Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 29th Mar 2008 23:02 UTC
Features, Office Version 2.4 of the OpenOffice productivity suite was released on Thursday, boasting enhancements to all its core components. Possibly the most significant alteration in the new version of the free suite is in the description of file types. The 'OpenDocument' description has been replaced by 'ODF', which stands for 'OpenDocument Format' and is becoming a well-known acronym thanks to rivalry with Microsoft's controversial OOXML format.
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New features
by msundman on Sat 29th Mar 2008 23:33 UTC
msundman
Member since:
2005-07-06
RE: New features
by sbergman27 on Sat 29th Mar 2008 23:44 UTC in reply to "New features"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Yeah. One of my users has been whining about how she needs MS Office and can't use OpenOffice 2.3 because the spreadsheet doesn't have drag 'n drop reordering of columns. This should silence that feeble excuse.

Reply Score: 10

RE[2]: New features
by sappyvcv on Sun 30th Mar 2008 01:51 UTC in reply to "RE: New features"
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

Damn those whining users that you're being paid to support and help to do their job. Always whining and not using *my* preferred software.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: New features
by sbergman27 on Sun 30th Mar 2008 02:09 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: New features"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Damn those whining users that you're being paid to support and help to do their job. Always whining and not using *my* preferred software.

1. They are not paying me. Their employers are. And they appreciate not having to shell out for 60+ MS Office licenses + upgrades.

2. The other 60 some odd users have no problems or complaints about using OO.o and are able to do their jobs just fine. The one employee in question is also quite able to do her job with the current tools available. Drag 'n Drop column rearrangement, available in 2.4, is a nice convenience, but the lack in 2.3 is simply not a show stopper.

Nice try, but my professional conscience is quite clear.

Edited 2008-03-30 02:10 UTC

Reply Score: 20

v RE[4]: New features
by sappyvcv on Sun 30th Mar 2008 02:45 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: New features"
RE[5]: New features
by sbergman27 on Sun 30th Mar 2008 03:07 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: New features"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

The employer should be more than willing to pay for a MS Office license if

Sappyvcv,

Start your own business. Hire your own employees. Spend your own money on them. Give them whatever they ask for if that's what you want. I promise I won't try to stop you.

Reply Score: 14

v RE[6]: New features
by sappyvcv on Sun 30th Mar 2008 05:43 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: New features"
RE[7]: New features
by sbergman27 on Sun 30th Mar 2008 14:19 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: New features"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

What's that got to do with anything?

I'm surprised that I have to spell this out for you. But why should I take advice on business spending policies from an OSNews poster who has never managed a business, over the proven track record of a successful and growing local business which has, over the last several years, expanded its service area to cover 2 states? Risk your own money starting a business. Gain some experience. And if you are successful, you'll have some credibility points. Until then, don't tell successful businesses how to spend their money, and what their policies should be.

Of course, what you are really going for, in this thread, and with limited success, is to paint me and my client as tyrannical, pointy haired dictators running a sweatshop right here in the American mid-west. To which I say that one of the things that I have been impressed with about this company is the way that it feels like a smaller company. Sure, as a growing enterprise, we have lots of newer employees. But many of the people I work with there I have been working with for the whole 16 years that this client has been under my care. It is, in a lot of ways, a big family. It's not the Walton's, of course. There is squabbling and disagreement, as in any normal family. But it is far from being a "faceless corporation". For the most part, everyone a each of the branch offices is on a first name basis with everyone at the other offices. And that includes the upper management and the owner.

Most of the employees recognize the benefits (and inevitable trade-offs) that the IT policies which we have implemented over the years bring. And most are comfortable with them. Perhaps the new features of OO.o 2.4, including the one which this one employee has been wanting, will make her comfortable, too.

Or perhaps you, sappyvcv, would like to make the business case, on her behalf, for why the lack of drag 'n drop column reordering in OO.o 2.3.1 is a significant enough impediment to warrant a change of policy? Please be specific in your arguments. I'm listening.

Reply Score: 6

RE[7]: New features
by MamiyaOtaru on Sun 30th Mar 2008 22:12 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: New features"
MamiyaOtaru Member since:
2005-11-11

The cost of MS Office is not only the initial money cost. Part of the cost of it and all proprietary software is the threat of a BSA audit ( http://preview.tinyurl.com/yplaw6 ). I don't feel like keeping track of CDs and invoices. If it's my butt on the line, employees don't get whatever they want.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: New features
by pjafrombbay on Sun 30th Mar 2008 03:12 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: New features"
pjafrombbay Member since:
2005-07-31

The employer should be more than willing to pay for a MS Office license if that's what their employee wants to use. It's not an unreasonable request. And who the employer pays to support their users shouldn't be a holier than thou snob when they do have to support someone using software they do not prefer.

