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KOffice Developers Reply to Yates 368

Posted by Zonk
from the it's-not-dead-yet dept.
danimo writes "In response to his letter to the Massachusetts administration, the KOffice team has written an open letter to Microsoft manager Alan Yates. It clarifies some false claims that Yates made, such as KOffice, StarOffice and OpenOffice.org being one codebase and that OpenDocument was thus never a real standard. Massachusetts has meanwhile adopted OpenDocument."
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KOffice Developers Reply to Yates

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  • Open FUD (Score:5, Funny)

    by gwait (179005) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:19PM (#13645469)
    Microsoft spreads Fear Uncertainty and Doubt, what a shocker!
  • by CyricZ (887944) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:20PM (#13645476)
    Why even bother with word processors these days when LaTeX is more than capable of the vast majority of document typesetting needs? It does take a bit longer to learn that Word, but everyone I know who has learned it has become far more efficient and can produce documents that are far more professional.

    • by n2rjt (88804) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:28PM (#13645515) Journal
      Well, in addition to the obvious issue about compatibility with .DOC format, it's kind of like the difference between BASIC and C++.
      Word Processors are less capable but more immediate, especially in the WYSIWYG area.
      Sure, there's LyX, and probably other semi-WYSIWYG editors for LaTeX, but it's not the same.

      When it comes to typesetting power, LaTeX wins hands down. It's like having a compiler with a full set of support libraries, compared to a simple interpreter with only the functions that came built in.

      Personally, I have never learned LaTeX, although I used to use LyX quite a bit before OpenOffice. It was in many ways better than OpenOffice, but it took me quite a while to learn how to do new things. Also, of course, I could never share documents with others at work.
      • by Q2Serpent (216415) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @03:04PM (#13645691)
        Also, of course, I could never share documents with others at work.

        I think the beauty of a text-only format like TeX and LaTeX is that you can share it with everyone. In fact, more people can make small additions to a TeX document than they can a Word document. There's also nothing for them to install, you can store the document in a revision control system and get meaningfull history (diffs), there's no hidden information [microsoft.com] inside of it, etc.
      • by gardyloo (512791) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @03:11PM (#13645732)
        Personally, I have never learned LaTeX, although I used to use LyX quite a bit before OpenOffice. It was in many ways better than OpenOffice, but it took me quite a while to learn how to do new things. Also, of course, I could never share documents with others at work.

              You might want to try the 1.3.6 version (latest stable), or, if you're adventuresome, the 1.4.0 in CVS. LyX is NOT designed for short documents, such as very quick notes or things of that nature. But it's phenomenal for long documents (several page letters, technical notes, books, theses, and, with the beamer class, even presentations which knock the crap -- admittedly not a difficult task -- out of PowerPoint).
              I suppose you meant you could never share *editable* documents with others at work. Well, LyX exports to just about every "nice" standard, including .pdf. Also, since there are now very nice LyX ports (and officially supported by the LyX team!) for Windows and ports for OS-X, it's worth another look. The learning curve is much less steep now. And, using LaTeX on the back end (ahem) virtually guarantees much nicer-looking, and consistent, documents than using even OpenOffice (which I also like quite a bit, but only for the sharing of documents with Word-crippled colleagues).
        • by PeterBrett (780946) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @04:12PM (#13646058) Homepage
          You might want to try the 1.3.6 version (latest stable), or, if you're adventuresome, the 1.4.0 in CVS. LyX is NOT designed for short documents, such as very quick notes or things of that nature. But it's phenomenal for long documents (several page letters, technical notes, books, theses, and, with the beamer class, even presentations which knock the crap -- admittedly not a difficult task -- out of PowerPoint).

          I can vouch for the power of Lyx. :) I used it to produce a 105-page technical report a month ago -- it makes section numbering and generating tables of contents & lists of figures/tables effortless, of course, but the best thing is being able to just throw figures and tables at the document and having LaTeX position them in sensible places without having to do anything. It knocks the socks off trying to do the same thing in MS Office/OpenOffice/KOffice/etc.

      • I love LyX. And I did a majority of my college papers in straight LaTeX because of its beautiful output and because I just wanted to learn it (using octave + gnuplot to make "pslatex" graphs using the beautiful LaTeX font was a colassal pain but very pretty).

        But if LaTeX does something wrong... its a pain to fix. And debugging a document is absolutely no fun. So, LyX is very nice... don't usually need to debug (unless you messed up an imported pslatex file), but has the same limitations of LaTeX where

    • by haluness (219661) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:29PM (#13645517)
      Being a LaTeX fan myself I agree with you for the most part. The problem is for some things like, say, writing a 1 page letter or memo, it is easier to pull up a word processor (in the style of Word/OO etc) and get it done with quickly.

