Home > Office > OpenOffice.org Project Update OpenOffice.org Project Update Eugenia Loli 2002-11-10 Office 54 Comments Here’s the latest about what the OpenOffice Project is up to for language support, new platforms and development partnerships. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 54 Comments 2002-11-10 1:33 am I downloaded OpenOffice just today and it’s wonderful. The price is great (hehe) and it has all the features i’d ever need. 2002-11-10 1:39 am …between OpenOffice and StarOffice? Thinkgs like speed, resource reqs and etc? I bought StarOffice 6.0 Sparc version and it has been wonderful. Even on my underpowered (by todays standards) U10. 2002-11-10 1:41 am How does OpenOffice compare to KOffice from KDE? Sean 2002-11-10 1:48 am I find it amazing that people still have the guts to post screenshots with completely broken fonts, like the one in the article. When will developers realize that fonts are not only important, but essential? This is really a very, very annoying issue that hopefully will go away with fontconfig and xft 2.0. 2002-11-10 1:50 am > very, very annoying issue that hopefully will go away with fontconfig and xft 2.0. Actually the problem is still there. Red Hat supports xft 2 on version 8, and OOo still looks like crap. 2002-11-10 2:16 am If only they offered integration with EndNote or a similar bibliography software I could finally permanently delete my copy of Word. Does anyone know of any bibliography software that integrated into some of the Open Source word processors? 2002-11-10 2:48 am What exactly does endnote do? I’ve heard of it before… 2002-11-10 3:02 am It’s a bibliography manager. I use it to search the National Library of Medicine (can also be done on the web here http://www.ncbi.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi ). It extracts the references directly from the web, organizes them, formats them etc. The nicest feature is the MS Word integration. While I write a paper I can insert a reference in the text with a simple click and it will also automatically add it to a bibliography at the end of the document in whatever format I specify. Extremely handy for people like me who work in Science and write papaers for a living. 2002-11-10 3:08 am Do you think that there would be demand for an open source version of this sort of application? Have any of your coligues/friends in the field expressed interest? 2002-11-10 3:31 am Holy Cr@p. I looked at that screenshot and nearly died, it looks absolutely f_cking horrible. But then again, OO’s shortcommings extended a lot further than just the font rendering. In response to Sean, with my experiences, I personally started using KOffice (hence Kword) myself alot when I was using RedHat 7.3 – which came with KOffice 1.1, which to be honest – I wasn’t very happy with. It would crash a lot when importing exporting/printing, and overall just seemed quite buggy, so I groaned and used bloated OO, or booted into Windows and used Word. Now with Koffice 1.2 which comes with RedHat 8.0, I can honestly say there is no reason to use Open Office. Especially with the absolutely beautiful font rendering with the xft2 (Eg: RedHat ‘hacked’ kdelibs – but I must say that the font rendering in RedHat 7.3 for Koffice apps was pretty much the same quality before they decided to hack it so xft2 was used – must be a Qt thing). Now I’ve been using word processors of all sorts, but to be honest -> KOffice (Kword) has to be one of the best for Unix/Linux, pitty it doesn’t get all the ‘hype’ which is so badly deserves. Within the last 6 months, it has become exponentially better, and I can only seeing that to continue. I have no relationship with KDE/KOffice crew, just the use of it’s products – it’s just so good. I can see why people are annoyed at RedHat putting the KOffice in a hidden menu, but giving OO basically a link on the desktop. Anyway, as a KDE user myself, it brings up another important note which I just have to say. Integration is Good as far as I’m concerned, Open Office is no way any form of competition with Microsofts Offerings (unlike Koffice (getting better by the day)) – sure it can probably do the same functions, but the fact is, it’s a stand alone pile of bloat, which looks awful and consumes over 150MB (@#@#@!) of ram – Thats what you get when 80MB of statically linked Glibc Crap. Not the mention the ovbious – the rendering looks awful, the speed is a joke. KWord consumes around 8MB of RAM, ignoring the facts that Kword (Koffice et all), integrates with your KDE desktop, uses the themes, and shortcuts etc – this is how a office application should