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Is it Time for Open Office?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the opportunity-for-adoption dept.

Software 449

lazyron asks: "I've been using Open Office a bit more lately, and got to thinking: this is much more like my current version of Microsoft Office than Office 2007 will be. Could it be time to try Open Office in the workplace, especially since there is still some time left before Office 2007 will be forced on us by the demands of the product cycle? Are there any IT admins out there thinking about trying Open Office, either with a few users or all of them?"

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Of course.... (0, Troll)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689526)

Not.

OO is different than the offering at MS, and is "incompatible" with every last feature (bloat) that they offer. Because it's not 100% exactly right, not many businesses will care.. Now if MS gets a cracking on "illegal installs", well, that probably would do the trick.

Re:Of course.... (4, Informative)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689590)

Parent is very wrong. I'm one of a couple of devs in my office using Ubuntu as my desktop. I use Open Office and can open all docs that people send to me: Powerpoint, Excel, Word docs. They all work fine. Plus I can export as PDF's and a variety of other formats. The only time I have run into a problem is when people are saving in a very old format like Word97. But then, even Microsoft Office users have the same problem and do the same thing I do... ask the user to resend in a more recent format.

Re:Of course.... (4, Informative)

toadlife (301863) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689634)

I'll call your anecdote with one of my own.

At work we have several word-based forms that are filled out and passed around via email. Open Office corrupts these forms. They are unusable by Word 2003 after being modified and saved by OOo.

Re:Of course.... (0, Troll)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689708)

---Parent is very wrong. I'm one of a couple of devs in my office using Ubuntu as my desktop. I use Open Office and can open all docs that people send to me: Powerpoint, Excel, Word docs. They all work fine. Plus I can export as PDF's and a variety of other formats. The only time I have run into a problem is when people are saving in a very old format like Word97. But then, even Microsoft Office users have the same problem and do the same thing I do... ask the user to resend in a more recent format.

That right there is sad.. that you need to have the experience of a developer and use Linux to maintain usability with OpenOffice. With MS editing tools, yes, you do have occasional format problems, but those can be solved by asking the person to save as another MS format. If worse comes to worst, save as RTF.

However, there's an easier way to get consumers to switch, and thats to say to pay 500$ for Office suite, or FREE for OO. Still, its going to be horrendously confusing, and they'll most likely end up pirating Office anyways.

Re:Of course.... (5, Insightful)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689818)

You need that experience huh? Well funny thing is, I installed Kubuntu (the KDE version of Ubuntu) with Open Office on my 65 year old moms machine. She never noticed the difference between Microsoft Word and Open Office Word. And guess how many phone calls I get to help her work on her novel? Zero. This is comparison to the weekly trouble shooting I did before.

I know that you are trying to troll but honestly you are giving me a great chance to show how easy Open Office is. It doesn't take a developer to install or know about it or maintain it... only an open mind who takes the time to try it out and see for themselves. That how Firefox happened. People tried it and it just worked. Same thing with Open Office. It just works.

Maybe thats why Microsoft is so panicky.

Re:Of course.... (3, Insightful)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689928)

Let us read carefully....

"I've been using Open Office a bit more lately, and got to thinking: this is much more like my current version of Microsoft Office than Office 2007 will be. Could it be time to try Open Office in the workplace, especially since there is still some time left before Office 2007 will be forced on us by the demands of the product cycle? Are there any IT admins out there thinking about trying Open Office, either with a few users or all of them?"

Notice the aim is looking at business, not your anecdotal stories about your fictional grandmother (I dont know if she exists, nor do I care). I care about facts, and this story aims at business usage of OO vs MS Office.

Right now, in terms of plain old document usage, OO is equally as good as MSO. In terms of scripting compatibility, OO is lagging far behind. If any one section does not work for a business, why would they "switch" and then deal with problems they did not have before?

And last I respond to my answer by arguing if MS ever forces stringent licenses of Office, OO would grow dramatically, and not before.

Re:Of course.... (1)

toleraen (831634) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690416)

And last I respond to my answer by arguing if MS ever forces stringent licenses of Office, OO would grow dramatically, and not before.

Isn't there licensing already pretty stringent? I haven't gone through the registration process recently, but I do recall in the past having to call up MS to re-register because I installed a new motherboard. Granted the CS people I've talked to have been friendly friendly, and it was relatively painless, it still was pretty damned annoying that I had to phone in my copy of office just to use it.

Re:Of course.... (3, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690500)

You'd be surprised at how many business don't use any of the scripting in MS Office. I'd think that those companies might be interested in saving a few hundred grand.

Re:Of course.... (2, Insightful)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690598)

Not really, I do consulting on the side and see many types of setups. Ive seen 4 person law firms that use extensive billing VBA forms set up within Excel and Word, and then large factory setups with the head accountant with a weird setup of many interconnecting tools. Some businesses also didnt bother at all with licensing (they copied a school version, or downloaded it off of some website torrent).

From my experience, many businesses could get away with running OO, unless they deal regularly with other companies (thats most). Then incompatibilities will rear their ugly heads. And guess who gets the blame? The one who suggested it (me).

Re:Of course.... (0, Flamebait)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690702)

Notice the aim is looking at business, not your anecdotal stories about your fictional grandmother (I dont know if she exists, nor do I care). I care about facts, and this story aims at business usage of OO vs MS Office.
Oh I'm sorry. You stated that it would take a developer to use this and then when I refute it, you say 'lets not get side tracked'. How sad. So in other words, if I prove you wrong, you'd rather I keep my mouth shut? Are you sure you are Steve Ballmer in disguise? How long HAVE you been on the Microsoft payroll? :)

Re:Of course.... (5, Funny)

andy314159pi (787550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690022)

I'm confused. Did they even make computers 65 years ago??

Re:Of course.... (4, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#17691056)

Exactly - it seems that the quickest way for a computer support shop to go out of business, is to install Linux desktops. Why? Because there is almost NO maintenance business for Linux. Nevertheless, I still install Linux for everyone I can convince to try it and I get 100% acceptance from those that do - not one asked me for a roll-back to Windows. Some have gone on and bought a couple of Apple Macs though. Interestingly, I get more support calls from Mac users than from Linux users. The reason seems to be that the much touted Apple task launcher finder thingy, is much more difficult to use than KDE menus and my solution to the problem is to create a bunch of desktop icons to often used programs. Very simple problem, with a simple solution, but it shows what kind of simple issues stump ordinary mortals. These users are NOT geeks and never will be and don't need to be. The computer is just a glorified typewriter to them. The other interesting thing, is that these Linux and Apple users end up giving me high quality referrals to businesses for big and complex support problems, that stumped other support people. So, I get better quality and better paying work, simply by installing a handful of Linux desktops here and there.

