professional setting where corporations or government wish to actually perform real work moron.

Re:What about LibreOffice (1)

serbanp (139486) | about 2 years ago | (#42005903)

Maybe for you in your basement run business selling stale Cheetos but not in a professional setting where corporations or government wish to actually perform real work moron.

Sir, I applaud your courage to sign your own posting. Bravo!

Re:What about LibreOffice (5, Insightful)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about 2 years ago | (#42005581)

Because they're stupid. They're using OpenOffice from 2007! Five years ago! Ditch your fancy Ubuntu 12.04 and run Debian Etch for a few weeks to understand the kind of frustration those dumb, dumb IT managers put their employees through.

Re:What about LibreOffice (1)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | about 2 years ago | (#42005921)

I normally write in LaTeX but currently use it. Unfortunately I can't confirm your assessment. In my opinion it's a pile of crap.

Not the way to do business (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005105)

"Open source groups and developers criticized the move and encouraged the council to consider at least moving to a more up-to-date version of the office software suite."

Newsflash: Government department can't figure out alternative software solution - geeks say "just download the update".

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005115)

What in the hell do they need to do in a city office that OO isn't sufficient for?

Re:What? (2)

isama (1537121) | about 2 years ago | (#42005189)

extremely crazy spreadsheets that would create ai if the wrong bit flips. at least that's the only thing i can think of.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005509)

Yeah, because giant spreadsheets never got used in running a fucking municipal government.

Re:What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005199)

Probably use some proprietary software that ties into an office suite that probably only works with MS Office.

Re:What? (3, Interesting)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about 2 years ago | (#42005345)

The usual problem. Interoperability issues. They try to open MSO files on OO and it doesn't work properly. They blame OO, then, for having adhered to open standars that MS won't adopt in order to create that sort of lock-in and for not having thought of making the necessary adjustments ahead of time (like converting old documents) when you're planning on changing your working platform. It's understandable, but still speaks volumes about their IT stupidity.

Re:What? (3, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | about 2 years ago | (#42005717)

I doubt blame has anything to do with it. It cost them too much money/time to use OO. They're switching. It doesn't matter to them why OO costs more to use, just that it does.

Re:What? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 2 years ago | (#42005867)

I doubt blame has anything to do with it. It cost them too much money/time to use OO. They're switching. It doesn't matter to them why OO costs more to use, just that it does.

I wonder how much cheaper it is for the city to send money to Redmond for licenses than it is to hire a German to fix the file format problem.

Or ... does this city get "whatever you want to pay" pricing because it's an OpenOffice user?

Re:What? (1)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about 2 years ago | (#42005957)

Yes, it's blame. Things aren't working properly, so you have to diagnose the problem to fix it. They went with "Open Office isn't up to par", instead of the equally plausible alternatives "we forgot about retraining", "we refuse to keep current", "we do not specify document formats to third parties", "out IT department should have thought about these quite obvious caveats and prepared for them".

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005855)

>It's understandable, but still speaks volumes about their IT stupidity.

Calling potential open source users stupid is not going to persaude them to use FOSS software. Any software has to solve their problems (even if the problems are stupid) in order to keep its place.

>MS won't adopt in order to create that sort of lock-in

If interoperability was a feature that customers were willing to pay for, M$ would undoubtedly have put more effort into it. Truth is, nobody cares.

Re:What? (2)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#42005361)

Excel will connect to MS SQL Server, Cognos and lots of other products for data and then let you do some transformations on the data on the client

does OO do that?

Re:What? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42005401)

Not OO, but libreoffice has plugins to do that stuff.

No one should be using OO anymore.

Re:What? (1)

frostfreek (647009) | about 2 years ago | (#42005817)

Serious question, why do you discount Apache Open Office?
I haven't used it yet, but I was assuming that Apache will fix whatever was wrong with the Oracle Open Office license, and whatever else is wrong with OOO.

Re:What? (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#42006071)

Because all the Devs moved to libreoffice.

Oracle poisoned the name. As we should have all expected.

Yes you can connect to databases with OO (2)

sjbe (173966) | about 2 years ago | (#42005437)

does OO do that?

