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back to article No more Service Packs for Microsoft Office? HA! Think again, Ballmer!

Despite outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer's much-ballyhooed push toward a "rapid release" publishing schedule, Microsoft now says it will ship a Service Pack for Office 2013 in early 2014. Microsoft marketing manager Chris Schneider alerted customers to the impending update on Wednesday, saying it would include feature updates and …

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Silver badge

Oops. I'm ten years behind

Just occurred to me that I typically still use Office 2003 by choice. I'm way behind now. I try Open Office and now LibreOffice from time to time and LibreOffice is the suite I install by default.

I must be in a minority but I have used Office 2007 and Office 2010 and found them so uninspiring I have not even tried 2013.

Microsoft must be doing OK with most users still, but they have alienated me to the point where I am just transitioning to open source now.

Come to think of it, maybe I'm ten years ahead?

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Gold badge

Re: Oops. I'm ten years behind

Nah, gotta say, LibreOffice has done for me for the past few years. Office 2003 is still on my main VM, but when I upgrade to Fedora 20 - Weylan/Weston/FreeRDP, baby.! WOO! - it will be Libreoffice.

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Gimp

Re: Oops. I'm ten years behind

One wonders if they've even bothered to fix the problems in Office 2003 in all the builds though Office 2013.

What's the point of "upgrading" from one "just good enough" version to another "just good enough" version?

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Re: Oops. I'm ten years behind

"For example, instead of shipping the first major update to Windows 8 as a Service Pack, Microsoft dubbed that release Windows 8.1" .. AlReg should know that just because of this 8.1 adventure .. MS had to release Win Server 2012 R2 too (think vista-win7 Vs 2008-2008R2) .... so this frequent full OS refresh cant go far. with 8.2 would there be Win Server 2012 R3 !?! i highly doubt ....

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Bronze badge

Re: Oops. I'm ten years behind

What's the point of "upgrading" from one "just good enough" version to another "just good enough" version?

Because it has the new and improved user interface, that's why. And, BTW, Microsoft Mickeysoft could use the money. It has to pay for Ballmer's Golden Parachute somehow!!!'

</snark>

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Linux

Re: Oops. I'm ten years behind

Same here, using OpenOffice and later LibreOffice since 2007.

I have also done something I was not expecting, I replaced Outlook with Thunderbird, and while it is not perfect, it does an excellent job and I do not miss Outlook. The fact that mozilla is not obsessed with pushing silly updates to it and mostly only bug fixing is a huge plus!

I'm 100% Linux at home and at work, Windows is relegated to a XP vm for those rare occasions where I may need anything on windows.

Visio is the last bastion of MS for me, I run Visio 2003 in Wine which runs almost* perfect now.

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Windows

Re: Oops. I'm ten years behind

Just trying to create styles in 2007 is painful, in 2010 it's sheer torture.

It's easier to write code in VB which links via COM to the temptate and via home-brewed code and dilog boxes to make the styles there. Only this morning I was trying to edit some tab positions in a style and I was almost driven to tears/drink/typewriters.

In 2007/2010 the ribbon is just chock full of useless styles invented by the cockwombles in the MS Marketing Division which are no use to man nor beast.

As an improvement on earlier versions of Office, 2007/2010 isn't.

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Anonymous Coward

role up, role up

Give us yer cash for the same old same old.

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Re: role up, role up

Give us yer cash for the same old same old shit

Much better

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No new service packs??

I wonder if this is going to be one of the decisions that's reversed when Ballmer hands over the reins. I admit that time has moved on, and most of us in the first world have always-on high speed Internet, and more of an appetite for the rapid-release thing. I also remember that a Service Pack used to be a really big deal that would require Microsoft to press new media and put some effort into building up a new release that would be deployable "hands off" out of a physical software box. This is probably what Microsoft means by this -- that a SP is no longer the huge milestone that it was. But I think it should be, at least for some products.

I do think that even with cloud this and agile that, business IT still wants to have a jumping-off point in a product lifecycle to begin and standardize deployments on. If that release cycle shrinks too low, large customers may not be able to let the dust settle on a certain release and shake bugs out before the next release is out, and oh by the way, deprecates features from Release -1. Enterprise customers just jumping onto Windows 7 from XP are running into this, in the form of Microsoft not backporting key features to Win7 and Server 2008 R2.

I never thought I'd say this, but maybe Microsoft should reverse the decision they made with Windows 2000 to merge the consumer and business client OS base. They could have three tiers of release speed -- Azure where things change every day, Consumer Windows which is more app driven, and Business Windows which focuses on stability and predictable release schedules. PC manufacturers do the same thing -- they have the consumer junk line that they throw whatever components they feel like into and shove it out the door. Then at the high end, they have the rock-stable "business grade PC" that doesn't change the design for 18 months so companies can buy 40,000 of them and deploy them the same way.

