Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Interview With Gary Edwards of OpenOffice.org

ScuttleMonkey posted about 9 years ago | from the inside-perspectives dept.

Sun Microsystems 173

silentbob4 writes "Hot on the heels of yesterdays interview of Sun's Florian Reuter posted on Slashdot comes a two page interview with OpenOffice.org's Gary Edwards. In this installment, Gary discusses the importance of open document formats and hints to the release date of OpenOffice.org 2.0: 'No one knows for certain when OpenOffice.org 2.0 stable will be released, but Mad Penguin's bet is that the stable 2.0 release will come before any recently purchased cartons of milk expire in your refrigerator.'"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

got milk? (5, Interesting)

yagu (721525) | about 9 years ago | (#13774892)

Excellent article, a bit long of a read but worth it. Read it!

As for pending relaase of stable OOo 2.0, the article mentions:

No one knows for certain when OOo 2.0 stable will be released, but Mad Penguin's bet is that the stable 2.0 release will come before any recently purchased cartons of milk expire in your refrigerator.

I need more specific data. I buy Ultra-Pasteurized milk, and the carton I recently bought has an expiration date of late November! I guess I can wait until then, I've waited this long. But, could I possibly be optimistic enough to hope he only means regular pasteurized milk? That would get me OO a couple weeks sooner!

Another interesting observation in the article:

Gary explains, Microsoft's Word ML will only interoperate with its own locked stack, require customers to become complete Microsoft shops if they hope to achieve the same level of fluid information flow available through truly open SOAs.
Discounting that Gary obviously completely advocating OO and probably had a disdain for Microsoft's XML implementation, I think to the extent that what he is pointing out is true, IT managers should take note . Unfortunately most won't or don't. We live in an age where decision makers chant the "nobody ever got fired for choosing Microsoft" mantra, and the threat that continued Microsoft upgrade stand to completely lock in a shop to only Microsoft products probably won't frighten them. But with slightly less myopia, IT managers should realize this pending lockin could jeapordize subsequent ability to exchange information and perform transactions with other organizations (factor in the additional pending Trusted Computing technology and this gets downright scary).

And should you choose not to read the entire article, read this gem of a question and response from page two:

MP: Is this lock down aimed at blunting the spread of OpenOffice.org 2.0?

Interesting stuff...

Re:got milk? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13774931)

frost piss

Re:got milk? (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | about 9 years ago | (#13775052)

I think to the extent that what he is pointing out is true, IT managers should take note . Unfortunately most won't or don't.

I think a lot of IT managers already have taken note. Most people in IT understand that Microsoft doesn't play well with others, which leads to the idea that your best bet is either to use only Microsoft Office or not use Microsoft Office at all. However, there just aren't loads of options there. Microsoft Office is what most businesses use, so if you want to do business with them, you might want to stick with MS. Further, people are accustomed to Microsoft Office, so there's that issue.

Finally, and this is not unimportant, even though OOo might provide a viable alternative to most of MS Office, they don't offer an Outlook clone. Many businesses are flat-out addicted to Outlook for their scheduling. OOo might do well to integrate Evolution and help Novell port it to Windows/OSX.

Either way, I doubt that the real problem is that IT managers are oblivious to the vendor lock-in MS represents, but rather that the lock-in has already taken place, and now the question is, how do you get out? The answer may be to push MS to support OASIS.

Gary Edwards (1)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | about 9 years ago | (#13775174)

The one who looked like Eddie Munster? Host of the Newlywed Game? Wow! That show really went downhil after he left!

"What is the most unusual place you and your wife ever made whoopie?"

Re:Gary Edwards (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | about 9 years ago | (#13775308)

Not even close. Bob Eubanks.
He did [timstvshowcase.com] look like Eddie Munster, though.

Re:got milk? (4, Insightful)

maotx (765127) | about 9 years ago | (#13775359)

...how do you get out?

Spread the word and practice what you preach.
I believe the problem is not as much as people don't listen but the fact that people do not spread what they preach. As a business user, have you ever given an MS Office client an OO.org document? I know I haven't. Reason being is because the recipients do not have OO.org installed nor do they want to install it. And to force clients into downloading a >100MB file to read your document is preposterous!

What I believe is needed is a light-weight OO.org viewer that is quick to download and quick to open. Then we can give our clients OO.org documents and exclaim to them when they tell us they can't view it that we use OO.org due to its [insert fabulous reason here] and if they like they can download the free viewer here*. That or include the viewer or link with document. That way they know we use OO.org as we prefer the benefits it offers over those of MS and they are not forced to get something they're not comfortable ("opensource? my mcse guy said it's not free!")

