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SoftMaker Rolls Out Office Suite for BSD, Linux, and Others

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the momentum dept.

275

martin-k writes "Commercial office suite software is coming to FreeBSD, Linux, Windows, Sharp Zaurus and Windows Mobile. SoftMaker, a German developer, recently released SoftMaker Office, a multi-platform office suite that excels in Microsoft Office compatibility, claims to be much leaner and faster than OpenOffice.org and works on many operating systems, down to PDAs." While SoftMaker certainly isn't new, it is nice to see them roll out a finished suite as opposed to one-off programs.

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Worth every penny (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17294192)

FOR ME TO POOP ON

who gives a shit about proprietary commercial software

what does this do that openoffice or gnome office suites can't do

Re:Worth every penny (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17294816)

what does this do that openoffice or gnome office suites can't do

It does the Not-Looking-As-A-Piece-Of-Shit thing pretty well.

Re:Worth every penny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17294888)

Did you actually look at the screen shots? It uses QT which always looks like shit to me.

Re:Worth every penny (1)

JimDaGeek (983925) | more than 7 years ago | (#17296062)

Glad I am not the only one who hates how QT looks. I use Linux/Gnome, OS X and WinXP and think all 3 of them look or can look nice and functional. I have always hated the blocky look of QT. This office suite looks butt ugly to me.

jus (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17294196)

haha

how much better than OpenOffice? (5, Informative)

yagu (721525) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294206)

I'm downloading the trial version now.... more on that in a minute. My question would be, "How much better is it than OpenOffice, and how razor thin is the difference between it and Microsoft Office, and how compatible compared with Open Office?"

I've had expectations raised many times in the past and while always initially excited found myself not using any products that had rough edges. For the longest time that basically meant I used Microsoft when I had to, vi and vim the rest of the time :-). Open Office was the first product with sufficient polish and compatibility, so much so I could pretty much plug and play replace Office for people with little fear they would have trouble adapting.

Anything that falls short of that is likely to have problems gaining purchase in market share. I've used all of the KDE products, ABISoft, etc.... none of them really measured up. That isn't to they were bad products, many of them would be considered excellent in and of themselves, but that isn't the yardstick the buying public uses (and will use).

Well, I've downloaded and installed the trial version. I know it's not fair, but here is my five minute review (which is about all I have time to give for new products competing with products with which I already have perfectly good solutions):

Download and install went flawlessly, a requirement for any product anymore -- if the install doesn't go seamlessly, I won't spend a lot more time trying to figure out why. The program fired up cleanly, and was easy and intuitive enough to use especially if you've used any word processor or spreadsheet before. The graphics, layout, and presentation were good but the icons were not crisp as Microsoft's or Open Office's.

I don't have a suite of files to test for compatibility with Office and Open Office, but as I indicated, I have a solution for this type of work (Open Office), and I'm not inclined to spend much time beyond apparent return on investment.

PROS: Easy download and install, very similar to Microsoft Office (though that will change with the new Microsoft Office, not necessarily a bad thing), inexpensive comopared to Microsoft Office, established company, multi-platform and multi-form factor (for PDAs, though other than browsing, I'm not inclined to do much word processing and spreadsheeting (verb?) on PDAs).

CONS: Expensive compared to Open Office, not enough better (in my opinion) to warrant the switch, expensive to add typefaces, "compatibility" with Microsoft is a moving target -- one for which there is no guarantee of currency.

Cool that there's another player... Would I switch? Probably not. YMMV.

Re:how much better than OpenOffice? (1)

dch24 (904899) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294456)

Thanks for a good review!

Re:how much better than OpenOffice? (4, Interesting)

shystershep (643874) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294494)

not enough better [than OOo] (in my opinion) to warrant the switch

For personal used, I used OpenOffice.org almost exclusively up until about eight months ago (for business I use Word running under Crossover, because exact formating is crucial for me). At about that time, with no change to my desktop OS (Mandriva 2006 at the time, and had not applied any updates recently), my version of OOo, nor my file server (Debian), OOo simply stopped working with my NFS shares. I don't recall the specifics (& I'm not going to waste the time searching now so I can link it, but it had something to do with file locking), but whenever I tried to load or save a file to the NFS share I got an error to the effect that it was read-only (Word, Kword, Abiword, etc., had no problem). I Googled it, and wasn't the only one that had the problem; I tried some of the kludgy work-arounds that were suggested, but the only one that worked at all only works about 1/2 the time and the rest of the time crashes the program.

Since then, I've been searching for a replacement word processor (even though I use Word, I don't like it even aside from the cost/MS issues). Recently I have settled for Kword as the least of all evils, but I will be willing to shell out money to Softmaker if the product is as polished as it seems. Based on the trial download, it doesn't seem to write to .odt format, but it does open it flawlessly. Unfortunately, the trial version is crippled so that you can't save to .doc format . . . for a product that is meant to be a Word replacement, it is unspeakably retarded not to let people kick the tires on its Word compatibility.

Re:how much better than OpenOffice? (4, Insightful)

asuffield (111848) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295336)

for business I use Word running under Crossover, because exact formating is crucial for me


If exact formatting is crucial, why on earth are you using Word? It's really not very good at precisely reproducing formatting. It only works reliably if both systems have the same *printer drivers* installed (yeah, wtf?) - the rest of the time, it's pot luck whether things go where you want them, or get moved by half a millimetre, knocking all your carefully arranged lines out of position...

If you want exact reproduction of formatting, use PDF. Or latex.

Re:how much better than OpenOffice? (5, Insightful)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295502)

Indeed. People should not be using a word processor as if it were a desktop publishing or layout application. That is what Quark/InDesign/PageMaker/etc are for. Word processors are for.. processing words. But people shouldn't use email to share large files or use spreadsheets as databases, but they do anyway. Unfortunately, Microsoft crams so many features into Word that using it for desktop publishing is just too tempting for some people. I've even seen people use Word to produce web pages! Ack!

-matthew

Word is the route through these other things. (5, Interesting)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295880)

Go to any Windows publishing house (and this includes most of the major ones, a bunch of whom I've worked in or with). How do you make a PDF? Well, you start with a Word file and you run it through Acrobat. So making a PDF for such people involves... Word.

