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back to article LibreOffice 4.0 ships with new features, better looks

The Document Foundation has announced LibreOffice 4.0, the latest version of the free software competitor to Microsoft Office that spun off from the OpenOffice.org effort in 2010, describing it as nothing less than "the free office suite the community has been dreaming of since 2001." "LibreOffice 4.0 is the first release that …

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Re: Slowly closing the gap with Microsoft Office?

Quite likely yes.

However I've seen regional health authorities doing exactly that and using it as an accounting system.

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Re: Slowly closing the gap with Microsoft Office?

Did he know that is is hard/impossible to add? He won't find out unless he asks.

Does he require CMYK support? Seems he does and as GIMP can't/won't provide it; then GIMP is the wrong tool for the job.

I'm not RMS, I don't have a probably with people buying proprietary software. What I have a problem with is people who get software (or anything) for no cost, bitch about it and demand it do something else for no cost.

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Re: Slowly closing the gap with Microsoft Office?

"Of the options you mentioned, only writing it myself or hiring someone to write it will actually guarantee the specific functionality gets created. That's not going to be free to do."

So what? Whoever said F/OSS has to also be zero cost software?

"If i need 4 copies immediately, the only sensible approach is to go out and buy something that already does it."

I have no problem with that. You could also form a cadre of like minded individuals and get the thing done.

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Re: Slowly closing the gap with Microsoft Office?

"Or pay a nominal sum of money to obtain commercial software that already has these features, along with support?"

£600 / license is a nominal sum?

I'll grant there are much, much, much more expensive software packages out there, but I'd not deem it "nominal".

That's 50-100% more than most people's computers cost in the first place! For a young design grad on £25k/yr (generous), that's 2.4% of their salary. As an SME employer, that's quite a bit to spend on them, especially after you've just spent at least that much on a workstation for them (or more likely, bought a senior designer a new toy to free up an old machine for the noob), and a desk, and lighting, and electricity, and floor space in the office. So the question would be "Do they really, really, really need that to do their job, or is an Open Source offering going to enable them to do their job just as well?

If they work in print and need CMYK all day every day, right now, the answer will obviously be no. If they work in web graphics, it could quite possibly be yes. Horses for courses.

Similarly, a young design grad like that probably doesn't need an office suite at all, but if they do, it'll be for very, very basic tasks, for which LO or similar will be more than adequate for, rather than spending another £150-200 on MS Office.

The thing with open source is it's usually developed by someone to fill a very specific niche. If that niche happens to be your job, then more general proprietary tools probably won't hold a candle up to it. The interesting bit is when broader stuff like productivity suites start butting up against the proprietary alternatives.

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Re: Slowly closing the gap with Microsoft Office?

" "Or pay a nominal sum of money to obtain commercial software that already has these features, along with support?"

£600 / license is a nominal sum?"

Be fair, £600 is a nominal sum relatively speaking. Let's make up some numbers. CMYK for GIMP, we've been told that's a hard job. How hard? One man year (including testing etc). How much is that? £60,000?

Only one person wants it. Cost to them? £60,000. That buys them a lot of licenses.

But wait. 10 people want it. Now the cost is £6,000 each. See where this is going?

Now yes, there will be other opportunity costs etc involved and one may still reach the decision that £600 at the pay-for vendor is the better option (especially if it's available right now). That's all fine and dandy, good on you, get the tool you need.

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Re: I always assumed...

Well aren't you stupid, Stupid?

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Re: @The BigYin

What the hell is your problem? batfastad wasn't bitching or demanding anything. He simply mentioned a feature that he would like to see implemented in GIMP. Now go take some Prozac.

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Re: Slowly closing the gap with Microsoft Office? @The BigYin

"Did he know that is is hard/impossible to add? He won't find out unless he asks."

He says he uses it exensively - seems reasonable to assume he's looked into it.

"Does he require CMYK support? Seems he does and as GIMP can't/won't provide it; then GIMP is the wrong tool for the job."

Thar's his point, isn't it? Then you jumped in with the old fix it yourself defence. (Note i said fix, not write, to head off your "I didn's say he had to write it" defence.)