*Said viewer should have link too full version so they have option of downloading OO.org

Re:got milk? (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | about 9 years ago | (#13775444)

What I believe is needed is a light-weight OO.org viewer that is quick to download and quick to open.

If all you need is for the client to view the document, send a PDF. That's what PDFs are for, and it also diminishes the reliance on Microsoft. Best of all, almost everyone already has a PDF viewer installed.

Re:got milk? (1)

F_Scentura (250214) | about 9 years ago | (#13775523)

Yes, I really have no idea who would be daft enough to claim or imagine that OO is locked into its own document types.

Re:got milk? (2, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | about 9 years ago | (#13775776)

Of course, OOo includes an "export to PDF" feature. So, even if you're on Windows and don't have Acrobat (or some other PDF generator), OpenOffice has you covered for read-only portable documents. Someone might argue that you should use OASIS because it's more open, but at least PDF is a lot more open than the Word format, and arguably more supported than Word even.

It doesn't support editing so well, so that's the real question. When you're sending a document, do you want the recipient to be able to edit the document easily? If the answer is yes, you probably don't want to use a PDF. If the answer is no, there isn't really a better format to use.

Re:got milk? (2, Insightful)

phallstrom (69697) | about 9 years ago | (#13775765)

Best of all when that user asks how I create those PDF's I can say I just clicked the PDF button in OO.

I'm the only one who uses OO at work here (alongside Office) and I send out a lot of PDFs. I've had numerous people ask me how I do that especially when they know I don't have any of the Acrobat stuff...

Sadly they then say they wish Office had that and go about their day...

And... (2, Informative)

game kid (805301) | about 9 years ago | (#13775780)

...when someone asks how you got the full version of Adobe Acrobat, one can just say, "I didn't. I just used OpenOffice.org to export a PDF. Microsoft Office can't do that without that overpriced Adobe thing, but OOo can."

When they ask how you found that, and then why they are stuck with that $x00-$x000 piece of crap Microsoft calls an office suite, you can look at them and (before answering said questions) smile at them and yourself with pride.

My new compy has OpenOffice.org, and no version of Microsoft Office (save for maybe WordPad, if that counts), for obvious reasons hinted at above.

Oops. (1)

game kid (805301) | about 9 years ago | (#13775813)

Just saw the older post [slashdot.org] .

Re:got milk? (1)

Eric Giguere (42863) | about 9 years ago | (#13775363)

Either way, I doubt that the real problem is that IT managers are oblivious to the vendor lock-in MS represents, but rather that the lock-in has already taken place, and now the question is, how do you get out?

The real problem isn't vendor lock-in at the IT level, but vendor lock-in at the user level. Day-to-day users of Office don't even want to upgrade the version of Office they're using, let alone switch to a comparable but completely new product. Too many things to re-learn. That's a huge amount of intertia to overcome and a big barrier to entry for anyone to overcome.

Eric
Vioxx recall reduces spam [ericgiguere.com]

A lot of nonsense, too... (1)

Dink Paisy (823325) | about 9 years ago | (#13775162)

Stuff like "I saw some problems recently with MS XML that really discloses everything you need to know about where Microsoft wants to take you. It's not pretty." Well, that's nice to know, without any details.

Or "To run Microsoft Office Professional 2003 right, you have to have Microsoft servers installed." Which is absolutely not true. I suspect he means that there are various features of Office 2003 that interact with Microsoft server products, but those are two very different claims. There are other totally bogus claims in there, too, such as non-Microsoft tools being unable to manipulate Microsoft XML formats.

Of course, when someone doesn't even know the name of the product they are talking about, it is also an indication that maybe they don't know what they are talking about. There is no "Microsoft Office XP Professional 2003." It's like listening to people talking about Linsux or Winbloze; I wouldn't instantly grant them much credibility, regardless of how well they knew one side of the issues.

And Microsoft is partly to blame here, too. There are two distinct Microsoft XML formats. One is Word ML, that is supported by Microsoft Office 2003 Professional today. As far as I know, approximately no one uses it, since it is only available in the professional version. This is the format that Edwards is constantly complaining about. The second format is the new format that will be introduced in Office 12. It should be supported more widely (i.e. at least in all versions of Office 12, and possibly through older versions of Office with a plugin), and is seen by Microsoft as their future Office document format. Edwards seems to be unaware of this distinction.

Another questionable part are his claims, that Windows XP is not widely used (he claims that older versions of Windows are more popular), that 15% of Internet users use OpenOffice.org, that OpenOffice.org has a higher install base than Microsoft Office 2003 Professional... I don't know the facts, but these aren't obviously correct, and some credible references would be nice.