Yes. I use OO to connect via ODBC to our company database daily for financial statements, receivables and the like. Works rather well actually. You can connect OpenOffice Calc (and LibreOffice) to all kinds of databases rather easily.

Re:What? (1)

ronaldo1 (11627) | about 2 years ago | (#42005503)

exactly, its like the MS Access issue. everyone can make a database then it become's IT's problem to make it work when it reaches the size limit or user limit. if you are making a spreadsheet so complicated that it takes forever to load you are using the wrong tool for the job. for so many years we had documents on a typewriter, now everyone wants to waste time picking fonts, color schemes, tables .. its SO lame.

Open Source That Doesn't Work? (0)

pr0nd3xtr (702443) | about 2 years ago | (#42005139)

They must have configured it wrong

Re:Open Source That Doesn't Work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005273)

Yeah, they must be holding it wrong.

Merkel has fascist ties (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005145)

She's in cahoots with the chair throwing nazi in redmond.

Serious question time... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005175)

OK, I'm not a word processor or office suite user in the slightest. The most I do with OOo is read other people's Word documents perhaps once every few months (and even then Textedit usually does the job). A simple text editor is all I've needed even for my longest articles.

What is it in a decent wordprocessor like Word that users of wordprocessors find useful, and that OOo doesn't handle?

I ask out of curiosity - and knowing there have to be a few geeks who also use WPs in the real world to translate for me :).

Re:Serious question time... (1)

armanox (826486) | about 2 years ago | (#42005539)

I was going to ask the same question - what can MS Office do that OO can not?

Re:Serious question time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005847)

Apparently open and save MS Office documents properly.

Re:Serious question time... (4, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#42005551)

What is it in a decent wordprocessor like Word that users of wordprocessors find useful, and that OOo doesn't handle?

The #1 missing feature that Open/Libre office lacks compared to word is being word.

Different is not acceptable. It must be identical including all misfeatures and bugs.

Re:Serious question time... (1)

DogDude (805747) | about 2 years ago | (#42005753)

Office has excellent interconnectivity. I don't think that any users really perceive MS Office as being a simple suite of unrelated programs.

Re:Serious question time... (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#42005977)

MS Office
1. (Office politics ... pun not intended) It means employees do not have to change and learn anything different
2. It reads other MS proprietary files better than anything else
3. It is less bloated
4. People who are now used to the ribbon do not have to learn a complex and ugly menu driven system

#1 sadly is what is keeping MS in just like the XP and Firefox 3.6 loyalists on here. Why change what isn't broken? People by nature fear change unless they fear the present more. If their job is secure they will fight tooth and nail to get you fired! My hunch is these employees were the ones who lobbied to go back to Office for that reason.

We saw the same situation with browsers and operating systems. People are just now warming up to the mac after being introduced to Apple products which would be nearly impossible a decade ago. Mozilla lost to IE 6 becuase people were used to IE 6. Why change again? Firefox had to be made after SeaMonkey failed which finally gave a reason to change. Even then it took years.

Offife works well with other systems on an enterpise network like SQL Server as well. Cut and pasting big CSV dumps is not as effective as native ODBC support for report generation.

To all Office Naysayers (0, Troll)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#42005181)

Proof again that LibreOffice is no MS Office replacement.

It has been stated over and over again that without exact formatting and file compatibility it will not be useful. If you want people to switch you need to give them a reason. Make it lighter, faster, and features regular MS office doesn't have.

Under the same token Mozilla failed in the face of IE 6 too. It was not until they fixed the horrible Netscape rendering bugs (which were worse than IE 6 even) and made a "Firefox" fork that had tabs, security, and a much quicker and better renderer that people switched.

I have not used OpenOffice nor LibreOffice in a few years but what I do remember is it is behind the times with a menu and does not even have a ribbon yet. I know some people who are Office 2k3 and LibreOffice loyalists will jump on me on this! But, think of it from a users point of view who hate change? The ribbon is better once you learn how to use it and especially true if you are visual such as myself. Anything that looks different is threatening from a product everyone has used for 15 years. So why change?

Re:To all Office Naysayers (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#42005239)

It's proof of nothing.

All we really have is mindless "fragmentation" rhetoric.

> "does not even have a ribbon yet"

That is only a good thing.