      The other problem, as always, is some people/places requiring Word. As a graduate student I had to supply some papers in Word format. I could'nt get away with doing it in LaTeX even though Word was a pain.

      So, yes, there is a requirement for GUI based word processor, even though I think the effort required to learn LaTeX pays back a hundredfold in terms of efficiency (for anythjing more than 2 pages) and professional looking documents
      • I've used LaTeX for a few short things (there is a letter style, for example), but generally I find anything that isn't worth typesetting is better off as plain text. The one writing tool I do find invaluable is OmniGraffle. This produces a nice hierarchical structure and allows me to quickly promote and demote headings, fold up parts of my document when I'm not working on them, and generally structure my thoughts a lot better. I can then export the results as plain text, preserving the final structure,
      • The problem is for some things like, say, writing a 1 page letter or memo, it is easier to pull up a word processor (in the style of Word/OO etc) and get it done with quickly.

        Oh, come on. If typing \begin{tabular} ... is a bother, why not write a trivial bash script to prompt for the requisite To, From, Subject, etc. fields? Or use a dummy text template?

        As for the original +5 Funny comment that wordprocessors are easier to learn than LaTeX, I would point out that no one really understands the wordprocesso
    • by ettlz (639203) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:33PM (#13645541) Journal
      LaTeX is more than capable of the vast majority of document typesetting needs

      That's an understatement — TeX is Turing-complete.

      • That's an understatement -- TeX is Turing-complete.

        That's a non-statement - Postscript is also Turing-complete (for example), but neither does Turing-completeness matter when all you want to do is create good-looking text documents, nor does Turing-completeness actually say anything about the usability of a language. (Sure, there are people who write web servers in Postscript, for example, but that's just the exception that proves the rule)

        Of course, that being said, I *do* agree that TeX/LateX are cl

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:37PM (#13645560)
      c'mon man, this is stupid. I am a power user; I know LaTeX, as i used it to write down my master thesis; I really like typesetting with it, but I would never use LaTeX to write down a curriculum vitae, or a brief letter, or whatever is not larger than few pages. In fact all of these things can be done in few seconds with a quick&dirty WYSIWYG word processor (a.k.a OOWriter, or Word). LaTeX can do everything, but it's mostly suitable for long and structured documents, not for my mum's recipies. And it is not by any means easier to learn.
      • by po8 (187055) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @06:29PM (#13646761)

        The principal reasons LaTeX hasn't taken over the world are that it is almost unlearnable, and that the instant feedback of WYSIWYG is lost. I've been using LaTeX for almost 15 years, and still feel like there's a lot I don't know and can't do.

        That said, the idea that one wouldn't write letters or a CV with it is just silly. My CV and resume are in LaTeX, and it is what I write letters with. It's way easier to get a document that doesn't look like a ransom note, and to get consistent formatting with different content, with LaTeX than with a WYSIWYG word processor. Trust me: when I evaluate the horribly-formatted .doc resumes I'm always receiving from potential employees, it's a strike against them. I'd encourage everyone to explore LaTeX as time permits them.

      • Problem is editing (Score:3, Insightful)

        by elgatozorbas (783538)
        Latex is great for CV's, letters etc. Just use a template et voilla, nice output. However it is indeed NO replacement for word processors because of a few reasons:
        - afaik it was designed as a typesetting program, i.e. to give a nice PRINTED result, especially for mathematical formulas. Roughly speaking, its target group is academics (and maybe professional typesetters).
        - it is not very legible. Writing text is easy enough, but editing someone else's source is no fun (unless using an editor that recognise
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:38PM (#13645566)
      1. Learning curve.
      2. Most people will never be as productive with it as with word?
      3. Most people will try everything to avoid having to think when performing some task.

      Or... not everybody is a geek.
      LaTeX rules!
    • by aussersterne (212916) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:52PM (#13645637) Homepage
      The reason is simple. Typesetters/formatters are great for generating splendid output. But most people never produce a hardcopy (or any "final" output) for 90% of their documents. Instead, their documents are workplaces for organizing ideas, bascially pseudo-database records in a filing system stored in their "My Documents" folder.

      In short, the vast majority of word processor use is for manipulating, organizing, and retrieving text-based data in a format rapidly parsable by human eyes as part of a workflow or thought process.