"I'm not RMS, I don't have a probably with people buying proprietary software. What I have a problem with is people who get software (or anything) for no cost, bitch about it and demand it do something else for no cost."

Pointing out an absent feature isn't bitching. He hasn't *demanded* anything. I could argue you're demanding he support FOSS with his time/money/whatever. Which is an investment of one kind or another. You often make good points in threads, but I think you've failed here, I'm afraid.

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Re: Slowly closing the gap with Microsoft Office?

given the people who work at PC World are probably unaware of alternatives to MS Office, to the extent some of them can't spell IT anyway, maybe their customers should get some slack. At least they aren't actually paid to work with IT products, the way the muppets are. (If you disagree with the muppet point of view, go into PC World Tottenham Court Road and ask for a PC that doesn't come with a pre-installed OS, and wait for them to say "what?"

Or just ask about non-Windows/Mac software

Or, if you're really feeling cruel, ask them to justify £15 for network cables you can buy online for 80p .... )

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Re: I always assumed...

Depending on the business, the cost of Office or Photoshop will be tax deductible. This is probably why the cost of the latter is around the £600 mark- it doesn't cost the professional that much, as it is a business cost.

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Re: I always assumed...

Woah! I'm not demanding that GIMP immediately adds CMYK support. When it arrives I will be overjoyed but I have been using GIMP for long enough to know that it's not as simple as me just developing a module like I have attempted for ProFTPd and Apache.

I was merely pointing out that GIMP has pretty much feature parity with Photoshop for me, as a medium to heavy user of both. If someone wants to setup a dev fund for CMYK support then I will happily contribute financially. Hell I thought about setting that very thing up a while ago or nominating for a GSoC project.

The GIMP developers continue to make steady progress in converting the underlying engine to GEGL, which I understand would make supporting additional colour spaces alot easier.

I'm not bitching that an open source project was missing a feature that I really want, I was trying to say that I'm so amazed by the fact that an open source project can get to 95% of feature parity of such an expensive commercial product.

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Re: Slowly closing the gap with Microsoft Office?

I'd consider GIMP to be better for retouching of photos than Photoshop. Even scripting GIMP is better than Photoshop. But that's just my personal experience.

Did you know GIMP was used to retouch frames in the first Harry Potter and Stuart Little?

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Pint

Re: Slowly closing the gap with Microsoft Office?

"Ten thousand column!? Somehow I get the feeling that anyone running near that many columns is using the wrong software."

Perhaps they're using a massive spreadsheet to perform the ERP functions. If they can avoid SAP's effectively 100% profit tax, then it might be worth it. Hell, I'd rather manage a corporation using a single NAND gate and a box of delay lines than sign up for the massive SAP money grab (now 30% of all European IT $£€, for about 0.1 ppm of the software LoC).

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Re: Slowly closing the gap with Microsoft Office?

What I have a problem with is people who get software (or anything) for no cost, bitch about it and demand it do something else for no cost.

That gets you into OSX territory. Example: GIMP vs Pixelmator. It's not Photoshop, but it DOES have CMYK support and for less-than-top-experts (which IMHO most of us are) it beats the living crap out of anything else around. And as you've paid for it you can legitimately bitch about missing features (and, to be honest, they do actually listen). This is the secret MS doesn't want you to find out: yes, you pay serious $$ for a Mac platform because you're buying rather decent hardware, but 90% of the software is not only dramatically cheaper, but also licensed in a nicer way - except Microsoft or Adobe products..

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Fitting into the 50MB limit for the Android app store is a bit of a problem

Surely they can have the android app from the market download the extra data after it has been installed. Such as what many games on the market do at the moment?

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Re: Fitting into the 50MB limit for the Android app store is a bit of a problem

Erm, I thought Google had increased the Google Play size limit to 4GB several months ago?!

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FAIL

meh

Still no Draft view (bug 39080). Not interested. (yes, seriously. I make heavy use of draft view to enter the bulk of my documents)

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Re: meh

"Still no Draft view (bug 39080)."

