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OpenOffice.org to Get Firefox Extensions and More

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the fight-for-your-desktop dept.

207

I_am_Rambi writes "OpenOffice.org is set to get new features including Firefox-like extensions. From the article: 'Second, and I think that although we have no clear road map for this yet (besides, our version naming scheme is going to change once again ), OpenOffice.org and StarOffice shall include the Mozilla Foundation's Thunderbird and Sunbird (calendaring application) in the future. Besides the inclusion of those two softs inside the office suite, connectors to Sun Calendar Server and Microsoft Exchange will also be developed accordingly.'"

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LJ Talked More About Extensions (3, Informative)

Noksagt (69097) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147181)

LinuxJournal ran an article on OpenOffice.org Extensions [linuxjournal.com] a couple of months ago. They link to the project wiki and summarize a few extensions, including a grammar checker, Wikipedia integration, and a blog posting tool.

Re:LJ Talked More About Extensions (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16147457)

including Firefox-like extensions

They renamed the macros and made them harder to install? Wow. FOSS is realy going down the drain.

Seriously. Firefox has one of the most fucked-up extension-systems in existence. I find it easier to develop, debug and deploy a binary plugin for Eclipse than for the AOL-browser Firefox. That's what you get from letting a incompetent cunt run a project.

Questions on Thunderbird/Sunbird Inclusion (4, Informative)

Noksagt (69097) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147200)

OpenOffice.org and StarOffice shall include the Mozilla Foundation's Thunderbird and Sunbird (calendaring application) in the future.
This is an interesting move. I am Thunderbird and Sunbird user, so am not opposed to this change. I certainly know a lot of people were clamouring for Outlook-like functionality and integration for OO.o. I do wonder why these were chosen over Evolution [gnome.org] , which is more like Outlook & already has integrated calendaring. I also wonder why Sunbird was selected--while I'm happy with it, it hasn't yet hit a 1.0 milestone. I still use it in production, but I know others avoid it & I think Mozilla would discourage it. And why Sunbird, rather than Mozilla Lightning [mozilla.org] , which integrates into Thunderbird?

Finally, Thunderbird seems to release updates more rapidly than OO.o. Does anyone know how updates will work? Will those who installed it through OO.o immediately get Thunderbird updates? Or will they wait until the next OO.o version bump?

Re:Questions on Thunderbird/Sunbird Inclusion (2, Informative)

cynicalmoose (720691) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147241)

Moreover, Evolution already has (slightly limited) support for MS Exchange. That's important, because Exchange uses a weird and undocumented version of extended MAPI to interact with clients (i.e. Outlook), which makes building interfaces with it hard. If you want to see Exchange support in Outlook, vote for bug 128284 (bugzilla rejects links from slashdot).

Re:Questions on Thunderbird/Sunbird Inclusion (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16147377)

"If you want to see Exchange support in Outlook"

I want it removed, thanks very much.

Re: Exchange support in Mozilla (2, Informative)

bunratty (545641) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147828)

On the other hand, if you want Exchange support in Mozilla, vote for bug 128284 [mozilla.org] .

Why not Evolution (4, Interesting)

overshoot (39700) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147260)

I do wonder why these were chosen over Evolution [gnome.org], which is more like Outlook & already has integrated calendaring.
If it were me, I'd say it's because Evo is a toad, complete with hard-coded URLs. Gag.

However, it's not me -- it's Sun. And for Sun, the deal-breaker is that Evolution is GPL-licensed. The Mozilla license is much more suited to their private-branding model.

Re:Why not Evolution (3, Informative)

shoegoo (674914) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147572)

I'd guess another reason for choosing Thunderbird/Sunbird is that they already have working ports on other platforms (granted Sunbird is still not of great quality). The last I heard about the Evolution Windows port was that it was finally compiling...

Re:Why not Evolution (2, Insightful)

Kunta Kinte (323399) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147715)

And for Sun, the deal-breaker is that Evolution is GPL-licensed.

Oh yeah, Sun hates the GPL [linux-watch.com]

Re:Why not Evolution (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147954)

If it were me, I'd say it's because Evo is a toad, complete with hard-coded URLs. Gag.

However, it's not me -- it's Sun. And for Sun, the deal-breaker is that Evolution is GPL-licensed. The Mozilla license is much more suited to their private-branding model.


Let's not forget that Tbird is cross-platform, whereas GNOME apps are iffy (if at all) at running on Windows.

Re:Questions on Thunderbird/Sunbird Inclusion (2, Insightful)

Ashe Tyrael (697937) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147263)

Why not Evolution? Put simply, the windows port of Evolution is still in the "we're trying to get it to work properly" phase, whereas the others are all the same pretty much across all platforms.

This isn't to say I'm not waiting and hoping for the windows port of Evo, but if they need something there "now" to base their integration on, then they have to choose something thats there.