And yes, the book goes into Quark before going to press, but do the authors or editors work in Quark? Do the page designers even work in Quark? No, they all work in Word. It's the lonely guy at the end of the hall doing final layout that dumps everything into the formatter/publisher application just before it goes to press for a full run.

Until that point, all the way through most of writing, editing, and design, everything is in Word. Word gets used much more than I think people in IT realize. Word/Excel/Powerpoint are the bedrock of corporate America. Most small and medium size companies (and a few large ones, too) do all of their publications with Word, all of their PR with PowerPoint, and all of their databases as Excel sheets. That's just the way it is, like it or hate it. That's all people (all the way up through management) know.

Just try to get them to change... Or to let you bring something novel to the table. You'll be shown the door.

Re:how much better than OpenOffice? (1)

shystershep (643874) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295566)

Perhaps I phrased it badly -- I need 100% Word compatible formatting. In other words, when I send a client a document it needs to show up in the exact same format in which I put it, so that -- if they choose - they can simply print it off without making any changes whatsoever.

Re:how much better than OpenOffice? (1)

GRH (16141) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295470)

I've used Textmaker/Planmaker on Linux since 2003. The new trial version is the first one I've seen that doesn't have full functionality. ALso, they are suppossedly working on the ability to export to ODT.

THe suite works quite well on Linux. Give the trial version a spin. I still use OpenOffice from time to time, but the import/export in the new versions of Text/Planmaker appears to be as good as OO.

Re:how much better than OpenOffice? (1)

shystershep (643874) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295612)

I downloaded it, & like the look of it, but not being able to save as .doc will make it difficult to use it meaningfully before I buy it. That said, I've sent an email to their sales team to see if there is a way to try that feature before I buy. I hope so, & hope I like it after using it as well I do after my first-impression. Word just gives me a pain, & all the free alternatives are too quirky and/or buggy (Abiword, Kword, OOo, etc.).

Re:how much better than OpenOffice? (1)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295516)

I have tried to use OpenOffice, like it, and adapt to it. I tried to use it as a full alternative to Office, but I just can't.

Example: I do a lot of mathematical writing for class and my own personal interests. I use LaTeX for this too, but when I need something done quick, Microsoft Word plus MathType 5.2 is a powerful combination. It looks good, feels good, and looks presentable to my professors and peers. I could never, in Windows or Linux, get that kind of quality.

I have tried using MathType on Writer, but it handles the equations like anchored objects that are really hard (and not worth the effort) to remove. I have also tried to use their Equation Editor, but its more work for a hell of a lot less quality. If I have to put TeX-like code, I would like to see TeX-like results. OO Writer just simply cannot do this. Furthermore, headers come out wrong, the "Times" font doesn't look the same for some reason, and formatting is a little off. I even tried to put it as a replacement for Word for my family's computer, and that failed miserably.

I've tried AbiWord and KWrite for this reason, both of which do even worse.

YMMV, however.

Re:how much better than OpenOffice? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17295870)

This is an annoying, but easy to deal with problem in more recent versions of OpenOffice. The issue is with a file locking option which fails on NFS shares. To get it working, comment out the following lines in /usr/lib/openoffice/program/soffice, as shown below:

# file locking now enabled by default
#SAL_ENABLE_FILE_LOCKING=1
#export SAL_ENABLE_FILE_LOCKING

Everything will be hunky-dory, at least with 2.0.3 or earlier. I have had other problems with 2.0.4 and 2.1.

I don't know why they did this dumb thing.

Re:how much better than OpenOffice? (1, Informative)

synthespian (563437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294758)

I'm downloading the trial version now.... more on that in a minute. My question would be, "How much better is it than OpenOffice, and how razor thin is the difference between it and Microsoft Office, and how compatible compared with Open Office?"

To be honest, this isn't exactly a direct answer to your question.

My experience with OpenOffice has not been nice. Two years ago, I used for serious stuff and, boy, did I regret it. This friggin' bug made me loose all pagination. They told me OpenOffice was production-ready. So they told me. They lied, they were just a buch of free software fanboys who never wrote more than 20 pages with the thing. So, this is from someone who actually had to used OpenOffice for more than 20 pages.

It has gotten better with time. But I don't have the time. Recently, I tried installing it on FreeBSD and I had problems with the dictionary and other bugs. Always little stupid bugs with OpenOffice. Also, Excel support still sucks. Portuguese language support sucks. It just sucks, please don't reply with work-around hacks. I have followed the instructions. I has to resort to giving up work time to reading instructions on the internet in order to provdie for my wife a decent, usable installation. Now, I know some Linux fanboy kids love that. They think they are "hackers", when they have to work around the little problems all the time. They think they are system administrators. That they grok Unix (this is one of the reasons you always hear more about Linux in the internet forums then you head *BSD people - BSD, which is mostly the crowd you'll hear tell you that there are no problems with OpenOffice. doesn't really have those stupid little problems - at least, not as much as Linux. And, oh yeah, I used Debian for way, way, longer than I should have). So, me, I am tired of the FLOSS community expecting a bug report for little stupid bugs that should never exist in the first place and that are there just because of lazyness. When you don't have the time, it's best that you pay somebody for a well-done job. IMHO, SoftMaker is doing a fine job.

Also, I think it is extremely important that an ISV takes this step (supporting FLOSS - and, most importantly, _not_ just Linux - because, in fact, there's little reason for Linux-only software, unless you don't give a damn about POSIX, which some Linux software developers apparently don't). I would have bought the software for this reason alone, considering its price (honest price). You will notice I am a FreeBSD user, so my world view has room for proprietary software. I do not think open source will survive unless ISVs make software for our free operating systems. I also am very happy that there are people looking at FreeBSD from a commercial standpoint. So, it's not just Linux anymore. And it's not just SoftMaker. Currently, other vendors support FreeBSD too, such as virtualization software, mathematical softwares and IDEs. So things are looking good. I think the best scenario is to have a mix of both worlds. This, I believe, is realistic. The anihilation of proprietary software, at least in this century, is highly unlikely. I am not one of those Debian zealots, who revel in long threads about the "freedomness" of the Firefox icon. Microsoft products are a standard in 99% of businesses. It's important that the FLOSS community get this simple fact of life. Unless we are able to support such an evironment - an ISV-friendly environment - rant all you like, our beloved operating systems will not make it to the desktop.

