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OpenOffice.org 2.0 Preview 609

Reader lord_rob the only on wrote in to mention a preview of the upcoming OpenOffice.org 2.0 running on tectonic. From the article: "It is not too bold to say that OpenOffice.org 2.0 will usher in a new era of functionality, reliability, compatibility and ease of use. The extensive changes and enhancements which are to be included in the upcoming release are all the evidence needed to justify this assertion." As we mentioned earlier this week, the beta candidate is currently available.
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OpenOffice.org 2.0 Preview

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  • I Took it For a Spin (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eno2001 ( 527078 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @06:23PM (#11860910) Homepage Journal
    It looks really nice. Especially the addition of "Base", the database portion which appears to be much more well thought out than most "easy to use" database products. FileMaker Pro? Forget about it. More like FileMangler Pro! ;P
    • by DarkMantle ( 784415 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @07:28PM (#11861389) Homepage
      It is nice, I've been using the beta for a few months now. Only had a few minor issues. (Lets just say the document recovery works great!)

      While I haven't had time to play with Base much, it seems quite similar to access, but with some new fuctionality, and more user friendly for the Layman. Base does require the Sun JRE, or Microsofts Java VM installed to run.

      Overall I've seen improvements by leaps and bounds above the 1.1.2 that I upgraded from.
    • People could try the bittorrent links here:
      Windows [guiltfreep2p.com]
      Linux [guiltfreep2p.com]
      Save some bandwidth and make them some money.
  • by Tufriast ( 824996 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @06:24PM (#11860925)
    I find it funny, b/c my friends are still shelling out hundreds of dollars for M$ Office. At this point, I've decided never to pay again for an Office suite as long as Openoffice.org is around. There's no point. What I do not get, is why people are still acting stuck up when they say they use "M$ Office Professional." So, you can mail merge...OH wait OO.org can do that too...and you can play Pac Man in Excel...good for you...lol.
    • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @06:31PM (#11860962)
      I find it funny, b/c my friends are still shelling out hundreds of dollars for M$ Office.

      I find your friends funny, cuz mine don't pay a cent for M$ Office. P2P, ya know...

      I mean come on, honestly: apart from businesses and some high(er)-profile folks, who the hell pays for Office?
      • I find your friends funny, cuz mine don't pay a cent for M$ Office. P2P, ya know...

        Congrats... Your friends are helping to raise the barrier to entry for smaller office suites.

        Friends don't let friends pirate software. Nor do they let friends by from MSFT....
        • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @06:47PM (#11861091)
          Congrats... Your friends are helping to raise the barrier to entry for smaller office suites.

          Sorry but your argument doesn't hold water. Office never was significantly much cheaper than it is today. And besides, if everybody stopped piracy today, the only thing that'd happen is Microsoft getting a whole lot richer, and the price would stay exactly the same.

          Welcome to reality: Microsoft shafts their users whenever they can, and the users shaft Microsoft back whenever they can too in turn. That's the name of the game.
          • Sorry but your argument doesn't hold water. Office never was significantly much cheaper than it is today. And besides, if everybody stopped piracy today, the only thing that'd happen is Microsoft getting a whole lot richer, and the price would stay exactly the same.

            Then you don't understand my argument. In the software industry, if you remove the requirement that many customers decide where to spend their money, then you make it harder for other office suites to get enough market share to be self-sustaining. Furthermore, such individuals only reinforce the dependence on MS Office without providing any real incentive for competition.

            Welcome to reality: Microsoft shafts their users whenever they can, and the users shaft Microsoft back whenever they can too in turn. That's the name of the game.

            But the problem is that the consumers are *not* shafting Microsoft when they pirate Microsoft software. Instead they are reinforcing users' dependency on it. Furthermore they make it harder for others to enter the market profitably. If users want to shaft Microsoft, they should *stop using Microsoft software!*
            • If users want to shaft Microsoft, they should *stop using Microsoft software!*

              I agree, and I would take it one step further. If you really want to shaft microsoft, you should be actively helping anyone and everyone to get off MS dependency. Once enough computer users are no longer MS dependent, MS will suffer.

