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OpenOffice.org Resource Kit

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the hey-this-one-is-free dept.

Software 239

Eater writes "With a 1.1 release imminent, this review may be of interest to users of Linux on the desktop. OpenOffice.org is a group of small projects that collectively make up the open source community's premier office suite. Based on code from Sun's StarOffice and maintained by a worldwide community of developers, the OpenOffice.org project provides a full-featured office application suite. It includes a language independent API and open XML-based file formats." Read on for the rest of Eater's review.

With a stable 1.0 release and spectacular cross-platform functionality, it's finally time to seriously consider putting this software to work in your company. Whether you are completely new to OpenOffice.org or just moving from its predecessor StarOffice, you'll want to take a look at OpenOffice.org 1.0 Resource Kit from Prentice Hall PTR.

The "kit" consists of a well written tutorial book and a companion CD-ROM. The book's authors (Solveig Haughland and Floyd Jones) are salty veterans in the technical training field, and it shows in the quality of the text. The CD contains the OpenOffice.org release itself, as one might expect. It provides builds for every supported platform, to include the Mac OS X developer alpha version. At the time this review was written, two minor upgrades have been made available since my book's CD-ROM was pressed. These are, naturally, available for free via the OpenOffice.org web-site. In addition to the releases, the CD includes templates, macros, and examples from the developer community. The authors provide additional templates and resources at http://www.getopenoffice.org

The first five chapters of the book are devoted to basic issues such as installation, migrating existing data, printer issues, and global setup tips. Special guidance is given to users switching over from StarOffice, or even that Redmond company's office suite. Speaking of that company, OpenOffice.org is superb at converting Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files into its own open formats. The book shows how to use the handy "AutoPilot", which can perform batch conversions of your existing data for use with OpenOffice.org's equivalent applications. Originals are kept safely intact-- AutoPilot produces converted copies. This could make a large office transition much easier, if not completely seamless.

The next six chapters cover the creation of written documents in fantastic detail. The organization of this section is quite intuitive; you'll easily learn how to create a simple letter. When you're ready to write your memoirs, you won't need to buy another book--it's all there: complex formatting options, page layout functionality, object manipulation, linking cross-references, and indexing. And don't forget office goodies like mail merges, label printing, and business cards.

Chapters 13-17 focus entirely on web-page development. Serious web designers may find this section bordering on useless, but the casual user will be able to create a home page without learning a single tag of HTML.

The next several chapters deal with Calc (a spreadsheet program), Impress (for creating presentations), and Draw ("the best drawing program you've never used," say the authors). The layout of each section follows the comprehensive example from the earlier chapters detailing OpenOffice.org's word processor, Writer. Basic topics are organized neatly along with the more advanced ones, and neither seem to get in the way of the other. Both the novice and the expert will find very little lacking from this material.

Organizations who deal frequently with databases will not be disappointed with OpenOffice.org, either. The final three chapters of the book explain how to incorporate data from any flavor database you're likely to be using in your network. Throw in an appendix on macros, and you've got one very complete tutorial masquerading as an all-in-one reference. I'm very picky when it comes to my geek shelf space, and this one gets high marks in all the important areas: comprehensive, well organized, and with a great signal-to-noise ratio.

We have learned that superior open source software alone isn't always enough to supplant the existing closed source way of doing things. However, "document it, and they will come!" The OpenOffice.org 1.0 Resource Kit will go a long way toward fulfilling that prophecy.


Reader Marcus Green sent in a review of this book as well. Here are some of his thoughts:

In addition to the document management features the book covers the more "Page Layout" style features of StarOffice such as the ability to manage columns and to place vertical text running up the page. These are features I was not even aware existed in StarOffice before I read this book.

The StarOffice companion has over 1030 pages, but it is really bigger than it sounds because it is very dense. Although it has many screen shots, plenty of use is made of text based instructions. Instead of repeating instructions, the text will often point you to the page where a concept was first explained. This does break up the flow of instructions but it also means that the book contains more information than if they had repeated the text every time it was needed.

I found the section on the graphics module useful because I had not realised how StarOffice has some slightly non-standard ways of working with menus and selections. For example I spent quite a bit of time trying to get the 3d shapes menu to pop out and show all the possible shape options. It was only on a closer reading of the text of this book did I appreciate that you need to click and hold down the mouse for a few seconds before the menu pops out.

The tone of the book comes across as being created by people who like the program rather than a creation of a faceless corporation. Thus in the graphics section they have included the amusing Moose with moving fly graphic that is used for the logo of the JavaRanch website. Here is an example of the text style from the section on macros. "Macros can do things like open a file when you do a particular task, process data, or take your grandmothers' credit cards and buy $3000 worth of cat toys." It also features a section titled "Turning Off Annoying Features," which of course is about the autoformatting and word completion.


