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OpenOffice.org 2.3 Review

Zonk posted about 7 years ago | from the penguins-look-good-in-text dept.

Software 227

Peace Frog writes passed us a link to an in-depth review of the newest version of OpenOffice. Instead of just the normal bug fixes, 2.3 has added several new features. Examples include: "A bunch of new and enhanced features like restoring the user-defined movement path in Impress and applying better default print settings in Calc. Check the release notes for complete information from OpenOffice.org. A significantly different chart tool. New extensions provided by Sun and other vendors. You will need to run 2.3 for the extensions to work. Read more about the new extensions on the OpenOffice.org web site." The general impression from the review is that the OO team is doing an excellent job of responding to feedback from previous releases.

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I've always wondered (4, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 7 years ago | (#20911429)

restoring the user-defined movement path in Impress
Why the heck did they take it out in the first place? It was something I used quite a bit and it was something I could point to and say "that's not in Microsoft Office".

Re:I've always wondered (4, Funny)

Toreo asesino (951231) | about 7 years ago | (#20911563)

If you mean getting stuff to fly around any randomly scribbled path in PowerPoint, then it is there.
It's great for adding utterly randomly defined entry paths for everything to spice up those more boring presentations; 10 points extra if you can keep a straight face while doing it while facing the execs.

New version, huh? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20911445)

It's too bad they couldn't have been bothered to code it right the first time around.

Re:New version, huh? (3, Informative)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | about 7 years ago | (#20911485)

To try to change this from simply a troll to a constructive post, why not mention the things they coded wrong this time? I'll start:
* Not having a user definable number of columns (instead sticking with the old 256).

Re:New version, huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20912383)

How about issue 25072, "Cross-References to Headings"? It's number 3 on word processor top-voted list (even when not counting votes on duplicates).

It looks like only 3 years old, however they just marked the issue from 2001 as duplicate (number 2204) for the newer report. So that makes it 6 years old.

I personally feel that this is about as important feature as styling when writing document longer than couple of pages. I believe a couple of persons feel the same too, see all the frustrated comments.

This makes it quite difficult to recommend using OOo to any (university) student as it's troublesome to write anything but short reports with it. And when students can't use with, they won't recommend/use it at work either when they get out of school.

Bibliography is another PIA.

Re:New version, huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20911495)

You seem to give the impression they did this time.

Still doesn't use native widgets. Until they fix that, it can't replace AbiWord let alone Microsoft Word.

At the very least it would speed up the widgets, even if actually editing anything remains slower than molasses in the Antarctic winter.

Re:New version, huh? (2, Interesting)

Bert64 (520050) | about 7 years ago | (#20911605)

Nor does microsoft word...

Surely the use of native widgets would make cross platform apps much harder to develop...
That said, could they write a cross platform back end, and then a frontend for each supported system?

Re:New version, huh? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20911693)

That said, could they write a cross platform back end, and then a frontend for each supported system?
This kind of thing has already been done, in the form of wxWidgets for example.

Re:New version, huh? (1)

ArAgost (853804) | about 7 years ago | (#20912041)

Nor does microsoft word...
/quote> That's not a valid excuse.

Re:New version, huh? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | about 7 years ago | (#20912527)

It isn't, but its also not something that makes it "unable to compete with word", it's just an area where it isn't any better.

Re:New version, huh? (1)

Perl-Pusher (555592) | about 7 years ago | (#20911639)

Native to what? Gnome, KDE, Windows, Mac? Your OS of choice may not be others. In fact, there are a lot more windows users out there. Should they use MFC? I'm not so worried about the native widgets, I'll bet they would render fast if X11 weren't a monolithic memory whore. In linux, I have noticed more freezes and runaway CPU cycles due to X than any application. Except maybe flash.

Re:New version, huh? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 7 years ago | (#20911785)

"Should they use MFC? "
No, Never, No WAY... I have used MFC and it stinks on ice. It is buggy and just a terrible frame work. We just found a new but in MFC that would cause our application to crash when it got on unexpected message from a touch pad driver. Yea the driver had a bug but MFC shouldn't have crashed from that message. So you should stay clear of MFC even on Windows.

Re:New version, huh? (2, Informative)

farkus888 (1103903) | about 7 years ago | (#20911883)

X11 isn't monolithic anymore, it was modularized starting with version 7.0. my personal memory usage for an idle X desktop dropped by almost 100 meg with either xfce or gnome when I switched, almost a year ago now as I recall.

Re:New version, huh? (1)

EvanED (569694) | about 7 years ago | (#20911933)

Native to what?

The system it's running on. When on Windows, it should use Windows controls. When on OS X, it should use OS X controls. When on Unix... well, that's a sticky case. Ideally it would use either Gnome or KDE controls, but this isn't really realistic to expect, so pick one.

There are frameworks that will do this for the most part.

Should they use MFC?

Who cares? The comments about widgets is from the end user perspective. Windows API, MFC, .Net; they all boil down to the same things in the end.

