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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  1. Rampant Spaniel

    I would love to see Base expanded to become more of a viable alternative to Access. Even the ability to access tables in other files (to allow for a front end \ back end split) would be welcomed.

    It's great to see it maturing, I haven't upgraded MS Office in years but it's nice to know theres a decent free alternative.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Slowly closing the gap with Microsoft Office" - except that the gap is so wide it's like jumping out into the Grand Canyon.

      This might do for very basic home users but it's simply not an option for business.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        That's a very blinkered and crazy point of view.

        Libre Office is very good for the vast majority of business users. Why? The vast majority of business users use their entire Microsoft Office suite to:

        * write the odd letter, maybe even mail merge

        * record a few values in a spreadsheet

        While there are a large number of users that use more advanced features and there are a lot of (suicidal) organisations that somehow run their entire operation on Excel Spreadsheets, their number is considerably less than the majority. The majority of business workers do not sit in finance offices juggling Excel or Word macros across multiple documents, they sit in grotty offices using Microsoft Word in place of a type writer.

        I like Libre office (and Open Office prior to that), and use Microsoft Office extensively, but what I'd like even more is for Libre Office to be challenging MS Office much closer and forcing Microsoft to actually improve their product rather than just change the user interface skin every few years and somehow make the entire thing larger, slower and more bloated with every release.

        The key lock in to the Microsoft Office suite is Microsoft Outlook. Unfortunately despite being awful in a huge number of ways, it's the best email and calendaring client there is.

        1. Eenymeeny
          Thumb Up

          Absolutely agree with your Outlook comment.

          As to the other points, it's about 100% compatibility.

          I'd also suggest that PowerPoint is probably out in front as the most used app.

          And having less than 100% compatibility when you are sitting in front of 20 strangers and your boss just emailed you his latest update to a 50-slide presentation 5 minutes before the meeting is *not* going to cut it.

          Plus, service providers like myself (I'm a translator) also need 100% compatibility and I have to send back what I get. I get Word, I send back Word. I do not send back a 100-page technical manual in Word after checking it (i.e. and saving it) in LibreOffice. The risks are simply too great.

          But, as you say, Outlook is the killer app. Well, that and PowerPoint.

          1. Gerhard Mack

            @Eenymeeny

            > As to the other points, it's about 100% compatibility.

            No such thing. There is a problem now where we get Power Point slides for guest speakers that work prefectly on their system with their version of Office but load mangled or refuse to even load on our version. In the end, I installed LibreOffice on the machine as well to at least read the worst cases.

            Worst case procedure:

            1. Import in LO and resave.

            2. Read the presentation with our version of office and edit so it looks roughly how it is supposed to.

            3. Load the fixed presentation into our presentation software (uses MS Office to render the slides)

            Don't talk to me about 100% compatibility.

            1. Peter Mc Aulay

              Re: @Eenymeeny

              Hear hear. I used to work for a bulk fax company that accepted Word documents from customers. That never worked very well, even if you factored out the users who just had their default paper size set to Letter instead of A4.

            2. Gerhard den Hollander

              Re: @Eenymeeny

              which is why you keep a laptop with office 2003, office 2007 and office 2010 on it (plus the upcoming 2013 version, which is sooo ugly).

              1. Roland6 Silver badge

                Re: @Eenymeeny

                NB. Office 2013 won't run on XP and will need at least 7, so you'll have to upgrade your main OS install which will cause problems with older versions of Office it is therefore advisable to make sure you have at least one XP virtual machine (eg. Windows 7 Pro - XP Mode) with Office 2003 and 2007 installed. In future you will only need to install the VM hosting software and copy across your Office VM(s) to be up and running.

                I've not looked around Amazon's infrastructure to see if they have any preconfigured Office VM's that could meet your requirements. But then these also require a functioning broadband connection ...

              2. Steve Hersey
                Linux

                Re: @Eenymeeny

                I work with a translator, and we have multiple versions of Microsoft Office on hand (some on quarantined PCs so they don't eat one another) specifically so we can deal with documents we receive in Word Version ~!@#$, which frequently aren't even compatible with earlier OR later Word versions. We cannot quite leap away from Microsoft Awful because of compatibility fears. It's not that LibreOffice or OpenOffice.org is incompatible with Microsoft Office; it's that they introduce a few extra incompatibilities. largely because Microsoft's file formats are obscure, poorly implemented, obfuscated trash.

                While the various versions of Word interoperate poorly even with one another, we need to reduce file-format pain as much as possible, 'cause the translation clients have NO clue about this issue, and we will get the blame for any format weirdness that crops up. Sticking to the crummy software that created the document will, at least, eliminate another headache we just don't need.

                In a more desirable environment, Microsoft and everyone else would be using open file formats, and work life would be easier and more productive. I've never really understood the Microsoft mind set; if they played well with others instead of being monstrously evil, I think they would still be the major player they now are, and still approximately as profitable. They just wouldn't be hated and despised to anything like the degree they now are. (Was it really worth it, Bill?)

            3. Andus McCoatover
              Windows

              Re: @Eenymeeny

              Happened to me once. OO saved me from deep failure.

              Training material for a 3-day training spasm. Somehow, the illustrations - vital! were either corrupted, or the version of PP on the machine was nadgered. As I'd flown from Finland to China to do the training, I couldn't exactly pop home...Always kept a DVD of my material with me. Download Open Office, run my presentation/material (in .ppt format) through that, didn't bat an eyelid! Rescued!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            I'd also suggest that PowerPoint is probably out in front as the most used app.

            I actually stopped using it because of featuritis (meaningless gadgetry that does zero to improve your message). Nowadays I have actually returned to Keynote, a part of the Apple iWork series. The main reason is simplicity - it has a couple of features to make things look pretty, but doesn't absolutely bury you under crap. The result is that I can hammer out a structure in minutes, get the graphics I want and can then focus on the content that *I* must bring, not my presentation. In other words, most of my time goes again to content and meaning, not to tweaking to make things look pretty. Oh, and the LibreOffice remote thing for Android? Been available for iOS to control Keynote for years..

            Practically every element of the Microsoft Office groans under feature saturation. There is FAR too much rubbish in the code that serves no other purpose than functioning as an argument for you to buy a new version. I bet the next version is called the "productivity" version, and it's basically all that crud ripped out again (and the ribbon, we live in hope)...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              iWork

              That's iWork with apps that are all 2009 ? I've been holding off purchasing iWork for my iMac and installed LibreOffice as a "stop gap" measure at the end of 2011 and I'm used to it now. it's far from 100% compatible but it'll do for the vast majority of things.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              That's odd, aren't features what people keep complaining are missing from iOS, Windows Phone and the Blackberry?

              I could very easily also say that Android is creaking under the problem of too many features. Yet both Android and Office are popular precisely because you can buy it and not worry about feature XYZ being missing.

            3. itzman

              the term is not featuritis, but creeping featurism.

              Last time I used office, however, in a corporate environment, the main incompatibility was between users - one would so something 'clever' and then no one knew how to edit the document.

              Or say 'Oh haven't you got the Airbus 380 font..here lemme download it for you.'

              One longed for wordstar.

          3. dajames Silver badge

            @Eenymeeny

            I'd also suggest that PowerPoint is probably out in front as the most used app.

            I'd also suggest that PowerPoint is probably out in front as the most overused app.

            There -- fixed it for you.

            [But seriously, you can't believe that PowerPoint is used more than Word or Excel, can you? I'd think either of those is used a couple of orders of magnitude times more often than PowerPoint.]

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @Eenymeeny

              A US study suggested that PP was used slightly more than Excel, to about 34% of entire Office usage. You have to understand that the gradual loss of progress in the US and the increasing reliance on litigation is fueled by vast numbers of office staff firing powerpojnts at one another. The ability to produce a memo on half a side of letter paper has been supplanted by the ability to present the same information, less well presented, as a ppt.

              The other day I got a screenshot which was sent as a ppt. It was at unfeasibly small scale so to read it I had to extract the image from the ppt into something else. I guess the monkey hadn't heard of Paint.

          4. Ramiro
            Thumb Up

            You are implying that there is 100% compatibility between different versions of PowerPoint, I don't have the same experience. In fact, (I'm in academia) we mandate students to print all presentations to pdf files to avoid surprises.

            I agree with everything else though (except for outlook, but then again I'm not in the industry.) The typical user doesn't even know Word numbers pages automatically.

        2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Outlook Aaaarrggghhh!

          I have to agree about Outlook. And that's the killer MS Office program. If it wasn't for the slightly complicated stuff I do in Excel (I've not used it for anything hard in 10 years), I mostly use Outlook now.

          For example, we changed our company name slightly 3 years ago, and I was amazed to find I'd not updated my letterhead when I went to write a letter last year. In 3 years, I've written 2 letters, and I've not updated my fax header, so I've not sent one of those either. 5 years ago I would send out several per week. Everything's done by email nowadays. Even most of the quotes we get are now PDFs.

          Obviously it doesn't apply everywhere, but documents are becoming less formal, and communications are more likely to just be emails now.

          I used to hate Outlook when I first had to use it for business. Then I tried to find an alternative when I moved to a small company where I get to control large parts of the IT. Haven't found one yet. I guess the integration of calendar, email and address book is always going to end up somewhat messy. I do find it odd that email programs seem to be a less popular thing to create now than they were 5 years ago, even though email is becoming more important. I'm also sure there would be money to be made from small business who don't really want to run Exchange servers, and wouldn't mind paying £50 for an email client plus monthly cloudy server hire, rather than full fat Office/Exchange.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Microsoft Outlook

          The key lock in to the Microsoft Office suite is Microsoft Outlook. Unfortunately despite being awful in a huge number of ways, it's the best email and calendaring client there is.

