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OpenOffice.org 3.0 Wants to Compete with Outlook

CmdrTaco posted about 7 years ago | from the don't-we-all dept.

Software 464

jason writes "At the OpenOffice.org 2007 conference about a month ago there was a presentation on what to expect in the next major milestone for their Microsoft Office competitor. "The presentation mentions bundling Thunderbird with their Office Suite, and refers to it as an 'Outlook replacement.' This is all assuming that Thunderbird recently losing two of its main developers doesn't affect the decision, because I'm sure OpenOffice wants to ensure that Thunderbird will continue to progress before including it." This probably won't sway large corporations away from using Microsoft Office, but it could make it more intriguing for the smaller businesses that are looking to cut some costs."

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Compete? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20973437)

Because Outlook doesn't spread enough viruses as is?

You gotta be kidding. (5, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | about 7 years ago | (#20973443)

Jesus. How about they compete with Word first, eh? Calling Thunderbird an "Outlook Replacement" just shows they have no idea what people use Outlook for. Outlook Express replacement, sure.

The great thing about Office is all the damn pieces work together. Excel is friendly with Access, Access is friendly with Word, Everything is friendly with Outlook. To beat Office, you have to have an Office suite that works like that. Not just all the pieces in one package.

There is not one single thing in OO that doesn't have an OSS equivalent stand-alone application that is at least as good. Bundling a mail client with the rest of your apps doesn't suddenly make you competitive, especially when your whole user base could have already installed that mail client if they wanted it.

There are OSS projects that are actually making a push toward doing the things that Outlook does (like Kontact [kde.org] ). But Thunderbird is still lagging behind Evolution imho, and neither of them play all that great with any of the groupware servers out there, open or closed.

I used to try and push OO on people, but I've completely lost faith in it. I keep thinking, maybe they'll get their crap together, but then they do stuff like this.

Re:You gotta be kidding. (5, Insightful)

SerpentMage (13390) | about 7 years ago | (#20973493)

I wish I had mod points left over...

I know exactly how you feel. I used to use Office 2000 since about 1999. Since then I have been waiting for Open Office to serve as an Microsoft Office replacement. What happened? I upgraded to Office 2007 a month ago. I as well have given up on OO. Maybe one day, but then I will be ready for retirement and won't care.

Re:You gotta be kidding. (0, Flamebait)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 7 years ago | (#20973549)

What's with all the vitriol?

OOo creates documents, spreadsheets, presentations and drawings.

It does so efficiently once you're familiar with it, often more efficiently than it's major competitors.

It saves your data in a format which can be opened by any other software that chooses to support it, and it costs nothing to install. If there's a document you're unable to create with it, chances are you don't know how to use it properly.

In spite of all this you're complaining, behaving like it whipped your dog. Why's that?

Re:You gotta be kidding. (4, Insightful)

Fieryphoenix (1161565) | about 7 years ago | (#20973729)

There was exactly zero vitriol in the parent posts, and, as well, they explained precisely what makes OpenOffice unsatisfactory for their needs. In spite of all this you're complaining, behaving like they whipped your pet software. Why's that?

Re:You gotta be kidding. (5, Insightful)

SerpentMage (13390) | about 7 years ago | (#20973745)

Have you tried using OO for anything related to earning money? I use Office for two purposes; writing manuscripts, and investing. And in these two respects OO fails miserably! (And I have tried to use OO)

WRT to manuscripts I can't keep comments, styles, formating etc straight.

WRT to investing the OO spreadsheet is way to limited, and to extend the spreadsheet with custom functionality is absolutely painful! OOBasic bites, and their component architecture is anything but simple. OO extensions are a joke when compared to Microsoft Office.

So in the end OO is not usable except for extremely simple things. I am complaining because after eight years of using Microsoft Office 2000 OO is not close to the capabilities of 2000. Yet I have and use Office 2007, and that is the sad part.

Re:You gotta be kidding. (1)

LameAssTheMity (998266) | about 7 years ago | (#20973913)

I've tried using OO for business dealings as well and been disappointed.

At least OO can use Microsoft's templates! (they look and behave a whole lot better)

Re:You gotta be kidding. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20973955)

Have you tried using OO for anything related to earning money? I use Office for two purposes; writing manuscripts, and investing. And in these two respects OO fails miserably! (And I have tried to use OO)
I routinely use OO.o Writer for manuscripts. I use GNU Cash for my investing, but I would be able to use OO.o Calc.

WRT to manuscripts I can't keep comments, styles, formating etc straight.
What does "keep straight" mean in this context. OO.o Writer has a perfectly usable style manager & it is easy to create new styles, apply them to sections, etc. I agree that the presentation of comments is better in MS Word. However, they are retained in OO.o Writer & might be good enough for some people. For articles, I tend to get only one to three comments per page. This is tolerable in OO.o. Also: There was a google sumemr-of-code project to add the comments-in-margin interface that MS Word has. So it certainly can be fixed & should be watched.

WRT to investing the OO spreadsheet is way to limited, and to extend the spreadsheet with custom functionality is absolutely painful! OOBasic bites, and their component architecture is anything but simple. OO extensions are a joke when compared to Microsoft Office.
I disagree. MS VBA also bites & MS keeps threatening to drop it from Office. OO.o does support some VBA if you really like it better. OO.o supports python, which is quite cool. The IDE still has a way to go, but I think that having a choice of scripting languages (including the one used by MS Office) gives OO.o a real advantage here.

Re:You gotta be kidding. (3, Informative)

Crayon Kid (700279) | about 7 years ago | (#20973957)

If you're using a word processor to edit manuscripts, you get what you deserve. You should be using something like LyX [lyx.org] , which is more rigurous and oriented towards allowing you to write content first and apply/change style later, at your convenience.

Re:You gotta be kidding. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20974115)

I prefer to write LaTeX in my preferred editor [vim.org] , using version control [tigris.org] . However, this doesn't always permit collaboration with my colleagues. Since OP mentioned commenting, I'd imagine that interoperability would be important. While LyX's GUI makes it more accessible to new users, it still isn't going to convert many who exclusively use OO.o Writer or MS Word. And not all publishers accept the export formats from LyX. So, it is still good that OO.o Writer exists as the lesser of two evils.

Re:You gotta be kidding. (4, Informative)

Blakey Rat (99501) | about 7 years ago | (#20973855)

It saves your data in a format which can be opened by any other software that chooses to support it, and it costs nothing to install. If there's a document you're unable to create with it, chances are you don't know how to use it properly.

To use an example from a previous OpenOffice discussion, let's say I want to use OpenOffice to translate a text from Japanese into English. I bill 'per-character' in Japanese, so to determine how much to charge the client, I do a word count in OpenOffice. And the results given for english are correct, but the Japanese results are entirely wrong.

Copy and paste the same text into Word, and the word count works fine the first try.

Now, you're right, that technically I didn't *need* word count to complete this task. I could have manually counted through all the words. You also don't technically need a good outline view, since you can manually select and drag huge blocks of text around the document. You also don't technically need video support in Impress, because you can just tell the viewers to close their eyes and imagine what it might look like. So I guess in that sense you're technically correct.