Re:New version, huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20912093)

This is very similar to the whole Java AWT/Swing issue. Java applications that use AWT/Swing don't quite fit in on any desktop. (except the theoretical all-Java desktop)

Yes, yes there are skins that look something like Windows or Mac, but they are just skins, and when you use them for a while you find that the widgets and controls aren't quite right for the platform.

There is a reasonable solution for Java in SWT which (no surprise here) uses native widgets on many platforms. It has a fall back AWT binding, but I have never heard of anyone using that.

Re:New version, huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20911983)

Astroturf bingo number 4 [slashdot.org] , claimed for A03.

Re:New version, huh? (-1, Troll)

Perl-Pusher (555592) | about 7 years ago | (#20911503)

Thats what your parents said after having a subsequent child.

Re:New version, huh? (3, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 7 years ago | (#20911567)

No, but it is too bad you have no clue what developing and releasing a project the size of OO involves.

If you had any class whatsoever, you'd be thinking that it is nice that this free project is being improved (not to mention released in the first place), and as such provides you with an opportunity to leverage other people's work to reduce your own workload.

Re:New version, huh? (1, Insightful)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | about 7 years ago | (#20911649)

you'd be thinking that it is nice that this free project is being improved (not to mention released in the first place)
Actually it isn't free. Its developed by both paid and volunteer coders so that Sun can have good PR as well as free developers for their proprietary StarOffice. While its nice of those volunteer workers to give away their time to both a free and non-free product, the ones in charge are certainly not doing this out of the niceness of their heart. So there is no need to be grateful to Sun for OOo or even think its nice of them. Would you think it nice that Microsoft produced a new version of Office?

Re:New version, huh? (3, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 7 years ago | (#20912217)

Actually it isn't free. Its developed by both paid and volunteer coders so that Sun can have good PR as well as free developers for their proprietary StarOffice.

Come on. From the perspective of the developer, nothing is free. Time has value, if nothing else. One can spend it in ways other than developing software. But to the user, in this case the software is available at no cost, and that is the sense I was using "free" in, as I think you (and everyone else) know very well. The fact that software costs the developer something, and then is given to the end user, is precisely the reason that any reasonable person would see value in, and be positive about, such a transmission of work product.

Would you think it nice that Microsoft produced a new version of Office?

I certainly would if they gave it to me without charging me money, yes. I might think so anyway, if it saved me more than it cost me.

Heck, I think it is nice when there's a new and/or improved GIMP or Photoshop, and these, each in a different sense, compete for attention with one of my my own sources of income. It isn't all about who makes more money or higher sales / distribution numbers. To a large degree, it is about what benefits the users receive. YMMV, but that's definitely how I see it.

Re:New version, huh? (5, Informative)

Perl-Pusher (555592) | about 7 years ago | (#20911837)

The parent troll conveniently ignored the fact that OO was a commercial product, sold to sun the subsequently open sourced. OpenOffice.org didn't write the original code, neither did Sun. Marco Börries at 16, dropped out of high school in Germany to establish 1984 to sell Star Office under the corporate name Star Division. The fact that it is still around today and competing with Microsoft is an amazing feat in itself.

Re:New version, huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20911919)

YHBT. HAND.

Re:New version, huh? (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | about 7 years ago | (#20911967)

Huh, I thought it was a relatively funny post, almost like he's a phb.

Biggest change (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20911489)

OO 2.3 is now powered by energy harvested from Cory Doctorow's ego. Current benchmark's indicate a 50% increase in load-time. Sweet!

Re:Biggest change (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20911863)

I'm assuming that this caused an increase in load-time, because OO now greets you with a short story involving (DRM-less!) ass-play at Disney?

Integration to 3rd party still nearly inexistant (5, Insightful)

arivanov (12034) | about 7 years ago | (#20911515)

The thing that made Microshaft Word the market winner was the integration. Regardless how much developers hate OLE, it did the job. You could take a data object from any other app and throw it in and it kind'a worked. It was not anywhere good enough from the perspective of a professional, but it was enough as far as Joe Average was concerned.
What continues to make OO on non-windows platforms a losing proposition is the lack of such APIs. Even if the GUI and underlying libraries supports them OO continues to do things of its own (not surprising considering Sun's involvement). KDE embedding and full integration, gnome integration, etc. There are present in a very rudimentary fashion. As a result OO continues to be limited to a universe of its own. This hinders both its development and the development of third party aps like Dia. It also at the end of the day puts it firmly into the niche proposition area. Until this is resolved this is exactly where it will belong. Sad...

Re:Integration to 3rd party still nearly inexistan (1)

damaki (997243) | about 7 years ago | (#20911615)

AFAIK there is at least java integration. I found about this when I was searching for a simple open document spreadsheet parser to extract, replace data from cells. Somehow, it feels like VB6/Office integration (sorry, I have no recent experience of this).

