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OpenOffice.org Team on OO.org (and Upcoming v2.0)

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the kudos-thanks-hosanas-and-more dept.

Software 251

Aditya Nag writes "I recently got the chance to ask the OpenOffice.org team a few questions about OpenOffice.org in general, and their upcoming release. The questions were answered by Louis Suarez-Potts and Colm Smyth. Louis is OpenOffice.org's Community Manager, member and chair of the Community Council, and lead of many OpenOffice.org projects including the Native Language Confederation. Colm is a StarOffice Architect, and was responsible for defining the product concept for OpenOffice.org 3.0 (or StarOffice 9). The interview is fairly long and detailed, and there are a few interesting tid-bits, like Louis' assertion that there will come a day when there will be no proprietary file formats for Office Suites." This is the full interview from which excerpts were linked in the recent post about OO.o's beta candidate for 2.0.

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yah uhm ok then (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11986855)

i'll just stick to pirating ms office 2004 then k thx.

Re:yah uhm ok then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11987211)

I could do with less messages that end with "k thnx". Is there a more obnoxious web phrase that exists on the Internet? If there is, I'd like to know.

Timothy (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11986858)

This is the full interview from which excerpts were linked in the recent post about OO.o's beta candidate for 2.0.

You're a Slashdot regular Timothy, if you want to say your articl'es a dupe then don't beat about the bush just say "Yep, this is a dupe".

new Sony Network Walkman (0, Offtopic)

Offtopica (413375) | more than 9 years ago | (#11986863)

Hello, Slashdot.

Anyone have an idea about how to get playable music onto the new Sony NW-E105 with OS X? It works as a Flash drive, which is cool, but having it actually be able to play music would be better.

Thanks!

Offtopica

Re:new Sony Network Walkman (1)

HiMyNameIsSam (867358) | more than 9 years ago | (#11986878)

Hello Mr. I have never heard of google, No clue, sorry.

Re:new Sony Network Walkman (1)

Offtopica (413375) | more than 9 years ago | (#11986915)

I've tried Google with a number of different searches using many combinations of [sony psyc mac "network walkman" "os x" nw-e105]. Nothing there.

If can find info from Google, I'll bow before your mighty search engine skills. Please provide links!

Offtopica

Re:new Sony Network Walkman (0, Flamebait)

HiMyNameIsSam (867358) | more than 9 years ago | (#11986987)

Your karma is getting raped, feel free to reply to this.

Why use OpenOffice? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11986881)

When Microsoft Office is free? [ed2k]

Re:Why use OpenOffice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11986898)

When Microsoft Office is free?

Is that free as in freeform or free as in freefall?

Re:Why? (1)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 9 years ago | (#11986922)

Why not just post a torrent in base64 while you're at it?

Re:Why use OpenOffice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11986940)

What about Linux?

Why use Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11986954)

When Windows is free [ed2k] ?

Why Use Windows? (0, Offtopic)

Elranzer (851411) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987231)

When Linux is better.

Re:Why use OpenOffice? (5, Insightful)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 9 years ago | (#11986955)

When Microsoft Office is free[ed2k link]?

Considering the utterly prohibitive costs to a small business should they ever be subject to a BSA audit while using the "free" version of MS Office, I'd say it's actually pretty expensive. Honestly, an audit can be a business changing experience [infoworld.com] . It just isn't worth the risk.

The last small company I worked for was busy transitioning as many staff as they could over to OpenOffice. They weren't doing this because OpenOffice was cheaper, they were doing this because they didn't have to bother with the task of filing and managing licenses - the reduced cost was just a bonus.

Jedidiah.

Re:Why use OpenOffice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11987004)

I would be bloody well impressed to see the BSA come to my office in Ghana :D

Would Have Cared More Before... (1, Offtopic)

The Lost Supertone (754279) | more than 9 years ago | (#11986886)

On OS X I would have really cared about OpenOffice being updated... that is until iWork came out... it's significantly faster than M$ Office on OS X I find, AND it's at a reasonable price... not to mention OOo's complete disregard of the Mac platform...

Re:Would Have Cared More Before... (0, Flamebait)

technomancerX (86975) | more than 9 years ago | (#11986949)

Yup. I'll care when they do a Mac port.

Re:Would Have Cared More Before... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11986997)

Ill care when they do a DOS port and QNX; even AbiWord is on QNX.

Why dont they just wrap everything or code it on a runtime and just solve these "Application" porting issues once and for all, its more cost effective and logical.

Then again it has 15 years of code they are not going to throw away, they should have a team working from the bottom up trying to get as much platform generic as possible and minimise the platform specifics.

Re:Would Have Cared More Before... (1)

DuBois (105200) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987241)

Done: Neo Office/J [planamesa.com]

The problem... (1)

eldacan (726222) | more than 9 years ago | (#11986996)

I thought the problem was a lack of OS X hackers willing to work on OOo... Then in a sense OOo isn't the only one to blame...

Re:The problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11987055)

The way I understand it, OOo told the OS X hackers to wait for 2.0 because then it would be easy to do the port. The hackers eventually got tired of waiting and left. Now that 2.0 is almost here, the Mac port has been canceled because of a lack of developers.

Re:The problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11987066)

Im going to buy a Mac Mini just for OS X and to gain experience on more usable software practices. I think its perfect for this. Your app success depends on the usability on OS X ALOT. It maybe a good application, but let down by the UI and hence a FLOP, just for that reason alone.

At the price of the Mac Mini, its worth its weight in gold for this alone, even use PearPC.