Re:You gotta be kidding. (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | about 7 years ago | (#20973973)

OOo creates documents, spreadsheets, presentations and drawings.
None of which are up there in terms of quality with what I can create using Office 2007.

It does so efficiently once you're familiar with it, often more efficiently than it's major competitors.
But then, pretty much anything is efficient when you're used to it. It takes extremely bad programming to end up with a system that you can't get used to, and Microsoft has the money to pump into usability studies to make sure that Office doesn't end up that way.

In spite of all this you're complaining, behaving like it whipped your dog. Why's that?
I didn't get that impression - I got the image of someone trying to promote a free software product, and then being told that instead of improvements to the existing lineup they're going to throw in a pre-existing mail client and pretend that it's even in the same league as Exchange. To me that sounds pretty frustrating.

How About A Complete Office System (5, Interesting)

WED Fan (911325) | about 7 years ago | (#20973557)

How about a complete system?

Open Office System would include:

  • Open Office Server
    • Exchange-like services
    • Office Collaborator - SharePoint killer
    • Calc Server - Spreadsheet Server
    • Office Project - Project Server
  • Word, Calc, Database, Outlook-killer, Presenter
  • Project

And, all of this would be compatible with MS Office, down to a UI switch that would allow the user to choose the MS style interface.

All of this would have MONO programmability for "macros". (Not the half-hearted programmability that MS offers, and sorry OO only pays lip service to.)

You do all of that, my org MIGHT think of switching.

Re:How About A Complete Office System (1)

thatonedude (1173613) | about 7 years ago | (#20973613)

Indeed...once all this is created, my association might BEGIN to think about this as well but, even then, the amount of support options and online resources available for the Office suite would be hard to overlook.

Re:How About A Complete Office System (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20974043)

Why should I care whether you think of switching? I just need to get one of your competitors to switch so that heir software costs will be lower. All other things being equal, they'll be able to have higher profits or a bigger R&D budget than you & will eventually win. You can quibble with this, but your sense of entitlement is deplorable. If you don't like it, don't use it. If you want to use it but it needs something, fund it. How does it help your association to just bitch about it when you're not a user?

Also: free/open source software tends to have a wider range of support options and online resources.

Re:How About A Complete Office System (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20974125)

Also: free/open source software tends to have a wider range of support options and online resources.
  • The Office Geek - You know the guy that reminds of you of the SNL skit. His response is usually, "Have you RTFM?", so we try...
  • An open source forum - You get 20 replies of, "Just RTFM", and 15 more telling you about other solutions that a friend of your Linux using grandmother found, and 10 replies telling you that you should drop any system that wants to compete with MS. so you try...
  • The Usenet - You find 300 ads for "Busty Teen Cheerleader Incest with Dogs" and a flamewar about VI and EMACS and the 2 actual replies that say, "RTFM", so you finally go back to...
  • The manual - Checking to see if you missed anything you find, "This section to be completed soon", and "Please consult the xxx forum and KB for information about this topic, so, since you already tried the forum you go to the...
  • KB - Only to find "This section to be completed soon."

Yeah, there are a thousand paths up Mount Fuji, and they all lead to the top.

All roads lead to Amber.

There are a thousand avenues of support for OSS, but they all lead to some jackass that says, "RTFM" and the TFM that was never completed, because coders don't give a shit about end user docs.

Re:You gotta be kidding. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20973583)

You gotta be kidding. Compete with Word? Word is without a doubt the crappiest part of the MS Office suite, and far worse than Writer, WordPerfect, or even a 7 year old copy of Ami Pro.

Re:You gotta be kidding. (5, Insightful)

niiler (716140) | about 7 years ago | (#20973595)

First, let me say that your experience with OO will depend on what you use it for. As I use it mostly for writing papers for publication in scientific journals, quick spreadsheet applications (usually for classroom illustrations), and for "powerpoint" presentations at conferences, it works just dandy for me.

I do have to respond to your comment that "There is not one single thing in OO that doesn't have an OSS equivalent stand-alone application that is at least as good." I like the concepts of KOffice, and Gnome Office, but KOffice really isn't as functional as OO in any way, shape or form. It used to open faster than OO, but recently, OO has taken just three seconds from click to start on my computer, so I can't complain about that. Gnome Office is not integrated. Abiword is great for very small documents of limited functionality, but is no where near the abilities of swriter. Gnumeric is arguably equal with scalc, but then it doesn't have the same sort of interapplication communication with documents as scalc shares with swriter. As a long time simpress user, I have yet to find either a problem with it interoperating with powerpoint, or another opensource program that holds a candle to it.

So to finish, you are probably right in that OpenOffice has a long way to go in matching every type of functionality as MS Office, but I still can't say it has any real competitors in the OSS world at the current time. [Note to KOffice users: I have seen quite an improvement in functionality over the last couple of years, but you all need another couple of Google Summers of Code to catch up. - No flames intended, it's just my humble opinion.]

Re:You gotta be kidding. (1)

jkrise (535370) | about 7 years ago | (#20974119)

So to finish, you are probably right in that OpenOffice has a long way to go in matching every type of functionality as MS Office

The problem I think, is that Open Office approaches things from the wrong end. Linux enjoys more success and prominence because it approached things from the server end, not the desktop end. MS OFfice is a bloated client application that uses bloated undocumented protocols to talk to bloated, buggy, undocumented server apps. Which server apps? Active (Craptive) Directory, Exchange Server, Sharepoint, SBS, Dynamics CRM etc.

This probably explains why Lotus Notes has more success than Open Office, Sendmail / Qmail / Postfix / Sunbird / OpenGroupware and Thunderbird; despite Notes being crappier, bulkier and bloatier than the MS equivalents.

Zimbra was the best complete competitor to Office-Exchange; which probably explains why MS got its cronies Yahoo to buy Zimbra at an atrocious price point. Open Office is useless without a server replacement for Exchange and Sharepoint.

Re:You gotta be kidding. (1)

NJVil (154697) | about 7 years ago | (#20973603)

Absolutely. If I had mod points today, I'd throw one your way.

I have recommended OO to many of the students (especially the lower-income ones who cannot afford the Microsoft procetag) in the high school I teach in, and there have been a few adoptees. Most, however, complain of the lack of working features... sadly, perhaps the most trivial of which is the default save as .odt, which is unreadable by the school's myriad Word instances. Tables, fonts, and formatting also sometimes come out looking wrong. There are a whole host of minor, annoying bugs that plague Writer, which should be dealt with before going after Outlook... which few of today's teenagers (or for that matter, the teachers I work with) care about anyway since almost all use Yahoo or Hotmail or GMail anyway.

