Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 15th Apr 2009 00:26 UTC
Microsoft With the spotlight on Windows 7, you'd almost forget that there's another product category Microsoft is rather successful in: office suites. Microsoft Office 2007 was a massive change from previous versions, delivering a completely new interface that was genuinely easier to use. Office 2007 will soon be seeing its second service pack (with OpenDocument Format support for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint), while the next version of of Office, dubbed Office 2010, will arrive pretty soon as well.
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Vista Version Syndrome
by chandler on Wed 15th Apr 2009 00:37 UTC
chandler
Member since:
2006-08-29

There is no "Vista Version Syndrome" with regard to 32-bit or 64-bit. While the disc included with the software is only one or the other, the actual key will work for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the operating system. All you need to do to switch from one to the other is to download the correct Vista ISO image from Microsoft's site.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Vista Version Syndrome
by stooovie on Wed 15th Apr 2009 05:37 UTC in reply to "Vista Version Syndrome"
stooovie Member since:
2006-01-25

Yeah, that`s the Windows Vista Syndrome.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Vista Version Syndrome
by joekiser on Wed 15th Apr 2009 16:41 UTC in reply to "Vista Version Syndrome"
joekiser Member since:
2005-06-30

Is there a link to the download page? I seem to recall that early on Microsoft was providing the 64 bit CD for $10 or so on their website and at CompUSA, so long as you already had a product license, but as of last October the program had been discontinued. I ended up purchasing an OEM 64-bit version from eBay for a cheap price, from an owner who had already activated his license only to have the motherboard die. But you are correct that the same license key works for both 32 and 64 bit versions...so long as the CD that you use to reinstall is the same type as your key (OEM vs Retail).

Reply Score: 1

Does anyone else find it ironic?
by lemur2 on Wed 15th Apr 2009 01:15 UTC
lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

It seems ironic, to me anyway, after all the hooha that we had to endure, that Microsoft Office would support OpenDocument (aka ODF 1.1, or ISO/IEC 26300), but it will not support Office Open XML (aka OOXML, or ISO/IEC 29500).

It is also interesting that ODF 1.1, while an approved ISO standard, does not have well-defined support for a number of features of Office suites (in particular, formulas), but ODF 1.2, which is still undergoing approval processes, and which does have well-defined and inter-operable support for such features (OpenFormula), and which is the current format used by other Office suites such as OpenOffice 3 and KOffice 2, will not be supported by Microsoft Office.

Edited 2009-04-15 01:22 UTC

Reply Score: 2

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

I hope they're not going to do the tripple-e strategy with ODF (embrace, extend, extinguish). Hopefully we don't end up with ODF and MS-ODF. They already did that with rtf, after all.

Reply Score: 2

helf Member since:
2005-07-06

uh, MS created the RTF specification. They didn't EEE it.

Reply Score: 4

kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

It seems ironic, to me anyway, after all the hooha that we had to endure, that Microsoft Office would support OpenDocument (aka ODF 1.1, or ISO/IEC 26300), but it will not support Office Open XML (aka OOXML, or ISO/IEC 29500).

It is also interesting that ODF 1.1, while an approved ISO standard, does not have well-defined support for a number of features of Office suites (in particular, formulas), but ODF 1.2, which is still undergoing approval processes, and which does have well-defined and inter-operable support for such features (OpenFormula), and which is the current format used by other Office suites such as OpenOffice 3 and KOffice 2, will not be supported by Microsoft Office.


I think the most telling issue is the fact that I never saw Microsoft during the development of ODF 1.0, 1.1 or 1.2 ever say, "there are some features lacking so lets work with the group to get the remaining missing features into the format so that we can move wholesale over to ODF". They could have done that if they wanted to - but they didn't.

First they shun it, then they adopt it but an old version, and now they refuse to get involved - and fail to get involved as if to prove their point of why OOXML is apparently superior - ignoring the fact that Microsoft sabotaged through their inaction to contribute towards the development of ODF 1.2 or any future ODF developments.

The simple fact of the matter, if they turned around and created a one file format to rule them all - all the vendor lock in would go; end users would choose to run OpenOffice.org rather than purchasing Office to be compatible with work. You'd find that many third party applications would develop and start cannibalising away at the Office System.

The old story of doing just enough as to appear they care but never enough to actually turn it into a viable alternative to their own OOXML format.

Reply Score: 6

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

The old story of doing just enough as to appear they care but never enough to actually turn it into a viable alternative to their own OOXML format.


Actually, the truth is that ODF 1.2 is a viable alternative format for Office suites, and one which is inter-operable between different platforms and Office applications, and actually implemented on different platforms and Office applications, whereas it is their own OOXML format which is not the viable format (since it contains references to closed and trade-secret functionality), and for which there is no Office suite at all (even MS Office, any version) which implements it.