Re:Of course.... (3, Interesting)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690000)

Yeah, yeah, whatever. Most people don't know how to use Microsoft Office properly. It's an app that encourages bad usage, like using a plethora of different fonts and font sizes instead of simple and reconfigurable styles. OpenOffice.org is slightly, but not much, better in that respect.

Re:Of course.... (4, Interesting)

Columcille (88542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690576)

To me this is one thing that makes Office 2007 great. With Word all the tools are right there easy to see in front of me. I didn't use a lot of stuff in previous versions because I never took the time to go digging for them. My fault, yes, but Office 2007 has removed my need to dig and makes it easy for me to access tools that I'm now finding to be pretty useful.

Re:Of course.... (4, Informative)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690740)

there's an entire class of fallacies dedicated to the flaws in your post.

Person A is a Developer using Linux.
Person A can use OpenOffice.
it does not follow that you must be a linux using developer to be able to use OpenOffice.

Incidentally, to add one more anecdote to the pile - I'm right this minute using MS Word 2003 to look at a document created by someone else using MS Word. For them it looks fine, for me, it's horribly wrong - in OpenOffice it also looks horribly wrong, but equally as horribly wrong as Word 2003, but once I've managed to correct the wrongness (people that use a word processor as a page layout tool need to be stabbed repeatedly until they stop it), I'll at least be able to export it to PDF from OpenOffice writer.

Re:Of course.... (-1, Troll)

binford2k (142561) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690960)

What a fallacy.

That's like saying that because YOU are a cockwad and you post on slashdot that being a cockwad is a requirement for posting on slashdot.

Re:Of course.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690012)

i agree completely with the toad.

i created my resume in MS Office (2k iirc)
when i opened it in OO there were slight formatting errors.
(bullets were all off line from eachother, tab 'deadspace' was also incorrectly presented)
so, of course, i corrected them in OO and saved it.

because im meticulous i opened it in MS Office (since no doubt thats what it would be opened with by the potential employer). to my surprise it was jacked up way more in MS Office after saving it in OO than it was simply opening it in OO.

had i not checked it first, i would have never gotten a job based on the poor initial presentation alone.

Re:Of course.... (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690522)

Why would you send your resume as a Word doc instead of a pdf? Show off your skills and knowledge of portable formats by saving the doc as a pdf, then send it. Then you know exactly how it's going to look to your potential employer.

Re:Of course.... (4, Insightful)

slide-rule (153968) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690794)

Because asshat HR departments require Word format to the rational exclusion of all other formats. I've offered sending to PDF several times trying to appeal to the unreliability of word version X being able to properly render word version y in various cases. Could be partly the HR employee familiarity, and it could be tools that know how to scan word docs (though scanning an OO.o writer document is infinitely more easy, being, basically, zipped plain text -- can't speak one way or the other about pdf files, but the spec is open enough, so I hear).

Re:Of course.... (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690078)

And I'll counter with an anecdote of my own. We do the same, and I haven't had any problems using OOo

Re:Of course.... (1)

toadlife (301863) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690360)

Is editing of your forms "locked" with passwords? I think that feature may have been what caused the problems.

Re:Of course.... (1, Interesting)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689642)

Well, at first it seems Im wrong, but how to you run scripted Excel worksheets?

We're talking about financials and receiving... Is there a VBA emulator for Open Office, or any open source editing engine? I mean, that actually works properly.

Re:Of course.... (4, Insightful)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689764)

80% of scripts run fine but some scripting doesn't run... This is a known issue. And as most people only use 10% of the features anyway, most people will never have a problem with this. Microsoft has admitted that 90% of people don't use more than 10% of the functionality within Office anyway. So literally, since Open Office isn't the dominant player, they don't have to reach for that last 10%. They just have to duplicate the vast majority of functions that people use every day... and they do.

Re:Of course.... (1, Insightful)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689856)

True, but guessing which 10% of the code doesnt need to be implemented is a joke. Either it's all right, or it fails miserably.

Then again, is a CPA's job for debugging an interface that isnt even properly implemented, or is it to be a certified public accountant (that processes fincial data)?

If I have licenses for 20 machines for Office 2000 and my Excel apps run fine, and they don't run on Open Office, do you think I'll switch?

Re:Of course.... (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690362)

No, but I hope you won't "upgrade" either. However, when other people start sending you OoO and Office 2007 documents that are incompatible with your current version, you might be tempted.

Re:Of course.... (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690680)

If you are an office of CPA's that haven't standardized on an application then you probably should figure out how to run a business first. If you standardize on one application or the other, you will be fine and the end goal is the output, not the tiny little scripts you run inside.

As for me, I have yet to get a excel doc from a CPA or any other person where their little scripts won't run. So i don't know what you are talking about. But if you want to avoid this guessing that you keep doing, just go to the Open Office website and read the docs.

You see... Microsoft discovered this exact fact... (4, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689964)

Parent is very wrong. I'm one of a couple of devs in my office using Ubuntu as my desktop. I use Open Office and can open all docs that people send to me: Powerpoint, Excel, Word docs
And thought "Oh FUCK! Time to bring out a new "improved"(har har) and incompatible version of Office.". So there you have it.

Your Open Office system will work fine for about 18 months until the new version starts to become more common, then you (and every other existing MS Office user as well) will start running into problems as the network effect [wikipedia.org] with the new version really kicks in.

 

Re:Of course.... (4, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690228)

Geez - didn't you see the sarcasm when the gp poster said it wasn't compatible because it lacked BLOAT?

Re:Of course.... (1)

Columcille (88542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690658)

Have you tried any Office 2007 files yet? I haven't seen any of the open source suites release filters to work with those files. Granted the releases aren't public yet but the betas have been around long enough that I'm surprised that it isn't out there. Or perhaps someone here can tell me where to find them?

Re:Of course.... (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690720)

Office 2007 is released for corporations since November, just not home users. We're having two legit Office 2007 RTM installs at work right now.

Re:Of course.... (3, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690404)

If that's the case, then Office 2007 will be rejected for similar reasons.