Re:The problem... (2, Informative)

flibble-san (700028) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987074)

As far as I know, the 'OS X hackers' are working on NeoOfficeJ. I don't actually like NeoOfficeJ though. It's old of date and quite buggy.

Re:The problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11987124)

Thats stupid, its DILUTION of the brand, and we NEED branding, like Firefox. etc Stick to one brand and keep it at that otherwise it confuses people.

Re:Would Have Cared More Before... (1)

trash eighty (457611) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987073)

yes pity if the only part of OO you ever use is the spreadsheet module though!

Re:Would Have Cared More Before... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11987150)

not to mention OOo's complete disregard of the Mac platform

Why? Works great on my Debian/PowerBook. ;)

Anybody using it? (2, Insightful)

lottameez (816335) | more than 9 years ago | (#11986888)

Anybody actually using open office in a, er, office? How about some real experiences with it?

Re:Anybody using it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11986959)

Yes, people at my work place use Linux and often use OpenOffice to read and write office documents or view excel files. But it is a quite small company, less than 10 people work at there.

It really works great, but there are some small differences between what files look in Microsoft Office and what they look like in OpenOffice. But if you are only reading or creating files with basic formatting, it works perfectly.

Re:Anybody using it? (2, Informative)

ThisIsFred (705426) | more than 9 years ago | (#11986968)

I've been using it for more than a year now at the office. There's still no way to read MS Access database files, which is a major drawback. Other than that, I prefer Calc over Excel because of features that make data import/export/retouching easier. I also get lots of use out of Draw, something which MSO really should consider. 'Write' gets the work done, but as of 1.1.3, it has problems exporting to Word 97/2000/XP format (their name, not mine), where it dumps something in the file that totally screws up the formatting when MSO tries to read it (all the special mark-up is lost and the file can't be converted to a real MSO format). Reading Word files works fine, but sometimes it does not pick the correct font size and margin sizes.

Thus far, Open Office hasn't crashed on me or mangled any data, unlike Office 95/97/2000. They fixed the annoying hi-lighting bugs from 1.1.0, but it still has an annoying tendency to open up random new, blank documents when you open a document and an OO window is already open.

I have not tested the Word export problem on 1.1.4, so I don't know if it is fixed or not.

Re:Anybody using it? (3, Interesting)

mehaiku (754091) | more than 9 years ago | (#11986990)

Yes, I am. We have many office docs stored on the network - word docs, spreadsheets, etc. I knew from day one I would use OpenOffice. (This is in an environment of sales people. We are all self-employed and bring our own machines.) One of my co-workers had Word but not MS Office, so she couldn't read the spreadsheets on the network. I showed her how to install OpenOffice. Now she reads the spreadsheets.

I told the head honcho who wasn't pleased about this. He said the office may end up going all Microsoft and I was just spreading my "agenda." A few weeks later I over heard another sales guy, who had just purchased a new computer, asking the head honcho if he had a company copy of MS Office he could install on his machine. I never heard the answer. A few days later that same sales guy approaches me saying the head honcho said I knew of some office software he could put on his machine to read the docs and spreadsheets on the network. So that's three machines in an office of about 40 people that now have OpenOffice on it, with one by special request of the head honcho. I also use OpenOffie to create sales material. Funny how when people have to actually pay to use MS Office, the alternatives become awfully attractive awfully quickly.

Re:Anybody using it? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11987025)

We've got OO deployed across 15 machines, PC's and Macs (using X11). No complaints other than lack of Access file portability. The suite should add MySQL wrapped in a nice UI.

In general we've spent the past two years moving away from MSFT and into OO and generic hardware. We're getting IT spending down to a point where I'm not hearing complaints from mangagement any longer. We're even considering installing MacMini's as the new default hardware.

Re:Anybody using it? (5, Interesting)

CompuSwerve (792986) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987083)

I'll give you three guesses which owner of SuSE is converting their entire company to OOo and getting rid of MSO... Ask your friendly neighborhood Novell employee what s/he thinks. I've heard good things from them, but the guy I know says he really doesn't use any office products that much.

Re:Anybody using it? (1)

zecg (521666) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987092)

I am using it exclusively for a few years now; it and Firefox have also eased my migration to Linux a few months back quite nicely. There are options missing (like separate Word Count in Writer 1.1.3), but you can download them as scripts. It does all I need to do and opens all my .doc, .rtf and .xls files adequately.

It's a shame, though, how you still cannot use OO formats exclusively, since compatibility with the fascist world of MS Office is pretty much why you use any Office suite to begin with.

Re:Anybody using it? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11987098)

Here in a rural county, we are using OpenOffice.org quite a bit. The local ag extension office has moved to Linux boxen and OpenOffice.org for all of their personnel (the extension service, like a lot of state government agencies, are having to serve more people with less money these days). I work at an agency where I counsel entrepreneurs and small business owners. I have been distributing OpenOffice.org to my clients, and many of them have been using the software to create business plans and other business documents with excellent results. I have NeoOffice/J on my Mac, and I now use it as my standard office suite.

So yeah, in this low-populated, rural area OpenOffice.org is being used quite a bit without a lot of publicity or fanfare. Which makes me wonder sometimes: If my small, rural community is utilizing OpenOffice.org to this extent, are the estimates regarding OpenOffice.org use nationally or internationally grossly underestimated.