Reply Score: 3

kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Actually, the truth is that ODF 1.2 is a viable alternative format for Office suites, and one which is inter-operable between different platforms and Office applications, and actually implemented on different platforms and Office applications, whereas it is their own OOXML format which is not the viable format (since it contains references to closed and trade-secret functionality), and for which there is no Office suite at all (even MS Office, any version) which implements it.


If you read what I wrote I was assuming that the claims of MIcrosoft were valid - whether or not it is valid or invalid, it doesn't change the fact that my post was valid.

A side note: you seem to have a habit of just coming in and replying to comments in an effort to pick a fight. You do realise that there is no need to reply to every person who happens to post a reply to an open source or open standards orientated article.

Reply Score: 2

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"Actually, the truth is that ODF 1.2 is a viable alternative format for Office suites, and one which is inter-operable between different platforms and Office applications, and actually implemented on different platforms and Office applications, whereas it is their own OOXML format which is not the viable format (since it contains references to closed and trade-secret functionality), and for which there is no Office suite at all (even MS Office, any version) which implements it.
If you read what I wrote I was assuming that the claims of MIcrosoft were valid - whether or not it is valid or invalid, it doesn't change the fact that my post was valid. A side note: you seem to have a habit of just coming in and replying to comments in an effort to pick a fight. You do realise that there is no need to reply to every person who happens to post a reply to an open source or open standards orientated article. "

You read too much into what I write. I completely agree with virtually everything that you said in your original post.

There was meant to be no attack at all on what you said ... I merely dispute the common perception that it is the OOXML format which is "viable" when, in fact, it is implemented by no real world Office applications at all. Not one.

Meanwhile, Dr Alex Brown, who is the person at the ISO who had the most to do with husbanding the OOXML specification through the ISO approval process, is right now trying to effectively undo all of the changes to the OOXML specification that the BRM meeting voted on, in order to get the OOXML specification changed back to match the output of MS Office ... which is exactly what the ISO did NOT approve.

Read about it here (including some nastiness apparently from Alex Brown himself amongst the discussion):

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20090412131523897

Exactly how is OOXML a sane and viable format? On what planet?

PS: I like this comment on Microsoft-speak.

http://www.groklaw.net/comment.php?mode=display&sid=200904121315238...

Edited 2009-04-15 04:33 UTC

Reply Score: 4

kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

The problem is with OOXML isn't necessarily the format itself but all the supporting technologies that surround it which aren't available in the form of specifications and royalty free implementation. For the OOXML to be a great format - all the linking in file files such as video (for powerpoint), audio, pictures etc need to all be all open and able to be implemented without royalties as well.

I've seen the arguments for some of the ideas with OOXML in regards to the backwards compatibility required for a clean full circle translation but at the same time getting rid of backwards compatibility and providing plugin for Office 2003 and XP customers would be a better way of doing things. It would avoid having a large and convoluted format that is more complex than it needed to be.

For me, there is no reason for OOXML to get wiped off the map but at the same time Microsoft needs to go further in making OOXML a fully open standard because the OOXML alone is useless (given that a document will be made up of more than what can be stored in an OOXML file - pictures, videos, audio etc.)

Reply Score: 2

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

The problem is with OOXML isn't necessarily the format itself but all the supporting technologies that surround it which aren't available in the form of specifications and royalty free implementation. For the OOXML to be a great format - all the linking in file files such as video (for powerpoint), audio, pictures etc need to all be all open and able to be implemented without royalties as well.


That which you point out above about the subordinate formats referenced in OOXML is entirely true.

However, the basic structure of OOXML is itself flawed. OOXML is a "serialisation" format, adapted from the legacy binary formats of MS Office, which colsely represent the obscured document file on disk. The first bits are the first parts of the document, and the later bits are the later parts. As I said ... it is a "serialised" format, shoe-horned into an XML-ish structure. Ugly. Years of legacy cruft built in to it. Inefficient. Obscure. Difficult. Different types of information is repeated within the serialised format, and these pieces can become inconsistent with each other. A built-in recipie for conflicting information and corrupted documents.

The basic structre of ODF, however, AFAIK is a reflection of the document structure (as opposed to the file on disk) ... broken down by chapter, paragraph, sentence, word, character and including just once supporting data such as style, font, applicable explicit formats and what-have-you.

