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Apache OpenOffice Reaches 100 Million Downloads. Now What?

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the hundreds-of-millions-served dept.

Open Source 285

We're thankfully long past the days when an emailed Word document was useless without a copy of Microsoft Word, and that's in large part thanks to the success of the OpenOffice family of word processors. "Family," because the OpenOffice name has been attached to several branches of a codebase that's gone through some serious evolution over the years, starting from its roots in closed-source StarOffice, acquired and open-sourced by Sun to become OpenOffice.org. The same software has led (via some hamfisted moves by Oracle after its acquisition of Sun) to the also-excellent LibreOffice. OpenOffice.org's direct descendant is Apache OpenOffice, and an anonymous reader writes with this excellent news from that project: "The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of more than 170 Open Source projects and initiatives, announced today that Apache OpenOffice has been downloaded 100 million times. Over 100 million downloads, over 750 extensions, over 2,800 templates. But what does the community at Apache need to do to get the next 100 million?" If you want to play along, you can get the latest version of OpenOffice from SourceForge (Slashdot's corporate cousin). I wonder how many government offices -- the U.S. Federal government has long been Microsoft's biggest customer -- couldn't get along just fine with an open source word processor, even considering all the proprietary-format documents they're stuck with for now.

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Use Libre Office (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46779231)

Libre Office is much better, IMO.

Re:Use Libre Office (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46779399)

Your opinion sucks.

Re:Use Libre Office (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46779721)

That's excellent news. Now where do I insert my dick?

(I suggest you don't waste your mod points on Troll ACs like us - you lose your points and nothing good really happens)

Re:Use Libre Office (4, Insightful)

SpzToid (869795) | about 6 months ago | (#46779827)

Well yeah, but since total, absolute crap such as your posting and all the others like it pollutes the otherwise useful commentary, *someone* has to moderate in the interests of keeping this site readable for others, right?

Re:Use Libre Office (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46779735)

Not surprised that the LibreOffice fanboys have to post the above in an OpenOffice article.

there bi a toad in my hat (0)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 6 months ago | (#46779235)

it [poopd
NO

What now? 1 billion! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46779247)

MS and its Office needs to die.

Re:What now? 1 billion! (4, Insightful)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 6 months ago | (#46779655)

Find me a replacement for Excel then. A real replacement, not some crappy OpenOffice thing that has 80% of the features.

Re:What now? 1 billion! (-1, Troll)

bucket_brigade (1079247) | about 6 months ago | (#46779691)

Why would anyone use Excel for anything?

Re:What now? 1 billion! (1)

master_kaos (1027308) | about 6 months ago | (#46779781)

Wow, you serious?

Re:What now? 1 billion! (3, Interesting)

bucket_brigade (1079247) | about 6 months ago | (#46779823)

In the context of everything else that is available (R, etc), yes.

Re:What now? 1 billion! (3, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | about 6 months ago | (#46780271)

Excel is fantastic for exploring small sets of data... "quick and dirty" stuff. When you want rigorous statistics or a more formal analysis of data, R and friends are far superior. And anything even remotely repetitive should be done in something with a better scripting language. But I'd hate to lose Excel just as much as I'd hate to be forced to use MATLAB or Python to plot results from some small screening experiment.

And of course, we are completely deviating from Excel's forte as a financial tool, where it is much stronger.

Sometimes I'll even use it to clean up data for insertion into a database or some other such task. It has some nice built-in "Filter" functions.

Re:What now? 1 billion! (2)

Serenissima (1210562) | about 6 months ago | (#46779809)

Because, unfortunately in some regards, (almost) everyone uses Excel for EVERYTHING. Most people outside of Slashdot could probably name one Database program (Microsoft Access) that they've heard of, and I'm willing to bet most of them don't know how to use it.

Re:What now? 1 billion! (0)

LordThyGod (1465887) | about 6 months ago | (#46779955)

Because, unfortunately in some regards, (almost) everyone uses Excel for EVERYTHING. Most people outside of Slashdot could probably name one Database program (Microsoft Access) that they've heard of, and I'm willing to bet most of them don't know how to use it.

I don't see a smiley so I guess this is meant to be serious. You must be stuck in one shit hole corporate job somewhere if you think that about Excel. You are wrong on databases too. I'd say most people couldn't name any, and why should they? 2 of 2, nice.

Re:What now? 1 billion! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46780001)

You must be stuck in one shit hole corporate job somewhere if you think that about Excel.

What corporate job ISN'T a shit hold corporate job? Have you ever had a real job that wasn't working with IT people. Excel is for EVERYTHING. Every day I see people with 100+ megabyte XLS files with two hundred columns and 1,000 rows tracking every miniscule, meaningless thing they can think of. I know of executives at television stations that use Excel to track their budget. If you believe otherwise, you live a very sheltered life.