SoftMaker did a fine job, in my opinion. In terms of word processing, so far it seems perfect. It fires up fast, it's totally Microsoft-compatible, AFAIK. They have told me they will develop presentation software next. The spreadsheet software has some Excel-functionality missing, like the solver. I hope they add these two things. My opinion is that it's well worth the (honest) price, and I also see it as a very important thing that people actually want to _sell_ us software, that they actually want to seize this business opportunity. Now, I am not somebody whose daily life revolves around Excel, but they demonstrate on their site they the match more features than OpenOffice.

Re:how much better than OpenOffice? (1, Troll)

caseih (160668) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294914)

My experience with MS Office has not been nice. Two years ago, I used for serious stuff and, boy, did I regret it. This friggin' bug made me loose everything. They told me MS Office was production-ready. So they told me. They lied, they were just a buch of Microsoft fanboys who never wrote more than 20 pages with the thing. So, this is from someone who actually had to used MS Office for more than 20 pages.

Seriously, document corruption and data loss is not restricted to OpenOffice only. If you have to do anything in MS Office over 20 pages (say 100-200 pages), you're asking for trouble. I recommend to my users that they make lots of versions (save a lot), and split their document into smaller files using a master document. For every OpenOffice bug that caused corruption of the file I can think of several occasions where MS Office destroyed everything. I don't trust OpenOffice that much, but I certainly trust MS Office less.

Re:how much better than OpenOffice? (0, Flamebait)

synthespian (563437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295034)

Yes, the expected and canonical "MS sucks and OpenOffice rulez" fanboy response.

Listen, fanboy, if the world looked was anything like those distortion lenses you wear, you would think every suit on Wall Street fired up OpenOffice in the mornings, right? Instead, everybody else, except you and your clique of basement dwellers use the now industry-standard Microsoft format, and for compatibility issues, prefer the MS Word package.

Oh, by the way, than you for your wise advice on 200-plus documents being a complete impossibility on MS Word. I'll remember that, next time I read a PhD theses. I'll just look at it and say: "this is not possible, because Fanboy sait it on Slashdot." Seriously, get a job.

OpenOffice.org has had - what, almost 10 years? - time to play catch-up, but it just didn't. This says something about it, doesn't it? Oh, wait, I forget, you're almost blind.

Re:how much better than OpenOffice? (1)

wmspringer (569211) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295316)

Oh, by the way, than you for your wise advice on 200-plus documents being a complete impossibility on MS Word. I'll remember that, next time I read a PhD theses. I'll just look at it and say: "this is not possible, because Fanboy sait it on Slashdot."

Aren't theses generally done in LaTeX? Or is that just computer and math people?

Re:how much better than OpenOffice? (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295626)

It's mostly computer/math/physics people, but a lot of other academics are trying it out after running into Word bugs. A fresh round of horror stories comes around at my alma mater every year. Every year, a fatal bug hits at least five students, killing their O(100) page theses with a week before its due.

Those kids learn LaTeX really quick.

Re:how much better than OpenOffice? (1)

wmspringer (569211) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295780)

Every year, a fatal bug hits at least five students, killing their O(100) page theses with a week before its due.

I really can't understand not having multiple backups of something like that. When I was working on my thesis, I had it on my hard drive, several CDs, on an email server, on a usb..

Ok, maybe I was slightly paranoid...but I don't trust computers. When I start my dissertation, I'll do the same thing.

Re:how much better than OpenOffice? (3, Informative)

AJWM (19027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295368)

use the now industry-standard Microsoft format,

What was the ISO-number of that standard again? Oh wait, it doesn't have one. Unlike some others [iso.org] .

Which format did you say was industry standard?

Re:how much better than OpenOffice? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17296066)

Which format did you say was industry standard?

The one that everyone uses. A de facto standard carries as much, if not more, weight as a declared one.

Thank you, you made my day. (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295722)

caseih: "I don't trust OpenOffice that much, but I certainly trust MS Office less."

synthespian: "Yes, the expected and canonical "MS sucks and OpenOffice rulez" fanboy response."

I would have thought the expected and canonical "MS sucks and OpenOffice rulez" fanboy response would have been a bit more... I don't know... positive?

It seems you expected the MSSaOOR response a little too much.

Re:how much better than OpenOffice? (2, Funny)

rawtatoor (560209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294994)

rant all you like


Are you serious? I felt like you were spitting on my face screaming at me ;)

Re:how much better than OpenOffice? (5, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295132)

My experience with OpenOffice has not been nice. Two years ago, I used for serious stuff and, boy, did I regret it. This friggin' bug made me loose all pagination. They told me OpenOffice was production-ready. So they told me. They lied, they were just a buch of free software fanboys who never wrote more than 20 pages with the thing. So, this is from someone who actually had to used OpenOffice for more than 20 pages.

Interesting.

This is precisely the reverse of my experience.

When I'm working on large, complex documents (100+ pages, lots of headings, lists, tables), I'm constantly terrified that Word is going to crash on me and destroy my work. I save frequently, and make backups every few hours.

That's *why* whenever I possibly can I don't use Word. OpenOffice is so much more reliable, there's just no comparison, and it has been for the last three or so years. Especially when documents get big. Lately I'm leaning toward using LyX/LaTeX, which I think is an even better option for large, highly structured documents that need to be consistent and nice-looking. But I have a lot to learn before I can do that. LaTeX documents look so much prettier and more professional than any word processor output I've seen that I think it's worth the effort.

Re:how much better than OpenOffice? (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295826)

All that is great assuming either 1) you don't work with other people, or 2) you can convince your coworkers and supervisors to switch. Otherwise, like me, you're screwed.

Re:how much better than OpenOffice? (1)

222 (551054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17296044)

As an active word user in a mostly MS shop (The only linux you see runs oracle, which is almost funny considering that our DB stuff is our most mission critical) its actually pretty stable. The main problem I have is zombie processes in our Citrix farm... Cleaning out unused winword.exe's is pretty painful.

I could say the same for Acrobat, though. I guess great software is hard to find ;)

Re:how much better than OpenOffice? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17296086)

As a active user of Lyx, i must say i would never use any Word-style application again. With Lyx, i can just sstart writing, switching easly to create sections to group my thoughts, rather then having to constantly fiddle with formating, switching to bigger fonts, etc, etc. In fact, since i found Lyx and used it, i have begun writing various documents as a journal of sorts, now that i can actuallf focus on content rather then format.