Re:Anybody using it? (5, Informative)

hermeshome.se (233303) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987101)

Yes. Our company (7000+ employees) has migrated from MS Office to Open Office. Unfortunatly most comments in the beginning was negative. I do suspect that it was due to the transaction to a "new" program(s) and interface. People are used to use MS Office and with little to none real computer experience, it is scarry to try out "new stuff". Thus, everything new is dagerous and should be regarded as evil.
Now, two years later, nobody reflects over the fact that we uses another office suite. The only problem that we have are some conversion from Excel to OO Calc.

To sum it up. If you got a user base with good common computer skills there should be no problems. Just remind them to keep an open mind. If you then can point out that by changing office suite to a free alternative, your company saves money and maybe your job are a bit safer, you should be homefree.
Do not, however, engage in ideological arguements. That will only confuse, and poeple in general think any mid to big sized company are made of money...

Re:Anybody using it? (4, Informative)

johannesg (664142) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987136)

We tried it. It failed to read our existing Word files correctly (standard company document features coming out wrong, that sort of thing), so we decided against using it for now.

However, we also reported every problem we could find and the good news is that quite a few seem to be fixed now. Once 2.0 gets released we'll reevaluate it for use in the office.

OOo Writer has at least one killer feature: PDF export, which is something we need badly and which is a pain with Word.

And unlike Word, OOo Writer hasn't yet gone and destroyed any of my documents. Word tends to do that, and I believe it is using its Intellisense to sniff out approaching deadlines so it can concentrate its evil powers where it can do the most harm. Example: last week we lost a day's worth of work on a document when it was inexplicably eaten by Word at the end of the working day. Yes, we keep backups. No, they don't run halfway through the day. And then the next day it happened again with the same document, repeating the same changes as the day before. Buh...

Re:Anybody using it? (5, Interesting)

Mac Mini Enthusiast (869183) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987139)

My brother works for a financial firm in Wall Street, and uses Excel all the time. So hes a "power user" w/ Excel, and often makes complicated spreadsheets.

While we were at my other brother's house, he wanted to create a mortgage spreadsheet to show my father various options to buy a house. The computer there only had Linux and Open Office, but my brother was able to whip up the spreadsheet in no time on his first try using OpenOffice. He only ran into a few small bumps where certain items were located in different menues, etc.

So this was a real kind of spreadsheet application that he'd use at his work all the time, and he was able to integrate into OpenOffice just fine within a few minutes. He was amazed at how smoothly it was, and even more amazed that it was available for free (as in beer, not speech).

On top of that, he occasionally sends me various complicated spreadsheets that he's made up for personal finance things on Excel, and all of them have opened just fine in OpenOffice. In fact, they work better there than in Apple's Appleworks!

Re:Anybody using it? (1)

lgarner (694957) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987164)

Yes, personally. I've experimented with OO since it was StarOffice 5, and used it exclusively on my laptop since 1.1.0 or so. My only real gripe is load time. It's better on Windows, only due to the quickstarter. On Linux you can go grab a cup of coffee while it's loading the document that you clicked. Once it's loaded, it works just fine. I'm currently playing with 2.0 beta, especially Base. It looks like a good start, but crashes regularly.

Re:Anybody using it? (1)

Glowing Fish (155236) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987186)

At Free Geek [freegeek.org] , we use nothing else. Of course, since we are a Linux only shop, our other choice is...Abiword.
It works very well for all our in house needs, which are mostly spreadsheets and word processing.

Latex...? (5, Interesting)

sewagemaster (466124) | more than 9 years ago | (#11986889)

wouldn't it be nice if there's a better latexOO/doc conversion? One of the biggest problem is with math equations, but isn't mathml also some sort of a standard that shouldn't be that hard to covert into? also there are lots of problems with tables.latex2rtf and some other sharewares are nice, but they don't seem to do the conversion too well...

Re:Latex...? (5, Informative)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 9 years ago | (#11986995)

If you have to use OpenOffice, but want real equations in documents and presentations, there's always this [ucl.ac.be] . It's quite a nice little plugin for OpenOffice that uses TeX to render math to an image file, which it then inserts into the document. The TeX commands used to render the image are inserted into image attributes in the header so that you can go back and edit equations as well. Simple and ingenious, and ought to become standard for OpenOffice. As nice as their equation editor is, it's rendering is ugly as sin compared to TeX.

Jedidiah.

Re:Latex...? (1)

delire (809063) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987033)

good timing && fantastic, thanks..

Re:Latex...? (1)

The_reformant (777653) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987174)

I'm actuallt quite impressed with OO.orgs compatability with Microsoft Equation objects. I used it to open some pretty hefty .docs I made during my maths degree and although it took a little while loading the equations it seemed more stable than using word with lots of equations (I have problems with running out of memory and general system slowdown sometimes when working with lots of equations in word) I use OO.org on and off but sometimes end up drawn back to office due to familiarity but OO.org is a pretty damn impressive product. Adding some better scripting/macro capabilities should I thinkbecome a priority so people can make the same sort of mini-applications which are possible in excel/word

Re:Latex...? (2, Informative)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987232)

Adding some better scripting/macro capabilities should I think become a priority so people can make the same sort of mini-applications which are possible in excel/word

Well, given that they now have support for scripting in Python [openoffice.org] , things will definitely get better. Of course there's still the issue of the underlying APIs that the scripts are using. Having not actually done any OOo scripting work I can't vouch for those. Generally, though, it does look like they are payng attention to making scripting both easy and powerful.

Jedidiah.

