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tech291083
18th February 2013, 03:16 PM
Hi Friends,

I love Linux and other open source software. I use Linux for a variety of day to day tasks namely surfing the net, burning CD/DVDs, listening to music and watching videos etc. But despite trying my hand at OpenOffice, I have failed to grasp it. It is entirely my fault and I do not deny it. But looking at the open-source movement that is getting stronger by the day as more and more companies adopt open source tools, i believe that one day OpenOffice/Libre Office will also become the desktop user's favourite package. How is OpenOffice doing in terms of popularity compared to Linux in general? I would love to hear from experts here. Thanks a lot.

bob
18th February 2013, 03:39 PM
Okay, skip the 'expert' stuff and I'll take a stab at this:

MS Office has been the Gold Standard office suite forever now and is used in almost all businesses of any size. It's bundled in '30-day-free' software with any new computer and actually is a heckuva good piece of work.

LibreOffice is the closest to MS Office in features and function, yet it's not a perfect match and, in business, that can be a deal-breaker. You're running a multi-million dollar business, yet are having glitches over $400 software? For shame!

So, for myself and what I do, LibreOffice is excellent and handles anything I throw at it, but I have no connection to Big Business anymore.

Keep in mind that LibreOffice is Open Source and free-to-own, which is good for us, but requires selfless dedication by the devs. Kinda tough to say that it will ever overtake MS Office with that model.

MALsPa
18th February 2013, 03:39 PM
How is OpenOffice doing in terms of popularity compared to Linux in general?

My guess is that OpenOffice/LibreOffice is a lot more popular than desktop Linux, especially since you can use it in Windows and OS-X. I was regularly using OpenOffice in Windows back before I even knew about Linux.


But despite trying my hand at OpenOffice, I have failed to grasp it.

What part of it don't you grasp?

Dan
18th February 2013, 03:49 PM
Two points.

OO.o and LO.o track downloads. Some info may be gleaned from there. Add to that the basic stats on Linux usage and you'll get a better starting point.

Purely by conjecture I'd say that the very fact that Microsoft® is considering porting it's office suite into the linux platform is about as reliable an indicator as any that OOo and LOo have eaten enough inroads into their market share to get their attention. Otherwise, why bother?

Consider also that Microsoft® has recently begun to feel the sting of entire governments and countries shifting to Open source operating systems and office suites. (EU, AU, and many US Gov. agencies and departments -- although, Gnome 3's inherent security issues are quickly putting an end to that in the US.) Bottom line is, if it weren't necessary to do so, why in the world would something the size of the Behemoth From Redmond® dump anything more than chump change into anything related to open source or linux?

bob
18th February 2013, 04:01 PM
OTOH, wouldn't that be the reason for MS to waste the energy? As you say, there are major countries who have adopted Open Source OS's, giving MS a reasonable market to sell compatible software to. There had to be some grumbling about OO.o and LO.o issues to get them involved.

joncr
18th February 2013, 04:16 PM
I'm kinda dubious about the current assertion that MS is considering releasing Office for Linux. I wouldn't be surprised, though, that they've had it running on Linux for some time now, much as Apple had OS X running on Intel long before they made the platform switch.

If an MS manager can make the case that there's money to be made selling Office to *institutional* Linux users, I'd guess we might see it. I don't see them giving it away gratis, since Office is the reason for so many Windows purchases.

bob
18th February 2013, 04:31 PM
Considering that Phoronix started the rumor, I'll believe this: http://www.zdnet.com/microsoft-office-is-not-coming-to-linux-7000011151/

And here's a wonderful 'story' from a person who's about as informed as I am: http://www.linux.com/news/software/applications/699387-the-state-of-open-source-office-software/ (In short, don't bother reading unless you're really, really bored).

Edit: But, LibreOffice 4.0's got a friend in this article: http://www.zdnet.com/libreoffice-4-a-new-better-open-source-office-suite-7000011016/

joncr
18th February 2013, 05:32 PM
I've never understood why so many people obsess on getting Windows users to use Open/Libre/Whatever-Office.

Why would someone who is satisfied with Office on Windows have an incentive to go through the hassle of moving to an Office clone on another platform?

Meanwhile, if they aren't satisfied with Office on Windows, why would they jump ship to something that labors to be identical to Office?

The way to attract satisfied Windows users to Linux is to offer them capabilities that don't exist on Windows, not to mimic Windows.

MALsPa
18th February 2013, 05:40 PM
I don't know about anyone else, but I liked using OpenOffice instead of MS Office because the former was available for free. That was enough incentive for me.

smr54
18th February 2013, 05:41 PM
@joncr, Not necessarily. Cost is a factor, so something that was close to Office, but is free, would certainly have its benefits. Many offices may not need exact compatibility. They may need a certain group of workers to be able to read .doc and .docx, but not necessarily send such to customers.

