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An Early Look at OpenOffice.org 3.0

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the remember-the-future dept.

Software 369

ahziem writes "With the final release 167 days away and an alpha version available, it's time to look at OpenOffice.org 3.0's new features: view multiple pages in Writer, notes in the margin, Microsoft Office 2007 file format support, Solver in Calc, new visual theme in Calc, native tables in Impress, more columns in Calc, error bars in charts, performance improvements, real native Aqua Mac support, and more."

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369 comments

Crap, is documentation out of date? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22794940)

I just recently invested in The OpenOffice.org 2 Guidebook [amazon.com] , which cost quite a bit. Is 3 going to have massive new UI changes that mean I have to learn how to use the program all over again?

Re:Crap, is documentation out of date? (2, Insightful)

allcar (1111567) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795102)

Real men never RTFM, anyway.
But seriously, it should be one of the goals of the project to ensure that such books are not really need. The GUI should be intuitive where possible and on-line help should be thorough where it is required.

Re:Crap, is documentation out of date? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22795198)

It's my view that most statements in software documentation are required because of flaws (UI or other) in the software.

Any statements in the documentation that start out "Don't" or marked "Warning" or "Notice" are always present because of flaws -- the right approach is to fix the software (and remove the statement from the documentation).

Re:Crap, is documentation out of date? (2, Interesting)

EvanED (569694) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795588)

Any statements in the documentation that start out "Don't" or marked "Warning" or "Notice" are always present because of flaws -- the right approach is to fix the software (and remove the statement from the documentation).

So if the documentation says "Warning: Once a file is deleted from the recycle bin, it is impossible to recover" that shows that there is a flaw in the software?

Re:Crap, is documentation out of date? (1)

girasquid (1234570) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795652)

Well, it is called the "Recycle" bin...;)

Re:Crap, is documentation out of date? (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795170)

Why not just try it for yourself? You can get it from the /developer/DEV300_*/ directory of any of the mirrors.

New Feature (4, Funny)

LMacG (118321) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794960)

"notes in the margin"? That must be for all the OO.o users named Fermat.

Re:New Feature (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22795162)

agreed. but being able to display multiple pages side by side is a feature i've been waiting for (after i had to find out via multiple google-queries that it isn't possible yet). it'll be really nice to utilize that good ol' 21"-CRT when writing my papers!

Thanks, OOo! I left Microsoft Office in 2005 and never looked back.

Re:New Feature (4, Informative)

amias (105819) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795294)

There is a simple workaround , go to the Window menu and do 'New Window' then line them up next to each other
un-maximised , this fits nicely on a widescreen monitor . It will happily display the same document in two windows .
Will be good to have that properly integrated though.

Maybe it might be worth putting some logic in OOO to detect widescreen and adjust the layouts accordingly ,
seems a lot of programs are not designed with widescreen in mind.

Toodle-pip
Amias

Re:New Feature (2, Interesting)

MidnightBrewer (97195) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795358)

Personally, I'd love to be able to have a notes feature. I was just recently collaborating remotely on a business letter and we had to type our justification for changes directly into the document. Screwed up the formatting, to say the least, and wasn't that great for readability, either.

VBA (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795412)

How about VBA support?

I heavily rely on scripting for my spreadsheets and generating text documents. The files themselves could easily be moved to OOo, but the scripts cannot. To make matters worse, the builtin scripting of OOo is crap. There, I said it. Somebody is probably going to bitch at me for it, but OOo's scripting requires 20 lines of complicated code for what you can do with 2 or 3 lines of VBA code. That is just not acceptable for a scripting language intended to be used by non-hardcore programmers.

Re:VBA (3, Informative)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795480)

Forking to the rescue! Here [sourceforge.net] you go. Oxygenoffice has VBA support,as well as more templates,clip art,etc. Enjoy!

Re:VBA (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795590)

Even if the scripting was good, nobody is going to want to port all their scripts over to some other language, just to switch to a different office suite. If you do, you either don't have many/any scripts to begin with, or you must really hate your current solution quite a bit.

Re:New Feature (2, Interesting)

Creaturee (1257114) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795452)

I was just over at the OpenOffice site browsing through some of their marketing materials to see if there was anything interesting. I came across a presentation that was given on September 19th at the OpenOffice 2007 Conference. The presentation was called "OpenOffice.org 3.0 and Beyond," and it walked through some of the most notable features that are expected to be released in the next big OpenOffice milestone. The presentation was actually pretty interesting to flip through, but the one thing that really caught my attention was their reference to including a Personal Information Manager (PIM). More specifically 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 it's main developers doesn't affect the decision, because I'm sure OpenOffice wants to ensure that Thunderbird will continue to progress before including it. A post that I made earlier this year regarding Thunderbird as an Outlook replacement really sparked some heated debates in the comments. People were saying that it will never happen, yet this is the direct goal of the new OpenOffice. They plan on including the Lightning add-on for Thunderbird so that in addition to email support, users will also be able to manage their schedule and appointments. http://cybernetnews.com/2007/10/13/openoffice-30-wants-to-compete-with-outlook/ [cybernetnews.com]

Database support ? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22794988)

Any chance to get database support outside of Windows ?