      For such things, LaTeX, troff, or any other text formatter... sucks. In fact, it isn't even appropriate for the task.

      But you're right, if you just want nicely structured, rendered output in hardcopy or PDF, you can't beat 'em.
      • In short, the vast majority of word processor use is for manipulating, organizing, and retrieving text-based data in a format rapidly parsable by human eyes as part of a workflow or thought process.

        For such things, LaTeX, troff, or any other text formatter... sucks. In fact, it isn't even appropriate for the task.

        Neither is Word. The appropriate program for such things is WordPad (in Windows world) or gedit (in Gnome world). Word is too complex, and its many features get in the way and become distracti

        • by aussersterne (212916) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @03:28PM (#13645838) Homepage
          Um, except gedit/wordpad don't offer tables, formulas, styles, graphics, or fields pulled from a database. Most geeks on /. work in technical environments where the bulk of work is either code or networks or research.

          In the office world (i.e. the other 90% of the globe) the need to work with highly structured documents both visibly and rapidly on an ongoing basis is extreme, and Word/Excel are actually a very good fit indeed.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Word is not a word processor, but something for "manipulating, organizing, and retrieving text-based data in a format rapidly parsable by human eyes as part of a workflow or thought process"?! That's one of the most abstruse excuses for MS Word I think I've ever read. Maybe I would understand it better if you could render that statement with multiple fonts, had access to character kerning, and did some kind of multi-level outline.

        Most people use Word to gratuitously format specious documents that they cap
        • Most people use Word to gratuitously format specious documents that they capriciously attach to emails, when a simple bit of text would do. And by most, I mean like 90%. The other 9% are printing clipart flyers on poster paper to advertise their pet avocation on a light pole. 1% of folks are creating paper forms and such which will continue to be required until such time as 100% of our population is connected and computer literate.

          I'm sorry, but this is just bullshit and makes me think you've never worked o
    • by Coryoth (254751) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:55PM (#13645654) Homepage Journal
      Why even bother with word processors these days when LaTeX is more than capable of the vast majority of document typesetting needs? It does take a bit longer to learn that Word, but everyone I know who has learned it has become far more efficient and can produce documents that are far more professional.

      This is, quite simply, a remarkably stupid comment. I use LaTeX. For pretty much all my documents and presentations. I write my own document classes. Previously I have written LaTeX document classes reproducing the format of company Word and Powerpoint templates so I could produce my documents and presentations in LaTeX instead of MS Office - and yes, I did get that cleared with marketing. I am quite intimately familiar with all the power, flexibility and benefits that LaTeX has to offer. The fact remains that word processors are remarkably fast efficient and easy to use and entirely suitable for the majority of users. Most of the real benefits of LaTeX simply aren't of sufficient importance for most casual and business needs to bother - and it's not like word processors these days don't have their on benefits (usually relating to integration with the rest of an "Office Suite" package.

      LaTeX is truly wonderful, and if you know how then by all means use it. But don't pretend that it's a replacement for a word processor - they are really filling different niches, and have quite different areas at which they excel, and at which they are weak. The right tool for the job and all that.

      Jedidiah.

    • why is this modded funny? it's TRUE. i use LaTeX pretty much exclusively: it writes lovely lab reports, proposals, resumes, and papers. I write technical stuff in it, but i also do "normal" stuff like research papers: if for nothing else than i love the font, i love the autobibliography, and i love being able to make sexy looking documents over a ssh tunnel running your favorite text editor.
    • This is not funny, it's true.
    • Remember that a majority of office workers (was it 67%?) that use office suites get mixed up between kilobytes and megabytes. They find it confusing...

      And you would ask them to use LaTeX?
  • Yay! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Descalzo (898339) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:21PM (#13645479) Journal
    I wish my organization would switch to some kind of inexpensive standard. We are starting to feel pressure from problems caused by running different versions of Word, or upgrading from OS9 to OSX and wishing they could take their license with them (without running in classic mode), or some people don't think it's worth the money to switch from AppleWorks (which sucks, by the way) to Word, and then we have to try to read documents in ClarisWorks (which also sucks) format in Word and vice-versa, and we are getting SICK OF IT! And I only work in an elementary school!
    • Hey! Back when I was in elementary school, ClarisWorks was good. The only reason AppleWorks (which is the same program, just renamed) sucks now is that Apple abandoned it five years ago.
    • Re:Yay! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tmj0001 (704407)
      I am amazed they have the gall to suggest it might be illegal to specify a format they don't choose to support. It is as if they were a manufacturer of nuts and bolts, that only made non-standard sizes. Then along comes a buyer who specifies that all future nuts and bolts must conform to the published standards - and they think they are being discriminated against. As soon as the standard formats are more widely used, many new and original applications will appear, both proprietary and open-source.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:22PM (#13645483)
    This is ridiculous. They are trying to establish a monopoly on the word processor market, even enforcing a standard upon people so they are restricted to their products. Heed my words, and use Microsoft Word instead.