I could go on about additional mistakes and misleading stuff in this interview, but I see no need to. I read it as a cheerleading session between Mad Penguin and an OO.o developer. The stuff about Microsoft is gratuitous Microsoft bashing, and not based on facts.

market share (2, Insightful)

bluGill (862) | about 9 years ago | (#13775328)

There are a lot of old computers out there that have not been upgraded. Windows 98 is still common, though mostly for kids games these days. (The games don't run on the parent's XP system, but the next kid can enjoy it just as much as the first) Many offices are still running Windows 2000 on the desktop. (NT 4.0 is still a popular server platform, though it is dieing slowly)

Many home users are using OOo, because it is free and better than whatever came with their system. Many offices are still on Word 97.

The market share of those using the newest versions of Microsoft stuff is increasing, but there is a large amount of old stuff out there.

It is very hard to count marketshare. OpenOffice.org is a freedownload. How many have downloaded it once and installed on many machines? Many companies have a site license for Microsoft software, whatever comes with the PC is wiped when the machine arrives, and their version installed. Don't count the shipped version of software as in use. So nobody really knows what the true numbers are.

I agree that his numbers sound exaggerated, but I wouldn't call them bad without getting his justification for them. He might know what he is talking about.

No Office 2K3 Prof? Now who's talking nonsense? (2, Informative)

markdowling (448297) | about 9 years ago | (#13775524)

In the quote you actually use, he doesn't say "Office XP Professional 2003", he says "Office Professional 2003" which does exist.

http://www.microsoft.com/office/editions/howtobuy/ professional.mspx [microsoft.com]

Due to the similarity in file formats and program functionality it's not completely unfair to use "XP/2003" as nomenclature but Mad Penguin's punctuation is not Gary Edwards fault.

Finally, he says you need Exchange 2003/Sharepoint/Project Server etc. to use Office 2003 to the fullest - which is true because MS uses proprietary means for information sharing, whereas with open standards it wouldn't matter which server people use. "Using Office right" involves data interchange if we are to believe Microsoft (with those stupid dinosaur ads). You fail to address this point.

Re:got milk? (3, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about 9 years ago | (#13775212)

>> OOo 2.0

I just want to know if the primordial version was called OOo 0.0.

Re:got milk? (1)

Surt (22457) | about 9 years ago | (#13775214)

How much does ultra-pasteurized milk cost, and where do you buy it. Also, I don't understand how this particularly helps keep the milk fresh, as the usual problem is bacteria entering your milk after you break the seal, isn't it?

Re:got milk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13775351)

I see this milk in virtually all supermarkets/grocery stores these days, though not stocked as plentifully as regular milk. Half the time I shop a store may be out of it. You're right about bacteria entering after breaking the seal but my experience has been ultra-pasteurized far outlasts others even after being opened. I can only theorize it has to do with the initial state of the ultra-pasteurized milk with far less "seed" bacteria to start. I highly recommend it -- the milk not only lasts longer but has the fresh milk taste far longer (I find regular milk to quickly acquire a somewhat stale flavor, not so with ultra-pasteurized).

-yagu

Re:got milk? (1)

Surt (22457) | about 9 years ago | (#13775541)

Thanks for the follow up, I will have to take a more than passing glance the next time i'm in the milk aisle.

Soo (-1, Redundant)

Hatta (162192) | about 9 years ago | (#13774916)

What if all the milk in my fridge is expired?

Re:Soo (1)

MarkGriz (520778) | about 9 years ago | (#13774995)

If you're an alien, throw a wild drunken party.

Re:Soo (1)

Anarke_Incarnate (733529) | about 9 years ago | (#13775088)

Nobody got the newcomer joke.

His name means what?! lol

milk (4, Funny)

Bradee-oh! (459922) | about 9 years ago | (#13774922)

I have a carton of non-fat powdered milk I keep in my fridge cause I have no cabinet space... *sigh* that stuff lasts forever.

Re:milk (4, Funny)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | about 9 years ago | (#13774996)

*sigh* that stuff lasts forever

At least you can look forward to getting Duke Nukem Forever before it expires. Maybe.

Re:milk (4, Funny)

IAmTheDave (746256) | about 9 years ago | (#13775086)

*sigh* that stuff lasts forever

Don't worry, you can pass the time playing a game on your Phantom [infiniumlabs.com] .

Re:milk (1)

Bradee-oh! (459922) | about 9 years ago | (#13775441)

Shadow Wrought - At least you can look forward to getting Duke Nukem Forever before it expires.

IAmTheDave - Don't worry, you can pass the time playing a game on your Phantom.
 
