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New York Times Plugs OpenOffice Suite

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the save-a-buck-or-two dept.

News 411

MrNovember writes "The New York Times (registration blah blah) describes a new choice for office suites. The writer seems a bit slanted toward OpenOffice but it's a fair discussion of its pros and cons. The article has identified some interesting compatibility issues to those who aren't using OpenOffice but might. Again we see major media discussing open source as an actual alternative to a longstanding standard. The article concludes amusingly with 'Every now and then, you get what you don't pay for;' just tack on 'Open Source' to the beginning for the perfect sig." We've gotten numerous submissions recently from people whose [company/school/whatever] is switching to OpenOffice.

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Pirst Fost! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3736573)

Wow! I did it! But I am anonymous so I don't know if its me!

Re:Pirst Fost! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3736619)

Congratulations, my AC Brother. Way to keep the CLIC down. (Community of Logged-In Crapflooders. I refuse to call most of those idiots trolls)

- The AC Avenger

Re:Pirst Fost! (-1)

neal n bob (531011) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736705)

AC's choose to be anonymous since most of them are pedophiles and the FBI monitors this board. I am sure one of you slashbots took that little girl in Utah. Sick bastards

Re:Pirst Fost! (-1)

perl_god (578135) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736768)

Important News for Linux Enthusiasts


Gay Stores Feel the Pinch of Customers' Liberation

For the owners of most gay and lesbian bookstores, there seems to be little to be celebratory about this Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. The owner of the Oscar Wilde Bookshop in Manhattan, generally acknowledged as the world's first gay and lesbian bookstore, said, "It's about to go out of business." Little more than a year ago, A Different Light, one of the country's largest gay bookstores, closed its New York branch.

Clearly the outlook for such stores is grim. Until recently, much the same could have been said for independent bookstores generally, their territory having been largely gobbled up by the march of chain stores across the land and the buying of books on the Internet. But there now seems to be a bit of a resurgence of the independents, publishing executives say. Still, the gay bookstore is seriously endangered.

Part of the problem is assimilation, the very success of the gay movement. Gay and lesbian issues are now so openly discussed in the mainstream media that it's almost as if gay literature were no longer niche publishing. And that being true, writers and their publishers want their books to be displayed on the chain stores' A-to-Z shelves, not just in gay sections, and certainly not in gay bookstores only.

Surprisingly, the slackening in tourism affects gay bookstores. In large cities a stop on the itinerary for gay visitors is the gay bookstore, where they can often find reading not easily available back home.

"The loss of the tourists certainly affected us in Washington," said Deacon Maccubbin, owner of Lambda Rising, a gay bookstore there with two branches in Maryland and one in Virginia. "It's always been a significant part of our business. Tourists come in to get the free local gay newspapers to find out what's going on in the area for gays, and they buy books."

Gay bookstores also have generational problems.

Larry Lingle, owner of the Oscar Wilde Bookshop in Greenwich Village and the Lobo Bookshop and Cafe in Houston, said, "Fewer people read now, and that's just as true of gay readers as it is for others." He added that most of his regular customers "are at least 50 and over."

"You don't find younger ones reading much," he said. "But if they do, they are addicted to buying on the Internet."

African-Americans "support their authors and stores, even a book signing by gay black writers," he said. "But younger gays don't. I had a lesbian writer in the store for a signing. She signed books but said she buys the books she reads on the Internet."

For younger gays and lesbians, societal acceptance is a matter of course. Kim Brinster, manager of Oscar Wilde, said: "When I was coming out, it was drilled into us the importance of supporting gay restaurants, gay bars, gay bookstores. But now gays take this all for granted, a byproduct of assimilation."

So in the general malaise of book publishing, gay and lesbian publishing appears to be in a particularly quiescent period. Think of this: New York is the only city in the country with more than one gay and lesbian bookstore, every store owner interviewed for this column said. Jenie Carlen, a spokeswoman for Borders, the book chain said, "The gay and lesbian category peaked about seven years ago, and since then has been flat and declining as it's moved into the mainstream."

Borders and Barnes & Noble have gay and lesbian sections, but with a limited number of titles compared with gay shops. Moreover, many of their gay books are scattered throughout other sections, particularly gay fiction, which is gaining a larger crossover readership.

But even with the far greater variety of titles, the gay bookstore is struggling. "We were a real destination for gay tourists, and that's starting to come back," Ms. Brinster of Oscar Wilde said. "Our store had slight increases until this year, but now sales are down drastically." Mr. Lingle, the owner, said that he might close the shop "because we can't get any traffic." A book signing, traditionally an attraction for potential customers in any bookstore, would draw a "pathetic" attendance, he said.

"Even the gay press pays little attention to gay books, less to bookstores," he said. "Gay bars, gay parties -- those who spend on ads get the press coverage." He bought the store six years ago, he said, because of "a certain reverence for its history, and unfortunately after six years never made a dime," even though he included hard-to-get out-of-print gay classics in his stock.