Also true with other apps (3, Insightful)

gentimjs (930934) | about 7 years ago | (#20911621)

Mod parent up. Ive had the same issues with a company-wide rollout of Thunderbird replacing outlook. While 99% of the people have switched (its been a couple of years now), the #2 question (right behind "where's my calendar?") has been "how do I drag and drop this embedded mpeg movie that I stuck into a powerpoint slide onto my email? nono, in with the words not an attachment." ... as much as that "tight integration" turns the stomache of any IT guy worth half his paycheck, the users expect it even if it doesnt work very well.

Re:Integration to 3rd party still nearly inexistan (5, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 7 years ago | (#20912081)

OOo provides an API for programming Java OLE objects. The problem is not OOo, it is a lack of third party developers actually using this feature. A lot of applications suffer from this problem, actually. Hopefully, with the opening of Java, somebody will write OOo KDE and OOo GNOME wrappers for OLE objects.

Personally, I hold out more hope for KOffice, which is built on KParts. If KOffice 2.0 is as good as the developers say it will be, I will be switching.

Re:Integration to 3rd party still nearly inexistan (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 7 years ago | (#20912189)

I wonder if IBM would be so kind as to donate (D)SOM to Linux et al. Don't know what it would take, but it certainly worked, as opposed to (D)COM.

Videos? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20911543)

What about videos? Under linux at least i am still unable to integrate a video in an impress document. It lets me select a file but will just display an icon, impossible to play anything, whatever the format of the video is. I try to promote OOo as much as i can around me but frankly i lose a lot of credibility because of this kind of problem.

Re:Videos? (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | about 7 years ago | (#20911743)

I've heard the problem doesn't exist in the Windows version so you shouldn't feel any loss of credibility as OOo doesn't have this problem in Windows and handles the issue in Linux much better then Microsoft Office does.

what does this have to do with linux? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20911549)

do we really need to see the tux crap on every open source story? open source started well before linux and the only people who associate open source directly with linux are n00bs.

OOXML Support (5, Informative)

SpiritGod21 (884402) | about 7 years ago | (#20911555)

I think this is unrelated to 2.3, but I was excited to see yesterday that Novell now has an OOXML Translator [novell.com] for OO.o. I was going to have to buy Office 2007 for my fiance soon because she needs to open .docx files that are emailed to her regularly. Now I don't have to bother.

Whatever you say about Novell, I appreciate their work.

Re:OOXML Support (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | about 7 years ago | (#20911715)

Hey that's great news, thanks for the heads up. A shame it isn't licensed under the GPL as far as I could tell as they say it only works under openSUSE (I'm not sure if that's true or simply trying to save themselves hassles of using it under other Distros where it may or may not work) and an open license could allow others to tweak it to work in other distros.

Re:OOXML Support (3, Informative)

kjkeefe (581605) | about 7 years ago | (#20911841)

As near as I can tell, this not only requires you to be running either Windows or SUSE distros, it also requires you to run OpenOffice.org Novell Edition. "What the hell is that," you ask? That's a good question...

I have OO.o 2.3 installed and I tried using their extension anyway. Didn't seem to work...

Novell is losing browny points for this one...

Re:OOXML Support (2, Informative)

SpiritGod21 (884402) | about 7 years ago | (#20911881)

It looks like Ubuntu has one available in .deb [blogspot.com] , but I haven't had time to look at the licensing. Was going to install the .rpm using Alien, but I guess I don't need to.

Re:OOXML Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20912195)

Your trolls would be more successful if you learned to write coherently.

Re:OOXML Support (1)

Walles (99143) | about 7 years ago | (#20912597)

License looks good enough to me, from share/doc/packages/odf-converter/LICENSE.TXT in http://ubuntu.org.ua/getdeb/or/oregano_0.69.0.orig.tar.gz [ubuntu.org.ua] :

Copyright (c) 2006, Clever Age
All rights reserved.

Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:

        * Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.
        * Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.
        * Neither the name of Clever Age nor the names of its contributors may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission.

THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND CONTRIBUTORS "AS IS" AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE COPYRIGHT OWNER OR CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.

Re:OOXML Support (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | about 7 years ago | (#20912945)

That's the ubuntu one, whereas we were talking about the Novell one (I don't know if the ubuntu one is based off the Novell one). Although its good to see someone created a converter and released it under an open license.

Re:OOXML Support (2, Informative)

Koohoolinn (721622) | about 7 years ago | (#20911725)

M$ has has a compatibility pack that allows you to open MSOOXML on earlier Office versions. No need to upgrade yet.

Link [microsoft.com] to read some more info.

Re:OOXML Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20911817)

I think you're confused as to what OO.o is. Hint - it's in the article title.

Re:OOXML Support (1)

kneels_bore (692208) | about 7 years ago | (#20911793)

I would appreciate it more if they didn't require "OpenOffice.org 2.0.4 or later Novell edition for Windows"

Re:OOXML Support (1)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | about 7 years ago | (#20911885)

Woah, that's a telling sign. Presumably they have decent access to MS details, as good as anyone could get, I just bet it's impossible to implement the OOXML spec outside a windows environment without reproducing half of WINE.