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Windows

Re: No new service packs??

"Azure where things change every day, Consumer Windows which is more app driven, and Business Windows which focuses on stability and predictable release schedules."

They could call those Sid, Testing and Stable. Er- no perhaps not.

Seriously, any major UI changes will have training overhead. Simple as that.

The tramp: still on MS Office 2k with LibreOffice for day to day.

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Meh

Re: No new service packs??

"They could have three tiers of release speed -- Azure where things change every day, Consumer Windows which is more app driven, and Business Windows which focuses on stability and predictable release schedules."

I've got a good idea, they could call them 'Homer', 'Home' and 'Pro', just so no-one can get confused.

Oh, and give more upsell opportunities.

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Re: No new service packs??

Sounds like Ubuntu's release cycle...

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Bronze badge
Linux

Re: No new service packs??

Sounds like Ubuntu's release cycle...

I have always considered the non LTS variants as alpha and beta test versions unleashed on the general public for bug fixing and usability testing; which is why my main Ubuntu install is currently 12.04LTS.

I have a DAILY build of 14.04 sitting on an external hard drive for 'poking around'.

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Paris Hilton

I suppose software and its marketing does deserve to evolve but somewhere in all that mix is the "early adopters" syndrome.

In the older and apparently soon to be phased out model early adopters more or less knew (but without formally being notified or knowing if you know what I mean) that any glitches would be smoothed out in a .1 release update service pack thingy.

Where will early adopters now gain syndrome shattering confidence?

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Does this mean

They will charge less when a new version comes out? Does it hell! Charge more frequently for the lemmings that bow to the almighty thief of redmond

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WTF?

I tire of all this (woe is middle-class, first-world me, apparently)

Is it just me that sees it as a bit of semantics to say that a company is moving away from monolithic updates but instead makes you completely re-install the operating system with a 3.5GB download?

No more 300MB installers to download - just multi-GB updates direct from the Windows Store. (That you must re-download for each device . . . )

How, exactly, is that better?

And UI changes? The best thing about updates and service packs is that they fix and patch the functionality and security of the system without affecting the UI. One of my biggest complaints (among the others) of MS is their insistence of tying function to presentation.

Essentially, they are saying: "if you want a secure, compatible, Windows OS then you must accept whatever our marketing team of the day decides passes for a usable interface".

I really and truly am thinking of moving to Linux for home use. I've got my consoles for games so there's really nothing stopping me except inertia. I ran a few different flavours for a bit a while back so I think I might change over for 'good'. (Take that either way.)

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Re: I tire of all this (woe is middle-class, first-world me, apparently)

I have not switched completely since I need Windows for my software development needs; I just got a new PC set up to try out programming on a Linux-based PC. Otherwise I run Linux Mint on my laptop for my banking, credit-card purchases, bill payments, and other secure stuff. Linux Mint boots by default on my laptop so it does other things as well apart from my secure-transaction needs

That there is a pretty good reason to move on to desktop Linux, secure, virus free, malware free. So, watcha waitin' for?

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Gimp

Re: I tire of all this (woe is middle-class, first-world me, apparently)

Munich seemed to have finally broken free of the Microsoft shackles and their world hasn't come to an end.

http://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-munich-rejected-steve-ballmer-and-kicked-microsoft-out-of-the-city/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I tire of all this (woe is middle-class, first-world me, apparently)

The Munich migration has been going since 2003 (IIRC) and still hasn't finished, with a saving of next to nill. It's probably not a good example of a Linux migration, I would look elsewhere. Were I a CTO of a company looking to migrate from MS to Linux, I'd look very dimly upon someone saying "look how well it went for these guys".

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Re: I tire of all this (woe is middle-class, first-world me, apparently)

>>The Munich migration has been going since 2003 (IIRC) and still hasn't finished,

>>with a saving of next to nill. It's probably not a good example of a Linux migration,

>>I would look elsewhere. Were I a CTO of a company looking to migrate from MS

>>to Linux, I'd look very dimly upon someone saying "look how well it went for these guys".

Interesting comment, since there was no claim at the outset they were doing it to save money. As I recall, they wanted to get away from vendor lock-in, which they have done for most purposes. Certainly there were some training and changeover expenses they wouldn't have had with Microsoft products, uh, maybe...