Actually, I have introduced OO.o to many users who wanted to create PDFs from their word documents. Rather than install any of the free PDF makers out there, I showed them that they could save as PDF using OO.o. Many users just kept using it for more than just that utility purpose.

On an aside, I find that it's an exceptionally easy way to ease the use of OO.o into the workplace. It simply works well enough for most people.

Re:Of course.... (4, Insightful)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 7 years ago | (#17691144)

My biggest beef with OpenOffice is the FUD box [vgmusic.com] I get whenever I try to save a file in .doc format.

If your average user saw this [vgmusic.com] screen, what conclusion would they draw?

Heck, I work in programming, and the conclusion I drew after I started to read this dialog is that OO.org doesn't work well with .doc files and I probably shouldn't switch to it.

Everthing 'cept Outlook (2, Insightful)

phorest (877315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689548)

Yes, I concur.

When I am onsite for service calls I always load up OOo for new installs. Most of my customers have peer-to-peer networks or are running Small Business Server. Outlook is a great program and if you have a SBS controlled domain every client gets their own copy of Outlook automatically. I do try to save them money on software so I can charge more for service calls:)

Outlook is still garbage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690586)

I'm not an anti-MS Zealot. Entourage is pretty good. But Outlook is horrible. So much org time is wasted troubleshooting bloated PST mail files or having to explain why a customer who didn't use Outlook is getting MS-TNEF garbage. And the IMAP support is pitiful.

Even many MS developers say you should use Thunderbird on Windows (including the guy who worked on IMAP in Entourage).

Hopefully, Evolution on win32 and Thunderbird+Lightning will mature enough to encourage MS to actually fix Outlook.

Lack of Customer Support=No (3, Interesting)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689618)

Star Office would be a more appropriate replacement because the PHB's would see that they could call up a company and have some support rather than posting something on a mailing list should the shit hit the fan. I use the latest version of Star Office and have no complaints other than it doesn't print presentation slides as nice as PowerPoint does. But then again, I'm a student, so I don't need the most powerful software out there. I know that once I'm out of the university and in the work force I'm going to have to rely on the intricacies of Excel to get any work done, so I'd also chalk that up for another "No" reason.

Re:Lack of Customer Support=No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17689830)

When did Microsoft start offering any support?

This has been asked many times before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17689622)

Every time I answer, "no".

Basically, I can be wrong at most once, and right an arbitrary number of times. Given that I was right the first time, I now cannot lose overall!

OO (2, Informative)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689660)

If you don't use Word macros, yes. If you do use Word macros (or certain Excel functions that are designed for the european market), probably not.
If all you need is a standard word processing program, spreadsheet, and presentation maker (which is true of almost everyone that uses Office) then OO is the way to go.

Re:OO (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689726)

Excel functions that are designed for the european market

Care to explain? I've been using Calc for ages in Europe...

Re:OO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17689792)

Just use emacs and TeX instead of Word macros

OO gives you a database as well (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690030)

Which is very very handy indeed.

 

Re:OO (2, Informative)

Trelane (16124) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690432)

How did this crap get modded "insightful"?! You can code macros in python, StarBASIC, BeanShell, and several others. Seriously, where did parent get this jewel of mis-information?

In your case - not. (2, Insightful)

kosmosik (654958) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689668)

Face it - OpenOffice.org is not compatible with MSO (neither are different versions of MSO either). You cannot really mix them. What you need is to choose one.

Depends on the size of your shop (2, Informative)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689670)

And the policies therein.

We mostly use open source software in our shop, but a number of us have Windows boxen - or dual boot Linux/Win boxen - so that we can use Microsoft Office.

At home, a lot of us use Open Office - even on our Windows PCs.

It really depends on how your work is organized. For a small shop, changing over is fine, if you're mostly just using DOC and XLS formats, but not coding for Access (MDB) or doing add-ons for Word and Excel. But if your DBMS is something like MySQL, and you just need to be able to read and write to the DOC and XLS formats, then you should be fine. But this is something that some people regard as highly volatile, so you'd need to have the backing of both your shop and your boss in particular.

Not happening (2, Insightful)

PHPNerd (1039992) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689676)

There is no way to move existing companies off of Microsoft Office (which is what they want). The main reason is that many people are scared to move to a new product, while others don't want to have to learn something new (Even if it's minimal). Comfort zone is everything.

Re:Not happening (3, Insightful)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689808)

The main reason is that many people are scared to move to a new product, while others don't want to have to learn something new (Even if it's minimal). Comfort zone is everything.
Yes but that's the OP's point. Office 2007 is in many ways more different from previous versions than OO.org is, making it the perfect time to make the switch.

Re:Not happening (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689892)

Yes but that's the OP's point. Office 2007 is in many ways more different from previous versions than OO.org is, making it the perfect time to make the switch.


Unless OOo is better at reading and converting documents from previous versions of Office than MSO 2007, or at least not worse, which I doubt, it may be a better time to switch than anytime in the past, but most businesses still won't want to do it.

OOo is never going to be a "closer upgrade" than the next iteration of MS Office in the ways that matter most, so if its ever going to make a giant leap forward, what it'll probably need is a killer feature besides its price point that makes people willing to deal with the transition cost.

Try opening Office 2007 (5, Interesting)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689688)

From a purely word processing standpoint, this is both the right and the wrong time for OpenOffice.org to challenge the MS crown. It's the right time because, hell, Word 2007 looks more different to Word 2003 than Writer does, on the surface of it. It's the wrong time because, finally, there is a worthy version of Word on the market. It has been ten years since the Office team released anything this decent and free of bloat. But for all those OSS nuts out there, yes, really, now is the time to push Open Office. A bit of serious market share for OSS is always a good thing.

Re:Try opening Office 2007 (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689970)

The Office 2007 formats are designed to be easy to implement in other programs. I'll bet we'll see support soon in OOo.

that's what Novell is doing (0)

YetAnotherBob (988800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690682)

and look at all the grief thier getting for it.

Yes, but No. (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689700)

Sure, you'll be fine with OpenOffice... BUT, once some dorks update to 2007, you will be "old", "incompatible" and "cheapskate". Just as strongholders of Office 97 were.