What a lode of old cobblers! You have either never been in the PC user support business or you are a Microsoft employee or apologist. How stupid is that to suggest that users in a business be able to select their own software! Why not hardware as well? Who cares if nobody can communicate with anyone else? Contribute by all means but have something sensible to say.

Peter

Reply Score: 9

v RE[6]: New features
by sappyvcv on Sun 30th Mar 2008 05:44 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: New features"
RE[7]: New features
by raver31 on Sun 30th Mar 2008 08:52 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: New features"
raver31 Member since:
2005-07-06

Using Office is NOT stopping them from communicating. Way to exagerate man.



emmm excuse me ?

compatibility between MSOffice versions is top notch and all email attachements always open in all versions, my office 2007 can be safely sent to another company running office 2003 and they can open them without any problems whatsoever.....
and monkeys fly outta my butt.

Reply Score: 5

RE[6]: New features
by andrewg on Sun 30th Mar 2008 11:09 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: New features"
andrewg Member since:
2005-07-06

Who cares if nobody can communicate with anyone else?


There are benefits to companies standardising on software in the case of Word and Writer it would be tracking changes, etc but you can easily communicate with other software packages with Office e.g. PDF, RTF, CSV, ODF plugin. So its not really very tough to communicate.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: New features
by hobgoblin on Sun 30th Mar 2008 10:01 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: New features"
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

i think its mostly "mental muscle" pains thats being complained about.

as in, being able to do something is a way builds up muscle memory, and when that memory and reality no longer match, some people will complain, quite vocally often, but will (hopefully) keep on doing what they are paid to do.

this is one reason why we have "tech inertia"...

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: New features
by andrewg on Sun 30th Mar 2008 10:59 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: New features"
andrewg Member since:
2005-07-06

I use OpenOffice at home. Its is getting better, but its a long way from being at the point where I would prefer it over MS Office. For a business the money is well worth it and my when I purchase my next notebook I will be purchasing Office 2007.

I always find it hard to comprehend. Businesses spend obscene amounts of money on their employees salaries, medical, etc and then they get them some old computer with cheap peripherals. In the case of your company they give a fraction on software of the employee's total cost to company and in doing so give them an inferior product.

If you value you're time and want the best then MS Office is the only competitor right now and I have tried most if not all except the latest version of iWork but that does not run on Windows or Linux so I can't use it anyway.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: New features
by iangibson on Sun 30th Mar 2008 12:54 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: New features"
iangibson Member since:
2005-09-25

I agree that OpenOffice still has a way to go to be technically equivalent to MS Office (especially in terms of speed), and that you should use the software that is best for your business.

Having said that, you could still consider recommending OO to friends and colleagues with less exacting needs (e.g. for home use) - if Microsoft's monopoly is finally broken and we get a genuinely open file format in common use, it will be good for everyone (except Microsoft) - you will find that the price of MS Office itself will come down, and with a more level playing field new competitors will be more likely to write their own office suites, further increasing competition, quality and choice.

Reply Score: 5

RE[5]: New features
by evangs on Sun 30th Mar 2008 17:45 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: New features"
evangs Member since:
2005-07-07


I always find it hard to comprehend. Businesses spend obscene amounts of money on their employees salaries, medical, etc and then they get them some old computer with cheap peripherals. In the case of your company they give a fraction on software of the employee's total cost to company and in doing so give them an inferior product.


I fully agree with what you've said and the quoted part of your post sums up exactly why OO doesn't make a huge dent in the corporate space. Companies are there to make money. If a good computer + software make their employees more productive, why not just buy them the software they need? If you begrudge your employees $500 software (much less if you get a site license) that gets upgraded every 3 - 4 years, you need to start reevaluating your business.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: New features
by evangs on Sun 30th Mar 2008 17:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: New features"
evangs Member since:
2005-07-07

At the end of the day, I think it depends on the kind of job that is being done. For example, if you're working as a quant in some big financial firm, no employer is going to begrudge you the software you need. The amount of money you make each day for the company is easily enough to cover the cost of a license. On the other hand, if you're working in a small business where the turnover is considerably smaller, the price of an MS Office site license can be prohibitive. Shelling out $500 for just one staff member can be quite an expensive prospect.

So the question that really needs to be answered is whether the switch to MS office will increase productivity enough to justify the price of a license?

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: New features
by sbergman27 on Sun 30th Mar 2008 18:13 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: New features"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

So the question that really needs to be answered is whether the switch to MS office will increase productivity enough to justify the price of a license?