Still the show-stopper to get rid of Office, what do you do about the pervasive Access applications ? last time I checked, couldn't run them outside of Windows...

Re:Database support ? (5, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795234)

Any chance to get database support outside of Windows ?

??? It already exists? OpenOffice Base has a dependency on Java, but otherwise it's available for all platforms. (The core database is HSQLDB.) As I recall, you can use either JDBC or ODBC drivers to connect to a remote database.

The data sources configured in OpenOffice Base can then be used in programs like Calc.

So... I'm not really sure what the issue is?

Re:Database support ? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795330)

IMO the show stopper is a lack of a decent Outlook replacement.. then again, I have done a few different DB applications for work, only one of them involved access and that's just because they wanted it "ASAP!!!!!!!" (they received it like a year ago and still haven't really started using it.. they're still mostly relying on their little excel trackers, it's sad)

Re:Database support ? (1)

Imsdal (930595) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795638)

Still the show-stopper to get rid of Office, what do you do about the pervasive Access applications ?

I think you misspelled "pivot tables". Are they in yet? If not, please end the discussion of why people are not switching from Excel to OO right here.

Aqua? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22795004)

Aqua was what shipped with Mac OS X 10.0. What about Quartz?

Re:Aqua? (5, Informative)

caerwyn (38056) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795288)

You're a little confused.

Aqua is the set of widgets and such that make up the MacOS X user interface. It has evolved over the various versions of the OS, but it's still Aqua.

Quartz is the underlying PDF-based drawing technology that MacOS X uses to draw everything to the screen- including the Aqua UI widgets.

Referring to native Aqua is quite correct.

Re:Aqua? (1)

yanyan (302849) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795476)

Isn't Aqua just a UI theme?

Stability (1)

rumith (983060) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795012)

Hopefully, the stability issues that have been plaguing OOo 2.3 will be fixed too. A dozen or so users of OOo 2.3 for Linux I know have been experiencing more stability-related issues than all the Windows users of OpenOffice I know combined. Can anyone confirm/explain this? Thanks.

Re:Stability (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795144)

I've had no problems with either (dual boot Ubuntu/XP) not a single crash, haven't heard of any from the people I've converted. Mostly windoze, but a few Ubuntu users too:-)

Looking forward to 3.0 :-)

Re:Stability (4, Interesting)

alexgieg (948359) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795536)

I use OOo in Ubuntu, and I really, REALLY hope this new version to stop handling menu and dialog font spacing and anti-aliasing (or the lack thereof, as I prefer) by itself, and instead let Gnome or KDE handle this, as all other applications do. It's just ugly to have the fonts in everything looking perfectly in a certain way, except for OOo.

My 2nd hope is for OOo 3 to stop using Java for the wizards. Or for anything really. There's no point in having Java handle things behind the scenes on an otherwise compiled application. It just make things slow to load and slow to run.

And my 3rd hope is for OOo 3 to finally make tables creation and editing in Write as easy, free form and trouble free as it is in MS Word. Click a button, start "drawing" your table any way you like, without giving any consideration whatsoever to the number of rows and columns, dividing cells anywhere you want, merging cells in any way, moving cell boundaries left and right and up and down without any invisible wall preventing you (not even the table's boundaries): that's how it should be, and how it actually is in MS Word.

Do these 3 things and I'll never look back to MS Office.

Re:Stability (2, Interesting)

wile_e_wonka (934864) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795382)

I had tons of stability issues. This has been solved so far as I can tell by completely removing the version of 2.3 available in the repositories and installing the one available directly from OOo. It's sad, I know. In the OOo forums people said that Ubuntu (and perhaps other distributions?) don't like to integrate bug updates into the version Ubuntu uses until they are tested as stable in Ubuntu. In the meantime, Ubuntu is then left with a very unstable release of 2.3. I installed directly from Openoffice and have had none of the problems I had previously.

Perhaps there is a reposity out there that pulls directly from OOo so I don't have to update the program manually? Anyone know?

Re:Stability (1)

gravy.jones (969410) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795530)

I put OOo 2.3 on my wife's Vista laptop. It repeatedly shuts down for no apparent reason. It is very unstable; you can't do much in Writer before it craters. It is a blemish on OOo but it won't deter me from looking forward to 2.3.1 or even 3.0.

I'm sure it's just me (5, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795016)

and there will be plenty of folk who can be pessimistic about this, but I'm having trouble with doing that. It's free, being improved, and already works as good or better than MS office for more than 99.9% of the needs of myself and my family as well as most people I know. Those are not empirical numbers (just a good guess) but I remain impressed. What are the downsides to this? I'm not trolling, just wanting to know what they are.

Re:I'm sure it's just me (2, Interesting)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795140)

My biggest problem with OO.o 2.3 is with Writer... it doesn't save RTF files correctly for whatever reason. It's pretty sad when you save an RTF, close OO.o, then reopen said rtf and have it suddenly bold everything after the first time you use bold...

Then again, Writer is also the only component I use. There are also some other minor problems with .doc files and embedded images, but those are rather minor formatting issues.