There are only three gay bookstores in New York, which has the largest gay and lesbian population in the country, the other two stores being Creative Visions in the West Village and the new Bluestockings Women's Bookstore on the Lower East Side. That's more or less like having a dozen movie houses for the whole city, but at least they'd be full.

Vincent Migliore, owner of Creative Visions, said that the obvious advantages of gays buying books in gay stores was not only the greater gay inventory than the chains have, but also that "the customers can talk to people who have actually read the stuff and led the life."

True enough, but that doesn't seem to matter too much in New York or elsewhere. In Denver, for instance, James Dovali, owner of that city's only gay bookstore, Category 6 Books, said that after 21 years, "I'm almost ready to close." He added: "Yeah, the Internet is going to kill us all. I might survive, if I can pay my bills. Right now I'm just making it, hoping to hang on."

The mainstreaming of gay fiction -- a paradoxical problem for gay stores -- can be seen in independent stores like the Corner Bookstore in Manhattan. Christopher Lenahan, its buyer for adult books, said, "As a whole, the sales of gay fiction have gone up a bit for us because a lot of heterosexuals are now reading them as well." His store, on the Upper East Side, serves a population that is highly educated and well-to-do and "a bit older," he said.

"We are selling more titles that are gay related," he added. "Completely in fiction. Gay nonfiction doesn't translate."

Trying to figure what's going on in gay and lesbian publishing and the stores, like much of the book world, is rather like struggling to bottle the wind. But one thing seems clear: unless younger gays bring some of their pride to the literature relevant to them and are willing to spend a bit more to buy books in gay stores, such stores will soon be extinct, and that will be another unfortunate chip in our culture.

Frost Pist! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3736574)

First Post for Katie, bitches!

Get it in ya!

- The AC Avenger

Re:Frost Pist! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3736594)

Haha! I beat you!!!


Subject Line Troll (581198) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736597)


perl_god (578135) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736622)

See subject line

PICS??? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3736659)

Post 'em motherfucker

fuck (-1)

News For Turds (580751) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736575)

fuck all AC scum

There once was a ghostse (-1)

GhostseTroll (582659) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736589)

who didn't get first post. Damn 2 minute wait between posts :-(

perfect sig? (4, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736598)

'Open source every now and then, you get what you don't pay for'


Re:perfect sig? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3736629)

LOL, mud up!

Re:perfect sig? addendum! (5, Funny)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736695)

Spam: every now and then, you get what you don't pay for

Pr0n: every now and then, you get what you don't pay for

Warez:every now and then, you get what you don't pay for...

Re:perfect sig? The coin Flips.. (2)

Dr Caleb (121505) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736841)

Windows: every now and then, you don't get what you do pay for...

That's just great (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3736603)

Goatse man plugs my OpenOrifice, sweet.

economics of software (2)

crumbz (41803) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736610)

this reminds me of an article that Nicolas Negroponte wrote back in 1995 in Wired. Once the initial cost of production is re-couped, the cost for another copy of software (or any digital artifact) is near zero. with colloborative software being written and distributed for almost nothing, I wonder how long proprietary software (or closed-source) can truly survive (and make money for the publisher). Open source gaming anyone?

Re:economics of software (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3736656)

I doubt programmers want to really give up the salaries they make now, and additionally, production costs for something like a game are astronomical due to the large corpus of people needed to put it together (artists, designers, etc. Thus, I do not see it likely that these initial production costs being recouped tending towards zero anytime soon.

Re:economics of software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3736809)

check it out, and there are others

there's as much money (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3736830)

To be made in implementing, supporting, and customizing open source applications and frameworks, as in programming proprietary systems. I don't see proprietary software disappearing forever; but when there are free alternatives of equal (or equal enough) quality, free will win. I think we'll definitely see this in OS and certian server products (email systems, particularly, once an open source calendar server is available; no, none of the web based workgroup products count).

Someone will need to run that software, and there's always customization.

Re:economics of software (3, Insightful)

queequeg1 (180099) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736788)

You also have to take into account the possibility of failures and delays (sort of like drug companies). Although on a much lesser scale, how many DaiKraptana's can a game company experience before it has to jack up the cost of its decent games indefinitely. Without extended high game costs, how do you think 3DRealms could support a development schedule for Duke Nukem Forever that will probably provide employment for the current developers' children?

Re:economics of software (3, Insightful)

Dionysus (12737) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736854)

Open Source works great for common software. Specialized software will always be propriatery (Thinking of the Unicenter, OpenView of the world).

How many geeks are going to write software they're not going to use themselves?

Brings a smile to my face. (2, Funny)

YanceyAI (192279) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736611)

Sometimes I derive great pleasure thinking of Microsoft lawyers running around saying, "Hey wait, who can we sue!?" and MS lackies running around going, "Hey wait, how can we run those Open Source people outta business!?"

Must be hard to compete with a good, free product minus draconian licensing. It's just beautiful man.