I wouldent recomend any Tex based system tho, not without a painless GUI such as Lyx, or else you will be right back to dealing with formating, or at the very least annoying text, with Lyx style applications will just show you what you wrote, in its default formating.

Re:how much better than OpenOffice? (4, Informative)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294828)

I tried it on my Linux box.

pros:

  • It starts up too quickly for me to notice the startup time, as opposed to OOo, which takes 3 seconds on this machine.
  • PDF export seemed to work well.

cons:

  • The default fonts are ugly (or are rendered in an ugly way on the screen).
  • It didn't always open Word documents successfully. I tried 4 docs that I happened to have around, and there was a loss of formatting in at least one of them -- a Greek letter was lost. (OOo opened the same file without losing the Greek.)
  • The first time you run it, it insists on making a directory for its documents, which by default is ~/SoftMaker. I didn't understand why it would assume I wanted to keep all my word-processing docs in a single directory, or what would happen if I didn't keep them there.
  • It's not free (-as-in-anything).

So I'm not really clear on what the advantage is vis a vis OOo.

Good for Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17294212)

Its about time this happened.. with vista looming, and due to be a failure, we need all the free stuff we can get..

Is there a space in the market ? (5, Insightful)

quiberon2 (986274) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294250)

What makes Softmaker think there is room in the market for their product ?

As far as I know, there are only 2 forces in the world; 'love' and 'money'

OpenOffice.org has a monopoly in the 'distributed for love' channel.

Microsoft Office has a monopoly in the 'distributed for money' channel.

Who will buy Softmaker Office, and why ?

Support (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294300)

The same reason they buy redhat or suse instead of something like debian ( proper ). They want to use an alternative to microsoft but dont want to ' go it alone ' and rely on their internal IT support structure ( if they even have one ).

Re:Support (1)

quiberon2 (986274) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294366)

At that price, there's no support for Softmaker Office; if it fails to interpret a Microsoft Word 2007 document correctly, or if drops a trojan-horse-keylogger as Microsoft Word is starting to do nowadays, or if it writes a document that Microsoft Word doesn't read correctly, then you are on your own; there is no-one who will fix it for you.

Besides, you can download RedHat Linux and SuSE Linux from the respective web sites. And you can sign a commercial warranty contract for Debian with a number of respected corporations if you need one.

Re:Support (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295584)

How many people need technical support for an office suite? I mean, beyond just figuring out how to do things (use the Help menu). Servers and mission critical database/network applications I can understand wanting support, but for an office suite? Come on.

-matthew

Re:Is there a space in the market ? (5, Interesting)

rduke15 (721841) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294544)

What makes Softmaker think there is room in the market for their product ?

I don't know how much room there is, but I can tell you why I use TextMaker:

Because I never liked MS Word which is terribly complicated and unpractical, and it is also very expensive.

Because OpenOffice Writer is an abomination of an awkward and slow as molasses would-be clone of that MS Word which I don't like.
(Yes, I guess this will modded flamebait, but I really hated OpenOffice every time I thought I would give it another chance)

TextMaker brought some fresh air into my (simple) word processing needs: it is extremely fast, it has all the features I need, and the ones I use (styles and occasional frames) are much more practical than in Word. Styles are accessible from the right-click menu, frames seemed much easier to work with than when I had to use them in Word, etc.

The only thing I don't like in TextMaker is it's proprietary default document format. I wish they would switch to ODF. (But maybe ODF is also an abomination like the OOo programs? I wouldn't know but I certainly hope not. We need an open document format)

(I bought the Windows version. Haven't tried the Linux version yet.)

Re:Is there a space in the market ? (1)

synthespian (563437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294908)

I don't know about the Windows version, but on FreeBSD you can open and save in ODF.

There are SEVEN forces in the world (1, Insightful)

Valacosa (863657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294806)

I partially agree with your statement, though I don't think there are two forces in the world, there are seven.

Microsoft office isn't distributed for money, it's distributed because of greed.

OpenOffice isn't distribuited for love, it's distributed because of pride.

As for this new contender? I'd go with envy.

(No, I'm not a crazy religious zealot freak or anything. I honestly beleive this explains a lot about software development. For instance, Facebook and Myspace exist because of lust. As JWZ once famously said, "'How will this software get my users laid' should be on the minds of anyone writing social software")

Re:There are SEVEN forces in the world (1)

synthespian (563437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295060)

Oh, you mean like the Seven Step to Enlightenment.
And you're not religious?
Please, inform us.

I thought (1)

BitterAndDrunk (799378) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295770)

I thought he was referring to the seven deadly sins.

Or as I like to call them, "Ingredients to a successful office party"

Re:Is there a space in the market ? (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294892)

I wouldn't want to use anything else on the PocketPC (their PocketPC/Windows Mobile suite is phenomenal), but on Linux? I have their applications installed but very rarely load them because the only use I would have for them is editing documents from my PocketPC, and syncing my ancient iPaq with Linux via USB is a royal pain in the ass.

Re:Is there a space in the market ? (1)

SuluSulu (1039126) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294948)

For the love of money. That's why people will buy it. It costs less than Microsoft Office and it's not the "evil unknown" of open source. Plus M$ can't use the "closed source is more secure" argument against them.

Re:Is there a space in the market ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17295000)

By your logic there's no room for more than two competitors in any field. That means every auto manufacturer who isn't Ford or GM shouldn't be able to sell their cars. Right?

And by your logic, Linux shouldn't be able to get any kind of traction. There are two kinds of computers: Macs and Windows PCs. No room for a third party.

The only place where your logic holds any water at all is in American politics. It shouldn't work there, either but apparently most Americans are so stupid as to believe politics is us vs them, good vs evil.

So how about .. (0, Offtopic)

pklinken (773410) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294264)

A torrent?
Anyone?