Evolution on Win32 (1)

Noksagt (69097) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147319)

I have used Evolution on Win32 [sourceforge.net] . It mostly works and it looks like development binaries [gnome.org] are also reasonable. I wouldn't consider it much more alpha than Sunbird. I suspect that other comments on the GPL are the more likely explanation.

Re:Questions on Thunderbird/Sunbird Inclusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16147311)

Probably because Thunderbird is more widely used on Windows desktops than Evolution. It's also probably more widely used on Linux desktops as well, though not by as big a margin.

Really weak vision (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16147631)

I think that this is a really weak vision. Integrating a calendar and mail program doesn't really do any big wonders for the office workers. People can already use existing mail and calendar applications and some of them integrate ok with OpenOffice.org. What I'd like to see is features for collaborative work and other groupware features.

I also fear that the code base for OpenOffice.org is too heavy and difficult to work with. I foresee a long time when almost nothing will happen while they rewrite the core. This is exactly what happened to Netscape and for the same reason: The code base was so convoluted that it wasn't possible to work with.

Seriously, I think that KOffice [koffice.org] is the future of free office suites. It is developing incredibly fast and they have far more apps in the suite already. I read an article at the KDE news site [kde.org] that some students had implemented pretty advanced stuff in just some short Google Summer of Code projects, and I don't believe that could happen for OpenOffice. When they release 2.0, it will run on Windows AND OS X and from then on it's just a matter of more features. Mark my words... You read it here first.

What Open Office Needs... (0, Flamebait)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147209)

What Open Office really needs is not Firebox plug-in, but a complete code rewrite so that it is not a bloated whale of an application. In its current incarnation, Open Office is not anywhere near an alternative to MS Office except for home users and Open Source / Anti-Microsoft zealots who are willing to ignore critical usability flaws.

Re:What Open Office Needs... (1)

W3BMAST3R101 (904060) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147223)

Till then there's abiword & gnumeric. I only load openoffice when I absolutely need to.

Re:What Open Office Needs... (1)

udderly (890305) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147967)

Till then there's abiword & gnumeric. I only load openoffice when I absolutely need to.

Or when I have an extra ten minutes to kill waiting for it to load. Seriously, the only other Windows application that I have that loads so slowly is that pig QuickBooks.

Re:What Open Office Needs... (1, Troll)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147247)

Okay, here's the source [openoffice.org] so start helping instead of looking like a whiny baby! :D

Re:What Open Office Needs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16147277)

Okay, here's the source so start helping instead of looking like a whiny baby! :D

Don't be such an ass. Typical meaningless fanboy response that has nothing to do with the parent. I do not have to be an application progtrammer to point out that Open Office has usability issues, pull your elitist head out of your ass.

Re:What Open Office Needs... (4, Funny)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147295)

Would you like to point out the bugs you've filed for those usability issues, or would you like to STFU? :)

Oh come on... (0, Flamebait)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147346)

So you're telling me that writers, doctors, teachers, students, shop owners and other people who use word processors also need to learn to be programmers before they can dare to suggest that Open Office has usability issues? Come on! I'm just pointing out something that has been pointed out over and over again. It would be nice if Open Office offered a real alternative to MS Office, for many reasons. But the folks who do know how to fix Open Office have to admit that these flaws are a critical roadblock to the adoption of Open Office in a broader context than hobby and fringe users. Smart-assed fanboy comments like "well, why don't YOU write the code" do nothing but alienate the majority of users.

Re:Oh come on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16147398)

To summarize the parent, "you don't have to be able to lay an egg in order to smell a rotten one."

Re:Oh come on... (4, Insightful)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147439)

You don't have to be a programmer to file a bug report. If you want to complain about the usability of OO (or anything open source), then complain to the people who can actually fix the problems. It would be mroe productive than whining on a message board.

Re:Oh come on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16147652)

You don't have to be a programmer to file a bug report. If you want to complain about the usability of OO

What makes you think I haven't? What makes you think other people haven't? You seem to assume that the Open Office people are "all over" the code bloat / usability issue. I don't see it. What I see is "digging in" around a codebase that has issues.

Re:Oh come on... (1)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 7 years ago | (#16148103)

What makes you think I haven't?
I didn't say you. I don't even know who you are, Mr. Anonymous.

What makes you think other people haven't?
I would assume they have.

You seem to assume that the Open Office people are "all over" the code bloat / usability issue.
No, I don't. I have no idea what the Open Office people are doing. I use KOffice.

Re:Oh come on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16147959)

I get this kind of crap at almost every job. Don't complain to me, I'm just the clerk, you have to go up. That usually shuts them the fuck up, because people like to whine to the little guy, not to the big guy.

all of a sudden their precious time they spent moaning and bitching dissappates due to "impatience" or "lack of time". B.S.

Everybody knows information flowing upward in any organization is slow, tedious and usually gets misdirected.

Re:What Open Office Needs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16148081)

To summarize the parent, "you don't have to be able to lay an egg in order to smell a rotten one."

Ha ha--you got pwn3d! Try not to be such a prick in the future.

Re:What Open Office Needs... (1, Insightful)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147289)

Actually, it needs both.

