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Forrester Research Shows Steep Decline in Free Office Suite Stats 337

Posted by timothy
from the file-formats-rule-the-world dept.
An anonymous reader writes that although many Linux users (and others) are at home with OpenOffice and LibreOffice, typical organizations are as addicted as ever to MS office formats. In 2011 13% of organizations had OpenOffice variants installed on some computers. Today that number has dipped to 5% according to Forrester Research. ... The poll included [shows totals] over 100% as many organizations have multiple versions of offices installed. Also surprising, Office 2003 is alive kicking and screaming as almost 1/3 of companies and governments still use it even though EOL for Office 2003 ends with XP on the same date! The good news is online cloud-based platforms are gaining traction with Google Docs and Office 365 which are not so tied to Windows on the client."
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Forrester Research Shows Steep Decline in Free Office Suite Stats

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  • Office 365 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sarten-X (1102295) on Sunday October 20, 2013 @07:13PM (#45183873) Homepage

    So to avoid locking our data into a Windows-only proprietary format, we'll lock it into a Windows-centric Microsoft-owned cloud? Oh yeah, that's going to work much better.

    • Re:Office 365 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by OhANameWhatName (2688401) on Sunday October 20, 2013 @07:16PM (#45183895)

      So to avoid locking our data into a Windows-only proprietary format, we'll lock it into a Windows-centric Microsoft-owned proprietary format cloud? Oh yeah, that's going to work much better.

      FTFY

    • Re:Office 365 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MightyYar (622222) on Sunday October 20, 2013 @07:38PM (#45184103)

      As a practical matter, you are "locked in" to whatever Office program you use - online or otherwise. OpenOffice is free and open source, but unless you use it company-wide, you will have compatibility issues with whatever the next guy uses. For instance, if you bring your presentation to the conference room and they don't have OpenOffice installed, then you will have problems (yes, you can use PDF but that has limitations for presentations). Yes, there is no excuse for not installing a free program - except that you may not have Admin rights on the machine or other IT issues.

      At home we tried to use OpenOffice (actually LibreOffice) exclusively. We struggled, mostly with PowerPoint, but also with Word formatting glitches when collaborating. In the end, I sucked it up and loaded MS Office. My wife simply has to be compatible with the rest of the world - same reason I keep one functioning Windows box around. I can RDP into work, so I don't have that need.

      • Yes, there is no excuse for not installing a free program

        I don't want to install java on my mac so that is my reason for not installing libreoffice...

        • by 0123456 (636235)

          I don't want to install java on my mac so that is my reason for not installing libreoffice...

          You, uh, do realise that Libreoffice doesn't need Java, right?

          No, clearly you don't.

          • Well, maybe you can tell it to stop nagging me about java when I run it every time.

            • by MightyYar (622222)

              I'm too lazy to test this, since I'd have to uninstall Java, but I'm pretty sure you can just shut off the Java stuff in Preferences -> LibreOffice -> Advanced -> Use a Java Runtime Environment.

      • When did you last try out of curiosity?

        I had some issues (yes Powerpoint mostly) early on but nothing in the last 2 years or so.
        Everything just opens and saves perfectly.

        • by MightyYar (622222)

          About a week ago :)

          Made sure everything was up to date. Two problems prompted the MS Office install:
          1) There was an annoying problem where we would fix the slide formatting, save the file in PPT format, and everything would look fine. Then we would re-open the file from the PPT and the text would all be off the edge of the slide. Saving and loading it in the native format was fine, so I think it was a problem with the PPT exporter. Unfortunately this needed to go on a USB stick for a presentation on a fixed

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        That seems silly. I use libre office and if the document needs to travel simply do it in the doc format, one that very early version of M$ Office can open. In fact I achieve greater compatibility by doing that rather than using the latest versions of M$ Office as that can create enormous problems and confusion with earlier version of M$ Office because of people expecting compatibility that is missing. So internal only documents are in open office format and external documents are in M$ Office format/early

      • by antdude (79039)