You have no choice dude.... And I say this as a longtime user of OpenOffice... One of the guys that uses it every day and likes it.... But at office they use MS, so what do I have to say in the end for "real work"? (=not my personal budget or my wedding invitations...which I all did/do in OpenOffice)

Re:Yes, but No. (3, Interesting)

kosmosik (654958) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689900)

> Sure, you'll be fine with OpenOffice... BUT, once some dorks
> update to 2007, you will be "old", "incompatible" and "cheapskate".
> Just as strongholders of Office 97 were.

It depends on how you relate to those dorks. We use (small company - 20 users) only OOO. We exchange documents internally and it works fine (since everybody is on OOO). With other guys (you rerfer to them as dorks) we do not exchange documents. All we send are PDF documents like offers, letters, manuals and other types of documents that we do not want them and don't expect to edit.

Now for dorks sending us MSO documents - they don't. Any interaction with clients that supply some kind of data is via web forms and their portal. So we do not need to recive MSO documents from our clients.

We do exchange documents with parties we pay for service - we pay them. So we tell them to send their stuff in format we can read.

We are using it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17689722)

Our non-profit [springsrescuemission.org] has been using it for 3-4 years since version 1.0. We currently have about 50 users, and for the most part, things work very well. (One exception is that Quickbooks seems to integrate with Excel and not OpenOffice.org Calc.)

Also, it's actually called "OpenOffice.org" and not "Open Office."

a non-issue (1)

overtly_demure (1024363) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689730)

Like any other software decision, this depends on what you want to do. Not everyone does complex Excel spreadsheets, and it can be argued that those are more of a liability than an advantage. Most users could use either MS Office or OpenOffice and not really care one way or the other once they are up to speed. With a modest amount of training and the presence of a competent sysadmin, most users would do fine with Ubuntu linux and OpenOffice.

That you can point out numerous specialized niches that would have problems, perhaps even serious ones is a minor issue. MS Winodows and MS Office have nothing critical that would preclude most users from just walking away, be they corporate, academic, small-business, and even home users. It is all in your head, and in whether you are either reasonably competent or have access to someone who is.

This is a non-issue. All OSs and office suites require a lot of initial training and a non-zero amount of ongoing support and training. There is no magic bullet, and no platform that is magically easy to use for everyone.

Stop drinking the kool-aid. There seems to be something in it.

so far, so good... (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689750)

No, I don't have 'users' but I do have a family. So far, in my efforts to ween them from MS Windows and related products, I find that they ask the same damn questions they used to ask: How do you format the paragraph numbers? How can I insert a picture here? Can you change the colors on this heading? plus the typical spreadsheet questions, web browser questions, and why can't I download this file type questions. I can't tell the difference between them using MS products and F/OSS products.

In fact, I really don't think they give a damn as long as they can figure out how to do what they need to get done.

If you're going to switch, now is as good a time as any. The questions will stay about the same as far as I can tell. Data backups and protection should be managed carefully no matter what OS / APPs you use. If you have the backend taken care of, the tools used to manipulate the data should be about equal. My 'users' really didn't use calendaring too much, or other group productivity tools, so that might be something to be watchful of.

money (0, Offtopic)

dheera (1003686) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689794)

I personally never use any Word equivalents. I don't use Word, I don't use OO, I don't use AbiWord. I just don't see a need for these products.

If it's text, I do it text-only, there's no need for bloat.
If it requires basic text formatting, I just create a simple HTML file, it's faster and quicker and more portable.
If it's to be a published black and white document, I use LaTeX (don't complain, there _are_ good LaTeX editors around for those that hate coding). This way the fonts and serifs are perfect, increasing readability dramatically.
If it's a complex graphic design publication, word-equivalents suck yet again, and I use InkScape or Freehand or something.

I don't see a place for Microsoft Word, OO Writer, or any such products anywhere above.

Missing the point somewhat (1)

overtly_demure (1024363) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690038)

I understand what you mean, but MS Office is not directed at people like you. MS Office is supposed to be a mass-market product for people who may never acquire significant skills, or whose skills will likely be narrow and deep, such as someone who creates big complex Excel spreadsheets, or someone who prepares large numbers of not very complex Word documents. These users do not need the fineness and versatility of the software you mention, nor would they benefit greatly from the sophisticated commercial publishing or number crunching products out there.

There is definitely a market for MS Office-like software, and I count myself among those who believe OpenOffice fills the bill for the vast majority of MS Office users, regardless of their context. There are people who expect more, however, and neither MS Office nor OpenOffice will satisfy them.

Re:money (1)

YttriumOxide (837412) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690322)

What about a fairly simple, mostly text document that needs to be printed? HTML is a bad choice because you can't guarantee the printed output matches the document, and your other two options are bad because they're too complex. Word Processors definitely do have a place.

Re:money (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690570)

> I just don't see a need for these products.

What if you get asked to write a SDS (Software design specification) which involves a few pages of text, tables, some pictures and perhaps even the odd vector based image. Word just eats it up. You have to admit it - that bloat comes in handy, and on a 3.2ghz cpu, 2gig ram, 300 gig hd machine I just don't give a shit about it.

Excel has much better charting (4, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689858)

I am a big fan of OO and I use it even though our company has bulk license and unlimited installs. I have no problem doing good high quality presentations. I mail PDF attachments. Everything is good. Except Excel's charting and annotating is still far superior to OO. I have been meaning to download the SDK and implement the support I need myself. But after looking at my code for five days I just can do more hacking during weekends. I must be getting old. Further my forte is C++ for non graphical non user interface fast scientific code develepment. So my productivity in the new build environment would be low. Bur definitely I would encourage people to improve the charting support. Just use gnuplot as the engine and slap good UI on it. Someone. anyone.

Re:Excel has much better charting (1)

kosmosik (654958) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690300)

I don't know about MSO 2007 (I've heard it has improved in this matter) but MSO produces awful charts - mainly my problem with them is that you cannot export them decently (actually I figured out that you can print such chart to a file and then get PS file and use it in some other program - there is no easy way to export chart in decent format from Excel).

In my opinion (or maybe the business where I am at) charts in Excel are mostly used for marketing purposes - and (I am talking about MSO 2003 here) that what Excel produces looks just ugly (default colours, boring). :) So you need a graphic designer to redraw the entire chart.

I know that charts are great way to visualise trends and such - where you will not exactly get the picture when presented with 500 numbers but you will when presented a chart. My problem is that these charts from Excel are ugly. And Calc is even worse.