Re:What now? 1 billion! (1)

butalearner (1235200) | about 6 months ago | (#46780125)

Excel is actually pretty nice for quick, one-off, interactive data browsing and visualization. I see that pivot tables are present in OpenOffice and LibreOffice now, so I don't see any reason to use Excel over one of the free options, because they're all absolutely terrible at anything beyond the aforementioned use case. Anything more involved and anything you'll have to repeat on further data sets should absolutely not be done in a spreadsheet (I personally prefer Python with the MATLAB-like libraries).

Re:What now? 1 billion! (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46780007)

Somewhat valid point.

I am a scientist. At some point, I decided to move over to linux completely. Real number crunching can be done in R or Matlab, but for some things, excel is quite useful. In the end, I found gnumeric quite nice to work with, and I have not found anything that I missed compared to excel. (actually, it has some extra functionality that I find quite convenient).

LibreOffice (3, Insightful)

Rafael Jaimes III (3430609) | about 6 months ago | (#46779255)

I thought LibreOffice was the true descendant of OpenOffice.org?

Re:LibreOffice (4, Informative)

hawkbat05 (1952326) | about 6 months ago | (#46779329)

LibreOffice is a fork of OpenOffice, created when some core developers were worried with Oracle's lack of attention to the project. Some time after that fork, Oracle donated OpenOffice.org code and trademarks to the Apache Software Foundation to continue the project.

Re:LibreOffice (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46779535)

Translation: Oracle surrendered.

Re:LibreOffice (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 6 months ago | (#46779625)

Larry wanted to rewrite it using JavaFX LOL

Re:LibreOffice (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46779553)

competing claims
  - LibreOfice is the descendant when it comes to who got most of the original developers themselves
  - Apache OpenOffice has the copyright and the original branding
which is the fork and which the original ... is a matter of sometimes heated opinion.

Re:LibreOffice (1)

BenFenner (981342) | about 6 months ago | (#46779589)

Reply to undo moderation. Meant to choose Underrated, but for some reason it chose Overrated. Sorry. =/

I wonder how much damage... (1)

LaughingVulcan (3511853) | about 6 months ago | (#46779257)

...would be done to the U.S. economy by having the U.S. Federal Government migrate away from Microsoft to an open-source solution.

(And please, not a Microsoft shill or apologist here - I use OpenOffice at home and enjoy it and wish I could implement it at work. I don't like the economy of the United States hinging on continued government spending, either. But OTOH, you can't tell me that ditching Microsoft wouldn't have some pretty serious economic consequences and we're in the mess we're in.)

Re:I wonder how much damage... (5, Insightful)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about 6 months ago | (#46779321)

I think the bigger problem will be the Excel to Calc transition. Because Calc is still lagging behind in functionality, especially in the matter of dealing with formulas and macros.

Re:I wonder how much damage... (4, Interesting)

JWSmythe (446288) | about 6 months ago | (#46779547)

For most users that I've known who were willing to try OpenOffice, Calc worked fine for them.

The problem is Outlook and Exchange. The users see the mail client, calendering, and the like, as essential. The word processor and spreadsheet are secondary to that. Once some exec starts talking to sales about getting just Outlook, they are sold on the wonders of getting the whole MSOffice suite.

There are enough users who refuse to even try OpenOffice for the word processor. "I can't because...". I've tricked some users into switching, by just giving them shortcuts on their desktop with the MS names instead of the OO names, and changing the default save types to the MS counterpart. When they ask about why it looks different, I just tell them "oh, this is the newer version.", and they're fine.

Cut this out. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46779629)

Don't treat your users like idiots or children. If you can't explain why they should switch, you don't know how to explain things or there's no good reason for them to do so.

Re:I wonder how much damage... (5, Interesting)

dejanc (1528235) | about 6 months ago | (#46779661)

For most users that I've known who were willing to try OpenOffice, Calc worked fine for them.

When they ask about why it looks different, I just tell them "oh, this is the newer version.", and they're fine.

You are describing my experience with home users, e.g. people who use Word to type out a school assignment or a project report and then print it.

People who do "serious" work with Office have real problems migrating. Excel formulas will not always successfully transfer to Calc, which means old spreadsheets can't be used and they can't be shared with people still using MS products.

Write and Word do have incompatibilities. E.g. one bug lingers around for years: when a header is saved in OpenOffice format and then saved as a Word document, it will appear on all pages and not only on the first page.

I never tried to open a MS Access database in OpenOffice Base, but Base does have stability and bug issues, at least on Mac (just yesterday I had problems with it crashing).

I won't even go into macros, templates, etc.

Switching from MS Office to OpenOffice / LibreOffice is not easy at all for power users. To put into geek terms: imagine switching from Apache to Lighttpd. For most things, it will be great. But, if you have some serious .htaccess magic going on or are relying on mods which exist only for Apache - well, you are out of luck and you are probably not going anywhere.

Fresh start with OO/LO, on the other hand, is a breeze :)

I use both quite a bit (3, Informative)

sjbe (173966) | about 6 months ago | (#46780031)

People who do "serious" work with Office have real problems migrating.

