back to article OpenOffice builds extensions for v2.3

It's been a good week for anyone praying for the demise of Microsoft Office. Google unveiled its long-awaited, web-based PowerPoint competitor. IBM took the wraps off the free Lotus Symphony, a complete suite of MS-battling tools. And now we have a new version OpenOffice.org. Version 2.3 popped up on the OpenOffice website …

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Mac version

While the official Mac version of OpenOffice.org is still in the works, the NeoOffice Mac port is available from NeoOffice.org. This is currently based on OOo 2.2.1 code, but no doubt they will soon have it updated ot 2.3

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Re: Open Document Format

If *nothing* supported "Open" (hahahaha) Document Format then it'd be an even better situation. MS are once again purely intent on producing more and more obfuscated formats to extend the lock in of their products.

The better solution, is to just enforce "compatibility" mode in Office 2007. Unfortunately this doesn't appear to be a simple thing to do, you have to set all kinds of GP settings in various places.

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Anonymous Coward

Open Document Format

You can save the documents in ODF.

A snippet of text from http://www.openoffice.org/product/writer.html

"Save your documents in OpenDocument format, the new international standard for office documents. This XML based format means you're not tied in to WRITER. You can access your documents from any OpenDocument compliant software."

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Mac native shaping up nicely

The Mac native (using Aqua instead of X11) is coming along well. It's considered to be alpha but I haven't had too many crashes and it certainly looks better than X11. Maho Nakata provides regular builds of the milestones.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Open Document Format?

OpenOffice is built on ODF support. I think you mean if OpenOffice supported Office XML that it would be more convenient for you to receive documents from clueless Office users sending out proprietary file formats. It's Microsoft's fault - they're too dumb and stuck in their ways to use the ISO standard ODF format for their file format. OpenOffice has everything you need in an Office suite - MS Office just makes anyone who bought it look like an idiot with money to burn and no intelligence.

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Anonymous Coward

People believe their own hype

""Mac users will soon have something that's better than, say, the Redmond competitor's product," Suárez-Potts said." Really? OpenOffice's 1998 vintage interface is hardly the stuff of legend. Better than Mac Office 2008? They're so full of shit these people and now they're just completely deluded. Even The Register's own statistics show that Office 2007 has already almost overtook the pentration of OpenOffice (http://www.freeformdynamics.com/fullarticle.asp?aid=100). Let's face it folks, OpenOffice really is rubbish.

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Title

"Excellent news... now as soon as they say "Open Document Format" is supported, even better!"

What? OpenOffice has supported ODF since v. 2.0, and ODF stands for Open Document Format, and is an ISO standard. Oh, you really mean OOXML, the Microsoft-defined XML-derived format which is "open" because Microsoft says so. I'm pretty sure it, too, will come soon to OpenOffice, as soon as the hackers have managed to decipher the 6000-page spec.

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re: Mac version

And if we all slip the developers a fiver, it will get there faster ;)

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Anonymous Coward

Unless I'm mistaken ...

ODF is supported. It's OOXML that's not.

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I've been recommending that port to everyone..

I've just sat through a Crisis Management seminar of a company I work with (we do the security side of it), and we ended up talking about the risks imposed by lock-in policies when all hell breaks loose.

I think we'll start working on some emergency recovery disk which is a version of Ubuntu with OO and the emergency manuals and procedures on. Not that everything is supposed to be in paper as well but it would eradicate that last minute discovery that the Windows emergency laptop was not up to date or something else stupid has happened (like the WGA server down or an undetected virus or a 'feature' like the unauthorised Windows XP update demanding service before you could use the system). It costs a little bit of effort to train people on Ubuntu, but that's nothing compared to the risk of MS products going sideways on you just when you need them most. The only innovation I found in Windows is that the critical mission detector is getting better - it fails closer and closer to when you REALLY need it to work (I think MS Word is technically a top performer there - it sucks 7 ways to Sunday when it fails).

Anyway, we ended up discussing long term doc solutions because we had a Gov dept security manager with us, and he wanted to know if this ODFcompatible thing also worked on Macs. Thanks to someone posting at Slashdot I knew about NeoOffice, so I think someone's cooking up a couple of parliamentary test Macs with it right now :-). It's not complete news to them, last year there was an 'IT in legal' session in which I saw quite a lot of .odt documents appear (I notice these things :-).

Now all we need to do is to get rid of that unforgivable idiot who presided over the 'yes' for OOXML despite huge protests, thus endangering the country's reputation for unbiased and balanced thinking. The problem with such a vote is that it also counts inwards as advise, and it was IMHO *very*, *very*, nay, enormously stupid.