Re:I'm sure it's just me (1)

neumayr (819083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795456)

Wow, that must be annoying.
Can't reproduce it in OO 2.3.1 though, so you might want to update?

Re:I'm sure it's just me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22795158)

The only downside is that it's not yet 100% compatible with MS Word .doc format.

And by that I mean, it will show everything that's in the document, but the spacing and formatting will be somewhat off.

Re:I'm sure it's just me (1)

Compholio (770966) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795422)

The only downside is that it's not yet 100% compatible with MS Word .doc format.

And by that I mean, it will show everything that's in the document, but the spacing and formatting will be somewhat off.
You know, my printer has the exact same problem. That's why I use OO.o and LaTeX now.

For the scientists: ERROR BARS (5, Insightful)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795182)

I am happy that after something like 5 years of suffering, the scientists finally get what they really need - definable range for error bars. Cause really, having to use Gnumeric for analyzing data, because OO 2.X was missing such a vital function was pretty sad.

Kudos to the development team for implementing these changes, and allowing me to further propagate open source software within the academic community.

Re:For the scientists: ERROR BARS (1)

Grokmoo (1180039) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795538)

While I agree that being able to define a range for error bars is nice, does anyone within the scientific community seriously use a spreadsheet for data analysis? In my experience the capabilities of Excel and the like are woefully inadequate for this purpose.

Re:For the scientists: ERROR BARS (5, Interesting)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795574)

I am interested in the Standard Deviation, SEM, and a one- or two-tailed T-test. As a molecular immunologist, that's about all I need for 99% of my data analysis.. and I usually use a spreadsheet for it. Perhaps in other fields, more advanced applications are required, and perhaps for analyzing large sets of data from high-throughput screens I would need something far more sophisticated, but for now what I got suffices.

But if you can suggest a good data analysis application that runs on Linux, I will listen, and will surely try it.

Re:For the scientists: ERROR BARS (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22795692)

does anyone within the scientific community seriously use a spreadsheet for data analysis?
Yes, we do. Excel, Matlab and SPSS. Excel is very good for graphs. Even if the data has been analyzed in SPSS, I do my graphs in Excel. I mostly use Linux, but unfortunately Linux spreadsheets really suck.

Re:I'm sure it's just me (2, Insightful)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795202)

It's ready for prime time. OO does not have any greater number of annoyances than commercial software.

Re:I'm sure it's just me (3, Informative)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795204)

I thought so too with 2.0 and unleashed it upon my non tech savvy friend. Turns out she does use some crazy word functionality for tracking edits. Different parts of a document are highlighted according to when and by whom they were eddied by. At least open office 2.0 didn't really support that, now she has a negative experience with free software. She'll be a little more skeptical the next time I tell here a free program will do everything she needs it to do. On the other hand my non tech savvy brother is using Open Office in med school exchanging a whole litany of MS office formatted files, with out a hitch. Well the 2007 format was a hitch, but the Novell version of Open office handles them perfectly.

Re:I'm sure it's just me (4, Informative)

Ciarang (967337) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795318)

I wouldn't call it "crazy word functionality", it's a very commonly used and important facility.

The same thing is supported in Open Office Writer 2.0 as well, see Changes on the Edit menu. I *think* it's even reasonably compatible with the Word implementation, but don't make any more dubious claims to your friends based on my say so.

Re:I'm sure it's just me (1)

Bill Dimm (463823) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795378)

she does use some crazy word functionality for tracking edits. Different parts of a document are highlighted according to when and by whom they were eddied by
You mean like Edit / Changes / Record?

Re:I'm sure it's just me (4, Informative)

EvanED (569694) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795430)

At least open office 2.0 didn't really support that...

It does, but not nearly as well as Word. For instance, I'm not sure how well it handles tracking edits by multiple people, and I do know that deleted text shows up in the original place, just strike through, which probably throws off the pagination. Word displays deleted text in the margin, like the new notes feature. I was excited when I read that because I expected OO Writer to follow suit, but according to the article, that's not yet. Still, the notes in the margin seems like the fist step there, so hopefully better track changes support is not far behind. Here is another issue [openoffice.org] with the track changes feature that I had forgotten about.

(This is a feature I use myself a fair amount, and have been disappointed with OO's support for it.)

I also have a couple votes for this improvement [openoffice.org] , which is to add something like Word's normal mode. Having the margins there I think is really obnoxious. Normal mode in Word will make it so that successive lines aren't a couple inches apart on the screen. Even Word's page view mode lets you collapse the top and bottom margins.

There aren't major issues with OO Writer, but at the same time, there are enough minor annoyances that I'll still take Word in a second.

(Calc vs. Excel is another matter... I go back and forth there. Excel has a bunch of annoyances too...)

Re:I'm sure it's just me (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795434)

Right now, I'd say it's mostly the "it's your problem" factor. If I'm working with Office 2003 and get some Office 2007 documents or whatever that don't work right, I'll tell them it's their problem. If it doesn't work right in OpenOffice, they'll tell me to use the normal Office and that it's my problem. It doesn't have to actually be my problem, but it defaults to me.