More uphill than FireFox vs. IE (5, Interesting)

mao che minh (611166) | more than 9 years ago | (#11986907)

OO.org really have their work cut out for them. I'd really like to see OO.org approach computer manufacturers like Dell and present a strong case as to why distributing OO.org with their systems will add value for their customers - perhaps as part of the free software suite Dell customers already recieve with new systems?

Re:More uphill than FireFox vs. IE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11986921)

Dell would charge something for it--whatever is less than Microsoft Works and other options.

I noticed some smaller PC builder selling preinstalled OOo for $30.

Re:More uphill than FireFox vs. IE (1)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 9 years ago | (#11986994)

I'd fully support that position. If you're going to talk for 1 hour on average supporting OOo it's worth getting $30 for it.

You have to remember, anyone silly enough to pay someone else to load their software isn't going to know how to use it.

Re:More uphill than FireFox vs. IE (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987015)

I noticed some smaller PC builder selling preinstalled OOo for $30.

I suspect that the charge is for the labor and future tech support. If people don't know how to download and install OpenOffice, then they will probably need some help using it.

LK

Re:More uphill than FireFox vs. IE (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 9 years ago | (#11986939)

What they really need is to be approaching corporations and presenting a strong case why deploying OO will reduce costs and add value to their employees/customers/clients experience.

how does it *reduce* costs? (1)

mgkimsal2 (200677) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987233)

How would it *reduce* Dell's cost to distribute OpenOffice with their systems?

Re:More uphill than FireFox vs. IE (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 9 years ago | (#11986945)

OEMs distributing OOo is unlikely, as they're already distributing trial versions of MS Office on their systems. Does anyone know how much OEMs have to pay per system for the trial version? Would it really be worth it to ship OOo instead?

Re:More uphill than FireFox vs. IE (1)

roror (767312) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987155)

I am not sure who, in US, distributes trial version of MS Office. No one distributes full version for sure. Almost everyone offers to install it before shipping for a fee that is close to the retail cost of the MS Office. The PC makers get a good deal for the windows XP, but, not for the MS Office. Even if they installed trial one, people will have to buy the office suit paying a hefty fee after the trial period is over.

So, I think in this case OO.o has a fat chance of starting a movement. May be a marketing burst like firefox did, but targeting the OEMs, would work. Preinstalled OO.o can do wonders.

Re:More uphill than FireFox vs. IE (2, Insightful)

zecg (521666) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987054)

More uphill? I disagree completely - while Firefox competes against MS's "freebeer" program already installed on most computers in the world today, this one competes against quite an expensive package. And guess what? It fulfills the needs of most users just fine, just as it handles most MS office documents just fine. YMMV, but it's freebeer.

Re:More uphill than FireFox vs. IE (2, Insightful)

hendridm (302246) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987144)

I suspect the problem is name recognition. They can probably get Word Perfect or Lotus Smart Suite for pennies a disc. Although OO.org is free, it doesn't have the recognition for lowly end users that Word Perfect or (*gasp*) even Lotus.

That said, perhaps more education is in order. My father in law wanted me to find him a "good deal" on a legal copy of Office 2003. When I showed him what it was going to cost, he balked. I suggested he try OpenOffice. He asked what it was, and after explaining to him what it was he seemed releuctant. He liked Office because he was used to it, and he had a hard time believing something that was free would be any good.

I installed it on his new machine, and he loved it. He couldn't believe you could get something that was just like MS Office for nothing! He was very pleased.

Re:More uphill than FireFox vs. IE (1, Insightful)

vandan (151516) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987158)

Shouldn't be all that hard.

With IE vs Firefox, the argument about lower costs with Firefox is harder to demonstrate, as IE is free-as-in-beer.

With OpenOffice, people are aware of the obvious cost difference from the start ... without requiring one of us to sit them down and explain it to them.

Once the functionality is at the right level ( OOo 1 was close, OOo 2 might just do it - it's working damned well for us in testing ), people should flock to it.

Fix Microsoft Office (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11986910)

Go to Microsoft Office's suggest feature page [microsoft.com] and ask for
"Please add read/write support for the OASIS document formats found in OpenOffice.org 2.0."

Re:Fix Microsoft Office (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11986972)

Already did that... But I don't know it was a Good Thing. They would probably allow to _read_ those files, but not write them (or atleast not with some extensions of their own).

This way, this document standard will also benefit them, as people will just treat them as ms-office documents. Then when they hit save, the whole thing will become an ms-office document.

Not only that, but even if you would (should you be able to) install support for _writing_ documents in this standard, a warning would be presented that not all the features in ms-office can be used with this document format. That will discourage people from using it.

However, if ms-office would simply _not_ be compatible with these documents, maybe some will actually get the idea and install OO.o.

Just my $0.02

Re:Fix Microsoft Office (1)

Scoria (264473) | more than 9 years ago | (#11986985)

Why would Microsoft elect to support OASIS? If support for their proprietary formats were no longer a necessity, then Office would become increasingly obscure.

On the other hand, perhaps they might adopt a proprietary variant of the OASIS format. No intelligent businessman, however, would jeopardize his "bread and butter" product in order to satisfy a competitor.

Re:Fix Microsoft Office (2, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987095)

Microsoft keeps its formats proprietary as a stragetgy to keep customers. It also solicits and uses customer feedback to keep customers. Sometimes the two strategies are at odds. It could be helpful to use its conflict against itself, if only to see which is a higher priority. Or it could produce OASIS support, if they prioritize customer demand. It might even have ripple effects of further undermining MS, if they deprioritize customer feedback to protect format hegemony. Helping tip MS to be less in sync with their market will keep the dinosaur's momentum headed for the big thud. This specific instance, though, is so obscure as to probably not register, so it might not be worth the effort.