be. Ovbiously M$ Windows does that. On the font front, as Eugenia said. Open Office with xft2 still looks like crap, not only within text documents, but the whole UI. I can’t see this getting any better, still the issues with integration, speed, memory consumption an bloat, arn’t going to go away. Compare the OO ScreenShot: http://www.linuxjournal.com/modules/NS-articles/currents/6437f1.png With the Koffice (KSpread) ScreenShot: http://188.8.131.52/~grant/kspread.png My 2c. (..and yes I’m a C++ junkie and build KDE Apps, but is very sensitive to UI issues. ) 2002-11-10 3:48 am Hey there, Ximian had/has a deal there where if you sign up for RedCarpet Express you’d get the version of StarOffice 6.0 for your distro. I was using SuSE 8.0 and signed up. Man, what a disappointment! It’s almost _exactly_ the same as OOo. Now, I’m a somewhat light user (no macros, but large (> 50 page) documents.) It’s the same to me!!! The fonts looked about the same (and far worse than under RH 8.0) I couldn’t get at the DB part (maybe it wasn’t included. Whatever. I hate MS Access. If I want a DB, I use Postgres.) Anyway, I’d really just stick with OO.o. I’m using Gentoo now. I installed the SuSE SO6 as well as OOo 1.0.1 from Debian. I never nother using StarOffice. No reason to. The only noticeable difference for me was the splash screen. Now, I want to know how to get RH’s nice AA version of OOo into Gentoo. (My $0.02) 2002-11-10 3:56 am Why does the Linux version of OpenOffice have these shortcomings? The version for Windows is actually quite nice. 2002-11-10 4:03 am Okay, so OOo looks crappy on GNU/Linux, granted. It sticks out like a sore thumb on my Gnome2 desktop when it’s next to a Galeon2 window, and a Gaim CVS build. So do most of the GTK 1.x apps that I run, but that’s another subject, altogether. There’s more to OO.o than its appearance. It looks just fine under Windows 2000 (I installed it on one of our production machines because we didn’t have a Word license….the users don’t bitch too much). It serves as an important bridge between being a slave to Microsoft, and being able to choose something different. Say what you will about KOffice, GoBe, whatever. Abiword is nice, and I use it quite a bit. None of those have the functionality of OO.o; not even close. When you compare MS Office to OO.o, MS Office wins on features, but OO.o gets mad brownie points because it’s free. You can’t compare MS Office with KOffice, sorry. MS Works is still more full-featured than KOffice. Again, I’m not saying that they’re bad programs. But PHB and Joe luser want a pantload of features, even if they’ll never use them. OO.o provides those features in a suite that runs on *many* platforms. 2002-11-10 5:09 am is fine, but I don’t like using it on Linux.It is just so inconsistent. You feel like you are in a time warp. Everything is just so UGLY! I rather use Koffice. Abiword and Gnumeric are nice, but Abiword is a bit short on features and I like the fact that it Koffice is a suite. The KDE League is doing an awesome job. I gave KDE 3.1 beta a try it is getting sooo good. I wish the Xfree guys could keep up. To anyone who is working on KDE League projects, I would just like say AWESOME job. When I am finished with my masters I am going to find out about getting involved in some way. 2002-11-10 5:46 am I’m surprised nobody here mentioned this! Yes, it is in the article. 2002-11-10 6:31 am I’ve always disliked the way they call the software OpenOffice.org. Why .org? OpenOffice.org is where you get the software, Open Office is what it should be called. I know it’s a small detail and I probably sound like I’m whining, but it really, really annoys me! 2002-11-10 6:34 am Open Office is a registered trademark of another product, so they had to rename it like that. I do hate that .org in the naming as well. 2002-11-10 6:39 am OpenOffice.org looks fine here, using SuSE Linux 8.0. The GUI fonts are antialiased (using the TrueType Verdana font) and the text fonts obviously are also. So how is it that everybody is complaining about the awful rendering of the fonts? They are beautiful on my system and I did nothing special. OOo certainly doesn’t look crappy. 