I'm one of those people who does "serious" spreadsheet work. By and large switching between the Excel and OOo/LO works pretty well. Occasional formatting issues and the odd formula incompatibility but mostly it works fine. I try to use macros as little as possible so I can't speak to compatibility there but I would expect it to be something of a creeping horror.

Write and Word do have incompatibilities.

Sadly yes. Quite a few of them in fact.

I never tried to open a MS Access database in OpenOffice Base,

I have and it generally works but probably not exactly the way you expect. Base isn't really the same thing as Access. It's more of a connector application than a standalone database product. I use it primarily to do ODBC connections between spreadsheets and a database. Unfortunately they tend to break their ODBC code between versions so I've been stuck on a pretty old version of OO for quite a while.

Switching from MS Office to OpenOffice / LibreOffice is not easy at all for power users. To put into geek terms: imagine switching from Apache to Lighttpd. For most things, it will be great. But, if you have some serious .htaccess magic going on or are relying on mods which exist only for Apache - well, you are out of luck and you are probably not going anywhere.

Bingo. If you have a heavily macro'd set of Excel spreadsheets or the like you probably aren't going to want to switch. Just way too painful. But most people could probably switch with only modest problems here and there.

Alas, Open/Libre office don't work for me - damn i (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46779839)

For most users that I've known who were willing to try OpenOffice, Calc worked fine for them.

Er, not for me. Libre and Open Office (latest as of 2/74) spreadsheets did NOT work. A tax template (from 1040excel.com) had me owing ~$200 more tax then when opened in MS Excel, and some of my wife's environmental-compliance baroque* EXcel spreadsheets simply would not open (crashed). Some Word files also had problems.

* Should have been done in a database, but the client dictated Excel.

It's NOT because I wasn't willing to try - indeed I'm desperate to leave MS after using Win 8.1...

Re:I wonder how much damage... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 6 months ago | (#46779983)

Calc used to be really bad. I can not remember if it was LibreOffice or OO that just refactored Calc and added support for GPU compute. Calc is now pretty good. Exchange/Outlook has been a sticking point for a while.
As too how many government agencies could move? None. Until they are forced they will not move and Microsoft probably gives them a great deal just so they can sell copies of office to every vendor.

Re:I wonder how much damage... (1)

hinchles (976598) | about 6 months ago | (#46780289)

We're migrating people onto libra office and OWA from the exchange server there's really very little need for dedicated outlook the web mail side of exchange is actually very good though it could do with some work on its signature support and drag and drop to attach files but for the most part its fully serviceable.

Re:I wonder how much damage... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46779627)

Current Libreoffice has vastly improved this vs OpenOffice and for some users they actually suddenly preferred it.

Re:I wonder how much damage... (3, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | about 6 months ago | (#46779659)

Excel is about the only component in the MS Office suite that is still arguably superior. When it came out on the Mac almost 30 years ago it was revolutionary. And this is from someone who was quite adept at Visicalc and Quattro. OTOH, it is my wish that no one use MS Powerpoint anymore. It is dated and ugly. MS Word is truly useful in a few use cases, buy mostly it is just that people know how to use to get simple tasks done and teaching them how to complete those tasks differently is cost prohibitive.

Due to the way MS products are licensed, and the cost of training, and the fact that the average person gets confused easily with software, it is cheaper for large organizations to buy the MS products for use by the minority of users that actually need it.

Re:I wonder how much damage... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46779755)

My pet peeve: I can't specify a range for a chart that includes empty cells at the end to be filled in later. So every time I enter more data, I have to alter the chart's range to match.

Re:I wonder how much damage... (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about 6 months ago | (#46779907)

Not just those.. I mean, macros in general is a pain to work with in OO.o (LibreOffice as well), while it's much simpler in VBA. And I'm not talking about syntax here, but things like accessing graph data and manipulating it. Want to highlight a particular point in a graph? I don't even know where to start with OO.o as the documentation is.. well I'm sure it's to be found *somewhere*.

But also rather common things like chart titles based on a cell value. You'd think that "Weekly report - Week #" where # is the current week number would be possible, simply by referencing a cell with the week number OR referencing a cell with the full title. But alas - you cannot.
Instead you have to kludge a work-around using a second chart with completely transparent background and only showing the X Axis Label (which, of course, does auto-adjust based on the categories range set), then move that on top of the other chart.
( Correct me if I'm wrong in that, and it is possible now. )

LibreOffice is worse in this respect... recent updates have caused outright crashes when moving data around, date values getting displayed with the wrong date on charts, etc.

Re:I wonder how much damage... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46780091)

LibreOffice is worse in this respect... recent updates have caused outright crashes when moving data around, date values getting displayed with the wrong date on charts, etc.

Not picking on you specifically, but I wonder how many people that have encountered consistently repeatable crashes have submitted bug reports on them?

Re:I wonder how much damage... (4, Informative)

rubycodez (864176) | about 6 months ago | (#46779337)

you are funny, the miniscule percentage of government spending that goes to Microsoft is a budget rounding error

And if Microsoft fell, those people would do other things for a living, maybe even get a few good companies while losing one giant crappy one

Re:I wonder how much damage... (1)

NapalmV (1934294) | about 6 months ago | (#46779623)

Well, first you'll have to define "economy". Once clarified, we could proceed to evaluating the damage.

