Home > Linux > Running Linux with Office XP: Is it Ready for Business? Running Linux with Office XP: Is it Ready for Business? Eugenia Loli 2003-06-27 Linux 40 Comments Linux has made a big impact in the server room, but usability issues and lock-in to Microsoft Office have conspired to hold it back on the desktop. That all just changed, ZDNews says. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 40 Comments 2003-06-27 10:29 pm Anonymous Nah ! Like they say in the article, I personnally “dismiss it as a mirage”. Hope I’m wrong. But I sure stopped to dream about it for years. 2003-06-27 10:50 pm Anonymous I can’t see how people can complain so much about lack of features in applications like StarOffice, and OO.o, 95% of the people I know can barely figure out how to use half the capabilities in MS Office (I’ve seen people amazed by the slide transitions in PP), so I doubt They’ll have any problem with StarOffice. 2003-06-27 10:53 pm Anonymous I tried out CrossOver and MS Office just doesn’t feel right. I can’t put my finger on it, but it felt like working with a jerky mouse: you never know where it is going to go next. Add to it that it totally doesn’t integrate with the desktop and you’ll see that this is not a long-term solution. 2003-06-27 10:55 pm Anonymous The problem I think it’s not about “all the features of MS Office”, but simply to have a 100% compatibility with MS Office on a file level. When all your clients, all your providers, all the people you do business with are trading MS-only files, then yes, not being 100% compatible is a major issue. Someone can give me the exact compatibility status of suites like Star Office or Open Office, all with Office XP ? 2003-06-27 10:58 pm Anonymous I can’t see how people can complain so much about lack of features in applications like StarOffice, and OO.o It’s not really the features that bother me .. just that it takes about 3 years to start up, is ugly as hell, and horrible font rendering with every distro I’ve ever seen it run on running out of the box. As far as MS Office is concerned, I think people are a bit naive who see it as like the only app that businesses use. Just like on the home front – people think that once an OS has a decent browser and email program, it’s ready for the masses. It takes a little more than that 2003-06-27 11:00 pm Anonymous Trying to force Microsoft Office onto linux is a loosing battle. From both a legal and technical point of view, Microsoft is really the only entity who is in any position to put their products on any platform. People should be pushing for open standards, or building native apps for linux, not bending over backwards to accomodate any silly practice arising from Redmond, and potentially exposing themselves to SCO-like litigation in the future. What to do? Build alternatives. Instead of forcing IE on Linux, work on Mozilla until it is good enough to kill the need for IE on Linux. Instead of forcing Microsoft Office on Linux, work on OpenOffice, or KOffice, or whatever, until these products are good enough to kill the need for Microsoft Office on Linux. It takes at least as much time to polish OpenOffice as it takes to get Ms Office running well on Linux (look how long the WINE people have been doing detective work on Linux products). And then all of that detective work is really out on a limb, because MS can wake up tommorow, feel threatedned, and start harrassing the Samba, Mono or Wine team. I don’t mean to denigrate the work of the Crossover or Wine People, and I think people who have a passion for those kinds of efforts should continue with them. But those who really want a future for alternative desktop platforms should be looking to curb the influce of Microsoft Office, not forcefully extend it to other platforms. 2003-06-27 11:03 pm Anonymous Funny, now that GNU/Linux is starting to gain in popularity, it’s starting to cost more. Free software, it seems, once it is perceived as useful, is no longer free. Can’t wait for the inevitable spyware, viruses, and product activation. 2003-06-27 11:10 pm Anonymous >> The problem I think it’s not about “all the features of MS Office”, but simply to have a 100% compatibility with MS Office on a file level. >> That is simply not true. The compatibility problem is mostly a media creation, and it is very much over-rated. In the first place, even Microsoft Office is not 100% compatible with itself, across different versions, and certainly not across the pc and mac versions. My wife has to work with both, and to be on the safer side, she is forced to save her work in rtf formats. Secondly, the problem of compatibility only potentially arises when you are sending documents to others. Some people have to do that every day, but not everybody by any means. Really, how many times have YOU had to do that? We need to help Microsoft into open standards. The only way to do that is to improve alternatives, and make sure they acquire a critical mass, market-share wise. And if you like Microsoft Office, you should also support alternatives. If we have good alternatives, consumers are likely to get a better deal from Microsoft. 