So, my point is, give me one great program I can use to get the younger generation hooked on. Don't waste time building up a suite of so-so programs that nobody will want to use because they're all just so-so. Sure the anti-Microsoft fanatics will use it, but it will not appeal to anyone else. Don't just give me an alternative, give me better than what's out there, and I'll gladly use it. I'll gladly advocate. In the span of a few years, many people switched to Google as their default search engine because it was better, not because it tried to do everything well. As of right now, though, I am not going to continue damaging my reputation as one of the few teachers in my school who knows anything about computers by continuing to recommend a sub-par Open Office.

Re:You gotta be kidding. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20973713)

"Most, however, complain of the lack of working features... sadly, perhaps the most trivial of which is the default save as .odt, which is unreadable by the school's myriad Word instances."

Gee, if only there was a way to change the default to save as Word format.

Re:You gotta be kidding. (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | about 7 years ago | (#20973623)

Jesus. How about they compete with Word first, eh? Calling Thunderbird an "Outlook Replacement" just shows they have no idea what people use Outlook for. Outlook Express replacement, sure.

To most people there is no difference, unless they work for big companies.

The great thing about Office is all the damn pieces work together. Excel is friendly with Access, Access is friendly with Word, Everything is friendly with Outlook. To beat Office, you have to have an Office suite that works like that. Not just all the pieces in one package.

I was rather under the impression that the integration of office components with each other and tightly with windows, while nice in theory, actually made it a horrible security threat. Applications that co-operated but existed wholly apart from the OS, other than running on it would be a good thing.

There is not one single thing in OO that doesn't have an OSS equivalent stand-alone application that is at least as good. Bundling a mail client with the rest of your apps doesn't suddenly make you competitive, especially when your whole user base could have already installed that mail client if they wanted it.

potentially a good point, but in fact it is not assured that people would know about alternative mail clients from OSS> Better it is offered as an installable component with the OO suite.

There are OSS projects that are actually making a push toward doing the things that Outlook does (like Kontact). But Thunderbird is still lagging behind Evolution imho, and neither of them play all that great with any of the groupware servers out there, open or closed.

Kontact is Linux only. While I wish many KDE apps would make it to the windows platform, most aren't, so kontact probably isn't a good comparison. kolab perhaps, as it is based on kontact, but I don';t think that's exactly ready to uproot outlook any time soon.

I used to try and push OO on people, but I've completely lost faith in it. I keep thinking, maybe they'll get their crap together, but then they do stuff like this.

If you've given up on it, then your not really a good source for an opinion on its usefulness. I use it and MS Office together, I have to for now, until all my templates are ported to my satisfaction. Openoffice is very nice MS Office has the edge on maturity, but I don't like the locked in nature of the document formats.

Re:You gotta be kidding. (4, Interesting)

Alphager (957739) | about 7 years ago | (#20973719)

Kontact is Linux only. While I wish many KDE apps would make it to the windows platform, most aren't, so kontact probably isn't a good comparison. kolab perhaps, as it is based on kontact, but I don';t think that's exactly ready to uproot outlook any time soon.
KDE4 will run under Windows.

Re:You gotta be kidding. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20973829)

Minor correction: Many KDE4 *apps* will run (natively) under Windows (and OS X). The KDE4 desktop will not.

Re:You gotta be kidding. (-1, Troll)

jimicus (737525) | about 7 years ago | (#20974141)

KDE4 will run under Windows.

And come out at around the same time as Duke Nukem Forever.

Re:You gotta be kidding. (4, Insightful)

Blakey Rat (99501) | about 7 years ago | (#20973933)

To most people there is no difference, unless they work for big companies.

Well der. The point, to spell it out more clearly, is that the people who are developing OpenOffice aren't coming up with features that big companies want, and big companies are the ones holding the majority of Office licenses.

I was rather under the impression that the integration of office components with each other and tightly with windows, while nice in theory, actually made it a horrible security threat. Applications that co-operated but existed wholly apart from the OS, other than running on it would be a good thing.

Not enough of a security threat to bother any of the hundreds of thousands of companies that have purchased it. But more seriously, macros are completely reined-in, Outlook restricts everything, IE7 has as many security features as Firefox and runs in a sandbox in Vista to boot. (It's not part of Office, but I figured someone would bring it up.) And, frankly, it's been years since anybody has seen a macro virus, or another virus that uses Office to spread, and so even if there is still some security threat to these products more-so than to OpenOffice (which frankly I doubt), there's a sense of calm in that area right now.

Speaking of security, Office does have a nice feature where you can encrypt sensitive files before sending them out of the office to prevent your data being read by nefarious third-parties. Does OpenOffice have anything of the sort? (I haven't used it in a few years, and their website is so horrible it doesn't even have a basic page describing the features of the product, nor does it have screenshots, or basically anything you'd want to see before downloading it.)

Openoffice is very nice MS Office has the edge on maturity, but I don't like the locked in nature of the document formats.

I can guarantee if you go to a professional writer and ask:

Which would you rather have?
A) An outline view where you can instantly re-order your work, including notes and references?
B) A slightly more open document format?

There isn't a single one who's going to answer B.

Re:You gotta be kidding. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20974053)

I can guarantee if you go to a professional writer and ask:

Which would you rather have?
A) An outline view where you can instantly re-order your work, including notes and references?
B) A slightly more open document format?

There isn't a single one who's going to answer B.
Professional writers should be using a system designed for actual writing like LaTeX rather than an office program like MS Office or OpenOffice.org. In fact, many do, and the ones that try to use MS Word or other word processors generally have fun trying to get pagination to work or automatic outlining to work right or many other problems that occur once you write more than a few dozen pages in Word.

Re:You gotta be kidding. (1)

seyyah (986027) | about 7 years ago | (#20973735)

Agreed. I run Linux and it's faster to open MSOffice under Wine than to open up OpenOffice (and that's without Wine already running). I still like OpenOffice - it's certainly more stable than running MSOffice in Linux, but it's certainly bloated.

I'm just wating for the day that KWord supports .odt properly. That's what I want to be using.

Re:You gotta be kidding. (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | about 7 years ago | (#20973815)

If they really want to compete in the corporate realm, they need a drop-in replacement for *Exchange* (or Domino among the less savvy corporations), not Outlook. I agree with you entirely that this, along with so many other things that OpenOffice does (lack of a good outline mode, lack of accurate word count, crummy chart rendering, lack of video in presentation tool) just shows how completely, 100% out-of-touch OpenOffice developers are with anybody who actually uses Office to get stuff done.

Re:You gotta be kidding. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20973871)

I agree whoever is in charge of openoffice product development at the high level is just an idiot.

get rid of java, match the feature set of office, get an access replacement and for god's sake make it smaller and lighter - other office suites are just a lot quicker.

Personally I use seamonkey, openoffice and a web based calendar app. We don't need an integrated email client, we need something that works well. Try coming up with something useful like a live document collaboration type feature (please not vnc based)

Re:You gotta be kidding. (2, Interesting)

Sentax (1125511) | about 7 years ago | (#20974067)

This reminds me of when I tasked one of my employees to burn a powerpoint presentation on a CD and make it auto-run. I knew it was simple with PowerPoint and I mentioned that he install MS Office for this purpose and to ignore that he thinks OO can do the same and will do it equally, well 4-5 hours later I noticed he had been burning alot of CDs and is still testing this thing. He said he was having trouble getting the right components to copy to a computer that may not have PowerPoint installed so it would play the presentation. I asked if he installed MS Office and used that PowerPoint because I knew there was a simple "Create for CD" wizard in the file menu. He said no and insisted on not installing it because he is a hard core OO fan and thinks that MS Office is the devil. I made him install it and within minutes we had a burned disc and everything ran great.