Re:So how about .. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17294600)

sssssssssssssssssssshhhh... <points [isohunt.com] >

more competition (3, Insightful)

gravesb (967413) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294294)

I'm glad to see more competition in the office space. Open Office has its issues, and Microsoft Office is still the gold standard for the general public. There are plenty of players in the space, but more can't really hurt. What I really would like is to see a suite that doesn't ape MS Office, but comes up with unique ways to do things that are more effective. Of course this is almost impossible as the cost of retraining from MS Office is prohibitive in most environments, but if MS Office is making major changes that necessitate retraining anyway, then maybe there is an opportunity for the myriad "me too" office suites to move in an unique direction as well. Probably not, as most sheep will upgrade to MS Office, but the more players in the market, the more chance that people will switch come upgrade time.

pun (0)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294308)

... multi-platform office suite that excels in Microsoft Office compatibility

Har har!

R00fles! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17294486)

R00fles! at the pun

-- Volourn Honourblade

European Price (2, Interesting)

Njovich (553857) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294388)

I think the prices for Europeans seem a bit steep. For Americans it's $69, for Europeans it's EUR 69. That is 30% more. I know that they might have to pay more taxes, but this is quite a lot. They don't even differentiate between EU and non-EU, but just 'Europe'.

I suppose the product may be fine, but from a German company I wouldn't expect these kind of things.

Re:European Price (1)

tonycheese (921278) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294514)

Well, then, only explanation is that they purposely kept their prices at 69 in whatever currency they were working with. Hidden agenda with subliminal messages.

Re:European Price (1)

Lunar_Lamp (976812) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294880)

As a student the price is only 14Euros (or US$14) for me. That seems pretty cheap, and almost worth paying just to try it out (if they didn't allow a free trial already!). As a student, if they can demonstrate the ability to reliably integrate with some kind of reference manager I'd buy it straight off (I've had problems with OpenOffice on this front before - though that could be due to failings on the part of the reference manager I was using: Bibus).

I just hate when people sell out (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17294394)

Nothing sickens me more then a commercial office suite software going commercial. And for offices no less. Offices are the worst kinds of room. Where will all this filthy commerce end?

textmaker (1)

cool_arrow (881921) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294438)

Don't know about the rest of the suite but I think TextMaker is an excellent product. I don't see anything in TFA about powerpoint files, a database, or programming, so it's definitely not a replacement for the entire productivity suites mentioned in TFA.

Is there room for another commercial office suite? (2, Insightful)

Teckla (630646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294500)

I was just about to post a comment that asked, "Is there room for another commercial office suite, especially for Linux and BSD?"

After looking at the screenshots (very impressive!) and price (very competitive!), I think the answer just might be yes.

Of course, my meager needs are entirely met by Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets, which runs just fine in Firefox.

Re:Is there room for another commercial office sui (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295642)

Of course, my meager needs are entirely met by Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets, which runs just fine in Firefox.


People mention Google docs/spreadsheets if there haven't been minimal (and often free) spreadsheet/word processing apps out for years.

-matthew

Just checked with some of our Microsoft Office doc (2, Informative)

dbarclay10 (70443) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294520)

I just checked some of our Microsoft Office documents from work with their "textmaker" app, which is supposed to be "100% compatible" with Microsoft Word.

Of course, it's not. It exhibits the same sorts of glitches that OpenOffice does. Which doesn't surprise me given the hoary nasty Microsoft Word file format, but hey, if they're going to claim it, they better back it up.

Unfortunately SoftMaker doesn't support PowerPoint (2, Informative)

tytso (63275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294534)

Unfortunately, SoftMaker is only a Word and Excel replacement, and for many users, the level of Word and Excel support in OpenOffice, Abiword, or Gnumeric is probably more than they need. Sure, SoftMaker may have better support for the really complicated Word and Excel formats (see their comparison page [softmaker.com] for some examples), but how many people really come across 3-d graphics in everyday life?

The bigger problem for most people is PowerPoint slide decks, especially the ones generated by marketing departments that have sound and animation. This is where the shortcomings of OpenOffice hit me the hardest --- and unfortunately, SoftMaker doesn't have a solution. So is it worth it to pay USD $70 for a Word and Excel replacement which is more complete than what is currently available in the OSS world? Not for me. I'd much rather spend $40 for a copy of Crossover Office from Codeweavers [codeweavers.com] and then get an old copy of Office 97 or Office 2000 that I have lying around (or which you can no doubt buy on Ebay for a relatively small change).

Re:Unfortunately SoftMaker doesn't support PowerPo (1)

va.va_va.va (973230) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294728)

There is always Microsoft Power Point Viewer.

Re:Unfortunately SoftMaker doesn't support PowerPo (1)

synthespian (563437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294944)

I mentioned this is my other post. A developer said a Power Point compatible product was their next step.
If it's anything like SoftMaker, it's going to be pretty decent software.

Fortunately SoftMaker doesn't support PowerPoint (2, Funny)

pigwin32 (614710) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295712)

Fortunately, SoftMaker is only a Word and Excel replacement, and for many users, the level of Word and Excel support is probably more than they need. Sure, SoftMaker may have better support for the really complicated Word and Excel formats (see their comparison page for some examples), but how many people really come across 3-d graphics in everyday life?

The bigger problem for most people is PowerPoint slide decks, especially the ones generated by marketing departments that have sound and animation. This is where the shortcomings of OpenOffice hit me the hardest --- and fortunately, SoftMaker doesn't have a solution. So is it worth it to pay USD $70 for a Word and Excel replacement which is more complete than what is currently available in the OSS world and avoid having to watch and listen to the inane drivel the marketing department consider the height of intelligent discourse? Definitely.

Decent charting! (3, Informative)

EvilRyry (1025309) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294588)

At first I was kinda let down by the demo. The load time really wasn't that impressive compared to OpenOffice on my Pentium-M Edgy system. Then I came across something amazing....

Planner (spreadsheet program) can actually do excel style charting (read: crappy but easy for routine tasks) with half-decent trendlines and the ability to show the forula on the chart.

This basic functionality has been on my openoffice wishlist for years, I've filed requests for it with OO.o but got nothing. I've even tried to implement it myself but OO's code is kinda scary. Since then I started using gnuplot for plotting, but for basic stuff its kind of overkill.

You're being too nice to OO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17295236)

You can implement DSP filters in a spreadsheet. A first year student can get a running average filter quickly and understand how it works. In OO, graphing the result of a thousand samples is just painful. It takes minutes not seconds.

Planner is at least as fast as Excel. I'm impressed.