Re:To all Office Naysayers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005339)

If anyone disagrees with this, could they please write or direct me to an article on "why the ribbon is A Good Thing"? If it has an advantage that I just don't understand, I'd really love to be sold on it.

Re:To all Office Naysayers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005479)

People leaving OO and going back to MSO is proof enough. Aside from that why should anyone prove anything to you? No, your low UID doesn't mean anything as way of an argument.

Re:To all Office Naysayers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005635)

It's proof of nothing.

That's why LibreOffice is huge and ubiquitous, right? Oh, wait.

Yeah, sorry. As a run-of-the-mill clone with no significant advantages, LO isn't in a position to go head to head with Office and win. Merely copying proprietary software and carrying on about how it's "free" isn't enough. Out in the real world, nobody really cares about "free as in beer" or "free as in speech".

People simply want to get work done, and LO runs contrary to that - you're getting all the disadvantages of not using Office, with nothing to show for it but feel-good propaganda.

That is only a good thing.

Says you. And of course, Slashdot sycophants, but I'd trust their opinion on Microsoft and UI like I'd trust Apple's opinion on patent litigation.

Re:To all Office Naysayers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005289)

Exactly! And this is why it should be forbidden by law for any government agency to use any kind of file format that is not open. Actually, that's not even enough, since the fuckheads at M$ bought a standardization body. I'm so sick of this I want to puke. Maybe the world is just a lost cause and we should go with everyone take as much as they can and run. Blah.

Re:To all Office Naysayers (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#42005363)

THe internet was 40% IE 6 only in 2003/2004 too. Just like when .doc was the default file format. PDFs are gradually taking over and MS will loose its file compatibility format too.

I hate keep bringing up the Browser analogy (like the car one), but it is relevent. People wont change and will resist unless there is something in it for them to do so. Once Firefox had 10% to 15% of the market in 2008/2009 it quickly went up to 50% in 2-3 years! Why? Website makers gave up and supported it and now there was a reason to change.

RIght now if you build a better mousetrap all you need is 10% of people to use it. Once that happens it will balloon as the file compatility will be broken.

Re:To all Office Naysayers (1)

Merk42 (1906718) | about 2 years ago | (#42005715)

The tech nerds are/were the ones building the websites in 2003/2004 that decided to use w3c standards in favor of proprietary Microsoft code. Those same tech nerds could create their documents in .odf, but it won't matter when everyone else is creating .doc(x).

Re:To all Office Naysayers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005415)

It has been stated over and over again that without exact formatting and file compatibility it will not be useful

Where can I get an office suite that supports this? Even microsoft Office fails this.

If you want people to switch you need to give them a reason

If you want people to switch, especially office workers you have to give them the same interface. Have you ever seen training materials used to train people for office applications? They are step by step guides what to klick, no explanation about how it works or alternative ways of doing something, any change to the UI will stop these "trained" users from accomplishing anything. The result is that OpenOffice/LibreOffice are not a drop in replacement until they have a one to one copy of the MS Office UI.

Re:To all Office Naysayers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005955)

Hey, dumbass - This is slashdot. Those kinds of users don't exist. The German government was bribed by M$.

Re:To all Office Naysayers (4, Interesting)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 2 years ago | (#42005435)

Ribbons are only marginally useful, and mostly just clutter-up my interface. And since I'm unsure of the status of the Ribbon patent that would be a fight best left out of an Office Competitor. Open office works much like Office 2000, and gets the job done without much clutter. It defiantly needs work but that's mostly due to the Collapse of Sun, the Acquisition by Oracle, and then the Open Source Limbo Oracle put it in for nearly a year which resulted in a Fork, and then they handed it over to Apache. If they were just going to do that then they should have done that sooner to when they got the go ahead on the Acquisition. Personally the competition between two Open Source projects should help spur things on.

Re:To all Office Naysayers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005611)

Open office works much like Office 2000, and gets the job done

Um, this story is about how Open office actually doesn't get the job done.

Re:To all Office Naysayers (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#42005525)

Proof again that LibreOffice is no MS Office replacement.

No, this is only proof of the strength of Microsoft's vendor lock-in.

It has been stated over and over again that without exact formatting and file compatibility it will not be useful.