You can purchase the OpenOffice.org Resource Kit from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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zzz (-1)

(TK)Max (668795) | more than 11 years ago | (#6461869)

______
.-" "-.
/ \
| | < FROM THIS DISEASED MOUTH
|, .-. .-. ,| SPREADS THE WORD OF TROLLKORE.
| )(__/ \__)( | AWRY BE THE WORDS AND OPINIONS
|/ /\ \| OF THOSE WHO POST HERE. TAKE
(_ ^^ _) NO HEED OF THEM.>
\__|IIIIII|__/
|-\IIIIII/-|
\ /
`--------`

Go away (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6461992)

GNAA runs these forums now.
You had your chance.

Re:Go away (-1)

(TK)Max (668795) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462031)

Whatever - Need I remind you that you are the one replying to a first post? The only thing you have going that 'runs' is the fountain of shit flying out of your mouth.

YOU BOTH FAILED IT! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6462048)

Now all of you go away.

this counterproductive inter-troll dispute (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6462324)

I really don't see the need for a battle between people/groups whose views are essentially the same. I would appreciate some understanding and cooperation. Please think about it.

Hey this is great! (1, Funny)

mschoolbus (627182) | more than 11 years ago | (#6461889)

For anyone who doesn't know how to use an Office Suite...

Re:Hey this is great! (4, Insightful)

Hard_Code (49548) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462306)

And even if you don't...does anybody EVER read documentation on something as boring as an office suite? If it isn't intuitive, it should be fixed to begin with.

Too early? (4, Insightful)

Transient0 (175617) | more than 11 years ago | (#6461891)

With release 1.1 on the way, wouldn't it make sense to wait until after that release to buy a book about it?

I wouldn't want to miss out on all the yummy 1.1 goodies and it sounds like it will be a pretty significant change.

WHY DO ALL THESE FAGGOTS KEEP SUCKING MY COCK? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6461894)

Damned GAY HOMOSEXUAL FAGGOTS need to learn to leave my HETEROSEXUAL cock alone!

Not First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6461896)

this is not the first post. read on.

Setup (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6461904)

I'd be happy with soem simple tips on scripting a setup so that "open file" points by default to a user's network drive and so that the display and toolbars are uniform within our firm. I do not relish setting up a dozen computers to make the settings match.

Basically, scripts or config tools would be cool.

What's sad... (0, Flamebait)

luugi (150586) | more than 11 years ago | (#6461906)

is that it simply doesn't import MS Word documents properly. MS Word is the still the norm wether you like it or not.

Re:What's sad... (3, Insightful)

Trigun (685027) | more than 11 years ago | (#6461954)

A bunch of coders release an entire office package, yet can't get an import routine to work properly. That must be entirely their fault.

Leave Norm out of this... (5, Funny)

djupedal (584558) | more than 11 years ago | (#6461972)

Are you kidding?

MS Word doesn't import MS Word documents properly...

Re:Leave Norm out of this... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6462089)

You're an idiot and a troll, an dutifully modded up as insightful for flaming a microsoft product.

Now open wide and swallow my manhood, you horrid little twink.

Re:Leave Norm out of this... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6462090)

please don't troll. There is absolutely no issue importing Word documents written on other machines.

OpenOffice does NOT work, MS Word does. It is the "standard" whether you people want to believe that, bow to it, whatever.

Re:Leave Norm out of this... (2, Informative)

cduffy (652) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462299)

There is absolutely no issue importing Word documents written on other machines.

There *are* issues importing Word documents written with other versions of Word, though.

Re:Leave Norm out of this... (1)

TheSunborn (68004) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462303)

There are absolut problems with opening documents written in Word 97. Far from always but sometimes it just really fuckup the margin when opening in Word2000. It's really wierd, but it behave as if the left margin must be 30% of the page size.

THIS is why nerds shouldn't make jokes. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6462348)

MS Word DOESNT import MS Word...


I think you italicized the wrong word...

MAybe you meant

MS WORD (emphasis on MS word) doesn't (you left out the word even here) import MS word

That is why nerds aren't funny

you really did screw that up you ignoramus.

Re:What's sad... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6461980)

What's the problem ?

Microsoft Word does not import Microsoft Word correctly either :-)

(Especially if you go from one version to another... and, in earlier versions, even if you changed from a Danish version to an English version...)

Re:What's sad... (3, Interesting)

nobody69 (116149) | more than 11 years ago | (#6461982)

luugi -

What problems have you had with opening MS Word docs? I've been using OO.o for a while, using myself as a test subject to see if we could replace all/some of our MS Office suites with something comparable. I haven't noticed any problems, but I'd like to hear what other people have issues with.