So concluding - maybe it is easy to make charts in Excel but they certainly do not look good. Either in Calc. But I've heard that MS made a progres with MSO 2007 and charts do look nice (or at least different than boring, unexciting style that MSO used).

Better, but not GOOD (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690446)

Excel can do quick and dirty charts. The prior is an asset. The latter is BAD & worsened because it is VERY hard to take an Excel chart into another program to IMPROVE it.

Charting in ALL the programs suck. OO.o's current module is probably the worst (but their new chart module that you can beta test shows a lot of improvement).

But you can't make publication quality plots in ANY of them. So, we don't bother. The free/open source advocates use Grace. The others tend to use Origin.

Scientific/engineering office? Answer is no. (4, Informative)

Merlynnus (209292) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689934)

As much as anyone cringes, Excel is the best tool for accumulating, plotting, and exporting (to Word, e.g.) data and charts. Yes there are better tools, but they are not as easy to use and they are not as well integrated with the other tools of the trade. So, having said that, Calc in no way measures up to Excel.

For one, charting (especially X-Y scatter plots) is very, very painful to use and doesn't have all the features that are required.

Then there's the VBA macro issue, which judging by some of the comments may or may not be an issue.

Writer doesn't seem too limiting, and I haven't really used Impress too much, but without the functionality of Excel, it's a non-starter.

Excel's crap for scientific data (5, Informative)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690158)

God the problems I had trying to handle large datasets... Where "large" is bigger than say 64k... So what I really mean by large is small. Excel is just completely useless for anything non trivial.

Yes as you mentioned, there are better tools for the job and frankly as hard as they might seem, they just work.
 

This science/engineering office says no to Excel! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690384)

We have machines with Gnumeric, Excel, and OO.o Calc & let people choose what to use. They typically use Gnumeric, mostly as it is DEAD EASY to get data into and out of. For example, Gnumeric is the only one that just works with copied/pasted plain text tables. It is fast and accurate.

For one, charting (especially X-Y scatter plots) is very, very painful to use and doesn't have all the features that are required.
Excel can do quick and dirty charts. The prior is an asset. The latter is BAD & worsened because it is VERY hard to take an Excel chart into another program to IMPROVE it.

Charting in ALL the programs suck. OO.o's current module is probably the worst (but their new chart module that you can beta test shows a lot of improvement).

But you can't make publication quality plots in ANY of them. So, we don't bother. The free/open source advocates use Grace. The others tend to use Origin.

Then there's the VBA macro issue, which judging by some of the comments may or may not be an issue.
This could still be an issue for legacy spreadsheets. When people find stuff better than Excel VBA (Python kicks butt!), they tend to stop using it for new sheets.

but without the functionality of Excel, it's a non-starter.
Why not pick and choose good tools from all available options? You don't have to use an app just because it is part of a suite that has other programs you like.

A Thousand Times, No! (5, Interesting)

eklitzke (873155) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689952)

OpenOffice.org is, in my opinion, the weakest part of the free software desktop experience. It is huge and bloated. It takes 100 MB - 200 MB to install (depending on your operating system), which is way more than it should. It doesn't use any platform's native graphical toolkit. Fonts look like crap in it. Etc, etc.

Honestly, I think that Abiword is orders of magnitude better -- not just in the obvious areas of size and memory footprint, but also in terms of the UI. It looks great in Gnome, and runs on Windows too (and it has a grammar checker!). I'm not a KDE user, but KWord also looks better than OO.o

I don't understand the fixation that people have with Open Office. It's slow. It looks bad. It retains all the things you hated about MS Office. The only things that it has going for it is that it has the most faithful .doc import of any open source office tool, and that it has the best ODT support at the moment. But the day that OO.o dies will be a happy day in my book.

Re:A Thousand Times, No! (2, Informative)

YttriumOxide (837412) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690372)

It doesn't use any platform's native graphical toolkit
NeoOffice (OpenOffice port for MacOS X) uses Aqua and looks great - no need for X like the main OpenOffice.org. OpenOffice.org itself will be supporting Aqua in the not too distant future as well.
You're right about OpenOffice looking a bit "off" due to the toolkit if you're looking at Windows though - I'd like to see this improved in future versions somehow.

Honestly, I think that Abiword is orders of magnitude better -- not just in the obvious areas of size and memory footprint, but also in terms of the UI.
The main problem with AbiWord is that it IS a very lightweight program and as such doesn't have too many features. As has been discussed elsewhere, this generally isn't a problem, but when it rears its head, it rears it pretty badly. This will happen a LOT more often with AbiWord than OpenOffice.org.

Well... (1)

trippedn (1053468) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690032)

Personally, I like OO. Its straight forward and useful with a lack of clutter* and imho, looks 'prettier'. Png icons anyone ?

I suppose the main question was about the use of OO in a business style setting though. I don't think its quite 100% ready--not at least until we get can receive a solid amount of support and ease of distribution/control/updates to the networked clients. Formats are already widely support (aside from the rogue usage of Word 97... grumble), along with tools that allow you to easily convert to other formats (pdf, .doc, staroffice?)

However, for personal use, I think OO is great:D

*I mean clutter in the sense of useless/annoying/hard-to-use features. Obviously, somethings are configurable (if you rtm), but seriously, by default I don't want the friggin' Copy-Paste pop-up crap! Also, using and configuring your tab stops is a pain in the arse

Re:Well... (1)

slide-rule (153968) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690952)

My shop uses OO.o (very nearly) exclusively. I'm a big fan of the general concept, its usage of "styles", and the odt file format. However, Writer's interface sucks just as soon as you dig into even the first level of dialog(s). I couldn't care less if the toolbar icons are pngs.

I do care that it took a team of us a few hours pouring through google and forums trying to see how to get a hyperlinkable table of contents keyed off of custom paragraph styles. The interface and the procedure are abysmally *not* intuitive -- it took drilling into dialogs in two completely unrelated parts of the main menu to get it set up, and when we were finished, it ultimately failed to give us what we wanted. (We had a TOC, but only the built-in styles were hyperlinked. great.) Not to mention the procedure for link-i-fying the TOC elements themselves: click the cursor in some empty 1-char wide text field, then click on a button labelled "LS", then click in a different 1-char wide text field, then click a button labelled "LE". Amazing this didn't occur to us.

There was some page-related property we wanted to change ... "obviously" we need to right-click in a paragraph on that page and select "paragraph..." to get to the page property we needed. Go look for it in the page properties area where we all reasonably expected it to be? Absent.