Which it would have, if only Microsoft adhered to standards. Somehow open source software is able to accurately render HTML, PDFs, SVGs, but not DOCs? The only reason this would happen is if someone is playing fast and loose with the specs.

Re:To all Office Naysayers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005659)

No, this is only proof of the strength of Microsoft's vendor lock-in.

Huh? How is this vendor lock-in when the Germany group actually migrated away from Office, used a competitor extensively in a fully deployed, real-world situation, and finally came to the conclusion that Office was better based on the merits of the software.

Re:To all Office Naysayers (2)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#42005865)

The merit of the software being primarily measured by interoperability with Microsoft Office. That's how strong Microsoft's vendor lock in is.

Re:To all Office Naysayers (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005893)

>if only Microsoft adhered to standards

What you fail to understand is, like it or not, altruistic or not, Microsoft *is* the standard.

Re:To all Office Naysayers (1)

Pope (17780) | about 2 years ago | (#42005559)

If you want people to switch you need to give them a reason.

Cost.

Re:To all Office Naysayers (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#42005565)

It has been stated over and over again that without exact formatting and file compatibility it will not be useful.

That would be an argument AGAINST Microsoft Office. All too often is exact formatting precisely the thing you *don't* get when moving file between machines.

Re:To all Office Naysayers (5, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | about 2 years ago | (#42005619)

I have not used OpenOffice nor LibreOffice in a few years but what I do remember is it is behind the times with a menu and does not even have a ribbon yet.

“On the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.”

Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Re:To all Office Naysayers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005839)

How about a car analogy:

Imagine if, back when Ford started selling the very first automobiles to the general public, they came up with their own blend of gasoline and didn't tell anyone what was in it. As long as everybody drives Ford cars and pumps this Ford gasoline into their tanks, everything runs great.

Then along comes Toyota wanting to sell cars too and give consumers a choice, except the Ford gasoline doesn't work very well in Toyota engines. Since every gas station on the planet already pumps only Ford gas, Toyota has no choice but to try to support it, since otherwise their customers would have no place to fill up. The Toyota engineers try their best to figure out what Ford gas is made of so that their engines can run on it smoothly, but Ford refuses to tell them, so they can never get it to work quite right. Now Toyota cars look like a shoddy product, even though it's actually Ford being anti-competitive and refusing to tell anyone what their gas is made of that's causing the problem.

This is the situation with Microsoft and office document formats. OpenOffice (and Apache and Libre and everybody else) would *love* to be interoperable with Microsoft's formats. The problem is not that those open-source developers are lazy, the problem is that Microsoft is anti-competitive and refuses to tell anyone how their formats work. They've gotten some heat for this in the last decade and made a show of pretending to provide technical documentation for their latest format, except it turns out that Microsoft's own Word does not actually follow this public specification, so it does no good: anybody who implements Microsoft's own specification is *still* not interoperable with Word.

Re:To all Office Naysayers (1)

binarstu (720435) | about 2 years ago | (#42005973)

I have not used OpenOffice nor LibreOffice in a few years but what I do remember is it is behind the times...

And this gets modded "insightful"? It's been a while since I've used a mac, but what I do remember is that OS9 didn't even support preemptive multitasking...

Re:To all Office Naysayers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42006087)

Don't be suck a prick. MS Office would fail just as much if others were using LibreOffice as a de-facto standard. This is a failue by MS on humanity. Interoperability is more important than one company going out of its way to fuck off users to make a few more bucks, they don't pay tax on.

MS should be forced by global law to work to an open standard. Anything else is purely bullshit.

You like your Internet? Global standard. Cell phone? Two global standard (US telcos fucked up as usual).

MS is an anachronism, like the moronic rail companies when they used different gauge tracks. Time to move on and all work for the benefit of the masses, regardless of their personal OS and application preferences.

MS Office document formats (1, Informative)

Spazmania (174582) | about 2 years ago | (#42005191)

If you want to beat MS Office, start with natively reading and writing their formats. I don't mean importing from and exporting to the formats. I mean adopting at least the older formats and all their issues in your core.

Why, you ask? Because everybody else is going to send you .doc, .xls and .ppt. And that's what they expect to receive back from you. And as you load and save these documents in your respective Office suites, it's not acceptable for them to degrade like a jpeg.