OpenOffice? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46779283)

I thought everyone had moved to LibreOffice already.

Re:OpenOffice? (3, Insightful)

Palestrina (715471) | about 6 months ago | (#46779377)

If that were true then there would not have been 100 million downloads of Apache OpenOffice, would there? Therefore...

Re:OpenOffice? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46779671)

Is it really 100 million downloads of "Apache OpenOffice", or is it 100 million downloads of OpenOffice.org and Apache OpenOffice?

From the article...
"Apache OpenOffice reaching 100 million downloads is a remarkable achievement in the project's 29-year history and testament to the power of successful Open Source communities,"

Re:OpenOffice? (2)

utoddl (263055) | about 6 months ago | (#46779801)

If that were true then there would not have been 100 million downloads of Apache OpenOffice, would there? Therefore...

Sorry, that was me. I left curl running in a loop on a 56kb dialup and went on vacation. My bad.

Free Office viewers (2)

DogDude (805747) | about 6 months ago | (#46779293)

We're thankfully long past the days when an emailed Word document was useless without a copy of Microsoft Word

My first thought upon reading this was, "Right, because Microsoft has all of those various free Office viewers".

Still need Microsoft Office unfortunately (4, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | about 6 months ago | (#46779395)

We're thankfully long past the days when an emailed Word document was useless without a copy of Microsoft Word

Sadly that isn't really true. My company has standardized on LibreOffice and we use it for most things. However I get Word and Excel files all the time that cannot be accurately read by OpenOffice or LibreOffice. Particularly .DOCX and .XLSX files. Many are just fine but the more complicated ones tend to have moderate to severe formatting corruption. Sometimes to the point of unreadability. Google Docs and other doc viewers frequently don't do any better of a job of it. I have to keep a seat of Microsoft office available for those documents that I can't read any other way even to this day.

Re:Still need Microsoft Office unfortunately (2, Insightful)

Spliffster (755587) | about 6 months ago | (#46779447)

This is because microsoft manages to be incompatible with their own ISO standard (I guess their own "standard" is not documented).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O... [wikipedia.org]

Best
-S

Microsoft Ofc often incompatible/incompetent (2)

harvey the nerd (582806) | about 6 months ago | (#46779485)

At the Office 2003/2007 interface, I had better luck with Open Office displaying some documents between Excel 2003 and Excel 2007 than with either Excel. Microsoft internal document standards are a farce.

Re:Still need Microsoft Office unfortunately (3, Informative)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 6 months ago | (#46779501)

Sometimes it's a typeface/font issue, which is why I "accidentally" copied the TrueType fonts from a Windows partition over to /usr/share/fonts/TrueType

Re:Still need Microsoft Office unfortunately (1)

advantis (622471) | about 6 months ago | (#46779927)

I'm curious: did you have fonts in there that were not part of msttcorefonts [sourceforge.net] ?

Re:Still need Microsoft Office unfortunately (2)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 6 months ago | (#46780077)

Yes, every TT font that was installed by default in WinXP, Vista, and 7. Which is a lot more than the core fonts.

You can probably thank Microsoft for this... (3, Informative)

urbanriot (924981) | about 6 months ago | (#46779317)

With so many people experiencing issues with Microsoft Office 2013 activation and random requests to re-activate which result in error codes, or issues where "A problem has occurred" with no log entries or error codes when you try to install the software, it's quite possible Microsoft has strongly encouraged people to seek alternatives.

Since experiencing so many reliability issues with Microsoft Office 2013, issues that did not exist with Microsoft Office 2010, I've become a vocal advocate for making the switch from Microsoft to either OpenOffice or LibreOffice.

I often encourage OpenOffice for older folks that are looking for a more reliable experience while I suggest LibreOffice to those who want a feature rich experience and don't mind the occasional glitch or updating the software as regularly as they release updates. I feel both are great projects.

Re:You can probably thank Microsoft for this... (4, Funny)

jellomizer (103300) | about 6 months ago | (#46779417)

I think is has more to due with Microsoft lack of advancement in Office... For the most part what we are doing in Office 2013, is the same stuff we were doing in Office 95.
Sure there were some incremental changes that took advantage of newer technologies, some new UI changes that I am not sure if it makes things better. But for the most part things haven't changed too much.
Word is still a word processor,
Excel is still a spreadsheet
Outlook is still a memory hog
Access is still causing businesses to slowly go bankrupt.
Power Point is still making meetings boring.

Using Open/Libra office, we get the stuff that we wan't it is compatible enough to not look like a jerk (say even 10 years ago) for not being able to read the document.

Re:You can probably thank Microsoft for this... (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 6 months ago | (#46779539)

Some of the bigger changes have to do with things like sharepoint integration, which really does work fairly well in newer versions of Office in a corporate setting.