2003-06-27 11:35 pm Anonymous My company will not evaluate Linux until it has product activation. We’re too concerned about piracy (we alrady got audited several times by the BSA) and I see rampant copying of Linux software. eg, http://www.freshmeat.net has hundreds of gigabytes of valuable software available for free. Product activation will put an end to that. 2003-06-27 11:55 pm Anonymous What?!?! 2003-06-28 12:05 am Anonymous Don’t worry about Jason. People like him troll sites like this hoping to get a rise out of people. Seriously, he gets a kick out of it. Maybe Eugenia could block his IP address? 2003-06-28 12:07 am Anonymous Use Linux and OpenOffice.org (or koffice, or whatever you prefer) or use Windows an MS-Office. Tell me one reason, why I should use MS-Office in Linux. Only One?? If your company needs Office, OK, use Windows, if not, use Linux. Running Office in a Linux environment is IMHO weird scsimodo 2003-06-28 12:07 am Anonymous Instead of forcing IE on Linux, work on Mozilla until it is good enough to kill the need for IE on Linux. Wishful thinking, but unless you’re able to get ActiveX working in Linux/Mozilla, I won’t be able to browse my job’s Intranet with it .. no matter how good it is. 2003-06-28 12:19 am Anonymous Crossover allows users the ability to use Microsofts software in the platform of the users choice, not Microsofts. If Microsoft believes it should “own all the bases” then force Microsoft to open up their file formats, especially in the public/government sector. Only then will the consumer reap the benfits of a true competitive marketplace. 2003-06-28 12:27 am Anonymous Funny, now that GNU/Linux is starting to gain in popularity, it’s starting to cost more. Free software, it seems, once it is perceived as useful, is no longer free. Can’t wait for the inevitable spyware, viruses, and product activation. Free software will always be free. If someone builds something non-free out of GNU/Linux, it’s not free software anymore. 2003-06-28 12:29 am Anonymous “In the first place, even Microsoft Office is not 100% compatible with itself, across different versions,” False, in my experience they ARE compatible, just not 100% backward compatible. To yes, a .DOC from OfficeXP will probably not be easily opened in a Office 95 installation. But that’s not that surprising. Otherwise, all older documents works fine with newers Office versions. “If we have good alternatives, consumers are likely to get a better deal from Microsoft.” Totally agree, I always believed in competition. I already love MS products, like Office, Visual Studio, WinXP, Outlook, Explorer, etc as they are, despite the almost-monoply situation. Under good competition, they’d be totally amazing. 2003-06-28 12:38 am Anonymous The one and only reason why we quit MS Windows in the first place (without knowing anything at all about the alternatives) was that it seemed impossiible to run MS Offfice effectievly on Windows – you know, crashes and freezes around the clock. Now we run SuSE Linux with a backup MS Office copy (for compatibility reasons with very complex MS documents) on a Win4Lin kernel on one computer. The funny thing is that MS Office never freezes or crashes on Win4Lin as it used to do when installed on a native Windows computers/partitions. Olav 2003-06-28 12:42 am Anonymous Instead of supporting codeweavers, I would rather see companies purchasing Ximian Desktop version2. Surely that would suit most of their needs. People need to remember that the more we support companies like Ximian, the more alternatives we’ll see develop, hence less reliance on Microsoft. Microsoft may have some decent applications, but give Ximian some cash, and they would too. 2003-06-28 12:44 am Anonymous I’m obvously not reading the articles I’m responding to. It’s quite possible that Office XP runs nicaly on Windows XP or someting. I would not know as I gave up around Windows and Office 2000 or thereabouts. Olav 2003-06-28 1:54 am Anonymous http://www.winfield.demon.nl/index.html http://libwpd.sourceforge.net/ http://www.45.free.net/~vitus/ice/catdoc/ http://www.gnome.org/gnome-office/ http://www.koffice.org/ http://www.microsoft.com/office/000/viewers.asp *sigh* http://word2x.sourceforge.net/ http://freshmeat.net/browse/849/?topic_id=849 http://freshmeat.net/browse/129/?topic_id=129 http://freshmeat.net/browse/70/?topic_id=70 http://web2.altmuehlnet.de/fschmid/about.html http://wvware.sourceforge.net/ http://www.openoffice.org http://www.abisource.com And my favorite… http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/no-word-attachments.html Innovation? Peh! I spit on your inovation. 