        Ditto. Even Office 2000 SR3 with its 2007 compatibility pack does way better than the free Office suites. They can't even open password protected docx files which happens once in a while from other people. :(

      • by greg1104 (461138)

        To be fair, even being a fully paying Microsoft lock-in customer doesn't always eliminate this problem. Try to collaborate when one person has Office 2003 and the other Office 2010. Mix in Office 2011 for Mac if you want to make things really interesting. You'll see the same class of formatting glitches as moving between Office and [Open|Libre]Office. You have to exactly match Office version, platform, and sometimes even installed fonts to make collaboration seamless, even when you only have Office to d

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 20, 2013 @07:20PM (#45183929)

    I don't think that's the full reason for the decline, but it didn't help. At first we were pushing Open Office at work, and then one day we had to start pushing Libre Office. So, people would say "What's wrong with Open Office?" and then you say "It's complicated... blah blah blah." And then they say "Okay, we'll just use regular Microsoft Office then."

    • by danbuter (2019760)
      Yep. Not to mention you also have to define what Libre means in the first place. The idiots who renamed Open Office should all be smacked.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by JohnVanVliet (945577)

        seeing as Oracle was going to CLOSE SOURCE "OpenOffice" and "make available" a LITE free version

        everyone ( almost) at OO quit and moved to LibreOffice

      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        The idiots who renamed Open Office should all be smacked.

        Do you have a better suggestion for a name? I'm sure they all sat around agonizing over what to name the thing when this happened, and LibreOffice was probably the best they could come up with that didn't sound completely stupid.

    • "It's complicated, but if you want, you can just think of it as a name change; under the hood, it's still pretty much the same thing."
    • by Grishnakh (216268) on Sunday October 20, 2013 @08:48PM (#45184559)

      Well you can blame that whole debacle on Oracle. As another responder said, they were going to close-source OpenOffice and only have some shitty "lite" version for Free, and as a result, all the devs quit and forked the project. This isn't a bad thing, it's one of the big strengths of open-source software: if some shithead gets control of the project (e.g., Oracle or David Dawes) and does something unacceptable, other interested parties can fork the code and continue development instead of having to start from scratch. The only downside is they can't forcibly take over the name, so they have to come up with a new name, which may or may not be as catchy or memorable. "LibreOffice" is a little odd-sounding to the ears of an English speaker, but can you come up with anything better?

      • by Rockoon (1252108)

        "LibreOffice" is a little odd-sounding to the ears of an English speaker, but can you come up with anything better?

        StillOpenOffice

      • by David Gerard (12369) <slashdot&davidgerard,co,uk> on Monday October 21, 2013 @03:24AM (#45186137) Homepage

        Not quite. The Oracle-paid devs stayed working at Oracle (until they fired them all six months later), but most of the non-Oracle and non-IBM contributors got up and left - that is, the people who'd spent ten years giving OpenOffice [wikipedia.org] a public reputation at all. Then Oracle threw it to IBM to do Apache OpenOffice [wikipedia.org], which is ridiculously behind in development (and is now wondering on its mailing list how on earth it can actually get any outside developers interested). (AOO partisans will deny both points, but those links are to the Wikipedia articles, which have ridiculous quantities of citations to this effect.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 20, 2013 @07:26PM (#45183991)

    This isn't really a survey of businesses, just people who buy Forrester Research products.. I wouldn't say it's a representative sample of much of anything.

    • by mspohr (589790) on Sunday October 20, 2013 @07:32PM (#45184037)

      Good point... this is a survey of 155 Forrester clients. People who are Forrester clients are the dinosaurs of the business world. They have to pay Forrester to get a clue. I wouldn't put much stock in these numbers.
      (Interesting that the article shows 13% use Google Docs... maybe that's where all the users went.)

    • by asmkm22 (1902712) on Sunday October 20, 2013 @09:42PM (#45184855)

      None of my clients use open source software, and it has nothing to do with Forrester.