However, it still can be rather buggy, and doesn't play nicely with Chrome unless there is some plugin I'm not aware of (that is, the more web-based parts - if you just directly open a file from Office no browser is involved).

Re:You can probably thank Microsoft for this... (3, Interesting)

urbanriot (924981) | about 6 months ago | (#46779543)

Microsoft's lack of advancement in Office is most definitely a cause as if you read all the marketing materials for Microsoft Office 2013, every single heading and sub-heading referred to the touch based experience. If you read the flyers when the software debut, there was zero reason to buy it unless you were using a touch screen.

This is demonstrably the case upon firing the software up as the interface is horribly ugly and even Microsoft Outlook 2013 can be uninstalled and 2010 reinstalled in its place, and all the settings, mail profile information, .PST, autocomplete, etc., is in place. I don't think the majority of people would actually notice a difference flipping back to Outlook 2010 from 2013, other than a better interface with the older product.

Re:You can probably thank Microsoft for this... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46779555)

The fundamental ideas behind those programs haven't changed, I don't know if anyone has a decent concept to supersede those paradigms. Some specialty documents require the advanced features that Office has, but most don't seem to need much more than basic features introduced with the original WYSIWYG spreadsheet program, original WYSIWYG word processor, etc.

Re:You can probably thank Microsoft for this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46779457)

I just had to get a friend onto OpenOffice, and that was with Microsoft Office being basically free. We're offered a $10 copy, but it just doesn't install reliably. He's not good with computers and just wants something that lets him edit documents emailed from work, and despite Microsoft's best efforts to give him something for next-to-free, their efforts are failing because their new system is so completely encumbered by... I'm not really sure what all their confirmation codes qualify as, but those.

I got hit with that MS bug too. (3, Interesting)

Wubble (3502277) | about 6 months ago | (#46779901)

Just bought a new laptop with Office 2013 Home / Student edition included. Went through the Office licence activation fine then got an obscure error message that Office installation cannot be completed because it is already partly installed. It gave a link to the MS website which gave no help at all; essentially it was an unknown problem. Tried rebooting and going through the install/activation process again a few times but always the same useless error message. In the end I thought "f*ck it" and completely unistalled Office. I'm now considering whether to install LIbreOffice or Apache OpenOffice; Microsoft had their chance and blew it.

A few observations and suggestions (1, Interesting)

Palestrina (715471) | about 6 months ago | (#46779347)

Microsoft claims 1 billion MS Office users. No doubt some/many are pirated, but that gives a sense for the scale of the potential user base for OpenOffice. And from what I've seen, Apache OpenOffice gets around 1 million downloads per week, a steady rate that can certainly continue for quite a while. So even if Apache did nothing, we would get to another 100 million downloads in another two years.

The question is whether we want to glide or really take off?

To really advance among mainstream end-users, people like your mother, this will only happen as average people, not just the techies, learn about open source and are comfortable with it. This means better documentation, especially geared toward newbies.

To advance among corporate users OpenOffice needs better interop with Microsoft Office. Yes, I hate to say that as much as you probably hate to hear it, but it is the reality we (some of us at least) live with.

Finally, we should find a way to extend the OpenOffice brand to the web and tablet editing experience, since traditional desktop PC use is a diminishing proposition.

Re:A few observations and suggestions (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46779527)

As one detail to modify the population statistics, OO and LO don't have a patching mechanism. It doesn't matter much since the install files are small and bandwidth is wide, but each new revision requires a new 'download' to apply to a user.

WAG estimating that patches are roughly monthly, and the average user updates their OO every 2 months, that means a stable population of 8 million users would provide a steady 1 million weekly downloads.

Unless OO and/or LO have changed since the last time I patched/redownloaded, and they do support an incremental patching system that does not alter their 'downloads' statistic.

Re:A few observations and suggestions (1)

Palestrina (715471) | about 6 months ago | (#46779591)

Your theory is sound, but your numbers are not. For example, Apache OpenOffice has only had 4 releases in two years.

There are many other factors to consider: Users can take the same download and install on multiple machines, they might share with friends or family members (I do that). A corporate installation might have a single download sitting on a network file server shared with many. There are also many 3rd party sites that themselves have seen millions of OpenOffice downloads, e.g., download.com. And of course, not all users upgrade, or upgrade quickly.

In any case it is a fair point that you cannot simply equate downloads with users.

Re:A few observations and suggestions (3, Informative)

JWSmythe (446288) | about 6 months ago | (#46779575)

Microsoft is probably counting every OEM that ships with the trial version of Office, and all the bundled licenses, even if they aren't used.

Most companies buy too many licenses, so they can be sure they have enough. So if we buy 50, and use 30, but only 10 use it on any sort of regular basis, MS will still count it as 50.

openffice, libreoffice, word, etc... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46779385)

none of them matter if the document standard is closed.

programs: irrelevant. standard: relevant.

100M downloads are nice... (1)

Steve_Ussler (2941703) | about 6 months ago | (#46779387)

But how many actually use it on a daily basis?