2002-11-10 7:08 am Yes I believe there would be a great demand for that type of program integration. I don’t know of any of my colleagues that do not use a citation manager of some sort be it EndNote or something similar. Writing bibliographies without it is extremely time consuming and every publication has it’s own format which makes it even more of a pain. With EndNote I can create a citation in whatever format I need in mere seconds which saves a lot of time (a grant can often have a few hundred total references). Also, scientists are a penny pinching bunch (living off grants will do that to you) so not having to purchase M$ licences would save us precious research funds. The only reason I use Word to write my papers is the citation manager. For my home computer I use Abiword and OpenOffice. I don’t think it would even have to be free, if StarOffice would have that function we would still save a lot of money. 2002-11-10 7:34 am I’m not sure if this is what you’re looking for, but there is a “Bibliography Database” option under the Tools menu. You can also access it by pressing F4. 2002-11-10 7:39 am The fonts look great in OOo on my Gentoo system (XFree 4.2.1 with Fontconfig). I’ve replaced the Andale Sans UI font with Arial (TTF), though. 2002-11-10 7:48 am Smooth integration in Windows? This I hear ALL the time. How Windows is sooo consistent compared to X (gtk+,qt,motif,tk). So, at work I use Win2k (when I have to) and I installed Office XP (to be able to create XML-documents from Excel, which by the way uses a horrid XML format). What a surprise all the menus in Office looks like the menus in Win XP. How consistent. Like when you run Word 97 in NT 3.51 and the “sub windows” have Win 95-like window controls, the “x” for closing and so on… 2002-11-10 7:51 am KWord is quite nice, but at present it doesn’t have the feature set required for serious work. OpenOffice.org may take a while to load and consume lots of memory, but what is important is that it works, and it works well. It does almost everything that MS Word can do, so it should suit 95% of users. Once it is up and running, it is fast and stable. As I mentioned above in “RE: Fonts”, it can be made to look good. My OOo (including the UI text) looks just as good as MS Word in Windows. I would love to see the day when I can replace OOo with Abiword or KWord, but it may be a while before that happens. Abiword is getting full footnote/endnote and table support in its next release (1.2), so I’ll have to take another look at it then. 2002-11-10 8:15 am As far as I know, it had been decided some time ago that Linux will only be used on some servers, Windows including the other MS stuff will remain on the desktops. 2002-11-10 9:21 am It would be nice if the OpenOffice.org interface could be themed. Then we could make it look like the rest of our desktops. At the moment I run Mandrake 9, I have Phoenix, XMMS and pretty much everything in KDE to look like each other. Then when I go to open OpenOffice.org it looks completely different. The OOo interface is too close to MS Word, it’s good, but we should be able to make it look a little different, I don’t want my stuff looking like it’s made for windows, I want it looking like it was custom made to fit in with the rest of my desktop. 2002-11-10 11:23 am I’m not a fan of the OOo look, but I guess a benefit is that it’s consistent across environments, making migration easy. You can get a (incomplete) GNOME2 theme for OOo at http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=55323&release… . Installation instructions can be found at http://evolvedoo.sourceforge.net/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&f… 2002-11-10 12:28 pm installed a standard mandrake 9.0 – only modification was nvidia drivers. the fonts in OOo (from mdk rpm) were wrong?! sure, they were smoother than a baby’s bottom – but the character spacing was negatibve… ie the letters merged into each other… so opened a new blank document… no luck… closed OOo and tried again.. no luck… restarted X, changed window manager, rebooted… no luck… so i installed the freetype2 with byte-code intyerpreter switched on … from texstar’s rpms… again.. no luck,. remeoved all Ooo rpm packages and related…. installed OOo tar.gz from the main site… and it worked… fonts ugly but at least i could read them! sigh…. 2002-11-10 2:21 pm Actually the problem is still there. Red Hat supports xft 2 on version 8, and OOo still looks like crap. Eugenia, would you care to elaborate? I’m running RH 8.0, and OOo looks great, AA and all. Sure would be nice if you could provide objective details when criticizing. -fp 2002-11-10 2:49 pm The numbers also stimulated some FUD from the direction of Washington State. IIRC, Microsoft never even mentioned OpenOffice.org. If they mentioned OOo, it is probably something related to StarOffice or GPL/Free Software/OSS. I never heard Microsoft spreading FUD over OpenOffice.org because if they did, I would know (any OSS reporter/journalist, plus some major news site and some sites that is all out to nitpick on Microsoft would have a field day over it). Besides, could the project release the downloads-by-country charts? I’m quite curious. There wasn’t a link in that paragraph. 