Re:What's sad... (1)

luugi (150586) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462065)


What problems have you had with opening MS Word docs? I've been using OO.o for a while, using myself as a test subject to see if we could replace all/some of our MS Office suites with something comparable. I haven't noticed any problems, but I'd like to hear what other people have issues


Well I'm using OpenOffice 1.0.2. I understand that it's not the latest one but it is a 1.0 version.

When I'm importing MS Word docs, I'm able to read the documents but the fonts are sometime mess up. Also Printing an imported MS Word document never looks the same way as printing an original MS Word document.

Re:What's sad... (2, Informative)

mopslik (688435) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462195)

Sounds more like a Linux-vs-Windows font issue to me. If you're running OO.o on a Linux box, are you positive you're using the same true-type fonts that Office is using?

Umm... (1)

no reason to be here (218628) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462217)

but the fonts are sometime mess up
How do you mean? Like Times New Roman becomes Helvetica without you changing it, or the fonts just look bad?
Printing an imported MS Word document never looks the same way as printing an original MS Word document.
Are you printing using OO.o in windows? Printing in Linux is pretty crappy over all (IMHO), so it's probably unfair to compare printing in OO.o under Linux to printing under MS Word in Windows.

Re:What's sad... (1)

JWW (79176) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462248)

You will see the same issue in a word document if you open it on another Windows machine that is missing the fonts you used, it will make its best guess.

Font is a four letter word, and I don't mean that in just the literal sense.

Re:What's sad... (4, Insightful)

Darth Hubris (26923) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462397)

Also Printing an imported MS Word document never looks the same way as printing an original MS Word document.


I used to work for Kinko's way back when, and companies would send us documents created in Word 97, We'd open them in Word 97, and I'll be damned if Word couldn't format the stupid thing correctly. Bottom line is that people have been joking about MS Word not opening MS Word documents correctly, and they're not joking.

My experience with OO is that it will open a good 95% of what MS Office docs I throw at it. Haven't tried pivot tables or Docs with TOC's yet, though.

Re:What's sad... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6462641)

Wow, advice from a former Kinkos employee. And he admits to it.

Table numbering, for example (2, Informative)

johannesg (664142) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462478)

Our company template uses numbered tables, but OO displays numbers that are different from MSO. For example, if there is a table "1" in section "5.1" than in MSO the number is "5.1.1" but in OO it becomes "5.1-5.1.1" which is rather ugly.

In the table of contents, there is a bit of space between the section number and title in MSO, but OO concatenates the number and title, which also looks ugly.

We also spotted an empty chapter 1 before the actual text started, which was not present in the MSO interpretation of the document. This also means all the chapter numbers changed, which we really don't like.

Finally, in the header the document title suddenly popped up twice whereas MSO just displays it once. There could be a hidden field there that gets displayed anyway by OO, I haven't checked yet.

Before you ask, I haven't reported any of these problems yet. Don't shoot, they were only discovered yesterday...

And don't take all this as whining: I am very pleased by the way OO is progressing, and I want to help making it a little better by reporting these errors.

Re:What's sad... (5, Interesting)

jason0000042 (656126) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462052)

is that it simply doesn't import MS Word documents properly. MS Word is the still the norm wether you like it or not.

So we have two choices to what we can do.

  1. Give up.
  2. Support OOo whenever possible. By contributing, donating, or just using it when ever it makes sense for the project.

I'm not much of a defeatist, so I'm going with option 2.

Besides, it imports simple word docs fine. And really, Word is a word processor, not a page layout program. If you really want to do some fancy stuff neither word nor OOo are good. Go get pagemaker or quark.

Re:What's sad... (1)

luugi (150586) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462174)

Besides, it imports simple word docs fine. And really, Word is a word processor, not a page layout program. If you really want to do some fancy stuff neither word nor OOo are good. Go get pagemaker or quark.


Thanks for the suggestion. I'll email my girlfriend to learn to use pagemaker if she just wants to send me her CV to print out for her. (She has no printer at home)...

I don't have a problem with the software when I'm writing a doc. It's when I'm importing a doc. i.e. I didn't write it.

Re:What's sad... (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462366)

CV?

also, why not just set up ipp on her PC? it is realy easy to do in windows. then she can print directly to your printer using your computer as a print server.

I do it over my network at home from my windows laptop to my printer connected to my Mac OS X in the basement.

and ipp was invented to go over the internet.

Re:What's sad... (1)

Laur (673497) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462437)

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll email my girlfriend to learn to use pagemaker if she just wants to send me her CV to print out for her. (She has no printer at home)...

Well, your girlfriend could write her document in OOo, thus eliminating compatibility problems between you. BTW, if she can't even afford a cheap printer (~$35) how in the heck can she afford MS Office? Have you tried saving Word docs in RTF, then importing this into OOo? RTF is suprisingly capable, able to keep images, tables, etc. quite nicely.

Of course, the real issue with this, at least for me, is who controls your data? If you can't even view it without purchasing the latest and greatest software from a single vendor, or share it with others who may or may not be on the same platform, is it still your data?