Re:Brings a smile to my face. (3, Insightful)

mikosullivan (320993) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736786)

It brings a smile to my face too. MS is in a frustrating (for them) spot because they do in fact get it: they know that open source is a threat, they know why people like it, they are ready and willing to do whatever it takes to fight... they just can't figure out what to do. It's like the master buggy-maker watching Henry Ford set up shop.

OpenOffice XML file (4, Interesting)

RickHigh (576831) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736614)

I like OpenOffice. I like the fact the files are just xml files in a zip file. The fileformat is easy to reverse engineer and use. I am a big fan.

Batch-mode Converters? (1)

Software (179033) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736615)

Does anybody know of a VBA macro that uses Word to convert DOC files to OpenOffice-readable files (perhaps RTF) in batch mode? It could watch a directory, or be used from a command line, or something like that. Of course, an Excel equivalent would be nice.

It seems like this would be a big help in moving to OpenOffice, and not that hard to do.

Re:Batch-mode Converters? (5, Informative)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736723)

I don't know about VBA from Office, but OpenOffice has an Autopilot that does mass conversions. Run OO's word processor, go to File, Autopilot, Document Converter. Seems to work pretty well for me. It also imports templates and such and automagically guesses where you're keeping most of your Word files.

Re:Batch-mode Converters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3736734)

Just use Open Office's built-in batch mode file importer, which converts .doc files to the OOo format. Unless you want the files to still be readable in MS Office of course... but then just leave them as they are! Open Office can open MS files you know ;-)

Re:Batch-mode Converters? (1)

lokki (585269) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736745)

uses Word to convert DOC files to OpenOffice-readable files (perhaps RTF) in batch mode?

That's a good one for the wish-list. Make the jump that much easier for entrenched MS Office users. Any VBA hackers out there wanna take a crack at it? Or even better, is there a way to do it from the other end, i.e., a script (perl?python?) that'll grab all the .docs from an NTFS mount, convert and copy 'em?

While we're on the subject of wish-lists, spellcheck anyone? :)

Re:Batch-mode Converters? (1)

aWalrus (239802) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736752)

OpenOffice reads all m$ file formats, and does quite a nice job too. It also saves in microsoft office formats, generally well, but I've gotten glitches reading some word documents saved with OpenOffice in word 2000. As for the excel equivalent, OpenOffice consists of a complete office suite, including text editor, presentations editor, spread sheet, useless but cute drawing program and lots of other stuff. This is quite a mature product, and real easy to switch to.

Append to the beginning (3, Insightful)

hopews (450546) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736617)

There is a word for that. It is prepend [] . If this were graded there would be a -1 Word Choice above that. Come on /. Editors.

Sorry if I'm being pedantic.

Re:Append to the beginning (1)

jamesoden (316049) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736816)

Though "prepend" substitutes for "appending to the beginning", its certainly not bad grammer,
nor worth anyone's time in this forum. Then
why am I writting this (-; Compatibility (4, Informative)

javajeff (73413) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736627)

I find the compatibility to be great with the exception of bullets. A bulleted list in will not appear like one opened in Word. However, a bulleted list in Word will appear as a bulleted list in Aside from bullets, performs great with tables, spreadsheets, presentations, and documents. I have not tested any documents that contain macros or advanced formulas, since I rarely use those features. is great for users with basic needs.

Since my resume contains bullets, I have not been able to uninstall Word. is my default application for all Office filetypes.


javajeff Compatibility (1, Flamebait)

1WingedAngel (575467) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736767)

This feature will be retooled in Service Pack 3a which includes Security Rollouts 146-2 and 6e2.x which prevent against worms such as iexplore.exe and winword.exe . However you will need to install BigHugeWebMonster version 7.2 to use this service pack

Tim Compatibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3736779)

Hmmm. Sounds like you need to bite the bullet.

AC #5421 Compatibility (2, Interesting)

jdgreen7 (524066) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736795)

There is a slight incompatibility between Excel documents that contain the "VLOOKUP()", "HLOOKUP()", or "LOOKUP()" commands. OpenOffice implements them exactly as Microsoft has described them, however, Excel has a slightly different implementation than described.

If you're looking for a number in OO, and one of the cells in your range contains text, the LOOKUP command will return an error. But, Excel just ignores it. Since my company has a number of older Excel documents that use that feature, we'd have to change them all in order for OO to work for us. Until then, we have to stick with MS.

I am working on changing those processes and spreadsheets, but it'll take a while before we're able to switch. I really do like OO, but until they either change the implementation (I submitted a bug, but the closed it as "RESOLVED"), or I change the files, we can't use it company-wide.

Resumes (3, Informative)

MAXOMENOS (9802) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736847)

A couple of Resume points:
  1. Employers are often willing to accept HTML format instead of Word format for resumes.
  2. Microsoft doesn't take Word format resumes on their website .. they insist on ASCII only. Now isn't that interesting?