              This is why MS can not stand by and watch FOSS grow. They owe it to their shareholders to stamp out FOSS.
        • by ceejayoz ( 567949 ) <cj@ceejayoz.com> on Sunday March 06, 2005 @06:48PM (#11861104) Homepage Journal
          Congrats... Your friends are helping to raise the barrier to entry for smaller office suites.

          One would think the opposite is true.

          Given the fact that the vast majority of users still buy their software, Office going up in price due to piracy would be a good thing for cheaper alternatives.
          • Given the fact that the vast majority of users still buy their software, Office going up in price due to piracy would be a good thing for cheaper alternatives.

            All else being equal, you would be right.

            However, it is not. Users of unlicensed copies of Office are reinforcing the market's dependence on Office and Office's market share. This helps Microsoft by reducing the possible pool of users of other office suites.

            Furthermore, the people who use unlicensed software are the most likely to consider using
        • The biggest problem with Office is the price. What sort of person is going to cough up $300 for an office suite that will be rarely used.

          I looked at Office 2003 for my Grandad, and if it been less that $100, I'd have said use it. I took a leap and put my Grandad on OpenOffice and we've never looked back.
          • The biggest problem with Office is the price. What sort of person is going to cough up $300 for an office suite that will be rarely used.

            Microsoft's target market for Office isn't your Granddad, it's (wait for it...) offices, who don't use it rarely but use it every second of every minute of every hour of every day.

            Microsoft charges so much for it because that's what companies are willing to pay for it, and I'm sure most offices consider it a bargain at that price considering how much they do with it on
      • Aside from the obvious (trying to make folks feel guilty for piracy), MS has changed their policy on updates for MS Office now. What this amounts to is that your P2P buddies now have a security risk installed.

        How long do you think it'll be before there's yet another virus/trojan/macro that owns them?

    • by generic-man ( 33649 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @06:31PM (#11860966) Homepage Journal
      It's not that they're acting stuck up. The number one reason why people still shell out hundreds of dollars for Office is VBA compatibility. Whether you like it or not, many companies have built shockingly full-featured applications using Excel as a base. Imagine a spreadsheet where you need to fill out forms (which are in cells) and hit submit buttons to transmit data to a server which then transmits data to you which opens up another form in the same file. That's an extremely clunky way to build (say) a procurement platform, but it uses a tool (Excel) that everyone has.

      Is VBA a great language? Not really. Does everyone use it? No. But you can use it to claim that OpenOffice does not have 100% of the functionality that MS Office does.

      OpenOffice has its own programming language, StarBasic. When you* get done rewriting all your MS Office-based applications in StarBasic, let me know just how "free" OpenOffice was for you.

      * By "you" I mean "a large albeit short-sighted company that entrusts important business functions to macros in spreadsheet programs."
      • by ckaminski ( 82854 ) <slashdot-nospam@darthcoder . c om> on Sunday March 06, 2005 @06:51PM (#11861123) Homepage
        I just finished a contract with a trading firm to build a year-end customer reporting tool in Access. Needless to say, 48 hours later, after having the version changed from Office 2000 to OfficeXP 45 hours into the project, and having the DateTimePicker control removed, I will *NEVER* write another embedded VBA project again (except maybe Outlook. Outlook VBA has rarely broken my projects.)

        There were enough bugs and differences between versions that my code broke. Personally, I'd rather have written the app in VB and used Access via MDAC/ADO. Never again, and that goes for Excel and Word too... <shudder>

        VBA is actually a pretty formiddable scripting language. Nowhere near as powerful as perl, but quick, dirty and relatively clean.

        <dons asbestos underwear>
        Flame on.
    • At this point, I've decided never to pay again for an Office suite as long as Openoffice.org is around.

      I hope you don't have to open up and work on any work documents at home that are then given to other work colleagues.
      • why?

        using office97 or whatever could be much more disasterous in that regard.

        besides, if you need to work at home you might just as well ask the job to pay for the office suite.
        • by njcoder ( 657816 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @07:12PM (#11861275)
          Read this recently which confirms your point:
          "Thirdly, we don't cut off the old file formats. So we maintain backward compatibility with the old Office file formats. I've got a bunch of customers who are using StarOffice to import their old Office documents and then export them to Office XP. Now go figure--we're the migration tool."