    Alan Yates.
  • by Janek Kozicki (722688) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:24PM (#13645493) Journal
    Dear Mr Yates,
    [...]
    You can also write to the KOffice mailing list and ask your questions there.

    I can't wait to see his flames on the mailing list!
  • by CyricZ (887944) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:26PM (#13645503)
    In Massachusetts, is it considered criminal to mislead the government or the administration in such a fashion? Could legal action be taken against Microsoft based on these blatantly false claims (ie. that KOffice is directly derived from StarOffice) that were presented to the administration as fact?

    • Even if it was illegal, I seriously doubt anyone in their government would ever follow up on it. Massachusetts may be tired of Microsoft and ready for freedom, but I doubt that they're zealously trying to destroy the company.
      • Making them spend some time in court for deliberately falsifying information about their own products and a competitors' would be worthwhile in itself, particularly considering it was a State government they were lying to.
  • Like a stuck pig (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:26PM (#13645509) Journal
    Why is it that despite the enormous popularity of MS Office, Microsoft squeals like a stuck pig when someone (usually a government organization) chooses a competitor or a competing file format? No one else does that - everyone else learns from it and goes back to make their product better so they can win in future. Only Microsoft whines when they lose. It's not that they CANNOT incorporate OASIS into MS Office. It also seems a bit hypocritical when they moan about OASIS only effectively being supported by one product, when their own formats can at the moment only legally be supported by Microsoft thanks to their patents.
    • It's called "hypocrisy" and it isn't limited only to Microsoft. But they certainly do a lot of squealing, that's for sure.
    • Re:Like a stuck pig (Score:4, Interesting)

      by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:49PM (#13645624) Homepage
      Microsoft has managed to convince the masses that their operating system and their office suite are the "normal" (i.e. regular, non-weird, default) way of doing things. Therefore, when someone uses something other than Microsoft, Microsoft's marketing has them convinced that their is something strange about that practice. To use anything other than Microsoft for normal day-to-day computing amounts to "singling Microsoft out" and punishing them. Why? Because that's the "normal" software, and why wouldn't you use it, unless you had a beef with MS?

      I'm not saying this is true. I doubt even Microsoft thinks it's true. However, as long as the masses are convinced of it, Microsoft will use/abuse this for marketing and PR. Every time someone uses Linux or OOo, Microsoft will paint them as fanatics and crazy people, out to get Microsoft.

    • There are plenty of apps that work with MS Office formats. They've all paid the license fees, and are presumably covered under NDAs or similar things. Wordperfect; the wordprocessor from Apple, and others. They "just" can't be open.
    • by WindBourne (631190) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @03:21PM (#13645784) Journal
      Because, MS will be the first to tell you that they nickel and dimed their competition until they had the 2 monopolies. Every time, that they won an item, the competition looked the other way. MS is not doing that. Linux (and OSS in general) is a very real threat to them, unlike apple, Word Perfect, old Novell, etc.

      Once MS had the 2 monopolies, they owned the market. But if they lose just one of the 2, they will lose the other quickly. Basically, they must maintain both, or risk losing all.
    • It's because if there are obvious competitors with well-known clients, they can no longer force un-important upgrades on users at their whim -- they need to plan them, market them, and make them worthwhile.

      If they have a monopoly, or a near-monopoly with no real competition, then they can do what they want. As soon as there's a real competitor, they need to actually compete. There's generally less money when you have to actually compete.

    • Re:Like a stuck pig (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Rimbo (139781)
      Business is about getting as much as possible for as little effort as possible. In such an environment, if you can get and keep the world for the cost of just a little whining, why wouldn't you? If it were less expensive for Microsoft to make their product better, they'd do that instead.

      In the business universe, Word/Excel/Powerpoint is the de facto standard. If you don't have access to these formats, you're going to have trouble working with others.

      This is why Firefox is a true success. It has changed
  • More for PR (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ndogg (158021) <the...rhorn@@@gmail...com> on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:31PM (#13645523) Homepage Journal
    This seems more for PR than for getting a response from Microsoft.