Re:OOXML Support (1)

gubol123 (933609) | about 7 years ago | (#20911829)

If you already own the MS Office 2003 you can also download compatibility package from MS. This will allow you to open all the files generated in the new format in older office setups

Re:OOXML Support (1)

farker haiku (883529) | about 7 years ago | (#20911869)

there's also the free compatibility pack available here [microsoft.com] for earlier versions of word.

At last, marketing got a wake up call (1)

kneels_bore (692208) | about 7 years ago | (#20911687)

Terrific package. It's the only office product w use. We use tons of features and rarely have problems. But.... Finally, after months of dishing out gobbledygook, someone has decided to explain the new features in plain English. Keep it up. If they are serious about this project they won't slip back into this: http://development.openoffice.org/releases/2.3.0.html [openoffice.org] which is all we've had until very recently.

Re:At last, marketing got a wake up call (1)

TheSharpCrayon (1022631) | about 7 years ago | (#20912257)

I will have to agree with this. Two things that I like is Autocaps on "I" and the first word of any sentence. Not earth shattering but appreciated. Used in Ubuntu and W2000. Now for an e-mail program, Monzilla?

Thank You (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20911705)

I for one appreciate the fact that Open Office is there as an option. It is being run on every system in my home with no complaints. Thanks to all of the people working on it.

Re:Thank You (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20912541)

I've tried every major rev of OO since it was released as Star Office.

I appreciate that it's chasing MSOFFICE and keeping its price from getting even higher. However, its still a "C-" Office Suite. Someone needs to take this much more seriously as a development project. Perhaps everyone is just waiting for Goggle or someone else to release more featured web apps.

OO speed. Where is IBM Symphony source (LGPL)? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20911807)

OO has a weight problem.

I've always thought that a fork at OO 1.x would be good, as 2.x was where it got really fat.

Well IBM forked at 1.x. It's called Symphony.

But I cannot find any source of any part of Symphony.
This is an apparent violation of the LGPL.

Perhaps they are sending patches to open office, but that does not really satisfy the LGPL. The source of changed LGPL Symphony code must be publicly available.

Allowable under SISSL (5, Informative)

soullessbastard (596494) | about 7 years ago | (#20912245)

Disclaimer: I am one of the founders of NeoOffice [neooffice.org] .

Being based on OOo 1.x, IBM does not need to release the source code for Symphony. OOo was originally dual licensed both under LGPL and the SISSL [openoffice.org] license. SISSL allows companies to make completely closed source forks, only providing notice of the original vendor and SISSL license. This license was one of the primary motivating factors for why we forked and created NeoOffice, to prevent companies from making a commercial product whose improvements couldn't be shared back with all the volunteers that had worked to create it.

Closed source forking is also our reason for using full GPL since it guarantees everyone's freedom to access the code. Not even LGPL provides that ability since commercial closed source proprietary code can still be incorporated provided it's in a shared library. Only the full GPL provides enough protections to ensure that everyone must cooperate and that no one can make key parts of the project rely on closed source solutions.

ed

Re:OO speed. Where is IBM Symphony source (LGPL)? (1)

ianare (1132971) | about 7 years ago | (#20912273)

IBM® Lotus®Symphony(TM) is propriatery, not open source. I'm not sure on this, but it could be that Sun sold the code to IBM. They are, after all, the only copyright holder of OOo.

Re:OO speed. Where is IBM Symphony source (LGPL)? (1)

f2x (1168695) | about 7 years ago | (#20912381)

I have to admit that speed & bloat reduction are the only two features I really want to see and hear about from Open Office. Personally I don't think OO should be worrying about how to out-shine MS Office 200x; they need to focus on out-pacing Office 97.

Actually, this is how I feel when it comes to Linux on the desktop in just about every scenario. All I'm asking for is stability, performance, compatibility, efficiency, intuitive interactivity, professional aesthetics, and especially speed!

Re:OO speed. Where is IBM Symphony source (LGPL)? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20912387)

They forked before OO.o went LGPL only. It used to also be under the Sun Industry Standards Source License, which didn't require the full source to be made public.

Check Symphony's License Before Use (1)

asphaltjesus (978804) | about 7 years ago | (#20912767)

I'm being very kind to IBM when I say steer clear of Symphony.

Your personal information is fair game for whatever IBM sees fit to do with it.
"Such information will be processed and used in connection with our business relationship, and may be provided to contractors, Business Partners, and assignees of IBM for uses consistent with their collective business activities, including communicating with You"

The software is not Free.
* Read all about the "Proof of Entitlement" in the license.
* You may not redistribute.
* Authorization for Use on Home/Portable Computer: The Program may be stored on the primary machine and another machine, provided that the Program is not in active use on both machines at the same time

There are other terms that I found personally distasteful.