I'd love to see an office suite designed like Firefox, with simple core functionality (the 10% of capabilities which 90% of people use or so) and extensions/modules (preferably unloadable/reloadable) which would add certain capabilities to those who need them.

I don't think OpenOffice.org will get a complete rewrite, and I haven't neither the time nor the knowledge to start something new myself.
A shame, really.

Re:What Open Office Needs... (3, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147299)

What Open Office really needs is not Firebox plug-in, but a complete code rewrite so that it is not a bloated whale of an application.

Ooooooooh, I don't know. My instinctive reaction to the story was, "Cool! Now all they have to do is embed an OS and it'll be done."

Could use a decent text editor though.

KFG

Re:What Open Office Needs... (1)

chrismcdirty (677039) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147322)

Why would you do that when all you need is an OpenOffice plug-in for emacs?

So... (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147329)

... it's kind of like Emacs now?

Re:What Open Office Needs... (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147338)

So if someone were to make an emacs plugin for firefox, would that cause the universe to implode?

Extension I'd like to see (4, Funny)

Hahnsoo (976162) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147212)

Toss in an automatic Term Paper writer extension, and I'm in! Wait, crap, I'm not in school anymore. *sigh* I always felt that I was born a decade too early.

Re:Extension I'd like to see (1)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147271)

Toss in an automatic Term Paper writer extension, and I'm in!
But seriously, Is there a plugin similar to the 'APA referencing Macro' for MSOffice? (allows autoformatting and reference placement of references, in the correct APA format for all the types of sources - web/book/journal/speech/tv, with correct punctuation italic etc...

It was always my crappy formating of the referencing that got me caught out until i started using 'APA refrencin Macro'...

Also, if anyone knows of a free alternative (apart from learning them), I'd be interested.

Re:Extension I'd like to see (4, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147335)

But seriously, Is there a plugin similar to the 'APA referencing Macro' for MSOffice?

I'm a little concerned by the plug-in trend for applications. I think it is implementing functionality at the wrong level. How much work does it take to create a plug-in to make references like this that work with Word's macro feature. How much effort to make it work with OpenOffice's plug-in system? How much work to implement it once for every application you might want to use references within?

Mac OS X has introduced system services. One plug-in that works on all text that uses the standard APIs in any program. There exists one for automated formatting of references, by the way. If other OS's would just adopt a similar system, or better yet adopt a standard for all of them, we could remove so much duplication of effort and users would get to choose the best of breed for anything they wanted. I mean one spell checking plugin for Firefox, one built into Word, one built into InDesign, one built into Eudora, and none available for photoshop, IM, IRC, and your favorite text editor is a serious waste and failure to properly use the resources put into these tasks. I'm very unhappy with this trend towards application specific plug-ins when what is really desired is modular plug-ins that can be used anywhere.

Re:Extension I'd like to see (1)

ronanbear (924575) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147405)

KOffice works like that already. It's a great idea and I'd love to see it in operation. OOo would be better off IMHO to split so that the applications can be run in a more standalone manner. This would especially be true for the applications that are typically used in conjunction with Writer such as editing equations, references or SVG graphics.

Re:Extension I'd like to see (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147465)

KOffice works like that already. It's a great idea and I'd love to see it in operation.

I believe said functionality only works for KOffice components, though. For example, a grammar checking plug-in that works with KWord will not work with GAIM. Is this still the case? My reliance on these plug-in type services is one of the main reasons I'm using OS X for my primary workstation instead of Linux.

OOo would be better off IMHO to split so that the applications can be run in a more standalone manner. This would especially be true for the applications that are typically used in conjunction with Writer such as editing equations, references or SVG graphics.

Agreed. MSOffice and KOffice both provide a better user experience in this regard, in my opinion and experience.

Re:Extension I'd like to see (3, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147577)

This idea has been tried, and tried, and tried, and tried. It was called COM, DCOM, CORBA, etc. In reality it just doesn't work- someone doesn't like how the default works and writes their own service, with a new improved API. The user base splits. The end result is everyone writes their own "system level" service. Its a nice idea thats utterly impractical and fails every time.

Re:Extension I'd like to see (4, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147727)

The end result is everyone writes their own "system level" service. Its a nice idea thats utterly impractical and fails every time.

...except it works on OS X right now and has been working for years. It is probably the second most important reason Linux is not my primary workstation OS. I keep reading how Linux is "catching up" on the desktop, but every time I use it I find it is still behind in vital areas such as this, because no one cares to implement these right and all the people that need or really want these features have moved to OS X and abandoned Linux except for servers. Maybe having one company that can just do it is always going to be the reason Linux lacks functionality. All I know is unless I can use my spell checker, grammar checker, translations, scripts, statistical analysis, dictionary lookups, thesaurus, online resource lookups, text manipulations, biblio reference formatting/creation, and other services in all my major applications and without having to configure preferences separately, I'm unlikely to ever move to Linux.