Thanks to Sun for opening up OpenOffice, and thanks to IBM for now upping the pressure. Could this have anything to do with the SCO affair? :-)

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@ ODF & Mac version

Openoffice does support Opendocument Format. I think you mean OOXML which is MS' 'open' proprietary office document format.

The development snapshot of the native Mac port of openoffice is looking great already, and seems pretty stable

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@Christopher Michaelis

Um, Openoffice already supports ODF, in fact it's the default file format.

I think you mean microsoft's OpenXML. Though it would be reasonable for Openoffice to provide support for OpenXML, I personally I feel it would be far nicer to see microsoft supporting existing standards and provide filters in their products (Office and the others like Works, which I believe still exists) for the ISO certified Open Document Format. That is rather than relying on third parties to try and write add-on filters.

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RE: Open Document Format?

Christopher,

MS provide free plug-in for Office 2003 and Office XP that will enable it to read and write to the new XML based formats.

E.g. it's free, and it's technically not a closed standard either.

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=941b3470-3ae9-4aee-8f43-c6bb74cd1466&displaylang=en

Enjoy,

Steve

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Anonymous Coward

@Christopher Michaelis... Rich Text Format!

I appreciate that it has its limitations, but for a huge proportion of downloadable documents, .rtf (Rich Text Format) works just fine, and comes with the added bonus that you can forget macro viruses being transferred, as well.

Everyone who uses the Net should use "Contact us" links to protest at any site that offers material as .doc (Microsoft closed proprietary Word format) files, and insist on .rtf or (alternatively, because at least it's usable by cross-platform non-Microsoft users) Adobe Portable Document Format .pdf files.

And if a Government web site is suppressing access to its publications in the same way, get complaining direct to the Minister concerned or to your MP - it simply shouldn't be happening in this day and age, despite what Microsoft would prefer for its own fiscal benefit. After all, the division of Microsoft that produces Office, and the one that produces Windows, are the only two in the entire Microsoft Corporation that return a profit...

(BTW, Bill Gates, get your wallet out and pay the EC fines for Microsoft's criminal abuse of its near-monopoly... you know that it makes snese...)

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Anonymous Coward

English(British) anyone?

Anyone sighted an English(British) build of OpenOffice recently? Nope- thought not. Looks like I need to learn Welsh...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: English(British) anyone?

Erm... You mean the default is English(USA) instead of English(UK) and you are unable to select Tools.Options.Language Settings.Languages.English(UK)?

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Sun ODF Plugin 1.0 for Microsoft Office

http://www.sun.com/software/star/odf_plugin/

Allows Microsoft Office 2000 and above to open and save OpenOffice type documents.

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Anonymous Coward

re: People believe their own hype

"Let's face it folks, OpenOffice really is rubbish."

From your post, the evidence you cite is because more people use Office2007, OpenOffice is therefore useless.

Interesting theory....

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Ah yes but you see

>> Let's face it folks, OpenOffice really is rubbish

Maybe, maybe, but it's a) what people have been asking for b) open to negotiation if you have a better idea and c) completely free.

>> You mean the default is English(USA) instead of English(UK)

And there my friend is the rub, English(UK) doesn't exist; It's just English. Those nacies in the USA are not the owners of the word 'England' or 'English' and I suggest they change the name to American-sort-of-but-not-quite-English and default all software to English (real English).

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RW

RTF Double-plus Ungood?

RTF is no panacea for the simple reason that it's never been defined in an unambiguous way. I once went a-googling for an RTF standard and afaict, there simply ain't one.

All sorts of programs claim to support .rtf, but just try saving a document as .rtf from app A and then opening it in apps B—Z. Some will handle it perfectly, some partially, and some will throw up their little cybernetic paws, cry "mama!" and display the raw guts of the thing as a text file.

While I'm ranting away, let me add a tangential observation on the idea of "extensions" to a standard.

If software supports extensions to a standard, say what you will, it is inherently no longer standard. Microsoft's mantra "adopt, embrace, extend" (or whatever buzzphrase they use) is an open declaration against standardization in favor of proprietary lock-in.

Note that Sun managed to nail MS over extensions to Java over this very issue of "extensions" to Java. I think it's fair to say that MS in a huff (the Ballmer effect?) has discontinued support for Java.

So next time someone in YOUR office gushes "and oooooh, it has so many neat extenstions to the standard", just remind them that it's therefore de facto nonstandard. Every extension used obviates the whole objective of standardization: interoperability.

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Office 2007 Novell plugin

Actually, I just downloaded and installed the Novell plugin on OpenOffice 2.3 and after a gazillion 'Octet/Stream not supported' error messages, the thing installed and now appears to work.

Of course, I've only tested it with a .docx file I created and saved (then loaded again) from OOo....