Kind sirs, I thank you very much for giving me a new tool on how to explain orders/magnitudes of infinity to my geek gaming friends who aren't neccessary schooled in higher math.
 
  "You see... that's like saying by the time it happens you will be able to play Duke Nukem Forever on your Phantom console..."

Re:milk (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | about 9 years ago | (#13775481)

Or as my friend used to say, "Say I have an infinite number of marbles in pocket, and I decide to give you half of them. I still have an infinite number of marbles in my pocket."

A New Pseudo-Unit! (5, Funny)

adavies42 (746183) | about 9 years ago | (#13774937)

I hereby proclaim the lacto-expiration the pseudo-unit of time. This fills an important gap in the pseudo-unit lineup, which includes the football field (length), the Library of Congress (data), and the Hiroshima bomb (energy).

Re:A New Pseudo-Unit! (1)

bcat24 (914105) | about 9 years ago | (#13775009)

I think you missed some other major pseudo-units, such as: the size of a human hair, the size of Rhode Island, and the size of the period at the end of this sentence.

Re:A New Pseudo-Unit! (1)

JFitzsimmons (764599) | about 9 years ago | (#13775062)

And lastly, the size of Texas.

Re:A New Pseudo-Unit! (1)

PancakeMan (530649) | about 9 years ago | (#13775207)

don't forget the breadbox!

Re:A New Pseudo-Unit! (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | about 9 years ago | (#13775366)

Then the nano-lacto-expiration would be the length of time between when the light changes and the cab driver behind you honks his horn.

Re:A New Pseudo-Unit! (1)

adavies42 (746183) | about 9 years ago | (#13775477)

No, that's a New York minute.

Re:A New Pseudo-Unit! (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | about 9 years ago | (#13775624)

define expired. As in, "smells bad"?, or "wouldn't drink it"?, or "too gross to use even on crappy reality TV"?, or "The FBI confiscated it as a bio-weapon"?

I only came in... (5, Funny)

Short Circuit (52384) | about 9 years ago | (#13774941)

...to joke about milk. But, after reading the other posts, that topic's already soured.

Re:I only came in... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13774998)

In other news: Duke Nukem Forever to be released before a recently purchased can of chicken soup goes bad.

Re:I only came in... (1)

LordEd (840443) | about 9 years ago | (#13775006)

I'm lactose intolerant, you insensitive clod!

Re:I only came in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13775087)

And I am lactose joke intolerant you insensitive clod! Ow

Re:I only came in... (2, Funny)

nine-times (778537) | about 9 years ago | (#13775085)

Well, no point crying over spilt.... cow excretions.

Yea, they are getting pretty cheesy too... (4, Funny)

StressGuy (472374) | about 9 years ago | (#13775117)

it's enough to curdle your insides

Re:I only came in... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13775223)

Yes, I'm afraid it's already been milked for all it's worth.

My Milk Never Expires (1, Funny)

Dante Shamest (813622) | about 9 years ago | (#13774949)

I drink it straight from the source.

Re:My Milk Never Expires (5, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 9 years ago | (#13774986)

Isn't your mom kind of getting tired of that?

Re:My Milk Never Expires (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13775044)

When my wife had each of our two kids, I loved the taste of her breast milk. Too bad it stopped eventually, and you certainly can't get breast milk at a store. Such a shame.

Re:My Milk Never Expires (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 9 years ago | (#13775095)

Worse is the drop in cup size. I feel your pain, buddy.

Re:My Milk Never Expires (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13775652)

Are you implying his mother is a cow?

Re:My Milk Never Expires (0, Redundant)

guycouch (763243) | about 9 years ago | (#13775004)

Mom?

Milk expiration dates? (1)

bcat24 (914105) | about 9 years ago | (#13774970)

The milk in my fridge has only a "sell by" date, not an expiration date. Will that also tell me the release date?

Re:Milk expiration dates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13775057)

Funny, the milk in my country always has an expiration date.

Re:Milk expiration dates? (1)

Anarke_Incarnate (733529) | about 9 years ago | (#13775126)

That's why your country lost the war.

Re:Milk expiration dates? (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 9 years ago | (#13775557)

sell by +7 days is a good approximation for expiration on milk.

I just hope... (4, Insightful)

jamesgamble (917138) | about 9 years ago | (#13774979)

I just hope the OO developers aren't rushing OpenOffice v2 just to give the public a version update. I would gladly wait another two months if it meant OpenOffice would have fewer issues. If milk expires, you can always buy another carton. If the product is sour when it comes out, then it's time to switch to a different brand.