Good Way to Promote OSS (2, Insightful)

Rob.Mathers (527086) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736636)

I think that this is one of the best ways to promote awareness of OSS. I know many people who are somewhat computer savvy, they know enough that they don't mind trying new things, but they don't seek this sort of stuff out. They don't read all sorts of tech sites, but they do read newspapers. If we could get more coverage of OSS in the tech sections of every day newspapers (most ones that I know have a small tech section in with the business section, or a once a week all-tech section), we could slowly increase awareness of stuff like OpenOffice and Linux.

NYT Random Login Generator (4, Interesting)

blackeye (248653) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736638)

Re:NYT Random Login Generator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3736744)

Now that's pretty cool!

Re:NYT Random Login Generator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3736822)

thank you
i really should bookmark that page

You know what's going to happen now, right? (1)

dmarien (523922) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736644)

You're gonna see a hundred /. users with sigs such as:

"Look ma, I got the perfect sig [] !"

echo "'open source'" >> the\ beginning

Reg Free Link (2, Informative)

ALoverOfPeace (586114) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736645)

link [] (it fills out the form and refers you, it's not a trick)

say it with me (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3736646)

g to the oatse
c to the izzex
fo shizzle my nizzle see me stick with MS Office.

Btw, I'd like to join the CLIT. Ill give up my anonymous ways and become a full-fledged troll. I'm never quick enough to get first posts, but I can continue to crapflood. Will my efforts be appreciated, oh great CLIT members?

Even before I thought to look. (1)

mygrane (311826) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736650)

I knew that I didn't install any office software for a reason, and this was it. Who needs the silly grammar checking anyways. Skwiggly green lines can bite it. Yay for open source, I can pay for groceries this month.

You Get What You Don't Pay For? (2)

namespan (225296) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736652)

Every now and then, you get what you don't pay for

This is close, but it's not quite right. The correct principle is: you get what the people you patronize want to provide.

We often forget this in a world that's interested in repeating the "customer is king" mantra.

installed last night.. (4, Informative)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736655)

I downloaded this a few days ago and last night I finally installed it. I tested it out on the few word docs and excel spreadsheets I have at home. It worked okay, but then I do not do that much with word and my word and excel docs do not test many features. I do more with email and html.

So far it starts up quicker than staroffice and there is no so desktop which is nice. It failed to recognize my jvm during the install, but I'm not that bothered by that just yet. I am using it on Linux and installed it as root, and ran into a problem with permissions it seems. I had to change ownership to (chown -R : ) to then run it as myself. It would start up and then crash right away until I did this. Or I could run it as root. Not sure why though, and now I dont care as it works. It does use lots of disk space but then so does MS office and SO 5.x. So far I am pleased with it, as it gives me yet another option to deaeling with MS docs and excel spread sheets... I give it a thumbs up ;-)

Re:installed last night.. (1)

probejockey (24716) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736775)

You need to run setup /net from the install directory (as root). Next (as an ordinary user) run the setup program in the directory where you installed the suite. This sets up the program for regular users. HTH Glenn

Re:installed last night.. (1)

Darren.Moffat (24713) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736781)

The best way to install it on Linux/Solaris is to first run the install as root but add the /net argument. Put this installation some where "global" (say /usr/local/OpenOffice.

IMNSHO this should be the default if you install as root.

Once that has completed run /usr/local/OpenOffice/program/setup for each user - select workstation install this will create your local config directory which is small.

Re:installed last night.. (1)

Platinum Dragon (34829) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736875)

Agreed - this is the best way to do it on a multiuser-oriented operating system. I actually have a script in /etc/skel that allows the user to run the workstation install from a desktop icon. I'm not sure if any $HOME-specific settings are registered upon workstation install, so I'm a bit queasy about simply tossing an OpenOffice.org1.0 directory into /etc/skel. It's a bit of a kludge, and Ximian offers RPMs with a skeleton directory, but it works.

MicroSoft's cash cow and achille heel (2)

peter303 (12292) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736661)

Businesses and people buy MS software mainly for the intergrated office applications, then are forced to buy Windows and networking applications to support it. If anyone could seriously dent this, then MS could be on its way out.

Remember, MS changes stripes each decade. 75-85 it was a languages company, then became an OS company, then became a business software company. Lotus, Word Perfect, and Harvard Graphics "owned" the business app sector before MS did. Now MS is trying to become a personal entertainment company- games, digital TV, ISP ...

Linux + OpenOffice IS ready for the desktop (5, Insightful)

bigjocker (113512) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736662)

It is a fact. I have helped almost all my family (no geeks in there) migrate from Windows + MSOffice to Linux + OpenOffice with no side effects. If you install a nice system, and add the OpenOffice icon to the KDE desktop, you are done.

How many times does your mom install a new printer? even when she had Windows and she got a new LaserJet she called me!. We all know all the people and institutions that are migrating towards Linux and OO, its just a matter of time to see it as a mainstream.