          --- Scott McNeally, CEO Sun Microsystems.

          From this article [redmondmag.com]
    • A lot of people get it because of their lifestyle, not because of functionality...
  • Double page spread? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Psiren ( 6145 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @06:25PM (#11860928)
    Anyone know if you can view and edit two pages side by side like you can in Word? It's a really useful feature when you have a decent sized screen to work with. I have played with an earlier snapshot release a bit but haven't been able to find anything in the menus that would accomplish it.
    • by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @06:39PM (#11861039) Homepage
      I second this! This was originally a WordPerfect feature and now Word does it. When will OpenOffice do it? I can't imagine writing without it!
      • by generic-man ( 33649 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @06:51PM (#11861121) Homepage Journal

        Thank you for requesting a new feature (which I will call "feature X") in an open source product. Please choose from the following responses for the community to give you.

        1. Insult the user. Feature X is only used by pointy-haired bosses for stupid reasons. I don't think anyone ever needs to use feature X outside your braindead company.
        2. Insult the reporter. Why the hell do you need feature X? Other Open Source product already does it, and everyone on our mailing list hates other Open Source product. Go use other Open Source product if you want feature X.
        3. Claim the feature already exists. I know it's not as simple as with your so-called "closed source product," but you can actually do feature X already. Just install plugin Y, extension Z, run the script at some broken URL, and recompile. Voila!
        4. Cite a future release. Thanks for asking for feature X. We already have it in our beta branch. You can use it for now, but there's a long list of bugs in the branch. It's beta and it's free; what do you expect?
        • by kebes ( 861706 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @07:07PM (#11861251) Journal
          you forgot:

          5. Reverse request. Thanks for suggesting feature X. Please let us know when you've finished coding it, so that we can merge it into the official release of this open source project.
        • by idlake ( 850372 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @08:17PM (#11861691)
          As opposed to the options you get with commercial software:


          1. No Reponse

          2. Automated Response Thank you for your communication. We will look at it as soon as possible [i.e., when hell freezes over].

          3. Human Response Thank you for your message. We are sorry that you are having problems running our product. In order to run our product, please click on the "Start" button, then select the "Bloatware Inc" entry, and finally select "Program". Our software is easy to use and self-explanatory from that point on.


          Frankly, even the responses you call "insulting" are more informative than the kind of drivel that comes back from corporate response teams: at least I know where the project stands.
        • by strider44 ( 650833 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @09:46PM (#11862174)
          Though I understand and there's many examples of arrogant idiots in the open source community giving those answers, there are many more cases of the community actually recieving good input and acting on this. One of the main advantages of open source is that the users are in the same group as the developers, so if the idea is a good one it will be implemented.

          Unfortunately commercial equivalents give no or an irrelevant response, and don't even bother to listen.
  • Conversion guides? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rsrsharma ( 769904 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @06:27PM (#11860941) Homepage Journal

    Wow, this looks really good. Being a Linux user and student, I've always wished I was as productive in Linux-native word processors as I am on Windows with Word (currently 2003). However, after using Word for my whole life, AbiWord and OpenOffice (OpenOffice especially) seem unintuitive (obviously the result of Microsoft brainwashing ;)). Hopefully OpenOffice 2.0 will solve this problem for me, but in the meantime does anybody know of a good (as in you've actually used it successfully) Word-convert user's guide to AbiWord or OpenOffice? If there's another (preferably Gnome-native) word processor that you know a guide for, that's okay too.

    • I think a word processor is a very personal thing. I personally can't use anything but LyX when it comes to most "real" document processing.

      If just jotting down quick notes, however, I really don't care -- because the basic functionality of all word processors (except LyX since it isn't really one) is extremely similar. OpenOffice.org, AbiWord, Wordperfect, Word... doesn't matter to me for quick notes.
    • Unfortunately, docs are the one place you may find Open Source stuff lacking. However, you may find that there are some excellent guides listing shortcuts and the like relative to M$ Office features in the built-in docs to OO.org. And if you can't find a reference to something, keep digging. Look on the same (or similar) places on the menus. Good luck.
    • Download this: (Score:3, Informative)

      http://www.mialug.org/downloads/static/documentati on/openoffice-staroffice/OOWriter-Guide.pdf
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @06:27PM (#11860943)
    Has it grown even bigger and slower than it is now?