Re:MS Office document formats (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#42005251)

Better yet give users a reason to upgrade? No sense upgrading to something that already works for people who can't stand change. Especially if that change gives them a bad performance review if they can't figure something out?

MS Office has improved, but still has its bad formatting bugs in word, and quirkness in Outlook, but overall has added no new features in years. It is stagnant.

What could LibreOffice or OpenOffice offer that gives someone a reason to try it? Firefox is the most popular opensource app in existence! Is it because everyone hated IE 6? Or is it because it was a better browser, gave tabs, was more secure, and worked on other Macs as well as PCs?

Re:MS Office document formats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005373)

If that was true, we'd all be using Opera. Opera had all of that first.

Re:MS Office document formats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005557)

LO and OOo offer one thing MSO can't: $0/seat.

Re:MS Office document formats (4, Insightful)

Spazmania (174582) | about 2 years ago | (#42005691)

No. No. A thousand times, no. Basing your actions on what you *wish* other people would do is a losing strategy. You have to base your actions on what you reasonably project that other people in fact *will* do.

Other people will use Microsoft Office, and most will continue doing so for the foreseeable future. Since they trade documents with each other all the time, they'll expect to do so successfully with you. Without the degradation that comes from import/export cycles. They expect to walk in with a power point on a CD, place the disc in your PC and display it on your projector. If you can't adequately support these things, you're the screwball who can't achieve a business norm.

Service to residents (1)

Primate Pete (2773471) | about 2 years ago | (#42005201)

It’s interesting and probably fatal that none of the arguments in favor or Open Office mentioned in the article provide justification in terms of constituent service. I’d like my local government to user FOSS software, but I’m much more concerned with their ability to communicate with the public and provide services. Given the public’s commitment to MS software, Open Office may just not be a realistic choice in this case. It’s a shame, but the government’s first job is not software policy.

IBM refuses to do IP clearance for Apache (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005203)

Part of the problem with Apache OpenOffice is that IBM refuses to do proper IP Clearance of the code they donated.
http://comments.gmane.org/gmane.comp.apache.incubator.ooo.devel/28225

"In order for volunteers to choose to work on this code, even to repair difficulties building it and to
exercise interesting components for potential integration in AOO, is problematic since using the
current code and committing changes to it leads to IP provenance issues. The community should not be
confronted by such a sustained ambiguity."

So Apache Office is deliberately held back by IBM.

Continuing use of harmful substances (-1, Redundant)

Mystra_x64 (1108487) | about 2 years ago | (#42005211)

continuing use OpenOffice will lead to performance impairments and aggravation and frustration on the part of employees and external parties. 'Therefore, a new Microsoft Office license is essential for effective operations

Sounds like someone is dreaming about his fix.

Re:Continuing use of harmful substances (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005729)

Sounds like someone is dreaming about his fix.
 
Sounds like a fanboi can't accept that not everyone is happy with a patchwork substitute for a real office suite.

wow (0)

marcello_dl (667940) | about 2 years ago | (#42005213)

I can understand the first part (OO didn't perform as expected, causing trouble to people accustomed to office)
But the rest of the summary seems MS marketspeak.
"stable development?" LOL office is the most unstable, both format and GUI wise, project that I know, its development phase can be the most disciplined and careful process in the whole sw industry, but the end product is anything but stable.

Of course, no argument is necessary now that they reverted the decision. Have fun with your MS and macros, citizens.

Legitimate complaints. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005219)

The article mentions two issues I concur with. The excel clone "Calc" is not in the same league. And importing/converting between MS and open document isn't that good either.

Re:Legitimate complaints. (0, Flamebait)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#42005501)

Legitimate reasons don't count here.
Open Source is Superior, Commercial is inferior.
Anyone who says otherwise must have been bribed or just a shill.

Re:Legitimate complaints. (2)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about 2 years ago | (#42005521)

Also, factor in that they're using the 2007 version. If Calc still isn't up to par with MS Office's stagnant Excel five years later, just think about what they were dealing with, especially considering how quickly OO has been improving in the past years. Who was the idiot that though living forever in 2007 was a good idea?

open source is crap (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005229)

we all figure it out sooner or later.