2002-11-10 2:56 pm KOffice lacks a lot of the essential features OpenOffice.org has, but if you used both and find both to have all the features you would ever need and want, I would highly recommend sticking with KOffice. It takes way less memory and starts way faster, uses less CPU power, and the UI, IMHO, is much more cleaner and pretty (provided you get a nice theme for Qt). Get Qt to use XFT2 or Postscript fonts – bang, it would blow you out of this world. KOffice is a rather amazing piece of work. It has much more code management than OpenOffice.org yet all the programmers are just part time volunteer, and the rate of them getting features is absolutely amazing! Plus the fact that the default dictionary used by KOffice is much better than the one in OpenOffice.org. (the last I checked, “don’t” is not a recognized word :-). And spellchecking is very very fast, dare I say faster than Microsoft Office (probably because of the small dictionary size…). Try both, see which you like. If you have some features you absolutely need in a office suite inside of OOo and not KOffice – go for OOo. Otherwise, if KOffice has then, avoid OpenOffice.org. 2002-11-10 3:00 pm If migration is such a big deal, why does Mac OS X users don’t get the same old ugly stupid UI? (hint: changing the looks won’t cost you a single cent in retraining). This is just a reason used by Sun to explain why it doesn’t have native UIs for any OS. Why make such a reason? Because it is damn hard to port OOo to Win32, GTK+ and Motif – heck, it is easier rewriting (which nulifies any reason for Sun to buy StarDivision in the first place). 2002-11-10 3:30 pm You can change the fonts in OO.o on Mac OS X by downloading any TrueType fonts and using the Printer Setup utility to enable them in OO.o. 2002-11-10 5:03 pm Open Office doesn’t interest me. Gobe Productive, though does. Maybe it’s because my experience with Open office was when it was called Star Office and it was 5 years ago, while I gladly paid money for Productive 2.0 for BeOS. Anyhow, any clue on when productive will be opened for real? http://www.freeradicalsoftware.com has not been updated in forever. 2002-11-10 5:19 pm OpenOffice.org is many ways is very different that StarOffice 5 years ago. It is like using Productive 1.0 and never using it again due to how it sucks. 2002-11-10 5:34 pm OO is just crap and ugly. I can’t believe people saying it’s great, maybe they use M$Office. C’mon ! Abiword with just 3MB it’s beyond speed and UI than OO, and Gnumeric is so great, it just rocks, everything you need while Calc is crap again. I have no idea why such a s**** of software has so much publicity with Koffice, Abiword and Gnumeric that are really good software out there. 2002-11-10 8:14 pm Which of all these alternative Office programs does the best job of importing Word .doc files with tables, graphics and footnotes? Which does the best job of exporting in Word .doc format? 2002-11-10 9:21 pm I honestly can’t understand the recent excitement about OpenOffice.org. During the 5.2 staroffice times this office suite actually worked. It had small bugs, crashed some times but was usable and sometimes even very good (I love the vector drawing part and calc is good as well). The word processing though, is so full of bugs and the linux version makes no sense any longer. The only thing that OOo has going for it is the MS compatibility. I wish them best of luck but if the linux version version will continuine to deteriorate like this, OOo will only sell more copies of windows, at best. I dare to presume, that is not what Sun wants. /jarek 2002-11-10 9:32 pm >> Actually the problem is still there. Red Hat supports xft 2 on version 8, and OOo still looks like crap. >Eugenia, would you care to elaborate? I’m running RH 8.0, and OOo looks great, AA and all. Sure would be nice if you could provide objective details when criticizing. I am wondering about that too. I just downloaded RedHat 8.0 weekend from redhat.com and played with it for two days, then dump it. The OpenOffice.org’s font was perfect and smooth, but not in Abiword. 2002-11-10 11:45 pm Why did the choose that ugly screenshot, instead of this one? http://freshmeat.net/screenshots/7455/ 2002-11-11 12:38 am EndNote … This probably could be what you are looking for.. Tools -> Footnotes -> Endnotes or Insert -> Footnote (Choose Endnote type) I found this from the OOo’s help. BTW, I am using OOo 643. 