On the other hand, it would come handy if the WalMart Mandrake PCs come with StarOffice preinstalled and with a HUGE icon in the middle of the desktop for all users.

Re:Linux + OpenOffice IS ready for the desktop (1)

morgajel (568462) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736731)

slightly OT.
I did a similar thing with my girlfriend.
I started out by installing NS 6.2.3 and openoffice on her win2k box. after she started getting use to them, I transferred her over to debian with KDE, abiword and mozilla.
she took the change quite nicely, but there are still a few rough edges(she used some of the fancier trick in word, and abiword doesn't have them. maybe I'll have her try openoffice again.)
she being a good sport about it. One problem I did notice is that when she boots to the windows partition to play diablo2, and then reboots to debian, her mouse quits working. just one of those quirks.

Re:Linux + OpenOffice IS ready for the desktop (1)

joshsnow (551754) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736891)

I won't be migrating to Linux until the desktop environments become more stable and intuitive, and the officetools become more powerful and easier to use.
Also, i won't be migrating until people start to produce and support all the music software i can get for windows - eg Cubase, Fruityloops etc.
Is Linux wholly and completely ready for every desktop in the way that Winblows is?
The answer is NO!!

OpenOffice dash problem (1, Informative)

cel4145 (468272) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736664)

Well, I know this isn't bug fix central, but here it goes:

The Times article says "The word processor idiotically flags any phrase containing a dash -- like this -- as a spelling error."

Now, it doesn't seem like it is flagging it as a spelling error for me, otherwise it would just underline it; instead, as soon as I type a few letters after a dash, it turns the dash into a question mark. The way around it is to insert the dash into the text later (such as in the example above, type "like this," then go back and insert the dash). But this is really annoying when writing.

Anyone using OpenOffice know what causes this problem, or how to fix it? Or at least what causes it? Seems like solving this problem will be important in getting OpenOffice widely accepted since dashes are commonly used in writing.

Re:OpenOffice dash problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3736811)

Simple. File a bug report. This is Open Source, you know, so even the little guys & gals have a chance to be heard.

AC #5421

Reluctance to Open Office (4, Interesting)

totallygeek (263191) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736665)

I have been trying for a long time to get my office to consider Star Office, and now Open Office. We have continued licensing issues with Microsoft, and have even received (what I term as) threatening letters from law firms stating that we need to "double check" our licensing. Their suspect? Well, we purchased 300+ copies of MS Office 95, and upgraded them all later to MS Office 97, but we didn't jump to MS Office 2000 and now MS Office XP. So, Microsoft figures that we are using the new version and not paying....

Long and short, articles like this help my case that Open Office is becoming more mainstream. I love it!

Sleeping giant? (2, Interesting)

Sneftel (15416) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736668)

Interesting that the reviewer chose to focus on the OpenOffice flavor rather than the StarOffice flavor, given that large corporations (Sun's sugar daddies) would be much more likely to stampede for corporate support--and corporate name recognition.

I think OpenOffice shows a lot of promise in the windows world, but I wonder how long it'll take for Microsoft Word to obfuscate its file format (it's pretty obfuscated as is, but I get the feeling they have not yet begun to fight). Far too often, it's convenience that rules the day; despite the fact that RTF is still a darn good format, people save in Microsoft Word 2008.324 .DOC format and then kvetch when Word 2008.323 can't read it. OpenOffice is trying to beat Word at its own game, but I frankly don't think all of that is sustainable. We will see encrypted document files, and even more draconian EULAs from Microsoft; I only hope that some corporations are willing to take the plunge and become vendor-independent.

Re:Sleeping giant? (2)

sulli (195030) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736694)

Free is a helluva lot more interesting than cheap. Same reason nobody gives a fuck about Opera but Mozilla 1.0 (which actually works, shocker!) is getting tons of press.

Re:Sleeping giant? (2)

L. VeGas (580015) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736739)

We will see encrypted document files

hmmm, that's interesting. You mean files that could only be opened with MS Office? I can certainly envision a cat and mouse game of office documents between MS and open source, much like the RIAA / Valenti vs. practically everyone wars going on now. Wonder who would win?

Re:Sleeping giant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3736867)

Won't Microsoft have to provide documentation on its file formats as part of the DOJ settlement?

AC #5421


Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3736673)


GTK port of Openoffice... (-1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3736675)

The nice thing is that Michael Meeks [] talked about porting OpenOffice to GTK at FOSDEM [] , also he has mentioned the same thing on one of the GNOME mailing lists (can't be bothered to look this up).

Miguel de Icaza [] too has said that time is better spent on improving OpenOffice rather than working on say Gnumeric (which he wrote part of too).

So, nothing concrete but who knows, maybe Michael wil work on integrating OpenOffice with GNOME some day. Another possibility is that Sun will do the integration after they switch to GNOME (perhaps they could pay Ximian to do this for them?).

