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back to article Apache promotes OpenOffice to top-level project

Ever since Oracle dumped OpenOffice on the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), progress in developing the free office apps suite has been glacial at best. That may now change with the announcement that OpenOffice is now officially a Top-Level Project (TLP) for the open source group. "The OpenOffice graduation is the official …

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Linux

Ah Oracle

Quite right to say they dumped it on Apache. It was rather hard for them to figure out what to do with it and having tried to turn it into a free money machine and failed, they found someone to throw it at. No one, ever, wants to have Oracle making decisions on a project they make, if only because that's like letting a blind idiot help you cross the street.

Libreoffice is the rightfull sucessor to OpenOffice.org

The new openoffice is just another Oracle poisoned product.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ah Oracle

That "blind idiot" Oracle continues to rake in billions in profit every quarter. It would seem that they actually do know what they are doing.

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Anonymous Coward

Installation is still a pain...

I quite like OpenOffice and LibreOffice, but one thing I wish they could fix is the need for a full, glacially slow installation to keep current to the latest point release. I've installed some Linux distributions faster!

Also, application start up times still need improvement.

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Linux

Re: Installation is still a pain...

"Also, application start up times still need improvement."

At the risk of running an egg-sucking community class, should you be on Linux, I take it you have tweaked the options (untick java, increase memory to 256Mb and memory per object to 16Mb)?

https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/LibreOffice#Speed_up_LibreOffice

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Installation is still a pain...

" one thing I wish they could fix is the need for a full, glacially slow installation to keep current to the latest point release."

Under which operating system? On mine (OpenSUSE 12.x) individual bits get upgraded as and when necessary via the usual RPM system. There are no full reinstalls involved.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Installation is still a pain...

"Under which operating system?"

Windows.

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Anonymous Coward

I'm sure you can name all of those "customers in both government and business" that have been won.

*crickets*

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Anonymous Coward

This is in order to protect them

from flying chairs.

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Facepalm

Here you go, troll

http://www.itworld.com/it-managementstrategy/304131/munich-shifts-libreoffice

http://www.computerworlduk.com/news/open-source/3400404/french-government-to-use-postgresql-and-libreoffice-in-free-software-adoption-push/

etc.

etc.

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Anonymous Coward

Why is there an Open Office and Libre Office still?

Can't they join forces and provide a decent office suite instead of two average ones?

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It's all about the license

It's all about the license. And there is room (and desire, apparently) for both free and non-free licensing.

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Jad

RE: Can't they join forces ... ?

Actually they are in communication, but I'm pretty sure that there will never be a joining of the projects, since their goals are different.

Apache always looks to making the most stable, reliable project that is usable in all circumstances (pretty much bug fixes only)

Document Foundation want a product that can change and adapt to the way in which Offices run, including new import filters and plugins (can import Microsoft Publisher files for instance), tweaked to provide performance boosts and to this end remove old no longer used code (sun 2.4 compilers will no longer work ... but does anyone still have those?) ... this can cause API and functionality to change, and during transitions between working, alpha, beta and stable code will possibly be less stable.

My money on the future of the "open" office system is LibreOffice just because they _can_ adapt.

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Gold badge

Weirdly, I get on better with OpenOffice..

I have both installed, but somehow OpenOffice works better for me.

Maybe I ought to re-install both and spend at least a month working with each - might just be a config issue.

First job: nuke auto-correct, auto-format of Internet links and killing off auto word completion. That's not OO or LO specific, that's a bane that has been with us since someone in Microsoft came up with that. And I would really, really, really wish there would be a switch that would default a cut & paste to "leave the /&%ç formatting behind and just paste as text". Here is a vote: has anyone ever found that NOT go wrong?

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Stop

Re: Cut/n/Paste was Weirdly, I get on better with OpenOffice..

But, isn't that a Paste Special option?

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Cut/n/Paste was Weirdly, I get on better with OpenOffice..

But, isn't that a Paste Special option?

Of course it is, but the OP said "by default". Paste Special is not the default of ctrl+v. I myself sometimes wish there was a way to do that, when I'm tired of doing shift_ctrl+v, moving to the "unformatted text" option and pressing enter. But I definitely wouldn't call it a major issue at any rate.