    I understand your worries, but fortunately I am able to put your mind to rest: KOffice is in fact not related to StarOffice or OpenOffice. It is a completely separate product, and a very fine one at that. One of our team members, David Faure, was an active party in the creation of the OASIS OpenDocument standard, and KOffice was the first office suite that publicly announced support for it.


    Translated: Don't listen to Yates. We can assure you that KOffice is its own entity that is in no way shape or form a derivative of OOo.

    It's not a bad thing, though. There are certainly people stupid enough to believe a letter sent by Microsoft would have no agenda. This, at least, sets the record straight for all the world to see.
  • by geminidomino (614729) * on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:32PM (#13645529) Journal
    They say it's "illegal" to standardize on OpenDocument and back that up with the (false) claim that the tools that support it are from a single codebase.

    All so they can convince the Mass. gov't to use their own single codebase "standard."
    • Microsoft pulls stuff like this all the time. In fact, it is their entire business strategy, and has been since the founding of the company. The only thing that's surprising is how they manage to get away with it most of the time.
  • by Osrin (599427) * on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:33PM (#13645537) Homepage
    ... one of the first things that they teach you is that if somebody calls you an idiot, then duck the response. Don't stand up and loudly proclaim that you're not an idiot, you'll make a headline out of it.

    KOffice, or anybody else for that matter would probably have better served their cause by not responding at all to this.
    • by Homology (639438) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:44PM (#13645601)
      ... one of the first things that they teach you is that if somebody calls you an idiot, then duck the response. Don't stand up and loudly proclaim that you're not an idiot, you'll make a headline out of it.

      KOffice, or anybody else for that matter would probably have better served their cause by not responding at all to this.

      KOffice team quite simply pointed out a false statements made by a Microsoft executive about their applications, and in the process they grab some good PR as well. I think they payed better attention to the PR course than you did ;-)

    • by mrchaotica (681592) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:47PM (#13645612)
      Calling somebody an idiot is an opinion. I agree that it's dumb to stand up and try to defend yourself against an opinion.

      However, Microsoft's claim that KOffice was the same code as StarOffice wasn't an opinion. It was a false statement of fact, or in other words, a blatant lie. How is it a bad idea for the KOffice people to stand up and say "no, you are blatantly lying (to the government, no less!) to serve your own interests?"

      You know, if it weren't for the facts that computer issues are hard for people to understand and that Microsoft is part of the media, I would think that people would be shouting "Microsoft hates Freedom! Microsoft hates America!" right about now -- and they'd be right!
    • The idiot here is Yates; and, you are right: he will probably not respond to avoid making this more of an embarrassment than it already is.

      But the KOffice team has to get the facts out. MA really does need to know that KOffice is an independent codebase. MA should also know that the argument made by Yates is based on faulty data and weigh his arguments accordingly.
  • by CyricZ (887944) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:33PM (#13645542)
    Wallin made statements like:

    "KOffice is the most comprehensive of all office suites in existence, comprising no less than 11 different components in one well-integrated package."

    Is it really, though? I mean, it's one thing to have 11 different components. But it's another to have all those components working well. While the very core KOffice applications like KWord are acceptable, some of the other components aren't exactly the most usable. To declare KOffice as being "the most comprehensive" office suite might be somewhat incorrect.

    "Last, but not least: Within a year, KOffice will likely run on Windows as well."

    This could be a very dangerous thing to claim. Let us say that in a year, KOffice is not running on Windows. This claim has now left the KOffice team in a very difficult position. They have no choice now but to include support for Windows within a year. Otherwise Microsoft and others could point to this letter as being a work of deception.

    I commend Wallin for attempting to set the record straight regarding the claim that KOffice was derived from StarOffice, but perhaps some of the claims are going a bit too far.

    • koffice and every KDE program is built on top of QT which is platform independent and kdelibs which are not. Once they get kdelibs ported everything else is not a problem.
      • But that's just it. They still have to get kdelibs ported. That won't necessarily be an easy task, let alone one that can be finished within a year. Besides, they'll have to use QT 4, as it is the first recent release of QT with a GPL edition for Windows. While it probably can be done eventually, to suggest that it will be done within a year is setting unreasonable goals for the project. And it is especially unwise to put such potentially misleading statements in an open letter which is denouncing a rival f
    • This could be a very dangerous thing to claim. Let us say that in a year, KOffice is not running on Windows. This claim has now left the KOffice team in a very difficult position. They have no choice now but to include support for Windows within a year. Otherwise Microsoft and others could point to this letter as being a work of deception.