Re:100M downloads are nice... (4, Interesting)

Palestrina (715471) | about 6 months ago | (#46779453)

I actually have been looking into that question and tracking it via surveys. Of those who tried OpenOffice, 78% continued to use it "sometimes" or "regularly":

See: http://www.robweir.com/blog/20... [robweir.com]

Unless you are a business user you are unlikely to use any office application daily.

Re:100M downloads are nice... (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 6 months ago | (#46779511)

I have LibreOffice installed on Fedora, but rarely use it. And when I do need a word processor I tend to use AbiWord.

Re:100M downloads are nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46779741)

"Continued to use"
 
Translation: Left it installed in case they might use it someday or were too lazy to uninstall it.
 
By Rob's numbers, 100% of the entire install base would still be using OO. MSO doesn't have those kinds of numbers for people who actually pay for the software let alone those who try something for free.

Re:100M downloads are nice... (0)

jones_supa (887896) | about 6 months ago | (#46779813)

But how many actually use it on a daily basis?

Hehheh, you're modded down by open source fanboys so that the grimy truth would not come to light.

But exactly. How many of those downloads is just "Hey, free Office! Oh, this is trash, uninstalling..."

always come back to MS Word (4, Insightful)

schlachter (862210) | about 6 months ago | (#46779405)

I've tried over the yrs to download the latest ver of OpenOffice and to give it a try and I always end up moving back to MSFT Word within a few days/weeks.

It's not missing features per se, it's layout/UI awkwardness and smoothness.

And yet Office? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46779571)

I use Libreoffice in large part because it isn't streamlined. Office is OK if you never have to do anything that MS doesn't want you to do, but if you need to do something that's off the beaten path, it can take a lot of looking to find. The interface is just not intuitive at all. I had Word XP and disabled the customized menus because it had a habit of hiding things that I needed and not offering an adequate clue where it is. So, with the next release, they put in that ribbon crap and it's been shit ever since.

MS has a habit of making shit interfaces then refusing to acknowledge it.

Re:always come back to MS Word (2, Insightful)

JWSmythe (446288) | about 6 months ago | (#46779637)

Funny, I've tried MS Office a few times over the years. I usually go back to OpenOffice. If for nothing else, I install OpenOffice when I set up a new computer, since it's too much trouble to find an unused MS license outside of normal business hours. :)

Re:always come back to MS Word (1)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 6 months ago | (#46779647)

Same here. I want to move away from MS but (in my case) LibreOffice doesn't quite make it. It does 90% of what I need, but I also need the remaining 10%. Also too many other people use MS products and the 95% compatibility just isn't enough.

The one exception is LibreOffice draw which I use as my primary quick sketch / drawing package.

Re:always come back to MS Word (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46780005)

Yeah, you have no moral principles. That's fine. I suppose you eat children too because they taste so sweet?

Execute plan 66 (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 6 months ago | (#46779441)

n/t

Nice but when they redo the UI and do typesetting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46779445)

Nice but when they redo the UI and do typesetting you can pry LaTeX from my cold dead hands.

For their next trick (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 6 months ago | (#46779449)

get the damn thing to work properly. I seem to have the magic touch to get every obscure and unexpected behavior to happen.

Re:For their next trick (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46779619)

no kidding, I tried to rotate a graphic at an arbitrary angle and it wouldn't let me. get this, OpenOffice libreoffice. doesn't support this feature! among other lacking features: no support for vertical text alignment in cells , nor an easy way to access styles. yea I don't get it either, we should be happy there is a document editor for Linux that supports word, but that all goes out the window when you can't edit it or even load it because libreoffice doesn't support word macros. wordpress has a better document editor than libreoffice :/

Re:For their next trick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46780003)

Wordpress supports Word macros? Good gracious!

Re:For their next trick (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46780151)

Effects: Rotate. I found that in about 15 seconds and I don't use Open/Libre office draw at all.

Outlook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46779477)

Why is no one able to come up with an Outlook alternative?
Then maybe there really would be a migration...

Re:Outlook (1)

erp_consultant (2614861) | about 6 months ago | (#46779703)

I'm using Thunderbird (for email) with the Lightning extension (for calendar). I also use the Google Calendar extension. The whole thing works quite nicely. Granted, my company uses Gmail for it's corporate email and not Exchange so I can't vouch for how well, or poorly, it works with Exchange.

I should note that I have a licensed copy of Outlook. Thunderbird is utilized by choice because I feel that it is snappier and more stable than Outllook. Your mileage may vary.

Re:Outlook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46780115)

(posting as AC because I moderated this thread)

I think he means Exchange more than Outlook, since so many IT departments use that as their email back end. It's easily replaceable, but IT departments tend to be ossified.

I don't use Microsoft proprietary software (5, Funny)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 6 months ago | (#46779487)

I use Apple's Pages, Numbers and Keynote.

Now we get hammered (1)

SoupGuru (723634) | about 6 months ago | (#46779495)

Then again, that's my reaction to a lot of things, so....