      The fact is, if your business is in an industry where you have to share or read documents that other people send to you (such as anything in contracting, law, real estate, medical, etc), then you kind of have to stick with Microsoft Office. The free stuff just doesn't do a very good job of reading doc and docx formats (and spreadsheets are unusable if they have any macros in them). Yes, a company *could* go with free software and just take a little extra time with formatting and training, and it wouldn't be an issue for most of what they do.

      But why bother? It's just easier and cheaper for them to buy Office and move on with actual work. For that to change, entire industries would have to change, or at least the biggest players in the industries would.

      • by raymorris (2726007) on Monday October 21, 2013 @01:07AM (#45185697)

        A very minor not pick - the standard for law is Word Perfect. You said "share or read documents that other people send to you (such as anything in contracting, law, real estate, medical, etc)".

        More significant is the claim "share or READ". I've found that LibreOffice is MORE reliable for reading files from various versions of MS Office then MS Office itself is. For collaborative editing, sending a complex document back and forth, sure you'd want to both use the same version of the same software, if you forgot that much better collaborative platforms are available, such as Google Docs.

            For collaboration, working on the same document via Google docs really works better than emailing different versions around and changes. That actually leaves a pretty narrow set of circumstances for which MS Office is actually the best choice. You realize that when a newer version of Word comes out that doesn't handle your existing Word 200x format documents properly.

  • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Sunday October 20, 2013 @07:29PM (#45184013)

    Office 2003 is alive kicking and screaming as almost 1/3 of companies and governments still use it

    I still use Microsoft Office 2003 and the reasons are simple:

    - It works. Creating a document today isn't any different today than it was in 2003 or 1983. You type stuff onto a page. I have yet to encounter a situation where Office 2003 can't do exactly what I need. Newer versions of Office simply add extra bloat.

    - Microsoft's god awful "ribbon" which has rendered all newer versions of Office unusable.

    - Office 2003 has none of Microsoft's "activation" bullshit.

    • by Goody (23843) on Sunday October 20, 2013 @07:33PM (#45184055) Journal

      I hated the ribbon at first, but it's actually quite usable once you get accustomed to it. I still think the classic menu is more efficient from a UI standpoint, but saying the ribbon makes Office unusable is unfair.

      • by Morpf (2683099) on Sunday October 20, 2013 @07:40PM (#45184123)

        You may call me unfair from now on.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Billly Gates (198444)

          I find using Office without the ribbon unusable. I can't find where anything is at now.

          Does that mean menus are inferior? No. It means I got used to a different way of doing them.

          Now if you want to argue that I am stupid and do not know how to use a menu I would like to point out I have used Office since the 3.1 days and knew it fairly well before 2008 when my brain still reserved these things in memory as it was important to remember. I also remember hating the hiding function in office 2003 where you had

          • by ohieaux (2860669) on Sunday October 20, 2013 @09:13PM (#45184707)

            I find using Office without the ribbon unusable. I can't find where anything is at now.

            Does that mean menus are inferior? No. It means I got used to a different way of doing them.

            Sorry, but after 5+ years of dealing with the ribbon I still regularly use Google to find out how to do something I know I could do in Office. Many of the functions in tools like Excel are not easily found behind the limited ribbon.

            This whole ribbon thing was the start of a bad trend. From Unity to Metro, this dumbing down of the interface to the 3rd grade level shows how organizations see their customers.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Blakey Rat (99501)

        saying the ribbon makes Office unusable is unfair.

        This is Slashdot. Just be glad he didn't say "the ribbon caused Hitler".

        "Bitching about Microsoft technologies you obviously haven't even used" is basically the default post here.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Don't be silly. The ribbon IS Hitler.

      • I've never used the ribbon, and have no opinion on it. However, it's my understanding that it takes a fair amount of time to learn how to use it properly. Now in business, time is money and unless you can show that the time spent learning how to use the ribbon is worth what it costs, most companies aren't going to change.
        • by norite (552330)

          That is true. The ribbon is cumbersome and it has certainly slowed me down. The main problem for me is the tools are now hidden behind tabs, so you're constantly click, click clicking your way across to find what you need (apart from web browsers, I really hate tabs). I much prefer to have ALL my toolbars laid out in front of me, and they're static. Add to the fact that there is no standard 'File Edit View' style, then you're stuck with having to try and memorise each ribbon for each different program.