Re:Decent charting! (1)

Ankur Dave (929048) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295294)

At first I was kinda let down by the demo. The load time really wasn't that impressive compared to OpenOffice on my Pentium-M Edgy system. Then I came across something amazing....

Planner (spreadsheet program) can actually do excel style charting (read: crappy but easy for routine tasks) with half-decent trendlines and the ability to show the forula on the chart.

This basic functionality has been on my openoffice wishlist for years, I've filed requests for it with OO.o but got nothing. I've even tried to implement it myself but OO's code is kinda scary. Since then I started using gnuplot for plotting, but for basic stuff its kind of overkill.

I have a similar problem as you -- all my Windows-using classmates can make graphs and plot trendlines easily in Excel. I run Ubuntu Edgy and OpenOffice can't do stuff like trendlines.

I found a Windows program called Padowan Graph [padowan.dk] . It runs smoothly in Wine and can take a list of points and find a trendline, as well as being able to export to PNG, allowing me to include the graphs it produces in any of my documents.

*BSD's Final Christmas, a last adieu (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17294680)

Outside the walls of this frigid tumble-down shack, dry leaves before the wild winter hurricane fly. Here within, at the corner by the cold hearth rests an empty stool. A crutch without a master stands perched against the wall. These forlorn and lonely objects serve as mute reminders of their departed owner, *BSD.

This crutch and vacant stool have become orphans, not unlike the now dead *BSD. No longer will *BSD hobble about on its cripple's crutch. Like the empty hearth, and the vacant stool, *BSD lies cold and still. *BSD's corpse, lifeless beneath frozen earth and December snows, will see no more Christmas cheer. No, there will be no Christmas ever again for *BSD, for *BSD is dead.

Goodbye, *BSD. The pain of life forever stilled, sleep for all eternity in that long winter's nap. Fade gently into Earth's frozen bosom where in dreams even cripples walk and blind men see, there among the ghosts of Christmas past.

umm hello?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17294684)

it's commercial, propierity .. did i forget to mention it's comercial? it's not worth it if your not willing to pay for something tthat is already free

Re:umm hello?? (1)

synthespian (563437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295102)

Yeah. Like you PC. It was free. You just picked it off a store shelf, didn't you?

Re:umm hello?? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17295222)

Well, yeah. I had to dodge a bunch of assholes in black who were running after me with nightsticks and trying to shoot me with a tazer, but it was worth it.

Gnu? (0, Flamebait)

rhinokitty (962485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294686)

It isn't even free software, why would I switch to proprietary when I am running a linux box. Most people I know don't run linux on their machines because they feel like coughing up 50 bucks for a questionably better product.

White backgrounds HURT! (1)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294706)

I just tried the demo, and it has no way to change the color scheme, which is black on white. Why does all the software these days switch to these totally uncustomizable browser-like color schemes? Don't they realize that those white backgrounds are REALLY painful on the eyes? In the old days the applications were nicer about using the Windows color scheme for everything, or at least offered some way to change the look. Now, nearly everything comes with those horrible white backgrounds, instantly and painfully making it impossible for me to use them. Great. I guess all those companies can live just fine without my money.

Re:White backgrounds HURT! (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295046)

I just tried the demo, and it has no way to change the color scheme, which is black on white. Why does all the software these days switch to these totally uncustomizable browser-like color schemes? Don't they realize that those white backgrounds are REALLY painful on the eyes?

I'd like to know how you deal with reading Slashdot? Do you use custom CSS?

I also happen to hate the black-on-white color scheme, which I think derives from paper documents rather than browsers. For word processing it kind of makes sense to emulate ink and paper look; if you're not planning to print the document, there are surely better ways to write it.

Unfortunately, too many people seem to regard computers as fancy typewriters, so they insist on black-on-white even for websites that are rarely printed. Besides being easier on the eyes, I think alternative color schemes can remind people that they're working with something more than ink and paper.

In addition, the analogy between white paper and white color on a computer display is flawed. White on a CRT or an LCD is basically a fluorescent light, whereas paper does diffuse (not mirrorlike) reflection.

Re:White backgrounds HURT! (1)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295592)

Their reasoning may be questionable (or at least their excuses), but the problem is that light on dark simply does not look right. The eye is much better at seeing fine detail in deciding where there isn't light than it is in deciding where there is light.

If you're looking at a black background, the iris will open up a little because you're getting less light. When you try to spot, say, white text on a black background, there's a perceptible glare. At lower resolutions, it's not really that significant. But with display resolutions increasing, the glare becomes more of a problem. Back when I was running a Compaq P1100 display (0.22dp, 21" CRT, 1920x1440@75Hz), half the sites on the Internet were completely unusable because of this effect, and I had to start using an accessibility stylesheet. Even now, I'm running at 1680x1050 on a 21" LCD, and on websites that use white on black I have to increase the font size.

Whatever their official explanations, reading black on light is a lot easier on the eye at small point sizes. If you find there's too much light, may I suggest lowering the brightness on your display? Or possibly spending more time outside and less time in the basement? Or failing that, invest in some brighter lightbulbs for your office. My own eyes are so sensitive to light that my optometrist wrote a prescription that says I have to wear sunglasses when driving, and I'm able to deal with it. There's no earthly reason that a brightly coloured background should hurt your eyes if there's enough ambient light where you're working.

Re:White backgrounds HURT! (1)

dballanc (100332) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295686)

To each their own. While I find it easier to see fine detail with dark on light text, I read and focus much faster with light on dark. The difference is huge. I can read a paragraph or sentence in a quick glance with light on dark, but the other way I have to focus on each word individually. Maybe it's just my eyes, but a properly configured light on dark interface is a much better experience.

Re:White backgrounds HURT! (1)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295074)

Maybe because it's supposed to represent black ink on white paper?

Re:White backgrounds HURT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17295116)

How do they know what colour paper you are printing on?

Low system requirements good for older machines (2, Interesting)

kevintron (1024817) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294760)

According to the manuals, a machine running Windows 2000 or XP needs only 64 MB of memory to run these applications. On Windows 98, ME, or NT, only 16 MB will be enough. On Windows 95, only 8 MB.

OpenOffice.org is great for modern computers, but those of us who like to extend the useful life spans of our older machines could be attracted by these very modest system requirements, and willing to spend a reasonable amount to buy the software.