When a document gets non-trivial in size, writer sometimes hurls and dies if just the wrong list item is deleted from just the wrong spot on just the wrong page -- not in any really repeatable way except it seems to hit us when editing around list items.

I'm being somewhat harsh with Writer given my experience with it over just the last year. We still use it b/c the price is right. Now whether Word or anything else is straightforward is another question (Word's reliability and compatibility may be an issue, but the operations, menus, and dialogs seem to be logically organized). But, you just can't say OO writer is "straightforward."

IMO... (1)

Inferger (1007151) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690034)

...OpenOffice is probably the closest free Office clone I've seen. It still seems to be a little lagging behind in a few features, but I would definately use it as an alternative to Office.

Adequate but not great (5, Insightful)

koreth (409849) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690114)

I put OOO on my girlfriend's Windows laptop (replacing a pirated copy of MS Office) and it's been a mixed bag for her. Writer works fine for most of what she needs to do. Impress is okay but not great -- when she looks at other people's PowerPoint presentations, they are usually at least legible, but most often the formatting is messed up in some way or another. But Calc is a source of frustration. Last night she wanted to make a simple X-Y graph and it took us a solid 15 minutes of clicking around different dialog boxes to get what she wanted -- and even then I had to modify the spreadsheet to get it to work (it doesn't really like the Y axis values to be in the column before the X axis values, for example.) The default formatting was lousy; one of the columns was nothing but whole numbers yet Calc decided to put in grid lines for fractional values and display the numbers with three trailing decimal places. And so forth. All eventually fixable -- we got the graph -- but not fun.

I just fired up Excel to compare the experience, and I had the same graph in under a minute with no after-the-fact fussing around with properties panels. Its defaults were what I wanted and it let me put my columns in any order (though the UI for specifying column ranges needs a little help IMO).

This was the first time I'd used Excel in maybe a year, and the first time I'd made a graph in Excel in... well, I can't remember the previous time. Whereas I use OOO pretty frequently. So I am no MS fanboy -- but OOO does have some catching up to do in places.

Notice, by the way, that the above example has nothing to do with file formats or proprietary languages. I'm willing to cut OOO some slack when it has trouble rendering a document that uses some obscure undocumented formatting feature of MS Word, but that wasn't the case here.

Re:Adequate but not great (1)

slide-rule (153968) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690994)

Want some fun? Fire up writer, type in a several paragraphs of random stuff. Use various heading levels to keep things organized. Now then: generate a table of contents. For extra fun, only allow one or two heading levels in the TOC. Then try making the TOC entries be hyperlinks to the material. Throw in some google searches (but not right away! that'd be cheating) and you're in a fun afternoon.

Re:Adequate but not great (2, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#17691162)

I prefer Gnumeric to Calc. Gnumeric is almost 100% compatible with Excel.

Openoffice should learn from Mozilla (5, Insightful)

jkloosterman (1017270) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690138)

The state of the Openoffice.org project reminds me of how the Mozilla Project was about four or five years ago. It has all the features imaginable (e.g. database connectivity, vector graphic support, full-featured spreadsheet), and is compatible with everything under the sun. However, non o matter how modern or fast a system, it runs like a sloth. I would suggest that it is time for a new Openoffice, much more like what Mozilla has done with Firefox and Thunderbird; spinning one huge piece of bloat into several smaller tools that do their job effectively.

Nobody used Mozilla, because it was big and slow and looked a lot like something from five years before (Netscape Communicator 4.7); people running GNU/Linux systems used it because it was all they generally had (not trying to throw flamebait). If Openoffice and its developers (mostly Sun) learned from Mozilla, we could see a great, useful, usable, and popular product come out of what Openoffice is today.

Re:Openoffice should learn from Mozilla (1)

megabyte405 (608258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690462)

Have you tried AbiWord and Gnumeric? All you then need to use OO.o for is presentation (which can kind of be hacked inelegantly with Inkscape and Evince), which makes it a lot less painful, especially if you rarely need to do a presentation.

Bias: I'm an AbiWord dev because I like it a lot.

Re:Openoffice should learn from Mozilla (1)

jkloosterman (1017270) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690590)

Bit off topic, but can AbiWord render Hebrew with vowel points yet, and can Hebrew be pasted into it?

Re:Openoffice should learn from Mozilla (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690654)

This will probably date me, but I miss Nota Bene. I really got in a groove with that old doc-maker. And it was terrific with non-Roman fonts and diacriticals, which I used to use a lot when I was writing love letters to my Eastern European girlfriend, now my wife. Now that we're married, she uses all the diacriticals, if you know what I mean.

Re:Openoffice should learn from Mozilla (1)

vga_init (589198) | more than 7 years ago | (#17691138)

Actually, I've been using Seamonkey from time to time on my workstations. I actually can't perceive a speed difference between it and Firefox.

OpenOffice 2 is not bad, but is not too compatible (2, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690142)

If you use OpenOffice 2 Writer and nothing else, you're fine. But interchange with .doc files still doesn't work all that well. Something readable usually makes it through the conversion, but it won't look quite right.

Impress and OpenOffice Draw are OK, but, realistically, PowerPoint and Visio are better. PowerPoint has all those provided templates and graphical items which make it possible for suits to make up elaborate-looking presentations without much effort. With Impress, you start with a blank page and a few basic layouts. This is fine if you have the graphic design skills to start with a blank page, but that scares most people.

The help system for OpenOffice is still terrible. The typical help page describes how to do something, but doesn't tell you under what menu item or button to find the indicated command. The help system is a manual chopped up into bits, not a coherent help system.

OpenOffice's little star popup thing, their answer to Clippy, is just as annoying as Microsoft's, but dumber about figuring out what you're doing.

It's classic open source. The essential stuff works, and everything else is kind of half done. It's far better than OpenOffice 1.0, but it still has a ways to go.

Two years now... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690170)

We've been using OpenOffice exclusively at my company for about two years now, since the 2.0beta days. We've had some minor bumps along the way, and have discovered a few minor annoyances, but overall, we haven't really missed MSOffice.

This is in a small office with about 40 users; however, we do a lot of document exchange with our clients via Word, Excel and PDF formats. OpenOffice has given us very, very little trouble in this regard. For the occasional word or word->rtf document that just won't open correctly, we can use WordViewer, a free utility from MS.