          I got

      • by ShakaUVM (157947) on Sunday October 20, 2013 @09:40PM (#45184843) Homepage Journal

        >saying the ribbon makes Office unusable is unfair.

        People said you just need to get used to the ribbon. Guess what? I has been 6 years now, and I still look for various insert commands on the Insert Ribbon. Where they are not.

      • by TwoBit (515585)

        I've been using that ribbon for three years and still hate it. Every time I need to find something I haven't used in a week I end up spending a minute poking around that ribbon trying to figure out where it is. The menus are far faster to deal with.

    • by Gramie2 (411713)

      The problem isn't that Office 2003 doesn't work for you. It is that people around you have newer versions, and your copy of office will not read the newer formats. From office.microsoft.com:

      Although you can open Office Word 2007 files in previous versions of Word, you may not be able to change some items that were created by using the new or enhanced features in Office Word 2007.

    • People use what works best for them. Open Office an Libre Office are not the only alternate office products out there. There is that crap that people try to pawn of on other in Apple products (Pages I think), and Corel's kick at the can, and KDE's stuff, and likely a bunch of other commercial stuff. Even Microsoft's light version of office that they put on home computers, that no-one uses if they have to. And out of all of them MS Office, for better or worse, is the king. Everyone in software knows that if

    • by asmkm22 (1902712)

      Ribbon isn't too bad once you get used to it. You can also hide it, which keeps it from taking up the vertical space, which is nice. I didn't like it back in 2007, but it's come a long way since.

      On a side note about 2003 activation; I'm not sure what you're talking about. 2003 requires activation and, if it fails, you still have to call the 800 number and spend 5 minutes speaking numbers into the phone.

      I agree with you about the newer features not being needed, however. I've yet to actually take advanta

    • by antdude (79039)

      Even updated Office 2000 and 2002/XP, with the 2007 compatibility packs, are fine for me! Sure, they're unsupported but they work. I don't use Office a lot anymore at home like I used to do for school work, so I care not if they have missing security updates.

  • by OhANameWhatName (2688401) on Sunday October 20, 2013 @07:29PM (#45184015)
    .. and at risk of being modded a Troll and losing any rep.

    Office 365 is a good piece of software. Okay, so it's complete shite to use but it's not just an office suite, it's a platform on which you can run your business. IMO for the first time in 20 years, Microsoft has actually come up with a good piece of software. They've certainly leveraged their proprietary format lockin in order to get businesses to use the platform, but using the platform isn't any particular problem.

    The platform itself provides the fundamentals of what businesses need to get up and running. It's pretty stable and not horribly expensive. There are other competing platforms out there (some even much better) but they still don't fully support Microsoft's proprietary format. So Microsoft leverages that format but creates something that not only provides the tools you need, it empowers small business. They've done an excellent job to keep the Office brand running and kudos to them for that.

    Any open source competitor will need to be hosted, provide better facilities, have a clear migration path and have format compatibility for any hope in the future.
    • by MtHuurne (602934)

      Okay, so it's complete shite to use but it's not just an office suite, it's a platform on which you can run your business.

      So they have reinvented Lotus Notes?

      • Where I work just moved from Lotus Notes to Google Apps. I cannot express just how much happier we all are.

      • by jbolden (176878)

        Lotus Notes was an amazing product. The problem is that Lotus Notes was not a competitor to Exchange but rather a platform for company internal databases which also did email. Notes supported properly requires a Notes programming group (i.e. 1/2 dozen + dedicated developers) and an administrative team. Under those conditions Notes is fantastic. Treat Notes like Exchange and have 1 guy or worse part of 1 guy and it sucks.

