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back to article OpenOffice update released

OpenOffice.org has released the latest edition of its open source productivity suite, with refinements to further close the gap on Microsoft and enable migration from MS Office. The OpenOffice.org 2.4 database, Base, now supports MS-Access 2007, while capabilities for MySQL, Oracle JDBC and native HSQL databases have been …

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Coat

Good news/bad news

The PDF import/export was one of the major reasons why I stick to TEX-based solutions (or lout on low-ressource machines) for serious things. Or Scribus when dealing with unusual formats involving lots of high-res images(2x1 posters anyone?). Now I'll hopefully be able to produce high-quality documents AND send publishers and collaborators "source" files that they can read and comment, no matter how clueless they are. That's the "good news" part.

Hope they didn't "fill the gap" with MS too much though. If I wanted a falsely-friendly-but-awfully-rigid-and-crippled software suit, I'd get a few MS licences, thank you very much.

BTW, can't wait to see if they upgraded the plotting capabilities of oocalc. C'mon guys, even gnumeric is much better (but still sux moose balls)! Stop trying to compare with MS and go for the real challenges! It would be very good to have a number-crunching app with good plotting capabilities. I do like MatLab, Octave and SciLab, but I also like to be in control of every step sometimes, controlling the data by eye (I'm a matrix-reader). BTW, and as I mentioned Octave and the like, enhanced scripting support wouldn't hurt either.

Wutdya say? It's not the right place for OOo feature requests? Soooooo sorry, can you do me a favor and hand me my coat please? Yes, the stained one that reads "No-life boffin" on the back. Thx.

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And they still aren't competitive!

And it's still missing the "outline" feature that was requested almost 6 years ago (issue 3959, 164 votes, opened April 2002), and the "Overbar" (issue 5991, 34 votes, opened in June 2002) formatting for characters.

These are the show-stoppers that keep me from ditching MSWord completely. Overbars are used heavily in electronics (signals and their opposite polarity) and logic signals. MSWord's outline feature is one of the few features they got right, and it makes it far easier to handle long technical documents.

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k

Spellcheck wouldn't work

I was looking forward to able to open the MS Office 2007 file format.

So I installed OpenOffice 2.4 on a Vista Business notebook and the spell check did not work at all. It did not find any spelling errors when there were many. This happened in both Writer and Calc.

I then uninstalled OpenOffice, and installed StarOffice 8 from GooglePack and spell check worked.

I wonder when StarOffice will update its version?

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Boffin

Re: And they still aren't competitive!

For overbars, slashes etc. install the extension OOolatex. As long as you have a local LaTeX installation it allows you to general equations, symbols etc. from LaTeX. Once generated they are stored as bitmaps so even if you open the presentation on a machine with LaTeX they will display (but you cannot edit the expression).

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is it still dog slow?

I had high hopes to use it as a replacement for MS Orifice 2004 on my Mac, but sheeeeeite, it's slow.

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Menus

Have they screwed up the menus in order to remain competitive with Office2007?

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And still...

Still, they manage to have completely failed to get the en_GB localised version (meaning the menus and UI in proper English, as opposed to just the dictionaries and stuff) up. Again.

It's been MIA since the update from 2.0.2 was apparently broken.

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Comments

Word-compatible comments (or something functionally similar) is another potential show-stopper, if you use Word in a multi-reviewer cycle.

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Nice

We had to ditch MS Office for large reports as it inserts strange formatting which it won't delete once a document reaches a certain size.

For what we want to do, in terms of Word Processing, Open Office has proven to be very good and pretty quick. The only problem I found on the old version was that mail merges were fiddly.

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sad

I'm applaud the effort for OOo and heck it is free. But Free != good.

every little update requires a complete new download - 115mb each time is terrible for minor updates, couldn't they have a more easily patchable system?

For that matter, when will I be able to download JUST writer - I will never use the other components, so why must I download everything!

Still looks as ugly as sin. I remember Wordperfect 7 looking better than this, and that was, what 10+years ago.

I WANT so much for this to be a great application and for me to like it, but it's slow, clunky NOT M$ office compatible for real world use in many offices.

Handles multiple languages (in the same document) suprisingly poorly- although finally it can spell check in more than one language!

Sadly, despite their best efforts I still think it's a bit naff!

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I will stick with LaTeX

Even for posters (use the sciposter.cls package (OK, so I wrote that))

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Joke

Targets Microsoft Office

... surprises me they can aim that low.