Free, less buggy, more usable, what's not to like? (2, Interesting)

kbdd (823155) | about 6 months ago | (#46779529)

I remember working on a document in Word 2003 with several large tables. Periodically, Word 2003 (which I had to use by corporate edict) would crash while working on one particularly large table, and would be unable to reload the document. I found out that loading the document in OpenOffice and saving it back immediately fixed whatever problem Word was having and I could work in Word for a while longer. I ended up having to do that every few days until I was done with the document.

That's obvious... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46779573)

I wonder how many government offices -- the U.S. Federal government has long been Microsoft's biggest customer -- couldn't get along just fine with an open source word processor, even considering all the proprietary-format documents they're stuck with for now.

That's because Microsoft Office has long ceased being the proprietary alternative to OpenOffice/LibreOffice. Nowadays, any typical organization use Microsoft Office + Active Directory + SharePoint + Exchange et. al. complete with compliance with bullsh*t like HIPAA and FIPS 140-2, and OpenOffice/LibreOffice cannot simply become a drop-in replacement anymore.

Now What? ... The answer is obvious, (1)

pantera (30229) | about 6 months ago | (#46779651)

...
Step 4. Profit !

Apache? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46779653)

They make web servers right? Sun Microsystems makes Java and Open Office. Maybe I'm behind the times.

Had more to do with killing Acrobat (1)

marcgvky (949079) | about 6 months ago | (#46779709)

IMHO, Microsoft's motivation for adopting an open document format was possibly more about killing Adobe Acrobat, than maintaining compatibility with a competitive (zero-cost) product.. by adopting an open format, MS was able to throw cold water on one of Adobe Acrobat's major value propositions.... just like HTML5 has done / will do to Flash. Agree or Disagree?

Re:Had more to do with killing Acrobat (2)

sconeu (64226) | about 6 months ago | (#46780047)

Disagree. It was about killing ODF. The "standardization" (and I use the quotes deliberately) was an attempt to be able to sell to governments and other organizations that have a requirement for "open and standardized document formats".

What's Next? (1)

in10se (472253) | about 6 months ago | (#46779713)

What's next? Getting people to use it after they download it. I suppose I'm counted in that 100 million, but I've never actually had a reason to use the product. Absolutely everyone I know in business and personal life uses MS Office, and I get the whole MS Office suite free through work or included in any new PC purchase.

The stand-alone world processor is long dead. (3, Interesting)

westlake (615356) | about 6 months ago | (#46779749)

I wonder how many government offices -- the U.S. Federal government has long been Microsoft's biggest customer -- couldn't get along just fine with an open source word processor, even considering all the proprietary-format documents they're stuck with for now.

Microsoft positions MS Office as part of an integrated solution for clerical work that scales to an enterprise of any size.

Microsoft Office 365 for Health Organizations [microsoft.com]

Microsoft has entered into a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement (BAA) with Texas, a pact that carries much more weight these days after the HIPAA omnibus rule was released in January.

Implementing Office 365 for such a large network should serve as a sign that the state is comfortable enough with cloud computing that 100,000 employees, including the state Health and Human Services System, will be using the services.

What will Texas Office 365 deal mean for healthcare security? [healthitsecurity.com] [Feb 2013]

App and Platform linkage is dead.Software Quality! (1)

See Attached (1269764) | about 6 months ago | (#46779769)

In the 80's and 90's there was linkage between apps and OS .. and the Juju was strong. Monopoly resulted. Now in the new era, platform is irrelevant. Same data and capability needs to be made available on all platforms where practical. The Juju pops back up though in places like HealthVault (championed by an outfit that is losing its monopoly) where a subset of functionality is available to non windows users. (yeah.. I was irritated!) Have we reached a point where we should be free of linkage between applications and platform? Lets hope that the app developers (free and closed) can provide value with software quality, rather than platform linkage.

Please Stop (3, Interesting)

joelholdsworth (1095165) | about 6 months ago | (#46779821)

...collaborate and listen. LibreOffice has ~10 times the number of developers involved ( https://www.ohloh.net/p/libreo... [ohloh.net] , https://www.ohloh.net/p/openof... [ohloh.net] ), and it's a better project in every possible way. The only thing you have going for you is that name you inherited for Oracle. By carrying on with this project you're just continuing a fork that serves no purpose to the community. In fact it harms the community, because new-comers try AOO and think it's the best that the community can do, when LO has shown we can do so much better.

The only upside, is that LO can import your work and benefit from what little improvements your small team are able to produce.

Re:Please Stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46780277)

...collaborate and listen. LibreOffice has ~10 times the number of developers involved ( https://www.ohloh.net/p/libreo... [ohloh.net] ,
https://www.ohloh.net/p/openof... [ohloh.net] ), and it's a better project in every possible way. The only thing you have going for you is that name you inherited for Oracle. By carrying on with this project you're just continuing a fork that serves no purpose to the community. In fact it harms the community, because new-comers try AOO and think it's the best that the community can do, when LO has shown we can do so much better.

The only upside, is that LO can import your work and benefit from what little improvements your small team are able to produce.