This is where I get frustrated because he is fighting for a office suite that came about because of MS Office and everything he likes is a standard created by MS Office. He just doesn't get it. Since I work in the same department with him I want him to try things out for himself and not force him to use certain applications if he is so insistent on using something else. But in this case, when time matters and just getting it done is the main purpose, he needs to understand to use the tools that are already there and work.

Re:You gotta be kidding. (1)

blind biker (1066130) | about 7 years ago | (#20974163)

There is not one single thing in OO that doesn't have an OSS equivalent stand-alone application that is at least as good.

Can you point me to an alternative to OO Write? I love the ease of creating formulas in OO Write, and the way the Macro system works. But if you show me a more stable opensource application that can do "at least as good", I am ready to convert.

Re:You gotta be kidding. (1)

westlake (615356) | about 7 years ago | (#20974173)

The great thing about Office is all the damn pieces work together. Excel is friendly with Access, Access is friendly with Word, Everything is friendly with Outlook. To beat Office, you have to have an Office suite that works like that. Not just all the pieces in one package.

There are also an ungodly number of third party applications and plug-ins that more or less seamlesly integrate with Office or are designed for use within an Office environment.

Small businesses are already using OOo and Tbird (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20973447)

I know my business does. Packaging them will only make things easier.

Changing the names of the various apps in OOo would have a bigger effect. The number of times I've had someone think that Calc was windows calculator replacement, rather than a spreadsheet is far too high.

Re:Small businesses are already using OOo and Tbir (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20974169)

You got modded funny, but it's a real issue. I've been using OpenOffice forever, and I still get confused when I see "OpenOffice Calc" and "OpenOffice Math". WTF, man? I want to do a mathematical calculation. Don't give me this shit.

Patches (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20973453)

This is good news. I hope that thunderbird continues as a stand alone client as well.

On a related note; I've always wondered why it is such a hassle to send (unmangled) patches with Thunderbird. It is the one thing that keeps me from using it as my primary client...

Re:Patches (2, Informative)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about 7 years ago | (#20973993)

I wish open office would send incremental patches instead of making people download 70 to 100 megabytes when security or bug fixes come out. Slag Microsoft for being an abusive monopolist, but at least they know how to minimize the download sizes when patching. Maybe it is related to Open Office's architecture and how it has to load damn near everything even if you are just using one piece of it (slowing it down and sucking memory). That is, maybe they need to solve their performance issues first. I use OOO and don't have MS Office installed. But the patch thing really bugs me. Fortunately I have high speed internet. However I think there is still a huge number of people on dial up in the United States (if not a majority). Huge downloads like this basically prohibit those people from using the product. They will use unpatched pirated versions of MS Office, or something they can buy for cheap instead. And even if they can buy OOO on a CD they won't patch it until it is not a huge bandwidth burden.

Exchange (5, Insightful)

sc0ob5 (836562) | about 7 years ago | (#20973459)

When it can sync with exchange servers without having to use webdav I think it will be a contender, until then I don't think so. Still, nice to have it included in the office package I guess, but does it really make a difference?

Re:Exchange (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20973497)

Astroturf bingo number 4 [slashdot.org] , claimed for B26.

Re:Exchange (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20973629)

If an email client is going to compete with Outlook in a corporate environment, it needs to integrate with the email server similarly to Outlook, numbnuts.

Re:Exchange (1)

vertinox (846076) | about 7 years ago | (#20974079)

When it can sync with exchange servers without having to use webdav I think it will be a contender

Like Microsoft Entourage? Oh wait...

(Yeah, to be fair, Entourage 2008 will have supposedly native MAPI exchange support and not webdav, but I'm not holding my breath. I'm just point out that "offical" Microsft "Exchange" application Engourage 2004 on the Mac only has webdav support unlike its brother Outlook 2003)

Re:Exchange (1)

Sentax (1125511) | about 7 years ago | (#20974089)

And if it got to that point MS Office would change slight protocol things to it would break TBird Exchange syncing and they would have to roll out an update, it could go back and forth like the IM protocol fights with MSN and Yahoo.

Easy way to command market share: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20973469)

Make it clear that the product isn't for niggers, unlike Microsoft's alternative.

For those who aren't familiar (0, Redundant)

NewsBot (1173591) | about 7 years ago | (#20973473)

Open Office [wikipedia.org] is an office suite application available free of charge for a number of different computer operating systems. It supports the OpenDocument standard for data interchange, which Microsoft has attempted to supplant with the OOXML [wikipedia.org] format. (Do not confuse the Open Document and OOXML formats.)

Outlook [wikipedia.org] is a personal information manager from Microsoft, and is part of the Microsoft Office suite. It is mostly used for email.

Re:For those who aren't familiar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20973581)

Holy karmawhoring Batman! Really, what are the chances the average reader on Slashdot doesnt know what Open Office and Outlook are?

Re:For those who aren't familiar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20973593)

Anyone who thinks Outlook is "mostly used for email" really hasn't ever used Outlook. Outlook is *much* more than an email tool. That was the point of the original article.

Re:For those who aren't familiar (2, Funny)

psychicsword (1036852) | about 7 years ago | (#20973727)

You must be new here,
Anyone who doesnt know that uses digg.

Re:For those who aren't familiar (2, Insightful)

BrentH (1154987) | about 7 years ago | (#20973847)

If you think Outlook is used mostly for email, you're mistaken. The whole point here is that Outlook is NOT just a mail-client. The whole synchronized agenda thing is a central pillar and maybe more things that I don't know are in there. Managers and administrations are intertwined with all the features Outlook has, so please, stop the FUD that's only an emailclient.

How will it improve Thunderbird or OOo? (4, Interesting)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | about 7 years ago | (#20973477)

Considering Sun refuses to incldue open source code into OOo [slashdot.org] without owning the copyright, this will be an interesting move. Although how will bundling Thunderbird help add functionality to OOo rather then simply installing the two separately?

One could say the same about any office product, but at the very least they share the "Recent Documents" and can launch each other's applications (which is quite a nifty side-benefit). I'm not seeing even that advantage to the Thunderbird bundling. Although I'm sure it will be useful for those not knowledgeable enough to be able to install both separately.

Thunderbird would be a great idea (1)

DrXym (126579) | about 7 years ago | (#20973485)

It just needs to support MS Exchange. Easier said than done but there is a plugin already for Evolution which presumably could be used. I expect Sunbird would also have to come into it somewhere for the calendaring support.