Especially with the new pricing schemes, where, according to the headlines, you might be unable to uninstall Office 2013 and move it to a new machine--no one, save click seeking bloggers, seems 100 percent sure of that though--it might be an attractive alternative, its similarity to MS Office being a plus.

The new pricing may make formerly satisfied Windows users unhappy, so offering a similar product, (as opposed to one that may require relearning) seems to have possibility.

joncr
18th February 2013, 05:51 PM
I don't have any numbers, but I wonder how important personal Office sales are to MS. It's often preinstalled along with Windows on the hardware individuals buy. I honestly don't think the price of Office is much of an issue one way or the other for corporate buyers. They balance that against the perceived risk and cost of not using MS Office. (Plus, they're probably already contracted to pay for Windows support. ) That leaves small businesses and small institutional users.

If there was a sudden mass movement in the Windows world to jump ship to Open/Libre, that would create an incentive to follow along, in order to stay compatible.

Ihatewindows
18th February 2013, 07:01 PM
Okay, skip the 'expert' stuff and I'll take a stab at this:

MS Office has been the Gold Standard office suite forever now and is used in almost all businesses of any size. It's bundled in '30-day-free' software with any new computer and actually is a heckuva good piece of work.

I think very few of us here are experts. :p

If you want Office for an extended period of time, just install XP in a VM with everything you want on it, and burn it to a DVD. Works for me, and I get a free copy of Office out of the 30 day trial. Never have to activate, either. Woot! :D

I think LibreOffice is more popular on newer Linux distros. Since Apache bought OO.o, I think not many people are downloading it anymore. :( They're also competing with $5 clones of Office (that run great in Wine, may I add), Zoho, and Google Docs.

BBQdave
18th February 2013, 07:26 PM
Why would someone who is satisfied with Office on Windows have an incentive to go through the hassle of moving to an Office clone on another platform?

Let me be blunt... because Windoze 7 crashes and sucks. You are right, Windows Office is the 800 pound gorilla that nobody can touch - it is so ingrained in the business and education world, it is considered the standard. People are happy with Windows Office, it is familiar and productive. What people are not happy with... crashing systems, lost work, waiting on IT to re-install Windoze so you can continue working.

I have not met anyone who dislikes Windows Office, but I encounter plenty of folk ready to ditch Windoze - even if it means losing Windows Office. People are so frustrated - "Is LibreOffice close, how does it work?"

Dan
18th February 2013, 09:21 PM
It's a cryin' shame Oracle killed off StarOffice. <..http://forums.fedoraforum.org//forum/images/icons/icon6.gif..>

ocratato
18th February 2013, 11:58 PM
Is LibreOffice close, how does it work?[/I]"

Well I will say that no one I know likes Office. It's OK for small documents, but trying to produce a large document with lots of diagrams and Word tends to crash badly. I had one document where a diagram suddenly moved four pages away, into the footer, just because I made some minor adjustment to it. We had a fairly complex system of backups because when it tried to recover from a crash it would lose most of the content, or garble it beyond usefulness.

I find that recent versions of LibreOffice are quite nice to use. Now that issues with SVG have been resolved, large documents with many diagrams are easy to create a smooth to use.

BBQdave
19th February 2013, 03:16 AM
I find that recent versions of LibreOffice are quite nice to use.

+1

And yes, I am grateful that I have not been forced to work on a Windoze machine, in the past or current job scene. The closet I got to a fizzy drooling M$ machine, was a job that required weekly and quarterly reports. They wanted me to sit down at this smoking flickering crash ridden Windoze node, and enter my data. I had witnessed far too many work mates sit there for a couple of hours, typing away - "oh no" system crash, and "where's my back up, my back up report that was on the server?" One work mate, literally cried and was sobbing at the loss of hours of work. Yeah, no thanks MicroSuck. I did my work on my Linux notebook, saved the data to a usb stick. Plugged the usb stick into the pile of steaming crap M$ machine - you had roughly 8 minutes before the possibility of a crash - not always, but the chance of a crash and data loss. I could transfer my data in around 3 minutes, so I was lucky - never got burned by the flaming crashing MicroSuck machine :D

So yeah, when I say ingrained - it is amazing to see people sit there time and again, and waste time and productivity on Windoze... but that is what they have at work, it's what I have to use... I'll pass on Windoze :rolleyes:

Demz3
19th February 2013, 03:19 AM
whats so better about Apache OpenOffice than LibreOffice though? that i dont understand

Dan
19th February 2013, 04:05 AM
Uhm ... nothing that I can see.