Incompatible with MS formats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005253)

I've tried to get people to use LibreOffice in the office, but it seriously sucks balls when you need to edit an existing Word document. It might be great if you are making a new ODF from scratch, but that's not reality.

Sadly it makes sense :-( (-1, Troll)

geek4545 (2775527) | about 2 years ago | (#42005263)

I once documented on my blog [evenweb.com] the huge issues with OO In fact I use Linux, but I forced to use Office to write documents.

Re:Sadly it makes sense :-( (0)

hduff (570443) | about 2 years ago | (#42005389)

Sadly , that is the goatse site of a MS Office user..

Re:Sadly it makes sense :-( (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005391)

NSFW do not follow link.

Re:Sadly it makes sense :-( (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005477)

Your blog is half assed and there was a massive hole in your main argument, must try harder.

Re:Sadly it makes sense :-( (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005953)

I hope you die of cancer.

I use LibreOffice on my Mac (1, Redundant)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | about 2 years ago | (#42005325)

And out of all the applications I use, it's the one I dread the most, to say it's slow and unwieldy is an understatement.

I've no idea on MS Office's performance in recent years, but I can feel Germany's frustration!

good point about the split (2)

binarstu (720435) | about 2 years ago | (#42005455)

I use LibreOffice/OpenOffice almost exclusively, and my experience is that it is more than adequate as an MS Office replacement. In fact, I find Office rather annoying to use now.

That said, I think TFA has a valid point about the split between LibreOffice and OpenOffice. If nothing else, the fork makes it more difficult to try to push either as an Office replacement to new users. Searching for help is more annoying, and they are different enough that you might not be able to apply a solution for one to the other. And yet, they are almost the same in most ways, and it seems there is some effort to keep the two in sync. Given all of that, continuing with the two separate products seems more detrimental than beneficial. Now that the original problem with Oracle that led to the fork is behind us, couldn't we refocus our efforts on a single office software suite?

Re:good point about the split (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005577)

What's the problem? Have file formats diverged?

Re:good point about the split (1)

thoth (7907) | about 2 years ago | (#42005583)

I use LibreOffice/OpenOffice almost exclusively, and my experience is that it is more than adequate as an MS Office replacement. In fact, I find Office rather annoying to use now.

I use LibreOffice at home, and it is fine for me. But I can also see how my needs are fairly limited, and a government office may have more demanding requirements. (Not sure if your usage of LO/OO is personal, business, both, etc.)

Now as far as what the city of Frieberg find deficient, the article specifically mentioned performance issues with Calc, and general interop. Intertop will be tough since Microsoft isn't exactly forthcoming with their specs. However, the Calc performance can be addressed.

The OOXML scam worked (-1, Flamebait)

walterbyrd (182728) | about 2 years ago | (#42005505)

For MS, bribing those officials was sure worth it.

Employees had trouble with documents that were formatted in a seemingly complete random way when opened in another office suite. There were also conversion problems between the presentation programs Power Point and Impress. And spreadsheet program Calc and Impress were seen as significantly underperforming compared to the Microsoft alternative, the council wrote.

seems to me the council (1)

nimbius (983462) | about 2 years ago | (#42005541)

basically admitted it could do one of two things:
1. increase training and awareness of the openoffice suite and ensure operating procedures and support is available during its use.
2. switch to libreoffice with the well established and functional upgrade path.

the third option, "fold like a chair after microsoft cuts you a closed-door deal" is not a real option unless you're lazy.

Shills? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005561)

Story is tagged "shills" and "msshills"? If you put the monetary cost aside, how can you still say with a straight face that OpenOffice is superior to MS Office?

Re:Shills? (3, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#42005617)

Like this. OpenOffice is superior to MS Office. See, my face didn't change at all.

Re:Shills? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005883)

Except for the fact that OpenOfiice doesn't save ooxml, yet, sure, OpenOffice is superior. Let's just ignore that Star Office sucked and it's open forks aren't any better.