This move was initiated after a "friendly audit request" by the BSA after an anonymous employee tip. After thinking a great deal about the BSA's tactics and methods, we decided to go with open source applications any place we could.

We still use Windows (2000, XP) on the desktops for the simple reason that it works well, and it's what people are used to. As time goes on, however, Ubuntu is starting to sound better. I wouldn't even *think* of running windows on our servers.

Re:Two years now... (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#17691190)

Without wishing to start a flame war - rather install Kubuntu. Kde is almost exactly like the Windows implementation of CDE, so the transition for users will be almost painless.

I am actually a Mandriva fan, since the Mandriva wizards are better, so it is far easier to install and maintain a Mandriva system than anything else, but from a user point of view, it doesn't matter what kind of Linux is underneath.

For large users with thousands of Linux machines, Redhat is better, due to the Redhat Network Satellite Server. Nobody else has this.

Document compatibility (1)

GeneralPurpose (1053648) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690278)

Don't forget that OO is free . OO is so simple that my idiot dad uses it. Bold, Italic, underline, font, justification, spreadsheets, presentation. That's it. Fuck features. I think we can convert more people to OO just by showing them how easy it is...then there's the added bonus of being able to solve almost all document compatibility problems.

Users don't notice the difference. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690348)

My experience with Open Office 2.1 is that users are not aware of any difference between that and Microsoft Office. They only want to type a letter, and don't focus at all on software issues. I presume that most businesses have very minimal needs: Click File/ New/. Type stuff. Click File/ Save/. Click File/ Print/. Perhaps 1 user out of 20 has any interest in complicated formatting. For all others, there is Open Office. Price-less.

--
U.S. government violence has stopped the centuries-long violence in Iraq and created a peaceful democracy. NOT!

I've been using... (1)

Hymer (856453) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690386)

...OpenOffice for the past 3 years... corporate* use, that is. Every one else is using MS Office 2003... and nobody has noticed, and no, I did not have any problems.
The only real advice I can give you is : go on and try... if you don't have heavy scripting you propably will not run in to problems.
*) it is a multibillion USD financial corporation.
--
Don't expect success... and you'll never be dissapointed.

Look at it this way (5, Insightful)

Arceliar (895609) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690390)

Even if you try OO in a large setting, and find it doesn't work, there's not a lot lost. Just reopen and save your stuff again in a M$ Office native format and switch back. OO may lack some of the 'features' of other office suites, but that doesn't mean said other suites can't open OOs exported files with little to no loss. And as always...pointing out the whole "it's free" thing can go a long way.

Re:Look at it this way (1)

kosmosik (654958) | more than 7 years ago | (#17691092)

> OO may lack some of the 'features' of other office suites,

Features are not important - OOO does not lack any significant fature. But it is quirky. F.e. in MSO you can set entire document language (that your spellchecker will use right dictionary) or just one paragraph using menu (it is in quite obvious place). In OOO if you need to change language you need to go (it took me 10 minutes googling) into *character* properties. That is right - to change language, you need to change *character* properties. Odd.

> but that doesn't mean said other suites can't open OOs
> exported files with little to no loss.

Well, yesterday we got a DOC file. It opened in OOO and it had gray background (looking extremely weird) - you could have changed the gray background to white, save in DOC format. Close OOO, reopen the file with OOO... and it had gray background...

It depends what you mean "little to no loss" - for me a text is plain text. For other people when they see document with gray background that is quite unusual.

  And as always...pointing out the whole "it's free" thing can go a long way.
[ Reply to This

What Office 2007 delivers... (4, Insightful)

MickDownUnder (627418) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690392)

Microsoft no longer sees Office as it's cashcow.

Sharepoint is the new cashcow.

Microsft Sharepoint is an all in one company intranet, document management, CRM and internet portal system for medium to large companies that has been gaining significant market in recent years. Sharepoint entrenches a company in Microsoft technology far more than Office ever could or ever will.

Much of the killer features on offer in Office 2007 are features leveraging Sharepoint.

If your company has already invested in Sharepoint or is thinking about using it, the choice of Open Office versus Office 2007 is a no brainer. Choosing Sharepoint and then Open Office instead of Office 2007 would rate as a category 5 blunder.

If Open Office supporters want to see it thrive they better keep their eyes on the ball and not the man because MS Office has passed the ball to Sharepoint [redmondmag.com] some time back now.

Re:What Office 2007 delivers... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690542)

If your company has already invested in Sharepoint or is thinking about using it, the choice of Open Office versus Office 2007 is a no brainer. Choosing Sharepoint and then Open Office instead of Office 2007 would rate as a category 5 blunder.
Likewise, if you aren't yet on sharepoint, you probably shouldn't get Sharepoint until it allows for better interoperability or unless you think that what it brings outweigh the great costs of a locked-in monoculture.

Re:What Office 2007 delivers... (1)

MickDownUnder (627418) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690758)

Interoperability with what ? Examples?

Sharepoint is all about interoperability, it utilises SOAP/XML [csharphelp.com] heavily and utilises many open standards such as RSS [msdn.com] .

Not to mention the host of third party components that offer interoperability with other systems.

You probably shouldn't make comments about Sharepoint unless you have a clue about it. Your commment is utterly ridiculous, I guess you posted anonymously for a very good reason.

Re:What Office 2007 delivers... (2, Interesting)

binford2k (142561) | more than 7 years ago | (#17691098)

I don't know jack about sharepoint, but you contradict yourself pretty good there. First you claim that sharepoint users must stick with office, and then you claim that sharepoint is compatible with everything under the sun.

Which is it?

Could be the first time ... (4, Insightful)

eck011219 (851729) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690424)

... that it's worth STICKING with Office. Office 2007 is by far the easiest to use so far (in my opinion) of the Microsoft Office family, and the new interface makes old Office and OpenOffice feel downright antique.

There are licensing issues and business practices and so forth that everyone around here gets all in a lather about, but from a purely user-experience standpoint I think it's pretty great.

Either way, things are at a crossroads. The Open Document Format (ODF) is what OpenOffice uses, and Office 2007 uses Microsoft's own more proprietary version of this, OpenXML. Instead of things getting closer together, it's getting harder and harder (really, due to the minor differences more than the major ones) to transfer documents back and forth between OOo and Office. And since most interaction with the outside world requires Microsoft-specific file formats, I think you may as well stick with Office. Purely from a practicality standpoint -- not ethics, not right vs. wrong, just what's going to cost you the least number of hours over the long haul. I'm sure converters will start to come out, but for pure ease of use and reliable translation, Word to Word is always going to work better than OpenOffice to Word.