Re:Extension I'd like to see (2, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147857)

YOu can do that in linux today- use CORBA and/or a shared library. For example, the 2 big libraries for spell checking are ispell and aspell. THe fact is that in practice noone does this. The reason is that when you don't have 1 company driving that "Everyone must use application X", people use what they think is best. Guess what- people differ on what is best. So you end up with an array of products instead of one- for example 4 or 5 major desktops, each with their own API. Its less integrated, but in the end the competition creates better software. The "thou must use X" philosophy only works so long as there's tight central control, and either all software is pushed out new versions simultaneously or you never update the functionality of the core libraries. Works for Mac now because APple writes 90% of the software used. If it actually had 3rd party support, that functionality would die overnight.

APA Style (2, Interesting)

overshoot (39700) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147362)

Also, if anyone knows of a free alternative (apart from learning them), I'd be interested.
You can always give LyX [lyx.org] a try -- it's LaTeX based and has APA styles that let you fill in the blanks for publication-quality output.

A firefox extension? (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147228)

Seriously?

And it only took how many years of people begging for this one feature?

Re:A firefox extension? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16148029)

From TFA
First, OpenOffice.org shall get Firefox-like extensions capabilities by the 2.0.4.
Open Office will get easier to develop extensions similar to firefox and not Firefox extensions

Second, OpenOffice.org and StarOffice shall include the Mozilla Foundation's Thunderbird and Sunbird (calendaring application) in the future. Besides the inclusion of those two softs inside the office suite, connectors to Sun Calendar Server and Microsoft Exchange will also be developed accordingly.
I dont think they are integrating Thunderbird/Sunbird into Openoffice. They will bundle Thunderbird and Sunbird with OpenOffice.org and StarOffice suite. See this in the context of Outlook in Office.

Third, The only objective of the 3.0 will be to make it much more modular and running on tops of frameworks such as Eclipse, Netbeans or Mozilla's XUL.
They are making the code modular so that it can be integrated easily with other frameworks if required. I dont think they are going to use XUL for Openoffice.

Finally OpenOffice should get usability expert to change the look and feel. Although 2.0 version was better than the earlier ones, still lot of work to be done.

Madness... pure madness... (-1, Flamebait)

Cyclops (1852) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147230)

From the article, enphasis is mine...
Third, a word on the 3.0. A few months ago we change our release process as to accomodate more and more community's input and patches; and so we switched to a fully incremental, quarterly release schedule. Which in turns, makes the famous 3.0 rather unpredictable as to what its feature set and characteristics could be. This is why it is useless to look for a weird prototype of it quietly sitting in a virtual Area-51. The only objective of the 3.0 will be to make it much more modular and running on tops of frameworks such as Eclipse, Netbeans or Mozilla's XUL.


One word: insanity (for any of those 3 perspectives).

Did they just wear a straight-jacket, or forgot some pills?

I think you mis-read (2, Interesting)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147430)

They don't mean they want to run OO.org *on top of* Eclipse or XUL

They mean they want to re-structure OO.org to be modularly based and run on a GUI framework, *like Eclipse and XUL do*.

Re:I think you mis-read (2, Insightful)

Goaway (82658) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147766)

He did not mis-read. They say exactly what he read it as. Maybe they meant something else, but that is not what they actually wrote.

Yeah, but what I want to know (5, Interesting)

overshoot (39700) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147234)

... is whether they're even considering items that have been highly-voted on requests for several years.

Examples: Gallery import between versions, [openoffice.org] or the all-time champion outline view [openoffice.org] -- the longest-lived request with a huge votecount, declared by quite a few professional writers and educators as the show-stopper keeping OpenOffice.org out of their offices and schools. Apparently the team has other priorities.

Re:Yeah, but what I want to know (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147293)

Speaking as a professional writer, I don't see the advantage that an outline view has over the current Navigator (in case you haven't used it, it's a floating outline view that can be used for quick navigation). But then, speaking as a professional writer, there is no possible way in which you could convince me that a WYSIWYG word processor is the right tool for any jobs I have; they are toys for people who have grown out of finger painting, not tools for people who deal with large quantities of text.

Re:Yeah, but what I want to know (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147333)

. . .they are toys for people who have grown out of finger painting, not tools for people who deal with large quantities of text.

I still have a mark from the last time I said something like that. Thanks for volunteering to take the hit this around. 'preciate it.

KFG

Re:Still have a mark... (1)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147408)

Well it would help if either of you would go on to describe what you do use and what you do with it. Professional writers and can't even do that?

Re:Still have a mark... (3, Interesting)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147653)

Well it would help if either of you would go on to describe what you do use and what you do with it.

I did that -- when I got the mark. I'll give it another shot, but promise not to hit me.

I favor vim myself, but your milage may vary. The point being that when I am writing I concentrate on . . .writing. The words. Formating for printing is a completely seperate thought and physical process and should be treated seperately with tools specialized for the job.