Re:What's sad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6462061)

No, what's sad is that this single, solitary complaint is the only negative thing I ever hear about OO, and still it gets modded up as fucking 'informative'.

Re:What's sad... (1)

luugi (150586) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462120)


No, what's sad is that this single, solitary complaint is the only negative thing I ever hear about OO, and still it gets modded up as fucking 'informative'.


It is the only negative thing about it. But's it's negative, an not everyone knows that.

Re:What's sad... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6462307)

Er no. The word processing module is superior to the others. The biggest problem is in the unsexy world of the spreadsheet module. As has been said many times here, if you make serious/heavy use of spreadsheets you'll find the OO.o spreadsheet woefully lacking (and don't even get started on importing excel files). Sure, its fine for basic use, balancing your cheque book etc.

However, rather than end on a sour note, I think constructive criticism of OO.o is useful feedback and will probably be oneday be acted upon. This is particularly the case given its not commerical in nature; downloads for free may not equal number of active users, so theres no mechanism by which users can otherwise vote with their feet. Its also the beauty of free software; one can criticise within the limits of not being an arsehole, and it won't nerf the project forever more (as may happen with a commerical package; it will just get withdrawn). The mindset in making criticism and acting upon it needs to be different and be seen to be different. So theres shortcomings but on the whole hope for the future. We don't do anyone any favours (users, developers, even businesses that could use it) by pretending all is rosey in the garden when it isn't. If you say OO.o is ready for your organisation and it turns out its not, then you aren't supporting the project and FS itself, you are causing a great deal of damage to both. The collective aim is surely excellence, and no-one ever said attaining that is easy.

Re:What's sad... (1)

argabargajones (682972) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462660)

I gots something negative! Openoffice takes a half gig of RAM to use. Sup wit dat?

Re:What's sad... (but true) (1)

Otto_Technica (690226) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462123)

The secret can now be told... While supporting several Office products (both MAC and PC) in the USA (that support is now in India), we found that OpenOffice.org was the best tool we could possibly find to recover corrupted MS Office documents.

{sarcasm mode on} But, of course, Office docs never corrupted -- they're self-repairing. {sarcasm mode off}

Re:What's sad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6462184)

True on complex word docs many times you may need to do some tabbing and spacing to fix a graphic or other item that got pushed up or down, but at the same time all the data usually gets there.

For basic text word docs which is what many people use and send, I find OO works pretty much every time.

No doubt document conversion is the bane any Office suites existance, but that doesn't make OO a non-starter. As far as Word being the norm and whether me or anyone else "likes it" WTF does that have to do with anything? Or were you just being a smartass?

Re:What's sad... (2, Funny)

ebuck (585470) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462188)

I don't think it's sad. After all, I have a secret light socket which I've been developing without the use of standards committees.

If you wish to gain access to this light socket, you need to give me the electrical cord of the appliance of your choice, and I will route it through the 2x2x2 iron safe that protects my newly created intellectual property. If you throw tons of cash at me, I might allow you to look at the plug directly, but only on the condition that I can prevent you from telling anyone else about it (and I'm going to change it completely next year too!)

Of course, my plug's tolerances are incredible, so if you attempt to access it incorrectly, your lamps may flicker or totally self destruct. But hey, that's your problem! You should have paid me to use the "secret" plug which I won't show you.

I imagine that my competitors will have a fully working substitute interface in about 30 years. But I've still got the upper hand, hehehe.... See I've made the plug not work properly, so they'll actually have to include ALL of the BUGS for "full functionality"!

Re:What's sad... (1)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462396)

Couldn't have summarised the situation better. So why do people put up with this shit from MS, when anybody suggesting using a non-standard electric plug would be laughed at.

Re:What's sad... (1)

ebuck (585470) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462581)

Mabye if I throw a few million a year in advertising, say directed at the construction market....

Now that would be evil :)

Re:What's sad... (5, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462436)

The fact that everyone wants to deny is that MS changes Word formats so often that, out of the box, Word itself has trouble opening up older or cross-platform formats. This has always been the case.

For instance, the version that was realized around the time of Windows 3.11 did not by default install the filters needed to load Word files from many other versions of word, particularly DOS and Macintosh. Even when the filters were installed, corruption of data was common.

More recently certain versions and installations of Word 2000 seemed to chew up my Word 95 files. Headers went missing, text was garbles, all sorts of stuff.

The reality is that MS is so obsessed in keeping monopoly though the closed and convoluted Word format, that they do not seem to care if inter-version file can be moved perfectly. Likewise, they are so obsessed with all user upgrading with every version, they do not seem feel responsible about full support of older formats.

What we need is a really inclusive formatted text file format. If companies like Sun, IBM, Redhat, and Thinkfree would just get together to come up with something, then there could be a competitive force. RTF just does not seem good enough. At this point MS is no longer selling the tool, but the file format. The competition needs to be on that basis.