Read it yourself: http://www14.software.ibm.com/cgi-bin/weblap/lap.pl?la_formnum=&li_formnum=L-DBTS-76CJJR&title=IBM+Lotus+Symphony+Beta&l=en [ibm.com]

Incompatible rendering (5, Interesting)

tom17 (659054) | about 7 years ago | (#20911847)

So I love OO and have started using it as my primary office suite at home. But it still falls short when it comes to rendering and printing docs and having them look the same as in MS Office.

It's not a huge issue I guess, but it's certainly the reason that I still need to have MS Office installed in a VM. Highly over the top but a necessary step until OO can render stuff faithfully. My wife, for one, will not switch until it displays word docs correctly.

Is this just me having this problem as I never see other people complaining about it.

Re:Incompatible rendering (5, Insightful)

SEMW (967629) | about 7 years ago | (#20911989)

But it still falls short when it comes to rendering and printing docs and having them look the same as in MS Office.
If it is essential that a document be rendered identically on different machines, a word processor -- any word processor -- is the wrong tool for the job. If something needs to be viewed only, export to pdf; if it needs to be edited as well, use DTP software.

Re:Incompatible rendering (2, Insightful)

teh kurisu (701097) | about 7 years ago | (#20912359)

What is it about word processors that makes it inherently impossible to render documents properly on different machines? I mean, it seems to me that if the document format/specification is not capable of ensuring consistent rendering, then it is flawed and needs to be fixed. Otherwise, what's the point? You might as well use plain text.

Of course, I realise that most modern word processors probably don't live up to this ;)

Re:Incompatible rendering (5, Insightful)

DougWebb (178910) | about 7 years ago | (#20912763)

Generally, I imagine that it has to do with the fact that word processing files don't carry fonts with them. Even if the file specification were 100% open and implementable, most fonts are licensed in a way that doesn't allow them to be redistributed. As a result, you can only print the document and send paper around, or export to PDF which renders the characters as lines and fills but doesn't include the font information itself.

A desktop publishing package would have the same limitation, I would imagine, except the file formats might enable embedding the fonts (putting the license-compliance burden on the user), or a particular package might come with a standard set of fonts you can count on being available.

Re:Incompatible rendering (1)

doublegauss (223543) | about 7 years ago | (#20912637)

If it is essential that a document be rendered identically on different machines, a word processor -- any word processor -- is the wrong tool for the job. If something needs to be viewed only, export to pdf; if it needs to be edited as well, use DTP software.


Or, better still, use TeX in both cases.

*ducks*

Re:Incompatible rendering (1)

asphaltjesus (978804) | about 7 years ago | (#20912161)

But it still falls short when it comes to rendering and printing docs and having them look the same as in MS Office.

The .doc file is not meant to be used to communicate freely. It is meant to be used to communicate with other Microsoft product users exclusively and to the detriment of all other users. The point of the OO.org proprietary file importing is to get it imported. You can leave the formatting errors alone, do your part and return the document.

I'm surprised you haven't discovered how inconsistently Word formats its own .doc documents. I haven't bothered to track where the whole thing breaks down, but when my high maintenance users complain, I tell them it's Microsoft's fault the document from Company Z doesn't format right and there is no fix.

Re:Incompatible rendering (1)

caseih (160668) | about 7 years ago | (#20912223)

MS Word on different machines has this problem too! Trying to get a large document paginated correctly across different versions of Word, or even the same version of word on different computers is a nightmare. Of course on Windows I'd expect OO.org to have similar pagination problems between machines because it has to do with different printers and printer drivers causing different font metrics to be given to the word processor.

In any case, if you need a document to always look the same, then you really only have one choice. LaTeX.

Re:Incompatible rendering (1)

Mazin07 (999269) | about 7 years ago | (#20912227)

MSWord formatting is largely a joke. That's what you get with an "all-purpose" word processor. When you have so many people hitting the spacebar to center text and using inane tricks to do basic formatting tasks, combined with a closed binary format, discrepancies crop up.

I don't have this problem with LaTeX, but you can't *truly* care about precise formatting when you're using Microsoft Office.

Re:Incompatible rendering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20912427)

Astroturf bingo number 3 [slashdot.org] , claimed for A03.

Still can't open a CSV file in Calc. Sigh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20911861)

Version 2.3 and this crap STILL goes on. Start up Calc. In Calc choose "File -> Open", pick a .txt file that's a CSV or tab-delimited data file. WTF? WRITER opens up with your data file in it? If I wanted it in Writer I'd have OPENED it in Writer. What the hell good is that?

Re:Still can't open a CSV file in Calc. Sigh. (2, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 7 years ago | (#20911975)

A pretty minor bug, me'thinks. There's a perfectly good accepted extension for comma-delimited files, it's called CSV.