Back in the day I was an advocate of the development of WYSIWYG editors. I thrilled when I actually first got to use one. It turns out I was wrong. It happens. I was especially wrong about wanting black on white. That really sucks when you're spending long hours at the monitor. I neglected the fact that paper reflects light and a monitor emits light. Live and learn.

WYSIWYGs add nothing to the writing process, often serve as a distraction and are poor at actual desktop publishing functions.

They have their place; and I use them (in fact I use Open Office), but that place is really for simple letters and such, not for either serious writing or serious printing. A middle of the road "toy" tool for middle of the road "toy" jobs.

Which makes it a reasonable tool for the actual, average job.

KFG

Professional writers (4, Informative)

overshoot (39700) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147342)

But then, speaking as a professional writer, there is no possible way in which you could convince me that a WYSIWYG word processor is the right tool for any jobs I have; they are toys for people who have grown out of finger painting, not tools for people who deal with large quantities of text.

I quite agree that if your output is primarily text, you're much better off with LaTeX or the like. Gorgeous results without the constant distraction of formatting.

However, there are a lot of professional writers who have to integrate high proportions of graphics into their work, and for them a WYSIWYG tool is quite appropriate. The ability to restructure a document (the big missing feature in the Navigator) is a serious handicap there.

I'm not a professional writer, I just sleep with one.

Re:Professional writers (1)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147477)

have to integrate high proportions of graphics into their work, and for them a WYSIWYG tool is quite appropriate

I would say the opposite. It is much more important that you don't use a WYSIWYG tool when you've got graphics. You want to be able to say "I don't know what page this is going on, but when it gets there, put it in the upper right corner and cause the text to flow around it seperated by a 10 point border." ...or other things like that. WYSIWYG editors are very bad at this. Especially Word. Writing a 30 page word document that includes pictures is insane. Adding new things and reformatting takes forever due to Word's horrible reformatting problems.

Of course, I can see why you might think that. People who work with graphics are often graphic designers...and a lot of those people cringe in fear at the thought of actually doing anything at all outside of a WYSIWYG. So a WYSIWG, while much worse at actually getting things done, is the only thing that they can use.

Re:Professional writers (4, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147666)

I would say the opposite. It is much more important that you don't use a WYSIWYG tool when you've got graphics. You want to be able to say "I don't know what page this is going on, but when it gets there, put it in the upper right corner and cause the text to flow around it seperated by a 10 point border." ...or other things like that.

If you've ever used Framemaker or Quark or InDesign, you'll know those are WYSIWYG tools designed exactly to address this issue and there is a reason almost the entire publishing industry uses them.

WYSIWYG editors are very bad at this. Especially Word.

Word is WYSIWYG, but it is not really a layout tool at all. If you're trying to use it for the wrong task, you'll have a lot of problems. Now go try a real WYSIWYG layout tool and notice how easy it is.

Adding new things and reformatting takes forever due to Word's horrible reformatting problems.

Here's an exercise. Take LaTeX and Adobe InDesign and go build a 50 page magazine including five or more graphics on each page, with good, but unique layout and colors on each page. Note that they are both using the same layout engine, but one of them offers a WYSIWYG mode in addition to a text/XML editing mode. Notice one of them lets you insert, scale, set transparencies and filters on graphics easily and one is a huge pain in the ass.

You don't have to be a graphic designer to appreciate the difference. Even working with highly technical explanations of engineering manuals that follow a very formulaic layout, you can't deny that Framemaker is simply easier to use, make edits and use all those crazy features like graphics, color, and hyperlinks that are hacks in LaTeX.

and a lot of those people cringe in fear at the thought of actually doing anything at all outside of a WYSIWYG. So a WYSIWG, while much worse at actually getting things done, is the only thing that they can use.

I like vi. I hack PHP and a little C together and build custom XML formats and help systems. I prefer to do my HTML work in a text editor instead of a WYSIWYG. That does not mean WYSIWYG is better or exclusively what I want to use for all, or even most word processing and layout tasks. It's time to stop speculating as to why those poor incompetent "graphics people" are using WYSIWYG tools and actually evaluate them and notice that they are the best UI for some jobs.

RTFM dude, RTFM (1)

Tsu Dho Nimh (663417) | more than 7 years ago | (#16148059)

It is much more important that you don't use a WYSIWYG tool when you've got graphics. You want to be able to say "I don't know what page this is going on, but when it gets there, put it in the upper right corner and cause the text to flow around it seperated by a 10 point border."

Say what? One of the core principals in technical writing is making sure the text and the graphics relate to each other effectively. WYSIWYG is the easiest way to make sure it happens. I've been using WYSIWYG editors to produce user manuals since the mid 1980s, starting with a beta copy of Ventura Publisher 1.0 [wikipedia.org] 20 years ago.

If you are having problems with short Word documents that contain pictures, I suggest you RTFM and learn how to use styles to control flow, stop inserting blank lines to force layout, and how to paste in pictures so they are in-line text objects and not floating.