Re:Fix Microsoft Office (2, Interesting)

say (191220) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987119)

They might need to support it, because when a lot of people start using OASIS standards, it would be an easy point for the FOSS enthusiasts ("Look! Our OO.o can open documents in open standards AND MSOs proprietary standards, while MSO can only open its own standard"). At least in the home market, that might be a major "selling" point for OpenOffice. I'm beginning to receive OpenOffice documents from completely computer illiterate people.

Exaggeration...? (4, Interesting)

Infinityis (807294) | more than 9 years ago | (#11986918)

"The interview is fairly long and detailed..."

I must have RTFA in the past too many times, as this seems a rather short interview. Even the ones Slashdot sends out have 10 questions, where this one come in at an overwhelming 6 questions.

Re:Exaggeration...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11986991)

"The interview is fairly long and detailed..."

I must have RTFA in the past too many times, as this seems a rather short interview. Even the ones Slashdot sends out have 10 questions, where this one come in at an overwhelming 6 questions.


You just don't understand the Slashspeak. "The interview is fairly long and detailed" is the editor's way of saying "I read this article so the summary may be in some ways accurate this time... well, I read some of it anyway."

Re:Exaggeration...? (1)

a gremlin (858413) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987023)

I find your sarcasm in the use of "overwhelming" here very underwhelming...

One question (1)

stripe4 (830171) | more than 9 years ago | (#11986927)

Will there be a GUI installer for Linux version of OO.o 2.0? It's just that Slackware doesn't handle RPMS natively (I know rpm2tgz but this isn't the cleanest way) and I don't want to compile it from source.

Re:One question (0, Flamebait)

puddpunk (629383) | more than 9 years ago | (#11986977)

Don't use such a shitty distro for fucks sake. The whole POINT of a distro is to package the available software! Why put a lot of extra work into making a GUI installer that works on linux when EVERY OTHER DISTRO EXCEPT SLACKWARE packages it natively. Even Gentoo does it!

Re:One question (1)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987010)

Insulting slackware users isn't the answer. This will eventally get ported to slackware by a package maintainer, but it's really not worth the trouble for a 'beta candidate'

Why do the software developers always prepackage for the big releases that dont need any help? I say put that extra work into making the source usable.

Re:One question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11987022)

Because the installer works, and it works the same on all those different distro's. People who just want to use OO.o will benefit from it, because no matter what supported OS they have to use, they can install OO.o in the way they're used to. Also the installer runs under Windows and works well on it too.

Ofcourse, you can still install OO.o through synaptic, YaST or whatever suits you. But the point is, is that there is a generic way that is provided by OO.o that will work for all. They don't need to put the user to go through finding out what OS they have and then learn them about their package manager. Instead, if you dont know how to install, then they can help you regardless of your distro, basically.

This is actually important for the acceptance of OO.o.

My major Problem (2, Informative)

slashdot4ever (760080) | more than 9 years ago | (#11986931)

dont get me wrong, i love ooo, and i would be sold if it wasnt for the crappy spellcheck. maybe i have been raised wrong, and schooled wrong. but i suck at spelling, and so does ooo. here is the test that i ran. i spelled the word "Meticulously" phonetically, or fonetically if you will. and in ooo 2beta, i get about 10 sugesstions that all start with the letter "r". same thing in ooo 1.1. so i guess that ooo has made no progression in this area. in wordperfect 12, one sugesstion, and it was right. in word i bet it would be the same (i cannot aford to try it). I also tried google, and it sugessted the correct spelling. would be that hard to develop a front end for googles sugesstion service for ooo? so it wouldnt suck? this is the major compalint that i have with ooo, and it is major in my opinion. Kevin

Re:My major Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11987094)

i spelled the word "Meticulously" phonetically, or fonetically if you will. and in ooo 2beta, i get about 10 sugesstions that all start with the letter "r".

Have you also got a speech impediment?

What I'd want to ask (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11986935)

Does the OpenOffice team actually realize there are real and serious interface usability and elegance issues with their program, and desire to fix this? Or do they just take the tack taken by their supporters, and the GIMP, of "OMFG if you don't like it it's your problem not ours" and waving around "you're just not used to it" like a talisman?

Re:What I'd want to ask (2, Informative)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987031)

Does the OpenOffice team actually realize there are real and serious interface usability and elegance issues with their program, and desire to fix this?

I think they do. Usability, consistency, and GUI cleanup were some of the major tasks for 2.0. No 2.0 doesn't magically correct everything, but as far as usability goes it makes great strides over 1.0. The other thing to note, of course, is that in the end OpenOffice is aiming to be a fairly close work-alike to MS Office to make transitioning easier. That means that it will have the same GUI and usability issues as MS Office, as well as any of it's own. The MS Office inherited usability issues aren't likely to go away all that soon unfortunately - not util OO get's enough of a userbase that it can forge its own direction in the Office application market.

Jedidiah.

Re:What I'd want to ask (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11987159)

What strides as 2.0 made in GUI and usability? From the screenshots of the beta, I see none.

Re:What I'd want to ask (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11987050)

OO 2.0 is very usable, I dumped MS Office now infavour of OO, I would never have done this for 1.x

Its ready, for me at least. Never again shall I use MS Office.

Re:What I'd want to ask (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11987081)

Okay. So is the OO2 beta candidate usable enough for end-users to try it out then in your opinion?

Re:What I'd want to ask (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11987109)

Definately.