I've experienced a bit of the same with Linux apps, if something is hard/not working then it's because it's Linux. So I let them struggle with the "real" tool a bit as well too, usually they come to the conclusion that neither is going to make the world a perfect place, and the Linux tool is really no worse than the other one. It just takes time to get people to reallize that you're not using a second-rate cheap hack even though you're someone off the beaten track.

I still wouldn't pick OpenOffice for anything where I'd have to closely collaborate with someone using MS Office. Things I get from others typically open in a "usable" state, though it's not always exactly as it should be. I think one downside for me is that I'm not confident what an MS Office user would see if I save it as .doc. Yes, I couldn't be sure about that with Office either, but it's a "whose problem" situation again. Office versions are debatable, if your OpenOffice-generated document doesn't show up it's your problem again.

Re:I'm sure it's just me (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795592)

For me the X11 requirement on OS X is a real nuisance. I can't tell if 3.0 is now truly native on Macs, although I know they are working on it. Until it's native I'll stick with NeoOffice, which is effectively the same but sometimes a little behind in versions.

Still, no re-write of the crappy calc charts (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22795024)

I've given up on OO Calc for charts. Once created they are practically impossible to edit.

still need an outlook replacement (5, Insightful)

OrochimaruVoldemort (1248060) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795038)

it just isn't a full office suite without one, not to say that thunderbird isn't bad or anything. hopefully, they will have one when 3 comes out for everyday use. I still would like to see a publisher replacement (for printouts and what not).

Re:still need an outlook replacement (4, Informative)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795168)

Thunderbird is more like outlook express. You are searching for Evolution [gnome.org] I think.

Re:still need an outlook replacement (2, Interesting)

Shawn is an Asshole (845769) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795226)

it just isn't a full office suite without one, not to say that thunderbird isn't bad or anything. hopefully, they will have one when 3 comes out for everyday use. I still would like to see a publisher replacement (for printouts and what not).
Spicebird [spicebird.com] looks promising. It's based on Thunderbird and Lightning, but overall it seems much nicer. Like Thunderbird it's licensed [spicebird.com] under the MPL, GPL, and LGPL. I tried it out a few days ago but not throughly. Linux.com [linux.com] did an article on it recently, which, btw, is how I found out about it.

Re:still need an outlook replacement (1)

simong (32944) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795276)

There was one in StarOffice. I used it in an Exchange environment with few problems (it used POP3/IMAP and LDAP so you had to be friendly with the admin) but it disappeared from StarOffice before Sun took it over and never appeared in OpenOffice. Wonder where and why it went?

Re:still need an outlook replacement (-1, Flamebait)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795336)

I'm forced to at work and it's exceedingly irritating. The "Toys-r-us" menus are a bloody pain in the arse. Nothing is where it used to be, you spend more time looking for 'how to do stuff', than actually doing stuff. Bah.

ANYTHING would be a suitable replacement for Outlook IMHO.

Orofice 2007 is just bloody awful compared to OO. Word cannot open PDFs, it just shows garbage. We know about Excel. I'm not a sales droid so never use Powerpoint.

Pity my employers have more money than sense, I'm now using Fista & Orofice 2007 & I absolutely hate it. Linux/OO would be the better (usability) choice & cheaper. Stupid thing is that all we do/support at work is Linux or IOS, yet we have to use windoze/Exchange/AD because the admins know nothing else. I ask you.

Openoffice.org needs a more friendly website (1, Insightful)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795054)

I'm not sure if it's changed recently (last time I was there was a month ago), but the website just points to bug reports when mentioning new features or fixes. It would be nice to give a synopsis page of things that the end-user would notice. Or at least point to some good reviews written on other websites if they don't want to waste the time doing it themselves.

Re:Openoffice.org needs a more friendly website (4, Informative)

vtscott (1089271) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795128)

In less time than it took you to post that you could have gone to http://www.openoffice.org [openoffice.org] and seen for yourself that the website looks good and has a nice big new user & general info [openoffice.org] link to a useful page with tons of information.

Re:Openoffice.org needs a more friendly website (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795670)

Yes. That's for a new user. What about someone who wants to find out what's new in the latest version (compared to 2.2.x or 2.3.0)?

ie: Someone who is thinking about upgrading but isn't sure if it's worth the effort.

O'07 already supported... (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795068)

Been using docx, etc. with OOo under Ubuntu for months now, using Novell's conversion filter/whatever.

Re:O'07 already supported... (1)

Chode2235 (866375) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795376)

What are the advantages of using .docx, .xlsx file formats? I have set my office programs to save in the old .doc and .xls formats just because they seem to be more sharable with people who haven't upgraded. I also have thought to myself, "I have been using .doc for over a decade, why switch?"

So is there a good reason to switch?

Re:O'07 already supported... (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795418)

I only got the filter installed because everyone else that I work with uses O'07, so I can open their stuff. I still generate things using the native OOo format and convert to either "old" office format or PDF before I send stuff out to them...

Re:O'07 already supported... (2, Informative)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795504)

The only reason I've ever bothered with .docx is when I was doing a research paper (at school, didn't have my Ubuntutop on me), and I discovered '07's References feature. Having Word handle all your citations for you is something a student can't easily pass up* (and naturally, saving to .doc strips the references).