But If I had my way, I'd still be using StarOffice 9~10~11~etc..

Demz3
19th February 2013, 04:11 AM
Uhm ... nothing that I can see.

But If I had my way, I'd still be using StarOffice 9.

i havent heard of anything that OpenOffice being better than Libreoffice.

ocratato
19th February 2013, 04:38 AM
+1

And yes, I am grateful that I have not been forced to work on a Windoze machine, in the past or current job scene. The closet I got to a fizzy drooling M$ machine, was a job that required weekly and quarterly reports. They wanted me to sit down at this smoking flickering crash ridden Windoze node, and enter my data. I had witnessed far too many work mates sit there for a couple of hours, typing away - "oh no" system crash, and "where's my back up, my back up report that was on the server?" One work mate, literally cried and was sobbing at the loss of hours of work. Yeah, no thanks MicroSuck. I did my work on my Linux notebook, saved the data to a usb stick. Plugged the usb stick into the pile of steaming crap M$ machine - you had roughly 8 minutes before the possibility of a crash - not always, but the chance of a crash and data loss. I could transfer my data in around 3 minutes, so I was lucky - never got burned by the flaming crashing MicroSuck machine :D

So yeah, when I say ingrained - it is amazing to see people sit there time and again, and waste time and productivity on Windoze... but that is what they have at work, it's what I have to use... I'll pass on Windoze :rolleyes:

I know what you mean. I managed to have an entire IT career, from '85 to '10 without writing any Windows software. I consider myself to be extremely lucky to have been able to develop for Unix and Linux in this highly MS oriented city. Of course we still had to use Windows machines for various admin tasks, and that always seemed to be a step backwards.

flyingfsck
19th February 2013, 06:16 AM
MS Office (as with anything MS) is very popular in North America. However, the international language support of MS Office is actually quite poor - many languages have no support whatsoever in MS Office. Consequently, OOo is very popular elsewhere and since the rest of the world is much larger than North America, it is doing spectacularly well actually. Also IBM installs OOo as their default word processor in the financial industry, so it has a big foothold in the banks and related industries too. In addition, people in Europe are used to documents screwing up due to font and language issues and are not so ridiculously fussy about layout as in North America.

tech291083
19th February 2013, 06:24 AM
I know what you mean. I managed to have an entire IT career, from '85 to '10 without writing any Windows software. I consider myself to be extremely lucky to have been able to develop for Unix and Linux in this highly MS oriented city.

This is really very interesting to me. I hardly know anybody who has spent a major part or entire career on open source stuff ie Linux, Unix etc. Thanks.

ocratato
19th February 2013, 06:29 AM
This is really very interesting to me. I hardly know anybody who has spent a major part or entire career on open source stuff ie Linux, Unix etc. Thanks.

Sadly, none of it was open source. :( Mostly it was development on various UNIX platforms for big government projects.

flyingfsck
19th February 2013, 10:12 AM
I've been doing only Linux stuff since about 2002. All government/military. There are some Windowsy things, but it is usually just a little annoyance confined to a VM to do some special software that only works on Windows.

Flounder
19th February 2013, 01:59 PM
It sounds like LibreOffice and OpenOffice just need more marketing among businesses in the United States. Based on what others have been saying here overseas has more use of it than the states. I would love to see a list of specific features people say are lacking with Calc and Writer compared to the Microsoft equivalent. I keep hearing people mention there are things lacking without mentioning what those things are.

DBelton
19th February 2013, 04:42 PM
I've been doing only Linux stuff since about 2002. All government/military. There are some Windowsy things, but it is usually just a little annoyance confined to a VM to do some special software that only works on Windows.

Same here.

In my long IT experience (Let me just say that I remember when there wasn't a Unix :D ) I have never written a Windows applications, either. But then again, my experience has been pretty much all government/military as well. Currently, Windows applications are one thing that have no place whatsoever where I work since Windows itself is pretty much banned. Everything is either on a mainframe system or its running linux (or both)

flyingfsck
19th February 2013, 05:28 PM
The military usually provided us with a certified Windows VM to run on Linux. This made it easy all round. We did not have to waste our time with configuring a Windows system and they did not have to waste their time pentesting it. Also, if anything went haywire with Windows, they could just upload a fresh VM and did not need to waste their time fixing it.

DBelton
19th February 2013, 07:22 PM
Plus, that way, they could apply the patches Microsoft supplied to secure Windows without everyone knowing that the versions Microsoft sells could be patched but aren't. And yes, it does work this way.

But to return to the topic, That means pretty much all of our documentation, etc.. is done on either in house written applications, or we use linux applications for it. It was OpenOffice, but now we use LibreOffice.