    • by fermion (181285)
      If I needed to use MS Office, 365 is not a bad value. I subscribed to it for a couple months because a friend needed to learn it for work.

      What this really tells us is that many do not need any of the innovative features developed over the past 10 years, and the use of MS Office is mostly to write memos, which can be done using any software. With 365 the consumer costs are low, but it does allow MS to generate revenue even if consumers do not need new features.

      Fortunately for MS people do have a lot of

  • Office 2003 (Score:3, Informative)

    by Knuckx (1127339) on Sunday October 20, 2013 @07:36PM (#45184085)

    Office 2003 was the last truly good version of Office (in my opinon at least). It worked properly then; without the quirks of Office 2000 (and still works perfectly now, having full compatablity with the new Office file formats via an update), didn't have the deliberately obtuse ribbon user interface - which steals a large chunk of screen space, and if hidden to reclaim that space, requries more clicks than simply having a toolbar did. I fail to see any good reason to switch, as unlike the move from XP to 7, no new features of any consequence have been added, and no (positive) updates in speed or behaviour have been made.

    I cannot speak for OpenOffice, as the last time I used it was ~7 years ago - and at the time OpenOffice felt like something from the Windows 3.1 era.
    I also cannot speak for LibreOffice, as I have never used it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Billly Gates (198444)

      Have you tried Office 2010? Try the ribbon for a week? Afterwards you will see you can preview changes with just a mouse hovering over items. Hit the alt key and you have smart tags showing all the shortcuts with it which is nice with a laptop.

      Office 2010 is much better. I saw the research back then and was exciting to learn something new as real scientist had data to show it is better and statistics back them up with real usage. It is not Metro by a longshot or pushed by marketing folks unlike Windows 8.

      Of

    • Version 4.1 (incorporating the "experimental features") that Oracle put into OpenOffice is good. In fact, I'd say it's on a par with Office 97 overall. (97 was the acme of Microsoft Office, in my nostalgic recollection).

      A lot of bugs were fixed in LO 4.x, and it's possible to use styles effectively. It's still too hard to make, manage, and use templates, though. And there's still no outline mode. But apart from that, it's very good.

  • The good news is online cloud-based platforms are gaining traction [...]

    How is this good news?

  • Posting that here is like someone on Moveon.org hyperlinking an article from www.redstateblog.com (or whatever the hell the right wing version is).

    I read Neowin as well. I like balance.

    I notice they have things like Windows Server 2012 R2 launch details that slashdot feels is not important. But if it is Linux related, I feel a link from there is like reading a link here about a non-baised spin about IE and Windows on slashdot if you know what I mean?

    I wonder if those statistics include governments that trie

  • Want to fix it? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Trogre (513942) on Sunday October 20, 2013 @07:44PM (#45184157) Homepage

    Want to stop the decline? Make a version of LibreOffice or another FOSS odt/odt editor that works on my tablets.

  • Full report (Score:4, Informative)

    by readacc (3401189) on Sunday October 20, 2013 @07:53PM (#45184197)

    I wanted to read the full report. You can too if you go here:
    http://www.forrester.com/Market+Update+Office+2013+And+Productivity+Suite+Alternatives/fulltext/-/E-RES102262 [forrester.com]

    $2495 for a fucking survey? Get fucked Forrester. Now there's no way for me to verify if the survey is legit or not.

  • by LoRdTAW (99712) on Sunday October 20, 2013 @08:00PM (#45184251)

    ...and managers don't know any better.

    The reason is simple: most managers don't have a clue about IT. To them the financial success of MS and its ubiquitous products mean that they are the best. It also gives them accountability, if something goes wrong. Who do you pass the blame to when something breaks? They love to call vendors or contractors and scream at them to fix something. With OSS there is no one to scream at and who the fuck is the apache foundation anyway, some kinda hippie native american powwow? To them open source is unprofessional because there isn't a guy in a suit with billions in the bank to prove its success. They live in a different world where success is measured by money and status. OSS eschews that mentality and is looked down upon because of it.

    My manager once told me that he wished MS made all of the software we needed: ERP, CRM, CAD/CAM etc. He just liked how everything was tied together and interoperated. Another thing that annoyed me was once our router crapped out, a Netgear business router with VPN and dual WAN ports. I quickly hacked together a router using PFsense and a bunch of NIC's in an older P4 desktop which worked out quite nicely. My manager saw the setup and didn't like it. Why? Because how can a computer be a router? He just couldn't get his head around it and called in our IT contractor who installed another shitty Netgear router. Even fucked up my secure automation network that was isolated from the other networks and the separate wifi network. When things broke and he asked me why I told him to call the contractor and complain to them because they broke the system I had installed. Nothing was done because as doing so would admit that he was stupid. Thankfully he no longer works for us and I relieved myself of most IT duties.

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Sunday October 20, 2013 @08:14PM (#45184337)

    As usual bad stats are meaningless. So they polled how many companies had office installed? 1/3rd of them had office 2003? So that translates into open office failing and MSFT winning? wtf?

    Maybe, just maybe, the days of business being done in word documents and spreadsheets are fading and we're now moving towards business getting done in specific applications and instead of documents we're storing things in a database. My current job is maintaining a Database and CRM. We basically get contacted by some department whos business processes are a mess, they've been using Excel and word to do everything for 10 years, and we build them a front end for the companies database. Now records are stored forever, or less, depending on the need. Required fields are actually required. We don't have one off versions of documents stored on someones hard drive only to be lost when they leave the company. We've even done away with most email. Federal regulations that specifically target email are nasty. Simply giving giving employees chat clients let them do their normal human chit-chat without leaving a messy legal trail should a court case arise. Now requests and such are logged IN the CRM. It's clear to the person using it that they shouldn't put their Banana bread recipe in there, so they go to chat.

    If anything I'd say the stat regarding people using Office 2003 is very telling. They're only keeping it around for legacy purposes. It's not that open office is dieing, it's the entire concept of "documents as files" that is dieing.

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      As usual bad stats are meaningless.

      I wont go that far. They mean a lot to the company that paid for the survey, to show what they wanted to show.

    • by msobkow (48369)

      I think it's the interpretation of the stats that's interesting.

      I read it as "the majority of businesses who bought Office 2003 haven't switched in all these years." Neither up nor down for open source office formats, but a slam against Microsoft for failing to introduce any kind of "must have" features in over a decade.

  • by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Sunday October 20, 2013 @08:20PM (#45184379) Homepage
    That's because people no longer need Word file format capability. The new lingua franca is PowerPoint. And Impress renders PowerPoint files differently enough (and vice versa) that people are back to relying on authentic Microsoft Office again.
  • I have two big problems with this story.

    An anonymous reader writes that although many Linux users are at home with OpenOffice and LibreOffice, typical organizations are as addicted as ever to MS office formats.

    To frame the argument this way allows you to ignore the maturity and focus of MS Office apps. Pre-press work can be outsourced to a printer. Everything else moves at the speed of the anonymous clerical worker. Full time staffer. Office temp. Senior volunteer and so on.

    The good news is online cloud-based platforms are gaining traction with Google Docs and Office 365 which are not so tied to Windows on the client.

    Office 365 includes lightweight web apps.

    But the heavy lifting is done using the more familiar, versitile and locally resident MS Office Suite. With full versions of the apps streamed to other PCs or Ma

  • I know of several small businesses (under 50 employees) who use libreoffice (and open office before that).

    Is forrester focusing on large businesses or is there some kind of unintended filtering effect in play?

    Or perhaps large businesses grow into office.

    You have to understand... Office is some gaudawful expense like $500 a copy BUT, it costs about $large fee + $10 per copy for an enterprise license.

    I own the latest office. It cost me $10 since i worked for a large corporation they let me buy a copy and the

    • Forrester Research somehow always finds that the situation is favorable to their paying client. It is passing strange.

      (That they are called "Research", that is. Truth-in-advertising should require them to be called "Forrester Ego-stroking".)