*Yes, I know there's LyX, but I've yet to find a portable version that doesn't crash/burn on startup

Still no Comment/Uncomment button in Macro editor (3, Interesting)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795072)

Am I the only one who thinks the Macro editor should have a button to comment or uncomment a selection of lines?
The things has a full fledged debugger with breakpoints and everything but they expect you to comment out code manually one line at a time?

Re:Still no Comment/Uncomment button in Macro edit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22795622)

A kludge I used to use way back in filemaker to disable a block of code was "if 1=2 then ... end if"

posting anonymously because I don't want to admit to using filemaker. Better than foxpro or access, I guess.

OO 3.0 (2, Insightful)

monschein (1232572) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795084)

I'm looking forward to it. It looks to be visually impressive. Judging from the article OO 3 opened the .docx file with few flaws (one of them being the headers). The notes on the side seem pretty cool too. Seeing that one of the features is that it has official support for MAC may draw even more of a crowd to open office. Open source software is great...

Re:OO 3.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22795156)

MAC? Really...so network cards can run an office suite now?

Finally! (5, Interesting)

Swizec (978239) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795106)

Finally us mac weirdos will be able to move away from NeoOffice and get to the sweet sweet sensation that is OOO. It was just way way too slow on Mac before because the support was fake.

Re:Finally! (2, Informative)

doh123 (951318) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795316)

ummm... Have you used the test versions? they need to do a lot.. NeoOffice has taken the OOO code base and made a better product... already supporting some things that OOO cant do until 3 is out. Unless OOO does something majorly different soon, I'll be happy to stay with NeoOffice, as its fast, stable, and well supported. And remeber to always up the memory usage by OOO and NeoOffice as well, unless your on a really old peice of junk computer, as it'll run much faster... even on OSX.

Performance? (5, Interesting)

Aetuneo (1130295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795108)

Features are nice, of course, but how does it perform? How much memory does it take to run? Will it work well on relatively slow hardware, or do I need the latest and greatest to run it? Is it significantly slower than the last version, significantly faster, or about the same?

Good, but the interface is still lagging (5, Interesting)

nagashi (684628) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795120)

I guess I'm one of the few that really really likes the office 2007 interface and really wish OO would adopt something similar. That's not enough to get me to switch (not an option anyway, running linux fulltime now). It's a little frustrating to see MS continually evolving their product in very visible ways, while OO has looked pretty much the same for 3 years now. If we want people to switch to OSS, we need to be visually superior to MS. All the back end superiorities of OO are not immediately obvious to many (free file format, multiplatform, powerful editable style system, etc), aside from the cost.

Whether your like or hate the office 2007 interface, at least MS is out there rethinking how people use applications, which tasks they need to access the quickest, etc. OO is sticking to the same old massive row of buttons. Koffice is doing more thinking along these lines, but personally I don't really like where they're going. But at least they're rethinking things.

Re:Good, but the interface is still lagging (3, Insightful)

The Mighty Buzzard (878441) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795446)

Wait, you're actually advocating putting developers on bling rather than actually making the product better? Thinking like that is the main thing that's gotten Microsoft to lose as many customers to OO as it already has.

Me, I'd much rather they put their heads to making OO run faster with less memory. It's truly pathetic that MS Office 2k3 runs faster under vmware+xp than OO does natively in linux.

Re:Good, but the interface is still lagging (4, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795596)

"It's truly pathetic that MS Office 2k3 runs faster under vmware+xp than OO does natively in linux."

Yeah, but I've mentioned stuff like that before and I got modded troll for it.

Hopefully 3.0 will be faster, I use OOo on Linux at work and it takes _ages_ to start.

If they get it right, maybe a lot of companies might actually switch from MSO 2K3 to OOo instead of going to MSO 2007 - since switching to MSO 2007 will require massive retraining/relearning, perhaps more than even switching from MSO2K3 to OOo.

Re:Good, but the interface is still lagging (2, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795570)

at least MS is out there rethinking how people use applications

And by that, I assume you mean, at least MS is out there needlessly changing the interfaces for applications we've gotten used to over the past, oh, 20 years, such that they deviate from UI paradigms we've become intimately familiar with. Yes, thank goodness for that. God bless MS.

Re:Good, but the interface is still lagging (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22795626)

bad luck for you but OOo dev can not do anything about this. The interace is completely patented so no other software will ever used this kind of stuff. You have to stay with MS Office 2007 if you like it.

Hopefully... (3, Insightful)

Shawn is an Asshole (845769) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795132)

Hopefully that GUI is not the final version.

It'd be nice if they'd copy MS Office 2004 [wikimedia.org] for OS X or Lotus Symphony [wikimedia.org] rather than continue on with a bad copy of MS Office 2003. Notice the side bar? Floating on OS X (I prefer floating, btw), part of the window in Lotus Symphony. For me, at least, that is significantly more helpful than toolbars/menus or that irritating "ribbon".

It's also be awesome if Writer supported tabs and split editor [coconut-pa...ftware.com] like Eclipse. Those two features are one of the main reason I do everything I possibly can in Eclipse.