MOD PARENT UP!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3736711)

Moderators-- Pay attention!

Why is this modded down? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3736870)

This post is really interesting. Why is it modded down?

Open Source slanting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3736687)

Despite this user being slanted... Can anyone be TOO slanted toward Open Source?

I think not!

Open Office Pre-installed from OEM (5, Interesting)

dlur (518696) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736700)

We're a small tier OEM, and myself and another tech have convinced 'those that be' within our company to include Open Office on our low end systems instead of MS Worksuite 2002 OEM.

Unfortunately the systems still come with MS Windows XP Home on them, but at least it's a step in the right direction. All of us techs now have Open Office installed on our computers and use it for pretty much all of our office app needs except for a few Excel quote sheets that have embedded macros that don't seem to function properly.

So far we've had no complaints from any customers that have purchased these systems, but then again we've gotten no rave reviews either. I would definately say that it is an option though, at least for people who aren't tied directly into the MS specifics of the different file formats. Anyone who just wants to use a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation software and do thier work from scratch should be more than happy with this software.

Re:Open Office Pre-installed from OEM (2)

HiThere (15173) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736853)

Actually, that's a big step in the right direction. That means that you can move between OSs without any document conversion (doesn't it? Or are there font problems?)

There's only 2 major gripes for the linux version (5, Insightful)

Bollie (152363) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736706)

1. Ugly fonts
2. Can't read ALL the Word documents
3. Still a bit sluggish

Three! I mean three major gripes!

Seriously, font ugliness is a big problem under linux and it's all X's fault. You've seen the hundreds of people gawking at anti-aliased desktops, it just looks cooler.

I believe there are many articles on exactly why fonts are ugly in linux... I also believe that the lack of cool, MS-compatible fonts (let's face it guys, Truetype was one thing MS carried from Win 3.1 to Win XP for a reason) are because of licensing issues.

The next time a big company wants to donate money to open source, get them to design or fund fonts! That'll get Linux on the desktop. That'll cause secretaries to use OpenOffice and that'll make me happy.

'nuff said.

Re:There's only 2 major gripes for the linux versi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3736846)

My OpenOffice runs with AA and Microsoft fonts in
Linux, but it's still ugly. So it could be a OO problem and
not X.


Re:There's only 2 major gripes for the linux versi (3, Insightful)

Indras (515472) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736869)

That'll get Linux on the desktop.

How often have we heard this phrase.

Re:There's only 2 major gripes for the linux versi (2, Interesting)

aWalrus (239802) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736880)

I'm using mandrake 8.2, and I'm a compulsive font freak (I do web design work). We used to have Windows at work but then switched to linux, and I installed the truetype fonts I had in Windows (hundreds). 95% of them installed correctly and I use them everyday with the gimp. OpenOffice does support antialiased fonts, but for some reason it didn't grab the fonts installed in my system automatically (haven't fixed that yet, since I don't use it that much) and you're right, the fonts it has off-the-shelf are really ugly.

Also, have you checked out nautilus? if you don't mind the occasional crash (it's improving) those fonts look nifty!

Nice to think about what's happening in Microsoft (3, Funny)

pubjames (468013) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736720)

Somewhere in a Microsoft meeting room there's a whiteboard with this written on it:

Defeating Linux and open source apps - strategy
  • identify strengths and weaknesses of opponent (done)
  • ???
  • Defeat linux and open source!
They must be tearing their hair out. Nelson "Ha Ha".

Install problems (1)

fizz-beyond (130257) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736729)

Maybe I'm an idiot but (I know that is asking for trouble), I have never gotten openoffice to install correctly on my linux box. I want the "network" install that way both myself and my wife can use it, however when I do that (using the switch from the command line like the instructions say) it always wants to install itself for the user EVERY time you try and run it!

I guess all I'm trying to say is I like it (use it on windows), but I dispise their linux installer! in my mind it would be best to install globaly for all users as a default, then for one user as an option (not the other way around)

same here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3736826)

It worked fine for me when I followed the instructions on the website to the letter using Red Hat 7.2. However, I have since upgraded to Red Hat 7.3, and now I have exactly the same problem as you.

This seems to be a fairly major problem, and Red Hat 7.3 has been out for a while now, so I can't understand why it hasn't been widely reported. Maybe it has nothing to with Red Hat 7.3 (what distro are you running?), maybe it's because we are both using NFS or something like that.

Let me know if you find a fix.

Re:same here (1)

fizz-beyond (130257) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736855)

Me, I use debian unstable. So it's not a distro related problem...

Re:Install problems (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736835)

Hmm. On Debian, one can just install the debian package (add "deb unstable main contrib" to your apt.sources and "apt-get install") and it works out-of-the-box for all users; the only per-user setup is the address book data source wizard. I'd presume there are also similarly installer-less RPMs available.