      I think they are just waiting for both QT4 & KDE 4 before doing a complete port. Ports using Cygwin and Colinux are being worked on in the meantime.

      • I think they are just waiting for both QT4 & KDE 4 before doing a complete port. Ports using Cygwin and Colinux are being worked on in the meantime.

        I don't doubt that a port could be done eventually. My problem with the statement is that they're saying it could be done within a year. Frankly, I think that's just as misleading as the statements from Microsoft.

        Will QT 4 and KDE 4 be ported to Windows within a year? It's very possible that they (specifically KDE 4) won't be, or at least KDE 4 won't be in a
    • by Angostura (703910) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:53PM (#13645642)
      You have greatly under-estimated the power of the word "likely".
    • by manyoso (260664) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:58PM (#13645664) Homepage
      You may argue Inge's usage of the word 'comprehensive', but he plainly spelt out his _intended_ usage. Thus any claim that he was trying to mislead is, in itself, misleading.

      As for Inge's statement that KOffice will likely run on Windows within a year. This is not a statement of courage. It is an entirely reasonable and obvious assumption. Plans are afoot as we speak to do just that. KOffice, much as all of KDE, will be ported to Qt4. Qt4 is now GPL'd on Windows. The internals of kdelibs are being redesigned to acknowledge this fact and allow us to target non-X11 desktops.

      KOffice will be coming to Windows/Mac OSX desktops in the near-to-mid future.
      • I come from an era where a product suite was not considered "comprehensive" just because it had some (possibly non-functioning) portion of code written for a large number of smaller, unoriginal programs. The programs each have to work, at least to the point of being equivalent in functionality to competing products, in order for the suite to be considered "comprehensive". While KOffice is getting there, I wouldn't go around and publically label it as "the most comprehensive" suite just because it has the ba
        • There's a huge difference between "likely" and "will." The latter is a promise, but the former is just an expression of hope, and therefore isn't misleading at all.
          • This was the wrong time and situation to express such "hope". It could very well be taken to be a misleading statement. And in this situation, it could very well provide Microsoft and others with material to use against the open source movement as a whole.

            I can see it now:
            "In September of 2005 it was claimed by KOffice representatives that their product would likely be running on Windows within a year. It is now March of 2007, and there is still no functional port available. The open source community makes
    • Comprehensive simply means it has a wide scope, or is composed of many elements. I'm pretty sure KOffice does indeed have the most tools (Word processor, spreadsheet, presentation software, database, charting, vector graphics, raster graphics, project management, charts, formulas, reports..). MS Office has most of those, but afaik it doesn't have a dedicated vector or raster graphics program just yet. Whether or not KOffice's components are as powerful as those in other suites is a different matter...
      • Yes, but in the world of software one would also expect such a "comprehensive" suite to consist of numerous programs that actually work. Like I said, the KWord program works well. KCalc is okay. I've run into numerous problems with Kugar and Kivio and Karbon 14. Yes, they're there in some form, but they're not always usable. And I don't think it's responsible for the KOffice project to go around claiming they're the "most comprehensive" office suite if only a small portion of the programs in their suite are
  • by Feneric (765069) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:34PM (#13645551) Homepage

    I'm still amazed that Microsoft is acting like this is a sudden event. The tide in Massachusetts has been turning this way for a long time. Didn't they wonder about Massachusetts being the only state that didn't cave in and settle in the MS monopoly case? Didn't they wonder about the ramifications of the Massachusetts "Open Source Software Trough" when it was first instituted some years ago? Didn't they see the writing on the wall in local Massachusetts community sites like Saugus.net [saugus.net] that have been promoting free software [saugus.net] and open standards since the '90s? Haven't they noticed that recent Massachusetts-based projects (like the local Teaching American History Grant participation [saugus.ma.us] have been embracing open standards?

    Wake up Microsoft. This shouldn't be a surprise. What's more, other states have been following Massachusetts' example regarding the open source trough, so I expect that they may also take a good hard look at what's happening here now.

  • by RoLi (141856) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:39PM (#13645572)
    ... would be if Apple would support OpenDocument.

    Does anybody know wether there are plans by Apple?

    • Apple would have to provide the products, and would probably irritate Microsoft enough to drop their Office for Mac suite. But it might not be a bad idea at this point in time.
    • I don't know what Apple's plans might be, but it's certainly an idea I'd support.

      I wonder, however, how difficult it would be to create a stand-alone transformation package. Pages uses XML. OpenDocument uses XML. There are XML Transformation tools out there. Someone only need describe the transform, and you should be all set.