Re:Still can't open a CSV file in Calc. Sigh. (0)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 7 years ago | (#20912165)

You totally misunderstood the problem and gave a very bad response. He does not care what the extension is used at all. He wants to use Calc to edit csv files. It won't let him do this. Excel can easily do this. So can any reasonably made spreadhseet program. Not being able to open up a CSV file is sort of like making a word processor that can not open up txt files. I.E. CSV is to spreadsheets what TXT is to word processors: the simplest format that logically makes sense to save text in cell structure. Use new lines to indicate new rows, and comma's to indicate new columns. Why would he want to do it? Because at heart csv is the easiest way to send someone spreadsheet type data if you don't know what the proper format for their program is. Any spreadsheet program needs to be able to read in csv formated stuff. It also should be able to things in that format.

Re:Still can't open a CSV file in Calc. Sigh. (2, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 7 years ago | (#20912497)

You totally misunderstood the problem and gave a very bad response. He does not care what the extension is used at all. He wants to use Calc to edit csv files.

Rename file.txt to file.csv.

Understand now?

Re:Still can't open a CSV file in Calc. Sigh. (2)

Count_Froggy (781541) | about 7 years ago | (#20912593)

Calc does open CSV files as spreadsheets if you tell it to do so in the File Open Dialog. Check the Help Index under 'CSV'. It has been there as long as I have needed it. By definition, a CSV file IS a TEXT file and all Text files are opened with Writer unless you tell it otherwise.

Re:Still can't open a CSV file in Calc. Sigh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20912755)

It really should try importing it when you have "spreadsheets" file type selected, though, instead of only with the more specific "text csv".

It's reasonable for pure autodetection to open .txt in writer, but not when you give it a cue about this being a spreadsheet.

Re:Still can't open a CSV file in Calc. Sigh. (4, Informative)

juhaz (110830) | about 7 years ago | (#20912643)

You totally misunderstood the problem and gave a very bad response.
No, you totally misunderstood the problem and gave a very bad response.

He does not care what the extension is used at all. He wants to use Calc to edit csv files. It won't let him do this.
Of course it lets him do this, it just does not do it automatically because the file is wrongly named and calc can't read his mind to know that it's actually in csv format and not text as it claims. Therefore he has to select "text csv" file type from the open dialog, or rename the file as others suggested.

Re:Still can't open a CSV file in Calc. Sigh. (2, Insightful)

codepunk (167897) | about 7 years ago | (#20912015)

Yep it still has trouble mind melding with someone who obviously cannot figure out that the file extension for csv files is in fact ".csv" and not ".txt".

Re:Still can't open a CSV file in Calc. Sigh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20912345)

So you're saying that slavishly obeying three-letter file extensions is a good thing when OO does it? You'd be pissing your pants with rage if you opened a .html file in Notepad and it started IE instead.

Re:Still can't open a CSV file in Calc. Sigh. (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | about 7 years ago | (#20912799)

This is because OOo is integrated together (which many here do see as a bad thing when Microsoft does it but do remain silent when OOo does it. Perhaps they just don't read OOo articles). It means that recently opened documents is the same in all of the OOo products. I like this interoperability as I can directly open Writer documents from the Calc window and is a feature I'll miss when I move to KSpread instead. However it does mean that file extensions are important.

Re:Still can't open a CSV file in Calc. Sigh. (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | about 7 years ago | (#20912737)

Have you tried changing the file extensions in Microsoft products? It can be downright impossible.

Re:Still can't open a CSV file in Calc. Sigh. (1)

barzok (26681) | about 7 years ago | (#20912055)

The integration in OO.o is too smart for its own good sometimes.

My beefs with OO.o presently center around Calc and speed. Calc takes over a minute to launch on my computer, and I have one spreadsheet which I converted from Excel (now in OO.o format), not terribly complex, which will freeze up for about 30 seconds when performing relatively simple calcuations.

Re:Still can't open a CSV file in Calc. Sigh. (2, Informative)

Count_Froggy (781541) | about 7 years ago | (#20912467)

Have you tried READING THE HELP file??? Calc CAN open a CSV file as a spreadsheet. It works differently than Excel, but why is that a problem; Excel does it WRONG. By definition, a CSV file IS a text file and unless you provide other guidance in the File Open dialog, why would you expect it to do other than what it is programmed to do?

Still Stuck at 65500 rows in Calc? (2, Funny)

filesiteguy (695431) | about 7 years ago | (#20911909)

I don't see anything in the Wiki or the Review yet about them fixing the problem of only supporting 65,536 rows in Calc. Anybody have an idea about that?

Yes, I do use more than 65,500 rows in Excel on a weekly basis to manage reports for people.)

Re:Still Stuck at 65500 rows in Calc? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20912071)

build from source.

Re:Still Stuck at 65500 rows in Calc? (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | about 7 years ago | (#20912843)

Not all of us know how. I certainly don't.