Re:Professional writers (1)

richlv (778496) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147717)

The ability to restructure a document (the big missing feature in the Navigator)

hmm. what did you mean by that ?
you can promote & demote chapters, change their levels and so on from navigator.
or is that some other kind of restructuring you want to be able to do from the navigator ?

Re:Yeah, but what I want to know (1)

sydb (176695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147370)

Your opinion might have more credence if you didn't couch it in abusive language. For most people, a WYSIWYG word processor is exactly what they need for writing letters, reports and such like. You may have specialist (special?) needs but that doesn't make a toy of the tool most people use.

Re:Yeah, but what I want to know (1)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147799)

For most people, a WYSIWYG word processor is exactly what they need for writing letters, reports and such like.

No, it really isn't. What they need is a text editor and a good letter/report/etc wizard/template/whatever. Giving users control of layout when they probably only want, and definitely only need, control of content is a BAD IDEA.

Re:Yeah, but what I want to know (1)

sydb (176695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147817)

I said people, not users. Difference.

Re:Yeah, but what I want to know (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147418)

But then, speaking as a professional writer, there is no possible way in which you could convince me that a WYSIWYG word processor is the right tool for any jobs I have; they are toys for people who have grown out of finger painting, not tools for people who deal with large quantities of text.

I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with you. As a professional writer I can apply and test formatting much more quickly using a WYSIWYG editor in combination with a view of the underlying markup than I can using a non-WYSIWYG editor and then periodically testing it. Using just one editing mode, is a serious disadvantage and while maybe you don't think you'll ever use such functionality, you have to respect the desire of others to have more. Especially for writers that use graphics as an integral part of their writing and make use of it for layout, a non-WYSIWYG view is simply too slow and cumbersome.

Note, I'm also not a huge LaTeX fan. I've used it. It works. It is even the best solution for certain categories of projects. I just recognize that it's a pile of hacks to make up for the fact that it was not originally intended to support graphics or color and that the toolset is inappropriate for many tasks.

I look forward to the day you undertake a particular type of project and realize just how painful it is in LaTeX or another markup tool, compared to a professional, WYSIWYG tool.

Re:Yeah, but what I want to know (1)

benjonson (204985) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147681)

But then, speaking as a professional writer, there is no possible way in which you could convince me that a WYSIWYG word processor is the right tool for any jobs I have; they are toys for people who have grown out of finger painting, not tools for people who deal with large quantities of text.

Really? What about Framemaker? What kind of professional writing are you doing?

Would you elaborate please? (1)

CdBee (742846) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147864)

I'm curious - I know nothing of the way professional writers work but I'd imagine you face different issues to most of us : what do you need?

Re:Would you elaborate please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16148112)

Great sig: "I didn't support Apartheid in S.Africa so why should I accept it in Palestine?"

However, race and ethnicity are not the same thing. Apartheid was based on racial segregation, while the conflict in the Middle East runs through ethnic lines. Know the difference before you run off quoting.

What professional writers need (1)

Tsu Dho Nimh (663417) | more than 7 years ago | (#16148251)

Finally someone asks the right question. And the answer is ... it depends. It depends on whether we are writing, editing or doing layout. The choice of tool changes with where we are in the project, what the final output will be, and what the budget supports.

For writing and text-hacking, content shuffling and document restructuring, MSWord is my tool of choice. It gets me to the final draft and through the review cycles. As I said in another post, OO gets in the way when a document needs radical surgery.

The "layout tools", like FrameMaker and Quark Express (I've used them both), suck at text entry and editing, and are they meant to - they are PAGE LAYOUT tools with minimal text editing capabilities. If I know the final output has to be in FrameMaker or Quark, I'll set up MSWord so the style names match and import the final text. Unless someone messes up the styles, the text imports and "wallah" it's laid out. Then there is some pixel tweaking, graphics insertion and it ships.

For the bulk of my work, MSWord is good enough. I'll never win any awards for typography with the user manuals I produce with it, but they are easy to read and most importantly, cheap and easy to produce and maintain.

Speaking as a power editor: OO SUCKS! (2, Insightful)

Tsu Dho Nimh (663417) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147912)

For the people whose text I edit, OO may be adequate. But it's not yet, and maybe never will be, a tool for serious editing. Speaking as a professional writer and editor who has used both the MSWord and the OO outline views, MSWord's outline is orders of magnitude better. I see a measurable difference in productivity when I have to do substantive editing on a document in OO, not just the spelling checks and wording tweaks that some people call editing.

MSWord lets me reveal levels, open and close paragraphs or entire sections full of paragraphs, drag and drop sections, promote and demote sections, and edit text all in the same window. That violates the principle of "don't make the user switch focus when they are in the groove" concept of GUIs. It is the main reason I'm still using Win2000 and MSOffice, and why I am reluctant to recommend OO to anyone who will need to do substantive editing. It's awkward as hell.