          Not sure I'd call it the "best" (certainly not after it too had its UI ruined by the ribbon), but so far it's the only reasonably useful integrated client. This is probably what *seriously* annoys me about OSX - I have to open separate programs for contacts, calendaring and email, or buy the expensive MS Office for business package (which costs roughly as much as all the other software on the machine together).

          However, not all is lost. I hear there are some developments on the horizon which may improve matters (that is, for open standards based services, not the Exchange -let's-confuse-the-competition MAPI type) - I hope to receive the betas soon (they know I am good at breaking things :) ).

        4. Roland6 Silver badge

          re: The key lock in to the Microsoft Office suite is Microsoft Outlook.

          Yes and no, for me as a technology professional, Office includes Visio and Project, which combined with the need to exchange work in progress with colleagues and clients does at times present problems ...

          So whilst there are good alternatives for components, I've not been able as yet to totally replace Office because of what the whole gives me.

          However, I'm wanting to pull the PIM functions out of Outlook and put them on my tablets (prefer Android because of the Lenovo and Samsung tablets which support pen input) so these can start to really replace the paper-based time manager which is still sitting on my desk...

          Aside: talking of FiloFax/TimeManager, I find it interesting that no has tried to launch an updated version of the Kyocera Refalo.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: re: The key lock in to the Microsoft Office suite is Microsoft Outlook.

            MS ruined Visio with that infernal ribbon, but when I moved to OSX I discovered Omnigraffle. The Pro version basically does what Visio *used* to do before MS bought it, but has a lot more power. It solves the "Visio" problem at least on OSX and iOS6 because it can open, edit and save files in Visio files too..

            Outlook, however, remains an as yet unsolved problem. I'm no fan of the default OSX apps..

            1. Hungry Sean

              @AC: re visio and omnigraffle

              Agreed that Omnigraffle is the bee's knees. Every time I try to use Visio I end up swearing because I can't align things perfectly and copy paste doesn't work properly with the rest of the MS Office suite. The one beef I have with Omnigraffle is that it is Apple only and even with the pro version doesn't have great compatibility with visio, so it is hard to share work with colleagues who aren't on Mac. yEd is a worthy cross platform alternative-- not nearly as slick as Omnigraffle, ugly default colors, but lines stuff up right, is free, and works everywhere.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Mushroom

          LibO works great in our business, used with Thunderbird-Lightning

          We have 200 staff using Thunderbird, have been using it for about 7 years and have never had staff asking for Outlook, for the last few years we have used the Lightening calendar pugin which hooks into Zimbra and Google etc. LibreOffice is used by many staff, not a single complaint or problem with this either. If you open your eyes quite a lot of businesses are doing the same too. I think quite a few comments are from people who are locked in and possibly not in a senior enough position to lead the way out, or trolls, or thick.

        6. Anonymous Coward
          Windows

          @Nick Ryan

          I agree with your comment on Outlook (I use this on a daily basis, go figure) however there's more than that. Its not merely Outlook; its the interoperability between all the Office components which is the big issue IMO. That stuff (VBA) is so extensive that it can be mind boggling (IMO).

          I do tech support on a Windows server for a small company. Within certain business hours people can ring me with questions, e-mail is obviously no problem, I do regular maintenance on the server and to top it off the director of said company gets a weekly report from me where I tell him how many phonecalls were received, how many e-mail inquiries were received and a summary on the maintenance on said server. This doesn't effect costs, but the director likes to be kept in the loop (its a small company, but bigger than mine is).

          You don't really think I'm typing all of this ? ;-)

          I click my Word template, which then checks the current date, contacts Outlook and starts checking the (dedicated) inbox for that company to see how many e-mails there are between that day and seven days back. Phonecalls are monitored by me through Business Contact Manager (free yet invaluable Outlook 2010 extension) and the same applies.

          So all that's left to do for me is fill in what I've been doing on the server.

          THAT is IMO one of the key assets of MS Office. With a few lines of VBA code you can make it do whatever you want, and it can save you hours and hours of work.

          1. RonWheeler

            Re: @Nick Ryan

            Extension of that, last place I worked had an entire suite of specialist applications that leveraged exactly that feature to produce extremely complex tables of data in Word documents (and to a lesser degree Excel files).

            Having said that I'd never buy Office for work, a freebie is good enough (in my case Google Docs mostly).

          2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        '"Slowly closing the gap with Microsoft Office" - except that the gap is so wide it's like jumping out into the Grand Canyon.'

        That doesn't seem to be many people's informed opinion. Especially as Microsoft Office isn't doing anything to widen the gap - instead, it seems to be milling about trying to confuse users with clever new interfaces that they don't understand.

        See http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2013/01/30/office_2013_perspective/

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Well it clearly is the decision of senior IT leaders that make informed decisions on purchasing for businesses. The volume of migration to LibreOffice is as near zero as it has ever been.

      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Microsoft didn't win the market from the very good alternatives that were available because it was better.

        It won the market because it was "good enough" to do the job and a lot cheaper than the competition.

        Most of the bells and whistles we see now came after that event.

        Libre Office doesn't have to be better than Microsoft Office - it merely has to be good enough, and cheaper.

        1. Stephen Channell
          WTF?

          oh come on, credit where credit is due

          When MS launched Word & Excel for Windows the leading PC word processor was WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS and Lotus 1-2-3 had abandoned compatibility for 3D sheets. both were woefull: WP was a crude wrapper around the DOS program (even using its own print drivers); 1-2-3 was a slow biggie port from OS/2. Not only was Excel better than 1-2-3, it was a better 1-2-3 than 1-2-3.

          Not only was Word/Excel better than the competition, they were better and cheaper, with better support. Office was better because MS had already done all the hard GUI work on the Mac version.

      4. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Big business starting to demand users use LibreOffice

          You go to one company and see them moving to something else and then claim every one is?

          You're always posting anti-MS crap Eadon based upon the dream world you live in..

          When you've worked for a few more companies then you'll probably recognise that any alternatives to Office are only in use at a very small number of companies.

          Honestly, give up with all the M$ crap, it's tiresome and you do yourself no favours in an IT career if you show massive bias to a particular company or technology.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Big business starting to demand users use LibreOffice

          Sorry dude, but MS Office is far better than LibreOffice on so many levels. OneNote, Visio and Project aren't replaceable in even an academic environment let alone in a professional environment. If you can find a FLOSS app that implements even half of what OneNote can do, I'll be surprised.

          MS Office is one of the few apps I run in CrossOver that isn't a game.

          1. Danny 14 Silver badge
            Stop

            Re: Big business starting to demand users use LibreOffice

            He won't listen. Argued this before. Libre office cannot do the following:

            per user suite feature lock down (guest, teacher, staff, administration, exams) without scripts copying files (which run the risk of not applying if interrupted on login or local access)

            simple domain rollout and update to the same level as OCT

            workgroup and domain shared workspaces and template repositories (per OU)

            I'm on my phone so can't be arsed getting into format lock down based on user (to force standardisation on students who would happily save files as html just to pass the teachers off) etc.

            Down votes ahoy but I have REALLY tried to use an MS alternative. The fact is, sometimes there isn't an alternative.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Big business starting to demand users use LibreOffice

          Yes I have seen that policy scenario in a few places too. Use cheap / free office - Microsoft Office must be justified.

          However, everyone but the cleaning staff still gets Microsoft Office - people tried at first, but very rapidly reverted - the standard justification now being "I need a version of Office, and I need it to work" - this especially being the case when needing to exchange documents with other companies.

          Business is not moving away from MS Office to free alternatives in any numbers - far more people are moving to Office 365 (or Zimbra or Google Apps). In terms of volume, the interest in LibreOffice is close to zero.

    2. Fred Goldstein
      FAIL

      Yes, Base is the big hole in the suite. It compares to office the way a kids' trike compares to a Jaguar. While Writer and Calc can import MS formats nicely, Base seems stuck as a 1980s "wine cellar inventory demo" sort of toy. There is just no competitor who can actually do the complex chained queries on medium-large databases that Access can. And Access itself is terribly limited; it looks like 1990s code not updated except cosmetically. The 2GB file limit in Jet is ridiculous. But it's a few orders of magnitude more than Base can actually handle.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Base

      yes base needs the most work! need to be able to deal with multiple sources - linking odbc and local and other remote connections for my basic adhoc data load, manipulation and updating type jobs.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Kyocera Refalo.

        I've just had a look- I like!

        I guess the closest modern attempt would have been MS's Courier- allegedly killed by Bill Gates himself. A shame, because it looked useful, and wasn't straddling the tablet/ultrabook camps.

  2. John Tserkezis

    ...more compatible with Microsoft's Rich Text Format (RTF)...

    Even MS couldnt' get the RTF formatting right across their Office versions.

    If you didn't read the RTF with the same version of MS Office on which it was created, and expected it to look the same, let's just say, good luck with that.

    Even older versions of LibreOffice (as well as OpenOffice) did better than the "wrong" version of MS Office.

  3. csumpi
    WTF?

    Slowly closing the gap with Microsoft Office?

    Maybe the gap with Office about 10 years ago.

    What's next, the gimp closing the gap with Photoshop?

    Of course, LibreOffice and the gimp might be ok for the casual user. But for real work, not even close.