2003-06-28 1:57 am Anonymous Woops. How could I forget magicpoint? http://www.mew.org/mgp/ 2003-06-28 2:47 am Anonymous I’m not sure how many of you have tried OpenOffice 1.1 Beta 2, but it’s extremely impressive. They have fixed much of the GUI to the point where it looks very nice. It is feels a lot faster than earlier versions. If they continue on this path, I can’t see why it couldn’t surpass MS Office within a year or so. Actually, it already has in some respects: PDF and Flash exports out of the box. 2003-06-28 3:17 am Anonymous Sweet! I have been looking for a tool like Kugar for a few months now. The whole time it was part of KOffice, go figure. I just wanted to say thanks for ending my madness 2003-06-28 4:46 am Anonymous According to our everyday experiences, OpenOffice.org reads even complicated MS Office files well. However, exporting to MS Office file formats from OpenOffice.org easily runs into problems, especially with the DOC format. So far we have run into little trouble with PPT and practically none at all with XLS. We have overcome this issue in two ways. Firstly, we prefer PDF and RTF over MS Office proprietary formats whenever possible. This in fact covers 90% of the cases and overcomes 99% of the problems. Secondly, as we are using a lot of subcontractors, we have decided to share our OO experience with them by sending all our material to them in native OO formats, and only in them. As long as MS Office refuses to recognize the OO file formats, our beloved subcontractors have no other choice but to get the OO and play with it. 2003-06-28 5:37 am Anonymous Little do you know about IP-addresses, it seems… 2003-06-28 8:21 am Anonymous Honestly? Why bother with emulating MS Office when there’s KOffice, which doesn’t spend three years loading like OpenOffice.org does? 2003-06-28 8:40 am Anonymous Offices uses a lot of macro features. How good is StarOffice’s macro capabilities? (give an honest answer) Besides the fact that StarOffice is significantly different, UI-wise, than Office that would amount to frustrate users in the end – and the UI difference aren’t sane difference. Many aspects of Office’s UI is no worse, sometimes better than StarOffice, and because of that it makes sense imitating all the good points of Office’s UI. Besides, 95% of the users barely use 5% (generally) of Office’s UI (me included). But do they all use the same 5%? Hardly. 2003-06-28 8:42 am Anonymous If you were such a “dude”, you’d see sarcasm coming from 100miles away. 2003-06-28 8:49 am Anonymous Frankly I can’t give an answer to that. It is not because Linux have suffiently better apps than Office, but because how is this better than just using Windows? Besides, comparing OpenOffice.org and Office XP on Linux via CrossOver, I would definately pick the latter. 1 reason is that I’m used to it, but that’s minor, the main reason is speed. While Cross-Over plus Office XP takes more RAM, it feels and acts much more faster than OpenOffice.org. Loads faster too. 2003-06-28 8:52 am Anonymous Totally agree, I always believed in competition. I already love MS products, like Office, Visual Studio, WinXP, Outlook, Explorer, etc as they are, despite the almost-monoply situation. Under good competition, they’d be totally amazing. Visual Studio has a near monopoly status? That’s new to me. Besides, legally, Office and Windows have a monopoly in their respective markets. However if you want to go by the dictionary defination, none of MS’ products are monopolies in their market… 2003-06-28 8:54 am Anonymous Linux, is it ready for [INSERT SITUATION HERE]? (eg: Desktop, Business, Toasters) Enough already! 2003-06-28 9:04 am Anonymous >> Besides, comparing OpenOffice.org and Office XP on Linux via CrossOver, I would definately pick the latter. ..the main reason is speed << Speed? OfficeXP loads fine on Windows, but in my experience, it isn’t stable, or significantly useable, under crossover. There is no doubt that OpenOffice on Linux is significantly behind Microsoft Office on Windows. The biggest problem is speed, speed, speed. At the moment, OpenOffice is just not a mature product. But the solution to that is cleaning up OpenOffice and making it a viable alternative, not dragging microsoft office into linux via crossover. 2003-06-28 9:10 am Anonymous “…you are sending documents to others. Really, how many times have YOU had to do that? ” I agree with what you are saying, though, you shoudn’t underestimate the number of people sending files of all sorts to each other, for business or private reasons . For me to be 100% sure that people on the receiver end can read them, i have to use “MS-Office” or a package which is 100%!!! caompatible with the standard MS is offering. Open Office is not! I tryed to read an Excel Spreadsheet containg some macros and a pivot table; and guess what … no chance. You’re right, MS should be using open standards, but business is business ….. 