back to article Google and Sun tag team MS Office

Google has given web users yet another reason not to use Microsoft Office. On Saturday, the very unofficial Google Operating System blog noticed that the Mountain View outfit was offering a completely free version of Sun Microsystem's StarOffice 8, the office productivity suite that Sun sells for $70 a pop. When contacted, …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

In Through The Out Door

My use of MS products is almost limited to multimedia, gaming stuff but I still use Office Pro (2003). I've used MS Excel and MS Word since day one and have bought the Pro edition or its equivalent since it was first available. Visual Basic for Applications was a great addon for the Office suite and, even though I'm productive and comfortable with Linux, and to a lesser degree with Solaris, Windows Office totally blows away its competition. Neither StarOffice or Open Office hold a candle to MS Office. I had hoped Office Pro 2003 would be my last edition of MS Office but given the competition it looks like I'll be buying my new edition of Office Pro 2007 very soon.

0
0

Ersatz Office

I agree. It's good that there is a cheap product available to people who really cannot afford Office, but Open Office is a slow memory hog and way behind MS Office in features. It's also blatently reverse engineered, producing pixel-for-pixel the same layout as Microsofts mediocre typography engine (tip: engage the Word Perfect compatability mode for much nicer looking MS Word layout).

Why don't the open source people do something original? At least build a novel office suite that uses the LaTex typography engine, with its dynamic-programming algorithm for layout.

Incidently, I believe Microsoft had decided to put out a free version of MS Works, which is likely a much smaller and faster office suite than Open Office.

0
0

Raspberry

parh i have used ms product for years.... But this is the way of the future. Again google worrying give everything away for free.

But lifes too short to worry and MS are getting old.

I have tried open office fundermently it does everything one needs, unless you really HAVE to have certain items. But most of world dont...

viva google.

0
0

Re: why don't the open source people do something original

They've been doing original stuff for ages, and people didn't come to the party because it was too different. Now they finally get traction because they've bowed to popular demand and got closer to MS, the world starts to talk about doing something different. Whether the world would actually bother to try out some of the more original approaches, of course, remains to be seen. It was ever thus.

0
0

Re: why don't the open source people do something original

Um, like the web, DNS, USENET, ...

0
0

Re: why don't the open source people do something original

What a fantastically ridiculous line. If you want a wordprocessor based on the TeX engine there are several to choose from. "The open source people" did it years ago.

As for Oo.o being behind MS Office in features, I would call that a design decision. What features of MS Office that aren't in Oo.o do you genuinely use?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

TeX word processors? Really?

Having used TeX for about 12 years I can hand on heart say I don't know of a single true word processor for TeX. There is LyX which kind of comes close but it doesn't really use native LaTeX in the sense that it saves in it's own file format and it's raw LaTeX output can be very fragile. In fact then only other WYSIWYG word processor for LaTeX I've ever seen is Scientific Word which is a very expensive, closed source LaTeX editor for Windows only. The rest of the word processors I've seen for LaTeX are basically just refined text editors that don't incorporate the TeX engine in any real sense, they might send the output to teTeX or MikTeX or whatever but that's it, not least the fact TeX is a typesetting engine not a display engine.

With OpenOffice it goes much deeper than just saying features aren't there through "design decisions"; OpenOffice looks and feels like a bloated old office suite circa 1999. It does have some excellent features, like the drawing package but people that use any of the tools in depth, particularly word processing or spreadsheets, will almost certainly find the Microsoft products are still in the lead.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: why don't the open source people do something original

So is Excel original? No. Is it just a copy of visicalc?

So is Word original? No... go and ask IBM.

I use StarOffice/OpenOffice for work on a daily basis and have done for years. I run it on Linux, Windows and Solaris (Sparc and x86). Each version has just got better and I would say for at least 80% of the population it exceeds their requirements.

I do use other MS products but I can't justify the expense of MSoffice when there is such a good alternative.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

StarOffice

I've just been deeply involved in a major swap project from MS Office to StarOffice. So from a position of actual usage, my comments:-

For home use, (presumably the Google target market), StarOffice provides all the facilities that will ever be required, (and many that won't.) The interface is sufficiently similar to NS Office that the average bod won't get confused. MS Office compatibility is pretty good for the average document or spreadsheet. A new (to all office packages) user won't find it any harder to use than MS Office and anyone switching won't have more than a slight hiccup.