Don't forget the additional administrative costs and consulting fees. In our case, OO.o is centrally hosted on our XDMCP/NX server, and all management is centralized. The 60-70 (complete) desktops that we run require relatively little time to support and administer. A one-off MSO installation on Windows has to be maintained separately, and has a very real per user cost that, over time, exceeds any initial licensing fees. Especially when it is at a branch office which is 220 miles from my location.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: New features
by stestagg on Sun 30th Mar 2008 18:28 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: New features"
stestagg Member since:
2006-06-03

You provide office desktops as NX sessions over the internet?

What company do you work for? I need to know what to avoid.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: New features
by sbergman27 on Sun 30th Mar 2008 19:47 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: New features"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

You provide office desktops as NX sessions over the internet?

Yes. And we have been doing this for several years now. I would not have continued approval from the owner and management if the strategy were not effective. I'm going to guess that your objections involve latency, which is a valid concern. We operate over bonded T1's so we have about 3mbit/sec to work with, and it works quite well. It is best to use the same ISP for all locations to mininize latency. I'm not sure if you have actually used NX or not, but if you are thinking that it is similar to VNC, please don't. It is in a completely different class. It is possible, depending upon what you are actually doing of course, for a full desktop to be quite usable even over a 56k dialup connection. (I would not recommend that configuration for general use by office personnel.) But NX can do some pretty amazing things. I'm a big believer in eating my own dog food, and would not implement things for my users that I would not be willing to use myself. All of my development work for this client is done on an NX desktop on server at the same location. And I spend a fair amount of time on my desktop on their main server, as well. It's easy to forget, sometimes, that I am not on my local workstation, which runs the same distro, and I often have to catch myself when I start to do things on the remote desktop that I really mean to do locally.

The other tricky bit about thin client desktops over the wan is printing. To that end, I have a few bits of advice, if anyone is interested:

1. Use postscript. Discourage the use of PCL printers. PCL jobs require more processing time by the spooler. But the real cost operating over a WAN is the much larger file sizes involved, and the fact that PCL is not nearly as compressible as postscript.

2. Take advantage of the gzip print stream compression available in cups 1.2+. Even rather large postscript jobs, gzip compressed, print about as fast as they would locally.

Did you have some other concern that you would like me to address? I'm probably a pretty good person to ask, since I have probably encountered and overcome most of the "gotchas" involved in this topology. And have also enjoyed the benefits that it brings.

The general manager commented to me the other day that he liked the fact that wherever he logged in, in any branch office, he always had his desktop close by.

Edited 2008-03-30 19:53 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: New features
by raver31 on Sun 30th Mar 2008 08:49 UTC in reply to "RE: New features"
raver31 Member since:
2005-07-06

I simply cannot be expected to change from one system to another, the outside world is all bright and scary !

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: New features
by Doc Pain on Mon 31st Mar 2008 13:04 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: New features"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

I simply cannot be expected to change from one system to another, the outside world is all bright and scary !


That would be nearly my point. The users I have to support are using OpenOffice for some years now, they're using it cross-platform - the same application and the same files on Linux, BSD, Solaris and, yes, it's true, on "Windows"; some of them who had tried a MICROS~1 office product started complaining: "Hey, this can't export to PDF!" or "Automatic sectioning, numbering and referencing leads to strange results." up to "You tell me: Why is it sooo slow?!" And the best one: "What's this? It doesn't support Linux?!" :-)

From my individual experience, OpenOffice is a great office suite. For real typesetting success I still prefer LaTeX.

Thanks to ODF, stand-alone applications can produce OpenOffice documents as their output (!) so they can be opened, changed and saved (!) with OpenOffice. For some appliances, this is a real good idea.

The development of new features is impressing, but that's what I always may say: Home users treat their office applications (no matter who made them) like a worse typewriter; they won't benefit from it, because they don't want to enter the "bright and scary" world of document and section templates, adjustable margins, multicolumn alignment and automatic enumeration. :-)

Reply Score: 2

RE: New features
by ahz1 on Sun 30th Mar 2008 00:19 UTC in reply to "New features"
ahz1 Member since:
2007-04-05

http://www.oooninja.com/2008/03/new-features-openofficeorg-240.html... is the article on the subject--but I am bias. ;)

Reply Score: 4

PDF Archiving
by evert on Sat 29th Mar 2008 23:39 UTC
evert
Member since:
2005-07-06

Nice to have better PDF archives:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PDF/A

(PDF/A embeds fonts in the pdf file, and takes other measures to make PDF files more suitable for cross-platform usage and long-term storage)

Reply Score: 7

It's going slowely but surely
by Haicube on Sun 30th Mar 2008 07:23 UTC
Haicube
Member since:
2005-08-06

Interesting. Still years behind MSO on many departments (especially charting where options lack in OOo).