2003-06-28 9:21 am Anonymous Im my consulting firm I own (or have the rights to a liscence arrg.) windows 2000 and office 2000. I dont use them. I prefer to be using Linux with open office. I can not explain why, It is just a better experience. I have outlook, sure, but I hate it and I use Ximian Evolution. Linux looks better, runs better, and the office suite by OO works just fine. Linux for the desktop for businesses? Yep. I dual boot, and if I am working I am in Linux. If I am wasting time I am in windows. Also, either way I am using Mozilla as the web browser. IE? A complete waste of time. I have used win4lin, and crossover and really find myself thinking why bother? 2003-06-28 1:12 pm Anonymous I personally love the CrossOver app. As a student, 99% of the stuff I’m producing has to be in a MS Office format to exchange with other students/teachers. Office 2k loads 3x faster (15 secs) compared to OOo (45 secs) too. Best of all, I don’t have to worry about screwed up formats if I tried exchanging between the two … I’d love to see an open format used (at least for apps like Word/Excel), but until then CrossOver gets me where I need to be. 2003-06-28 1:21 pm Anonymous >>For me to be 100% sure that people on the receiver end can read them, i have to use “MS- Office” or a package which is 100%!!! caompatible with the standard MS is offering. << Then use RTF. It’s a MS format, but its specs are open. >>Open Office is not! I tryed to read an Excel Spreadsheet containg some macros and a pivot table; and guess what … no chance. You’re right, MS should be using open standards, but business is business …..<< I would say this depends on who needs whom. Like has been said before, if a businuess needs our company they better deal with us in an open format. Other way around, there is still the MS Windows PC next to the Apple Mac. But these are only 2 Computers out of 30. The others happily run SuSE with OOo, or as in my case Debian. And this is not an IT company, believe me. 2003-06-28 1:56 pm Anonymous If looking at the current trend, it is likely that Wine have very little chance to complete since MS keep on changing their format, compatibility etc. I’ve followed Wine for quite sometime and when the nearly got it working for some version of Windows apps., MS release another new version. This situation look keep on repeating. By the way, there are previous post that said OO is GOOD. I use it routinely at works but I definitely didn’t agree with the claim, because it is a claim fro the fanatics. There are a lot of weakness in OO other than the speed alone. The usability aspect is only about par with previous several version of MSOffice. Try deleting content of cell in OO Calc, it will present you another confirmation dialog which just wasting time. Drawing or removing border of individual cell in a table is very complicated in OO Writer. Rotating text inside table cell require extra works in OO writer. Many more problem in file opening, accessing file on remote computer, printer selection etc that not a problem in MSOffice but still the factor that reduce the productivity when using OO. I’m not in any way favouring MS product but this is the reality. My expectation is that in the near future, all this problem will be resolved so that I can easily recommend to others to use Linux and it’s office application as a better alternative to MS. 2003-06-28 4:50 pm Anonymous I actually prefer Open Office to MS Office. Open Office has some features I use a lot than MS Office must have overlooked, like import/export to csv from xls. I think most people who complain are simply too lazy to learn another application. Its not more difficult to use its just different and has a learning curve, like anything new. Once the morons get over that learning curve they won’t have any excuses why they must cost the company $250 per seat for MS licensing. 2003-06-29 1:12 am Anonymous Zealot will always say others are inferior and dumber than his liking. However this attitude is just didn’t work to mae something popular. OO or KOffice doesn’t need this kind of user to get more adoption but the improvement of functionality especially those which increase productivity. If OO and KO can give something better than MSO, the adotion rate of OSS will be faster. Majority of people not looking for capability that rarely use and most of them use application for daily works, not for fun or trying new thing. I like to try new thing but when at work, I’ve to meet certain productivity target which I can get through Linux except in the office suite area. 2003-06-29 5:05 am Anonymous That wasn’t sarcasm on Jason’s part, it was an attempt to get some outraged replys going on. If you weren’t such a jackass, you’d recognize that.