Re:Hopefully... (0, Troll)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795190)

Why would the change it? I thought everything looks pretty on a mac - irregardless of functionality - thats how apple sells products, isn't it?

Functionality AFTER Aestetics!
Just look at the mac-air. It sure is pretty ;)

Re:Hopefully... (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795332)

It'd be nice if they'd copy MS Office 2004 for OS X

Dear God, NO. Please no. I nearly had an aneurysm trying to click on the tiny little icons in the floaty window that is so difficult to reach and so easy to use to hide important things with. It's like Clippy, but more insidious! You're trying to read or type and THERE IT IS! THE TINY LITTLE USELESS WINDOW! GAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

...

Err... Yeah. Just don't copy the Office 2004 interface. It really is terrible. (Well and truly!)

Great news but... (2, Informative)

squoozer (730327) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795142)

This is great news. I've been using OOo for ages but lets face it before 2.0 it wasn't really up to scratch and even 2.0 has some pretty rough corners. I'm hoping that the release of 3.0 which sounds like it will have added all the missing features will also indicate the start of the "polishing" of this great product.

Office 2007 ... still good enough (-1, Troll)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795160)

Well, since I've got office 2007 already, why would I switch?

I've use openoffice before, and it is good because it is free and has all the functionality I need, but so does wordpad (it does!) and I've already got a copy of office 2007.

The major benefit I see is the competition - competition is always good for the consumer - but considering the widespread use (and support) of ms office, I don't really see ANY compelling reasons to switch. I'm sure someone will say "Don't support MS" - sure, good argument - but I'm I'm looking for reasons to leave office07 - I've already got it installed, and don't have problems with it.

I guess the real question is "How does this make me more productive?"

Re:Office 2007 ... still good enough (4, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795320)

Don't switch. If you are happy and have already ponied up for windows and office - have a great time. For those of us running other platforms and unwilling to get on the MS treadmill, this is good news. If for some reason you feel a need to move later, OOo will be there waiting.

Re:Office 2007 ... still good enough (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795478)

I'm sure someone will say "Don't support MS" - sure, good argument - but I'm I'm looking for reasons to leave office07
Did you read the article? How about my comment?

How is this marked as insightful?

He/She might be an insightful individual, but this comment is more trolling than (and completely irrelevant to) my original question!

Re:Office 2007 ... still good enough (2, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795660)

I read it - and you said your main question was "How does this make me more productive?" and my answer stands - "It doesn't". OpenOffice.org is not 'better' than Microsoft Office from a standpoint of pure utility if you find Windows to be an acceptable platform. In fact Microsoft Office has some features and capabilities that OpenOffice.org does not have.
 
So I'm not sure what you seem upset about. That you couldn't incite some kind of flameage over this?
 
Me I use OpenOffice.org on Windows and Linux because I have a lot more considerations that are important to me and I value freedom over immediate utility. Your post implies that this is not the case for you. And as I said, should that change - it will be there for you. With no cost to download and install beyond a bit of bandwidth and a very small amount of time, try it out if you are really curious.

Re:Office 2007 ... still good enough (4, Insightful)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795322)

Sure, if you installed a pirated copy of Office 2007, on a pirated copy of Windows, and you're happy with the functionality of both, you won't see any advantage. But for those who do not want to go down that road, the options are to purchase a $100 copy of Windows and fork over another $150-300 for the Office suite (depending on pricing).

But some of us prefer Linux to Windows or MacOS, and many others have problems with Office 07. For us, this is big and exciting news.

I understand that as long as it works for you, you don't give a damn about anyone else, but if that's the case, please choose not to care a little further, and refrain from posting.

Re:Office 2007 ... still good enough (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795414)

Or if my computer came with a copy of windows, and I got an educational copy of office from my school and have full access to ms tech support, it isn't worth the trouble?

The original post wasn't meant to troll for comments - but it appears that it has - does anyone have any COMPELLING reasons to switch? Because I havn't seen any advantage in switching, and I have no problems switching to a superior (for my needs) product.

Re:Tastes Differ (1)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795482)

Superior is a term that I find to be overly broad. For ME personally, Ubuntu Linux is the OS I prefer to Microsoft Windows. I find it more responsive, the UI more intuitive, and the user control far more prolific, which allowed me to customize it to an extent I didn't find possible with Windows, even as a relatively expert user. Furthermore, I find that the system UI and various applications allow me to be more productive. I use OpenOffice, because that's the best developed Office suite that I can use on the OS of my choosing. But even on Windows, I have encountered circumstances where I preferred OpenOffice to MSOffice.

You may have a different opinion, and that's OK, because that's exactly the kind of CHOICE that the open source community praises - the CHOICE to use some Open Source, all Open Source, or none, at will... a choice that a complete monopoly of one company would not allow.

Re:Tastes Differ (0, Troll)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795564)

So, what is the advantage of OO.o - not linux?

(Yes yes, I get it. You love linux, thanks for sharing. Can you stick to the topic at hand and stop whoring your favorite OS. Besides, Ubuntu? c'mon, be a man and use gentoo)

Re:Tastes Differ (1)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795618)

"So, what is the advantage of OO.o - not linux?"