Re:Install problems (1)

fizz-beyond (130257) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736866)

I tried this (when it was first posted on debianplanet) with no luck, it was doing the same thing to me, so I've been confused as to why. The only thing I can think is that the first time I installed it was as a single user, so that might have written a file somewhere that I missed when I removed it by hand.

Comparison of how MS & OO handle the same docu (4, Informative)

sootman (158191) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736746)

here [] is a page I made showing how Windows/MSOffice, Windows/OO, Linux/OO, and Mac/MSOffice handle the same document--a document, as it happens, that comes straight from Microsoft., not OpenOffice (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3736747)

It's, not OpenOffice, OpenOffice is trademarked.

From the faq: 8. Why should we say "" instead of simply "OpenOffice"? []

Hope they help... (2)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736750)

"We've gotten numerous submissions recently from people whose [company/school/whatever] is switching to OpenOffice."

Hopefully some of those companies that are now saving many thousands of dollars by running OpenOffice (Especially the largeer firms/localities.) will consider hiring a developer to kick in some work on OpenOffice. Even if only a dozen companies worldwide did it, OpenOffice would suddenly get a huge boost of forward momentum.

great trick (5, Informative)

Kallahar (227430) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736754)

One great trick I found for converting excel files to HTML files. Excel does an awful job, writing an html page 10 times the size it needs to be, and the code is IE-centric. However, openoffice can open .xls files, and then save as html, and it outputs nicely formatted, standard HTML at very respectable sizes.


Registration Required (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3736761)

Why all of a sudden is there this trend of putting "(Registration blah blah)" in stories? The word "required" is actually less characters then "blah blah." Plus it more accuratly describes the process for those Slashdot newcomers.

What is the percentage of "power" users? (2, Interesting)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736762)

Has anyone ever done a survey of what percentage of Microsoft Office users fit into the category of "power" users; i.e. consistently using what most consider the obscure tools/scripts/functions?

I don't use Word much and I personally probably approach 5% of the potential functionality. I just recently was sharing a Word doc that I had added comments with (using their functionality for, not just writing them in). None of the recipients knew how to find my comments and they wanted to know why I had hilited some words (mousing over the hilite brings up my comment).

Well... (2)

Arminius (84868) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736769)

Working at a large Sun shop we have been evaluating Star Office 6, but even at a cheep $76 a copy price it still gets expensive when you are talking about 1000+ licences. Open Office 1.0 is looking like a better deal everyday.

Re:Well... (3, Informative)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736874)

Sun has Enterprise licenses that drops the per-user cost the more licenses you buy. They have various levels from $50/user for 150 users to $25/user for 10,000 users. At 1,000 users, a company would pay $40,000 ($40 per user). (SOURCE: ogovw.html [] click on "StarOffice 6.0 Licenses")

I couldn't find MS's volume licensing, but even if they gave a huge discount from retail (say 75%off the retail price of $450 for Office XP Standard), the 1,000 user company would still wind up paying $112,500.

In other words, Star Office would save the 1,000 user company $72,500. (Companies might shy away from the free Open Office because there's no official support channels whereas you can call up Sun with tech support inquiries.)

Fast? (1)

norweigiantroll (582720) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736774)

"That's not to imply that the software isn't polished, stable and fast; it is."
OpenOffice fast? What OpenOffice exactly are they talking about? On my Duron 600 / 128 it takes 30 seconds just to get into it.

The Reason (1)

Grip3n (470031) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736790)

Open Office is everything we *need*, and nothing we don't like the notorious paper clip. I'm actually rather amazing just how well this program was made, there are no stupid frills that even its other open source counter parts tack on (like Star Offices virtual Desktop). It's fast and you can actually run the thing without needed to upgrade the entire office to account for all the cpu cycles the program wants to eat up. It's fantastic export functions allow you to have compatibility with those who are less technically inclined and use MS Office

Not surprised... (4, Interesting)

pinkpineapple (173261) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736794)

I spent already a couple of times registring my legit copy of MS Word 2002 talking to MS droids on the phone to get a new activation key. The people were nice and all was done smoothly (for the exception of spelling 2 numbers of 50 digits each on the phone which took 10 minutes each time) but the pain it takes just to be able to reinstall a software I pay for is just one last drop I can think would move people to Open Source. It's this feeling of making me look like a thief begging for a new key that tells me that MS is not making it easy for people to stick with their products. Not to mention the time you have to waste each time just to be "granted" the right to you MS products.

PPA, the girl next door.

Jaybees (-1)

Whistler's Mother (539004) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736801)

I was taking a trip through Statesville, North Carolina, if you ever pass by, stop by JayBees and get a Hot Dog, probably the best ever made.

So my dumb question is... (-1, Offtopic)

DrunkenTerror (561616) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736806)

...why does Mozilla load the pop-ups on the NYT web pages? Them little buggers is tricky.