ANyway, it's clear that OOo is picking up relatively every day, and I'm for once starting to get hopeful.

Let's see if OOo 3.0 can bring me enough features to feel motivated to give it a shot again...

Reply Score: 5

RE: It's going slowely but surely
by raver31 on Sun 30th Mar 2008 08:48 UTC in reply to "It's going slowely but surely"
raver31 Member since:
2005-07-06

So it is not for you, and hopefully in the future they will change it so that it does the job for you ?

Tell me, when it was not up to the job the last time, did you give feedback to the developers ? Did you ask them to include the features you wanted ?
Did you help them at all be even sending something like a screenshot of what you were after ?

Are they supposed to be psychic and instinctively know what each and every user needs ?


The computer world does not exist purely for YOU.

Reply Score: 2

archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Office 2003 is sufficient as a target. Seriously, there are not enough improvements in Office 2007 to warrant trying to clone it. I'm still hunting down some features and options in its "oh so original" UI.

Office 2003 (and even Office 2000) were the height of usability and features for me. Hitting that target would be sufficient for 98% of users.

Reply Score: 3

Temcat Member since:
2005-10-18

No need to be so defensive. OOo is still really not up to par with MS Office in many significant respects. Heck, some of the basics that OOo Writer sucks at (like para selection, bullet/numbered list editing, normal mode) are implemented better in Abiword! OOo deficiencies (some of them - quite ancient and glaring ones) are well documented by many people, including filing bugreports (many of which had no real action on them in 5 years).

Reply Score: 7

remenic Member since:
2005-07-06

Could you tell me more about this "para selection"? What exactly does this mean?

Reply Score: 2

Temcat Member since:
2005-10-18

Sure. "Para selection" means simply "paragraph selection". The visual presentation of paragraph selection in OOo Writer is not very intuitive. This is best demonstrated on a bullet or numbered list. Try selecting a paragraph in the list in Writer and Word and see for yourself what looks sensible and what does not. Also, see if you can reliably distinguish between selecting only paragraph text (without indents etc.) and the whole para with associated formatting.

Reply Score: 2

OOo update
by Manuel FLURY on Sun 30th Mar 2008 10:11 UTC
Manuel FLURY
Member since:
2005-07-05

Strange to me, the update thing never update my office suite like firefox do.

I use OOo at the office and have a proxy but OOo never connect to the server correctly and at home I don't know what happens.

Manual update rulez then ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE: OOo update
by ahz1 on Sun 30th Mar 2008 13:29 UTC in reply to "OOo update"
ahz1 Member since:
2007-04-05

OpenOffice.org 2.x only has notification of updates, and IIRC, it by default checks once a week. In OOo 2.x, all actual updates are manual.

Reply Score: 2

Charts
by andrewg on Sun 30th Mar 2008 11:12 UTC
andrewg
Member since:
2005-07-06

I see charts have improved. They still look unprofessional however. Professional good looing charts are an imperative. I mean if javascript and the canvas element can do it - http://people.iola.dk/olau/flot/examples/ - why can't OO.org

Reply Score: 3

How many features uses the average user
by Janvl on Sun 30th Mar 2008 12:48 UTC
Janvl
Member since:
2007-02-20

Hi,

I think the average user does not use over 50% of all the features in MS-Office. Even if they have OOo they will not use all of his features.

So OOo will do for the majority. If you manage a business it should be the manager to decide, not his employees what office-software is used. There are loads of arguments not to use MS-Office, so a smart manager choses OOo and, only those that can actually show that a feature they cannot work without is only available in Ms-office might get a licence. This will save a lot of money for every business.

Some here seem to think that managing a business is just to give employees everything the demand, sorry to say so but the world is not like that.

Reply Score: 4

evangs Member since:
2005-07-07


I think the average user does not use over 50% of all the features in MS-Office. Even if they have OOo they will not use all of his features.


See, the premise of such arguments are based on pure speculation. The "average user" does not use over "50%" of all the features? Calc is fairly annoying for me in that I work with people who use DATEDIF a lot. OO has no support for such a function and I guess most people have no need of a function to find the difference (i.e. time elapsed) between dates ... There are ways of solving it (http://www.openofficetips.com/2007/07/18/who-needs-datedif/) but that is no where near as elegant as a simple DATEDIF function. I guess not "enough" users need it to warrant such a simple fix.

