back to article Apache OpenOffice, the Schrodinger's app: No one knows if it's dead or alive, no one really wants to look inside

Last year Brett Porter, then chairman of the Apache Software Foundation, contemplated whether a proposed official blog post on the state of Apache OpenOffice (AOO) might discourage people from downloading the software due to lack of activity in the project. No such post from the software's developers surfaced. The languid pace …

  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    OpenOffice NOT LibreOffice

    Worth making clear it is the "official" Open Office project that is pining for the Fjords

    The LibreOffice fork is actively developed and works very well

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: OpenOffice NOT LibreOffice

      The article does make that point. LibreOffice might be more active but it also provides buggy releases and and a degraded UX.

      1. RegGuy1

        LibreOffice provides buggy releases and and a degraded UX

        Indeed. I use Open Office because Libre Office does not handle cell formatting correctly in some situations. So if I have a cell linked to another and change its default formatting to match the other, it would not keep it; either every time I saved or when I changed the original cell (I can't remember which).

        It was just such a pain in the arse that I chose to go back to Open Office -- it was easier to work with and meant I didn't have to keep trying to debug or find workarounds (such as save in XLS rather than ODT -- FFS!!).

        But I'd certainly go back to Libre Office if it worked.

    2. Rupert Fiennes Bronze badge

      Re: OpenOffice NOT LibreOffice

      Yes! Monty Python reference in the first post :-)

  2. PhilipN Silver badge

    Reminder for macos users

    https://www.neooffice.org/neojava/en/index.php

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reminder for macos users

      For $29.95 how does it compare to the free versions?

      1. PhilipN Silver badge

        Re: Reminder for macos users

        "the NeoOffice engineers have continually added improvements to NeoOffice that you will not find in OpenOffice or LibreOffice such as:

        Native Dark Mode

        NeoOffice > Open at Launch menu to open Calc or Impress instead of Writer at launch

        File > Browse All Versions menu to restore previous versions of your documents

        Native file locking to safely edit files in iCloud Drive, Dropbox, or network drives

        Native Mac grammar checking

        Native Mac text highlighting

        Support for Mac Services

        Native floating tool windows"

        And :

        WordPerfect support

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: Reminder for macos users

          Sounds like a tiny handful of extensions piggy-backing on a massive piece of FOSS development that some arsehole thinks they can charge money for. Perhaps you have missed out 30 dollars' worth of other improvements.

          1. Hans 1 Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: Reminder for macos users

            Sounds like a tiny handful of extensions piggy-backing on a massive piece of FOSS development that some arsehole thinks they can charge money for. Perhaps you have missed out 30 dollars' worth of other improvements.

            It does, I totally agree, BUT, in this case, it is different.

            IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: This is GPL'd software, you buy once, share will all your mates ;-) https://www.neooffice.org/neojava/en/faq.php

            History

            NeoOffice was created back in the day when there simply was no OpenOffice version for OS X... well, there was, but it ran in an X server, thus had weird behaviour on Mac.

            These NeoOffice guys basically rewrote the ui and integrated the package well with MacOS X !

            So, in the old days, they brought you something you could not get elsewhere, a Mac version of OpenOffice. I gave them $50 roughly 15 years ago ... iirc

            1. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

              Re: Reminder for macos users

              I remember the early Mac OpenOffice, ran on an X server so you had Windows/Linux style menus with X11 (or your flavour of X server) using the native Mac menu.

              I strangely liked the *nix-y feel, and differences in UI were par for the course when half your software booted into OS9 'Classic Mode' anyway. Running X server applications reminded you of the availability of OSS for OSX.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Perhaps you have missed out 30 dollars' worth of other improvements

            Or they have found a niche market full of idiots.

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Reminder for macos users

        For $29.95 how does it compare to the free versions?

        It's basically skinned. But that isn't the comparison I would make, how does it compare to other packages that also cost money, such as Softmaker? Haven't tried this myself but the reviews I've read have all praised this cross-platform Office, especially for its support for the OOXML files, something which neither OpenOffice nor LibreOffice excel (no pun intended) at.