I've seen the arguments for some of the ideas with OOXML in regards to the backwards compatibility required for a clean full circle translation but at the same time getting rid of backwards compatibility and providing plugin for Office 2003 and XP customers would be a better way of doing things. It would avoid having a large and convoluted format that is more complex than it needed to be. For me, there is no reason for OOXML to get wiped off the map but at the same time Microsoft needs to go further in making OOXML a fully open standard because the OOXML alone is useless (given that a document will be made up of more than what can be stored in an OOXML file - pictures, videos, audio etc.)


Microsoft have done a lot of work to ensure that their OOXML format is as difficult as possible to translate into any sane structure. It has taken them many years to accomplish the amazing level of obscurity they have managed ... after all they started their effort way back in the days when it was their aim to make it hard for WordPerfect to open Office files.

Why would Microsoft, after to going to all that trouble over so many years to achieve such a high level of obscuration, so that only they could use it, in secret, suddenly show any interest at all in making a sane open document standard for all to use?

Edited 2009-04-15 05:10 UTC

Reply Score: 2

MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

ODF is derived from the previous OO.o XML format, and is therefore designed with OO.o's feature set and architecture in mind. OOXML is derived from MSO's previous XML format and therefore was designed with MSO's features and architecture in mind. Why should Microsoft cram their features into OO.o's format rather than continue developing their own XML format? Why should an office suite with >90% user share abandon its format for that of an office suite with 2% share? Simply because ODF's format was submitted to ISO some months before OOXML was?

Whatever. I won't say anything more on it, because it'll just be repeating the massive arguments on this site 15 months ago (or whenever). Your post is a repeat of arguments put forward back then, and my post is a repeat of arguments put forward back then. Re-hashing it is a waste of time, since nobody's going to change their minds anyway. ;)

Reply Score: 2

dragossh Member since:
2008-12-16

I-n-t-e-r-o-p-e-r-a-b-i-l-i-t-y. That's why. I shouldn't be forced to buy Windows & Office just to edit some documents because they only work with MS's software.

Edited 2009-04-15 13:05 UTC

Reply Score: 1

CrLf Member since:
2006-01-03

I-n-t-e-r-o-p-e-r-a-b-i-l-i-t-y. That's why. I shouldn't be forced to buy Windows & Office just to edit some documents because they only work with MS's software.


I find it mildly amusing (not really) that people keep missing the point about having an open format for documents.

It isn't about office suites. Microsoft owns that market and, judging from the changes that they did for Office 2007, for good reason. The real gain in interoperability is in the _tools_. Having an open format for documents (and one not as cumbersome as OOXML) means one can mine data from them, and make document management systems that really understand the document's content, and conversion tools, the list goes on and on.

Reply Score: 2

PDF support
by nonesuch on Wed 15th Apr 2009 01:18 UTC
nonesuch
Member since:
2007-11-13

I wonder if PDF support in Office will make the freely-available Word Viewer a possible alternative to Acrobat and Foxit (And Sumatra, my personal fav on Windows). Word Viewer launches nearly instantly, very much unlike Acrobat, and integrates well with browsers, very much unlike Foxit.

Reply Score: 1

RE: PDF support
by cmost on Wed 15th Apr 2009 01:54 UTC in reply to "PDF support"
cmost Member since:
2006-07-16

I wonder if PDF support in Office will make the freely-available Word Viewer a possible alternative to Acrobat and Foxit (And Sumatra, my personal fav on Windows). Word Viewer launches nearly instantly, very much unlike Acrobat, and integrates well with browsers, very much unlike Foxit.


Foxit PDF Reader (my personal fav on Windows) launches almost instantaneously. Also, you might be interested to know that it does indeed have web integration these days. Foxit Reader—the PDF viewer that introduced most of us to the good life sans Adobe's bloated Acrobat Reader—has just updated to version 3.0. Among the handful of new and improved features, the most notable update for Firefox users is support for inline viewing of PDFs using Foxit Reader's new Firefox plug-in. That means that you can quickly view any PDF directly in a Firefox tab when you don't feel like opening a separate app to view a linked PDF (a feature common to Reader but not to Foxit, until now.)

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: PDF support
by 1c3d0g on Wed 15th Apr 2009 02:36 UTC in reply to "RE: PDF support"
1c3d0g Member since:
2005-07-06

I concur. THe only thing missing is Chrome integration, but I guess once a plug-in type system is created for that browser, support should be pretty straightforward.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Gone fishing
by Gone fishing on Wed 15th Apr 2009 05:28 UTC
Gone fishing
Member since:
2006-02-22

delivering a completely new interface that was genuinely easier to use


WTF you do get used to it but it is more difficult navigate and increases the no of mouse clicks. My guess is if MS offered the classic interface as an option maybe 5% of users would use ribbon.

Is it me or was Office 2000 the best version of office?