Wonder how much they paid for upgrades to Office 2007, 2010, and 2013, plus upgrades to Windows 7, 8, 8.1, etc. And Microsoft the training those required was included in the purchase price, of course.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I tire of all this (woe is middle-class, first-world me, apparently)

They did claim that they were going to save money, but they said that saving money wasn't the main reason for the project.

Incidentally, it turns out that they are now fully supporting the LiMUX distribution (Ubuntu based) in house, with a team of ~20. This means that they can save more money through no support contracts. However, I've never heard of a major company who would be willing to do this, it will be interesting to see how it works out in the long run. After the first few major outages (and there will be major outages, it's a large IT enterprise) they may well change their minds.

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Alert

They'll have to pry my Windows 7 out of my cold dead hands.

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should have just done a cheap update to Windows 7 allowing it to be more compatible with 8 rather than balls up the desktop OS. Nothing like burning your bridges.

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Facepalm

It's not a service pack, it's a "new product". Honest.

Uh-huh.

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Bronze badge

Did an office 2013/365 install the other day

Did an office 2013/365 install the other day... the web installer downloaded all the latest files.

After the install, windows updates showed NO updates outstanding - it had slipstreamed the updates into the install.

Why can't they do that with windows as well? Maybe even give you an option to build an install disk with all the latest updates slipstreamed into it... maybe even a option to leave out bits you don't want, like tablet support, speech support and other languages?

Please?

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Facepalm

Re: Did an office 2013/365 install the other day

I think that they wont allow it because it allows people to build streamlined installs rather than the bloated install full of redundant features.

And the hard drive manufacturers will scream blue murder because they wont have a reason to keep flogging bigger and bigger drives.

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Bronze badge

Re: Did an office 2013/365 install the other day

Web installers are great if you have a fast internet connection etc. but for large installs such as the Win8.1 update and Office Pro they are in-appropriate for those of us that use more normal and hence restricted internet services.

I suspect the web installer didn't actually download all the latest files, it only downloaded the files that corresponded to your install selections and system. Hence the option to build an install disk rather than a recovery disk would require the ability to download an ISO.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Did an office 2013/365 install the other day

"Why can't they do that with windows as well? Maybe even give you an option to build an install disk with all the latest updates slipstreamed into it... maybe even a option to leave out bits you don't want, like tablet support, speech support and other languages?"

Err... They do. Just go an have a look at their web site (or countless others on the web) to see how it's done.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: keep flogging bigger and bigger drives.

The OS hasn't been the deciding factor in drive sizes for ages. The last time OS size was part of my consideration in buying a hard drive I think I bought a 20GB drive.

Currently I have a 1TB primary data store at home, 2 Baracudas for the dual boot (370GB IIRC, which I probably don't), and a 2TB backup drive. Even with all the pr0n I download, I'm nowhere near the limit on the primary data store.

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Silver badge

Re: Web installers are great if you have a fast internet connection etc.

I wouldn't even go that far.

At work we have a huge pipe for a non-Internet 2 shop. I still dread download installers. I'd much rather I could just hop up to the network drive and run the appropriate installer, whether it is a service pack or the latest monthly java/flash/reader update. None of those take more than a minute or two to download and I expect half the wait time is actually the AV scanner.

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I did a web install of Microsoft Office (Non 365) and it automatically downloaded all of the updates at the same time. Wouldn't it make more sense for Windows to do this too? Also, the Windows Update experience still takes a painful amount of time. Doesn't seem to take anywhere near as much time on my Mac.

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WTF?

Service Packs?

I was always under the impression that there would be service packs for those who bought Office 2013 on CD but that those using Office 365 were getting incremental updates and would not be need service packs per se.

Am I mistaken then?

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Silver badge
WTF?

Some companies, such as Adobe, seem to relish the opportunity to update ...

as it seems every time I switch on my computer there is that charcoal window demanding I install yet another 'important update'.

Damn annoying, although it let's me refill my coffee cup.

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Silver badge

Maybe my beard is more gray than I think it is

But the fast dev vs service pack argument never made sense to me. It's sort of like a backup regime. You want periodic full backups (monolithic service packs) and incremental backups (fast dev/deploy).

The periodic service packs give you an easy, stable, baseline development/build point. Not necessarily what you want to be doing every day, but an important milestone. The over the wire stuff gives you the critical security or update features that you need quickly. Granted MS have gotten better, but I absolutely hated the days of over the wire update, reboot, check again, and oh there are another 20 updates you need based on the last ones installed. Reboot and repeat with each iteration the number needed goes down 50%.

Hell, I don't even care if you call the SP a roll-up like they were doing with IE for a while.

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