Yeah, now support the home grown stuff (1, Interesting)

joshsnow (551754) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736817)

People are happy to claim OpenOffice as a successful Open Source project, but how many remember that the bulk of code in Open Office was produced as a closed source propritary program? I'm looking forward to the day KOffice becomes as usefully featured as MS word and a little more stable tham it is now. Same for KSpread, KPresenter etc. These are the OpenSource projects people need to get behind. Or perhaps the fact that a product can only be successful against entrenched competition if it has been spawned by a large commercial entity, or is living in the shadow of a product being sold by that entity, tells us alot about the willingness of the Great Unwashed to accept OpenSource software.

blah blah (0, Offtopic)

fortunatus (445210) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736824)

i'm so tired of seeing "blah blah" in the parenthetic note about free registration..

in fact, "blah blah" does not make the note shorter, which would really be the reason to say it! check it out:

"reg req'd" is all you need.

i don't understand when folks make it longer by adding "blah blah" onto the end. it's not like paraphrasing a EULA, where "blah blah" would really count!

GNOME OOo users: That stupid exit-on-startup bug (5, Informative)

Platinum Dragon (34829) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736825)

To my fellow OOo users running under GNOME, you may have encountered a problem where the program will often fail to start properly. This is not a crash. OOo is simply being purged by the GNOME session manager [] due to its relatively long startup time. I was a bit surprised to encounter this problem in 1.0, having thought it an OO bug. However, this article led me to search Issuezilla for a solution, which thankfully was determined.

There are a couple ways around the purge. The easiest one is to add "unset SESSION_MANAGER" to the soffice startup script. One file, all GNOME users happy. A somewhat more intrusive and wide-ranging solution is to add "exec $PATH_TO_GNOME-SESSION/gnome-session --purge-delay=0" to ~/.gnomerc. Supposedly, this will solve a similar problem with Opera, according to the bug comments.

Stellar Product (3, Informative)

behrman (51554) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736832)

I wind up doing a lot of work with some larger spreadsheets (storage system implementation documentation), as well as some fairly massive CSV imports from perl scripts. I haven't needed to do a lot of formulas/macros in the spreadsheet (since most of my spreadsheets are a result of perl scripts, I just make the script do it!), however, I've found that OOo has wound up working much much better than Excel for me. It's faster, it has better importing, great interoperability with my cow'orkers using Office, and the file sizes are smaller. Plus, I can install a copy on my laptop, both work desktops, and my three PCs at home (running Win2k, WinXp, and Linux across the 6 boxes that I use) without any fear of Microsoft Visual Gestappo Suite XP coming down on me, or my employer. I've been playing around with StarOffice for the last few versions and found it a bit cumbersome and broken (imports not working right, limited versions of Office formats to export to, really slow on my dual P2-233 linux box). OpenOffice, however, has completely impressed me.

Economics 101 (4, Interesting)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736845)

One wonders why the high-priced lawyers and accountants at MS and the BSA gestapo haven't figured this out.

Econ 101 - consumers purchase things because they perceive value > total cost. If the VALUE of MS Office lies in its perceived ubiquity (since the software functions of the two products are practially the same), the moment that this "value" the opportunity or real costs of BSA Audits, harrassment, and the fear of that 'disgruntled employee' narc'ing sometime in the future, well DUH people are going to move away from these 'excessive costs' whenever they can.

It's my conviction that the widespread piracy of Win95 (and thus its widespread adoption) KILLED an arguably better competitor, OS/2. If every single copy of Win95 had to be paid for (the theoretical goal) it would not be the dominant OS. The tighter they squeeze, the more systems will slip through their fingers, indeed.

Sure piracy costs Microsoft; if IBM had recognized this at the time, and been handing out FREE OS/2 versions MS probably wouldn't have to spend the $$ to buy the Justice Dept today.

Ch ch ch changes... (2, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736851)

I find it amazing that people can be so blind about how the Internet/web is affecting the fundamental economics of the software industry.

I remember back when Microsoft were backslapping saying they had 'turned-on-a-dime' with regard to the Internet, and 'won' the browser wars by giving away IE. I remember thinking - this is the beginning of the end for you, mate. The day MS gave away IE was the start of a new epoch in the software industry which will result in the death of MS. Ironic.

grammar check (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3736856)

Ok this is a big feature for me. It is the one thing all the open source word processors lack. I am willing to help code one, but have no idea how to start. I have tried google. Does anyone know about any open source projects presentlyworking on this, or even some reading to get me started?

Star office not so Bright in my sky (0)

WellHungYungWun (580730) | more than 12 years ago | (#3736886)

We tried to use Star Office V5.2 When we tried to become "compliant", but with some of our older legacy machines, we found it troubling to run Lotus Notes R5 and Star Office at the same time. I have started them on 602 office suite and haven't looked back. It is a compatible tool free with a reg code, and runs much faster. The fact that each part of the program, ie spreadsheet, doc, and ppointish are all separate exe's. This saves tons of memory on these old 200's with 32-64 megs of ram. Make it not use 128 megs of ram and it will get better accepted I say. My .02 anyway.
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