Re:What's sad... (1)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462545)

There's a really easy way to deal with the word problem. Refuse to send out or recieve documents in proprietary formats. Just stick with plaintext and PDF, OpenOffice does both just fine. It will piss off customers and co-workers, but if more and more people use OpenOffice and start refusing to mess with Word files, eventually the better file formats will catch on.

OS X uses beware!! (-1, Troll)

Bob Abooey (224634) | more than 11 years ago | (#6461907)

This version will only work with older versions of OS X. Perhaps I can shed some light on why this is.

As a leading developer of OS X software I'd like to clear a few things up regarding some rumours floating about the Mac community. Originally you could gain access to a secret OS X middle layer API which the general developing community wasn't privy to by subscribing to the OS X developers network. On the surface this was designed to keep you current with the technology but if you dug down deep enough you found a treasure trove of data on API's not documented anywhere else. Rather ironic given the way they sued MS over doing virtually the same thing but hey, big business is big business I guess.

All was going along just swell until some benchmarks leaked showing an incredible speed improvement on some apps, along the order of Olog(n) in many cases, which caused much suspicion among the media. And then the legal teams come marching along like General DeGauss leading his troops into Russia with a cease and desist to Apple (which they kept out of the media somehow) and low and behold now none of the API calls work with Jaguar. Heh...

Of course much of what I found out was from people who can't give their names for the obvious reasons but.. well.. it's like Hank Brooks said in classic "The Mythical Man Month", once you eliminate the impossible, whatever left, however improbable, must be the truth.

Re:OS X uses beware!! (3, Funny)

JLyle (267134) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462005)

... it's like Hank Brooks said in classic "The Mythical Man Month"...
That would be Fred Brooks. Maybe his friends call him Hank, though.

Re:OS X uses beware!! (1)

ebuck (585470) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462050)

Ok, so it's a bit offtopic, but I think you're quote should be properly attributed to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, as he used it extensively in his character Sherlock Holmes.

Not that software development is any less a mystery to those outside of coding circles.

Re:OS X uses beware!! (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462118)

Originally you could gain access to a secret OS X middle layer API which the general developing community wasn't privy to by subscribing to the OS X developers network.

You're full of shit.

Re:OS X uses beware!! (1)

HaloZero (610207) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462287)

Thank you. Couldn't have said it better myself.

Truth, not troll.

anti-mac posters beware!! (0, Flamebait)

axxackall (579006) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462157)

Never-ever-whatsoever post any bad comments about Apple or Macs on /., even on thread unrelated to Macs. Otherwise - be ready of being modded down. Mac zealots are everywhere. All they do on /. is posting bad comments about M$, collecting karma and using it to mod-down all anti-Apple comments.

Re:anti-mac posters beware!! (1)

Mikey-San (582838) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462501)

He was modded down because, as another poster put it, he's full of shit.

There's no "secret middle layer API" in Mac OS X. Go get an ADC account, a few books on programming for the Mac, and find out for yourself.

Re:anti-mac posters beware!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6462603)

Spot on!

If I had mod points I'd plus one insightful you.

Re:OS X uses beware!! (1)

chez69 (135760) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462330)

Dude, your a weak Jack Wagner [slashdot.org]

OSS (-1, Troll)

aphr0Scorp (690069) | more than 11 years ago | (#6461933)

Isn't OpenOffice open source? Why would I want to read a book if I can just read the code?

Call me elitist if you want, but if you can't read java, you're a jackass.

Whatever happened to REXX? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6461936)

Back in the days, the Amiga had AREXX & OS/2 had REXX. These were for scripting ANY compatable application.

Why don't we have these nowadays?!?!?!?

Then we wouldn't need entire books like this, and could get better functionality from all our programs...

Re:Whatever happened to REXX? (2, Interesting)

Zestius (526143) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462165)

I don't know, but on the Mac you have AppleScript, which works great for scripting any Mac application. You can even create your own standalone applications using AppleScript and AppleScript Studio (free with Apple's dev tools).

So maybe it's time to change platforms? ;) Especially now that OpenOffice is coming to MacOS X. It will undoubtedly support AppleScript as well (heck, it probably does already).

Re:Whatever happened to REXX? (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462246)

Since OO on OS X uses the X Window interface, not the Aqua interface, I seriously doubt it's scriptable.

Re:Whatever happened to REXX? (1)

RealisticWeb.com (557454) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462354)

Can you use OOo via comand line? If so you can applescript it that way.

Re:Whatever happened to REXX? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6462339)

Windows scripting takes this idea a step further by not tying one to a particular language.