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J 3

Re: Cut/n/Paste was Weirdly, I get on better with OpenOffice..

Grr... I meant Paste Special as text only is not the default of ctrl+v...

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Linux

Re: Weirdly, I get on better with OpenOffice..

"I have both installed, but somehow OpenOffice works better for me."

Is that on Windows or Linux?

If latter, what kernel and what video drivers? I've seen similar on RHEL clones (2.6.32) and nvidia proprietary. On Ubuntu 12.04 LibreOffice stock works best

PS: fully agree about 'paste plain text' as default, that is why I use the Linux 'highlight then switch window and middle click' method a lot.

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Silver badge

leave the /&%ç formatting behind and just paste as text

Indeed, the pasting of formatted text is even more stupid than the caps lock key. I wish there were a similar easy fix. Unfortunately, the problem of formatted pasting extends beyond any single program / program suite and invaded everything. Can't copy anything into Thunderbird anymore without stupid surprises

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Anonymous Coward

Re: leave the /&%ç formatting behind and just paste as text

Please specify which OS your comments refer to. The plain text copy and paste is generally achieved using the X clipboard mechanism under Linux (highlight to copy, middle-click to paste).

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Joke

Re: leave the /&%ç formatting behind and just paste as text

> Indeed, the pasting of formatted text is even more stupid than the caps lock key.

AM I THE ONLY PERSON WHO THINKS THAT THE CAPS LOCK KEY IS A REALLY GREAT IDEA?

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Happy

Re: leave the /&%ç formatting behind and just paste as text

Sorry, can't hear you

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Gold badge

Re: Weirdly, I get on better with OpenOffice..

Is that on Windows or Linux?

OSX 10.8 and Linux (stopped using Windows about 2 years ago). I don't think it's video, it's presentation. Maybe I just got too used to the way OO does it - I like an almost empty desktop (without it being *blank*, so not the "full screen" mode). This is also what bugs me massively about MS Office. Clutter distracts.

I was, however, making a general point. Thanks to MS needing something they could call *cough* innovation *cough* we got saddled with crap that is seriously counterproductive. Auto-correct, for instance, is responsible for people having stored "teh" in muscle memory rather than the correct word as there is no longer a feedback loop - and so creates a well desired dependency.. Carrying formatting along with text instead of the raw data should have been a user defined option from day 1 - especially Word gets eventually into a complete state with all the crud you can't even see (remember WordPerfect "reveal codes"? Now *that* was useful).

Turning email and web addresses into links (and different formatting) - has anyone actually used that? Ever wanted to type something *word* and see it turn into unwanted bold? FFS, *I* should be in control of that, not some Silicon Valley jerkoff who decides for me what I want. I'm OK with being given the option, but I think that 30+ years of writing information ought to qualify me for at least a tiny insight into what *I* want and what works. But hey, that wouldn't sell upgrades and training courses, right? There's a whole eco-system dependent on MS screwing up your work methodology ..

/rant

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Linux

Re: Weirdly, I get on better with OpenOffice..

" I don't think it's video, it's presentation. Maybe I just got too used to the way OO does it - I like an almost empty desktop (without it being *blank*, so not the "full screen" mode). This is also what bugs me massively about MS Office. Clutter distracts."

Interesting...

What version of OpenOffice are you using? And what version of LO are you comparing it to?

OO 3.2.1 on Debian Squeeze seems almost identical to LO 3.5.4 on Ubuntu 12.04. Screen grabs below. There are differences in scale on the displays so the buttons seem larger on OO but that isn't real...

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/8403291/lo354b2-ubuntu1204.jpg

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/8403291/oo321b11-debian-squeeze.jpg

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OOofq

I thought you HAD to copy it all to text before you could do that.

Fancy it becoming an optional non option optionally.

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Does Libre Office actually work? Open Office is so shot thru with bugs that it's worth the trouble to give M$ their ransom for the lame but usable Microsoft Word.