Then write the 39080 patch, or hire someone to write it, or sponsor the project, or write the specs, or help with the testing, or the docs, or....

It's your project too, y'know.

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Re: meh

But this is the problem people find with open source is it not? If it does not have the features needed everyone says "write it yourself."

A small business cannot do this, a larger business thinks "someone else will do it" and yes eventually it may get done but the problem for open source is that there is usually commercial software that already has the ability to do it. Hence a small amount of cash and it is there instantly.

Open source needs to address this, the problem is because it is people and yes business too (that can afford the time and money) that do it of their free will. If it is not important to them it does not get done in a timely manner. Hence proprietary software keeps winning out.

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Re: meh

Well said. I agree that asking a small or medium sized businesses to write its own office code is daft. They are far too busy making tyre moulds, delivering coffee machines, chasing creditors etc. You might as well ask them to make their own shoes.

However it is not true to say "Hence proprietary software keeps winning out.". Look in a datacentre and you will likely see more open source than Microsoft. Most of the internet runs on open source (eg. Linux/Apache) including this forum.

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Re: meh @Jim 59

Hi Jim 59, I agree it does not apply to all open source projects, but these projects are usually the big important ones. Like you say Apache/Linux are big head liners for open source.

But it is the actual software that people need to use that seems not to get the features quick enough. It is this that needs to change so that the people using the projects want to use them. Not to be told to write it or wait. They will not wait as they need the functionality, they will move on to something that does have it.

If the users see the functionality this will in turn foster faster adoption of open source.

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Re: meh

What open source needs is a sort of Kickstarter for bugs.

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Re: meh

There could perhaps be some sort of donation model where you could donate towards getting a particular feature implemented or bug fixed?

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Re: meh

"If it does not have the features needed everyone says "write it yourself." "

If you read what I wrote, you'll see that I offered many option. Here's a question:

1) How much did LibreOffice cost you?

2) How much did the support contract cost you?

3) How much is that feature worth to you?

"A small business cannot do this"

Yes it can. See the money it pays for licenses and support contracts....guess where some of that could go?

"Open source needs to address this"

If does. It's call "People who want features in free/open source help get those features put in."

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Re: meh

"Yes, we are all programmers"

No we are not. Why does everyone get so obsessed with code? Where did I say that you and only you must write the code and the only thing you are allowed to do is write the code?

You want to know what a massive help to a F/OSS project is? Reading the docs and checking for spelling mistakes, confusing structure, translating etc. Basic stuff that requires no knowledge of code.

Wanting everything for free and providing no contribution back is what harms F/OSS.

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Re: meh

"asking a small or medium sized businesses to write its own office code is daft."

OH FFS! Who ever said they have to write it?

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Re: meh

@Paul 135 - This already exists, it's called "getting involved". There is nothing to stop you, right now, getting together with a few others and hiring a coder/graphic artist/whatever and having whatever it is that annoys you sorted.

The slight problem with a straight money donation to bug fixes/features, it kinda creates the incentive for devs to not fix things until there's enough donations.

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Re: meh

"To be honest I'd be surprised if some projects haven't already implemented it."

Bug affects: 1,734 users

Bug priority: Medium (fix trigger level, $500)

Bug donation level: $0

That's why. It creates an incentive to chase the money rather than the functionality.

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Re: meh

Wanting everything for free and providing no contribution back is what harms F/OSS.

F/OSS expecting everyone to contribute back is the problem. Not everyone can or has the means.

"If it does not have the features needed everyone says "write it yourself." "

If you read what I wrote, you'll see that I offered many option. Here's a question:

1) How much did LibreOffice cost you?

2) How much did the support contract cost you?

3) How much is that feature worth to you?

"Open source needs to address this"

If does. It's call "People who want features in free/open source help get those features put in."

1) Nothing, thank you very much, what does this have to do with anything. It is the model they use and why it's use is growing. Without people using it it would fail. Do you plan on only letting people that contribute use it?

2) A fair amount from an independent I would have thought. The community can be great but not always on nor always relevant.