Reply Score: 6

RE: Comment by Gone fishing
by ayembee on Wed 15th Apr 2009 08:10 UTC in reply to "Comment by Gone fishing"
ayembee Member since:
2005-09-15

completely correct. i loathe the ribbon as a massive retrograde step in usability. the mere fact that every panel can contain buttons of all kinds of different sizes is a gigantic pain in the ass.

but i disagree with you on one thing, office 2003 was the best; much more generous memory limits on pivot tables ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Gone fishing
by jal_ on Wed 15th Apr 2009 12:44 UTC in reply to "Comment by Gone fishing"
jal_ Member since:
2006-11-02

WTF you do get used to it but it is more difficult navigate and increases the no of mouse clicks.


Indeed. If only they allowed some customization. E.g., if the tabs of the ribbon could be on the bottom, that would save me from having to move the mouse from the document to the other side of the ribbon all the time. Also, hiding the ribbon is useless: if only it would appear automatically (cf. the auto-hide task bar), then it may have been useful...


JAL

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Gone fishing
by RavinRay on Wed 15th Apr 2009 14:16 UTC in reply to "Comment by Gone fishing"
RavinRay Member since:
2005-11-26

Oh yes please, give us an option for the classic interface. Ever since I've gotten a license to install Office 2007 on my netbook I'm forced to turn the ribbon on and off repeatedly for when I need as much screen possible, to when I needed to access its tools. Microsoft didn't help its customer by providing a smooth transition to the ribbon interface for users at their own pace.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Gone fishing
by ElCabri2 on Wed 15th Apr 2009 18:26 UTC in reply to "Comment by Gone fishing"
ElCabri2 Member since:
2009-03-11

It's you.

Reply Score: 1

Missing killer features
by aahjnnot on Wed 15th Apr 2009 11:40 UTC
aahjnnot
Member since:
2008-07-24

Microsoft keeps adding obscure bloat that I never use, but three potential killer features that would enhance the lives of all users never get added. For me, the missing features are:

- Truly multi-user documents (you and I can both edit a document at the same time; I edit a paragraph or formula and it immediately changes on your screen)

- An Undo function that persists across file save and open

- Code editing in the Excel formula bar that enhances readability in a similar way to well laid-out code - syntax highlighting and line breaks with auto-indentation for nested functions

Reply Score: 2

Adobe blocked buiilt-in PDF support
by MollyC on Wed 15th Apr 2009 12:07 UTC
MollyC
Member since:
2006-07-04

"In addition, SP2 will include full support for PDF files, meaning you no longer have to download a separate plug-in. All I can say is: finally. Was that so hard, Microsoft?"

Early builds of Office 2007 (maybe even a beta) did have PDF support built-in, but Adobe threatened to whine to the EU about it, since it would undercut Adobe's market (i.e. monopoly) for Office-PDF conversion tools. Adobe said they wouldn't whine to the EU only if Microsoft agreed to charge extra for Office. Rather than do that, Microsoft stripped PDF fucntionality out and made it a separate downloadable plugin. I don't understand your sarcastic remark "Was that so hard, Microsoft?", when it clearly wasn't a technical issue, but a legal one. Even if one didn't know the legal history, the fact that a download plugin already exists is proof enough that there was no technical issue here.

I wonder if Adobe will now follow through with their threat to go to the EU, a body that's pre-disposed to rule against Microsoft.

Reply Score: 6

Oh please...
by Ikshaar on Wed 15th Apr 2009 16:53 UTC
Ikshaar
Member since:
2005-07-14

genuinely easier to use


in what world... I gave up on 2007 for that very reason. I cannot find stuff and I don't have all day to search for items that I usually put in the one bar that I use.

I am for UI improvement, not for UI shuffle because you can do it.

Edited 2009-04-15 16:55 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Easier interface ?
by beosguy@gmail.com on Wed 15th Apr 2009 18:24 UTC
beosguy@gmail.com
Member since:
2008-07-17

"delivering a completely new interface that was genuinely easier to use"

The 2007 version had ribbons without 2003 pull down menus discouraging users from even using 2007.
Why dont these guys get it!!! we dont want new interfaces!!! Im still looking for 2003 pull down menues in their future products, else like so many
no sense buying it if its that much more harder
to adapt to. Hey MS listen to the end user !!

Reply Score: 2

zaine_ridling
Member since:
2007-05-13

I don't know anyone who is using msoffice 07 on their desktop, and no one in any of the corporations they work for. Now they vomit out 2010. Are people really [still] paying for office suite software this deep into the 21st century?

I long ago moved content onto the cloud and won't go back. The HD and discs are for backup only.

Reply Score: 1