I offer installable CDs for ppl that ask for MS Office. If they dont like it I suggest they go out and fork out a few hundred pounds for it. I even email my bank back with theyre documents they send me in word format , i send them back in BMP format and ask them for the money to buy MS Office to read theyre Word 2.0 documents :D

Works a charm.

OpenSource (3, Insightful)

paithuk (766069) | more than 9 years ago | (#11986941)

Since everything in the proprietary world of Microsoft and MacOS has to be copied or rejuvinated within the OpenSource community, is it possible that people are forgetting about innovation and focusing too much on mirroring what others do? Apple have come a long way simply through innovating, just like many modern successful businesses but without major goals of innovation, isn't it possible that the OpenSource community may be stuck forever in a game of catch up?

Re:OpenSource (3, Insightful)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987052)

Ask yourself what microsoft has done to innovate office in the last 5 years. Fortunately, office software isn't a moving target to compete with. Innovation is only the best thing to do in this case, not the only thing to do.

Personally I'd just like to see OO get a better UI, and move away from JAVA. With all the help from Sun, Java is probably here to stay, but we can hope for the UI improvement.

Re:OpenSource (1)

ticktockticktock (772894) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987093)

OpenOffice uses Java?

Re:OpenSource (1)

paithuk (766069) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987117)

Microsoft employees are encouraged to innovate but until a few years back, their functional departments caused a lot of red tape issues and progress was very slow. This has all changed now and the company has been split up into individual divisions who are allowed to work freely without having to consult the chairman or the CEO on decision making. This will encourage Microsoft to innovate more, but to be honest I was really talking about them since they became successful a long time ago and it's a whole different game when your goal is to remain on top... If the OpenSource community want Linux to ever become mainstream the UI has definately got to improve (like you mentioned) and people need to start thinking about what new things we might do with our available resources. Since OpenSource isn't driven like a commercial entity, I'd be surprised if the level of innovation could ever match those of companies like 3M, Cisco, etc, which questions whether they'll ever be an opportunity to "take down Microsoft". But isn't it worth trying? I'm not quite sure why you want to move away from Java? Is it because you want to lock people into using your platform (which is of course the key to success)?

Re:OpenSource (1)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987248)

I think java gets in the way of OO development. There's no legitamite reason I know of to use more than one high level language in a single project. Java is a cross platform language, but it's really too slow to use for a production application like openoffice.

It bothers me personally for the following reasons: 1) installing java is a pain Sun can't make a installer, and there always seems to be a problem with linking.
2) Openoffice is significantly hard to compile without using more than one language.
3) Nobody makes statically linked binaries for OO.

It's really about focus. Creativity in a project should be within a bound. Unless your creativity is limited somewhere, all you get is chaos, which isn't usable.

A language like C/C++ has enough foundation for plenty of creativity, this project would just make so much more sense written in one language.

Re:OpenSource (1)

delire (809063) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987129)


"Since everything in the proprietary world of Microsoft and MacOS has to be copied or rejuvinated within the OpenSource community, is it possible that people are forgetting about innovation and focusing too much on mirroring what others do?"
Uh what?

I really hope you didn't intend too much emphasis on the everything in that comment. If so however, you show great and promising talent - but sadly not in this field..

I'd reccommend you look at advancing other disciplines, like Generalism or any of the other Great Profanities.

Karma free article text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11986951)

If the site gets slow, mod this up. Otherwise, keep it at 0.
-----
An Interview with the OpenOffice.org Team.
Aditya Nag
email(@)adityanag(.)org
adityanag(@)gmail(.) com
Date: March, 2005

This article was first published on :www.newsforge.com. UPDATE: The article was written by Bruce Byfield, but the Interview in the sidebar is mine. In fact, it's an extremely cut down interview, which is why I have posted the entire interview here.

I asked the OpenOffice.org team a few questions about OpenOffice.org in general, and their upcoming release. Questions 1-3 were answered by Louis Suarez-Potts, while questions 4-6 were answered by Colm Smyth of Sun Microsystems. Louis is OpenOffice.org's Community Manager, member and chair of the Community Council, and lead of many OpenOffice.org projects including the Native Language Confederation.

Colm is a StarOffice Architect, and was responsible for defining the product concept for OpenOffice.org 3.0 (or StarOffice 9).

Ques.1: What are the core strengths of OpenOffice? What do you think are the features that will help you replace the dominent office suite?

Ans. 1 : OpenOffice.org (as we must refer to it) is to begin with open: that's its key strength, as it that element allows a vast community to inspect, improve, and work on the source. In terms of the application, well, it depends on your audience. A so-called knowledge worker would key features such as the built-in PDF export or Shockwave Flash (for presentations) to be very important, as it makes it easy to share non-editable files. They'd also like the new component (new with 2.0), Base, which is our Access equivalent. Only it works better and is a real relational database. Other things that make the application important include, in 2.0, a very good Calc, which is the equivalent of Excel, and what is probably the best presentation software.But that's just for starters. OpenOffice.org is, with 2.0, using an open standard file format, the OpenDocument. By using this file format, which is open and a standard, we thus defy proprietary exclusion and dependency. There is no possibility of vendor lock in with an open standard. Furthermore, because it is sophisticated XML, it can work with other equipped applications, meaning that developers, companies, can employ OpenOffice.org in heretofore unknown ways; innovation is engendered in this manner.

Finally, what is the key feature in OpenOffice.org 2.0 that will replace
the status quo? Offhand, I'd say it is simply that it does what people
want easily and simply and does not also drag them into stuff they never thought they had to do. Good software is not something you are saddled with for the rest of your life, it's what gets the job done.