If you want REXX, here it is:
http://www-3.ibm.com/software/awdtools/obj-re xx/wi ndows/index.html

Open Office (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6461942)

This article got me thinking. Maybe we should approach this from a different angle? Maybe we should rename it "OpenOrifice" and thus appeal more widely (wide open orifice) to the major demographic of Linux users (homosexuals).

Here we go again. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6461945)

Heres all the possible trolls, rolled up into one mod point.

1) OpenOffice is slow
2) No font config support
3) Ugly paper clip clone (the lightbulb)
4) Uses a non standard printer library
5) Won't work on my 386SX running Slackware 1.0
6) I don't wan't to start a holy war here, but my linux box is taking 20 minutes to.....
7) join the GNAA
8) Mirror [goatse.cx]
9) Openoffice has no footnote support
10) My Mom says linux dosen't have any decent solitare games
11) ???
12) -12, troll.

Re:Here we go again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6461978)

you forgot... 13)Natalie Portman + Hot Grits 14) linux is teh gehy 15) X mod is a fag

Re:Here we go again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6461997)

and

IN SOVIET RUSSIA
SCO Claims copyright
RIAA
DMCA ....

Re:Here we go again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6462088)

you also forgot:

xx.) ???
xx.) Profit!!

YOU FORGOT ONE (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6462026)

This article got me thinking. Maybe we should approach this from a different angle? Maybe we should rename it "OpenOrifice" and thus appeal more widely (wide open orifice) to the major demographic of Linux users (homosexuals)...

OPEN SOURCE? MORE LIKE OPENLY RACIST (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6462083)

How can you forget that one? It is an alltime classic.

Slightly OT, but related to OpenOffice: (4, Interesting)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 11 years ago | (#6461990)

While we're on the subject of StarOffice/OpenOffice, I'm going to post a question about it here because Slashdotters are more likely to be able to anwer than those kids over at the OO forums.

OpenOffice is able to inherit and use the toolkit/widget colors that I select in Linux/KDE. i.e. if my widgets are all brown in other apps, they are also brown in OpenOffice. However, when I am using WindowMaker or another simple managed environment rather than KDE, OpenOffice comes up in Windows NT gray and I can't seem to change that.

I've done an "xrdb -all -edit myrsrcs.txt" from within KDE to grab all the krdb stuff and then an "xrdb myrsrcs.txt" from within WindowMaker, but that didn't help. All of my GTK/GTK2 apps look the way I want them to at this point because my .gtkrc and .gtkrc-2.0 files and relateds are all configured correctly for my color preferences... but OO doesn't seem to see these either (I haven't checked to see if OO is a GTK app at all).

I even tried "kfmclient file:/opt/OpenOffice.org/progrms/swriter" to see if I could get the KDE colors into OO that way without actually having to be logged in to KDE, but it didn't help.

Does anyone know how to change the widget colors in OpenOffice without having to simply log into KDE or GNOME?

P.S. final hint: using the Tools menu is not the right answer, it contains color options for a great many things, but the menu and toolbar widgets are not among them.

Re:Slightly OT, but related to OpenOffice: (-1, Troll)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462044)

Answer:

Nothing really works right in the open source world. If you dont like it, you can fix it yourself.

I prefer to fix it with C because its object oriented and almost as powerful as BASIC.

Re:Slightly OT, but related to OpenOffice: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6462119)

You have to be freakin kidding me. I can't even understand your QUESTION, now tell me how is this piece of bloatware shit ever going to get mass appeal? Are you going to tell your mom, "Hey mom, how is the dog, OK try this kfmclient file:/opt/OpenOffice.org/progrms/swriter"

Gimme a break people, why not give up and lets make Windows a better platform instead of wasting your time and energy on this garbage?

Re:Slightly OT, but related to OpenOffice: (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6462178)

Because we don't have the source. You get us the source, we'll fix it.

Re:Slightly OT, but related to OpenOffice: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6462236)

Microsoft is hiring.

Re:Slightly OT, but related to OpenOffice: (0)

Wildcat J (552122) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462135)

Just a guess, but as I recall, KDE has an option to apply your KDE color scheme to non-KDE applications. This would certainly explain why OpenOffice is picking up your KDE color scheme, but none of the other window managers' color schemes.

-J

Re:Slightly OT, but related to OpenOffice: (0)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462210)

Yes, when that box is checked, KDE sets applications using a number of techniques:

1) krdb and the X resources I mentioned(this helps the legacy X, athena, and Motif applications)

2) .gtkrc files I mentioned (this helps the current GTK/GTK2/GNOME applications)

3) ???

It is obviously 3 that I am missing, because I have tried methods 1) and 2) and have even tried using the exact settings that KDE uses in those cases, and while it works for all other applications (i.e. in WindowMaker, my desktop colors fully match across multiple apps), it doesn't yet work for OpenOffice. :-(

But thanks for the input.

Re:Slightly OT, but related to OpenOffice: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6462288)

And you guys have the nerve to criticize the Windows Registry.