OO is not there yet. Sure, it might be there for some people, but do not chastise them if OO truly isn't suitable for them.

Reply Score: 2

Innova Member since:
2005-09-30


I think the average user does not use over 50% of all the features in MS-Office. Even if they have OOo they will not use all of his features.


the trouble with these arguments is that, even if true, every user likely uses a different subset of 50% of the features. Hence, having 100% of the features to please everyone, or 50% of the features and pleasing no one.

Reply Score: 1

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Hence, having 100% of the features to please everyone, or 50% of the features and pleasing no one.


Or having 80% and pleasing most people.

Then again, a fair question might be "What percentage of OO.o's features does MSO support?". Depending upon which way you ask the question, one or the other side is always put at a disadvantage.

Reply Score: 5

pjafrombbay Member since:
2005-07-31

I think the average user does not use over 50% of all the features in MS-Office. Even if they have OOo they will not use all of his features...


I agree! I'm retired and my 'Office' requirements are significantly reduced (although I still need a good quality word processor). MS Office is out on cost grounds. I tried OOo for several years but find it over-kill so have recently switched to Atlantis Word Processor (http://www.atlantiswordprocessor.com/en/) and while I have to pay for it I find it has all the features I need and is very lean and uses few resources. I have also acquired copies of GS Calc and GS Base from JPS Developments (http://www.jps-development.com/) and for the limited amount of spreadsheeting and databaseing that I do these are good enough.

Regards,
Peter

Reply Score: 1

Languages
by Jarsto on Sun 30th Mar 2008 14:40 UTC
Jarsto
Member since:
2005-10-06

There's one huge improvement in OOo 2.4 from my point of view: better language switching support. Most of what I write is in English, some of it's in Dutch. In previous versions the only way to change the language setting for a document was going through the options dialogue, and it was next to impossible to set multiple languages in a single document and have the spelling checked properly in each.

In OOo 2.4 it's a piece of cake to switch between various languages, whether it is for an entire document, a paragraph or two, or even a single word. That ability was the only thing I still missed from MS Office occasionally (though fortunately it was never more than a minor annoyance).

I haven't had much time with 2.4 yet, so I haven't noticed any other major differences. Having said that, this one feature is more than enough to make me very happy indeed about the update.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Languages
by ggiunta on Sun 30th Mar 2008 15:34 UTC in reply to "Languages"
ggiunta Member since:
2006-01-13

It was the killer feature for mee, too: I could not for the love of god understand why it was so hidden away beforehand.

That, and the 'set a background image' action in the presentation app.

There are about a bazillion improvements ooo can have without getting into exotic features that about 1% of the userbase cares about.

My next pet peeves are, eg:
- the viewport moving on its own in writer when you scroll back and forth. It somehow every now and then thinks that it should go back to the caret on its own
- eliminate the slow text reflowing that will move all text lines up/down a couple of pixels, one line at a time, while I am reading/editing a page. Either get the algorithm fast enough or stay with the initial, imprecise version

Reply Score: 2

WordPerfect
by systyrant on Mon 31st Mar 2008 00:48 UTC
systyrant
Member since:
2007-01-18

I mainly use WordPerfect (v13), but I have MS Office 2007 and I keep OOo around. Why all of them? Well, we've use WordPerfect since the 5.1 days, but due to it's inability to open Microsoft Office documents I kept around OOo. We just recently bought a copy of Office because we get documents from some companies who have never heard of the PDF format and because neither WordPerfect nor OOo can open some of those dumbly formated document.

Now with that said WordPerfect is still far easier to use than either Office or OOo in my opinion. Document formatting is just a snap in WordPerfect. That is the main reason I still don't care much for OOo. While most may disagree with me I still think document formating is a pain with OOo (and Word).

Here's a few I can think of:
1. different margins on different pages.
2. adjusting margins on the fly and having an exact measurement displayed.
3. headers and footers.
4. Reveal Codes (sorry I just love them).

Reply Score: 3

Can I use my Fonts yet?
by madcrow on Mon 31st Mar 2008 18:54 UTC
madcrow
Member since:
2006-03-13

I (and plenty of other people who actually care about have documents that look nice) tend to like OTF-format fonts? Can I use them in OpenOffice yet? No? Guess I'll just move on then...

Reply Score: 1

crap
by ashlinux on Tue 1st Apr 2008 19:47 UTC
ashlinux
Member since:
2008-02-06

interopability is out the way of the dinasours, qt3kdeoffice is the only good piece of work and it's not even done, and now thanks to qt4 is going to hell!

Reply Score: 1