      I really don't understand Microsoft's attitude on this one. Their reasoning for not implementing OpenDocument in Office just isn't sound. Sure, there may be areas where Microsof

      • Microsoft's attitude is actually really easy to understand here. Feature-wise, office doesn't have anywhere easy to go. The free software office suites are pretty close to caught up with office. Once they get totally caught up, there will only be two things that set MS office apart from it's competitors. Its better compatibility with .doc files, and its big price tag. If something besides .doc becomes the standard, then the only thing that makes Office special is the fact that it costs hundreds of dollars.
    • Well, I don't know about Apple, but I do know there's a Mac office suite ported from OpenOffice.org, so it should support the OpenDocument format. It's called NeoOffice/J and it can be found here. [neooffice.org]
  • by Comatose51 (687974) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:46PM (#13645608) Homepage
    The Microsoft Office formats themselves aren't that great. I work at a investment company which relies heavily on Excel. Over the years they've been using a few spreadsheets that has been around since Office 2000 at least. When we upgraded again to Office 2003, we had a few sheets exhibiting really, really strange behavior such the sheets wouldn't update unless you do a cut and paste first. We ended up having to simply rebuild those sheets cell by cell in Excel 2003. Once that was done, everything was many times faster and no more strange behaviors. The resulting file was also many times smaller. If we had access to those formats, at least we could have looked at it and see what was going on.

    Some of the traders have become so annoyed by the degree of control Microsoft has over what an user can do that they joke, "Microsoft is trying to protect me from myself again".

    • The Microsoft Office formats themselves aren't that great. I work at a investment company which relies heavily on Excel. Over the years they've been using a few spreadsheets that has been around since Office 2000 at least. When we upgraded again to Office 2003, we had a few sheets exhibiting really, really strange behavior such the sheets wouldn't update unless you do a cut and paste first. We ended up having to simply rebuild those sheets cell by cell in Excel 2003. Once that was done, everything was many
  • by amigabill (146897) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:49PM (#13645623)
    This is the first I've seen of Yates' letter from Microsoft. He makes some points, and I'm curious to know how their own format compares.

    How many different applications from different vendors already support the MS XML format? How does this number compare to the OpenDocument number?

    OpenDocument will be usable on a number of CPU and OS platforms. How many CPU and OS platforms will be supported by MS's own XML format? (I use a Solaris workstation at work and do not myself have access to a Windows PC until I get home, at which point I'm not "working" anymore)

    How long ago was MS's own XML standard finalized? And how widely is it in current use today? (I honestly don't know either since MS tools don't run onmy workstation at work, and I don't do this sort of thing at home to be worth buying their stuff myself) Has this been long and wide enough to "prove itself" in comparison to how long and wide OpenDocument's use has been to date?

    If MS is losing business due to the choice of standard, why does MS not implement this open standard in their own product?

    What are the costs involved with implementing MS's own XML format for 3rd party vendors in their tools such as OpenOffice, KOffice, etc?

    MS seems to dictate what capabilities are required for "modern documents". Surely the committee that decided on OpenDocument knew what their own needs are and will be, and could determine if OpenDocument's capabilities were suitable?

  • by martin-k (99343) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:56PM (#13645661) Homepage
    The upcoming release of TextMaker 2005 [softmaker.com] -- currently in public beta [softmaker.com] supports OpenDocument, too. And nobody ever accused us of using any OpenOffice.org or StarOffice code ... :-)

    Martin Kotulla
    SoftMaker Software GmbH

    • then please announce it. The sooner that you announce it LOUDLY, the less hot air that MS and their allies will spew.

      I would love to see Corel, Lotus and other commercials not only support it, but announce it. That will cause just about every major company to look at switching, and a number will switch. All that is needed, is an open source program that will convert from MS to OASIS format. But it should be very open so that as one group learns, it can enhance the convertor.
    • by renoX (11677)
      You support Open document as read only, I've seen on the internet with maybe an export filter sometimes later.
      Now I understand that an export filter is difficult/expensive to make but claiming that you support a file format while you support it read only is a marketing lie if I ever saw one.
  • by WhiteWolf666 (145211) <sherwinNO@SPAMamiran.us> on Sunday September 25, 2005 @02:58PM (#13645666) Homepage Journal
    Put up or shutup.

    Yes, right now, there are only 5 applications that support OpenDocument.

    Yes, right now, those applications do not have a lot of marketshare.

    Pray tell: How many applications support MS Office Open XML?
    How much marketshare do those applications have?