For business users, the situation MAY be very different. The more that MS Office is used in an integrated fashion, for instance to generate letters from another application, the harder it is to switch. VB/StarOffice compatibility is essentially zero. The pool of experienced software developers for StarOffice is tiny and not likely to grow until there is a greater demand from business/corporate users. (And the tools are awful)

And in terms of value for money? For home users it is no contest.

0
0

Outlook is the real killer app

As far a business use is concerned, I think what's really keeping MS Office ahead is Outlook.

Sun and OpenOffice have good Word and Excel alternatives, but there's no equivalent to Outlook and the fact that MS uses its own MAPI proprietary protocol to connect to MS Exchange doesn't make things easier. Not to mention that Outlook is pretty much obligatory if you want to sync mail items with a Windows smartphone.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

It's getting there and more than good enough already

When talking about something being 'good enough', it's easy to infer that it's good enough but only just, or it's not excelling at anything and so forth. I have been using Microsoft Office since 1994, and Word since v5.1 on a Mac Plus. As such I consider myself a veteran user who used to do a lot of Access/VBA development, and I use Word and Excel extensively still at work; and occasionally I knock up a presentation in PowerPoint.

In the past six months I have switched to using both Ubuntu and OpenOffice.org exclusively at home; for what it is worth I am not a Microsoft basher, nor do I think that transposing the 's' for a '$' is funny or cool. I like Windows XP (not so fond on Vista but that's preference) and use it daily at work, and for the most part it works well. Outlook 2003 being an essential piece of kit though I admit I probably don't use 10% of its capability. I use Ubuntu at home because it's better for my needs, not because it is better (or worse) -- it's an alternative that has come about because of freedom of choice; not dictation.

Apart from one annoyance (Word documents with tables within tables do not import correctly) I can honestly say that OpenOffice.org does everything I need, and again probably more than I need. I am most of all impressed with Writer which ***for my purposes*** (as a writer) with correctly formatted documents using styles blows Word out of the water. It doesn't annoy me to death with style annoyances, quirks when I create documents using complex numbered lists and more besides. I also think OpenOffice.org the typography is better than Word; but that is subjective. Let's face it, TeX and InDesign (which might use the TeX engine, not sure) blow each out of the water.

What this shows is preference, the ability to have a choice.

People should be able to find comfort with what they prefer using, the tool that suits their needs best. If that is Microsoft Office, then good for you, I hold no issue with that. If it's OpenOffice.org, good for you too but please don't ridicule those who use MS Office as it's stupid. The same applies to WordPerfect, AbiWord, KOffice etc. users.

The issue is that people should at least be aware that there are alternatives to Microsoft Office that they may or may not find more comfort with. If there was only once choice, the applications would stagnate, as would innovation and our productivity. Secondly: it would be nice if they played ball together nicely. For this reason, high profile products like Google Pack are important for raising awareness that users can have a choice if they choose.

That's what I believe made computing fun: the fact we could craft our systems with the applications and tools of our choice, be that Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, hell even if you want Amiga Workbench (!)--and without variety, I believe computing would be a much duller, utilitarian hobby, interest and activity.

0
0

I've used both for years...

...and they're both perfectly adequate for the job, as long as the job in question is writing documents, using spreadsheets, preparing presentations and so on. I have yet to come across a significant feature that either was missing which prevented me from producing perfectly professional output, and where there was a need for the result to be transmitted electronically for the consideration of a third party then Oo.o did a perfect job of saving the file9s) to a format which everyone else could usnderstand, and had the additional advantage of allowing me to save to PDF.

Six of one, half a dozen of the other. Neither cost me any money, because the M$ product was provided by my employers, and the Oo.o one was downloaded and used on my home machine as a replacement for the dire effort with which it was supplied (M$ Works).

That is all.

0
0

At least...

OO.o Calc doesn't "helpfully format" (read "feck up") the data I'm trying to enter into the spreadsheet without me having any say in the matter... oh I see, you're supposed to enter 2 apostrophies if you actually want a string to being with 1, yes, good.