    OOo is great, but I discovered the other day that it doesn't work anymore on my older laptop with 96M of ram and nothing loaded but a basic KDE. It used to work there not so long ago, not fast or anything, but well enough to do presentation with Impress on the cheap. No more, which is a real pain.

    So if 2.0 has grown even more monstrous, I'm not even trying it out, nosiree. My other laptop still has enough oomph to use 1.1.
    • A lot of software these days is heavely bloated. So a laptop like yours could properly only run old software, wich means that you will either have to buy a new one, or swich to something less demanding.
      • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @06:41PM (#11861058)
        A lot of software these days is heavely bloated. So a laptop like yours could properly only run old software, wich means that you will either have to buy a new one, or swich to something less demanding.

        Well quite, but what I meant was that 96M of RAM should be more than enough to run something like Impress under KDE. Heck, Windows and Powerpoint run just fine on that laptop.

        OOo has grown ridiculously big and slow. So has KDE and many other programs. So much for Linux users going all giggly when they mention Microsoft bloatware: OSS software has gone worse these days...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 06, 2005 @06:30PM (#11860957)
    OpenOffice 2.0 beta (and every single other version of OpenOffice I have used) has a nasty show stopper bug in it.

    The bug is this: If I want to make a document use any font besides their (IMHO, ugly) default "Nimbus Roman No9 L" font, the font will revert back to the Nimbus roman font if I hit the right arrow at the end of the document. Because of how I write, I frequently do this, resulting in what I type being in the wrong font.

    I can't find any way to work around this issue (besides having to constantly look at what I am typing and changing the font when this bug pops up).

    AbiWord [abisource.com] (both 2.0 and 2.2) have a serious issue with being very slow. In particular, when I hit the up and down arrows at the ends of the vertical scrollbar, AbiWord freezes for one or two seconds while slowly scrolling. AbiWord also does this when I need to change pages while typing. AbiWord 1.0, which didn't have this problem doesn't compile without great effort (thanks, GCC developers, for breaking code that compiled just fine only three years ago), and doesn't run when compiled.

    SIAG [siag.nu] is very unstable and frequently crashes on me (using both the Xaw and the Xaw32 toolkits.).

    I finally settled on Ted [nllgg.nl], an excellent light word processor which compiles and runs fine. Naturally, this word processor is also not bug free on my system; it has a problem with finding font, requiring some serious hacking in the file appFont.c before I could use this program to write a paper.

    I am using Fedora Core Three and wasn't able to find a word processor without serious bugs in it. I finally had to do some source code hacking to get a word processor that I could use.
  • Test it! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MicroBerto ( 91055 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @06:31PM (#11860968)
    In my opinion, OpenOffice.org is the most important software suite in the OSS movement. You might argue that Firefox is, but OO.org is competing against a very expensive application. If it can be used to stimulate innovation and bring prices down, I'm all for it.

    That said, please test it! OpenOffice.org's success in the long run is determined by the visionaries like us who give good feedback so that it can eventually make it to the mainstream smoothly.

    • Re:Test it! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bonch ( 38532 )
      In my opinion, OpenOffice.org is the most important software suite in the OSS movement.

      Wow, I would have figured Linux.
      • Re:Test it! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by thammoud ( 193905 )
        I know this might sound very strange, but last I checked people use computers for their applications (Word Processors, Spreadsheets, surf the net). Most users could care less about the underlying OS. The biggest problem with displacing MS from the desktop is not the OS but the huge number of applications that people have gotten used to. Office is the one application that keeps most companies from migrating to alternative OSs like Linux, BSD.
      • Re:Test it! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by nEoN nOoDlE ( 27594 )
        What is this Linux software you speak of? Does it run on Windows?

        Just a joke, but there's a point in there somewhere. While Linux is probably the most important software suite, OO.o is directly competing with Microsoft on Microsoft's own turf (Windows desktop). The chances of Linux overtaking the OS market and millions of Joe Average users installing a different OS are slim. Them installing OO instead of Word is a different story, though.
  • by mrtom852 ( 754157 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @06:32PM (#11860978)

    Openoffice seems to be a prime example of how difficult it is to fix the problem of a monopoly. I mean how good does it have to get to be considered suitable for the average office bod?

    Hopefully this release will be able to get more attention in the media.

  • a few things (Score:5, Informative)

    by matt me ( 850665 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @06:32PM (#11860981)
    1) launches faster :) 2) new quickstarter is useless, cannot launch apps from it. hopefully will add shortcuts to all apps like in old one. 3) uses new opendocument format. soon to be supported by legacy release of openoffice 1.1 and koffice.
  • It's good to see WordPerfect filters finally. Not having an import filter for WordPerfect was a real set back for us trying to move our section to a Linux based desktop. Hope they work well.
  • My problems so far (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @06:38PM (#11861026)
    My issues with OpenOffice are the ugly fonts on Linux. The fact that OO.o is still too slow to start can be excused by that fact that it is still in beta. Whay did they choose to package it that way? I mean the core stuff? I hope they will provide some kind of installation script to handle the installation to make it similar to Office 2K.

    This is only a beta, so things can only get better.

  • by gnarled ( 411192 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @06:39PM (#11861037) Homepage
    I post this out of genuine curiosity and do not intend to troll. Where is the innovation in OO.org? Yes, I have used it, but a few extremely annoying glitches, such as copy/paste not always working correctly, made me switch back to Office. From my experience it is just a direct recreation of MS Office. Any feature that is added to Office seems to just show up a version later in OO. They are nearly identical even down to the UI.

    Is the fact that it is free the only innovation?
    • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @07:02PM (#11861218)
      Some softeware is intended to innovate, some is intended to provide comfort. OOo is intended to provide comfort. It does so reasonably well.

      Personally I do most of my writing in an innovative editor that lets me control all editing functions on standard keys while touch typing, never having to take hands off home base, let alone remove them from the keyboard to use a mouse.

      But some people find this uncomfortable. They're used to MS Office. For them there is OOo. That's what it's for. If you wish to find innovation, look elsewhere, but then don't complain that it's different.

      KFG
    • by runderwo ( 609077 ) * <runderwo@nOSPAm.mail.win.org> on Sunday March 06, 2005 @07:32PM (#11861415)
      From your Windows-centric viewpoint, it probably doesn't matter, but OO runs on many platforms and architectures, has many features built-in that require third-party support in Office (such as PDF export), and has not only provided us with a standard word processor document format for data interchange, but also unraveled most of the mystery that is the Microsoft Office file formats. It's a massive distributed development effort meeting a demand that you probably didn't even know existed: a standard, supportable, interoperable, platform-independent office suite.

      If you want a more succinct answer, it would be "choice". The choice to move to another office suite if MS Office does not continue to be the best value for you, not simply because of its availability for a low/no price, but so you can get your data out of MS Office formats if need be. This choice is the only thing what will keep Microsoft on their toes and innovating if they want to keep selling Office, so even as an Office only user, you still benefit from OO's existence.

    • by legirons ( 809082 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @07:37PM (#11861448)
      "I post this out of genuine curiosity and do not intend to troll. Where is the innovation in OO.org? From my experience it is just a direct recreation of MS Office. Any feature that is added to Office seems to just show up a version later in OO. They are nearly identical even down to the UI."

      At the risk of offending the people who are doing innovative stuff in OpenOffice.org (I appreciate all of you!), I can't think of any obvious reason why you'd be wrong. Yes, it's pretty blatantly copying Microsoft Office.

      Look at the history to see why:
      "The company [StarDivision] and the rights to StarOffice were acquired by Sun Microsystems in 1999 for US$73.5 million, as Sun were seeking to compete with Microsoft Office." (from Wikipedia)
      So it started with Sun wanting something to compete directly with MS-Office. Now and it's being used by the Free Software community to compete directly with MS-Office. And it's being used to convert people who don't have any technical gripes with their current office suite.