Re:I just hope... (3, Insightful)

cybergrunt69 (730228) | about 9 years ago | (#13775121)

Seconded! This is one reason that I both love and hate OSS. The developers are doing what they can to make sure they produce a stable product. When it's ready, it gets released. Although I'd rather not generalize, most closed-source products are pushed to release by manangement, based on a release date - and it usually doesn't matter if it's ready to play out in userland. Most OSS releases can be held back until it's ready to go - good for them.

However, continuous waiting for the "X" release can make it seem like vapor-ware and lead to much frustration when it gets delayed for so long.

OK, I'll wait. It's free! It does what I want. If it needs to cook for a while, let it - I'd rather have it cooked all the way through instead of having to chew on half-done guk that I'll complain about...

Why wait? (2, Insightful)

CyricZ (887944) | about 9 years ago | (#13775286)

Why do you have to wait until some specific version is released? Most major open source projects make frequent builds available of their development sources or before stable releases. Go ahead and use the betas or pre-release builds. Chances are the quality is suitable enough for you.

Re:I just hope... (1)

QSYSMAN (755313) | about 9 years ago | (#13775858)

I don't think they are. The 2.0 beta has been available for some time now if people are really interested in a version update.

Monday! (4, Funny)

slashflood (697891) | about 9 years ago | (#13774982)

2005-10-17

mac annoncement, Wednesday 13.58 eastern (-1, Offtopic)

invasifspecies (921874) | about 9 years ago | (#13775003)

Re:mac annoncement, Wednesday 13.58 eastern (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13775107)

Thanks for the headsup !!

Too bad someone mod you down.

Confirmed!!! (3, Funny)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | about 9 years ago | (#13775026)

Netcraft just confirmed it- your milk's expired.

Dang. (4, Funny)

halivar (535827) | about 9 years ago | (#13775041)

I just remembered I had milk in the office fridge from 03/05. I guess that was the Longhorn countdown milk. Here's hoping OO.o can do better!

Fantastic (4, Informative)

MaestroSartori (146297) | about 9 years ago | (#13775048)

He's finally explained in clear terms why the MS-touted XML stuff in Office 2003 isn't useful to anyone else. I'd been idly wondering for a while, and other articles/interviews seem to take it for granted. Anyone else who's curious, the answer is on page 2:

...the problem is the well-known binary key in the Microsoft's XML header of every Microsoft XML document. That binary key holds a great deal of the information that we need about the layout definitions of the Microsoft XML file format. We can do a content-based transformation very well. Microsoft's content is in perfect XML file format. Their styles, though, are locked up in that binary key.


So yeah, MS have taken a completely transparent and useful XML format and munged evil hidden data into it. It can probably be reverse engineered, but still it manages to miss the entire point of having an XML data format in the first place :(

Re:Fantastic (4, Insightful)

rlp (11898) | about 9 years ago | (#13775093)

Yeah, but Microsoft defines 'interoperable' as 'able to work across a range of (current) Microsoft products'. So, by that definition XML with an embedded proprietary binary key is 'interoperable'.

Why the fascination with XML? (3, Interesting)

CyricZ (887944) | about 9 years ago | (#13775164)

Why has everyone suddenly gone googoo over XML? As all this interoperability nonsense shows, it often is far from the perfect solution.

At the firm I used to work at we had a rather sane policy: send short memos as plain text files, and larger documents as PDFs. Of course, the PDFs were generated via LaTeX, so the LaTeX source to the document could also be sent, too. We didn't have to worry about all this crap with MS Office.

We'd often hear stories from new employees about the troubles they'd gone through with documents at their previous place of employment. So we were always quite glad that we avoided all that. It does take some time to use LaTeX, for instance, but after the initial learning curve (which is far shallower for most people than is widely thought) its users were far more productive.

Re:Fantastic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13775184)

I read that too, pretty outlandish and disgusting if you ask me.

I wonder how microsoft execs can sleep at night.

Re:Fantastic (1)

cdwiegand (2267) | about 9 years ago | (#13775529)

That's weird, since I made a program here at work (custom report engine) that spits out Excel 2003 XML files, and I haven't seen this XML tag anytime while working with this format... Perhaps it's a Word 2003 XML thing???

Re:Fantastic (1)

Dr.Dubious DDQ (11968) | about 9 years ago | (#13775679)

I don't personally know much about the format, but it may be the new "binary key" is unique to the new "Microsoft Office 'Open' XML format", which is DIFFERENT from the MS Office 2003 XML formats...