Assuming the software doesn't slow to a crawl on a system with those minimum specs, of course.

That's the beauty of Qt. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17294868)

These applications appear to be built upon Qt [trolltech.com] . For those who are not familiar with it, Qt is the premiere C++ GUI toolkit on the market. Not only is it portable, but it's damn fast and resource thrifty. KDE uses it as its underlying toolkit, and it's one of the main reasons that people often find KDE to be more responsive, while also using less memory, than GNOME.

While it is completely unlikely at this point, were OpenOffice.org to be rebuilt around Qt, it would be far faster and less bloated than it is today. The OpenOffice.org rendering and GUI toolkit framework is one of its weak points, and Qt would go a long way towards improving the situation.

Re:That's the beauty of Qt. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17295006)

Curses is smaller and faster than QT, looks better than QT and isn't written in a braindead language like C++. I vote KDE should be rewritten to use ncurses. What do you think of that?

Re:That's the beauty of Qt. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17295126)

Actually, C has proven to be inadequate for GUI toolkits. Either you end up with something like the terrible, procedural API of Win16/Win32, or you end up with a pseudo-OO hackfest like Athena, Motif and GTK+.

For solid GUI architectures, one needs to use a true OO language. C++ and Smalltalk really shine in this area. Python and Ruby have the OO support and then some, but they are currently too slow for many GUI applications. With time they'll no doubt become significant players.

I think you should write a Qt rendering backend that support curses or ncurses! It would be a very noble contribution to the KDE project. Good show, Monty!

Re:Low system requirements good for older machines (1)

moronoxyd (1000371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294962)

I ran the predecessors (TextMaker 2002, PlanMaker 2004) on a very old notebook (i486, 66 MHz, 12 MB RAM), and it was usable. Slow, but usable. Try that with MS Office or OOo.

Somebody here said that the programs are not really 100% MS Office compatible, and he's right. It's stupid of SoftMaker to claim that. But:
I did some tests with Textmaker, OOo and Abiword some time ago, and Textmaker imported my Word files a lot better than the others.

That's why I use SoftMaker Office: It's small, it's fast, it's a lot mor compatible to the de facto standard MS Office.
It's not perfect, granted, but it fits _my_ needs better than anything else I know of.

Oh, and SoftMaker ist currently developing a presentation tool.

Re:Low system requirements good for older machines (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295488)

"willing to spend a reasonable amount to buy the software."
Given what the software costs I can upgrade or replace my older machine.
The holidays are here, and afterwards there will be even more free and cheap computers available that will run fine with a fresh 'nix install.

*BSD is dying (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17294794)

It is now official. Netcraft confirms: *BSD is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last [samag.com] in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be the Amazing Kreskin [amazingkreskin.com] to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dying

As a Linux user, I'm just not sold... (2, Insightful)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 7 years ago | (#17294988)

I'm one of those Linux users that buys software for Linux.

I bought ApplixWare. I bought WordPerfect Office 2000 for Linux. Both became orphanware. OpenOffice, meanwhile, continues to hum along and is not only compatible with new versions of Linux every time I install one, but actually comes as a part of each Linux OS I've installed for years now.

OpenOffice imports word formats with a reasonable degree of accuracy and I can still open and use files all the way back to when it was StarOffice 3.0. My Applix and WordPerfectOffice 2000 files, on the other hand, are not so easy to get back into.

Plus, I now have Office XP anytime I need it running through Crossover, though I prefer OpenOffice in most cases. There's just no reason for me to buy this stuff. I wish them luck in a pretty much taken care of market. It's like trying to sell a web browser for $69 at this point, I think.

OpenDocument support? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17295002)

Does it support OpenDocument? If not, is their DOC support as mature as OpenOffice.org?

"Like Office but cheaper" not a good business plan (1)

dircha (893383) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295032)

If you need to edit and compose - especially collaboratively - Word-compatible documents professionally, you should be using Word. It is not possible to produce a product with 100% Office document compatibility for less than what it costs Microsoft to produce Office in the first place. The cost of reverse engineering every aspect of obscure, undocumented, and misdocumented functionality is prohibitive.

As a teenager I remember looking at the price of Microsoft Office and thinking that I could code an office suite (at least a word processor) "way cheaper". Who else? Many people have. But Microsoft Office still reigns supreme.

In a professional environment you can not afford 99% compatible. You might botch the formatting on export to .doc just once on a proposal you are sending to a client, and if that screwup costs you the client, you might have just lost in potential revenue the cost of a business wide Office deployment. It isn't worth it. What are you going to tell the client? "Please resubmit this document in a different format. We don't use Office because it doesn't satisfy the FSF requirements for Free Software?" Yeah, right; good luck with that. I don't think that would even fly in Cuba (ooooh, *burn*). Or maybe, "We don't use Office because it is too expensive." That isn't going to cut it. Now the client thinks you are willing to cut corners on quality and infrastructure at the cost of customer relationships. Good one. You just lost all the money you saved by not deploying Office.

Now, maybe they have a niche market in Europe. That's fine. I don't see why anyone would choose this over Star Office (or even Open Office). But anyone in IT looking at this as a way to cut costs is probably about to make a huge mistake.

Re:"Like Office but cheaper" not a good business p (1)

EvilRyry (1025309) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295282)

Word isn't even compatible with itself. Sure, it usually shows up mostly correct. But I've had experiences ranging from poor formating to error messages when opening the document (2000 to 2003 seems to be the worst).

Re:"Like Office but cheaper" not a good business p (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295542)

In a professional environment you can not afford 99% compatible.

It's really like that for any business. You ever wonder why the "business" or "commercial" version of anything is almost always better than the "consumer" version (if there is a counterpart)? It's not about money. I know that most non-business people think that every business is Wal-Mart or Microsoft and can afford to waste money. But even so, that's not it.

I own my own business. It's the source of income for myself, and for 6 other people. There is no room for error anywhere. Any part breaks down, and that's 7 people without pay. I don't care if it's something as simple as a broom or as complicated as software. I always buy the best, and ignore the cost. I know I'm paying more than I have to. But, you can't nickel and dime your livelihood. If it's critical, it's critical.