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Anonymous Coward

Yes

LO does 'work' - but it doesn't always translate identically the awful document structures that some (l)users manage to create with Word. Nor always do different Word versions. Well formed documents are fine, but elsewhere GIGO applies.

Powerpoint is more of a problem but I have a job that requires fairly high-level technical skills, and I leave PP to minions, based on Ricardo's Law.

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Open Office is so shot thru with bugs . . .

With all due respect, you must be doing something wrong.

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Libre Office works just fine

"Does Libre Office actually work?"

Yes. I regularly use both MS Office 2010 and Libre Office. As Microsoft decided to alter the user interface of MS Office beyond recognition for users of their previous versions, I find it quicker to use Libre Office.

Interestingly, one of our suppliers (a well known national Telco) recently delivered some documents written with MS Office 2007. When opened with MS Office 2003 or MS Office 2010, the diagrams were not formatted correctly - but Libre Office had no problem.

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Anonymous Coward

Vapourware

"...the group has plans for iOS, Android, and cloud versions of the application suite..."

I wish people would stop re-hashing TDF's announcement from a couple of years back that they intend to create Android and iOS versions, as if it was some kind of achievement. To date there has been nothing released, no roadmap to a release date, no news of any developments whatsoever... absolutely zilch!

LibreOffice on Android and iOS is total vapourware.

In that spirit and while I'm here, I'd like to announce that I'm currently working on a piece of software for Android and iOS that will cause unicorns to leap from the screen, carrying sacks of gold on their backs.

I now look forward to the entire geek press sucking my arse for the next several years and lauding me for my innovation.

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Happy

Clunky amateurish junk

My (Mac) experience suggests: Life is way too short to be struggling with these clunky home made poo poos, or indeed with Mac Numbers (yekk), for that matter.

Pay Mr Gates for the real McCoy and enjoy a professional product.

And if you just want a free midrange spreadsheet app, go Google.

Can all these well meaning brain boxes find no better focus for their benevolence than re-inventing the wheel?

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Thumb Down

Re: Clunky amateurish junk

Foul troll. Ignore.

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Crud

Been using OO / LO on and off since the original STAROFFICE, the German company, how many of you remember that?

It was a great idea, and it now works more than OK for most people, but it just does not compare with MS Office in terms of international business compatability. Tried it countless times, and farting around trying to change formats is more than enough to stop most business users using OO / LO. Great idea, but not quite good enough implementation for my business use.

Yes, I know that it's MS fault for incompatibility, but usability IS an essential pre-requisite for most business users.

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WTF?

"on a regular basis" -- Yes, but where's the beef?

"Fiddling as LibreOffice speeds past"

You mean waddles past at a snail's pace, don't you?

"LibreOffice, which celebrated its second birthday last month, is now releasing updates on a regular basis"

Whilst better than OOo, most of The Document Foundation's LibO updates have been trivial, important issues still aren't addressed, for instance, LibO's Writer still can't format documents as well as MS's 12 year old Office 2000 (keystroke commands/shortcuts still aren't complete), which is very basic stuff to say the least. And LibO still relies on Java, not to mention that it doesn't handle damaged document files as well as Office does (it consumes all available memory and goes into ga-ga land whereas Office at least opens the file).

LibO is better than nothing but I still an ancient MS Office in preference. And it's not for the want of trying LibO, unfortunately Office is still better (but I really wish it weren't so).

But then, one doesn't expect much for nothing these days, does one?

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Article fail

The big picture might be distorted if the details are not correctly portrayed. LibreOffice 3.6 is the minor revision and 3.5.7 is the maintenance release on the maintenance mode of the prior release. The former works okay, but NOT on Ubuntu 12.4 as a prior comment indicates; text documents were opening in two page (book) mode by default for some reason, with the first page over to the right of the computer window, with wasted space not to mention confusion even finding the thing at first, and no amount of purging the install and settings would clear it. Off to find OpenOffice 3.4, and unlike the article's note about incompatibly licensed libraries, how about .deb's that didn't add up to an install package; but a build from source corrected the unusable part of the code war. Then 3.4.1 installed in a download and update manner.