Re:Thunderbird would be a great idea (1)

rizzo420 (136707) | about 7 years ago | (#20973551)

we have exchange at work. i am a fan of MS office. it works great and OO.o isn't anywhere near as great as MS office. thunderbird is a great email client, but it is most definitely NOT an outlook replacement. it is anything but that. it supports email and the address book, but it doesn't have a calendar, to-do list, and i'm not sure if it did, it would support all the stuff that exchange can do. as someone above said, just tossing in different programs as alternatives to the various MS office pieces isn't enough. they need to integrate with each other seamlessly. outlook syncs perfectly with exchange, allowing me to see all my calendar entries, to-do lists, task lists, mail, folders, contacts, etc. on outlooks web access from any computer connected to the internet.

i would love to see an open source alternative to MS office, but the fact of the matter is that none of them work as nicely as MS office. i tried OO.o once. it was slow, laggy, and took forever to startup unless you had the little loader running when your computer started, which hogged resources. and people try to say MS office is bloated.

Re:Thunderbird would be a great idea (1)

bvdbos (724595) | about 7 years ago | (#20973621)

It's obvious you didn't digg any further then a first glance or you would have known there's tons of plugins among which is Lightning, a full-fledged calendar for lighnting. Lately it's been evolving rapidly with version 0.7 coming out pretty soon. Actually I think it's better then outlook, I rather use lightning then outlook.

Re:Thunderbird would be a great idea (1)

rizzo420 (136707) | about 7 years ago | (#20973655)

i tried lightning. thunderbird kept crashing on me when trying to use it. does lightning sync with exchange or can you only use it locally?

i have been waiting patiently for sunbird to be released.

Re:Thunderbird would be a great idea (2, Insightful)

brusk (135896) | about 7 years ago | (#20973805)

Lightning works, but just barely (I say this as someone who uses it every day). It doesn't integrate with Thunderbird well enough (e.g., dealing with invites by email). It has a kludgy screen layout in TB. Its reminders don't fire reliably. Contacts are not well integrated with events, and the recurrence system has some problems. It needs a lot of fit and finish work. I say this as someone who LIKES it, and used to use Outlook. But I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who isn't prepared to fiddle with extensions, risk losing data, etc. TB+Lightning is also definitely not an Outlook replacement, since it lacks many basic features such as mail and calendar archiving, journaling, complex task management, more than basic contact management, etc.

Here's hoping that OOo will help support TB and Lightning (with the Mozilla reorganization, the calendar side is up in the air), and bring the two closer together. Without stronger calendar support, there's no way to displace Outlook.

Re:Thunderbird would be a great idea (1)

DrXym (126579) | about 7 years ago | (#20973707)

we have exchange at work. i am a fan of MS office. it works great and OO.o isn't anywhere near as great as MS office. thunderbird is a great email client, but it is most definitely NOT an outlook replacement. it is anything but that. it supports email and the address book, but it doesn't have a calendar, to-do list, and i'm not sure if it did, it would support all the stuff that exchange can do. as someone above said, just tossing in different programs as alternatives to the various MS office pieces isn't enough. they need to integrate with each other seamlessly. outlook syncs perfectly with exchange, allowing me to see all my calendar entries, to-do lists, task lists, mail, folders, contacts, etc. on outlooks web access from any computer connected to the internet.

Thunderbird & Sunbird combined have almost everything Exchange offers. They just don't connect to Exchange servers. Thankfully the code is modular (e.g. it already has handlers for nntp, imap, pop3) so it should be quite possible to write the code. Especially seeing as code already exists in the Evolution plugin that could be utilised.

And Here is Where the Math Does Not Add Up (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | about 7 years ago | (#20973873)

>Thunderbird & Sunbird combined have almost everything Exchange offers. They just don't connect to Exchange servers.

That's like saying. Heck I have a car that drives on Hydrogen, but the problem is that there are no Hydrogen gas stations anywhere. Gee, that sort of defeats the purpose no?

>Thankfully the code is modular (e.g. it already has handlers for nntp, imap, pop3) so it should be quite possible to write the code.

That's like saying. Heck a hydrogen car is not a problem, you just need to create some tanking stations anywhere you drive so that you don't run out of hydrogen. Again sort of defeats the purpose no?

>Especially seeing as code already exists in the Evolution plugin that could be utilised.

That's like saying. Heck there are gas stations and they could be used to sell hydrogen. All we need to do is provide the equipment.

Gee at the end of the day, even though it's worse, its simpler to drive a gas guzzling vehicle. Sad yes, but that's reality...

Re:And Here is Where the Math Does Not Add Up (1)

sneezinglion (771733) | about 7 years ago | (#20974135)

>Thunderbird & Sunbird combined have almost everything Exchange offers. They just don't connect to Exchange servers.

That's like saying. Heck I have a car that drives on Hydrogen, but the problem is that there are no Hydrogen gas stations anywhere. Gee, that sort of defeats the purpose no?
So what you are saying is we should give up. Why try?

>Thankfully the code is modular (e.g. it already has handlers for nntp, imap, pop3) so it should be quite possible to write the code.

That's like saying. Heck a hydrogen car is not a problem, you just need to create some tanking stations anywhere you drive so that you don't run out of hydrogen. Again sort of defeats the purpose no?
No, grandparent was pointing out that ease with which one could create the code.

>Especially seeing as code already exists in the Evolution plugin that could be utilised.

That's like saying. Heck there are gas stations and they could be used to sell hydrogen. All we need to do is provide the equipment.

Gee at the end of the day, even though it's worse, its simpler to drive a gas guzzling vehicle. Sad yes, but that's reality...
No, Your analogy is not worth the bits it is stored with. :) grandparent was pointing out that there is already code to utilize an exchange server. That is nothing like needing to provide equipment. It is more like saying the pumps we have are fine, we just need to replace the nozzles with brand X and then we have pumps! Yaay! Stop being a defeatist. At the end of the day, if we listened to defeatists, we would never make progress on anything. Sad yes, but that's reality.

Re:Thunderbird would be a great idea (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about 7 years ago | (#20973749)

Word does not work great - it works okay. There are too many annoying bugs and ill thought out defaults for it to be called great.

Re:Thunderbird would be a great idea (1)

bvdbos (724595) | about 7 years ago | (#20973635)

Why support exchange? There's lots of other servers available...

Re:Thunderbird would be a great idea (1)

deniable (76198) | about 7 years ago | (#20973883)

It's called embrace and extend. Look it up. You should also look at all of the features of Exchange including all of the Windows Mobile interaction. This is what the people who pay me want.

Re:Thunderbird would be a great idea (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | about 7 years ago | (#20974009)

There's Exchange/Outlook, used by all companies that don't hate their users. There's Lotus Domino/Notes, used by the companies who do hate their users. Then there's whatever Netware was selling a few years back, if it even still exists...

So yes, by "lots of other servers available" you mean "up to two, if Novell is still selling theirs."

Visio would be better (5, Insightful)

Helmholtz (2715) | about 7 years ago | (#20973503)

As many people have already noticed, people don't choose to use Outlook. Somebody else choose to use Exchange, and that means you're using Outlook. There's no way a third party could attempt to compete, since Exchange uses totally proprietary hooks and methods.