This is supposed to be funny (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13775064)

Sigh, yet another SHAMELESS money grab as developpers rush out another product in time for the Christmas retail season... :)

OpenOffice documentation (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13775077)

Please do something about the OpenOffice documentation, especially for developers. Right now it ranges from nonexistance to horrible. Attempting to do anything, and i mean ANYTHING using OpenOffice.Basic, requires hours upon hours of digging through forums, obscure, incomplete or outdated documents. I realize that the everyday user is the main target of the suite, but right now people who want to do just a little scripting are left with virtually no choice but use MS Office. I'm an above average programmer, and this lack of documentation has left me helpless and frustrated. Some kind of tutorial, or even an updated, consistent documentation from an individual developer's point of view (not someone's who has been developing Ooo for years and knows the code by heart) would be a perfect addition to an otherwise great product.

It's not just the OpenOffice project that suffers. (4, Insightful)

CyricZ (887944) | about 9 years ago | (#13775219)

It's not just the OpenOffice project that suffers from a complete lack of quality developer documentation. I recently was doing some work with embedding Mozilla's Gecko engine, and I ran into the same problems that you did. Assuming you can even find documentation, it is often years old and out of date. Sure, there are examples, but they're horribly commented and not very useful to learn from.

We don't have time to go digging through the Mozilla source to find out each and every little nuance that wasn't mentioned in the three-year-old documentation. So please, Mozilla and OpenOffice.org developers, provide us with some recent, useful documentation and examples! That is perhaps the greatest favour you could do at this time.

Re:It's not just the OpenOffice project that suffe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13775526)

Here is your "standard" answer: These are open source projects. If you find a problem with them, fix them yourself!

Re:It's not just the OpenOffice project that suffe (1)

CyricZ (887944) | about 9 years ago | (#13775604)

Except in the cases of Mozilla and OpenOffice.org, they're not just your typical open source project. They're constantly billed as "Microsoft killers". Considering their corporate backing, such projects should be able to offer far better documentation. I'm sure Sun or AOL could spare a developer for a few days to write some decent documentation. The benefits of such documentation may far exceed the initial costs.

Re:It's not just the OpenOffice project that suffe (1)

killmenow (184444) | about 9 years ago | (#13775762)

So please, Mozilla and OpenOffice.org developers, provide us with some recent, useful documentation and examples! That is perhaps the greatest favour you could do at this time.
Never mind, you know, providing us with top-notch software products for ... hmm, how much does it cost? ... Oh, I remember, ZERO dollars ... and nevermind making it open source so it's not just free as in gratis but free as in liberty ... so we can do with it pretty much whatever we please, including writing our own documentation if it's an itch we need scratched ... or, for that matter, allowing us to pay you or someone else to write the documentation for us if it's important to us ...

Yeah, nevermind all that. We don't have time to wade through your source code and your lame documentation! And we're too cheap to buy a product or toolkit that includes proper documentation already! And we're too cheap to float the cost of some technical writers to keep the documentation for your free software up to date. Just fix your documentation NOW NOW NOW!!! It SUCKS!!! It SUCKS, YA HEAR ME!!! Write us some @#%#$^ documentation NOW!!!

WAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!

Much appreciated, thanks.

It benefits them to offer such documentation. (3, Insightful)

CyricZ (887944) | about 9 years ago | (#13775888)

The cost is irrelevant. Microsoft provides Internet Explorer for free, too. And the documentation for their MSHTML control is superb. I would expect the Mozilla group to be able to provide similar, if not better, documentation.

In the case of Mozilla, it would greatly benefit them if their product were to be embedded all over the place. Of course, non-Mozilla developers need solid documentation and solid examples in order to learn how to embed Gecko. Such documentation and examples currently do not exist.

The same goes for OpenOffice. If these products want to be seriously used, then they will need to provide sufficient documentation. It's as simple as that. The price they're charging for their software is irrelevant.

Stable sort in calc (4, Interesting)

dbhankins (688931) | about 9 years ago | (#13775114)

It may seem like a nit, but I believe one of the factors slowing acceptance of OpenOffice in many departments and small businesses is that Calc doesn't have a stable sort (i.e. a sort that preserves the order of rows that are unaffected by the sort) while Excel does.

Many shops use spreadsheets as a kind of quick-and-dirty database, and they rely on the ability to sort on 4 or more columns. Calc can only support sorting on 3.

Unfortunately, 2.0 won't fix this as the bug was marked as a "do later".

Re:Stable sort in calc (1)

Tet (2721) | about 9 years ago | (#13775354)

I believe one of the factors slowing acceptance of OpenOffice in many departments and small businesses is that Calc doesn't have a stable sort

And you're using OO Calc why? Gnumeric is far and away the better spreadsheet.