The enhancement request for a better outline view - specifically a request to make it work just like MSWord's outline view, has been in the request queue for years and has a lot of comments explaining exactly why it is a good enhancement. Don't tell me, "It's open source, go ahead and do it". If I could have fixed it, I would have fixed it you gits. But, it's easier for me to stay with MSWord than learn to program ... for which the folks in Redmond are undoubtedly grateful.

Similarly, a request for the ability to do overbars on text as easily as underlining has been in the queue for several years, requested by people who write the datasheets for the chips in computers the OO programmers work on. Forget the equation editor, its contents can't be searched or replaced like text.

Why doesn't the OO team (or almost any other FOSS project team take other professionals seriously when they tell you what features they need the mnost? Yes, MSFT is also of the "we'll tell you what you need", but at least they gave me a decent outlining tool ... it's one of the things they got right early on.

Re:Yeah, but what I want to know (1)

sherms (15634) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147442)

I agree and would have to add another complaint with, just giving basic verbal instructions of going to the sight and downloading it and after its loaded, the lack of templates and clipart. Then I have to give them to many more instructions which then is the turn off. Also any suggestions for this?

Nice to see they are not blind (1)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147236)

I was happy to read all of this, but mostly the part about Microsoft Exchange. Some would view all of this as a fight vs Microsoft(Office and otherwise), but that is not a good fight or anyone. Not ignoring Mircosoft Exchange is important for allowing people to actually ditch MS Office. Taking on MS Office itself and not making this a fight vs Microsoft is the smart thing I think. We often see and read about companies looking to take on the whole behemoth instead of just competing in a certain market. Google and Apple seem to the be companies people look at when they talk about bringing down Microsoft.

But the real question is... (-1, Offtopic)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147276)

When will NeoOffice (Mac-native OOo) stop sucking so hard?

Re:But the real question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16147386)

probably when you decide to use a -real- UNIX

The real answer is... (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147396)

When will NeoOffice (Mac-native OOo) stop sucking so hard?

About six months after Microsoft discontinues Office for Macintosh.

Re:The real answer is... (1)

MsGeek (162936) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147693)

And Microsoft will discontinue Office for Mac when Apple adds a spreadsheet app to iWork.

Re:But the real question is... (1)

MsGeek (162936) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147675)

NeoOffice? I think you have misspelled iWork.

Re:But the real question is... (1)

imemyself (757318) | more than 7 years ago | (#16148090)

Have you checked out the 2.0 betas of NeoOffice? They are a pretty big improvement over previous versions. Still slow, but OOo is always slow. It's pretty pathetic when running a starting Microsoft Word via Crossover office takes less time that starting OpenOffice Writer.

Re:But the real question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16148259)

My sister is running these on her shiny new MacBook (1.8Ghz, 1G), and it starts within 5 seconds. This is compared to about 1 minute on my 12" PB 1Ghz / 768M. I don't know if this is due to better Intel optimizations or what, but it is pretty snappy!

Sounds good... (1)

HatchedEggs (1002127) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147294)

One of these days when they get a great calendar program built into Thunderbird I'll consider migrating from Outlook. As is though, without an excellent calendar I won't really consider it as I need that functionality. And before anybody tries to point this out, no, I don't find any of the current add-ons to be adequate.

Open-source feature bloat? (5, Insightful)

Alan426 (962302) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147302)

Is anyone else worried about this becoming a gratuitous push to add new features? Why should OOo include Thuderbird? If I want that application, it's not difficult to install the latest version from their own distribution. It seems to me that refining the core functionality and compatibility of the office applications should be a higher priority than bloating it up with unrelated features.

Resistance is futile. (4, Funny)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147416)

It's just the natural order of things, as expressed by Zawinski's Law of Software Development [wikipedia.org] :

Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can.

Re:Resistance is futile. (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 7 years ago | (#16148163)

Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can.

Well, incorporating Tbird is much better than them writing their own MUA from scratch...

Re:Open-source feature bloat? (2, Insightful)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147507)

OpenOffice wants to take marketshare from Microsoft Office. One block in convincing people to switch is the lack of an Outlook equivalent. Sure, people can go to Mozilla.com to get Thunderbird, but it's hard to convince people that OO is an MS Office replacement when it doesn't have an equivalent to their most-used program.

Exactly (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147538)

Is OOo trying to turn into a general distribution of cool software? I hope not. I think they need to stick to the software that they develop and leave the other apps to the other teams.

eclipse-esque architecture? (1)

kartracer_66 (96028) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147352)

I have no idea what the architecture of open office currently is, but it would be neat to see a more complete plugin architecture like in eclipse. Everything could be a plugin and reduce some of the bloat people seem to complain about. For instance, the spreadsheet and writer could really just be different plugins. I'm sure this is much much easier said than done.

I'm not exactly sure what "more modular and running on tops of frameworks such as Eclipse, Netbeans or Mozilla's XUL" at the end of the article is supposed to mean, but maybe this is what they're getting at?

Now, OpenOffice viruses! (2, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147400)

A new attack vector!

OpenOffice should not have plug-ins. Why copy Microsoft's mistakes.