Personally, I think it'd be better to focus on something like a Visio replacement. Use Dia as a starting point, etc.

Re:Visio would be better (2, Interesting)

keko_metal (1010011) | about 7 years ago | (#20973705)

How about Kivio [koffice.org] ?

Re:Visio would be better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20973781)

I didn't know that program existed. Thanks for the link!

Re:Visio would be better (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 7 years ago | (#20973753)

There's no way a third party could attempt to compete, since Exchange uses totally proprietary hooks and methods.

I believe MDaemon [mdaemon.com] can serve as an Exchange replacement with their Connector plug-in, although I've not personally used it for that. MDaemon is hardly an open source product (although it is one of the better commercial offerings out there) but it does go to show that Exchange compatibility is not an impossible goal. If that's what you want.

Re:Visio would be better (1)

epedersen (863120) | about 7 years ago | (#20973963)

If all you want is a commercial Exchange replacement, I believe you would be better of with Postfix (http://www.postfix.com). There is no connectors required. And it interacts with other exchange servers, as an Exchange Server. It is a drop-in replacement, that runs on Linux.

Re:Visio would be better (1)

jimicus (737525) | about 7 years ago | (#20974153)

If all you want is a commercial Exchange replacement, I believe you would be better of with Postfix (http://www.postfix.com). There is no connectors required. And it interacts with other exchange servers, as an Exchange Server. It is a drop-in replacement, that runs on Linux.

That replaces the SMTP transport part of Exchange. How about the group directory and the shared calendar support?

I don't know... (2, Insightful)

Keyper7 (1160079) | about 7 years ago | (#20973505)

...bundling Thunderbird is a good idea in the sense that they won't try to fit more stuff in the saturated market of email clients. On the other hand, should email client and schedule integration be a priority? From my point of view, Microsoft is using Office as a tool to turn Windows itself into an all-purpose environment. Sun's efforts will probably be restricted to improve OpenOffice, and OpenOffice alone. They might risk turning it into a bloaty 300 Mb mess that people will ditch in favor of KOffice, Evolution or Office 2007 in the case of Windows users.

At last... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20973527)

Hurrah! Having an office suite integrated with a mail client which talks standard protocols will be great! My phone has an excellent calendar application, but I can't use it, because everyone I work with insists on exchanging calendar information in proprietary windows formats. This means that we all have to carry a PC around with us in order to schedule our time effectively.

One glorious day, we'll be able to coordinate our schedules using something which fits in our pockets.

New Chart Engine, finally! (1)

bucky0 (229117) | about 7 years ago | (#20973545)

For a lot of quick and dirty charts, I'll just take my data and throw it in an excel spreadsheet. I tried to do the same thing with OO, and it just never felt right or looked good at all. If someone makes a chart that takes up a new sheet in a workbook, why does OO decide to put the legend in 8pt font? Hopefully they add some options to flesh things out more.

Re:New Chart Engine, finally! (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | about 7 years ago | (#20973627)

That's been my hesitation to move to OO. All of my customers and vendors, for that matter, are on MS Office. I had a problem a few years ago and I haven't gotten around to doing a test case with a current version of OO, but I'm a little hesitant to send a document that I've authored in OO to a customer and have it look like crap. Impressions mean a lot.

Exchange (1)

segedunum (883035) | about 7 years ago | (#20973569)

This issue is a whole lot more complex because of Exchange. They're going to need this Outlook replacement to function with Exchange properly, and then to ensure that it has a reliable and working future, they're going to have to come up with an Exchange server replacement with the ability to migrate people off.

Re:Exchange (5, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | about 7 years ago | (#20973631)

But Thunderbird is not a replacement for Outlook.

Outlook's shared calendar integration, while being a minor thing to most geeks, is one of the major features which get Exchange installed in businesses.

And Exchange requires Active Directory, which requires a domain driven by Windows Server rather than Samba, so even if you weren't planning to before, you may as well authenticate other systems through that. Then people start looking at other things like Sharepoint and third-party applications which expect a Windows domain, and before you know it you've got an entire infrastructure built around Windows.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is how Windows became a popular server platform in places where you might otherwise expect to see Unix, Netware or OpenVMS.

Re:Exchange (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 7 years ago | (#20973899)

And Exchange requires Active Directory, which requires a domain driven by Windows Server rather than Samba, so even if you weren't planning to before, you may as well authenticate other systems through that.

Not all that impossible to do - your auth can come through AD's LDAP connector, and if rest can be done like Evolution does... take scrapes off of the OWA service on Exchange.

Everyone makes it sound like Echange and AD are these magic thingies that no one will ever plug into. While I'll never claim it to be perfectly easy (and MSFT does their damndest to insure that), it certainly isn't impossible.

/P

Re:Exchange (1)

jimicus (737525) | about 7 years ago | (#20974117)

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with Exchange and Active Directory - for what it's worth, it's probably the best solution to that particular problem on the market right now.

But I keep on hearing of stories like "OpenOffice volunteers believe their product can beat Microsoft on its home ground by including an email client" and all they do is demonstrate that the people who make these packaging decisions and think Outlook is used as nothing more than an email client have spent zero time working in the real world.

The world has moved beyond "I need a word processor, spreadsheet and email client so this product which can give me them all at the same time is better than that product which can only provide one item". It's now about solutions - which is a fancy way of saying "everything works neatly together and modules can be added when necessary. When modules are added, they integrate just as neatly as everything else". Where is the module to give OpenOffice shared calendaring features?

Re:Exchange (1)

andre.ramaciotti (1053592) | about 7 years ago | (#20973985)

Outlook's shared calendar integration, while being a minor thing to most geeks, is one of the major features which get Exchange installed in businesses.
Did you read the whole article? There are some proof-of-concept pictures and in one of them, there is Thunderbird with a calendar view. I don't think they'd just bundle Thunderbird with OpenOffice as it is. We're going to see big changes, problably, though imho they should bundle any other client mail (no, I don't like TB nor FF).

Re:Exchange (1)

Sir Homer (549339) | about 7 years ago | (#20974105)

Zimbra is a pretty good alternative to Exchange, we have actually migrated *off* Exchange to Zimbra. With Zimbra you have groupware solution completely independent of Windows on the client and server side.

http://www.zimbra.com/ [zimbra.com]

losing developers? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20973591)

This is all assuming that Thunderbird recently losing two of it's main developers doesn't affect the decision

uh yea I hate to be pedantic here, but I think you mean loosing two of it's main developers...

sun and thunderbird (1)

bvdbos (724595) | about 7 years ago | (#20973609)

Sun (among others) has been offering recourses to put into tunderbird and sunbird/lightning for some time now. Lightning is maturing very fast and already a lot of offices can use Thunderbird and Lightning as an alternative to outlook. With the co-operatioon with the rest of openoffice, it's a MS-killer for sure.