A few hundred bucks for softwware is negligible. Hell, my business is tiny and new, but if my manager asked me if he should spend $300 on some software that we needed, I'd probably bitch slap him for thinking twice.

Use PDF (2, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295582)

Send out PDFs, not virus prone .docs. Anyhoo, the way a .doc renders, depends on the installed printer. Yes, that is correct, the printer. You don't control the client's printer, so if the exact rendering is important, you should not send out .doc files.

why give a fuck about office compatability? (4, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295082)

i don't see why people are so obessed about being compatable with office documents. the whole point is to force office out, adding compatablity only give it greater leverage to change their formats and screw you over. far better to create a suite that uses open format documents in xml. while you continue to pander to the make everything compatable with MS products crowd, you will not win.

Re:why give a fuck about office compatability? (1)

synthespian (563437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295160)

Mod this guy up, somebody.

Re:why give a fuck about office compatability? (3, Interesting)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295288)

If you don't have Office compatibility, nobody's going to install your program. The sad fact is that MS Office and its variants are on a huge number of PCs out there, and as long as you have any kind of need to interoperate with other people, you absolutely need to have that ability.

Being compatible with MS Office does *not* mean that you're defaulting to its file format. It means that you have the option of reading documents that people send you in .DOC format, and that if you absolutely need to, you can export it to .DOC for those same people (or any of the other formats Office uses). Until applications like AbiWord and suites like OpenOffice and the one discussed here find greater market penetration, the de facto standard will remain MS Office, and dropping compatibility is not an option.

What you're proposing will marginalize yourself, and that's exactly what the FOSS movement does *not* need.

Re:why give a fuck about office compatability? (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295556)

what you are proposing is impossible and will result in subpar office suites which is eactly what FOSS does *not* need. you can interoperate with other people who use word just fine by exporting to PDF for those with older word versions and to opendoc for people in the future. the REAL problem isn't word it's fucking excel, which really needs to be banned from business computers since it's responible for giving middle managment tards the idea that they can program. same deal with access. the moment someone comes up with a entirely web based office suite they you can pay a low monthly subscription to use, and that works really well, you will see office begin to lose it's domination. so much time and effort does into fixing and supporting office it's unbelieveable. this constant pandering to MS has to stop if we are to ever get anywhere with open spec office documents.

Crashed it on the very first file! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17295158)

I was excited to try SoftMaker Office because of the claim of 100% compatibility -- I've been growling at the Open Office folks for years to have better formating, macro support, and so on. My publisher requires MS Word and Excel because they have written specific macros that allow authors to embed all the right formating directly into the document (rather than pay a grunt to add it in later). It sucks because every time I want to send off a file, I have to boot into Windoze, proof it, make sure certain formating codes didn't drop out or go screwy...Ugh.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I opened up Textmaker and the very first file I opened (a standard .doc with the embedded formating codes) caused a total crash...window disappeared...poof. Gone.

Is that worth 70 bucks? No way. I can limp along with my "proofing-only" MS Word and Open Office (which opens the same file no problem.)

In SoftMaker's defense, I opened up a .xls file that won't work right in Open Office and in Planmaker the spreadsheet macros were perfect. So they're trying, and perhaps Open Office could take a hint from them -- or they could put their heads together and try to really get a product that works. But currently, I'm not impressed, not enough to consider paying for it. I'd be happy to pay, I'd even be happy to pay for a Linux-based version of MS Word (just so it would save me the reboot and would run these darn macros!). But not for something that's broken right out of the box. The trial didn't need to last 30 days. I'm done.

Personally I've had it with "Softwmaker" (2, Insightful)

gd23ka (324741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295228)

I have no idea why this small operation out of Nuremberg, Germany keeps on trying
(and how they're able to purchase press coverage). With a choice between full
compatibility to Orifice 200x by buying the original or getting a free kick-ass
Office Package that is maybe 80% Microsoft compatible - what niche does that leave
the guy asking money for something that is 80%-90% compatible?

Can anyone explain... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17295274)

why the text on the start button is capitalized in their screenshot of the Windows software???
http://www.softmaker.com/english/images/ofw06_en.p ng [softmaker.com]

Chokes on big spreadsheets (3, Insightful)

massysett (910130) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295300)

I've got a huge (17.5MB) spreadsheet that Excel handles, no problem. Excel takes about five seconds to open it and recalculates it in about a second.

No Linux program I tried could handle this spreadsheet. Gnumeric and OOo both choke on it. If they even load it, they then take several minutes to recalculate it. KSpread doesn't even have all the functions that are in the sheet.

So I was eager to try this new spreadsheet--PlanMaker, they call it. I downloaded it. Installation was really easy (to me, refuting the people who claim that it's too hard for ISVs to release proprietary binaries for Linux.)

Planmaker has now been cranking one of my cores at 100% for about five minutes, just trying to get this worksheet open. Still hasn't opened it. Remember that Excel does this in about five seconds.

If Gnumeric is any indicator, converting from the proprietary Excel file format isn't the problem. Gnumeric performed worse in its native XML format than it did with the Excel format.

Yes, I can already see holier-than-thou geek saying that I shouldn't have a 17.5MB spreadsheet and, to tell the truth, this sheet is not as efficiently written as it could be. But part of the value of spreadsheets is that they allow non-geeks to put some simple data models together. Spreadsheets need to be able to cope with inefficiently written sheets.

Excel can cope; nothing else can. Maybe Crossover is the next option to try.

Planmaker *still* hasn't opened the sheet.

But what about the hard part? (1)

udos (986736) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295358)

But aren't there already several office solutions to choose from? Seems almost that every major window manager provides one or part of one.

As for .doc format compatibility, even basic tools like antiword can get you at least the text, so what remains is graphics, formatting, redlining and any metadata (versioning, etc).

What I would like to see is a taker on the old Visio format reverse-engineering bounty that was offered a while back :) Till then, its just more or less more of the same, according to taste.

can't wait (1)

s34g4r (1041482) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295662)

I can't wait to give it a shot....

OMG!! (1)

mrbarkeeper (560018) | more than 7 years ago | (#17295976)

My eyes!! MY EYES!!!

"I come to work and I have to look at this mess [softmaker.com] !"

Re:OMG!! (1)

mrbarkeeper (560018) | more than 7 years ago | (#17296056)

"I-- you better make good graphics!"
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