Re:Slightly OT, but related to OpenOffice: (1)

ebuck (585470) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462558)

Last I checked OpenOffice wasn't a kde application. This means that it does not use any of the kde configuration tools, nor will it be manipulated by any KDE specific configuration methods.

I believe that OpenOffice is a java application, but I'm not going to waste too much time in verifying this. If it is JAVA, then it probably uses Swing which can be customized, but not nearly as much as say, Motif. Swing uses a pluggable look and feel, but if you wish to "roll your own" PLAF, you'd better be in it for the long haul.

I have often heard the complaint that all of the GUI applications should be "themable" using the same methods (or APIs) so every app will look similar on someone's desktop. However, for this to work, we would all have to rely on only one distributor of this API which sort of defeats the whole purpose of providing different "choices" to end users and software developers.

I have a hard time understanding why it should be a primary business objective to make sure all of my windows are green to match my frog-loving background, but I won't deny that someone will want it, and they should get it.

Re:Slightly OT, but related to OpenOffice: (1)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462604)

But no matter what else it is (and Java it is not, at least not in the "run it in a JVM" sense), OpenOffice is an X application. And KDE does somehow set the OpenOffice colors when you are in KDE.

I simply want to know how KDE does it so that I can do the same thing using X tools, without having to worry about KDE.

The book won't help (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6461991)

Open Office is still just a slower version of Wordpad. Anyone that tells you different is just a linsux shill.


So yourself a favor and go buy a copy of Word Perfect by Corel, they know how to make great office software.

Books suck! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6462000)

Burn books!

Upgrade (2, Interesting)

HogGeek (456673) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462006)

Do they mention a manner in which to upgrade an installation vs. re-install?

Re:Upgrade (1)

celas (620625) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462257)

I just did that on some windows boxes. OO.org1.1 offered to upgrade version 1.01 to 1.1, and carried it through without a hitch.

It just works.

#include otherreview.c (1)

koehn (575405) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462056)

// you probably won't believe my review, so please
// read this guy's
#include otherreview.c

OpenOffice writer is not ready (2, Interesting)

Swayne Shabazz (678612) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462084)

The more I use it (on both Linux and Windows) the more bugs and crashes I see. Granted, the more you use any particular application the more bugs you'll see - but OpenOffice Writer is the only application that I use that always seems to suprise me with an amazing crash or wild bug every single time I use it. Take for instance what happened about 5 minutes ago - when printing a document the window resized itself wildly, crashed, and the system locked up.

It needs some real work.

Re:OpenOffice writer is not ready (1)

bach37 (602070) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462239)

What releases are you using? 1.1beta -> onward are very stable with the Writer. Check em out!

-Scott

Re:OpenOffice writer is not ready (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6462361)

I had that happen too after I did I sudden shutdown of X once using Ctrl-BKspace, something had run away and was locking up X. Somehow this immeadiate shutdown of X caused OO to corrupt itself, and whenever I tried to save a file from then on, OO would Abort and crash.

I reinstalled OO, and the problems went away.

-Daniel

Re:OpenOffice writer is not ready (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6462635)

I've been using openoffice on windows to do everything from write technical documents to taking math notes (draw + equation editor rock) for a year now and I've only had it crash once when it was running on an ancient school machine and ran out of memory. Frankly I've been so happy with it that when I had to write a document on a non-network attached machine that only had word a week ago it drove me nuts.

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6462108)

if(softwareBook.ageMonths > 6)
{
softwareBook.status = 'obsolete';
slashdotReview = NO;
}

<EOM>

This is patchethetic (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6462142)

Gimme a break people, why not give up and lets make Windows a better platform instead of wasting your time and energy on this garbage?

Re:This is patchethetic (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462345)

I'm game... post a link to the source?

Problem (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6462171)

I would use Open Office but it can't support reading and writing MS Word documents. Until it does that, I will remain an avid Microsoft user and supporter.

Re:Problem (1)

PeteyG (203921) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462443)

I would use Open Office but it can't support reading and writing MS Word documents. Until it does that, I will remain an avid Microsoft user and supporter.

It actually DOES do that. Not quite sure why you don't think it does. Perhaps you require some obscure function or something that they don't have perfected yet? But in general, I've had spectacular success importing and exporting with MS Word format in Open Office.

One of Kraft's better-kept secrets (4, Funny)

Mr. Bad Example (31092) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462206)

...salty veterans...

Worst snack food ever.

1.1 is faster; better Word import; speedy spreadsh (5, Informative)

squashed (664265) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462235)

In a revolution compared to 1.0, the new 1.1 OpenOffice RC apps open almost instantaneously, offer much improved Word import, and process some of my day-to-day recursive spreadsheets about 10x faster than before.

Don't judge OpenOffice besed on 1.0.