Not what we want (5, Insightful)

markdavis (642305) | about 7 years ago | (#20973619)

Apparently the OpenOffice team is not listening to what users want. Most of us don't want a "bundled" Email client to add to the bloat.... we already choose the Email client we want to use. I don't want an IM client, web browser, or music player bundled into it either!!!

This is what they should be concentrating on:

1) Faster. Fast loading, faster opening documents, faster saving documents, faster menu response.
2) Smaller. Higher efficiency. Smaller downloads.
3) More stable. Better code. Less crashing.
4) More compatible. With more types of files (for example, docx, wp, svg)
5) Better documented. End user docs, help, and developer docs.

Re:Not what we want (3, Interesting)

iknownuttin (1099999) | about 7 years ago | (#20973675)

Apparently the OpenOffice team is not listening to what users want.

It was once posted here on /. (I can't find the post - it was months ago) that FOSS developers write code for themselves not for the end user. Then I see an article about a FOSS project trying to compete with MS.

I guess the guy who originally posted that comment meant to say that some FOSS developers write code for themselves and not for the users.

Anyway, my point is that I'm not so sure that every FOSS project is really that interested in market share. Those that really are do quite well: MySQL, Mozilla, Apache, PostGre, etc....

Maybe the OO guys should talk to them.

Re:Not what we want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20973901)

It was once posted here on /. (I can't find the post - it was months ago) that FOSS developers write code for themselves not for the end user. Then I see an article about a FOSS project trying to compete with MS.
Sun Microsystems (ever heard of them?) write OO.o - they have something like 50 full-time employees hacking away on it, and I believe IBM have pledged a further 25. It may be released under an open-source license, but pretty much every aspect of it has more in common with commercial software and development practices.

OT, but - I've always wondered what kind of state GNOME and KDE would be in if they had this kind of man-power donated to them (KDE in particular has accomplished, imho, *miracles* with it's shoe-string budget. It's hard to believe that KOffice, say, has just *1* full-timer working on it [and he works exclusively on the database component]). Oh well - a man can dream :)

Re:Not what we want (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | about 7 years ago | (#20973975)

Sun Microsystems (ever heard of them?) write OO.o - they have something like 50 full-time employees hacking away on it, and I believe IBM have pledged a further 25.

I don't have much experience with Sun software, but I can guarantee that anything IBM makes intended for the end user is going to suck, and it's going to suck hard. This is the company that sells Lotus Notes to their customers, and tells them with a straight face that it's better than Outlook. IBM knows nothing about usability or giving people what they want; all they do is produce something that's almost entirely broken, then selling consulting services at $250/hour to fix it to the "mostly broken" state.

Re:Not what we want (4, Insightful)

niiler (716140) | about 7 years ago | (#20973759)

I agree with most of what you've said, although I'd like to comment on some points:

1) Faster. Fast loading, faster opening documents, faster saving documents, faster menu response.
2) Smaller. Higher efficiency. Smaller downloads.
3) More stable. Better code. Less crashing.
4) More compatible. With more types of files (for example, docx, wp, svg)
5) Better documented. End user docs, help, and developer docs.
1) Currently I'm starting up in about 3 seconds using Vector Linux 5.8 with a custom built OpenOffice 2.3. So start time is not an issue. Save and load time are, although I think these may be related to the zipped/XML type format that is used. I have no experience with Office Open XML for comparison.

2) This probably is desirable, although the last time I downloaded it took about 5 minutes. For those without superfast broadband connections, a smaller package would be nice.

3) I haven't had crashing problems with OpenOffice in two or three years. At this point, it just works.

4) Docx is theoretically supported by Novell's OpenOffice, but I've heard bad things there. I suspect that since it is theoretically "open", that OpenOffice will support it sooner or later. As a former WP fan, I would also like this support so that I can import my dissertation. Finally, I'm also with you on SVG.

5) The documentation does leave much to be desired, although it's getting better by leaps and bounds. The really key issue here is that the OO.org website sucks. I'll be the first to sing the praises of the program, but their web site looks bad, and is poorly organized. Even when you know what you are looking for, you can't necessarily find it unless you have inside information.

Wrong prority! (5, Insightful)

ecbpro (919207) | about 7 years ago | (#20973659)

Please this is so wrong, who needs yet another mail client?
How about first finish cleaning up the OOo code?
Then make Impress make slides look nice! Graphics output is so ugly I have to be ashamed when I use Impress, drawings in Powerpoint look so much nicer. Why cant they make good anti-aliasing of curves? What is really stupid is that when I export my slides as pdf they look really nice! Oh boy... but no, first they want to add a mail software into an already really slow office suite, THANK YOU!

Re:Wrong prority! (1)

skeeto (1138903) | about 7 years ago | (#20973845)

Don't you know the rules?

"Every application grows until it can read e-mail."

OO is just going along the predicted path.

Re:Wrong prority! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20974049)

There should be 10 initial priorities for OO.o 3.0:

Bugfixes
Compatibility
SPEED
SPEED
SPEED
SPEED
SPEED
SPEED
SPEED
SPEED

The biggest complaint I hear about OO.o is that even on high end hardware, it's slow as hell. So you lose the home market because people at home don't buy fast machines anyway, but their office suite is slow as hell on it. Then you have the business market. Not only does it get dinged for speed there over and over again (The point of the computer is more productivity per man hour. That's all about SPEED), but the compatibility with Office modern and legacy formats KILLS it.

As much as I hate to say it, they DO need to match Office feature for feature. But not by adding a mail client. They need to start by having every document creating feature perfect, having every typical feature built in, having 100% picture perfect compatibility with every Microsoft format to allow drop in replacement, and making that all FAST FAST FAST. Sure, there's no innovation, but people want a product they can USE today, not a product that makes them feel all warm and fuzzy because it ain't Microsoft.

Competition with Outlook can come later after somebody else builds a picture perfect, easy to install, easy to administrate competitor to Exchange. People aiming to replace Outlook are aiming for the decoy; Exchange is the real target to replace. For now, do what you do right now well before you even think of trying to take on additional functions.

Client side isnt the issue (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 7 years ago | (#20973671)

Its the server side that needs to be addressed. All the current OSS replacements have their issues in an 'enterprise' environment.

I hope this is a first step towards increasing.... (1)

blind biker (1066130) | about 7 years ago | (#20973687)

...stability and performance of OO.o.

But somehow I doubt it.

Thunderbird has calendar? (2, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | about 7 years ago | (#20973695)

And group scheduling, public folders, notes, etc ?

If not its replacing Outlook express, not outlook. And there are tons of decent competitors at that level now.

Re:Thunderbird has calendar? (3, Informative)

realdodgeman (1113225) | about 7 years ago | (#20973725)

The only real Outlook competitor I know of, is Evolution. Most other email clients are still on the Outlook Express level (though many are much better).

Re:Thunderbird has calendar? (3, Informative)

nurb432 (527695) | about 7 years ago | (#20974137)

On the KDE side, Kontact is also a competitor. Its less integrated then evolution, but using kparts, it 'feels' like a single application, for the most part.