Re:Now, OpenOffice viruses! (2, Insightful)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 7 years ago | (#16148043)

Why copy Microsoft's mistakes.

I think they are looking at it from the point of view of copying Mozilla's sucesses.

Good for XUL (1)

Gavin86 (856684) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147419)

It seems like this could be a great opportunity, if the XUL adaptation works out, to spread the Mozilla framework! Kudos to OO's asperations, they are certainly in for an undertaking

Re:Good for XUL (1)

cortana (588495) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147951)

Because what we need is more programs that look and feel like crap on all the platforms they run on.

Admittedly in the case of Openoffice.org the situation would not get any worse than it is already. :)

Has anyone though of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16147441)

what that would mean to gentoo users??

openoffice and the mozilla bros are already update monsters, so i don't really want to know what would happen if they become one....

Wow, OSS groupware that works with Exchange (1)

bogie (31020) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147483)

It's 1999 all over again! I predict similar results to almost ever other OSS project that tries to tackle this type of software. Ie software that never gets past the Alpha stage and a solution that relies on some proprietary connector that only works partly.

btw I realize there are some decent OSS groupware project going but the ratio of mature workable solutions vs projects that get announced with big fanfare, promise ease of use, and full Exchange compatibility is about 1,000 to 1.

just like IE,activeX and MSoffice! (1)

kemo_by_the_kilo (971543) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147498)

wow so now we have a new way to breach security...... its just like IE,activeX and MSoffice!
and they say OSS is always playing catchup...

What's "a Soft" ? (1)

jabberw0k (62554) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147521)

"Besides the inclusion of those two softs inside the office suite,"

Surely they mean "these two packages" or "these two applications." You can't have "a soft" (or "a software") any more than you can go buy "a hardware."

"Software" and "hardware" are the same things as "ketchup" and "water" -- collective nouns. Despite fast-food jargon, you don't have "one ketchup" you have "one packet of ketchup;" you have not "one water" but "one glass of water." If you have one ketchup, that might be Heinz; Perrier is one water, Evian is another.

Someone call the Grammar Police, quick!

Re:What's "a Soft" ? (1)

rlazarus (1002774) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147751)

I coded three softs in the time it took you to write that.

Its a language thing (1)

CdBee (742846) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147908)

In some languages, "soft" is used for software

Happy Happy Joy Joy ! (1)

monopole (44023) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147747)

I would be in heaven to be able to bring up a google or wikipedia search with the "select-right click" in a document !

Re:Happy Happy Joy Joy ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16148044)

Or integration with Intellext's Watson tool...

Endnote anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16147778)

I have played with getting people off msoffice and in science there is
this issue called Endnote.
I love XUL/XBL/etc... but find the documentation on the hard parts lacking.

So, why not scrap open office and make a word processor in mozilla and
then create the Endnote plugin.

That would seriously eat the ms$ for all academics could not only get rid of
office but also winblows.

Yes, of course there is still the issue of games...but that is not a factor in the labs

Endnote, Zotero, and other Bibliographic Notes (1)

Noksagt (69097) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147956)

I am also in need of good citation support & am a bit of geek about it (I am a co-developer of refbase [sourceforge.net] ).

There are a few issues with your post.

An office suite is A LOT more than a bibliographic management system & it would not be a small task to implement it in XUL in Firefox. There have been a number of online word processors & they haven't yet seen great success.

The other thing is that Endnote is not that great of a bibliographic manager & there are more serious attempts to replace it. Zotero for Firefox [zotero.org] will be worth watching. The new MS XML format has metadata support for citations. And OO.o has the bibliographic [openoffice.org] project to add citation support to OO.o. Bruce D'Arcus's blog [muohio.edu] is worth following.

Oh NO! (2, Funny)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 7 years ago | (#16147858)

They CAN'T bundle firefox with openoffice! The grammar and spelling nazis will die of loneliness!

Re:Oh NO! (1)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 7 years ago | (#16148184)

Don't worry, the new product will be called, "Open Fire!".

Word on the street is that that the Pentagon doesn't want this in use by the military. Especially if your name is Will.

And (1)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16148159)

And the bloat keeps getting more and more out of control. Alleluyah the spaguetti!

Holism is good for the usability (1)

SlOrbA (957553) | more than 7 years ago | (#16148221)

I think this is great not in the short time, but in the long run.

What realy is needed is non segmented office suite that has pervasive applicability, pervasive supportability, zero initial investment for single user and free extendability. In fact we need a Eclipse equivalent of a office suite.

recipe for disaster (2, Insightful)

hswerdfe (569925) | more than 7 years ago | (#16148249)

recipe for disaster:

Take Massive One Highly Bloated And Slow Open Source Application
Mix well with Second Highly Bloated Open Source Application.

Stir and run.....then wait.....

seriously OOo is way slow an bloated.
Useful yes, but SLOW!

This Is not a good idea, I generally don't like half ass attempts at "Integrating" programs.

either build the Program from the ground up as an API and integrate them fully.
or don't do it at all.

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