I run both and like them both for various things -- still, I think I'll probably be using Office 2007 more than anything else as time goes on. I don't have much call for a word processor or spreadsheet app, but what little I do with these is easier in Office. Just is.

OOo != MS Office (1)

oatworm (969674) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690456)

I really don't see OpenOffice.org as a drop-in replacement for Microsoft Office - it's nowhere near pretty enough, formatting can be somewhat strange (I remember having to struggle with section breaks A LOT more than I would've liked when using it, though that might still be some repressed flashbacks of OOo 1.1, and I'm happy to hear that charting hasn't improved), and these days collaboration is THE big buzzword right now - OOo doesn't even come close in that department.

To be fair here, I really don't think OOo should try to face off against Microsoft Office - that's a pretty big gorilla to try and take down. I do think it is an excellent replacement for the Microsoft Works-level packages of the world, especially since it does everything those lighter packages do and then some for a better price point. I can easily see it gaining traction at home, since it does everything that Microsoft Office does "well enough" for people to do some productive work on their off hours in it, albeit not necessarily running an entire office off of it. The interface for OOo is also a lot closer to what people use at work than Microsoft Works, too, if you ignore the GTK theming.

I actually like OOo - it reminds me a lot of ClarisWorks, which was a wonderful suite I had on my Mac Classic WAY back in the day. I do have some issues with it, though - documentation is spotty (especially with Base), the UI is uglier than sin, and the way Base uses Writer docs for its forms almost forces you to take ugly to strange new places that you never want to go. I mean, Access apps aren't pretty - for Base to create even worse looking ones by default is just astounding, if not criminal.

I switched our Office (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690628)

I just installed it, set it to use Word & Excel Format by default and hung around while my un-super user colleague asked me a few questions and moaned about the toolbars a bit but after a week the questions stopped and that was that, never a problem.

Of course! (1)

Ai Olor-Wile (997427) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690810)

It's always time for Open Office.

Abiword (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690816)

I so wanted to like Abiword, but the hurdles needed to make it type in Japanese was a horrendously arduous battle. When it borked a document my short love affair with the application ended then and there.

Open Office is slow and doesn't look very gnomie, but it worked without any real problems.

Visio Competition Sadly Lacking (2, Interesting)

justanyone (308934) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690988)


I'd love to replace Office with OpenOffice. Unfortunately, Microsoft has bundled this stuff so tightly it's difficult to displace.

Visio has no viable competition.

Yes, I've tried Dia, and frankly it's nowhere near as usable as Visio. I wish there was competition here, but there isn't.

Usually I just need the features found in the version of Visio from about 1996. Then, it was just coming out and not owned by MS yet. it worked fine. it allowed me to do the simple flowcharts and connectors that moved nicely. I mostly do
  • data flow diagrams
  • systems schematics, or
  • database schemas
. This is pretty simple functionality but Dia doesn't do it yet. Yuck. I want arrows with different size arrowheads, lines that stay attached to objects as you move them, and the ability to make them curved / bendy or straight. That's it.

Likewise, MS Office has Outlook which has an integrated calendar function that invites me to and reminds me of meetings. If Thunderbird did that, I'd switch quite quickly. I use Tbird at home and love it.

That's the functionality I need. I'm sure I'm not the first one to mention it, but I hope that Sun or IBM or Redhat or Novell is listening. This functionality can't be that hard to develop, and they'd get much more users for their products if they did that. It can't cost more than $20 million to field a product with that minimal level of functionality - that's 20 developers for 2 years plus infrastructre, management, and QA. Put it in OpenOffice at $free instead of $400/seat MS Office and their market segment would be... HUGE (the planet).

Certainly am. (1)

JonathanBrickman0000 (536903) | more than 7 years ago | (#17691126)

These days, I never take OO out of my mind. I have zero interest in requiring clients at the three small organizations whose PCs I keep, to struggle through a whole new interface in order to do things they know well how to do. And OO is frankly a simple improvement over Microsoft Word in all ways except VBA (and if there were real and good OO BASIC docs maybe I wouldn't say that), and its spreadsheet and presentation capabilities are definitely usable. One of my three has twenty-five workstations to be changed out soon, and I am going to recommend against Microsoft Office entirely, except where Outlook is required. I keep hoping someone really good will build a free-software or low-cost-software Outlook total replacement, but it hasn't quite happened yet. But I haven't used Microsoft Word at home for more than a year, and I am a power user of Word...and many people have a whole Microsoft Office suite because they want Word, as a result of Microsoft pricing schemes. So I am just overjoyed at the prospect of making life easier for word-processing users with OO, while saving them the dollars too!

Not without integration (1)

R3 (15929) | more than 7 years ago | (#17691146)

I remember similar question popping up maybe a year or so ago, sadly the answer is still no, at least in legal vertical.

Why?
Integration with various "Office Helpers" - document management systems (keeping track of client/matter), contact management (keeping track of mailing addresses, fax numbers, etc.), cost recovery/time docketing....All these third-party apps are written using Office API and show as buttons in Word, Excel and other Office apps.

Until vendors start writing plug-ins for OpenOffice apps, I will have a really hard time selling the idea of anything but Microsoft Office to my executive committee.

Cost alone won't do it - things have to click, and click good.

Making thie move this year (1)

Onyma (1018104) | more than 7 years ago | (#17691192)

I am migrating one of my clients to OO this year for sure as they are a large non-profit and you just can't beat the price. I have had 4 workstations in there on OO 2.1 since it launched and none of those users has reported a single issue outside of the couple days it took to get familiar with it. For their needs (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) there is no reason at all not to move now.

Depends on the users... (1)

alshithead (981606) | more than 7 years ago | (#17691196)

I've been using Open Office for a while now and I'm very happy with it. My wife uses MS Office 2003 and she is very happy with it. We share files back and forth regularly with absolutely no problems. The biggest issue I see is that Open Office apps are significantly slower in opening closing and the same for opening or saving actual files. I can say for certain that the law firm users I used to support would HATE Open Office based on that fact alone. Another issue might be a lack of an acceptable substitute for Outlook. Then again, based on cost savings, the partners might very find that Open Office is a good way to go as long as the email issue could be resolved.
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