3) The cost of a product that has already implemented the required feature and is not trying to harang me for money for something that should be in their product if they want me to use it. Which they do want me/ as many as possible to use or it would fail. See above.

"A small business cannot do this"

Yes it can. See the money it pays for licenses and support contracts....guess where some of that could go?

it pays money and licenses for what it needs now. Not for future needs. You may look at it differently but if a business needs a process now and it exists, why pay for someone to implement it maybe in the future. Somewhen.

"Open source needs to address this"

If does. It's call "People who want features in free/open source help get those features put in."

The door may be open but i have explained to you above why not many people pass through it. If they want to beat the propriety software they need to put the features in. Not harass people like you seem to be doing here. That does not encourage people. Also note not everyone can contribute nor would they want to limit use to only people that do contribute as they want as many people using it as possible.

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Re: meh

"F/OSS expecting everyone to contribute back is the problem. Not everyone can or has the means."

Of course everyone has the means. It's not just code and massive test server y'know.

"The cost of a product that has already implemented the required feature and is not trying to harang me for money for something that should be in their product if they want me to use it. Which they do want me/ as many as possible to use or it would fail. "

Err...it does harang you. It's called "the price". If a piece of pay-for software does what you need, go buy it.

"it pays money and licenses for what it needs now. Not for future needs."

My comment was poorly written, I apologise. What I meant was the cash currently being spent on license fees and support contracts; some of that could be used to fund the development of their chose F/OSS tool. I fully expect them to still have a support contract, hopefully with an organisation feeding back into F/OSS (probably to make support easier...)

"but if a business needs a process now and it exists, why pay for someone to implement it maybe in the future. Somewhen."

I did not say they should. If another tool does what they need, go use that tool. What they should not do it select a tool that doesn't do what they want, moan about it and not lift one finger to fix the problem they have caused themselves.

Further more, many places do not have vanilla installs of (say) MS Office because they do not provide all the features. They go out and buy add-ons, or pay someone to write those add-ons. How is that any different to buying add-ons for F/OSS software, or paying someone to add to the F/OSS code base?

"If they want to beat the propriety software they need to put the features in."

Who said they wanted to "beat the proprietary software"? The most they want to do is scratch their own itch and fix their own problems. There will be some vendor somewhere who does want to beat proprietary software, I'll grant you that. But that isn't the project's problem and said vendor would almost certainly be involved in the project at some level, seeing to it that what they need gets done.

"Also note not everyone can contribute"

Everyone can contribute. Don't place limits. Even a decent bug report (or the steps to hit a problem) helps.

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Re: meh

" "if you want it then go and write it yourself" (which you made in this thread) "

Poor summary, I said "It's your project too". If people want to abdicate all responsibility for things to someone else, there's already a model for that. They're free to lobby the vendor for new features too, then pay for the upgrade.

"give us money and we might consider it"

You don't have to give the project the money, do you? It may (or may not) take money. Depends what it is.

"but enough do that it's a major turn-off - and perpetuating the attitude helps absolutely nothing."

I'm not saying DIY, you're choosing to read that as my view and then argue against that. I am saying, get involved.

It's your project too.

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Re: meh

"Yes, you're saying DIY, or you're saying pay up."

"DIY", I took that to mean "you have to write the code yourself" which is manifestly not the case.

"Pay up" Seeing as the alternative is paid-for software, you have to pay up anyway! And I see nothing wrong with paying for F/OSS (be that money, time, other resources, whatever; i.e. get involved, it's your project too). Clearly one can't do everything, and that's where you make your cost/benefit choices.

I really don't get what your problem is. F/OSS software is there for you to take at zero-cost and when it's pointed out that it's down to you to get the things you want implemented, you go into a complete tizz.

If F/OSS does not do what you need, you don't want to get involved and some paid paid software does what you need at a price you can stomach....there's your decision.

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Re: meh

Ok, gentle question. Have you told the project what you want? Logged a change request, filed a bug, got on their IRC, mailing list, whatever?

"I find this attitude extremely off-putting, and it's an attitude that you've demonstrated."

What's off-putting about pointing out that you can effect the change you want? If you are happy to let others put the changes in/decide the features, like choosing not to vote/protest/stand, you have abdicated all responsibility and have no right to complain. Sorry it that upsets you, but it's the truth.

Even with paid-for software, if you don't feedback to the OEM you won't get the things you want. They are not mind readers either. And they may still not choose to do what you want, then you are screwed. At least with F/OSS you can say "Sod that" and fork, if you have the chops to do so (and I realise that some people may not).

"You did say both of these, and they were your first responses."

They were part of a longer list and the reason they appeared first was they are the most immediate way to get the desired result. What is your alternative to either of those options?

"in the case of writing documentation, for instance, or testing current features - utterly useless so far as adding new features goes."

Not necessarily, as it releases the people who are currently doing to do other things.

Whenever I see "F/OSS X does not do Y" it reminds of the reviews for the 50p/free apps in the apps stores "This doesn't do Z. It's total shit! FIX IT FIX IT FIX IT FIX IT!" Which is utterly beyond the pale. It's a 50p/free app, get a sodding grip.

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Re: meh

"If you don't like the way a project is going, you either suck it up and live with it"

Indeed - and I have been very guilty of mouthing off...until someone raised my conciousness. Maybe I am now mouthing off the other way. Dunno. But I see far, far too many people who complain about F/OSS and have never once spoken to the project concerned. It's as if they expect the team to magically know what the problem is. It simply never occurs to them that there is an option beyond moaning.

And often when one does contact the project they may have some very good reasons why they won't/can't do it. Or (embarrassingly) they point at an option and ask one what, exactly, does one think that does?

There's quite a few bugs that drive me totally batshit (KDE menus has one, for example). I've added to the bug and I'm willing to test. It actually looks like it might be an easy fix, but I'm not familiar with the code base and as I am unwilling to put a bounty on the fixing; I have made my choice and now have no right to complain about it.

If someone said to me "I raised bug 123 and the response from the devs was 'Go and play with yourself. Denied'" then they have every right to complain. Loudly. For those devs are dicks.

"Cinnamon, for example, is a wonder for communication with the developers."

Cinnamon? They don't have wobbly windows! I DEMAND....Ok, ok, deep breath. :-) Yes, they are much more open than (say) Gnome or Canonical. I'm playing DE pong at the moment, trying to decide which one I like.

"When someone says it's not actually fit for *their* purpose, the response is a hyper-defensive "Go and write it yourself!""

Cost and moral obligation. If a thing is free, not forced upon you and you decide to take it anyway; the developer of that thing has zero moral obligation to do anything about your problems. If you've paid even 50p for it, there's a contract but that doesn't really excuse some of the hysterical demands one sees. If you've paid £5,000 for it....please, flap around. You have good reason to. (Obviously I'm ignoring critical/dangerous issues like safety, destroying data etc. as one has an societal obligation to not harm others)

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Re: meh

"OH FFS! Who ever said they have to write it?"

From a pedantic point of view, noone said they *have* to write it. But when the first suggestion people such as yourself make is "You could write it yourself" a lot of people are going to think, "Yeah, that old line" and stop listening to you. If you vary the order of your suggestions, you might avoid this and not have to make increasingly defensive and irate posts - you're just alienating the people you're trying to win over.

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Re: meh

>You want to know what a massive help to a F/OSS project is? Reading the docs and checking for spelling mistakes, confusing structure, translating etc. Basic stuff that requires no knowledge of code.

Good point, and one I surprised not to see more- there is a role for people who don't code in Open Source software. I assume that most people in OSS are coders, and they do need to encourage the input of others if they really want it to be more widely used.

Basic user testing would tell the developers that giving applications strange names doesn't help (I like silly names of the sort favoured by physicists and Linux devs... the man on the street prefers something to do what it says on the tin like "Notepad", "Paint", "Weed killer" or my favourite, a can of "Start Ya Bastard!*"). That said, I'm assuming MS did testing, and yet still decided to replace menus with ribbons, rather than allow the user to choose.

*http://www.nulon.com.au/products/Aerosols/Start_Ya_Bastard_Instant_Engine_Starter/#.URVeOaVg98E

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Re: meh @The BigYin 15:25

"Cost and moral obligation. If a thing is free, not forced upon you and you decide to take it anyway; the developer of that thing has zero moral obligation to do anything about your problems."

You're ignoring the point - batfasted has stated that he's using two packages and one lacks a feature he needs so he *uses both*. If the FOSS alternative had CMYK he'd use it exclusively. No demands, no bitching. You've turned it into a big FOSS argument by using what a lot of people see as the most off-putting thing with the FOSS movement - to summarise, "*You* do something about it then." At the end of the day, he has - he's got GIMP and Photoshop. Why invest more to add to GIMP when he's already invested in Photoshop? This thread has now basically become you defending your original statements with increasing ire and not really about the software itself. With regard to the KDE bug you mentioned, can you provide the details of the bug report so I can see how they handle it, out of interest?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: meh

I'd like to change the behaviour of the File Picker in LibreOffice - when I'm using Writer, and I select File/Open, I want it to default to Text files - I don't want to see spreadsheets, PDFs, and other documents, unless I select "all formats", and when I'm in Calc, I want to see Spreadsheets by default, etc.

That should be a fairly trivial change, right? Even a very rusty programmer should be able find that little section of code and make that fairly trivial change - after all, that's supposed to be the real power of FOSS.

All you need is a week of time to figure out how to compile the thing in the first place, because the official documentation (https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Development/Native_Build) is worse than useless!

I've used MinGW to modify and recompile Windows versions of other FOSS applications, which probably puts me far ahead of 95% of OpenOffice users, but I gave up in disgust when I looked at modifying LO.

The last time I checked, this stupid file-picker defaulting to *.* had been raised as a bug, and rejected by the developers.

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Re: meh

Jeeze Eadon, you manage to come into a topic that has nothing to do with your usual rant and you still apply it to your usual rant.

Where did I say Microsoft would add the feature I want? No where, that's right, it is your own delusional crusade that applied that anywhere.

Read the discussion above again. When you understand it try again with an on topic debate.

You wrote:

With open source you CAN code your feature, Furthermore, if you have a budget you can pay someone else, perhaps a project dev himself, to write that feature for you. that's a freedom that closed, proprietary source denies you.

Please read the discussion above, it has nothing to do with what we CAN code. We all agree you can if you have the skills, time or money. But if I am paying someone to create something for me to enhance say for example Libre Office and that will be ready in a few months (arbitrary time), why would I not just go and pay for a solution that exists already? Wether this is for another open source project say Open Office or a closed source one like Microsoft Office. If the project wants users which most do, they need to implement the features that are needed not tell people to write them.

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LibreOffice still ahead of Microsoft in so many ways

We use a mix of LibreOffice and a couple of versions of MS Office, LibreOffice was so easy to rollout throughout our corporate using a single GP startup script. Iit is very easy to maintain too, with reguar new features and updates we can easily add them whenever we want to, no licensing issues... yawn.

We now use LibreOffice on our biggest documents and some spreadsheets without encountering any problems, indeed the reason it is being adopted more widely, is that whenever MS Office has problems opening their own files, LibreOffice is used and has so far always succeeded in a good recovery. It looks so much better than it did 6 months ago too.

We have largely escaped the vendor lock-in risk... Looking back it's funny to see how often Microsoft break or doesn't include functionaliy until years after the competition has done so, purely trying to keep locked-in customers locked-in. You see it so much more when looking back! Of course it runs on other OS' too. Hmmm we could convert our hundreds of computers to Linux now!

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Re: LibreOffice still ahead of Microsoft in so many ways

Looking back it's funny to see how often Microsoft ... doesn't include functionality...

Oh, they probably have the functionality built on right in there now, its just that with the total crap ribbon interface you'll never be able to find it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: LibreOffice still ahead of Microsoft in so many ways

Good luck with that. Munich council has been trying for 10+ years and still hasnt succeeded - and it has cost them a fortune.

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