2002-11-11 1:09 am OO is just crap and ugly. I can’t believe people saying it’s great, maybe they use M$Office. You sound like a real zealot here. I’ve been a 100% GNU/Linux user for a number of years. The last iteration of MS Office I used was Office 97. That doesn’t mean I have to act like a child. See my above comment, Re: Fonts. OOo may not have a particularly pretty interface, but its font rendering is excellent (if configured correctly). I have no idea why such a s**** of software has so much publicity with Koffice, Abiword and Gnumeric that are really good software out there. You obviously haven’t tried to do any real work with Abiword or Kword (I can’t speak for Gnumeric, since I don’t use spreadhsheets). For one thing, Abiword (and I think Kword also) doesn’t support footnotes and endnotes. This feature (among others) is a must for any serious report. OOo has a massive feature set, far more than Abiword or Kword. 2002-11-11 2:38 am I’ve watched for a little while now, and usually there are comments like, “OO.o sucks its so ugly”. Followed by “..but if you setup Xft2.0, turn on AntiAliasing, and use *random TTF*, it looks great.” Additonally, it used to be that some helpful person would come along and give the link to link to download the MS TTFs from microsoft’s site. However if you read the license on them then they are only covered to be used in windows – MS didn’t pay licensing fees for them to be used in every OS. Hence why they were eventually taken down. Of course now helpful people come along with links were you can still find them – like the msttf.deb packages around the web. What really grates my nerves a bit is how when it comes to the GPL everyone chimes in about how you absolutely _HAVE_ to follow what license states – else God Himself will come after you with fire and brimstone. Yet when it comes to something the OSS community doesn’t have, good fonts, licenses just seem to go out the window. If you actually went out and spent the 30dollars to use a your favorite font in Linux good for you – but from the way people have been posting around here, I highly doubt thats the case even half the time. 2002-11-11 2:49 am Just so as to not seem like I’m crabbing about something thats is outdated, this is from RedHats site as of about 5min ago: http://www.europe.redhat.com/documentation/HOWTO/Font-HOWTO-10.php3… >>10. Getting Fonts For Linux 10.1 True Type Commercial Software True type fonts are very easy to come by, and large amounts of them are typically included in packages like Microsoft Word and Word Perfect. Getting Word Perfect is an easy way to get an enormous amount of fonts ( and if you’re really cheap, you could buy a legacy version of Word Perfect for windows. The fonts on the CD are readable. ) Microsoft’s Font Download Microsoft have also made several TrueType fonts available. The .exe file is simply an archive, you can extract it using unzip. You can get them from the download site.<< 2002-11-11 4:10 am Yama: For one thing, Abiword (and I think Kword also) doesn’t support footnotes and endnotes. This feature (among others) is a must for any serious report. KWord does support footnotes and endnotes. It also supports tables, unlike Abiword. So if all your features are available on KWord, I don’t see any reason to use OOo anymore 🙂 Don Cox: For Word only, I would say WordPerfect. However, the exporting is kinda bad. But it is kinda good that Microsoft Office supports WordPerfect files, so in that case, exporting is as good as it gets 🙂 2002-11-11 4:28 am OOo may not have a particularly pretty interface, but its font rendering is excellent (if configured correctly). Defaults matter. You may as well say that Excel is a flight simulator 2002-11-11 5:08 am After implementing the hacked freetype from http://www.cs.mcgill.ca/~dchest/xfthack/ and substituting the UI font with e.g. Lucida Grande the fonts look great in my SuSE Linux 7.3. However, the general UI style still looks out of place in my KDE environment. Olav 2002-11-11 5:15 am What is the actual reason why OOo needs it’s own type of user interface on linux. It’s looks like an awful version of Windows 95! It really looks out of place in either a KDE or GNOME desktop. Many people don’t seem to care about this but why exactly must they have their own style? What’s wrong with eg. GTK2 for the sake of consistency / looks? 