    1. southpacificpom
      Devil

      Re: Slowly closing the gap with Microsoft Office?

      "Of course, LibreOffice and the gimp might be ok for the casual user. But for real work, not even close."

      Ah yes those ten thousand column spreadsheets which are so easy to read and if it breaks, no one knows what the hell is going on.

      Most offices I've seen could still be running Orifice 4.3 and still function fine.

      As for GIMP/PhotoShop, unless you have the real urge to spend $$$ just use GIMP.

      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        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.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          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.

        2. JeffyPooh Silver badge
          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).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Slowly closing the gap with Microsoft Office?

        Oh - Gimp is a software package. I always assumed Gimps were the lowly paid nerds that managed legacy UNIX estates...

        1. hplasm Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: I always assumed...

          Well aren't you stupid, Stupid?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            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.

            1. batfastad

              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.

    2. Mad Jack
      FAIL

      Re: Slowly closing the gap with Microsoft Office?

      "Real" work? I've used OOO since 2005, then LibreOffice since the fork by choice on my own machines. As a consultant working on customers sites using customers kit, I have found myself so massively impeded by the wretched ribbon thing that I have installed LibreOffice instead of wasting time hunting for basic things in Excel or Word. I have never had a problem reading or writing documents exchanged with colleagues. Before any fanboys start, yes I do use advanced features and create large documents too.

      Keep on drinking that kool aid!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Slowly closing the gap with Microsoft Office?

      Sounds to me like it's barely closing the gap with NeoOffice.

      If LibreOffice 4 is "...the free office suite the community has been dreaming of since 2001..." there must be a lot of people out there dreaming about fuck-ugly, clunky Java interfaces.

    4. batfastad
      Facepalm

      Re: Slowly closing the gap with Microsoft Office?

      Oh go on then, I'll bite.

      So everyone should just give up and buy MS or Adobe products? Please.

      I use GIMP and Photoshop extensively, predominantly GIMP. And the only thing I really need Photoshop for is CMYK image support. If GIMP had that then my entire design workflow could be completed with GIMP/Inkscape.

      When it comes to LibreOffice, I've seen more improvement in LO in the last 12 months than I had in OO over 3 years. It's almost equal to Office XP, which I still run because it's insanely fast on hardware from the last 5 years. The only things where LO wasn't so good: pivot charts were a bit crashy, boggy graph performance, lack of a presenter view for multi-monitor/projector setups in presentations. Other than that LibreOffice has had 95% of all users covered in the last few years.

      I'll leave you to your ribbon interface and horrible bloatware but don't ruin it for people who actually use this software and appreciate the hard work of others. I'll be giving this new version a go tonight.

      The problem is that people just think Word, Excel, Powerpoint. Why would anyone buying a computer from PC World be aware of any alternatives.

      1. The BigYin

        Re: Slowly closing the gap with Microsoft Office?

        "And the only thing I really need Photoshop for is CMYK image support."

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

        That is, of course, assuming you have the time/resources/money.

        1. Sooty

          Re: Slowly closing the gap with Microsoft Office?

          "Then write the CMYK support, or hire someone to write it, or sponsor the project, or write the specs, or help with the testing, or the docs, or...."

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

          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. If I needed hundreds of copies in several months, this might be a way to go and save some money on licencing. If i need 4 copies immediately, the only sensible approach is to go out and buy something that already does it.

          1. The BigYin

            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.

          2. rh587 Silver badge

            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.

            1. The BigYin

              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.

        2. Wyrdness
          FAIL

          Re: Slowly closing the gap with Microsoft Office?

          People have been asking for CMYK support in GIMP since the 1990's. The reason why the developers haven't added this much-requested feature is that it's very, very, very, very hard to do, with the current GIMP architecture.

          So suggeting that he add it himself, isn't really very helpful.

          1. The BigYin

            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.

            1. Comments are attributed to your handle
              Megaphone

              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.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              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.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              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..

      2. billse10
        Pint

        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 .... )

    5. The BigYin

      Re: Slowly closing the gap with Microsoft Office?

      LibreOffice and GIMP do do "real work" and one will find them excellent products. The toolchains are slightly different, but this is not a problem if you are only using one and either product is capable of matching their proprietary versions.

      What people often forget when they say "You should use X instead of Y" is that "close enough" in file handling is simply not good enough in many cases. The fact that GIMP can read a Photoshop filse is of no use to a profession unless 100% fidelity is guaranteed. Gradients rendered the exact same way, layer and filters applied the exact same way etc.

      But one stated out using GIMP, you can apply the same argument to Photoshop; it must render your GIMP files the exact same way otherwise Photoshop is useless to you.

      So it really is more of a question on which one you start out with - for that choice is your lock-in and that is why you should choose freedom (if possible).

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      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?

  4. Kurtis

    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?

    1. Paul 135
      WTF?

      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?!

  5. Neoc
    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)

    1. The BigYin

      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.

      1. Ragarath

        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.

        1. Jim 59

          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.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Ragarath

            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.

          3. The BigYin

            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?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              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.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                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

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: meh

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

        3. Paul 135
          Alert

          Re: meh

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

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. The BigYin

              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.

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

                1. The BigYin

                  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.

                  1. This post has been deleted by its author

                    1. The BigYin

                      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.

                      1. This post has been deleted by its author

                        1. The BigYin

                          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.

                          1. This post has been deleted by its author

                            1. The BigYin

                              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)

                              1. Anonymous Coward
                                Anonymous Coward

                                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?

          2. The BigYin

            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.

        4. The BigYin

          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."

          1. Ragarath

            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.

            1. The BigYin

              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.

        5. This post has been deleted by a moderator

          1. Ragarath

            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.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. The BigYin

          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.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        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.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    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!

    1. Dazed and Confused

      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.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      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.

  7. Khaptain Silver badge
    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.

    1. The Axe

      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.

    2. Ian Yates

      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/

  8. Gray
    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 !!

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      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.

      1. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Being driven in droves to LibreOffice??

        Khaptain

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

      2. Abot13

        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.

      3. AceRimmer

        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.

        1. Test Man
          FAIL

          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?

          1. AceRimmer
            FAIL

            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

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        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 ;-)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Being driven in droves to LibreOffice??

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

  9. Richard Wharram

    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?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Am I the only one who likes the Ribbon interface?

      Yes.

    2. Norphy

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

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

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

        No you don't.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

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

      Yes.

    4. AceRimmer
      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

      1. I like noodles

        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.

        1. AceRimmer
          FAIL

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

          I fail to see what's difficult about it

          1. I like noodles

            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.

            1. Neil B

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

              Nothing, to begin with. Everything, eventually.

          2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        2. JDX Gold badge

          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.

        3. This post has been deleted by its author

        4. Tom Maddox Silver badge
          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?

      2. Abot13

        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.

      3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        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".

        1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

          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.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge
            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.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Mushroom

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

          Anyone who can't use the keyboard shortcuts to operate MS office doesn't deserve to be called competent in using any version of office, period.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

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

            some of us are paid by the hour.

            keyboard shortcuts? What are they?

      4. Roland6 Silver badge

        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 ...

        1. AceRimmer
          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

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            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.

          2. Roland6 Silver badge

            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.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        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'

        1. JDX Gold badge

          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.

          1. AJ MacLeod

            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.

          2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            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.

      6. JDX Gold badge

        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.

      7. Dazed and Confused

        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.

    5. JDC
      Thumb Up

      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...

    6. Neil B
      Thumb Up

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @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."

        1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

          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..

    7. Sooty

      "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.

      1. dajames Silver badge
        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 ...

      2. Richard Wharram

        D'oh

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

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a pretty sophisticated editor

    that's about all I got to say. There's no need for a paid office suite and this thing just gets better as people add to it with problems they face and overcome with solutions.

    The battle vs Microsoft office is already won. It's just that we do not control the fake commercial media.

  11. P Saunders

    The more MS pushes people to rent their software

    The more people will realise what a stupid idea that is and move to something they can actually own.

    1. TheVogon Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: The more MS pushes people to rent their software

      Just like how unpopular car leasing isnt?

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: The more MS pushes people to rent their software

        No, like how unpopular cheese leasing is.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: The more MS pushes people to rent their software

          So you admit you can't come up with a good counter argument then? You eat cheese and it's gone... you use software and it's still there.

          Most of the world's software is going service-based implicitly simply by going web-based after all... gmail, dropbox, Jira, github, etc - the question is only if you pay for them or not.

          1. sabroni Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: The more MS pushes people to rent their software

            No, I can come up with plenty of counter arguments thanks. I was merely pointing out that while car leasing is successful that doesn't really bear any relevance on the discussion. If the fact cheese gets eaten negates this argument please feel free to substitute any of the other things that aren't normally leased for the cheese. There are plenty to pick from. Everything except cars really.....

          2. Dan 55 Silver badge
            Stop

            Re: The more MS pushes people to rent their software

            If you want an analogy, renting Office is like renting a set of shelves and fixing them up in your house, it's a bit silly.

            Dropbox, gmail, github, Jira, and so on offer one or a combination of sharing, collaboration, and online storage. You use basic services for free or pay for enhanced services and when you're finished you can take your ball and go home. Bolting these services on to Office for home users as an excuse to charge them rent that is nonsensical. Office needs sharing, collaboration and online storage as much as Photoshop or Notepad do.

            Ensentially Office is finished (as in completed) and Microsoft has been unable to develop other new products or enter new markets to bring in the cash so they're leaning on the only two crutches they know (Office and Windows). After spending a couple of versions flailing around with Office's UI, file formats, and licensing conditions as justification for making customers go out and get the latest version, Microsoft finally come out and admit that it's about making their customers rent their software.

            Home users can get by fine with Office 2003, 2000 or dare I say 97. If MS carry on down this path it's probable that within a couple of years you'll only be able to rent Office from Microsoft, at least in the west. Imagine if this were the only option in 2003 and imagine how much it'd have costed home users to rent Office for the last ten years, all because they wanted to do their home finances in Excel and write a couple of letters a month.

            MS does need paying for its software but average users don't have to upgrade to every new version. However everything else they try has failed which is why they're reduced to renting Office instead of selling it.

          3. hplasm Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: The more MS pushes people to rent their software

            Renting MS software is like renting a condom.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: The more MS pushes people to rent their software

              Renting MS software is like renting a condom.

              ... but much less fun!

            2. TheVogon Silver badge
              Mushroom

              Re: The more MS pushes people to rent their software

              Like renting a CONDO, yes.

            3. Dazed and Confused
              Facepalm

              Re: The more MS pushes people to rent their software

              Renting MS software is like renting a condom.

              Nah, if I rented a condom I wouldn't expect it to be so full of holes.

        2. TheVogon Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: The more MS pushes people to rent their software

          https://www.alliance-leicestercommercialbank.co.uk/bizguides/full/cheesemaker/parkes-lease.asp

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The more MS pushes people to rent their software

        If I lease a car and return it, every journey I made in it doesn't suddenly cease to have happened unless I lease a new car from the same company.

        1. Neil B
          Meh

          Re: The more MS pushes people to rent their software

          @ribosome If you cease to subscribe to Office, all your docs still exist you just can't use Office to edit them. If you believed any different, you scare me.

  12. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: LIbre Office good, MS Office is dying.

      Like I did yesterday. Create some docs in Libre Office*, export to PDF and then print at work (locked down windows network) via memory stick or email.

      No problems, no need for MS products here.

      *On a Kubuntu box

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: LIbre Office good, MS Office is dying.

        And what happens when you or someone else wants to edit those files?

        LO might be OK for a single user, but for collaborative work where many people are editing the same .doc file, some using Word, it's a compatibilty nightmare.

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

          1. Anonymous IV
            Thumb Down

            Re: LIbre Office good, MS Office is dying.

            @Eadon

            "If you use a closed MS format then it's a nightmare whatever you do.."

            So why are you advocating the closed Adobe PDF format?

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

              1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

            2. JDX Gold badge

              Re: LIbre Office good, MS Office is dying.

              >>if you use a closed MS format...

              Um, unless you're still using .doc it's not closed.

              Hard to see the Linux community liking the "use LO because of PDF" argument either. They hate PDF too.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: LIbre Office good, MS Office is dying.

                Um, unless you're still using .doc it's not closed

                I hope you aren't referring to MS OOXML as "open"...

                Worth taking a look at Rob Weir's site to see where we are with that..

                OOXML is only an ISO standard because the voting process was blatantly rigged, not because it actually properly complies with the aspects of a proper open standard. It served more to demonstrate both the fragility of the ISO voting process by academics and the absolute lack of morals and desinterest in any collateral damage of their actions by Microsoft.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: LIbre Office good, MS Office is dying.

                  Nice FUD from 5/6 years ago, but OOXML is now proven and is open.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: LIbre Office good, MS Office is dying.

                    OOXML is now proven and is open

                    Proven: only to be deficient: many questions are still outstanding

                    Open: only if Microsoft would actually use it themselves, over which there are many, many questions.

                    You may want to pay more attention to publicly reported facts, and less to Microsoft marketing.

              2. dajames Silver badge
                Windows

                Re: LIbre Office good, MS Office is dying.

                Um, unless you're still using .doc it's not closed.

                The .docx format is open in the sense that it is published ... but the published definition might as well be encrypted for all the chance there is that anyone will ever understand it (including those who wrote it).

                The thing's just not fit for purpose.

            3. This post has been deleted by a moderator

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

            4. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: LIbre Office good, MS Office is dying. Re the closed Adobe PDF format

              Because it isn't closed!

              Documents produced in Adobe Acrobat will support the closed version of PDF, however practically everyone else just uses the ISO compliant PDF archive standard.

              The problem I've found with PDF is that not all readers are equal and that it is best to have Adobe reader installed, just to be sure what you see is what the originator intended. Which does slightly defeat it's intent.

        2. Cynical Observer
          Happy

          Re: LIbre Office good, MS Office is dying.

          If they are still editing .doc files then odds are they have not gotten past Office 2003.

          Wonder if they just don't like the ribbon - in which case introduce them to LO.

          Simples!

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: LIbre Office good, MS Office is dying. Cynical Observer

            >If they are still editing .doc files then odds are they have not gotten past Office 2003.

            No this is a (relatively) safe interchange/collaboration format ie. you had a reasonable chance that standard (IT department) installs of all active versions of Word (Windows & Mac versions) along with third-party products like OOO can open these files and that the contributor on completion will just save and hence return the updated document in this format.

            Yes the world is slowly moving on and so other, more open, formats are becoming more widely supported. However as always everything, in business is done in hurry and so it is easier to set Office to default save to 97/2000/2003 than to have to worry about it for specific projects. What grates with me is that having this as my default document save setting, Word 2007 still uses features that aren't supported and only tells me this at time of document save...

        3. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: LIbre Office good, MS Office is dying. RE: collaborative work

          >collaborative work where many people are editing the same .doc file, some using Word, it's a compatibilty nightmare.

          It's a compatibility nightmare regardless of product used - even if all are using the same version of Word and document template. They all have differing ideas about layout and formatting...

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: LIbre Office good, MS Office is dying.

      I hope paper based office in general is dying. You have to congratulate them on their efforts but its a long climb up the wrong evolutionary branch of IT.

      I don’t want documents with data badly encrypted inside them, I don’t want a pdf document of an order/receipt/BOM/(almost any piece of useful inter-company communication) when an XML/JSON of the same is fantastically smaller and almost infinitely more useful to me and the other end.

      Good paperwork is really easy to prepare from good data but good data is almost impossible to create from pretty paperwork.

  13. Dave Pickles

    Still some niggles

    I've been using Release Candidates of LO4 for a while courtesy of Mageia and it's pretty good. Annoyingly they haven't fixed my pet peeve which dates back to the days of StarOffice; the 'recently used files' list is global across all applications rather than having a separate list for each. So if I go browsing through documents looking for something, my frequently-used spreadsheets disappear off the bottom of the list and I have to look for them manually.

  14. Sirius Lee

    Headline touts 'Better looks'

    Might have been an idea to have included a screenshot. Even the LO web doesn't include a screenshot, pictures of people and some icons but nothing of the product. Suggests to me there's not a lot of confidence in the UI.

  15. JDX Gold badge

    Party like it's 2007

    Only 6 years later, you're supporting 2007 doc format properly?

    I might try it out - the utter failure to maintain formatting/styling in .docx files is the reason all my attempts to use OO in the past ended quickly.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Party like it's 2007

      "Only 6 years later, you're supporting 2007 doc format properly?"

      Yup, maybe Microsoft will catch up some day and support the 2007 format properly, too, but I'm not holding my breath.

      I assume you've never tried to use the 2007 compatibility pack to view or edit DOCX stuff in an older version of Office. Even Microsoft don't claim this works. The converter comes with a list of all the stuff that gets broken.

      Yes, life *is* easier if everyone else agrees to buy the same software package that you use and agrees to upgrade when you do. Meanwhile back in the real world, even Microsoft aren't sufficiently compatible to let a group of people jointly author a document with different versions of Office. Why should LO (or OO) be judged by a standard that MS don't meet?

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. Philip Lewis
          Thumb Up

          Re: Party like it's 2007

          Eadon,

          not that I am a fan of yours, but I had to upvote you for this.

          The MS assault on ISO is well documented and an appalling stain on their otherwise very dirty reputation.

          1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      2. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Party like it's 2007

        >>Why should LO (or OO) be judged by a standard that MS don't meet?

        Because they are the ones trying to steal market share, not hold onto it. If you want to win MS users you need to make the transition absolutely super slick.

        If LO's main goal is to win users from MS (is it?) then 100% perfect support for MS docs should be their absolute #1 priority. Otherwise it doesn't matter how good LO is, people won't switch.

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

          1. Test Man
            FAIL

            Re: Party like it's 2007

            EADON FAIL

            "Compatibility Mode" is simply a mode whereby the new features are turned off and the software "acts" like the previous version in order to MAINTAIN compatibility.

          2. JDX Gold badge

            Re: Party like it's 2007

            @Eadon... all the Office files I work with work fine in Office. Every SINGLE time I've tested in OO, it's been useless. Note, I have tested more than once, just tried for 2min once so I could bitch about it for the next N years.

            When I send contracts to people who use OO, they send back signed copies with an apology that OO messed it up a bit.

            From someone who has actually used both... OO fail.

  16. Bill the Sys Admin
    Mushroom

    Just upgraded on my work laptop OpenSUSE 12.2

    Seems fine to me, (Im no power user btw) both suites offer great functionality its just when you start trying to jump between them you see problems.

    MS just makes it harder for everyone else by changing the ppt, pptx, doc, docx blah blah blah every year! So its hard to use both which i do in my Office. I sent a ppt file to a MS Office user and they just sent it straight back saying it was broken i opened it in a virtual machine and it was a mess. This isn’t Libre Offices fault in my opinion. Its MS stupid proprietary formats. ODT should be used then you can choose to use whatever suite you want without any problems!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just upgraded on my work laptop OpenSUSE 12.2

      So that your crappy freeware can't create a file properly is Microsoft's fault?!

      1. Avatar of They
        Happy

        Re: Just upgraded on my work laptop OpenSUSE 12.2

        Says the MS employee, why the anon? Your name ballmer?

        An open standard means it should be an open standard. MS fecking with it breaks the rules of being an open standard. That is the fault of Microsoft.

        Loving Libre office on my linux mint, not had any problems opening the docx files, but looking forward to the latest release when I get it.

        1. Bill the Sys Admin
          Happy

          Re: Just upgraded on my work laptop OpenSUSE 12.2

          @AC Really that is all you have to contribute? Jesus these comments are grim sometimes.

          @Avatar of they - Yes Docx seems to be ok, its power points that go off their nut when you change suite. Something that wont change so i guess you have deal with it, unless companies realise they can use libre office for nothing (or supported)and save a lot of money.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just upgraded on my work laptop OpenSUSE 12.2

        No but Microsoft not being able to produce compliant ODF files is.

  17. Jim Willsher

    Not a great outlook

    For most of our users, Outlook is the key component of Office. Word and Excel are important of course, but many of our users spend 50% of their day using web-based in-house apps, 10% on Excel+Word, and 40% in Outlook - and they don't like web-based Outlook / OWA. So to them, Outlook is the most important component, something LibreOffice seems to completely ignore.

    We would love to break free from the MS Office stranglehold, but can't due to Outlook (with Exchange).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not a great outlook

      Au contraire...

      I use OWA in preference and so do several of my colleagues because actual Outlook (2010) takes about 5 minutes from startup to become usable (i.e. you can actually click on something and it responds) and frequently slows down throughout the day. Might just be our setup but it's a dog. If we didn't use the group calendaring functions it would be completely pointless and any old mail client would do anyway. OWA 2010 is actually reasonable, and a lot quicker (for us) than the fat client.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Not a great outlook

        It Outlook takes 5min to start up, the problem is your sysadmins. I work remotely on a VM and it takes ~2s - and this isn't a tiny setup either, it's been ongoing for 10+ years so the dataset on the server must be pretty horrific!

      2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: Not a great outlook

        Outlook (2010) takes about 5 minutes from startup to become usable

        I am willing to bet you have data stored on network drives. Outlook seems to be extremely inefficient with file access, and by using a network mounted drive for storage you *seriously* multiply that problem.

        If we didn't use the group calendaring functions it would be completely pointless

        There are other ways to give you corporate group calendaring which would free you from the clutches of Microsoft (and, as a consequence, enable email and shared calendaring on any electronic device you care to use), but even sticking with Exchange you guys *really* need to stop using network drives for a local cache - it's the only thing that can explain this. Outlook may suck, but it doesn't suck *that* much :)

        The reason OWA works quicker is because you then have all the file access done on the Exchange server (i.e. local to the software doing the work), with OWA only giving you an interface to it. That is also why a VM desktop works quicker: the files stay local, you only export the display.

  18. paulc
    Stop

    Embedded Visios?

    How the heck do you get it to open up embedded visio files using visio? Currently clicking on a visio just brings it up as a picture instead of the embedded object it really is...

    we use embedded visios and Jude diagrams a lot in our software documentation...

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Embedded Visios?

      Works just fine with Word & Visio 2007 installed.

      However, you need to check how the Visio objects are being copied and pasted into your document.

      For technical documentation that is to be released to third-parties, I've tended to paste 'esoteric' objects such as Visio and Organisation Charts as pictures so that I can be sure others can read what I intended, it also helps to reduce the size of the Word document being sent to all and sundry (I complain when others email me a large file and I'm in a hotel room with only a dial-up connection...).

  19. The FunkeyGibbon
    Unhappy

    Sometimes it's not an option.

    Do you know what would happen if I suggested some of our customers switched to LO from MO? They'd look puzzled and ask why. I'd tell them the cost benefits. They'd say that they have to retrain users. Business fears change and some of them would rather piss away money on Microsoft's evil licencing than make a change for the better...

    Nobody ever got fired for buying Microsoft Office... :-(

  20. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Schools should be using LibreOffice

      Please define better? And also list your credentials as a UX expert.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: Schools should be using LibreOffice

          You can't really list "open source" as a reason it's better, because that opens up the whole argument if OSS is better. To the average user it makes not an iota of difference.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Schools should be using LibreOffice @JDX

            "You can't really list "open source" as a reason it's better, because that opens up the whole argument if OSS is better. To the average user it makes not an iota of difference."

            It's a flaw in his and others' logic. In my view it's undeniable that open source is a better development process. Where some people trip over is confusing the open source process and open source software. You can't say as an absolute that open source software is better per se because there's no guarantee that's the case. It should lead to better software but that should be evaluated on a per-package basis, rather than assuming being open source is a requirement for quality and that closed source can't be good.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Schools should be using LibreOffice @JDX

              How do you define "better". For instance recent Microsoft code has a much lower known security vulnerability count over time that the average for Open Source code per line written.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Schools should be using LibreOffice @JDX

                "For instance recent Microsoft code has a much lower known security vulnerability count "

                (Yawn) Evening RICHTO !

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Schools should be using LibreOffice @JDX

                  "For instance recent Microsoft code has a much lower known security vulnerability count "

                  @AC aka RICHTO/TheVogon

                  Please stop making it so easy to spot you. Your turn of phrase is a dead giveaway. The only interesting part about your posts is trying to guess if it's you so come on make some sort of effort.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Schools should be using LibreOffice

          "Schools should be using LibreOffice " - if they want their pupils no have no experience with what is actually used in the real world.

          LibreOffice might be free to buy - but it will cost you in support, functionality, compatibility, and user training - which is a much larger percentage of TCO than the licensing fee.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Schools should be using LibreOffice

            it will cost you in support, functionality, compatibility, and user training - which is a much larger percentage of TCO than the licensing fee.

            Yeah, right. This is where facts differ from fiction, provided you look long term.

            support costs: you have ONE product to support, and one version which remains consistent in functions and file formats throughout its life span. This mean lower support costs, also because you can afford to upgrade when a new version comes along because you don't have the risk of incompatible file formats to fight with, nor a different modus operandi in the way the thing works.

            Summary: cheaper to support - and a set up support scripts you only have to write once as the UI rarely changes (compared with the MS Office UI which changes every single time). In addition, you can actually afford more support: just use the licence fees you just saved yourself. You may also use those to translate any macros.

            compatibility: you could default OOo/LOo to using the ".doc" and ".xls" file format. This results in internal consistency, won't immediately cause major havoc with intercompany document exchange and avoids the disaster of the allegedly cough "open" cough OOXML formats. The result is stability, because you will not be fighting the older/newer file formats battle that has accompanied MS Office from about version 2. Even better if you stick to a true open standard like ODF, but that may cause problems when data travels out of the door. Depends how big you are, a setup like Reuters could force others to adapt.

            user training: ah, THE big lie of MS Office resellers. So far, every single release of MS Office has required user retraining and has *always* negatively impacted productivity as users have to embark on a "where the f*ck did MS stick function xyz this time" search, not exactly helped by the move away from locally installed help files - the "look it up on the Internet" help files are not only slower, they are also about as useless as Google would be with a random ranking of results. Actually, it is probably *Bing* with a random results ranking..

            OOo/LOo, on the other hand, have remained pretty consistent with their user interfaces so a change from MS Office to OOo and LOo would entail only *one more* training exercise. And you can keep re-using those training materials for new people. Translated: changing from MS Office to Open/LibreOffice needs the same amount of training, but due to the stability of the UI it would be the last training you'd have to give. The result would be a stability in productivity you simply won't get with Microsoft Office products.

            Of course, proposing Open Office deployment means you will immediately get into a political fight as it would cut down your staffing and support needs, and that means a budget and staffing reduction for those who make their living out of the deficiencies of the Microsoft platform, not to mention the possible invasion of MS sales staff taking the important people out for dinner or golfing and feeding them the usual bullshit - after all, going for Open Office and derivatives is basically the first step to booting out Microsoft altogether. Ditto for Exchange - if there was an alternative for Outlook there would be no reason left whatsoever not to switch to one of the many Open Source groupware packages out there. Here too, there would be less need to use a Windows core platform to start with - going for Open Standards means you could use Macs for the marketing and design departments, Linux for the number crunchers and whatever you felt like for desktop, you could buy kit suitable to your business needs rather than what was dictated by your vendors.

            But hey, that would be *logical*, based on *facts*. The moment corporate IT is decided on those factors I suspect Hell will start selling ice cream..

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Schools should be using LibreOffice

              Support Costs: But you don't have one product to support as power users or those that need to be able to exchange documents in any reliable fashion with other entities will still require MS Office. Also MSO can be fully managed via GPOs.

              Compatibility - well you could use that file format - but it will limit you to only the functionality of Office 2003.

              User training -- this has always been optional during several very large Microsoft Office update roll outs I have been involved in and the number of users that actually use / require it is tiny. Migrating to a completely different product however is very different and traning would in most cases be a significant transition cost.

              Not sure how you think that a product that lacks many of the enterprise management features of MSO is going to be in some way cheaper to support or require fewer resources? In a very small company it might be if the product is more stable or has fewer issues (I find that unlikely, but i guess it's possible) but in an enterprise it is going to be far more expensive to support, configure and manage such a product.

              Yes you could choose a big and wide selection of different products to do slightly different things, but many studies have demonstrated that in the vast majority of business cases, this costs more in terms of the TCO. This is why companies tend to standardise where possible on the most capable and versatile product - which on 90%+ of desktops and 50%+ of servers means Windows.. .

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Schools should be using LibreOffice

        And also list your credentials as a UX expert.

        Yours?

    2. MrT

      Re: Schools should be using LibreOffice

      "LibreOffice 4.0 also supports importing Microsoft Publisher documents for the first time"

      ^^ That'll help - Publisher has been the fly in the ointment because nothing supported it.

      A long while back (decades) when PagePlus was a baby in v1 or 2 guise, Serif tried to cross-license the necessary formats to work with Publisher files. MS took the line that they would wipe the floor with PP, which at the time was a bold move as they were basically nowhere in the home market in particular. PagePlus still kicks Publisher around the park for anything more than making posters or cards.

      However, because MS made early versions of Word so poor at handling graphics, to the point where adding a 5th or 6th picture would throw everything off the page, and then bundling Publisher with Office (or at least only a couple of quid per PC to add it to a volume licence fee) they weened a lot of folk into the Publisher cul-de-sac. Gradually newer versions of Publisher started to export to other formats, which meant limited cross-over working could be used, but inertia took hold ;-)

      Schools have been getting used to using other MS products though, like Outlook, Sharepoint and Exchange (many LEA-provided VLEs are Sharepoint-based) - MS is good at levering the whole suite in on the back of dependencies like that. We tried Zimbra for email for a while (3 years), but went back to Exchange because it was less of a hassle in the end.

      It'll need a determined effort to move away from so many hooks such as Office has, but this will definitely be helped by the ability to move away from Publisher without binning loads of work, or keeping odd copies of Publisher hanging around (which defeats the object of moving away from Office really).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Schools should be using LibreOffice

      It all comes down to cost versus experience. All things being equal, ie both free, I'd use Microsoft office as its the slicker experience in my view.

      If I had to pay full price for ms office as a personal user, I'd use libre office without batting an eyelid. As it currently stands, I am lucky enough to work for a company with a hup licence, so got ms office professional plus 2010 & 2013 for £8.95 each. For that sum, ms office wins out easily!

      I don't think schools pay very much for ms office licences, so I can't blame them for taking the same choice that I have.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: Schools should be using LibreOffice

      A school my children all went to when they were younger switched many years ago, kids, teachers and admin staff, on laptops, desktops, the whole lot. That's Warrington school in NZ, they say it was better in many respects, maintain it themselves with little effort, saving on support costs. Saving money wasn' t their objective, it was about being able to do what they want to do. They're using Ubuntu. I think they got the Ministry of Education to do an open tender and worked out that the NZ govt was paying $30,000,000 a year or something for Windows, but they didn't have any success getting the $thousands back for "their" school for useful things, not yet anyway. $30,000,000 is a lot of money to be wasting for a small place like NZ.

  21. Fading Silver badge
    Linux

    Hows Office 2013 to 2007 compatability?

    Just a quick question as 2007 to 2003 is terrible (even with the "compatability" added) - if you want an example try just changing the cell colours in excel and opening in a different one. I have Libre office at home (and MS office 2003) and will be trying the new version later (and reporting any bugs I find - only thing I have time for at the moment - to give a little back) . As to the ribbon interface - just hide mine at work and use it like a horizontal menu system.

  22. Jim 59

    LibreOffice

    LibreOffice is great but it looks fugly and feels ungainly. A drab, 1993 style UI spangled with random icons like a badly decorated Christmas tree. It won't do. Managers today like things to be shiny, snappy and above all slick, so give them what they want. LO should divert all coding efforts from the engine and into the UI. Heck, give them a ribbon if that's what they want, or a menu that spins around, just make sure it is smooth and fast.

    1. Chemist

      Re: LibreOffice

      "LO should divert all coding efforts from the engine and into the UI"

      Oh yes, style over substance every time </sarcasm>

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Jim 59

        Re: LibreOffice

        Alas my post was taken seriously by some. It was humour.

        Personally, I also like the LO GUI, but then I am an IT professional like you, and an open source enthusiast. My point is that LO is more likely to garner mass appeal by looking impressive to the layman, or regular office worker, as Word does. Yes it is shallow but appearances influence decisions.

        1. Chemist

          Re: LibreOffice

          "Alas my post was taken seriously by some. It was humour."

          Sorry if I upset you - it's just one of my things. I don't care what a program looks like as long as it has the performance/stability/etc.

          In my case being totally Linux only I use LO as I don't have much choice anyway.

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: LibreOffice

          Alas my post was taken seriously by some. It was humour.

          That was my guess, but if the Internet has taught us anything, it's that people can't see the color of your bits. If you want readers to understand your intent, you'll generally have to indicate it in some fashion. I'm not fond of the Reg's "Joke Alert" icon (so unsubtle; it's the visual equivalent of a rim shot), but that's what it's there for...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: LibreOffice

      So you are suggesting to polish the turd?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: LibreOffice

      @Jim A few months ago the LibO user menus were detidied up, looks so much better, staff at my workplace like it. It's a tool, does the job fast, smoothly and reliably.

  23. The Axe

    64?

    When will we LibreOffice 64-bit for Windows. It's available for Linux variants, but not Windows yet. Why the hold up?

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 64?

        But near zero people use Linux on the desktop.

        I would suggest the real reason is that 64 bit is not really needed on Windows as a 4GB filesize limit is more than adequate for those using a toy version of Office like this.

  24. A J Stiles

    Sounds good

    I've just downloaded the Source Code, and am now working my way through installing the heap of -dev packages I need to build it.

    If there's anyone from Canonical listening, the one feature I would really, really, really like in Ubuntu 13.10 -- and the one that might finally get me off Debian -- would be to merge all -dev packages in with the respective main package. Separating them out made sense 10 years ago, when drive space was measured in gigabytes, processor speed in megahertz and everyone was expected to know exactly what they were doing. Today, -dev packages are a PITA. If somebody really doesn't need the development files, they can delete them; but HDD space is not really a valid concern anymore, compared to not making it needlessly complicated to build packages from Source Code.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sounds good

      I;ve never really thought of Ubuntu being aimed at people who want to build stuff from source - more at people who don't. Not sure they'd want to drop a load of extra packages into an install that their target demographic is unlikely to want. If I'm reading what you're saying correctly that is; I have to add in dev packages in Debian too so I might have missed your point.

      1. A J Stiles

        Re: Sounds good

        For clarification, I'm currently running Debian on most of my boxen (including servers and desktops); but after trying Ubuntu on a laptop, I quite like it. It's not dumbed-down; I can still edit files in /etc/ with nano -- or even gedit with sudo --if I choose to do it that way, and it won't confuse the GUI configuration tools. (And I really love the Unity interface on a widescreen display, with its vertical launcher down the left-hand side; but I can see why classic GNOME 2.x users might find it different.)

        It's simply wrong to imagine that compiling software from Source Code should be beyond "normal" users. Precompiled binaries are a legacy of Windows, not the traditional way complex software has been distributed. Actually, assuming that users are stupid -- as opposed to merely ignorant, but capable and ready to learn -- is a legacy of Windows.

        Separate -dev packages make it harder for "normal" users to make the "leap" to building from Source Code, by putting that gap there in the first place -- by assuming that users will not, by default, want to build from Source Code. Disk space and bandwidth are cheap nowadays.

        One alternative to "forcing additional stuff onto users" (most of whom, I'm sure, wouldn't even notice it till they double-clicked a .tar.gz file and it just installed itself) would be to extend dpkg to include, besides "depends", "recommends", "suggests" and "conflicts", a "dev-depends" category. With a simple configuration setting, installing a package could automatically install its -dev files or not; a database of -dev packages already required / installed would make it even easier to switch routes, by suddenly requiring or de-requiring a bunch of packages which will then get installed or uninstalled automatically at the next upgrade.

        Another idea would be creative misuse of "suggests": optionally automatically install anything from "suggests" that has -dev in its name, and make every package suggest its own -dev. But this is not really the right solution, as it will involve just as much upheaval again if and when a "dev-depends" category is created.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sounds good

          "It's simply wrong to imagine that compiling software from Source Code should be beyond "normal" users."

          I've never thought or claimed that. It does seem that Ubuntu, with the goal of getting people into Linux, tried to remove/minimise the need. For what seemed to be their target audience. As I recall Ubuntu was met with a lot of derision by Linux diehards when it came out. Remember the old "Ubuntu means too stupid to install Debian" jokes?

          "Actually, assuming that users are stupid -- as opposed to merely ignorant, but capable and ready to learn -- is a legacy of Windows."

          You seem to have misunderstood what I said. As I see it, Ubuntu's target audience has been people who want it to "just work" (sorry for trite phrase,) ideally out of the box. Which would imply no compilation. The assumption that users are stupid is not a legacy of Windows at all - it's the prevailing opinion of the IT community, and one I've railed against before on these forums given how often it's voiced. Glad to see someone recognising the difference between ignorance and stupidity; I hope others here will take note.

          "Separate -dev packages make it harder for "normal" users to make the "leap" to building from Source Code, by putting that gap there in the first place -- by assuming that users will not, by default, want to build from Source Code."

          To be honest, it looks like you're asking for your personal preference to be made the default. Essentially making the reverse assumption. If you make neither, it seems more sensible to me to go for a more minimal install - avoiding "bloat", to use another trite phrase. I don't agree that stuff should be put on someone's hard disk "in case they decide to use it in the future". They shouldn't have to decide to remove stuff they haven't asked for - another argument generally used against Windows. It's not mitigated by Linux letting you remove things more easily (or at all,) compared to Windows; it seems like a violation of the ideals.

          "Disk space and bandwidth are cheap nowadays."

          That's a matter of circumstance, really. Throwing silicon/money (even if the latter cost is comparatively small to you,) at a problem is inelegant. And *definitely* not for you to decide on others' behalf. I'm sorry to say that smacks of arrogance - "Eventually everyone will want to do it my way, because they're not stupid." Isn't that the "No True Scotsman" fallacy or something?

          One alternative to "forcing additional stuff onto users"

          Putting it in quotes doesn't negate that you're suggesting it.

          (most of whom, I'm sure, wouldn't even notice it till they double-clicked a .tar.gz file and it just installed itself)

          I don't see how that ties in with having the dev libraries automatically installed.

          "would be to extend dpkg to include, besides "depends", "recommends", "suggests" and "conflicts", a "dev-depends" category. With a simple configuration setting, installing a package could automatically install its -dev files or not; a database of -dev packages already required / installed would make it even easier to switch routes, by suddenly requiring or de-requiring a bunch of packages which will then get installed or uninstalled automatically at the next upgrade."

          Now that sounds eminently sensible to me. I'd get behind that.

          1. A J Stiles

            Re: Sounds good

            "As I see it, Ubuntu's target audience has been people who want it to 'just work' (sorry for trite phrase,) ideally out of the box. Which would imply no compilation."

            No apology required. I get exactly what you mean. The problem as I see it is, compiling software from Source Code doesn't "Just Work, out of the box". When you find out about some obscure package foo that your distribution's maintainers haven't thought to package, so you download the Source Code foo.tar.gz and it says you need to have package bar installed, and you know you have got bar installed, that's as confusing as hell -- and it sends a wrong message. What it actually means is that you need some file that would have been "left behind" if you had built bar yourself from Source Code, but you don't actually need for day to day use of bar. And your distribution's maintainers have helpfully separated those files out into a different package just for developers: bar-dev. But this is not obvious. And from the point of view of the user -- who really doesn't think of themself as a developer -- it ends up looking as though compiling software from Source Code is some sort of black art, some arcane magic, something they aren't meant to understand. It reinforces a view of "them and us". And it should not be like that, because everybody has something to give to the Free and Open Source Software movement -- unless they get so deterred by one bad experience that they defect to Windows. And what's that done for the hapless developers of package foo? Somebody wanted it so badly, but now they've been dissuaded from trying to install it.

            My point is that, once upon a time, separating out developer files was beneficial to the "normal" user; including the developers' files in the main package would have done them a greater disservice than omitting them did the potential developer. I am no longer sure that this is the case: the inconvenience to users wishing to compile packages from Source Code as a result of separating out the developers' files now exceeds the inconvenience to other users that would result from including them.

            Some users certainly will make the effort to learn about developers' packages, or even learn the hard way -- I ended up reinstalling a whole bunch of libs from Source Code one one box, once in my younger days, just because I didn't know about developers' packages. And that experience has informed the position from which I argue. If you'll allow me to use a cliché of my own, I just don't want anyone else to have to go through that.

            Compiling a package from Source Code really needn't be any harder than double-clicking on a tar.gz file to start the configuration (./configure) and compilation (make) process, then supplying a password to allow installation to system-wide folders (sudo make install). And if it barfs for want of a dependency, then it isn't unreasonable to assume that installing the named package from repository ought to be enough to satisfy that dependency. Now, if the file manager (or its archive plugin) is really smart, it could detect that this is the first time you've ever double-clicked on a Source Code file, and turn on (if my hypothetical dev-depends: existed) automatic installation of developer packages. A smart "installable Source Code archive" plugin could even parse the error log and suggest a fix. Result: Compiling a package from Source Code is now as easy as (even although it will take a bit longer than) installing a pre-compiled binary package, for the casual user who -- for whatever reason, of their own business -- would like to install something that has not yet been packaged for their distribution.

            Anyway, you've convinced me to put my money where my mouth is. I'm going to take a look at dpkg and see if I'm up to the task of adding the needed feature myself; and if I should bottle it, then I will at least suggest it to the developers. Either way, I plan to offer my bunch of patches or humble feature suggestion to Ubuntu first, because I think they do try hardest to have "everyone" as their target demographic. To prove I'm not as bitter as I may have sounded, I'm going to say this: Be my guest and suggest the dev-depends: idea to Debian -- or even Fedora; I'm sure they'd love an advantage over dpkg and apt-get. This is not a zero-sum game; we'll all come out winners if it's adopted, whoever is first.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will every 0.0.x release require a 180 MB download and 10 minute installation?

    Tell me they've fixed that in LO 4+

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Will every 0.0.x release require a 180 MB download and 10 minute installation?

      Roll it out with a GP startup script, upgrades in the background, not had a problem with this yet even on the older computers.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looks like the MS staff are out in full force today.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Looks like it, they're crapping themselves!

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ... and support for Macros / VBA....?

    "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."

    In the other Office / Excel threads comments were sparse from those who had successfully migrated users off their Office addiction and onto LO! Until there's deep support for Macros & VBA legacy spreadsheets LO is not a serious competitor to MS-Office IMHO!

    There are comments on here as if Excel macros are limited to the financial community solely. I've personally witnessed a huge number of small business with macro based spreadsheets and even some medium sized restaurant chains too relying on them. Excel and its macros are far more pervasive that some imagine.

  28. Zola
    Flame

    Would love to switch to Libre Office

    But when it can't open spreadsheets* that have total wank in them such as:

    Application.CommandBars("Task Pane").Visible = False

    then it forces the user to pony up the £200 and buy the full MS Office suite. If LibreOffice aims for compatibility with the MS Office suite, then at the very least it should handle gracefully this sort of shit which attempts to disable an Excel toolbar that doesn't exist in LibreOffice.

    * A client, using a custom written and password locked spreadsheet, wanted 8 new PCs without the cost of MS Office... I had hoped LibreOffice would do the job but even the latest 4.0.0.3 version I just installed falls at this first and most basic (no pun intended) of hurdles. Shame, as it's 8 more client licences for Microsoft.

    1. Test Man
      Stop

      Re: Would love to switch to Libre Office

      "Shame, as it's 8 more client licences for Microsoft."

      Except in a lot of cases it isn't (volume licensing).

    2. Carl
      Thumb Down

      Re: Would love to switch to Libre Office

      Feel free to send the invoice to whoever supplied the s/sheet.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Would love to switch to Libre Office @Carl

        With a copy of the requirements doc highlighting the bit showing why the spreadsheet author shouldn't have used that call and is therefore liable, of course.

    3. A J Stiles
      Holmes

      Re: Would love to switch to Libre Office

      But if you rewrite the macros, you only have to do that once. You would have to keep paying out for a new Office licence every time Microsoft brought out a new version. In a really pathological case, Microsoft could deprecate or remove a feature you were relying on; and then you'd have to do some rewriting anyway. (Open Source can't do that so easily, since removed features can usually be hacked back in when necessary. This can lead to patch wars and eventually forking, as one party storms off in a huff or gets banned -- vide OpenBSD. The users will eventually decide which one they prefer. Occasionally, there is even room for both versions to co-exist.)

      In the end, it's a trade-off. At some point, the cost of keeping legacy VBA code outweighs the cost of getting rid. When that happens, rewriting to use LibreOffice becomes "doing it properly", and keeping Microsoft becomes the bodge.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Would love to switch to Libre Office

        Unless you leverage software assurance. At less than 30 per pc per year for windows, cals, office pro it works out cheaper than employing a Linux chap to keep the non windows systems running (the apprentice can keep windows stuff running)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Would love to switch to Libre Office

          But a local school here switched to Ubuntu several years ago and have been saving on support costs, and now don't use any Microsoft licenses either, Perhaps you're a troll!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Would love to switch to Libre Office

            Yes and none of their pupils have any jobs from stating 'Libre Office skills' on their CV either...

            Glad that's not where my kids go.

  29. Carl
    Alien

    I personally hope it doesnt...

    "close the gap" with MSOffice.

    MSOffice sucks donkey balls.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I personally hope it doesnt... @Carl

      "MSOffice sucks donkey balls."

      After such a cogent point, I hope the Internet can take the strain of the mass downloads that will follow. What reasonable person wouldn't be swayed by such an argument?

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: I personally hope it doesnt... @Carl

        Now, now, there's no place for sarcasm.

        Oh, wait ..

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I personally hope it doesnt... @Carl

        "MSOffice sucks donkey balls." actually I think it' s "MSOffice sucks blows goats."

  30. Dare to Think
    IT Angle

    Compare it with Calligra Suite first

    It is of course reassuring to in effect announce that Libre Office is now where Open Office should have been a few years ago and work has been done to make dialog boxes look nicer and more consistent, and the CMIS integration is good. Most probably there has been a lot of tidy-ups and recoding under the hood.

    Rather than comparing Libre Office with MS Office, I would compare it with Calligra Suite, which is technically the more impressive project and which has just announced version 2.6: It is extensively coded in Qt/C++; it outguns LO with 10 components (word processor, spreadsheet, presentation program, visual database, project management, mindmapping, flowchart drawing program, Vector graphics editor, digital painting, e-book); automating tasks and extending the suite with custom functionality can be done with D-Bus or with scripting languages like Python and JavaScript.

    Calligra has already tidied up their attributes and dialog boxes and really allows high productive work. I cannot say each component has the same polish as LO, but it is catching up fast, some components are already eligible for production use, e.g. Krita.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calligra

    1. Bill the Sys Admin
      Thumb Up

      Re: Compare it with Calligra Suite first

      Linux Format did an article 2 issues ago that did a comparison of the office suites, calligra was quite highly rated but in the end they chose Libre Office overall(version 3.6 not 4). Might be worth a buy for anyone who is interested in this. I certainly enjoyed it anyway.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Better looks?

    I just downloaded it and I'm struggling to see much of any difference in the looks department, to be honest.

  32. Boothy

    Or just split it up into separate apps rather than a complete suite.

  33. WeaselNo7
    Pint

    OpenOffice vs LibreOffice

    So what's the considered opinion of the community now? How do our two favourite free suites compare now that this new Libre version is out?

  34. This post has been deleted by its author

  35. Tom Maddox Silver badge
    Holmes

    Says it all, really

    The previous code was just really horrendous," Meeks said. "Dialogs were constructed and drawn by hand – in fact, not even by hand. Programmers just sort of entered random numbers to lay them out, and it really looked awful.

    This says it all. I believe this is the design philosophy behind all F/OSS and, indeed, all *nix GUI-oriented software.

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wish they'd STOP closing the gap with MS Office!

    I can see why they won't. Word and excel are what people are used to, and they want to stay comfortable. It's the same for me. The only time in the past six months that I've booted Windows was to do a mail merge for the Christmas-card list. Nothing to think about with MS Office, just update a few addresses and press go.

    However, even though I'm still a member of the MS Office (2000 --- easily enough for most of us) Comfort Club, I have also been hating it over all those years. Why, MS, When I want to do this, do you insist on doing that? I want to change the format of this word, that line, not the paragraph and certainly not the page. I want to be in control, not you.

    I wish that Open/Libre Office had taken a different path. Not the path of imitating MS Office, but the path of developing powerful software in which the user can easily choose everything from default layout to micro-management, per-character control. I've been there: I used Linotype phototypsetting machines before I even touched a computer. I could use it like a typewriter, or I could control everything about every character. I could measure out a page layout, and then produce it exactly. That there are secretaries that can do almost the same with MS Word is a tribute to them, not to the software. You have to fight MS Word to get exactly what you want out of it.

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: for beautiful control there is LATEX.

        Yes, there is. The trouble is, MS has deaded my brain cells. I doubt if I could cope with all the in-line codes (no wysiwyg, of course) that I used with the phototypesetter all these decades later.

        Actually, Wordperfect had a good balance, and it was very useful being able to display codes. This may be why, when the company "officially" switched to MS, our underwriters refused to. They wanted their small print exactly, but exactly how they liked it, so they stuck with WP.

        A simple example: When I type a letter, I want to put, on the same line, my phone number on the left, and the date on the right. WP had no difficulty with that (Nor, of course, did my typesetter) but with Word I have to create a bloody table to do it.

        At least, for page layout work, I recently discovered Scribus. No need to ever touch Publisher again. And much better. (of course)

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wish they'd STOP closing the gap with MS Office!

      In other words, WYSIWYBWG... What you see is what you bloody well get.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Updates...

    People are complaining they have to download 180MB for each 0.00x release...

    Have you seen how big normal office updates are with their service packs and security updates.

    On the MAC at least I've seen upwards of 400MB updates that take 10 mins to install, where as libre office is 180MB in total and takes about 3 mins to install perhaps less.

    Lets not even talk about how bloated office is and how long that takes to install in the first place. I'm sure the crappy Windows installer wastes time on purpose not doing anything.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Updates...

      WSUS is a single install. Libre office is a complete remove reinstall via script per pc. Then a potential rewrite of login scripts (version 3 pulled thus trick, not seen 4 yet)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Updates...

        @Danny, Actually a single line GP startup script installs LibO on any machine/s you like, for updates just read the release notes and download it into the right folder. There that's not difficult is it. Perhaps you're just spouting crap. Or for you you could get really really clever and make it 2 or more lines long to do other things as well.

  38. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. meanioni

      Re: LibreOffice is extremely good!

      I was until recently an IT director looking after lots of schools- you make a good point. The problem lies not with the kids, who are actually very flexible and will use anything, but with some of the (older) teachers and most of the admin staff.

      As an example, we took one primary school and used Google Apps exclusively as the office suite. Most teachers and all the kids loved it and "got it" straight away. A number of teachers and practically all the admin staff moaned a lot.

      The thing is we are creatures of habit and once you get into your late teens, you start becoming less flexible. We should learn more from the kids!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: LibreOffice is extremely good!

        The "Admin staff" being those who actually have to use Office properly of course...

        1. meanioni

          Re: LibreOffice is extremely good!

          Yes admin staff do have to use more of the functions, but there is nothing that your average school admin person would need that LibreOffice can't do.

          With Google Apps there are more limitations, but then Office 365 is similarly constrained currently.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: LibreOffice is extremely good!

            You mean your Admin staff never need to exchange documents with others? I find that unlikely...

            nb - in what way is 'Office 365' constrained? You can very quickly stream a full desktop version in 'on demand' mode if you prefer it.

            1. meanioni

              Re: LibreOffice is extremely good!

              We tried to do a full 365 implementation with plenty of support from various parties and ran into issues, largely around authentication (I'll spare you the gory details) - something which Google Apps does much better currently. Once you can host a domain controller in the cloud (coming soon, I hear) then it will be on a similar footing.

  39. Stuart Ball
    WTF?

    In my experience most teachers can barely drive Office to any reasonable degree. Making them cross train to LO just for the sake of pennies will dramatically decrease their productivity. Trust me, Teachers have enough to do as it is without wrestling with a new package.

    Eeejit making sweeping assumptions!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Stuart Ball

      In my real life experience where a school switched to OO later LO they haven't looked back! That was years ago. Teachers have open minds and do accomodate change. It's how you go about it. You're actually making sweeping assumptions.

  40. Richard Lloyd
    Meh

    Separate+ anyone?

    I read the earlier (well off-topic) discussion about CMYK and Gimp a few pages ago - has anyone tried Separate+ as a plug-in:

    http://cue.yellowmagic.info/softwares/separate-plus/index.html

    Seems to offer at least basic CMYK capabilities, though for some reason the only binaries available are for Windows!

    As for MS Office and its ribbon, am I the only one who couldn't find the basic File functions? It took me an age to realise that the ribbon itself didn't have any! The round Windows logo in the top left - that looks neither like the ribbon nor a menu - is actually clickable (I had no idea - there is no visual clue for this) and contains the File operations in there. Massively unintuitive and I defy anyone to claim it's obvious for a first-time user.

    One thing that perplexes me is why people/organisations can't install both (LO and MS Office) and use whichever one works the best for them (which might vary between document types or even individual documents). The only argument I can see is support - having to handle issues from two Office suites rather than one. However, if either can be used to fix issues with documents, wouldn't the combination work correctly more often and result in *less* overall problems?

    It's like Web browsers - one browser doesn't work with *all* sites...you usually have to have one or two backup browsers (plus it's nice for multiple sessions to the same site to run 2 or 3 different browsers at once).

    I think one problem LO has is that it existed in many old versions (both OO and LO) that were not stellar at handling the common MS file formats. It's only since LibreOffice has picked up the dev pace and improved compatibility in the last 1-2 years that you can now be reasonably confident (not 100% yet sadly) that you can load in an MS Office document and it'll pretty true to the original.

    Sadly, there's massive resistance from MS Office "lovers" until LO is 100% compatible with every MS Office document format produced from any version of MS Office since it existed. The likelihood of that being the case is very slim even 5 years from now - of course, such MS Office fans won't even acknowledge that compatibility between MS Office releases themselves falls short of 100% in quite a few cases, so any pleases to install LO alongside MS Office tend to fall on deaf ears :-(

  41. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Gimp has CMYK.

    "I use GIMP and Photoshop extensively, predominantly GIMP. And the only thing I really need Photoshop for is CMYK image support. If GIMP had that then my entire design workflow could be completed with GIMP/Inkscape."

    AFAIK, Gimp has CMYK now. I was as surprised as anyone to see it (and, I personally don't have a need for it.) It went from no color support to supporting normal, CMYK, s-RGB, and several other color spaces.

    1. Chemist

      Re: Gimp has CMYK.

      "Gimp has CMYK now"

      It certainly has had the ability to generate a range of color separations ( including CMPK) for a while, whether this is sufficient for the OP I don't know as my knowledge in this area is limited.

      For info the menu option is Colours - Components - Decompose - Choose 1 of~12 options (GIMP 2.6.11).

      I don't actually use GIMP a lot as my main interest is processing RAW digital photo files and there are much better programs in Linux to process in 48-bit etc

  42. Zolko
    Holmes

    Draw program

    actually, the Libre-Office Draw program is bay far far far away superior to anything M$-Office. It does actually basic 2D scale drawing, when the 3D CAD is too long to launch.

  43. Richard Cartledge

    I love it, it reminds me of the good old days before we had to be upsold and upsold bloated upgrades every 2-3 years.

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