Many shops use spreadsheets as a kind of quick-and-dirty database, and they rely on the ability to sort on 4 or more columns. Calc can only support sorting on 3.

Again, see Gnumeric [gnumeric.org] . Now available for Windows, too.

The GUI architecture. (0, Offtopic)

CyricZ (887944) | about 9 years ago | (#13775120)

What is the GUI architecture of the 2.x series like? Are they still using their own home-brewed GUI toolkit, or have they transitioned it to be a wrapper around Qt, GTK+, Win32, etc.?

Re:The GUI architecture. (1)

tolan-b (230077) | about 9 years ago | (#13775284)

Dunno about other systems, but my OpenOffice.org 1.1.3 on Fedora 3 + Gnome seems to be fully integrated with Gnome visually.

How do you make a Penguin mad? (2, Funny)

digitaldc (879047) | about 9 years ago | (#13775216)

Tell him that that his new workplace is casual dress.

making OOo not suck (0, Offtopic)

bcrowell (177657) | about 9 years ago | (#13775227)

It's great to have open document formats, but is there progress in making OOo not suck?

I hear that gcj is now far enough along that it's possible to build OOo without using Sun's not-free-as-in-speech implementation of Java. Have any slashdotters tried it? Does it improve OOo's performance at all, since gcj can compile to native code, or does it not matter that much, since only some parts of OOo are in Java? Will there ever be a day when apt-get on Debian causes a binary compiled with gcj to be installed? Will there ever be a day when you can install OOo on FreeBSD via the ports system (from source) without going through a ridiculous amount of pain (installing Java, which is ridiculously hard because of licensing, and then compiling OOo, which is also always an exercise in frustration)?

OOo 1.x was unacceptably slow for me, even on fairly fast machines. Is there going to be any progress on this front? CPUs aren't improving as quickly any more, and hard disks' performance increases are always at a lower rate than CPU and memory. In general, I see the power-hungriness of software increasing starting to greatly outpace the power of the hardware, especially on non-Linux platforms.

As long as I'm flaming OOo, what about documentation? I recently started digging around for documentation for the OOo spreadsheet, and although there were a whole bunch of docs that were available free online, none of them were comprehensive. (E.g., if you want to fit a line to some data points in OOo, there doesn't seem to be any official documentation anywhere on how to do it. You have to use linest(), and googling on that turned up some third-party docs on university web sites and e-mail lists, none of which had complete, correct info.)

Oh, crap! (2, Funny)

Descalzo (898339) | about 9 years ago | (#13775254)

but Mad Penguin's bet is that the stable 2.0 release will come before any recently purchased cartons of milk expire in your refrigerator.

Looks like I picked the wrong week to buy Parmalat.

Re:Oh, crap! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13775887)

Thank goodness, I have Santal.

Non-free? (4, Insightful)

Markus Registrada (642224) | about 9 years ago | (#13775271)

I'd like to hear about Java-free builds. In particular, I wonder whether anyone has made progress plugging in SQLite in place of their Java-dependent database engine. Database access seems to be the only important feature in 2.0 that depends on Java.

While an OOo built with Gcj and Classpath is, apparently, legally unencumbered, the future of the language is uncertain. Some us would prefer, for a variety of reasons, to have OOo not dependent on Java for core features.

Obligatory Fr Ted quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13775299)

"You'd better get going, because milk gets sour. Unless it's UHT milk, but there's no demand for that. Because it's shite."

ETA 2005/10/20 (4, Informative)

hexene (68121) | about 9 years ago | (#13775379)

A showstopper (#i55330#) has come up, and as a result there will be a third Release Candidate. So estimated time of arrival has gone from 13 October to the 20th.

Re:ETA 2005/10/20 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13775622)

According to their issue db [openoffice.org] this bug was squashed... well... today.

Not all are impressed by OpenDoc (1)

Sir Runcible Spoon (143210) | about 9 years ago | (#13775412)

Dave Winer [scripting.com] seems to some sort of bee in his bonnet over OpenDoc. He doesn't seem to say why.

Re:Not all are impressed by OpenDoc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13775649)

It would take advanced math to count the number of bees in Dave's bonnet. Really, it happens so often and with so little explanation, I'm surprised that people are surprised at his apiary hattitude.

Remember, Dave is the guy who starts an argument in his blog and when he doesn't like how it's going, he pulls the information and says he won anyway.

If Dave has a bee in his bonnet, I usually take that as a sign that someone else did something right for a change.

----
A priest, a nun, and a midget walk into a bar. The priest says "Dave Winer's upset again.". The nun says, "Who?" The midget says, "I've lost count."