Re:Still Stuck at 65500 rows in Calc? (2, Insightful)

Corporate Troll (537873) | about 7 years ago | (#20912157)

Have you ever considered using a database... Right tool for the job, etc, you know...

Re:Still Stuck at 65500 rows in Calc? (0, Flamebait)

Blakey Rat (99501) | about 7 years ago | (#20912649)

If he already has a $150 copy of Excel that works just fine for the job, in what way is a vastly more time consuming database "the right tool for the job?" It sounds to me like he already has the right tool for the job, he would just prefer to run the right tool in Linux.

I hate these "well it can't do that because it's not the way I would do that" replies. How about making OpenOffice work for EVERYBODY, including people who don't want to spend months learning database administration and SQL? If a database is really that much better, then it'll fall into place. Obviously, the reason the parent's using Excel in the first place is that Excel is good enough for the job and a database wouldn't provide anything better.

(The only databases I know of where you can add data directly to cells, Excel-like, are SQL Server and Access anyway. SQL Server is a lot more expensive, and I doubt anybody would argue that Access is better over Excel for any task.)

Re:Still Stuck at 65500 rows in Calc? (2, Insightful)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | about 7 years ago | (#20912899)

Calc is an excellent flatfile database program. Sometimes the simplest tools are the best tools.

Re:Still Stuck at 65500 rows in Calc? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20912327)

In the past I've often run up against this limit as well. However, I determined many years ago that I'm better off using a database to store my raw data (Access works fine but I use Postgresql) and using Excel's odbc connectivity + macros (or Access reports) to generate individual reports.

Peace Frog? (3, Funny)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 7 years ago | (#20911929)

Is he the hero that will finally liberate us from HypnoToad? My prayers have been ...~~@@~~

ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD!

Mail Merge (2, Insightful)

nursegirl (914509) | about 7 years ago | (#20912069)

They seem to have done some work on Mailmerge. Here's to hoping that it's usable, now. I wonder if they've also improved printing labels from a database. There are a number [openoffice.org] of closed [openoffice.org] issues [openoffice.org] in the OOo [openoffice.org] issue tracker [openoffice.org] where people have said "this doesn't work right" and the OOo team says, "Just do it this other, less-intuitive way."

The last it seems to be mentioned in the issue tracker, the target fix was changed from OOo 2.0 to OOo Later [openoffice.org] . That was in 2004, so I'm not hopeful.

Re:Mail Merge (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | about 7 years ago | (#20912523)

I used mail-merge for my wedding invitations. It worked fine, *BUT*, was absolutely hellishly slow on a P-IV 2.6HT with 512Meg RAM. I usually have not much problems with OpenOffice performances on that machine, but mail-merge is horrible.

So is Base. I manage to use it for small databases and creating reports (my wife is a kindergarden teacher and she needs different lists -views- from a certain dataset). It works, but it's a real pain. If I had the time, I'd just design a real database. Of course, I don't have the time, so Base will have to do.

Performance with documents containing images (2, Informative)

Masa (74401) | about 7 years ago | (#20912149)

I don't know, what they did to OOo, but when I upgraded from the 2.0.2 to 2.3.0, the performance of the Writer dropped dramatically. I have a document, which contains 20 500x500 pixel images distributed over 30 pages. The scrolling from one page to another is awful. It takes from 5 to 20 seconds to switch from one page to another. This delay seems to be pretty random but consistent at the same time, because it doesn't matter if I already have visited both pages and I'm working between these two pages, the delay still varies between the 5-20 seconds each time. I didn't have this problem with the 2.0.2 version. Now I'm considering downgrading back to 2.0.2.

CALC and semicolon/comma issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20912201)

It's still a deal-breaker, for me. If I have to go through every formula in e.g. an old Excel template, and change several of the commas to semicolons to get the template to work in OO, it's annoying. If I then send the spreadsheet to someone who opens it in Excel, and these functions no longer work (need to change the semicolons back to commas) it's beyond annoying. It's a deal breaker. WTF??? This isn't even the case with every formula, that I've noticed - but enough. Try e.g. :

      =AVERAGE(A1;A3;A5) vs. =AVERAGE(A1,A3,A5)

Now, just imagine this problem propagating across large spreadsheets with much more complicated, inter-related equations. WHY is this even an issue? What was the compelling reason to do things differently, here? It breaks compatibility, and doesn't add anything useful, as far as I can tell.

Re:CALC and semicolon/comma issue (4, Informative)

Count_Froggy (781541) | about 7 years ago | (#20912713)

HUH, you need a little history; Excel did it differently than Visicalc, Smartcalc, THE Spreadsheet, or even Microsoft's own Multiplan. It was intentional on Microsoft's part to break compatibility so you would have difficulty going back to another product. OOo returns to the standard used by all other apps.

But is it any faster? (1)

TheDrewbert (914334) | about 7 years ago | (#20912233)

OO is a slug in performance compared MS Office 2003... and 2007 seems even faster.