2002-11-11 5:40 am KWord does support footnotes and endnotes. It also supports tables, unlike Abiword. So if all your features are available on KWord, I don’t see any reason to use OOo anymore 🙂 That was only an example. There are plenty of other things I need that Abiword and Kword don’t have. They are getting close, though. Maybe in six months I’ll be able to use them (e.g. Abiword has table and footnote/endnote support in development versions). I don’t like OOo very much, but it does the job adequately (and I still prefer it to MS Office). I’ve found it to be very stable, too. 2002-11-11 5:46 am Well, for me, half the time I don’t need much features so KOffice comes in handy. When I do need features, I much rather use Windows plus MS Office then OpenOffice.org. Due to OOo’s speed, I find it tad more productive to use MS Office. Plus the way MS Office’s UI is built for productivity, unlike OpenOffice.org which is built for fast-learning. But I doubt you know much about MS Office, cause IIRC from these forums, you said Office 97 was the last one you have used, and Office had pretty much changed in the past 5 years. 2002-11-11 5:48 am Defaults matter. You may as well say that Excel is a flight simulator That’s true. A major problem is that there aren’t any good free Truetype fonts. That’s not OOo’s fault. When I wrote “if configured correctly”, all I really meant was to install some good fonts. From what I have heard, distros like SuSE do this already, so it looks good by default. Using the MS fonts, OOo looks excellent. 2002-11-11 6:22 am Well, for me, half the time I don’t need much features so KOffice comes in handy.[i] For smaller tasks, I usually use a plain text editor (In most cases, fancy fonts and formatting are just a waste of time) or occasionally Abiword. [i]Due to OOo’s speed, I find it tad more productive to use MS Office. For me (even on a on a PII 350MHz), OOo is adequately fast… once it’s loaded. Everything is fine after the initial pain of launching the suite. Plus the way MS Office’s UI is built for productivity, unlike OpenOffice.org which is built for fast-learning. But I doubt you know much about MS Office, cause IIRC from these forums, you said Office 97 was the last one you have used, and Office had pretty much changed in the past 5 years. I have used Office 2000 and XP, but not for long enough to claim that I know them well. 97 was the last version I used extensively. What do you mean by “MS Office’s UI is built for productivity, unlike OpenOffice.org which is built for fast-learning”? I’ve found both interfaces to be relatively productive and easy to use. When I switched to OOo, I found a lot of little niceties that made it more productive to work with (it’s been a while, so I can’t even remember which ones they are ). 2002-11-11 6:40 am Aargh! I screwed up the HTML tags the first time, so here it is again. This site really needs a Preview button. Well, for me, half the time I don’t need much features so KOffice comes in handy. For smaller tasks, I usually use a plain text editor (In most cases, fancy fonts and formatting are just a waste of time) or occasionally Abiword. Due to OOo’s speed, I find it tad more productive to use MS Office. For me (even on a on a PII 350MHz), OOo is adequately fast… once it’s loaded. Everything is fine after the initial pain of launching the suite. Plus the way MS Office’s UI is built for productivity, unlike OpenOffice.org which is built for fast-learning. But I doubt you know much about MS Office, cause IIRC from these forums, you said Office 97 was the last one you have used, and Office had pretty much changed in the past 5 years. I have used Office 2000 and XP, but not for long enough to claim that I know them well. 97 was the last version I used extensively. What do you mean by “MS Office’s UI is built for productivity, unlike OpenOffice.org which is built for fast-learning”? I’ve found both interfaces to be relatively productive and easy to use. When I switched to OOo, I found a lot of little niceties that made it more productive to work with (it’s been a while, so I can’t even remember which ones they are ). 2002-11-11 9:28 am Regarding KDE and OpenOffice – maybe it would be possible to make a native KDE port of OpenOffice, just in the same manner as Aqua (Mac) port is going to be? KOffice is good, but it is still very far from being complete, and it seems it is not popular enough to attract developer’s attention. Last week there was an interesting discussion at the kde and koffice mailing lists about it – see for example http://lists.kde.org/?t=103608210600007&r=1&w=2 The did not reach any conclusion though I guess 😉 Mink 2002-11-11 7:56 pm I don’t know what you Redhat 8 users are complaining about, Open Office looks great on my desktop. The fonts are smooth and anti-aliased (in the menus and in the document). Xft2 makes a HUGE difference.