Ques. 2: Do you believe the day of proprietary formats will ever come to an end?

Ans. 2: Not entirely, no. But for things like office suites, yes. What would determine a move to open standards is the size of the market. I can see scientific arenas, say, using proprietary formats and software because of limited markets.

Ques. 3: One major advantage of OOo is the internationalization. Do you see this opening up new markets in developing countries?

Ans. 3: Yes! Very much so. And we've been the leader here. OOo has provided the nucleus for any number of local efforts to gain control over software production and distribution. Our native-language confederation, which I help lead and helped create, has enabled millions to use office software in their language and to get support for it. It's really a fascinating and important point. Open source is not happening only in the US. In fact, much of OSS is happening in India, China, Brazil, Europe, where governments are trending to using FOSS (free/open source software) and away from proprietary and monopolistic software for reasons that are as much political as pragmatic and economic. Political, because FOSS offers a way out of the hegemony of US software products and English-only applications and pragmatic because not only is it cheaper but FOSS encourages the formation of local software production and distribution economies. An engineer learning and working with Linux contributes more to local wealth not to the wealth of a remote company, even if there are local Microsoft training companies. He will still end up supporting Microsoft's business. And there is the language issue. Since WWII, the lingua franca of business has been English, and software used reflects that. To be sure, there are Japanese, Chinese, French, German, etc., versions of proprietary software, but these are usually inadquate and imperfect; and the user has no choice but to use it. Open source has changed that. By giving the user--the native speaker--access to the localization process (translation, customization), the application can evolve to meet the speaker's real needs. Thus, our Welsh localization, our Indic language localizations, our Japanese, Czech, Serbian, Swahili, Basque, etc., localizations, all these are superior to proprietary versions, for they were created by the communty actually using the application according to an open model of development. Errors are corrected, innovations incorporated.

Ques. 4:The upcoming version 2 release must have the development team working overtime. Have there been any particularily difficult problems you are facing/have had to face?

Ans. 4: Just to set the context - OpenOffice.org/StarOffice is a huge code-base comprising millions of lines of code developed over a period of more than 15 years. It is a much larger challenge to work on a single native code-base of this size because logistically it takes a long time to
build and test, which impacts not just on releases but on daily and
developer builds. Techniques like agile programming and test-first
development simply don't scale this far, and developer support tools
that check stack and memory access are unable to cope with the code size and number of API symbols. The code-base is very well layered and somewhat modular, but not componentised.

In this particular release, we set ourselves (and almost entirely
completed) a challenging set of goals in terms of new features (in the
100s), along with bug fixes and many minor enhancements numbering in the 1000s. Due to development scheduling, we had a large number of projects integrating almost simultaneously. This put a strain on our quality and build processes, as well as requiring developer effort to resolve code and feature merge conflicts.

In the next release, we will avoid these issues in 3 ways: 1) the plan
for the release will specify fewer features, allowing the team to
respond to customer requirements during development; 2) the development schedule will use clear time-boxing, with individual projects aiming to complete within a specific part of a development phase; 3) we will improve planning and inter-team communication so that dependencies are detected and resolved earlier.

Ques. 5: Can you give us an idea of the new features in OOo ver 2.0?

Ans. 5: The main focus of our efforts and the most important benefits that customers will see is improved usability and significantly improved interoperability with Microsoft Office formats. This addresses the day-to-day needs of many more end users and makes
OpenOffice.org/StarOffice a real alternative.

Ques. 6: Do you decide new features from industry feedback? Specifically, do you have any corporate/industry partners who can give you an idea of the needs of a large corporation so that you can incorporate them?

Ans. 6: We use a broad range of sources for feature requirements ranging from customer interviews and surveys, market and competitive analysis, input from Sun's service and support teams, direct contacts by our engineers with larger customers and global partners (ISVs, ASPs, OEMs) and feedback from local service partners performing customer migration and deployment. This requirements process has been especially broad and intense in planning OpenOffice.org 3.0; while 2.0 focusses on offering a
compelling alternative to Microsoft Office, in 3.0 our focus will extend
to several unique and valuable features, especially around collaboration and workgroup productivity.

Can it really be true? (4, Insightful)

bmw (115903) | more than 9 years ago | (#11986969)

The main focus of our efforts and the most important benefits that customers will see is improved usability and significantly improved interoperability with Microsoft Office formats. This addresses the day-to-day needs of many more end users and makes
OpenOffice.org/StarOffice a real alternative.


I really hope they mean this. Dealing with MS Office formats has got to be insanely difficult and as of yet no one has really been able to do it well (not even Microsoft!). Life would be so much better if there was another office suite that could handle all the MS formats without choking on everything but the simplest of documents. I've got great hopes for OO.org 2.0 but you'll have to excuse me if I'm still a bit skeptical.

OS X port (0, Flamebait)

flibble-san (700028) | more than 9 years ago | (#11986982)

Come on guys, stop being idiots and work on an OS X port.

Re:OS X port (1)

delire (809063) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987020)

It may be they feel the 'market' for OSX is too small; given the snowballing trend of rolling out Linux desktops in goverments and large enterprises (and the existing predominance of Windos) it's perhaps likely that OO on OSX will always be playing catchup.