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Still no proper OTF support under XWindows

Still no proper OpenType support under XWindows! For Christ sake, how hard can it be? Just use the system font rendering packages! If every other X11 program can, so can this POS. Stop trying to imitate Microsoft and fix the fundamental problems with your program.

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Unhappy

STILL looks crap though...

Seriously... how hard can it be to make an icon set that doesn't look like it was designed in 1995?

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Gates Horns

Wishes

I know everyone's wish-list is different, but I still miss the feature of Geoworks that allowed you to select your level of expertise (or the required document complexity), which affected the menu system (not just greyed-out options) and various formatting features. That way, if you just wanted to write a letter, you didn't have sixty buttons to choose from!

Now that MS had broken the mould with 2007, perhaps there's an opening for Office software that looks and feels like what everyone else was used to..?

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Gates Halo

I prefer word...

OO has this bug where the spell checker turns its self off.. It's somehow linked to the text, as copying and pasting into a new document doesn't fix it, unless you paste as plain text.

I also like Word's new toolbar, which tool me 15 minutes to get used to, and the image editing/3D stuff.

I use OO on my Linux box, but for seriously long stuff it has to be word 07, which is a lot better then 2003 with large documents

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Linux

@netean, @ashe

@netean

Not sure what OS you are using, but openSUSE, when they get around to it (so, presumably, all the other ones too), will provide "delta" RPMs as they have done for years, specifically to avoid the huge download.

@ashe

I agree that en_US is annoying, but even if you cannot supply code changes, in this case someone, somewhere, would appreciate a list of string substitutes, so you could step up...

(personally, I'm hoping that Kontact will replace "favorites" with "favourites" as I do find the former disproportionately annoying)

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Don't know about Word ..

I ditched MS Word, Excel and Powerpoint 2 years ago, and I have yet to find the need to load it again. OO works for me, simple - even when working a lot with 3rd parties.

Thank you for providing an alternative, and I don't have to care what OS I'm using as it works on Windows, Linux and Mac.

What's left to do? Outlook!

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well...

----

Seriously... how hard can it be to make an icon set that doesn't look like it was designed in 1995?

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Well make some then? That's sorta the point of Open Source; if you can improve it then do so and submit the improvements.

Want new shiny icons?

http://contributing.openoffice.org/art.html

Anything else:

http://contributing.openoffice.org/

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Upgrade?

I quit upgrading after the last "upgrade" broke many of my other applications. The installation forced me to upgrade Java (without asking). Spent days finding the problem. The install script couldn't find the default language (English, duh!) and quit after breaking everything else. Terrible. On the Mac, I use the NeoOffice port which is much cleaner. Pity they don't have a NeoOffice Windows version of the Windows version, but that might seem redundant redundant.

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Access support?

Nope, still no full Access support, as in ability to read Access forms and reports (which are fairly widely used in practise, believe it or not).

It'd also be nice if Calc formula functions were fully compatible with their Excel equivalents, which they aren't. I had to do some formula rework when I moved to OO.

It'd be even nicer if Calc gave you the option of whether you want to use semicolons or commas for separators - as someone migrating from Excel, having to rewrite a formula because I forgot halfway through what Calc's arbitrarily-changed system uses is a PITA. If Calc was remotely compatible with anything else in this then I wouldn't mind, but as a software engineer for 15 years, I've never seen a language which uses semicolons to separate function parameters. Why did the OO team think that Calc formulas would be a good place to try this? Beats the hell out of me.

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Happy

Slow?

Do a Google search for "speed up OpenOffice". It involves turning off Java and tweaking the cache settings. You'll be amazed at how fast it loads up after (<4 seconds).

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@Ashe

If you think that's bad, try to find a UK-EN version of windows... Any version!

All I've noticed so far is they try to avoid words that we spell differently to those in that big colony.

Win2k's Network neighborhood -> XP My network places

However if you poke about, you still find 'merkin spelling...

Display properties, settings, still has "Color" in XP.

No idea about Vista, don't have it, don't need it, don't want it!

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OpenOffice is great

Ooo is an amazing product. It is free, feature rich, and more than adequate for 90% of the tasks that anyone needs a word processor / spreadsheet / powerpoint / database for.

By that I mean that unless you intend to write huge technical documents, you should be able to use OpenOffice with no issue at all.

If you haven't tried it, I heartily recommend doing so. It takes some getting used to but the functionality isn't far removed from MS Office. In some ways such as PDF / Shockwave export it actually exceeds MSO. I've sent so many PDFs generated in OpenOffice that I've lost count. It also does an excellent job of importing and exporting MS Office files. I even had a file for MS Word for Mac that MS Office refused to load which loaded fine in OpenOffice.