So I could be talking out of a certain (open) orifice...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: extensions

In case there's any confusion:

Note that although OOo 2.3 now has extensions, these are OOo extensions NOT ODF extensions ie, they are there to offer useful utilities that will appeal to some, but not all, users and they don't affect the ODF standard; OOo is not likely to shoot itself in the foot. There are no plans to introduce the effect of extensions into ODF - remember OASIS 'develops' ODF, OSI certifies ODF, OOo merely adopts the standard, (this is not Microsoft as format and application developer) - ODF will evolve through the ISO process, no standard is set in concrete, but it will remain backward compatible. Very unlike MS file formats ;-)

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Templates

I'd convert to OO tomorrow,if it wasn't for one little thing. I have lots of useful .dot templates in Word and OO doesn't support these natively.

The reality, Microsoft haters notwithstanding, is that Word was the first generally available WYSIWYG word processor and there's an awfully big pool of users.

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The Real Problem With OO.org

Is that its support for OpenType fonts ranges between sucks (Windows) and non-existent (Linux).

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Word first? Not quite.

@ Terry Bernstein: "The reality, Microsoft haters notwithstanding, is that Word was the first generally available WYSIWYG word processor and there's an awfully big pool of users."

Word Perfect preceded a decent Word by a long shot, as did Amí Pro and a few others. Word, in the Windows 3 and Win95 eras was a joke compared to the top wysiwyg word processors.

That a restricted/crippled version was bundled with the OS gave rise to a familiarity with the product and bred a certain customer loyalty among those that didn't know how much better they could have had. Once a tipping point was reached for format lock-in, the other word processors were dead.

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Amglish

"Those nacies in the USA are not the owners of the word 'England' or 'English' and I suggest they change the name to American-sort-of-but-not-quite-English and default all software to English (real English)."

How dare you question our ownership of English. You sir, are obviously a complete.... Wait a moment. Sorry about that...

For a moment I forgot about our special relationship. Let's try to forget about all of this, and do somthing together. I suggest that we go to war with someone. Your pick this time (I promise).

Just a suggestion here (it is your turn to pick), but I suggest that we invade Greenland. We can fight against our common enemy. The enemy that has spread across the world like an infection. THE METRIC SYSTEM.

Then for fun, we can compare Wales and Mississippi.

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English / British

Slightly off topic but the English / American English / British English thing really gets my goat. For years I've been installing SQL server with the default of "English" and wondering why dates are coming out American. Then I later found there was a "British English" option. Tw@s

Sorry I'll shut up now.

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Whoa, Lotus Symphony?

Lotus Symphony... I think in the garage I still have a box with cloth cover, huge book, and a dozen disks with a 1984 edition of that. Those were the good ol' days of proper documentation.

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RE: Templates

Of course OOo doesn't support .dot templates. It's in an incompletely implemented format, since Microsoft in all its wisdom has never seen fit to release the specifications of the format. Can't you simply import the .dot templates and save them as OOo templates?

Also, you seem to be forgetting the popularity of WordPerfect. It was vastly more popular than Word was... until Windows came out, and Microsoft wrote Word for Windows - and (intentionally?) failed to give the WordPerfect programmers accurate documentation, causing them to have a late, buggy product as they attempted to figure out why things weren't working the way they should. If not for Microsoft's anticompetitive behavior, the office standard may have been WordPerfect. For a while, it nearly was.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: English(British) anyone?

"Erm... You mean the default is English(USA) instead of English(UK) and you are unable to select Tools.Options.Language Settings.Languages.English(UK)?"

Correct. You can no longer download UK/British English builds - and if I goto Tools.Options.Language Settings.Languages in the User Interface setting I can only choose between Default and English(USA).

Personally I can cope. But when you deploy OOo to a bunch of staff who don't use office very much, but at the same time feel they should have the most expensive version of Microsoft Office to make them feel special, they will find as many ways of picking faults in it as possible in order to complain to their managers. And when it says "font color" they complain it isn't suitable....

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Anonymous Coward

Typo

For those watching in black & white: "font color" should read "fount colour".

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OpenOffice Features

For once Microsoft actually came up with a useful update in their Office short of a fancy new colour scheme - the new Ribbon thing. I tried the MS Office 2007 beta and found it really intuitive, but wouldn't pay the ridiculous amounts of money they charge for it. I think they even decided not to patent it so that others can use the idea. Now I'm no fan of Microsoft (although we've been pushed into a Microsoft world) but the day i see this in OpenOffice is the day I rush to download it.

But I think extensions is a great way to go - it's the most powerful feature in Firefox and is mainly the reason I miss it when I can't use it (god bless Adblock).

For now I plod along with Web-Based Office apps (namely Google Docs) till the day desktop based ones become worth their Hard Drive footprint, or I need all the features they tout.

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