      As far as I can tell, it's not seen as good place for innovation. Any difference, no matter how slight, will be jumped on as "not being compatible" or "too difficult to learn" or "not the de-facto standard" or "not what people have learned on". Keeping it the same as MS-Office makes it a drop-in replacement, it means you can switch to Linux or BSD without changing how you write documents, it means you can get 20 extra office-suites for your new graduates without having to pay licensing, but it doesn't offer many immediate technical advantages.

      So how to explain that when the community is so known for being innovative? I guess that they direct creative energies elsewhere. Maybe they do so in web-based collaborative authoring systems. (MediaWiki is just a big word processor) Maybe they're working on better paradigms for document-production (LyX is the obvious example, as are specialised things like perldoc, LaTeX and programs which work with HTML documents)

      Or maybe people find their creativity works better on other projects. AbiWord is being written ground-up as Free Software, rather than having the methodology tacked-on at a late stage. Gnumeric the same. GnuCash the same. Project management software and presentation software are becoming web-based.

      Even things like Bugzilla, SourceForge/GForge, Plone/Zope/PHProjekt and the other Groupware tools are competing directly against the office suite in many places. Compare the small businesses using Excel for bug-tracking, or Access for workflow management, or Powerpoint for software architecture. (hell, my own office uses MS-Word for bug-reporting!) so Bugzilla and not OpenOffice is where that competition should take place.

      OpenOffice might carry on adding new features, but it's unlikely to do anything scarily innovative because most people don't seem to want it to. They stick with the same tired old role of "Word processor, spreadsheet, drawings, presentations" with a bit of database and email integration, but it would be silly to add (for example) simultaneous internet multi-author features when that role is probably better served by a web-based "Text to LaTeX/HTML/PDF" solution.

      Similarly, adding the best database interface in the world would be nice, but a Plone or Ruby on Rails solution would probably interest the developers more. It would do the same job, but is simpler to program, more reliable, more flexible, more useful, inherantly multi-user cross-platform and all the rest, and they don't have to deal with people saying "it's just not the same as Access".

      Maybe. Or maybe the community has been using "Office Suites" long enough to know how useful they truly are. Perhaps the innovation comes from moving beyond that 30-year-old business paradigm.
    • From my experience it is just a direct recreation of MS Office.

      And MS Office was a nearly direct recreation of various other office suites and components.

      Is the fact that it is free the only innovation?

      Who cares? It's useful, it works, it's cross-platform, it's free, it uses open standards, and it uses a user interface that MS Office users seem to feel comfortale with. That's good enough for most people. Not every piece of software needs to "innovate".

    • It uses an open documented file format, for starters. StarOffice has PDF export on the main button bar, I suppose OO.org does too? PDF is also an open documented file format.

      Microsoft really doesn't do open or documented. They try to spin it as if they do, but they really don't. Why should they? Lock-in is all they have as a reliable marketing device.
  • So with Open Office 2.0 in the near future how will sun promote it? A firefox like campaign? (That would be something to see. Future Headline: "Microsoft Claims Open Office not a Threat".) However, I've always wondered if sun's motives for funding open office were a bad thing. (Apparently they just want to make Microsoft mad.) Still yet version 2.0 looks great. Base is cool. The new icons are a plus and that Math program would be great for educators. As for community they seem to be really into it.

    • by njcoder ( 657816 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @07:06PM (#11861243)
      "However, I've always wondered if sun's motives for funding open office were a bad thing. (Apparently they just want to make Microsoft mad.)"

      I don't think that was Sun's only motivation. Most people think of Sun as only a server vendor. They really started out as a workstation company and still make a lot of workstation products. They were very good machines for workstation type functions such as CAD, EDA, simulations and other engineering/mathematical applications. Typical IBM PC's couldn't handle the type of workload these workstations did.

      As PC's and the collaboration and office tools used them became more prominent (Windows, Office, groupware), people that only used workstations were at a disadvantage because they couldn't run these Windows applications on their workstations. Then PC's started to get more powerful and were able to handle some more of the work that you'd normally get a workstation for.