But both evolution and kontact have their issues. Id like to see something like kolab become useable for the server side to go with them. ( citadel is close, but stil quirky )

Good luck competnig with OUTLOOK (2, Insightful)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | about 7 years ago | (#20973715)

Without any kind of SEAMLESS intergeneration with ACTIVE SYNC you stand ZERO CHANCE of prying Outlook from my hands. Sure I use Open Office but dumped Thunderbird after giving it more than a fair chance.

Re:Good luck competnig with OUTLOOK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20974161)

There's no need to shout.

outlook clone (1)

edxwelch (600979) | about 7 years ago | (#20973819)

outlook is not a well designed product. There are many usablity issues, basic feature mistakes and bugs. I hope they don't do a feature-for-feature clone, like they did for word, because they can do much better.

OO.o Exchange Client? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 7 years ago | (#20973823)

To replace Outlook, OO.o would have to connect to MS Exchange for all kinds of shared databases, including calendars, distribution lists, contacts, as well as email. If OO.o can do that indistinguishably from Outlook, with the client code in GPL, that's excellent news. Not just for using OO.o, but for using Outlook.

Because there are several GPL projects out there working on replacing Exchange with something running (much better) on Linux. Their main problem is the Outlook/Exchange protocol. If OO.o offers the client side code for that protocol, then "inverse engineering" the Exchange server side protocol code would be much easier.

I hope all those "Exchange killer" projects get to use the OO.o code that way. And that at least one succeeds in producing the server code under GPL. Because then it'll be available to all those projects.

Well.... (1)

Acecoolco (1012419) | about 7 years ago | (#20973831)

Open Office is nice and all, and I LOVE Firefox... However, Thunderbird is.. well... no good... Ive tried it, and hated it... It downloads mail fast and all, I just dont like the layout, and some ways the program handles things. Josh

where's the innovation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20973997)

why do i keep hearing that cry from the open sores crowd yet every article about oo is about them trying to take business from ms office by implementing features already in ms office? why can't they innovate instead of imitate?
 
what should i expect out of a bunch of whiners who still can't face the fact that their operating system is not innovative, it's a rip off. so is their big graphics app and their office suite.

No real competition (4, Insightful)

plusser (685253) | about 7 years ago | (#20974099)

I think that the problem with Open Office is that Microsoft Office has no real competition, hence it can afford to ignore everybody else.

The problem is very simple, when it comes to using Operating Systems there is very effective competition to Windows, namely Unix, Linux (and its many variations), BSD and MAC OS. While many of these systems are low cost to own, they do provide Microsoft with an incentive to provide a better operating system.

However, Microsoft Office has no real competition. Some people will say "but what about Open Office", but the problem is that while it may be free, there is no incentive for anybody to develop program other than for the simple joy of it. Unfortunately developing a office tool today is not like developing an operating system, as you have to offer dictionaries, grammar tools, paper formatting and tool integration to support every country in every region of the world; something you either buy or pay for a lot of work to be done. The problem is that the commercial alternatives to Microsoft Office have all but died out (Word Perfect etc..), hence the market share for Microsoft Office is probably greater than that of Windows.

The solution is that somebody needs to take Microsoft on where it hurts, i.e. offer a proper Office suite that costs less than Office. Unfortunately the only company that is any position to do this is Apple, but having been hurt by Microsoft when Explorer was withdrawn for Mac OS after Apple launched Safari, I doubt whether they would even attempt to tackle this problem as Mac without Office would be a problem for interoperability with documents in the future. There is of course Star Office, but that is just a commercial version of Open Office.

So the solution is that we get total bloatware and zero innovation. While I have not used Office 2007 yet, I suppose that like 2000, XP and 2003 there is little innovation over 97, which was actually quite a good piece of software.

For your information, I do use Thunderbird as my home email client along with Open Office on my Home PC. But believe me, if I was running a small business, I would have no option but to pay the "Microsoft tax", even if I was not using Windows.

I personally think that the only reason that Microsoft does not sell Office as part of the operating system (which for many people it could be described as, especially when it comes to Outlook) is that not only do they make most of their money from Office, but if they did they would suddenly find being themselves being prosecuted for anti-trust by the EU and US.

Yeah, outlook (4, Informative)

Aaron Isotton (958761) | about 7 years ago | (#20974203)

Openoffice 3 is scheduled for release in September 2008 (http://wiki.services.openoffice.org/wiki/Roadmap#Ongoing_OpenOffice.org_3.0). You may like Outlook or not, but there's /no way/ /anyone/ writes a replacement for it in less than a year.

People are /not/ using Outlook because it is such an incredibly cool mail client (which it isn't); they use it because it integrates mail, contacts and calendars with each other and with Exchange. I mean, you can take Thunberbird, add conversation capabilities and polish the UI a little more and then you'll have the *mail* part of Outlook, but you do *not* have the whole thing.

The MS Office universe is as successful as it is because of the following:

- Word, Excel and PowerPoint are a "classic office suite" and are nicely integrated with each other

- Outlook integrates mail, contacts and calendars with a server (Exchange) and is interacts nicely with the other Office apps

- Access is a crappy database which causes more problems than it solves. Not much to see here. Most people would be better off with excel sheets they mail to each other.

The Status of OpenOffice is IMHO the following:

- Writer is pretty much equivalent to Word. Some things are actually nicer, others are worse. It definitely needs some polish though (there are hundreds of minor nuisances). And they should definitely get rid of the retarded light bulb shaped assistant. It's even more stupid than clippy, but at least it's not animated.

- Calc is close to Excel, but not as close as Writer is to Word. It's usable for most things Excel is used for, but not a replacement yet.

- Impress sucks. It's not even close to PowerPoint. It's usable for presentations consisting of bulleted lists, but if you want anything more, oh my.

- Base vs Access - I have almost no experience with Base, so I can't say much about this. But the concept is the same as Access, so I guess it sucks at least as much.

- There is no replacement for Outlook.

- The integration between the individual programs is *years* behind what MS Office has to offer.

What they *should* do instead of trying to push Thunderbird as "Outlook replacement" is this:

- Polish Writer some more. I use Writer almost daily and have the feeling that it has the potential to be *better* than Word in most tasks. They should *not* try to be bug-by-bug, stupid-feature-by-stupid-feature compatible to Word; people who need that kind of compatibility are not going to switch anyway. Maybe bring it a bit closer to a DTP program (more and more exact controls for layouting and styling, especially for longer and/or structured documents).

- Work a bit on Calc. I mainly use both Excel and Calc for things such as "making lists" or "summing numbers" or maybe to write a small macro, so I don't really care.

- Do something *really cool* with Impress. PowerPoint is far from perfect and presentations are getting more and more important every day. I know I can do "everything" using LaTeX and Beamer, but sometimes you just want to do something *quickly*. And Impress disappoints me every time.

- Get rid of Base. Both Access and Base are crappy concepts anyway. Databases should run on a server.

Then they could still write an Exchange replacement, and only *then* Outlook can be truly replaced.

Just my 2 cents.
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