      3. Gordon 10 Silver badge

        Re: Reminder for macos users

        For $29.95 how does it compare to a minimum of 5 copies of Office 365 on the M$ family plan @79.95 . (with discounts lower)?

        Plus 1TB per user, plus web/mobile installs too.

        You'd have to be a dyed in the wool M$ hater to buy it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Reminder for macos users

          1. Screw subscriptions

          2. Screw MS. They stole too many hours of my life with shoddy practises and products. IE6. BSOD. Ribbon. W8. W10. Screw them.

          3. They are evil. They killed all the competition and still do. I spend my money ethically when I can.

          4. German-made Free office is quite good

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Reminder for macos users

          For $29.95 how does it compare to a minimum of 5 copies of Office 365 on the M$ family plan @79.95 . (with discounts lower)?

          1 copy that I can legally install on a whole school worth of machines. Yeah, worth it. And that's not even playing to your misrepresentation of the fees: that $29.95 buys you upgrades for a year, but it doesn't stop working after that.

          Plus 1TB per user, plus web/mobile installs too.

          Yes, because I want Microsoft to have access to my information, that saves them time snooping it off my machines if I were so dumb using Win 10. Remember, they helped creating the Cloud Act 2018, and if you don't know what that is you're very welcome to stay with Microsoft. Because you're clearly worth it.

          You'd have to be a dyed in the wool M$ hater to buy it.

          You have to be very blinkered and deliberately ignoring a LOT of things to keep buying M$ - but at least you're using the dollar sign correctly..

        3. JLV Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Reminder for macos users

          @79.95 per year

          There, fixed that for you ;-)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reminder for macos users

      >Reminder for macos users

      Surprising as though it seems Mactards, you don't actually have to pay for software

      https://www.libreoffice.org/get-help/install-howto/os-x/

      I'd ignore the advertising feature if I were you and put that cash you've saved into buying Apple's next ridiculously overpriced device.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reminder for macos users

      I have both NeoOffice and LibreOffice on my system.

      I use both almost interchangeably - except in two situations where NeoOffice definitely wins:

      1 - if I need to work in a foreign language or have text with a lot of accented characters

      2 - if I help a non-English Mac users set up LO or equivalent as office package.

      The motivation:

      1 - there is a (very) long outstanding problem with LO in that it does not use the MacOS character entry function which makes it very easy to enter accented characters, but instead has a cumbersome function that lumps "anything but ASCII" into a big box for you to pick from. The time saving on that NeoOffice function alone makes their charges negligible and I tend to re-register annually just to give them some extra cash. NeoOffice can also use Mac versioning, but I need to revisit that - I will not use that until I properly understand if it adds value.

      2 - the installer for LO is as painful as its update mechanism for non-English speakers. It insists on you speaking American* before it does anything, and the updater cannot be bothered to preserve your language settings either. You cannot install LO in any other language than American*, and only post installation will you be able to customise the UI for your own language. For which you need to speak American* to find it in the settings, because auto-setting this as a feature of the language pack is apparently also too much work, even though it now starts LO during install to fix another bug (LO would not work after a Language Pack install if it not had been run at least once). When you update, same problem - preserving your setting or auto-downloading the language pack associated with your current setting/install and installing it (and setting it) for the user is not available, which makes the target market for LO mainly technically competent users. There's no chance that your average foreign end user will find this as easy as lobbing Microsoft Office on their system and paying the associated tithe.

      As you may have guessed, NeoOffice doesn't have a language problem during install or update.

      Ergo, buying NeoOffice is IMHO a more than worthwhile investment for MacOS users - they reach those parts that LO devs have no time for. If you want to say that the NeoOffice devs "ride on the back" of the LO development, fine, just tell me how much you contributed in money terms to LO. I see my payment to the NeoOffice guys as equivalent to paying developers to tweak an Open Source project so it suits me, and their approach simply makes it crowdfunding so I share those costs with other like minded people.

      I have noticed that the discussion around (1) finally yielded an admission that they don't have as many MacOS developers as they would like so if anyone who codes for MacOS is bored, that strikes me as not the hardest problem in the world to solve. (2) is probably a wholly different kettle of fish.

      * American = US English, as opposed to UK English, which I prefer despite being one of "them foreigners too". If you prefer the former, your IT life is probably a lot easier :)

  3. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

    I've just been using LibreOffice. If OpenOffice is moving too slowly to distinguish from death, I'm not sure I'm interested anyway.

  4. thames

    Counting is not so easy.

    With respect to download counts, Linux users normally get their copy of LibreOffice from their distro, either as part of the default install or from their standard repos. I believe that most of the major distros ship LibreOffice, not Apache OO. Linux users have little or no reason to get their copy directly from the LibreOffice site. This means that a major part of LibreOffice's user base won't show up in their download counts.

    Then there are derivatives and rebranding, such as NeoOffice, which can also make difficult to get accurate user base figures for either LibreOffice or Apache OO.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi

      Re: Counting is not so easy.

      Linux users have little or no reason to get their copy directly from the LibreOffice site.

      Not when you use a LTS distro (commonly Ubuntu's LTS versions) or Debian Stable. Both don't ship updates (feature updates, that is) to LibreOffice or any other package.

      So in these cases, one does get to grab the latest from LibreOffice's site.

      Another problem is that distros in general don't instantly update a package the moment its dev releases the update.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: Counting is not so easy.

        Another problem is that distros in general don't instantly update a package the moment its dev releases the update.

        That's NOT a problem. Given the issues that the last Windows 10 update had, (and still might have... who really knows eh?) NOT being on the bleeding edge of the release wave is a good thing IMHO.

    2. trevorde
      Trollface

      Re: Counting is not so easy.

      Does anyone use Linux on the desktop? </troll>

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Counting is not so easy.

        "Does anyone use Linux on the desktop? </troll>"

        Yes, with LibreOffice, and boy, does it suck. SO BUGGY. The exact same thing that can be said of MS Word, which I also have to use.

      2. Chemist

        Re: Counting is not so easy.

        "Does anyone use Linux on the desktop? </troll>"

        Well I'm sitting here in Saas-Fee in Switzerland and I've just used a little GUI window on this Linux desktop to start downloading a number of BBC comedies onto a Pi at home (UK) . After that I'll move them using a GUI filemanager ( using fish: ) to watch here.

    3. Hans 1 Silver badge

      Re: Counting is not so easy.

      Then there are derivatives and rebranding, such as NeoOffice, which can also make difficult to get accurate user base figures for either LibreOffice or Apache OO.

      NeoOffice is not a rebrand! NeoOffice has a different ui implementation and is much better integrated into OS X. Read https://www.neooffice.org/neojava/en/faq.php They were the first to port OpenOffice to OS X' Aqua ui.

      OpenOffice only released a native OS X version in 2008 (version 3.0), NeoOffice had a working one, with a few bugs in 2003 ...

    4. DougS Silver badge

      OpenOffice still has mindshare, but that's all

      If people want to download an alternative/free office product for their Windows PC, they might download OpenOffice because that's what they had on their old Windows PC - many won't have heard about the LibreOffice split.

      I wonder how many people who downloaded OpenOffice would have downloaded LibreOffice if they knew the latter was actively maintained and had advanced a lot over where OpenOffice is during the last few years? I'd guess probably 99% would.

      OpenOffice's download numbers simply aren't indicative of great interest in it, and if its few remaining developers believe that they are fooling themselves. If there was still a browser called 'Netscape' I'm sure it would garner millions of downloads a year, simply because of the mindshare that name accumulated 20 years ago.

    5. arctic_haze Silver badge

      Re: Counting is not so easy.

      I always use the torrent for installers of Libreoffice. Therefore I guess I do not count as "a download".

  5. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    Reference

    I have generally thought of AOO as a "reference implementation". Not something people actually use on a significant basis, but rather a working model showing functionality of specifications and document formats. It could still hold a purpose as that, presuming such a thing is still needed.

    Meanwhile *actual* daily usage of the standards and specifications is handled by LibreOffice, and supported (in part or whole) by other vendors' applications.

  6. Piro

    The only reason it is popular...

    Is because of misinformed people who never learnt of the existence of LibreOffice, or when you mention LibreOffice, think the OpenOffice is somehow the original, most well known, and therefore must be the right one, and thus ignore the existence of LibreOffice.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: The only reason it is popular...

      Or find OpenOffice more stable than LibreOffice. I certainly do.

      Office suites are largely a solved problem. Yes, the code could be updated and cleaned up but it does all I need it to do.

      1. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

        Re: The only reason it is popular...

        @Charlie Clark

        Sometimes office software hits on something new and useful. For example, MS Word 2013 and later can read pdf files and save them as editable Word documents. Yes, I use that.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: The only reason it is popular...

          Sometimes office software hits on something new and useful.

          Indeed, but it's largely a solved problem and, while there are numerous programs that would let you do what you're doing, I can understand why you prefer it being part of the suite. MS Office 2013 is otherwise pretty meh but Office 2016 has significant performance improvements and is really the only serious option for mobile devices: a real opportunity missed for LibreOffice.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The only reason it is popular...

            Office 2016 has significant performance improvements and is really the only serious option for mobile devices: a real opportunity missed for LibreOffice.

            It's just a shame that those performance improvements were pretty much nuked by adding the ribbon to the UI. Especially for Word, the 2013 version was (a) the last usable version released before the ribbon shredded my productivity and (b) the main reason that directly drove me permanently into the hands of LO and NeoOffice. LO has experimented with a ribbon interface but wisely left it optional, and thanks to LO I can retain productivity, the the point where I can put up with the occasional crash (not had a single one yet with NeoOffice, which is interesting).

            We only authorise MS Office for the few users that have deep Excel skills. For presentations we use Keynote - LOs' presentation package needs a lot more pizzaz before that's ready for general business use.

    2. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: The only reason it is popular...

      I think there's alot of truth there. Open Office is both a name and a Thing. You want a free open source Office suite then it's the open software route, which carries a lead in to Open Office.

      Libre Office only comes to mind if you've already heard of it as itself.

      I got to LO years ago, after the fork, from OO. I don't even remember why.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The only reason it is popular...

      That's what happens when you fork for political reason and give silly names to software also for political reasons. If you believe most people care about The Document Foundation political stance, and their elucubrations, about software you're utterly wrong. They really matter to a minority of "open" source groupies only. If the LibreOffice name is not recognized outside a small circle, it's a The Document Foundation failure, not people being "misinformed".

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: The only reason it is popular...

        If you believe most people care about The Document Foundation political stance

        I know a couple and fortunately they're not all idiots. Unfortunately, some of the idiots did deliberately sabotage work paid for by others that was supposed to benefit both OpenOffice and LibreOffice so that the relevant code couldn't easily be integrated into OpenOffice. And then there is that fecking awful, child's crayon LibreOffice UX.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Was this article sponsored by M$ Office ?

    1. Waseem Alkurdi
      Joke

      No, this one's sponsored by Apache Foundation and the OS/2 Users' Group.

    2. Alan Bourke

      Aw look a $ sign instead of the S

      Like it's 2002.

      1. Hans 1 Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Aw look a $ sign instead of the S

        Like it's 2002.

        Like it's 1985

        Like it's 1986

        Like it's 1987

        Like it's 1988

        Like it's 1989

        Like it's 1990

        Like it's 1991

        Like it's 1992

        Like it's 1993

        Like it's 1994

        Like it's 1995

        Like it's 1996

        Like it's 1997

        Like it's 1998

        Like it's 1999

        Like it's 2000

        Like it's 2001

        Like it's 2002

        Like it's 2003

        Like it's 2004

        Like it's 2005

        Like it's 2006

        Like it's 2007

        Like it's 2008

        Like it's 2009

        Like it's 2010

        Like it's 2011

        Like it's 2012

        Like it's 2013

        Like it's 2014

        Like it's 2015

        Like it's 2016

        Like it's 2017

        Like it's 2018

  8. frank ly Silver badge

    Driven

    "... our drivers are mostly of altruistic and hedonistic nature,"

    That explains why I can't get it to print properly.

    1. John G Imrie Silver badge
      Gimp

      Re: Driven

      You just need to show it who's the Master

      1. Korev Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Driven

        What's the Microsoft safe word?

        1. Waseem Alkurdi

          Re: Driven

          Something that contains a reference to the Microsoft Bear or Microsoft Bunny*.

          __________________

          * If you land here, then you definitely don't know what these are. Look them up.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I won't run OpenOffice

    Just on the off chance that Oracle gets involved again. For the same reasons, I dropped mysql.

    1. lybad

      Re: I won't run OpenOffice

      But for the same reasons as most Linux distros dropped OpenOffice, they have done the same with MySQL - many of the distros will install MariaDB when you ask them to install MySQL.

      1. midcapwarrior

        Re: I won't run OpenOffice

        You ask for one product and they install another and this is considered OK?

        Different world I guess.

  10. Buddy

    I have been using Apache for several years to open .doc attachments in my e-mails. I use Win 7 and am not likely to ever use crappy win 10. My only problem is how slow it opens on my computer. But I am willing to get a cup of coffee and give it time.

    1. DJV Silver badge
      Trollface

      using Apache for several years to open .doc attachments

      I usually use Apache to open web pages...

      (hee hee!)

      1. iron Silver badge

        Re: using Apache for several years to open .doc attachments

        Funny, I use Apache to serve web pages...

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      "how slow it opens on my computer"

      Whack an SSD in there and it'll run much quicker.

    3. Korev Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      My only problem is how slow it opens on my computer.

      Look at the CPU usage whilst you're opening it, some java applications get clobbered by antivirus.

  11. Lee D Silver badge

    This is what happens when you tell developers who are working for free to "get on board with our methods or bugger off".

    They have a tendency to bugger off and not come back. Or, in this case, bugger off, make something better, steal your entire userbase and then laugh at you.

    Sorry, but AOO is dead. Oracle killed it many years ago. LO gets updates all the time with significant feature changes and constant evolution.

    I actually JUDGE the Apache project people for allowing it to a) happen, b) continue, c) be endorsed, d) continuing to distribute the old crap codebase that people can barely compile.

    Almost the first few months of LO's existence was "rip out all the rubbish and put in a normal build system". It wasn't until they did that that anyone contributed anything useful. They then spent many years translating obscure German code comments and ripping out code that did nothing and did it badly.

    1. Jonathan Knight

      The German code comments reflect the origins of OpenOffice.

      I will admit to paying for a site license for StarOffice by Star Division for Keele University back in the 20th Century for our Solaris boxes.

      Sun Microsystems then bought the company and then open sourced the code having fist sanitised the comments. The story at the time was that there were some fairly "direct" comments about how users may interact with the software in the comments and Sun hired some German speakers to find and remove them before the code went public.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        ...open sourced the code having fist sanitised the comments.

        That's taking Scrum a little too literally

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    New feature in Open Office on next release, tumble weed screen saver.

  13. Milton Silver badge

    Who could possibly care less?

    Well, I'm typing so I must care a teensy bit ... ;-)

    ... but LibreOffice does everything I want, is very stable, has never lost my data yet, makes remote storage of encrypted files particularly easy, and best of all, remains uncontaminated by association with Oracle. One does rather get the impression that as soon as Oracle gets its greedy claws on something, it is doomed. Certainly as an original OpenOffice user I was driven away to LibreOffice; just as my Linux enterprises quickly left MySQL behind for MariaDB.

    Let's be honest, the likes of Oracle don't "support" a FOSS venture/service for the reasons drivelled by their marketurds and PR lobotomonkeys: they do it because they perceive an advantage either to suppress a cheaper rival, or to entrap its users, or both.

    Jobs wasn't in pursuit of excellence when frothing about Android, he was driven by ego and greed: if he could have spent a billion to buy it and kill it, he clearly would have done so. Likewise Microsoft and Linux. Likewise Oracle and MySQL. This is not about noble motives and providing choice for the consumer: those are just words for the gullible. This is about greed and, wherever possible—as Oracle demonstrates so transparently with its notorious sales and marketing practices—wringing the customer till the pips squeak.

    Considering the forces ranged against them, I am heartened by the enormous success and uptake of MySQL/MariaDB, Linux and LibreOffice.

    In short, AOO is not only redundant at this point, it has lagged far behind its much superior fork and, with Oracle's sweaty paw on the helm—who'd want to touch it anyway?

    And I agree: the practice of taking a vast base of FOSS code, tacking on a few trivial additions and then selling it is odious, naked greed; but it succeeds only because fools and their money are exceptionally easily separated. I note that Paint.net (an excellent but sadly Windows-only picture editor, with a nicer UI than Gimp) remains free but has closed its source because of endless rip-offs. Can't disagree with the reasoning, I'm afraid. A sizeable minority of the human race appear to be, well ... lice.

    1. _SMB_

      Re: Who could possibly care less?

      Rick did/does an incredible job with Paint.NET, it has to be one of my favorite pieces of windows software along with Notepad++. Rick's ListXP was also awesome. I wonder what he is up to in the background.

  14. DrXym Silver badge

    The only thing going for OpenOffice...

    ... is its name. LibreOffice is not a good name. It was still a good thing when it was forked though. Sun/Oracle were terrible stewards and pure frustration forced the hand of external devs who wanted to land substantial improvements but couldn't.

    Even so, I think LibreOffice is losing its way somewhat too. It should be focussing far more on usability, task-centric design and forgiveness than it does. A trivial example - type "* Hello", or "1. Hello", into Powerpoint and it automatically becomes a bulleted / numbered list. In Impress you have to manually fiddle with paragraph settings make this happen. Annoyances like this are all over the place - it's death by a thousand cuts.

    1. John Sager

      Re: The only thing going for OpenOffice...

      A trivial example - type "* Hello", or "1. Hello", into Powerpoint and it automatically becomes a bulleted / numbered list

      I take your point, but if you really wanted '* Hello' or '1. Hello' in an ordinary paragraph, how do you tell Powerpoint "no, I don't effin' want that"? MS stuff is very insistent on interpreting what it thinks you want but it often seems hard to avoid that. It's not too hard in LibreOffice to select bulleted or numbered paras if that's what you want.

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Re: The only thing going for OpenOffice...

        You turn it off from the File | Options > Autocorrect settings. I expect the majority of people want the default behaviour. LibreOffice has autocorrect too, but not for that.

        While Powerpoint has its own annoyances, Impress is just replete with lots of little things like this - lack of snap alignment, lack of positive feedback when dragging and dropping connectors, flickery UI, a profusion of buttons all over the toolbar and right hand side (e.g. the toolbar has thirteen(!) toolbar buttons for shapes and lines to do what the Shapes drop down does in one on Powerpoint). It just goes on.

        That doesn't mean it is unusable but it feels janky, complicated and visually noisy compared to PowerPoint. And usually for no reason. Same too for the other apps in the suite.

        I think the first and foremost goal for LibreOffice 7.x / 8.x should be usability, trying to remove all this "sand" and making a product which is slick and usable.

      2. midcapwarrior

        Re: The only thing going for OpenOffice...

        "I take your point, but if you really wanted '* Hello' or '1. Hello' in an ordinary paragraph, how do you tell Powerpoint "no, I don't effin' want that"? "

        If you are in to putting paragraphs into your PowerPoint presentations you've pretty much missed the point.

        1. tiggity Silver badge

          Re: The only thing going for OpenOffice...

          "If you are in to putting paragraphs into your PowerPoint presentations you've pretty much missed the point."

          .. though if you are doing anything with PowerPoint presentations you have probably missed the point of life!

    2. Adair

      Re: The only thing going for OpenOffice...

      It's only an annoyance if what you have come to expect (from PP, or whatever) isn't what happens when you use Foo. But then Foo isn't PP (or whatever), and if it does what you want in it's own way perfectly adequately then that is really a problem for you, not Foo.

      Adaptation is the key to survival in the real world -- adapt or die.

      Can I do what I need to do using Foo - Yes/No?

      Can I learn to do what I need to do using Foo - Yes/No?

      Am I willing to change in order to do what I need to do using Foo - Yes/No?

      Is it worth my time and/or money changing in order to use Foo to do what I need to do - Yes/No?

  15. katrinab Silver badge

    Do the numbers include distro downloads?

    I mostly use FreeBSD, and both office suites are available in the ports collection, so I would install it from there. However, from what I can gather, Linux distros generally only offer LibreOffice in their distro repositories, so people would install LibreOffice from there, and go to the website if they want OpenOffice.

  16. keithpeter
    Coat

    Zen

    "Time to market does not receive as much priority as quality, and we follow a sort of open source 'Zen.'"

    Is Open Source Zen the kind of thing where I'll get walloped around the head with a stick by a geezer in orange robes who will then say "That's the Buddha!"?

    I still use oOo under Slackware (converted from the RPMs on the Apache OpenOffice Web site). It is stable (both in the sense of not crashing and in then sense of not changing much) and runs reasonably fast and I know where the bugs are. I also have libreoffice installed and like to keep up with the new features.

  17. Dabbb Bronze badge

    Statically linked builds ?

    Is there statically linked either OO or LO build that does not require users update to whatever obscure Linux distro and glibc version developers prefer this week in order to even install the thing ?

    You know, the one that JUST EFFIN WORKS EVERYWHERE !

    1. keithpeter

      @Dabbb: the binary oOo download from Apache Open Office seems to have its own copies of some libraries and seems to install on linuxes of various ages (Slackware 14.0 onwards to current in my case over the last few years).

      1. Dabbb Bronze badge

        Sorry, but after forced upgrade of RHEL5 to 6 (process also also known as wipe clean and start from scratch) few years ago just to be able to run LibreOffice built against some latest and greatest library I don't believe that.

        Oh, and apparently to run browsers that are not Firefox I now need upgrade (see above about process) to RHEL7. No, thanks, but no.

        1. John Sager

          Well, if you want to use old distros the penalty is often to have to use old app versions as well. Same thing happens with XP and Win7.

          1. Lee D Silver badge

            RHEL is always behind the times.

            RHEL 6 is based on Fedora 12 from 2010.

            If RHEL don't support it - then they don't support it and you're on your own.

            Fact is, they support older versions only.

            Blame RHEL, not OO (and I'm no fan of OO!), and take that blame and use it to influence your decision next time you use / pay for a distro (i.e. go to ANY of the other distros that supports the full version of modern OO if that's what you want...)

            1. Dabbb Bronze badge

              "Blame RHEL, not OO (and I'm no fan of OO!), and take that blame and use it to influence your decision next time you use / pay for a distro "

              That is THE attitude that drives me mad about OpenSource projects. It's your fault you're using old distro, you need upgrade. Well, I can't. Software that is critical for my job does not run on distro you want me to use.

              Besides that, somehow Windows builds of both LO and OO work on Windows 10, Windows 7 and even 20 years old Windows XP. What is your excuse now ?

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "Sorry, but after forced upgrade of RHEL5 to 6 (process also also known as wipe clean and start from scratch) few years ago just to be able to run LibreOffice built against some latest and greatest library I don't believe that."

          After trying one of the Red Hat derivatives some time ago and having had similar problems compiling something I Googled around and came across a forum post where someone was asking about a similar problem. They were in effect told they shouldn't be compiling, their own stuff, they should just use the distro's version. I felt that someone was missing the point and I didn't think it was me. I left the land of Red Hat and haven't returned.

          OTOH I suspect that often configs are apt to specify recent if not bleeding edge versions of packages as the minimum simply because that's what the dev has on their own machine rather than specifying the oldest version that provides the functionality, or at least the oldest version anyone's likely to have. That suspicion is confirmed when one then finds a binary download of the same version which runs quite happily in the environment which failed to compile it.

  18. WallMeerkat Bronze badge
    Devil

    Team Lotus

    One of the few fond things I got when my old employer was borg'd by the big blue, was replacing MS Office with Lotus Symphony.

    I actually quite liked the tabbed layout. It was the difference that browsers have these days vs opening a window per active document / site. That you could flick tabs between .docs, spreadsheets, into presentations etc. within the same window I thought was a really nice feature. Something I was hoping that big blue was going to bring to AOO when it axed Symphony, but last I tried it it was still application-window-per-document centric.

    1. Spazturtle Silver badge

      Re: Team Lotus

      Windows is bring this feature to all apps with their new 'Sets' feature: https://i.imgur.com/WppA6Bh.jpg

      1. caffeine addict Silver badge

        Re: Team Lotus

        Okay, tabs within Excel I can understand, but is that really tabs across the entire Office Suite?

  19. elgarak1

    "OpenOffice.app cannot be opened because it comes from an unidentified developer."

    That's what my Mac says, or something to that effect. Yes, one can still open it. It's a simple thing to go into the security preferences and enter an admin password. That's not the point. The point is: There are many reasons why a developer [or enterprise releasing a software product] is not identified with Apple. For many small companies and freelance developers, it's a simple matter of economics – it costs money to be an identified developer.

    But Apache? Why cannot APACHE be bothered to be one? I'm sure Apache IS an identified developer, but they cannot be bothered to add this to what could be a flagship product, or at least an open source PR prestige project? It sure looks they do not care about it. Why should we?

    ETA: It looks horrible. It has basic display errors in the UI. I cannot imagine anyone actually using that thing. It looks and feels abandoned before the Alpha stage. LibreOffice:Mac is buggy and quirky in its UI, but it feels like a cared for and finished product (though it still needs a lot of polish).

    1. elgarak1

      Oh, and before someone asks: NeoOffice has put some spit and polish on the UI to make it look more like a Mac app, but its behind-the-scenes behavior, philosophy and quirks are the same as LibreOffice:Mac. It looks nicer, but my impression was and still is that it's not worth the $30 compared to LibreOffice, if you can accept a bit of non-Mac optics.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        but my impression was and still is that it's not worth the $30 compared to LibreOffice, if you can accept a bit of non-Mac optics.

        It depends on your needs. Just making LO's looks Mac compatible would indeed not have swayed me, but NeoOffice offers me a version that gives me access to all the wonderful time saving features of MacOS, one of the reasons I use it in preference over MacOS. That delta is not just big enough for me to pay the small fee, I actively renew every year because I think they've done a good enough job worth supporting, and we're looking at making it a default part of Mac builds.

        A simple example is updates: updating NeoOffice is a one-step, click-and-go automated process that takes very little time. Updating LibreOffice means updating the core, then run a language pack, and then manually going into settings to reset the language to what it ought to be. That's a swine to automate, not really a good thing in a corporate environment..

        I was actually amazed when I checked just how long I have been using it: if I recall correctly, the first time I used that code it was called Star Office, for OS/2..

  20. Androgynous Cow Herd

    what a bunch

    of hippy-dippy nonsense.

  21. IanMoore33

    AOO is only interesting because it free

    It is not 100% compatible with Word .. some basic functions simply don't work .. but it's free and beats the hell out of paying MS anything.

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