    Oh, thats right, the answer it 0, and 0.

    OpenDocument will always be better supported, and right now, OpenDocument has more marketshare.

    Will this change with the release of Office 12? Maybe-- My guess is all your customers will continue to use DOC.

    Will this change with the adoption of OpenDocument by the European Union, and various governmental organizations in the U.S.? Absolutely. You *do* realize that much of the economic activity in Europe requires working with the government.

    Microsoft itself will be forced to submit documents to the EU in ISO-approved OpenDocument. Hilariously, Microsoft will have to use OpenOffice.org to do so.
    • Microsoft itself will be forced to submit documents to the EU in ISO-approved OpenDocument. Hilariously, Microsoft will have to use OpenOffice.org to do so.

      Or they can use another product with a similar codebase, such as KOffice :).

      And no, I didn't read the article.

  • in the land of reality tv, why should any F/OSS group be admonished for using the MS media machine to advertise. This was so blatantly sarcastic that I laughed. Offering Yates a link to the KOffice website is hilarious!! I don't think anyone could have called him stupid any more pointedly and not used the word stupid or one of its synonyms.

    This kind of media circus brings attention to the KOffice products, and hopefully to other F/OSS offerings. There literally are people that don't know what is available,
  • I'm a hardcore KDE user and have been since the K stood for "Kool" (in fact, I remember the original project announcement page).

    I Konqueror for my web browsing, KMail for my email, etc., and love the application+desktop integration. My one bugaboo is that I still can't use KWord to produce nice output, because it gets the character spacing wrong with TrueType fonts.

    Has anyone else experienced this? It's been this way since the first time I tried KWord; the letter sizes and spacings are simply uneven compare
    • I haven't run into this issue with KWord using CUPS/GIMP-Print on Slackware 10.1 and KDE 3.4.2 with an Epson Stylus Photo 925 printer. My kids had to create a "newspaper" layout (11" x 17", 4-column, .75" margin, etc.) for English class and the type turned out fine. KWord did a great job, though I bumped into one or two problems. The first was not being able to anchor a sub-frame to a header or footer frame. The second was with KChart, which has ZERO support for non-color charts. It doesn't do pattern
      • I use CUPS. Basically I use a default Fedora Core install with KDE+KOffice. This problem has been there now since at least RH8 (i.e. through RH9, FC1, FC2, and FC3). I don't need a document, I just need to select the "Arial" or "Times New Roman" fonts and print out their name in 12-pt normal as the only word in the document. In just one word, it's already obvious--some letters touch each other, while others have gaps between them.

        It's not "obvious" per se, until you compare it to the same words printed out
        • As a side note, you can also see it on the screen. I just started KWord and typed the word "text" and it's visible; the 't' and the 'e' are touching and the 'x' and the 't' are touching, yet there's a big gap in the middle. It almost looks as if I'd typed:

          te xt

          But I didn't. 'Arial' looks as if I'd typed:

          Aria l

          Neither is quite as exaggerated as they'll appear here with an actual space character in them, but again, it's really obvious when compared to other Linux word processors.
  • Beware, the evil web PDF! Here is the full text of Alan Yates' letter, in good ol' HTML. And yes, it is a very long letter.

    -------

    September 8, 2005

    BY ELECTRONIC MAIL AND OVERNIGHT DELIVERY

    Secretary Eric Kriss
    Executive Office for Administration & Finance
    State House, Room 373
    Boston MA 02133

    Mr. Peter Quinn
    Chief Information Officer/Director
    Information Technology Division
    200 Arlington Street
    Chelsea, MA 02150

    Re: Proposed Revisions to Information Domain-Enterprise Technical Reference Model

  • by Lost+Found (844289) on Sunday September 25, 2005 @03:24PM (#13645807)
    I bet that Microsoft already has most if not all of the code laying around to implement OpenDocument. They'll claim not to support it, of course, in an attempt to kill it so that they can use their Microsoft XML format to put open source office tools in check. (Indeed, Microsoft's vast Windows monopoly in the enterprise is increasingly reliant on their Office monopoly). Assuming Massachusetts isn't the last state to standardize on OpenDocument, though, Office will support it. And I'm sure they'll be ready to play the standard 3 E's - embrace, extend (meaning the open source tools will mysteriously crash / improperly render Office-produced OpenDocument files), and extinguish.

    You could call the Massachusetts decision a victory, and I think it is certainly deserving. Just know that Microsoft isn't as dumb as many people seem to think -- you better bet they're prepared to launch their next volley.

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