  • by hessian (467078) on Sunday October 20, 2013 @09:32PM (#45184811) Homepage Journal

    There, I said it.

    I work with documents frequently.

    The open source alternatives are not as good.

    Further, pretty much anything can read/write to .docx format, which is XML-based, so you're definitely not locked in.

    There's just a discernible difference in quality and when you're trying to make a good impression on the job, that's important.

  • by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Sunday October 20, 2013 @10:22PM (#45185039)
    One of the failings of all these free Office suites is that they try to be MS Office and basically if they can be distinguished as being not office then they have failed. So my suggestion is to pretend that there are no existing office suites; what do people want to do? Then you move forward from there. A good start in that direction would be a product that I use called Bean. It is a very simple Mac word writing tool. The focus is on just writing words. It is fast to load, clean of interface, and doesn't do much in the way of formatting. Another good product is Scrivener; this product focuses on what you need when writing a complicated document such as a book.

    Google docs isn't too bad and brings the whole cloud thing to the table fairly well but I just don't see your average document generating office drone begging their IT department to help them with the switch.

    Here is a simple set of examples. Years ago I worked in an office where the secretaries used Word Processors. That is they used machines with big 8 inch floppies that could only do simple 80 characters per line word processing and print it to a printer that was basically a modified typewriter. In the office there was a shiny new IBM machine with Word Perfect and a sort of good quality dot matrix printer. The secretaries were super happy when I got it working and almost immediately were fighting over it. A few years later I witnessed secretaries demanding to upgrade to windows and Word for windows because it could make the new laser printers dance. The key there was that Word Perfect 4.2 for DOS liked to display things in 80 monospaced characters. But a laser printer could do around 132 characters per line and thus a WYSIWYG interface was a huge leap. Keep in mind that all of the above secretaries were very very good at using their previous systems and thus these switches were painful but there was something they wanted so they demanded it and learned it.

    So fast forward to the present and present your average Office user with Open Office. What is the win for them? For most people there is only a loss as things like the bad dictionary, and the slightly different interface will just be a pain. Maybe the CFO is happy with the lowered cost of operating but that is not how you win the hearts and minds of the average user.

    So the key to getting people to switch over to Open Source non Office environments it to offer them something that they really want. The reality is that they will give up many office features and put up with other pain if they are getting something super cool. So matching MS Office feature for feature is not needed in the winning product.

    This is where I come up empty. As I say the simple products like bean are good enough for me. Maybe the solution lay in a cool way to accomplish the work presently being done in the MS office suite using your mobile? Something where all the existing might of MS doesn't get them very far. Plus something truly innovative would no doubt be initially dismissed by MS as "missing the point".
  • I'll say it. (Score:4, Informative)

    by eWarz (610883) on Sunday October 20, 2013 @11:38PM (#45185381) Homepage
    It's not the document format. It actually IS the UI. Office 2010 was fucking amazing. I'll say that as a windows, linux (ubuntu, fedora, and zorin os user). It's all about the ribbon yo. If you want linux on the desktop you have to copy that ribbon mentality. if you don't...welll continue listening to the anti microsoft crowd. BTW, the sidebar in OO and LO sucks, just like Windows 8.
    • by eWarz (610883)
      p.s. even thought this, and the above comment, will be modded down...I'm just going to throw this out there. Linux ignoring, or trying to be like in some cases, windows and/or os-x isn't going to work. As a power user, developer, and gamer, i want to get useful stuff done. I don't want to tweak config files, i don't want to mess with sorry ass UIs (*cough* gimp, open office, libre office) and i don't want a shitty ass GUI (ubuntu, fedora / anything gnome 3.x based. Now, i don't care what you try to targ
  • by nblender (741424) on Monday October 21, 2013 @11:23AM (#45189015)

    My son's school has a "use whatever you want as long as you can collaberate" policy so of course I encouraged my son to use OOo and LO... He found it practically impossible to work with fellow students with Microsoft Office... So unfortunately, it's a non-starter.

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