Ihatewindows
19th February 2013, 11:47 PM
whats so better about Apache OpenOffice than LibreOffice though? that i dont understand

Nothing, really. I think LibreOffice is better the OO.o. Lots of things are made easier. ;)

DBelton
20th February 2013, 04:31 AM
LibreOffice is really a fork of OpenOffice, and has been developed since the fork. OpenOffice has just pretty much stagnated.

So, The big difference is, LibreOffice has kept up with the bug fixes and adding features, OpenOffice hasn't.

ocratato
20th February 2013, 05:46 AM
From the LibreOffice web site:


In less than 30 months, LibreOffice has grown dramatically to become the largest independent free software project focused on end user desktop productivity. TDF inclusive governance and the copyleft license have been instrumental in attracting more than 500 developers – three quarters of them being independent volunteers – capable of contributing over 50,000 commits.

The resulting code base is rather different from the original one, as several million lines of code have been added and removed, by adding new features, solving bugs and regressions, adopting state of the art C++ constructs, replacing tools, getting rid of deprecated methods and obsoleted libraries, and translating twenty five thousand lines of comments from German to English. All of this makes the code easier to understand and more rewarding to be involved with for the stream of new members of our community.

The main danger I see is that they might try to integrate related stuff into LO rather than develop well defined interfaces to existing products.

marvin_ita
20th February 2013, 05:04 PM
My opinion is that there are three main reasons for OO/LO will not become very popular:
1. PCs have a free trial version of Office preinstalled by the vendor
2. When the trial period ends, the average people is too lazy to adapt to an open source alternative (different icons, different buttons...)
3. After that, the average people call a friend/neighbour that installs a "free" full version of MS office.... :-(

Maybe without piracy more people would prefer to use the brain and not to spend money for an office suite, but with the possibility to download a free copy of ms office they don't.

Dmeadows
20th February 2013, 05:51 PM
My opinion is that there are three main reasons for OO/LO will not become very popular:
1. PCs have a free trial version of Office preinstalled by the vendor
2. When the trial period ends, the average people is too lazy to adapt to an open source alternative (different icons, different buttons...)
3. After that, the average people call a friend/neighbour that installs a "free" full version of MS office.... :-(

Maybe without piracy more people would prefer to use the brain and not to spend money for an office suite, but with the possibility to download a free copy of ms office they don't.

Or maybe...
1. The average MS office user has no idea OO/LO exist!
2. Free software generates little revenue to advertise to let them know it exists!
3. They have need to process .docx files and such which LO is hit miss on at best!

I process bulletin announcements every week that I receive in .docx format, into Powerpoint presentations. I would love to be able to handle them in F18/LO. However I can't read them in LO 3.5.x(in F17) at all, 3.6.x is not to bad(but not 100%), and as far as I can tell 4.0 is back to not working. So for this project, once a week I reboot into windows7, so that I can do this in MS office.

By the way, I have never had Win7 crash, tho it is running stand alone and not from a server!

That said, I do use F18 for most of my computing, but there are still several things I cannot do, or at least do efficiently in Linux. I like Linux, but it is not a religion for me! I don't think it's the OS, that keeps people on windows, it is the lack of several needed applications and/or lack of compatibility of the available apps that prevent wider adoption of Linux/OO/LO even though they are free. Why is it, people would rather pirate MS products than use free ones?

Also as you mentioned, many people are going to use whatever came on the computer when purchased. They won't even upgrade to a new version of Windows unless they buy a new machine.

droidhacker
17th April 2013, 03:29 PM
One of the things that has always been frustrating with closed source software and document formats, is what happens later on, when the software vendor stops supporting that software and/or document format? This basically happens with every single closed source document processor....

Multimate... good luck even finding anyone who has even heard of it.
Wordperfect... talking the old dos versions that people actually used. People have heard of it, but nothing can open the old documents.
Lotus Amipro... one of the earliest/best GUI word processors. Same as above, old documents can no longer be opened with anything.
Lotus Wordpro... again... dead.

Maybe msword at this point, but then you have to consider the aged file formats that are no longer supported. "doc" is being phased out in favor of "docx". But what happens when they stop including an import filter for "doc", same problem as before.

Open source software, like openoffice/libreoffice offers the advantage of proper documentation and actual long term support for those older document formats. I don't expect, in the foreseeable future (and I do mean long term forseeable, like 2+ decades) that there will be a time when current odt documents won't be usable in the newer versions of these programs that will exist later on.

In my opinion, it is absolutely TERRIBLE planning to restrict yourself to proprietary binary-only software when there is an open source option that does the same thing.