C'me on, that sounds fishy-fishy-fish (2)

udippel (562132) | about 2 years ago | (#42005743)

Reading the report, they state that Writer can only be used for 80% of the tasks; Impress and Calc even less.
That sounds very fishy in the ears of someone who has made complete layouts for real books and real publishers (no Internet-crap), of hundreds of pages, including automatic TOC, blabla, plus articles in traditional Chinese and Japanese.
Now tell me, please, what sorts of daily work a municipality needs to do, what sorts of letters need to be written, that can't be written in Writer!? I bet a 5-digit-sum in € that this is simply untrue. I cannot exclude, though, that some templates created in Word cannot be filled in Writer. But then the numbers would be misleading, and some wishy-washy of hands could not be excluded. I correct myself, I take a bet of 6 digits of €, that all writing work of a municipality can be done in Writer, if done in any proper manner; if and only if done from a proper set of basics of OpenOffice. Nobody expects the OpenOffice Writer to run 100% compatible with Word Macros, to give an example.

Invite me, pay me a reasonable fee, and I'll show those half-wits 'wo die Glocken hängen'.

Documents vs Records; the paperless office (2)

oregonjohn (1902706) | about 2 years ago | (#42005801)

The problem is that people fail to understand the difference between records and documents. The transition to effective digital communications is still in process and has some way to go before it matures.

I help attorneys transition to paperless offices and I would make three comments.

1) PDFs are the only fair way to share written and graphic records, yet people continually share word processing documents as records. A record is different than a document. A record might be commented on, but the base information should not be changed because it is a record of an informational transaction. A document is used more for a data gathering or information organizing process. A document will become a record when it is completed. For example, I might write a letter in a word processor and share the drafts with a co-worker, but when it is ready for printing/emailing I turn it into a PDF and save the PDF as the record in a folder of, for instance, the client. I would then delete the word processor document unless I want a template for further work (in which case the template is not stored in the same place as the record).

2) Almost all documents are over-formatted using proprietary software. That's the main reason why PDFs work best to turn a document into a record. Good OCR software can take just about any PDF record and turn it into either a Word or a RTF document. RTF is probably the most universally readable document even though it allows moderate formatting.

3) Many documents in a modern business or government agency have macros and/or database connections for automatically creating records. These macros and database connections are not easily transferred from one word processing program (or spreadsheet) to another. Most of the attorneys I work for use WordPerfect because they always have and they have hundreds of little macros. This is where the transition from one office suite to any other suite becomes technically difficult.

fork (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42005803)

Story of open source software...
Forks lead to dilution and eventually to unusability.
While there is some advantage to not putting all you eggs in one basket (e.g. the existance of multiple distributions or forks), in the end it leads to the waste of effort in development that makes products fall behind the commercial competition.

Libreoffice not perfect but docx is an Outrage!! (1)

kokako (2499876) | about 2 years ago | (#42005869)

I use, and sometimes struggle with, Libreoffice on a daily basis both on OS X and on Ubuntu. I am an academic and mainly use the LO writer. Now here are a few issues with it that I find annoying: no draft view; no outline view; impossible to select-all for footnotes; sometimes font rendering is distorted; the UI is ugly enough on linux but it is HIDEOUS on OS X. Also, I have run into problems on OS X with the program crashing (although the auto-recover works well) with large documents. Finally, the powerpoint compatiblity with Impress has been very bad (maybe it is better now?) and until very recently the choice of templates for Impress looked like they were made by Orcs sometime in the 1980s.

THAT SAID, it is a freaking OUTRAGE than in 2012 there is not one open standard for document creation. As much as I find Libreoffice disappointing and sometimes find myself going back to MS, it is absolutely unconscionable that Microsoft still has a monopoly over the file formats in which we save most common office documents. Frankly, I don't understand why the EU spend so much time on the browser issue without combining it with the equally significant problem of office file formats. How is it that MS has been able to get away with this for so long? I mean, WTF???

It is just deeply, deeply sad that the work most people spend their days doing is subject to the control of proprierary formats.

OO metafiles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42006051)

I know the OO/ libre office implementation of metafiles basicly covers the really simple portions, and silently fails drawing anything complicated, or just outputs garbage to the screen. I wouldn't be surprised if this also happens in other sections of the software, which is quite frustrating to a nontechnical end user. "I exported this image from software XYZ to a emf, and importing it doesn't work"

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