Yes, there are bugs, and yes there are bugs shared between the releases and some of which get introduced in a way that makes one wonder if the commercial competitors aren't sabotaging their open source rival. For instance, file picker dialogs (with hyperlinks) used to be non-modal so a user could refer to a lower window, but along about version 2.1 this was made modal, impeding the workflow. This did not correct a related problem which even became worse: copy and paste in Windows 2000 and at least one of my XP machines during a file picker dialog becomes a slow or fast kill (obviously a reference to released or uninitialized memory). Even such a trivial operation as dragging onto a spreadsheet is mismapped and the pointer eventually has to be below the cell in question (oh, the bug report is marked fixed file another report if it still happens...). And I do not feel like putting my programmer's hat on to fix these, or maybe do not have the time.

But as for the article, a thorough reading of the LibreOffice web pages would have avoided one error; and a run through of installing the software in the nature of fact checking would have shown up another. Which would have taken time too of course.

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Bronze badge

Re: Article fail but overall...

I am grateful to all concerned with Open Office and Office Libre.

In centuries to come the world will have something better but will remember both applications for my research the way Latin is fondly rememebered today by every one of the millions of readers of Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica.

Thank you.

I thank you.

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Linux

Re: Article fail

"The former works okay, but NOT on Ubuntu 12.4 as a prior comment indicates; text documents were opening in two page (book) mode by default for some reason, with the first page over to the right of the computer window, with wasted space not to mention confusion even finding the thing at first, and no amount of purging the install and settings would clear it. "

Not seeing this at all on Ubunbtu 12.04 32 bit, stock install, nvidia proprietary drivers, using Unity, Unity2d, Fallback (no effects) and IceWM.

What graphics drivers/card are you using?

Have you filed a bug?

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I wish they'd clone MSAccess too

LibreOffice is an okay word processor and spreadsheet, and its replacement for Powerpoint is pretty reasonable. But nobody, anywhere, has a file format compatible substitute for MS Access. That's an aging program that nonetheless does things that no other database program can do, at least easily. Chaining queries, so the output of one query is the input to another one, and they run as one query without creating intermediate files, is incredibly useful. When I tried the OOO/LO joke of a databse, it wouldn't even let me scroll down to the end; it displays the top and you can't even browse around a large relation. Useless.

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I downloaded and installed the latest Libre Office, much improved.

I posted earlier that Open Office was more than a little bit buggy, but despite five thumbs down, I'll stand by that statement. However, I did give Libre Office another try and its definitely much improved now. I was able to format my resume and save it, then reload it with the formatting still intact. Open Office was so buggy that some important formatting was mangled every time I saved and reopened the document.

I still think that it goes too far in copying lame metaphors from Word, rather than choosing a better way to do anything. The people giving me the thumbs down should understand that I don't like Word very much at all, but unfortunately it is so prevalent of a standard I have to put up with it.

I also had some trouble figuring out how to add/remove lines from a table cell. I finally found them somewhat illogically in paragraph formatting. It doesn't quite make sense to have them controlled there because it IS possible one would want to have paragraph lines on the text inside a cell, and completely separate lines on the table cell itself. So this isn't exactly an improvement in metaphors. It would also help to have an underline shortcut on the toolbar, which in this case IS copying Word, but it's and OK metaphor, so why not do it?

One way Libre Office is improved over WinWord is that it does have an actual menu instead of the tabbed ribbon bar confusion of Word.

I still wish Adobe hadn't bought Framemaker only to sit on it. It was such a nice program, they could have made it a little bit friendlier and released it as a supremely capable word processor, that just happened to be a pretty damn good page layout program too.

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The future of Apache OpenOffice

The Apache conference Europe is starting in one week. The schedule http://www.apachecon.eu/schedule/ is a good starting point to guess what's coming in Apache OpenOffice in 2013 after the two-three releases (3.4.0 in May, 3.4.1 in August, possibly a 3.4.2 in December, currently being discussed in public on the ooo-dev list http://mail-archives.apache.org/mod_mbox/incubator-ooo-dev/ like everything else at Apache) in 2012.

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