It still has some annoyances such as lack of outline mode and slow startup so it still has room for improvement. But what is there right now is already good enough for most people and since it's free you really can't go wrong. MS Office costs several hundred quid and consumes an entire DVD. I guarantee very few people need all that functionality.

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Open Source

All the people whinging about Open Office and claiming the faults are soooo easy to fix.

It's open source FFS, get your finger out and fix it instead of moaning on here.

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OOo helped me land my new job.

I was asked to prepare a presentation for the interview; Impress produced a suitably professional slide-deck, and it allowed me to export it to shockwave as well. This turned out to be helpful, as it allowed me to launch my presentation from an internet-connected browser without having to bring along a USB key or disk... Scored me some geek points, apparently.

So. Good enough for most peoples' needs? Absolutely. Worth every penny and more.

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@ It's open source FFS

Dont diss them directly, they are brought up by today's IT Management to believe "the customer is always right (including about what is technically achievable by someone else)" and having been on the wrong end of that attitude, they simply exercising their right as a "customer".

Remember, force of argument (rather than content) and political clout (rather than technical merit) are what todays IT decisions are made with and what they run on.

Dilbert lives!

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Agreed: OOo is great

I second DrXym's comments. Doesn't anyone remember when backwards compatibility didn't hold them back from progress like it does today?

The transition from WordPerfect to Word was not at all that seamless, much like the transition from WordPerfect to OpenOffice.org (in my case) or from Word to OOo in some others' cases.

Get over your ideals of 100% compatibility! Judge the package on its merits as a separate product with some ability to be cross-compatible with the industry norm, as any product should be judged.

If it does not work for you because it does not contain the features you use and need to use on a regular basis, that's fine. For what it can do as well as its overall completeness as an open source project for the masses, I think it really is quite attractive.

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@ Open Source Anon Coward

I'm the only one who claimed my pet peeve (lack of proper OTF support) might be easy to fix. If you look at the outline mode bug, a usable outline mode apparently requires a total rewrite of OO.org's display engine, something that Sun are not interested in at this time.

It may be an an open source project but what gets done is tightly controlled by Sun. That is one of the reasons there is not a proper EN_GB version anymore. There used to be an enthusiastic En_GB i18n team, but as far as I can tell they got tired of the hoops they had to jump through to get their work accepted.

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Stop

Negitivity

Wow, so much hate. This is a decent minor update to a robust package. How so many people can complain about the look of a completely configurable icon set or the functionality of a non-Microsoft product with MS file formats (guess which company will always do best? *the one who makes the damn file format, which is why the independent ODF is so f***ing important*. Ahem), is beyond me.

It's an alternative. It's open source. It's free in both senses of the word. If MS Office does it for you fine. If you don't like OOo, fine. But FFS stop complaining about it. Don't have a particular function you want working the way you want - fix it. Submit bug reports. Get that beardy guy in your IT department to submit a patch. Otherwise keep paying your Microsoft tax or shut the hell up when some reasonable competition raises its head.

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Delta updates?

@Gerry

That's very cool 8-). I hadn't realized any distro did deltas for anything.. closest I've seen personally is gentoo *sometimes* being able to get a patch for a "version 1.0.1" to "1.0.2" update, since it builds from source (then it updates to 1.1.0, and has to download the whole source again...). Good to know SOMEBODY is doing updates with deltas!

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Linux

@Peter

Have you tried Evolution? I made the switch a while ago and I'm happy with it so far (other than not being able to import my old .pst file directly). That said, I don't use it with Exchange.

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Paris Hilton

:~D)) @a software engineer for 15 years

Edit > Paste Special > Fields > [TLH corner to select all fields] Choose [from Standard to Text or whatever] > Chose separator [Tab [default] semicolon, space, comma, insert other choice] > Merge Delimiters [if for example there are too many spaces in the data] > OK.

OK?

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IT Angle

No en-GB support?

make LOCALIZED_LANG=en-GB install clean

Works for me!!

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Anonymous Coward

Icons

Tools/Options/View and change the style. The default "Industrial" is a bit soviet - i prefer tango or Crystal.

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Just waiting for GIMP now

just waiting for GIMP to come up to the same compatibility level and I can ditch Windows completely!!!

Well done OOO

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Re: Just waiting for GIMP now

Nah, people STILL complain that it's a silly name and rude.

Hey, if it's rude, you know what "gimp" is and you're a grown up. Deal with it.

If you don't know what "gimp" means in the deviant dictionary, you won't know it is any sillier than, say, "Access" or "VisiCalc".

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