*sigh* ... still no outline mode in OOo Writer. (4, Insightful)

xeno (2667) | about 7 years ago | (#20912291)

Every release -- even a small point release like this one -- I hope that the OOo developers will add an outline mode to Writer. And every release I'm disappointed. I really like OOo, but this one missing feature keeps me from using it for serious work becuase it makes large document planning and writing production in Writer sloooooow.

And before some n00b who's never written a 200-page document jumps all over me: No, the OOo "Navigator" does not provide an outline mode. It provides something akin to a re-organizable TOC in a floating window, but it doesn't provide the productivity enhancements afforded by inline hierarchical control within the editing window. This is one function that MS Word got right. For example, in Word I can start typing and make a list in normal text, click into "outline mode" and either use a key shortcut or a single click-drag to promote/demote some text to headings (while leaving other items as content), or re-order paragraphs of text or headings. To do the same thing in OOo's Navigator, I need to switch to a different window to reorganize headings, but switch back to the editing window to resume editing content. I also need to switch between two windows to split a heading into two sections, switch back to move it, and switch again to resume composing content -- something I can do with a CR and single mouse-drag in Word.

Word: type, type, drag, type, type, [enter], key-combo, type.
OOo: type, type, switch-window, drag, switch-window, type, type, re-style, switch-window, drag, switch-window, type.

Come on guys, suck up the Not-Invented-Here pride and adopt this one feature that MS got right! Or do it one-better and improve on the similar inline hierarchical editing from FrameMaker+SGML. Or innovate some collapsible tag interface from something like the old HotMeTaL from SoftQuad. (But don't trash the Navigator; it *is* useful for final proofing, just not composition)

-J

Re:*sigh* ... still no outline mode in OOo Writer. (1)

simong (32944) | about 7 years ago | (#20912543)

That's a pretty good feature - have you actually requested it? As ODF is XML based it seems like it should be easy to implement. I've never really used it in Word but I have fond memories of the tag interface in HoTMetaL, which remains quite a common in good text editors.

Re:*sigh* ... still no outline mode in OOo Writer. (1)

Marcus Green (34723) | about 7 years ago | (#20912701)

Do you regularly create and manipulate 200+ page documents in MS Word?

All these changes and yet... (5, Insightful)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | about 7 years ago | (#20912337)

... I still can't add a word to the dictionary with just one click. Try it for yourself, you'll see. Make a typo, right-click on the word once the squiggly red underline appears. It gives suggestions, and not an "Add" menu -- but a submenu. So me, the uncaring user, just wants to add this to the dictionary. I pick "Add" submenu, then I am faced with a choice. "soffice.dic", "standard.dic" and "sun.dic". Um... what? Why should I care? What happens if I pick the wrong one? Is there a wrong one? Why do I have to make this decision? Screw this, I'm going back to MS Office! (Okay, slight hyperbole with that last.)

Unfortunately, this is a classic example of why open source software designed for mass use needs more contributors familiar with basic usability concepts. This way, end users could spend less time playing with their dics, and more time accomplishing their goals.

Re:All these changes and yet... (1)

DJCouchyCouch (622482) | about 7 years ago | (#20912595)

is this the part where we flame you for being a l00ser n00b and RTFM and stuff? I just woke up.

Not Impressed (1)

Cleon (471197) | about 7 years ago | (#20912435)

OO needs to spend less time on new features and more time fixing the ones they've got, IMO. Especially when it comes to compatibility with MS Office. ODF's great, don't get me wrong, but the only way OO will see anything close to widespread adoption is when people can effectively and easily transition off of MS Office.

more self promotion and lies (4, Interesting)

enmane (805543) | about 7 years ago | (#20912633)

Are you kidding me? I've used SO since 5.0 - when it was actually quick and nimble. In a nutshell,

1) It's much slower now - even though they told us they were breaking into components to make it faster - the joke is on you.
2) listening to feedback - yeah - look at their response on basic statistical analysis. Search their bugs for statistics, error bars and regression and you'll see that it's been 5-6 yrs and STILL no ability to put the equation on the chart.
3) They are SO far behind MS it's ridiculous.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not an MS lover by any stretch but I use OO day-to-day and I recently sat down in front of Word 2007 and thought,
1) this will really make it easy for newbies to create nice documents
2) creating nice documents is really easy
3) too bad they won't adopt ODF as they'd clean house with Office '07.

Seriously, I've lost faith/hope in OO. Just look into GO-OO and you'll understand that things move glacially slow with OO development. Maybe IBM's 35 person addition will help but I forsee more pissing contests than actual work getting done.

Vista is a joke but Office '07 is a really nice product because it DOES make it REALLY easy to create nice looking documents. I added a picture to a test.doc that I was working on and was blown away with all the cool things that I could do with the image. In short, really easy to create nice looking documents - Isn't THAT what a good word processor should do???

Anyhow, I've lost faith that Sun will actually listen to the users of their software and, if they do, it'll be after the user has left out of frustration due to waiting.
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