      Sun at one point had a PCI x86 card that you could insert in your workstation to run windows in solaris. Not sure if they still have it, but it shows how important running these windows only applications had become. If you needed a workstation, you also needed a PC for the "regular" stuff. This made the already high cost of workstations more expensive because they couldn't handle everything the PC could.

      So, the goal to "make Microsoft mad" isn't the only reason. The reason was, that you shouldn't be locked into any particular platform to be able to function in most organizations. With an office suite that can read and write to the defacto company standards that runs anywhere you want it to run, you were freer to choose the platform that made more sense for you, without having to have two computers.

      This is probably the most compelling reason that Sun did what they did with Star/OpenOffice, not to just tick someone off. It's not just good for Solaris users, it's good for people that want to run any platform they choose. Including Linux users.

      Imagine a company that can give it's engineers high end workstations running unix, it's call center and admin staff linux or some thin client based on a *nix, it's public relations and design groups Macs, etc. Or you can choose whichever you waht that makes you more productive still while being able to read and write documents sent from others in and out of the company. This is a very important thing for someone that doesn't sell windows based machines.

      That's why projects like evolution and the various connectors are important as well. I feel it's a shame IBM never went all out with LotusNotes. It had a lot of good things going for it. Maybe if they opened sourced it they wouldn't have gotten slammed in market share by exchange like they did. It also would have given everyone a very mature, well known, widely deployed groupware product. I wonder if it's even still a viable option to do such a thing anymore.

  • Logic? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Michael Woodhams ( 112247 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @06:41PM (#11861053) Journal
    "... OpenOffice.org 2.0 will usher in a new era of functionality, reliability ..."

    "This beta is not for the faint of heart, and should not be considered as reliable ..."


    So on the basis of trying out some unreliable software, we conclude that the final version will be reliable?

    While it may turn out to be true, the logic is lacking here.
  • Has anyone installed it on Windows 98SE, with 64MB of RAM or less? Is that even possible with this release, or is another Office product better to go with?
  • by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @06:45PM (#11861084)
    Is optimized code damn it! I installed OO on my dad's K6-2 400 a couple years ago after a monster system crash due to a virus. Works for him for typing letters and tracking his stocks in a spreadsheet. He had no problems what so ever using it. His only complaint was it take a long time to load.

    In OO 2 its supposed to load faster, but to be honest, Hell Works 2.0 has done basically everything I've needed since 1988. Office 2000 added some useful features, but then I switched to Macintosh anyway. I wish they would optimize the code and take out the bloat. I would be impressed if just once someone came up with an application that version 2.0 ran on older hardware instead needing newer stuff because of code optimatzation.

    I have Office V.x for my Mac primarily for one program: PowerPoint. I've just purchased iWork and damned impressed with Pages and Keynote 2. Still not as many design templates as Powerpoint for Mac, but I am sure that will change with time.

    • Interface redesign (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bonch ( 38532 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @07:22PM (#11861348)
      What this app also needs is a major interface redesign.

      I had the joy of being able to use Pages from iWork all day yesterday. After using that app which has something like five toolbar buttons total, seeing this cluttered interface [tectonic.co.za] of tiny, tiny toolbar buttons all jammed into two rows with everything and the kitchen sink right there staring back at you makes my eyes hurt.

      I mean, it looks almost exactly like Microsoft Office. Even a lot of the toolbar icons are incredibly similar and function the same way. This is just an Office clone, not a new, innovative OSS office suite. Businesses don't mind paying for Office and won't see a reason to switch if they can just get the real thing that runs faster, integrates better, and opens/reads their files.
  • by darnok ( 650458 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @06:58PM (#11861174)
    I've given it a decent try for several days now, and it keeps screwing up tables when it imports them from MS Word.

    The tables I've got aren't complex, but there is a fair bit of "tables within tables" for the sake of formatting. While I know there's better ways of doing this sort of "poor man's page layout" within Word, unfortunately I'm stuck with using these templates for the forseeable future.

    I'm trying to isolate the problem at the moment to give a nice small document to the OOo developers to work with, but be warned - some of these table layout bugs only become obvious when the document is printed and the layout is all wrong.