Geez (0, Troll)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | about 9 years ago | (#13775418)

Open document formats are NOT important right now! I wish they would get a clue on this issue.

What's important is what the standard document format is RIGHT NOW, and right now, it's the binary office format. Until is OpenOffice absolutely, positively 100% compatible with no headaches, it will continue to be a project that people shy away from.

Yes, yes, yes, I know it's relatively undocumented. But that's not an unsolvable problem. If they really want OpenOffice to be adopted, they need to solve this problem. Have a big "bug drive" where everyone sends in MS/Office documents that don't open right in OpenOffice, and vice-versa!

Why is compatibility such a hard concept for people to get that it's the single most critical feature? OK, they're volunteers, and maybe they don't care about people adopting their program. But if they do care, then they need to clue in.

Re:Geez (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13775664)

Sigh? You don't have clue do you?
I mean you are the type of person who complains that linux does support every single device out of the box, programs have security bugs in them, etc...

Developers are not miracle workers they can't do the impossible.
100% compatibility by reserve engineering isn't a very easy thing to achieve believe or not

Re:Geez (4, Insightful)

chill (34294) | about 9 years ago | (#13775770)

This just isn't true. Frequently Microsoft products can't open previous versions of Microsoft documents without formatting issues, and this doesn't seem to stop anyone.

When Word 97 was released they claimed it could read/write Word 95 documents. They lied. Their "Word 95" export was really a munged RTF saver and it caused no end of headaches for Word 95 users. It wasn't fixed for months, until SP1 for Office 97 was released.

Try using Office 2003 to open MS Works or Office 4.x files and see what happens. If it even tries at all, you better hope it is a plain-Jane file with nothing fancy, or it is all going to be screwed up.

Most documents convert fine. Other can be handled the same way ANY legacy format has been handled in the digital age -- stop using it and keep a couple copies of the old software around just in case someone needs to access the legacy data. I've managed document transistions at a couple large companies moving from RF-Flow to Visio; Wordstar to WordPerfect to Word; Lotus 1-2-3 to Word; and dBase 3 to dBase 4 to Access 95, 97, 2000 then finally Postgres.

The arguments are always the same.

Q. "What about all my old data?"
A. "Batch convert what you can. Hand convert what you use, as you use it. Leave the old stuff to decay and keep a copy of the old software."

Hell, most times we also needed to set aside some old PCs with the old OS just to run the legacy software. CLIX, OS/9000, OS/2, Windows 3.11, DOS 4.1. We had a legacy document room with a bunch of old computers at one facility. It was a working museum.

THAT is why open document formats are important. To avoid the necessity of working museums.

  -Charles

Re:Geez (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | about 9 years ago | (#13775860)

When Word 97 was released they claimed it could read/write Word 95 documents. They lied. Their "Word 95" export was really a munged RTF saver and it caused no end of headaches for Word 95 users. It wasn't fixed for months, until SP1 for Office 97 was released.

You do realize that was, like, eight years ago, right? And then they fixed it ("months"? Good lord!). Are there hiccups? I'm sure there are. But in practice, very few people moan about incompatibility issues.

THAT is why open document formats are important. To avoid the necessity of working museums.

That's a different issue. I don't argue that open document formats aren't a good thing, I only argue that no one cares about philosophy when they're trying to send and receive documents with a minimum of hassle.

Re:Geez (3, Insightful)

shis-ka-bob (595298) | about 9 years ago | (#13775833)

Please look at the Florian Reuter interview [madpenguin.org] with Mad Penguin. He is in charge of importing Microsoft Office format, which seems to make him the person you believe to not being 'clued in':
FR: If you have a Word document in .doc or .rtf or Word ML, and you use the current filter, and something goes wrong, even something not very noticeable, please submit the document as a bug document to OpenOffice.org, so that we can get a critical mass of documents that we can look at.
He then goes on to describe how you can help in more detail. So please get yourself clued in and submit all the bug reports you can about document inport/export. Do some good or stop whining.

Broken (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13775479)

My fridge is broken. Yay - I get OpenOffice 2.0 today!

I drink soy milk (1)

ion_ (176174) | about 9 years ago | (#13775483)

...you insensitive clod!

Re:I drink soy milk (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 9 years ago | (#13775525)

Soy milk expires too.

Of course, he could drink soy milk and be using that as the deadline.

"Uh, we have until June 2006 to get this stable. That's when my soy milk expires."

Refrigerator? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13775549)

Why would I want OpenOffice.org in my refrigerator?

Milk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13775735)

I'm a student you insensitive clod! I have lots of expired milk in my refrigerator.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?