No, OO.o is not perfect and yes, it is behind MS Office in terms of features (what, no stupid hidden games activated by entering certain cell content?) but, to be fair, for use at home the price tag of £0.00 is pretty good. Considering how seldom I actually use Office packages at home it's far more than adequate.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

More TeX...

As far as I know InDesign doesn't use the TeX "engine" as TeX is designed to render its output as a DVI file, how you use DVI to create a WYSIWYG DTP tool I've no idea. Personally I don't think either Word or Writer do typesetting well, everything they produce still looks like it came out of a crappy word processor and never, ever looks like it has the exactness of LaTeX. Even more simply neither do numbered headings as elegantly or as simply as LaTeX, nor contents pages, tables and certainly not Bibliography. Of course it would be rude to even mention their ability to typeset mathematics. Unfortunately LaTeX has a vast learning curve compared to Word or Writer; even most people I know who use LaTeX will admit never having used TeX directly.

0
0

@calagan

I know your comment was regarding business, but for home use Thunderbird and Lightning serve well (apart from the rubbish name!), and I've suceeded in syncing an XDA Mini S WM5 phone with Thunderbird.

I use Open Office at home now, as my Office 2003 Pro got so screwed up that it would not install security updates. Even re-installation did not help.

Then I tried the Office 2007 Beta, and would have paid for a copy, but I just could not get on with the Ribbon, even after 6 months.

I tried Open Office as a stop gap really, but liked it so much that I've kept it. Changing between Office 2003 at work and Open Office at home does not require the same adjustment as using Office 2003 and Office 2007 would.

0
0

Office 2007?

To Greg Nelson,

Ensure you trial a copy of Office 2007 before committing to it. I personaly don't get along with the ribbons at all. The best part of the suite in my opinion is Outlook 2007 which has an excellent search. Access 2007 is just strange and has many changes just for change sake. As a result I run Office 2003 but Outlook 2007.

Unfortunately I've recently had to uninstall Outlook 2007 due to the number of handles it consumes, checkout my blog post on it at:

http://joelmansford.wordpress.com/2007/07/09/13/

0
0

MS, I've gone as far as I'm going to go

I've been running XP Pro and MSO 2000 Pro for 5 years now. I just bought the Office 2003 Pro upgrade (student discount, gotta love grad school one class at a time). That's about it for me. I'll keep the laptop along just for the Windows apps, but the next machine will get Ubuntu loaded on it posthaste.

I used to like MS products, especailly 2000. But they've really gone down hill. XP is okay, but I'm tempted to buy a machine that will come from a vendor that will sell it to me with XP. I'm even tempted to buy a Dell, particularly if I can get it with an AMD processor.

I'm a Eudora user. I'm waiting to see what happens with Penelope. With the recent changes at Mo, though, that wait may be long.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Irony

The ironic thing is that they can't even give it away. StarOffice, that is. The great majority of businesses are still buying MS Office at high cost.

0
0

@ Chris Cheale

Your 2nd para:

1. create a new sheet in openoffice.org Calc (spreadsheet)

2. enter this formula in a cell :

=game()

and validate (validation button or enter)

3.the cell will display "say what?"

4. Enter this formula:

=GAME("StarWars")

5. a new window will open with a little game star wars game.

6. But if you type again this formula, the cell will return the display "oh no, not again!"

0
0

@VLamburn

"nor do I think that transposing the 's' for a '$' is funny or cool." Neither do I. But it's kind of True and Fair as the bean-counters put it, don't you think?

I have been pi$$ed off ever since the fecking ba$tard$ managed to turn Windo$e into something like a material artefact which has to be renewed and paid for again when your mobo or whatever goes. Except that unlike the capacitors on the mobo, which worked for 3 years, the O$ never worked properly in the first place. I guess they just looked at Mon$anto patenting naturally occuring plants, and thought - life i$ good here in the U$A.

0
0

@Kevin Brind

Is there nothing pure and good in the world?

0
0

bloated

OO runs mostly on Java and I have to tell you a new computer would make it run very quickly indeed the problem lies in the gui libraries available for JAVA they either load slowly then run at a decent speed or load fast but can't keep up the good news is with a moderately priced new PC it runs like greased lightning it's the one area where you do see some serious speed up I also use Eclipse same gui libraries and it's like night and day. As for their respective feature sets I don't know I can't spare the time to worry about it the free one works so why bother spending the money for the other.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums