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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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ql
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Re: LibreOffice still ahead of Microsoft in so many ways

Yes, these comments reflect my experience in a few organisations, and the uses we found are pretty much the same, eg using LO to fix MS files. Libreoffice is the one bit of software users have actually thanked me for, in 20 plus years of IT. One startup mentioned that using LO under Linux desktop was the first time in three startups that all the documentation and presentation for funding went off with no technical glitches at all. I cannot recognise the comments here regarding LO playing catch-up.

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Unhappy

If they have improved the interface - that's definately a good thing

I went to to their website this morning to have a look at the new interface but unfortunately the images don't show !!!!!

http://www.libreoffice.org/home/Discover

The other pages seem to work fine, it's only the discover page one that is playing up.

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Re: If they have improved the interface - that's definately a good thing

Must be just you. I'm OK. Or else they've fixed it pretty quickly.

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Re: If they have improved the interface - that's definately a good thing

There's some here: http://www.libreoffice.org/download/4-0-new-features-and-fixes/

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WTF?

Being driven in droves to LibreOffice??

As a home & hobby user (but formerly a newspaper publisher and journalist) I've been intrigued with the development of OO and now LO ... and have heard endless complaints and criticisms that "nothing works like Office but genuine MS Office!"

But now with the arrival of Office 2013 on the store shelves (let's set aside the Corp/Govt distro channels for now) one slaps US $139.99 for a cute little box, not large enough to hold a CD. Opening said box at home, one finds two slips of paper: one is a keycode; the other is a download URL. WTF??

This purchase entitles the customer to a download to one machine install ... period. One machine, one user. If the hard drive pukes, pay another US $139.99; if the machine is burnt/stolen/replaced, pay another US $139.99. Want to transfer that copy to an offspring for college? Nope ... pay another $139.99. With no CD, there is no possibility of a reinstall, period. BigBro controls the install/activation, and allows no second chances. Check out the terms:

http://office-watch.com/t/n.aspx?a=1782

Such liberal terms and respect for customers is certain to have one effect: M$ will be driving 'em in droves to LIbreOffice !!

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Re: Being driven in droves to LibreOffice??

Gray

It has almost always been like that and people have always had the choice to use alternatives. Whats your point.

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Re: Being driven in droves to LibreOffice??

Khaptain

You either have more money than sense or no money and no sense.

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Re: Being driven in droves to LibreOffice??

it always was a physical media and license to install on 3 machines. + reïnstall on changed or new machines.

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Re: Being driven in droves to LibreOffice??

It's not always been like that; The Office license used to allow installation on a desktop (primary computer) and a laptop (secondary computer).

The current licensing strategy is going to hurt sales and revenue and Microsoft really need to look at releasing a low cost basic version.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Being driven in droves to LibreOffice??

It doesnt say that at all. All it says it that it is licenced to one computer. If your Hard Disk borks, then you can simply reinstall it, and it will recognise the same hardware hash.

If you go for the more sensible Office 365 option then you can also manage your 5 devices online:

http://blogs.office.com/b/office-next/archive/2012/08/27/click-to-run-and-office-on-demand.aspx

Rather a lot more powerful than any Install Tools for Linux!

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Re: Being driven in droves to LibreOffice??

"The current licensing strategy is going to hurt sales and revenue and Microsoft really need to look at releasing a low cost basic version."

Like Office Starter that comes with new PCs?

Or like Office Web Apps which you can use online?

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Re: Being driven in droves to LibreOffice??

Failing back at you

Office starter is only available pre installed on new PCs, I can't go out and buy a copy. It exists purely to suck people into buying a proper version

Office web apps is online only and doesn't even come close to being something that could be used every day

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Re: Being driven in droves to LibreOffice??

Hardware hash eh? That's why I used up all my online activations of Office 2010 on multi-boot? It checks for what OS you're running too. Upgrade OS and it requires reactivation, so no, it's not just a hardware hash.

P.S. Use Linux and you can take your install with you wherever you go, as the DRM will see all machines as identical if you stick to one WINE version ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Being driven in droves to LibreOffice??

Reinstall the same OS first then. It's not hard...

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Am I the only one who likes the Ribbon interface?

Also is LO4 available on the Ubuntu Software Centre or do I have to install manually?

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Anonymous Coward

Am I the only one who likes the Ribbon interface?

Yes.

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No, you're not. I like it too.

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"Am I the only one who likes the Ribbon interface?"

Yes.

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Mushroom

Am I the only one who likes the Ribbon interface?

I like it too, in fact I would hate to go back to the old menus now. The ribbon has everything a mouse click or two away and has functionality grouped in a sensible manner.

One of the best things about it is that when I go and use someone else's PC I can actually find stuff. The old menus were far too easy to customise and made.

Anyone who still finds it difficult after 5 years shouldn't be calling themselves an IT pro. Strangely enough though it is only "IT" types who I ever hear complaining about it. The rest of the world just seems to use it and get on with their lives

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Anonymous Coward

No, you're not. I like it too.

No you don't.

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Re: Am I the only one who likes the Ribbon interface?

Anyone who still finds it difficult after 5 years shouldn't be calling themselves an IT pro.

Anything that takes 5 years to become less difficult shouldn't have been released in the first place.

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Re: Am I the only one who likes the Ribbon interface?

nowadays the ribbon can be customized too. And I still hate it.

Also IT Pros tend to look further and are less bound by company dictated softwares like office. So most IT pros tend to have office only to read some office only formats. and use the alternatives for higher productivity or at least ease of use.

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FAIL

Re: Am I the only one who likes the Ribbon interface?

I fail to see what's difficult about it

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Re: Am I the only one who likes the Ribbon interface?

I fail to see what's difficult about it

I fail to see what was wrong with menus.

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Re: Am I the only one who likes the Ribbon interface?

"Anyone who still finds it difficult after 5 years shouldn't be calling themselves an IT pro."

Nobody is suggesting that they've spent the last 5 years trying it out. The point was that it threatened to transform an entire generation of power users into unskilled noobs overnight. In response, the vast majority stuck with what they knew and remained productive. They're not paid to "use Microsoft software". They are paid to get a job done. To judge from Windows 8, Microsoft *still* don't understand this point.

These people still don't like the ribbon because it still doesn't work for them and they are still paid to get a job done. There's really no reason why they should ever "upgrade" to a "modern" version of Office.

The amazing thing is that *anyone* responded to that slap in the face by "sitting down and re-training themselves".

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Re: Am I the only one who likes the Ribbon interface?

>The ribbon has everything a mouse click or two away and has functionality grouped in a sensible manner.

Sorry while I roll round the floor laughing!

My daughter (age 8) frequently asks questions about where is such and such a function, which I (and any normal person) would expect to be on the ribbon and find that no it's not and because the Ribbon can't be customised in the same way as the old menu's (okay buy the developer kit etc. etc.) I can't alter it to help her.

Similarly with my parents (age ~80) ...

So yes the ribbon could of been really good, but instead ...

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WTF?

Re: Am I the only one who likes the Ribbon interface?

My daughter (age 8) frequently asks questions about where is such and such a function

Name one

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JDC
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No, I like it too.

I run Ubuntu at home, and on the odd occasion I have to do some kind of editing... having to fire up LO fills me with dread - that clunky, fugly interface. Pasting an image into the document and that bloody ship anchor thing showing up - but no image! Poking around the menus trying to find the option...

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Re: Am I the only one who likes the Ribbon interface?

'Strangely enough though it is only "IT" types who I ever hear complaining about it. The rest of the world just seems to use it and get on with their lives...'

Maybe that's because "IT types" have some notion of efficiency and how to lay out a helpful user interface. Whereas "the rest of the world" has been brainwashed into thinking that there is only Microsoft's way or the highway. (Indeed, in many organizations that is literally true).

'Strangely enough though it is only doctors who I ever hear complaining about [smoking, excessive alcohol, lack of exercise...]. The rest of the world just seems to use it and get on with their lives'

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JDX
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Re: Am I the only one who likes the Ribbon interface?

I don't know if I like it but I have no problem with it... it appeared and within a week I was happy using it. Sometimes I have to google where to find a specific feature I haven't used before or for a long time, but I don't think that's different than the old system.

The wife loves Ribbon, says it's way better.

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JDX
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Re: Am I the only one who likes the Ribbon interface?

>>Anything that takes 5 years to become less difficult shouldn't have been released in the first place.

It doesn't. Except to the kind of person who finds menus difficult to start with.

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JDX
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Re: Am I the only one who likes the Ribbon interface?

>>Maybe that's because "IT types" have some notion of efficiency and how to lay out a helpful user interface.

No they really don't. The last person you want developing a user interface is a software developer... that leads to "well just learn these 100 keyboard shortcuts and then it's easy". Crap UX is one of the only real failings of traditional FOSS offerings... Blender, GIMP, Vi, etc.

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No. It's excellent. The problem is that it favours inexperienced users over "power" users (whatever the f**k that actually means), and it's the latter that love to post on forums like this, about how their oh-so-wondrous productivity is reduced to naught by the "hated" ribbon.

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Re: Am I the only one who likes the Ribbon interface?

Nothing, to begin with. Everything, eventually.

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Re: Am I the only one who likes the Ribbon interface?

The point was that it threatened to transform an entire generation of power users into unskilled noobs overnight. In response, the vast majority stuck with what they knew and remained productive. They're not paid to "use Microsoft software". They are paid to get a job done

Thank you, couldn't have said it better myself. There is a process with power users: they mine for more features that make their life easier and become even faster and more proficient with the package. In other words, they are the happy few that derive more value from the software than the average user (for instance, they also use keyboard shortcuts instead of the mouse).

I have spent a good 20 years writing documentation, the last part more on repairing the stuff others cooked up (ironically, by using OpenOffice - Word has a *serious* problem when it comes to cut & paste if you accidentally drag formatting commands along). Astonishingly, I am NOT a touch typer, but I was *seriously* fast in repairing documents - until those idiots in Redmond came up with this ribbon rubbish.

I have effectively stopped using Word after that - I now mostly work in OpenOffice (didn't get on with LibreOffice for some reason - will test the v4 release shortly) and only load in a doc into Word for finishing. Otherwise I don't touch it, although I could really, really do with the "return to last cursor position Shift-F5" feature in Word, but the feature request is still sitting there untouched. As a matter of fact, the Navigator in OOo beats the living crap out of the Document Map in Word - it's FAR more flexible - so for larger documents it's simply easier, also because it doesn't crash so often. And it doesn't matter what I use as base platform, Windows, OSX or Linux, which helps too.

Oh, and Excel? I stopped using that years ago because I work a lot with languages, and when I stopped using it they were still stupid enough not to tokenise formulas. That means a cell containing the German "=SUMME(A2:A6)" would not work in my English version which was expeting "=SUM(A2:A6)". I'm not sure from what planet the fools were who dreamt that one up, but they should never be left near anything more complex than a blackboard and chalk ever again.

Of course, YMMV, but for me, MS lost the plot quite some time ago.

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Anonymous Coward

No. It's excellent. The problem is that it favours inexperienced users over "power" users (whatever the f**k that actually means), and it's the latter that love to post on forums like this, about how their oh-so-wondrous productivity is reduced to naught by the "hated" ribbon.

You're missing something. The ribbon reduces *all* to novice users - AND KEEPS THEM THAT WAY.

The ribbon is like a big fat sign in front of a new shiny motorway of speed that says DO NOT ENTER, and forces everyone, even those competent to move at high speed, down the muddy single file track that runs next to that motorway. It sucks in so many ways it's worth patenting as a "method to avoid productivity". Maybe that's its real purpose: hoping it get pirated by other nations and so nuke their competitive productivity.

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Re: Am I the only one who likes the Ribbon interface?

Except that VI's user interface is actually very logical and efficient, if not intuitive (use gvim if you need menus, it's been around for decades now). I never did find GIMP particularly difficult to use, and have always found it vastly easier than Photoshop...

Blender's UI , on the other hand, I cannot defend - I have tried and tried and completely failed to ever get comfortable with it despite having learned to use many other 3d modelling and CAD programs over the years. It even drove me to actually paying for closed-source software for the first time in fifteen years (AC3D... at least it's cross-platform) - somewhat ironically, for work being contributed to an open source project!

LibreOffice's interface is quite OK in my experience, and so much better than any post-2003 MS Office UI. If you're looking for a rarely-used feature, you will already have a good idea of which menu it should live on and just have to look for its name - pictorial ribbon-type interfaces will never work logically because they often have to depict physically functions or actions which have no physical form.

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Mushroom

Re: Am I the only one who likes the Ribbon interface?

Don't forget the separator changing in CSV files depending on the locale.

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"Am I the only one who likes the Ribbon interface?"

No wij you're not

I like it as well, it's a good replacement for the toolbar. The only problem I have with it is that they took away the menu bar too.

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Pint

Ribbon interface ...

I like it as well, it's a good replacement for the toolbar.

No it isn't. The toolbar can be edited, it doesn't waste as much vertical screen space, and -- most importantly -- toolbars can be docked against the side of a window rather than just the top, so they can use the excess screen width resulting from the stupidly wide-screen monitors that seem all the rage without wasting any screen height.

The only problem I have with it is that they took away the menu bar too.

Not really ... the ribbon is akin to a menu (drawn differently, and camouflaged with pictures). It's the toolbar they took away.

It was unnecessary, and I wish they'd left well alone.

Beer, because ...

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@Neil B 12:12

In my experience, "power user" is a term used by people with hubris to describe themselves. Don't get into a discussion with a someone who calls themselves a power user (though in their minds it's probably Power User) - if you don't agree with them you're a stupid noob. Apparently 4Chan had a good way of putting it - "You can't win an argument with a f***tard."

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Trollface

Re: Am I the only one who likes the Ribbon interface?

Anything that takes 5 years to become less difficult shouldn't have been released in the first place.

You mean like . . . Linux?

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Re: Am I the only one who likes the Ribbon interface?

Name one [function that's not on the Ribbon]

Here's one I had to locate today: Office 2007, view all the SMTP headers for a message (something any competent email client does automatically, or with at most one obvious operation). I had to look this up in the help, as there's no indication whatsoever in the UI of how you'd do this.

In the Ribbon, go to the Options section (why Options?) and click[1] on the "open dialog" icon - the completely unintuitive, almost unnoticeable decoration that looks like a capital gamma with an arrow inside it.

That's not on the Ribbon - you use the Ribbon to get to it, but it and many other functions in the dialogs are not on the Ribbon proper. You have to hunt through the dialogs (SMTP headers are in the Options dialog?!!) , which you have to know to look for in the first place. Sure, the help tells you about them. How many users read the help? Why should I have to search the help in the first place, for straightforward functions like this?

Oh, just remembered another one: you can't turn "check spelling as I type" on and off in Word using the Ribbon. You have to go through Word Options - several levels of dialog madness. I nearly always leave that crap off, but once in a while it's useful.

[1] It is possible to do this with the keyboard, though it requires faffing about with the cursor keys, as far as I can tell.

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Re: Am I the only one who likes the Ribbon interface?

The last person you want developing a user interface is a software developer... that leads to "well just learn these 100 keyboard shortcuts and then it's easy". Crap UX is one of the only real failings of traditional FOSS offerings... Blender, GIMP, Vi, etc.

No, the last person I want developing a UI is someone who makes wild, unfounded generalizations about "crap UX", with no acknowledgement that different users have different requirements, preferences, and expectations.

And yes, I've studied UI/UIM/UX design, done user research, blah blah blah.

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D'oh

Forgive my memory but Sooty is who from somewhere else? :)

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Re: @Neil B 12:12

In my experience, "power user" is a term used by people with hubris to describe themselves.

I disagree. To me, the definition of a power user is someone who keeps an eye on how they work, and actively and continuously seek ways to improve it. A good example of that is keyboard shortcuts: if you do something often, finding a quicker way aggregates in a considerable time saving. They may even (*gasp*) read the documentation..

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Re: Am I the only one who likes the Ribbon interface?

>Name one

1. Print

and practically everything that was originally on the File menu tab. (This also catches the parents out).

2. Crop a picture - the 'crop' on the ribbon re-sizes the image it doesn't crop it.

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Re: Am I the only one who likes the Ribbon interface?

Strangely enough though it is only "IT" types who I ever hear complaining about it.

Well perhaps you should try either washing your ears out, or talking to so non IT types then.

Plenty of people complain about.

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