Re:OS X port (3, Informative)

DuBois (105200) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987230)

Been there. Done that:

Neo Office/J [planamesa.com]

Until they.. (5, Interesting)

AuSerpent (5434) | more than 9 years ago | (#11986983)

...make the install dummy proof I won't be recommending it again. I recently had the nerve to suggest that my mother-in-law try it out. She is just a regular internet user. She uses email, browses the web, and has used Microsoft Office on occassion so I thought it would be a snap for her. I emailed her a link and small description of Open Office and she was thrilled to give it a shot.

Well the downloads (even the stable) for the office suite are a zip file. The zip file extracts to a directory with a horde of different files. She had no idea what a zip file was and when I finally talked her through extracting it she was baffled by the tons of files.

Installing it this way may seem like a trivial task to the average computer geek but to your casual user this is a very intimidating process and if it weren't for me on the phone with her she would have never figured it out. I don't want to do install support to every person that I think might find use in Open Office so I'm just going to bite my tongue or suggest they shell out some cash for a CD they can pop in and have it hold their hand through the process.

Re:Until they.. (1)

flibble-san (700028) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987017)

the people who did The Open CD have packaged OpenOffice into an installer. Good idea but something the original team should do.

Re:Until they.. (4, Informative)

jonabbey (2498) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987036)

2.0 / Star Office 8 is supposed to dramatically improve all of that. No more of that network install / workstation install crap.

Re:Until they.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11987116)

As if that was a bug!
It was actually a quite handy feature, you insensitive clod.

Re:Until they.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11987056)

OSX installers get this right.

You download a file, which is a disk image. It mounts on the desktop, opens and shows a *single file* (a "package", which is actually a directory with lots of files, but you don't need to care). "Drag this file to your Applications folder, double click on it and it starts".

No need for an "installer". Uninstallation is "drag this file to the trash". No worries about local settings getting lost during upgrades.

How hard is that to do?

Re:Until they.. (1)

jalefkowit (101585) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987078)

The 2.0 beta install experience is much cleaner -- the ZIP has a nice setup.msi, you double click, it goes. No more of the kajillion files (which were a real drawback of 1.x).

Re:Until they.. (2, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987118)

Well, by all means, let's bitch and moan about the old version without even trying the new version to see that the installation could not be any simpler (and is, in fact, far simpler than even MS-Office).

Feature request: portability (4, Interesting)

jgarzik (11218) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987088)

I have been waiting for ages to be able to build OpenOffice.org on 64-bit. When I'm unwinding from a long day of kernel work, I do silly things like porting Fedora Core to Alpha AXP or PA-RISC 64. OpenOffice.org and Mozilla are the two big packages that are a pain to port to new platforms.

It would really be nice if 0.000% of the openoffice.org effort devoted to press releases and promotion went instead to increasing the portability of the code :)

This lack of portability is really a pet peeve of mine. With Linux or NetBSD, you can run the same application on practically any hardware platform, just by recompiling... presuming the software was written without 32-bit assumptions. Linux (and NetBSD) becomes your portability layer, presuming your application meets some minimum standards.

Another pet peeve is that every big application re-invents cross-OS portability, which actually exacerbates the portability problem.

In my position, when you have 1000 packages to get running on Alpha AXP, each application's portability glue becomes a portability hindrance. As an example, Mozilla's portability layer is the reason why Mozilla does not build on alpha today.

Re:Feature request: portability (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11987188)

It would really be nice if 0.000% of the openoffice.org effort devoted to press releases and promotion went instead to increasing the portability of the code

Two things:

- people that can promote open office != people that can increase the portability of the code
- promotion->more people know about it->more users and developers

dont the scientific community use open formats (1)

The_reformant (777653) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987147)

In the article they said they thought the scientific community would use proprietary formats due to a smaller market however from my experience most of the scientific community uses latex and postscript which I beleive are open (some use pdf too which im not too sure about the licencing status of)

OpenOffice only does what I tell it t do! (3, Insightful)

Achra (846023) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987179)

Seriously, this is the single reason that I use it over MS Office (except when I can't help it, like with Rational Soda and RequisitePro).. I used to work next to this guy, he would say "Wow, I never expected it to do that!" in joyful glee whenever MS Office did something truly bizarre with his formatting. Sometimes he would cry when undo didn't work. Office Interface [pcd-innovations.com]

Clueless about DBs (0, Troll)

leandrod (17766) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987196)

>
Base [...] is fully relational

It is not much as compared to other transgressors like MySQL or even PostgreSQL, but it is sad how developers can't grasp that SQL is in violation of the relational model. Claiming anything SQL is relation is like claiming 2+2=5 is some kind of 'improved' or 'practical' or 'good enough' algebra.

naming (3, Interesting)

juju2112 (215107) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987238)

I don't get why they want to call it "OpenOffice.org". No matter what they, naming your product after your website is just stupid. And then to be all anal about it. "It's .ORG! You have to say the .ORG part!

ugh.

I get that it's marketing, but I don't agree with it.

OpenOffice.org in the Office. (3, Interesting)

ebrusky (819597) | more than 9 years ago | (#11987239)

I run a small computer company and I use OOo for all of my business activity. I also recommend OOo to many of my customers and then also ask for a small donation to help the OOo team. I am also trying to convince a couple of local schools to switch to OOo inorder to save money. Though there is resistance, mainly because people don't want to admit that they have wasted their money. The clients of mine that have tried OOo have all given me positive feedback. I have a few complaints, though that may be a bit strong, when working with embedded tables in documents formatting gets screwed up often, and there is an odd scrolling issue on my system when I work with spreadsheets. But these are fairly minor issues. I can't wait to start playing with OOo 2.0 I just need to wait for the stable version.
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