OO is free and runs on Linux. MSO is not free and doesn't. My choice of OS has thus limited my choice of Office applications. What is there not to understand?

Or are you simply trolling?

Re:Tastes Differ (0)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795690)

If I was trolling, I'd have ignored the content of the posts and just spouted random fanboy love for OSS. I was asking a question, and expecting help/answers.

I guess I should have remembered that /. attracts both the extra-intelligent and the extra-ignorant. (I'm not sure which category I fall into, either ;)

But if you insist... gentoo is still better than ubuntu.

Re:Office 2007 ... still good enough (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795428)

If you've already got Office 2007, then that money's gone. You might as well get some value out of it.

Where OO.o has the potential to come into its own is:

  • People who can't afford the full version of Office and are either not capable of or not comfortable with pirating it.
  • Businesses who are looking at the amount Office costs per annum and would like to reduce this.
  • People who can't/don't want to run Windows.

Re:Office 2007 ... still good enough (0)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795450)

Is this the only value that OO.o has? That it *ISNT* MS office? I'd say that is a poor reason to switch.
Free = good reason to start using it, however.

Re:Office 2007 ... still good enough (2, Interesting)

gwait (179005) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795440)

If you're happy with your current system, then you are right, there are no compelling reasons for you to switch.

For the rest of us, linux users, mac or windows users who don't want to pay for MS Office, and for anyone who prefers their documents be stored in a truly open format that won't forcibly be obsoleted by the vendor in 12 months when they need another stock price bump,
we are glad that OO continues to improve and remain a viable set of office tools.

Re:Office 2007 ... still good enough (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795520)

So, if I understand your thinly veiled criticism of MS (and apple, and any other vendor which uses proprietory lock-in), OO.o is better because it uses open standards?

Well, thats one good point. I honestly appreciate your effort in actually answering my question.

Performance improvements (1)

EvilRyry (1025309) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795164)

Sounds like calc is in for a big performance boost. Its quite frustrating to take a simple operation which is nearly instant on Excel and then turn it into a 30 second operation on OOCalc. I'm downloading the beta now so we'll see where it goes.

X error bars (2, Insightful)

Phyrexicaid (1176935) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795228)

It looks like it's still only y error bars, I see no mention of the ability to add x error bars.
Makes it less attractive in a scientific environment (like undergraduate report writing).

Still no mention of an outliner mode (2, Insightful)

mgkimsal2 (200677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795232)

What more can I say? This has been requested and brought up for *years*. I really don't get why it's so hard to do, especially considering something that there's already indentation and structure support for lists. I'm not an OOO hacker, but this doesn't seem like something that has a huge technical hurdle preventing it from being done.

Maybe I missed it - there was no mention in the articles listed.

Wait - the first article linked to this page:
http://qa.openoffice.org/issues/buglist.cgi?Submit+query=Submit+query&issue_type=DEFECT&issue_type=ENHANCEMENT&issue_type=FEATURE&issue_type=PATCH&resolution=FIXED&target_milestone=OOo+3.0&email1=&emailtype1=exact&emailassigned_to1=1&email2=&emailtype2=exact&emailreporter2=1&issueidtype=include&issue_id=&changedin=&votes=0&chfieldfrom=&chfieldto=&chfieldvalue=&short_desc=&short_desc_type=allwords&long_desc=&long_desc_type=allwords&issue_file_loc=&issue_file_loc_type=fulltext&status_whiteboard=&status_whiteboard_type=fulltext&keywords=&keywords_type=anytokens&field0-0-0=noop&type0-0-0=noop&value0-0-0=&cmdtype=doit&order=Reuse+same+sort+as+last+time [openoffice.org]
  which mentioned an outline mode. Maybe it's coming after all?

How about better keybinding support? (1)

freelunch (258011) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795244)

The newly designed splashscreen and about dialog are mighty impressive! But is there any word on better support for alternate keybindings? It shouldn't come as a shock that folks don't want to learn new editor keybindings for each appliction. Some of us prefer emacs bindings.

A feature to automatically load alternate bindings at startup would be nice.. Maybe even including some alternates with the release? I'd gladly contribute my efforts. This detail should not be left as a (somewhat clumsy) exercise for the user.

Or maybe we just need openoffice mode for emacs?

My one problem with open office. (1)

Overkill Nbuta (1035654) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795306)

I find that whenever i wanna do graphing in a easy manner, i find that to swap axis and data sets in open office is such a hassle. Along with the fact that to add a trendline/line of best fit. and equation of a line in open office just is such a pain in open office. Also i have random errors with trying to sum up a column in the spreadsheet, if they fixxed these issues I would find open office much better to use.

why I avoid OOo (4, Interesting)

Aurisor (932566) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795444)

I run linux on my desktop, and I spend a decent amount of time making charts, editing documents, and so forth. Unless it's an enormous hassle, I'd always rather boot into Windows to get my office work done, honestly because of three major issues:

1) Charts - 99% of the time when I'm using a spreadsheet, it's just to make a quick graph of some data. The MS office charting features are really simple to adjust after the fact, while the OOo one is like pulling teeth.
2) Performance - OOo feels less responsive than I'd like, and it takes a long-ass time to load. (Blame java? :) )
3) Aesthetics - OOo still looks like it's stuck in the mid 90's. MS Office has nicer fonts by default.