If it's a better project, then it's better in ways that are very mysterious: I installed LibreOffice on my travel laptop, and ran into a myriad of bugs, some of the showstoppers. I thought this was normal for both Open-and-LibreOffice. Then I started using OpenOffice of the same vintage on my desktop, and... no bugs? Nope, works flawlessly. I then installed OpenOffice on that laptop, and used it ever since.

I tried LibreOffice recently, and it was still buggy. I can't be the only one to run into LibreOffice bugs??!!

moD 0p (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46779973)

of challenges that my calling. Now I Series of 3xploding Kreskin AMERICA) might be Prospects are OF AMERICA) is the

Macros. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46779981)

Macros are the main problem keeping back a switch to LibreOffice or OO.o. Also, paid commercial support (so that Joe Smith can call up an "engineer" at 3 AM on a holiday Sunday with an urgent issue and get a hotfix issued by 7 AM).

The macro problem is bigger than most people (i.e., those outside Corporate or Public Sector America) realize. On many large enterprise systems, the computer is so locked down that to develop almost any kind of automation, or work productivity software, is nigh impossible. So, assuming you know some basic stuff about software development and you're tired of clicking and dragging on the same cells in Excel 500 billion times, you have two choices: either suck it up and click until you get a repetitive stress injury, or break out the VBA.

Most enterprises (at least, those I've worked at) don't restrict the use of VBA macros, so they've become a sort of "programming environment of last resort" for worker bees in companies that are either too cheap, or too stupid to deploy actual development software like Visual Studio or Eclipse. And even those employees who decide to go off-roading and fly in the face of corporate policy to install "un-approved" software (heretics; how dare they!) will run into major roadblocks related to not having administrative privileges on their system.

VBA code does not port seamlessly without major changes to the LibreOffice/OpenOffice environment; it basically has to be rewritten, depending on the complexity. Long story short, there are entire enterprise systems implemented in VBA (typically based on MS Access or MS Excel), often with copious use of Win32 API functions, which include networking, databases, custom file formats, custom GUIs (UserForms), and so on and so forth. These systems can save hundreds of hours of manual labor and improve the quality of life for people who work for a living and are just trying to get shit done, despite cloistered "departments" impinging from all sides, trying to impede their progress to the fullest extent possible due to NIH and general paranoia about software that they themselves didn't select (but when one of the IT guys who pulls the strings decides they really like some cool new program that helps THEM in THEIR job, of course it gets immediately installed on everyone's systems without so much as a security sniff-test).

Hiring an intern to work on one of these for a summer or two, or hoping and praying that you recruit someone who's willing to work for near-minimum-wage with a background in programming, is often the only thing separating corporate drones from RSI-inducing repetitive work. And don't go to the IT department and ask them to develop or buy a system, oh no; they never have the budget, and even if they did, they wouldn't be able to sit down with your boss's boss's boss for a Project Scope Agreement meeting until July 2017.

VBA, from a pragmatic perspective, is a loophole that skunkworks people have been gleefully exploiting for close to 20 years now. If you propose to do away with it by removing Office from peoples' computers and putting OO.o or LO in its place, you'll incite a riot. If you do it anyway, your business will grind to a halt as productivity and efficiency drop by a factor of 100.

If you're an IT director with a hand in a decision like this, I urge you to survey ALL your employees -- not just the managers who have no clue what their employees do -- to see what impact a transition from MS Office to LO/OO.o would have. I'm not saying a move is impossible, but you need to do it in cooperation and coordination with your employees. Yes, even the inconvenient ones who like to download zipballs with those "Open Sauce" EXEs that you don't trust. They're the good guys; they're helping your company; and they're just trying to get their work done as efficiently as possible.

Over 100 million downloads... (2)

cjjjer (530715) | about 6 months ago | (#46780061)

Only 1 million actual users who use it on a daily basis (I am just guessing here to prove a point). Downloads mean absolutely nothing, unless they have stats on if people actually use it and or keep it installed.

Tried it, wasn't impressed (1)

beschra (1424727) | about 6 months ago | (#46780155)

My wife has a lot of technically unsophisticated clients. More than half came back with "I can't open this." Not worth the time to educate them, so we went back to Office.

There's a reason why the government isn't using it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46780177)

(posting as AC because I modded the thread)

The reason why the government isn't using a free alternative like Open Office or Libre Office, and it's called lobbying and buying legislators to make sure that MS gets some government change. It wouldn't take much to convert. Other governments have done it, but the powerbrokers that control the government would never support anything that is "free".

Photoshop, Acrobat and Illustrator (2)

pubwvj (1045960) | about 6 months ago | (#46780243)

I would love to see an alternative to Adobe for Photoshop, Acrobat and Illustrator. I have used Photoshop and Illustrator (licensed owner) since versions 1.0 and now have CS4. I don't want Adobe's Cloud version. I don't want to deal with the cloud or subscription based software. CS6 won't save files in CS4 format so I don't want it for that reason too. Just as we have OpenOffice it would be nice to have OpenCS.

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