Re:1.1 is faster; better Word import; speedy sprea (1)

mprinkey (1434) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462519)

I would echo this endorsement. The 1.1RC release is significantly more polished. Font handling seems to be much cleaner, and the package is much faster overall.

We use this book (4, Interesting)

rindeee (530084) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462251)

for our OpenOffice.org training classes and it is quite good. The customers/students have really given posotive feedback about it not only as a classroom textbook, but also as a reference for ongoing use. For what it's worth.

ER

1040 pages! (1)

ZipR (584654) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462273)

Looks like I'll have to take the rest of the summer off if I really wanna learn how to use this. When's the OO for Dummies coming out?

Missing chapter (-1, Flamebait)

Mikey-San (582838) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462314)

Here's the chapter that wasn't included in the book:

Chapter X: Opening XML-based Word Files

This is surprisingly easy to do in OO.org! Follow these easy steps and you'll be trading files with the upcoming Office suite in no time!

Step one: Obtain the fatchanceinhell library from the OO.org servers.

Step two: Drag your XML-based word file onto the OO.org icon and release as the icon highlights.

Step three: When the document opens and all you see is this:

<dict>
<key>MicrosoftXMLData</key>
<data>00000a8 ga78g7879927eg02g8
982eg92gj2enmgeg9e9g29egnrn79w 0d9n9qa
. . .
jafansfo8qnfqkqn987464naklasd09gn7e3b
dhgkldwn gjqw92nnf90n2202nnnalaosd29fh
</data>
</dict>


Stick your head up your ass and wonder why you ever thought it would work.

The end.

Re:Missing chapter (1)

Mikey-San (582838) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462665)

Woot! Troll moderation!

Well, if it's any consolation, I'm pissed that it's gonna look like that, too. If you're gonna use XML, make it human-readable. That's the point.

What if ? (-1, Troll)

DJ FirBee (611681) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462388)

You know if we had a free, opensource office that could compete with microsoft's office then we could take start to take apart microsoft. Unfortunately, linux advocates spend all their time with bullshit screensavers or crap that nobody but nerds ever uses.

So, it will never happen. Slackware will be lucky to turn 20, along with all of the other linux distributions because volunteers steer away from the hard work.

And Thats why I am a super genius for running OSX now.

Some solutions. (5, Informative)

pmsr (560617) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462422)

For those that complain about documents not looking the same in OO as in Microsoft Word because of the fonts, please think out of the box and consider that you don't have the exact same fonts available. The same happens with Microsoft Word if someone uses a special font you dont have in your system. Complaining about this is like complaining that water is wet or fire burns. I mean, isn't it obvious? You are replacing software, not a stinking china tea set. Now, having vented my anger, please look at

http://avi.alkalay.net/software/msfonts/

for a solution. Hint, just get Microsoft fontpack.

One more thing, Microsoft supplies free viewers for Word, Excel and Powerpoint. They even run inside Wine. Google for them. I run OO with Windows 2000 and have these viewers installed, plus the fonts. What can i say? It works.

/Pedro

OS X Final is out...CD and review out of date. (4, Informative)

soullessbastard (596494) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462434)

Mac OS X (X11) 1.0.3 Final has been out for three weeks now, and it's been out of alpha since last October. If the review is correct and the CD contains the alpha version, I think the book is just a tad out of date.

If you're looking to get OpenOffice.org for the Mac, you should get the GM from the official download site [openoffice.org] and not use what's on the CD with this book. As the "GM" implies, there were lots of bugs fixed between the "Final Beta" and "GM", and definitely lots of serious issues were fixed since the alpha.

If you're on another platform, you should probably check the version on the CD as well. Even though it's now being called a "legacy build", the latest stable version is 1.0.3.1 [openoffice.org] which fixes nasty printing errors in 1.0.3 on other platforms (didn't happen on the Mac! woo hoo!). The "RC" in 1.1 RC stands for "Release Candidate", so if you're thinking of going the whole way to 1.1 you may want to wait until the RC is dropped from the name.

I guess, in short, don't buy this book just to get OpenOffice.org on a CD since you'll probably have to download a newer version anyway.

Here at the office... (4, Interesting)

r_j_prahad (309298) | more than 11 years ago | (#6462508)

...we use OpenOffice to repair hopelessly munged-up Microsoft Word documents - which happens more often than anybody is willing to admit. I used to fix all the formatting fubars with WordPerfect but the two products have diverged so much in the last two years that we've discontinued using WordPerfect for anything. Anyway, everytime I get a user who asks me why she can't get her headers and columns to do such-and-such I snarf a copy off his/her server, import it into OO, undo the hideousness (sp?) and export it back out. And it generally stays fixed, even after subsequent exposures to MS Word, plus it's a lot smaller.

Thanks to Microsoft, OpenOffice looks pretty damned good.
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