Anyways, I'm not trying to flame or criticize. I'm just honestly presenting the reasons why I don't like OOo in the hopes of fostering some good discussion.

Blame java? (1)

oyenstikker (536040) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795650)

No. I have installed the latest OOo release without Java. Still takes a long-ass time to load.

Re:why I avoid OOo (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795654)

OSS is about providing choice, and OO.o is excellent value for 'free'. Being free (or open) does not make it better than being proprietary or costly - it simply makes the initial cost much smaller.

It is almost like getting a free razor, but having to buy blades - if the blades are expensive (or it is more costly to use the 'free' alternative), then why use it?

I've used OO.o on my linux box because I do most of my major word processing on my macbook/pc/whatever is closer, and I use microsoft products on both. IMHO, I'd rather pay for something that works well, rather than use a performance poor alternative.

I think that the majority of people who trumpet OSS/Free software for commercial application are being penny-wise and pound foolish. The extra startup costs of buying proprietary (but professionally supported) software far outweigh the benefits of 'free' software.

It isn't really 'free' if you spend more time trying to get it to work (or waiting for it to work, or dealing with frustration) than a solution which costs more initially, but runs without minimal issues.

I'dd really like a lesser learning curve.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22795470)

While feature complete, I'm always lost when using openoffice. Yes yes.. I've used openoffice since 1.0 (think it was included by default in red hat 8 ?), seen how sloowly it worked and how dizorganized did it felt at that time; version 2 was really a god send - however, for most tasks I'dd prefer Abiword or KOffice as they have a simpler user interface and unlike OOo, I never experienced any learning curve(as in "it just works TM").. I could do anything I want without too much hassle..

Does it still suck? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22795474)

Sorry to say it; but I have has every version since I bought Star Office from the original publisher. It's not even close to a MSOFFICE replacement. Even free.

I do keep a copy of "Portable" version onmy USB though. I'd like to see that version get 2007 file formats.

SVG import (1)

jabuzz (182671) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795616)

Wake me up when I can embed my XML based SVG graphics into my XML documents.

A New Look at Desktop Windows (2, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795682)

I know it's too late to get it into OO.o 3.0, or Firefox 3.0, but what I'd really love to have on my desktop is for any app that shows a document of any datatype/mix (and most of them do), to be able to show two of those docs side by side (or above/below) in the same window. Without window widgets interfering between them. So I can really look at both side by side.

Comparing them, editing one against the other, using one as instructions to modify the other. In fact, if every window panel could slide open (side/side, or up/down) into two, each displaying a different doc (of the same type, or even of different types), that would really increase my productivity. Using one doc as a guide to another is an extremely common use case for most people. All the extra window dragging/resizing/aligning, every time a pair of docs are used, is a hassle of prohibitive annoyance.

What would really be great would be "generic windows" into which I could assign panels from arbitrary different external apps. So I could open a configured document that would spring up with a Firefox window already showing in the 2/3 left side of the main window, and an editable OO.o Writer document in the right 1/3. I could, for example, save "configmarks" setting some page (eg. instructions) as the default in the browser panel, and some template (eg. my letterhead/footer) in the Writer panel. I could have compound docs with different configmarks in each. And let the other GUI widgets for the parent apps get called when I use the compound doc's menus/toolbars, combined together.

I'd love to have quick access to arrangements of windows in stacks of tabs, each with a compound doc with Firefox, Evolution and Writer (or Calc, or any other GNOME app) panes in their usable panels, pointing to each of the actual docs I'm using right now.

GNOME (and KDE, too, with its own apps) could have the windowing-level messaging and composition features to do this. I'd love to stop "using Evolution while using Firefox" and instead just send messages while browsing/searching the Web. It also seems to me that such compound docs would be a lot easier to swing over to my mobile devices, which have such a small screen and clumsy manual controls. Is there a way to do this without rewriting all the apps to use "external panels"?

At the very least I'd like to keep a config that I open, which in turn opens several different independent apps, and just arranges their windows for that specific use. Including which doc gets opened in each, their arrangement on the screen. Is even that simple organization possible in the GNOME window manager? If not, then in KDE?

About the interface (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22795712)

I think the interface is starting to remind me of filematrix:
http://thedailywtf.com/Articles/Enter_The_Matrix.aspx [thedailywtf.com]

Maybe they should take Mozilla's lead and implement the kitchen sink?

Wonder if it'll fix my Paste issue (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 6 years ago | (#22795722)

My OpenOffice.org installation seems to like crashing on me when I paste text into a spreadsheet. It doesn't happen every time and there doesn't seem to be a pattern to it. When it happens, though, all open documents lock up and I need to open Task Manager to close down the processes. When I restart OpenOffice.org, the documents claim to be "recovered" but the changes aren't really there. I can then re-do my Paste operation and it won't crash. It's quite annoying. And yes, I've tried uninstalling and reinstalling. And yes, I've submitted bug reports which weren't fixed. (Granted, I know that it's hard to fix bugs that seem to crop up at random times.)
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