    Other than that, OOo 2 seems a lot more stable and is pretty much a rock solid replacement for MS Office in my experience to date. If you don't have to muck around with stupid Word tables in document templates, I'd say go for it!
  • by t482 ( 193197 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @07:00PM (#11861199) Homepage
    Another review [xminc.com]:

    It hasn't quite caught up with MS Office 2003 in terms of functionality - but who cares? OpenOffice 2.0 is more that good enough for your average office worker. The suite is comparible to older versions of MS Office, which are functioning fine on millions of desktops around the world. The only things that I really disliked was the increased reliance on proprietary software (Java JRE) and the interoperability issues I experienced cutting and pasting tables between calc, write and impress. The Beta is currently a bit slow - however that should improve once it is released and any debugging code is removed. The user interface feels significantly nicer than the previous version; however, the dialog boxes are still not perfect. The suite uses Oasis file format - which may become the holy grail of document formats. HTML editing in write is far superior to MS Word and I recommend OpenOffice as a filter for word documents that require conversion to HTML or Oasis. Write includes a long awaited WordPerfect import filter. Overall I was extremely impressed with the new MS Office interoperability and the application's overall functionality.

    * Very good new functionality
    * Oasis file format - may be the new killer feature
    * Meets the needs of your average text oriented office worker
    * Excellent MS Office Integration
    * Annoying Java JRE reliance. Either open source java or remove the dependancy.
    * Dialog boxes occasionally still feel clunky
    * Crashes and table copy and paste issues need to be cleaned up before gold release
    * Free and open source

    7.7 out of 10
  • by thanasakis ( 225405 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @07:08PM (#11861255)
    What has won me over from M$ office is mainly the excellent support for my language. You just grab the version for your language, run the installer and voila!..spell checker, hyphenator all in place and with excellent accuracy. No activations, no product keys, no EULAS. In 5' you have a fully localized working opensource office suite!.. If you stick to M$ you either have to find some form of addon pack for your language (crappy crappy crappy) or get a localized version (and pray that they won't charge you high).

    Community support has made OO *VERY* relevant in situations like these. From what I have seen OO2 has a much more agreeable interface and the load times are roughly the same (perhaps slightly better). Well, from my point of view, it definitely gets better all the time...

  • by cyrilc ( 126593 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @07:28PM (#11861387)
    has anyone been able to compile v2.0 on 64 bits architecture such as AMD64

    right now, the only way to run OpenOffice 1.0 on x86_64 is through the 32bits compatibility mode while OOo 2.0 promise to offer native version
  • OO Gui "Bloopers"? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @08:02PM (#11861618) Homepage Journal
    I haven't used Open Office enough to have an opinion, but Elliotte Rusty Harold used it to write a book, and came away with the opinion that the program is full of "GUI Bloopers". More here [cafeconleche.org].
  • Good enough... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Zontar The Mindless ( 9002 ) <plasticfish DOT info AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday March 06, 2005 @08:35PM (#11861780) Homepage
    ...that it's already making me money. I've written several magazine articles using 1.1, and the book I'm working on as well.

    I've not yet tried the 2.0 previews on Linux, but they have both worked great on Windows. The UI improvements are quite nice, and interoperability with MS formats is even better than before.

    Last time I reinstalled my Win2K machine, I didn't even bother with MS Office. OO.org is doing just fine by me.
  • by thenetbox ( 809459 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @11:00PM (#11862517)
    When you type 'muderfocker' in OpenOffice it corrects it to the actual curse phrase. When you type 'muderfocker' in Word 2003 is has no suggestions.

    OpenOffice 2.0 is CLEARLY superior!
  • Automation? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Trejkaz ( 615352 ) on Monday March 07, 2005 @01:45AM (#11863237) Homepage

    All I want to know is whether the new version can be automated more easily than the old version. Suppose I have to convert 50,000 documents from random word processor formats to a more standard format. Am I doomed to do this manually, or is there a way I can easily interface with the process?

    The older versions, you had to keep a whole copy of OOo running which you sent remote commands to, and if you kept it running long enough, it would memory leak until you had none left.

    I've been hoping that they will eventually make the conversion stuff a single DLL that you can load and call in-process.

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