Open Office (1 Viewer)

mikhail

Senior Member
Jan 24, 2003
9,575
#1
What is it?
Open office is a free office suite, like Microsoft Office. It's got an equivalent to MS Word, Excell, Powerpoint, and Frontpage, plus more stuff I haven't even looked at yet.

Where can I get it?
www.openoffice.org

Is it any good?
I think so. It not supposed to be quite as good as MS Office, but I use computers a lot, and I haven't noticed any trouble switching over.

It uses a bit less computer power (the specs are here for anyone interested), and it costs nothing.

Why are you championing it?
Because Martin's busy with promoting Mozilla!

Seriously, I found Open Office by clicking on a banner on this site. I asked about it, and eventually decided to try it out for myself. I've got it installed on my pc and when I bought a laptop recently I didn't even bother installing MS Office.

The thing about Microsoft's stuff is that they keep their file types private. Only they know exactly how to write a Word file, or read and Excell file. If you get sent an MS Office file, you have to have a copy of MS Office to open it. That helps keep MS Office as the de facto standard, and keeps the Microsoft monopoly going. Why would we prop up a monopoly when there's another, equally good way?

Open Office imitates Microsoft's file types. It handles them pretty well too, though not perfectly. While OO can read and write Microsoft's file types, it can also write pdf files, and it has its own file-types too, which I've found to be very compact - my text files are about half the size in OO.

What can't it do?
Macros. Yeah, I don't really know what they are either, so I don't care. If you were an accountant, switching over might be a pain, but as a student engineer, it's been a breeze for me, and I can't see many of you having a problem either.

How hard is it to use?
It's not. Installation is easy - just run the setup and it does everything for you. It's struck me as no harder to get used to than a new version of Word will be when Microsoft bring one out, forcing everyone to upgrade.

Why do you hate Word attachments?
Microsoft has been steadily changing the .doc format over the releases of Microsoft Word (4.0, 95, 97, 2000, and now XP). Microsoft has also intentionally refused to release the specification of the .doc format to the community, making Microsoft Word the only application that can reliably open this format. There is the Microsoft Word Viewer application, but it only runs on Microsoft Windows operating systems and does not allow one to edit the document.
Read this:
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/no-word-attachments.html
 

Martin

Senior Member
Dec 31, 2000
56,862
#2
You know I never pushed for OO because imo it's just not as good yet. I mean Mozilla totally kicks MS' ass, no question about it. And in the past couple of years, they have gained about 2% market share on the browser side so you can see people are starting to take notice.

But OO's position isn't as strong yet. It's probably already the most used office suite on *nix and a lot of Windows based networks are switching their people to OO. However, while OO isn't necessarily any worse than MS Office, it's not convincingly better either. And there is a lot of aggravation with the document formats.

Personally I have little experience with either, because I rarely write anything formal. But lately I wrote a howto at work using OO and I was quite pleased with how consistent and logical it is. Those with MS Office experience will know how often Word does things you never ask it to and how hard it is to do the simplest things sometimes. With OO, your options may be a bit more limited in some areas but it works better at doing what it's supposed to be doing.

But you know where the action really is.. Latex! As an engineer I'm sure you've heard of it, John, it was designed in the 70/80s and it's still de facto standard today for many publications, that's how good it is. I'm new to it myself so I can't tell how well it works.
 
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mikhail

mikhail

Senior Member
Jan 24, 2003
9,575
#3
++ [ originally posted by Martin ] ++
Those with MS Office experience will know how often Word does things you never ask it to and how hard it is to do the simplest things sometimes. With OO, your options may be a bit more limited in some areas but it works better at doing what it's supposed to be doing.
That's exactly what sold me - MS isn't optimised for the stuff I do all the time. They're too intent on the business market.

But you know where the action really is.. Latex! As an engineer I'm sure you've heard of it, John, it was designed in the 70/80s and it's still de facto standard today for many publications, that's how good it is. I'm new to it myself so I can't tell how well it works.
Action? I'm beginning to think you should really get that room. :p

I've heard of LaTeX, yes, but I've never looked into it. I assumed it was a Linux-based program.
 

gray

Senior Member
Moderator
Apr 22, 2003
30,133
#4
I installed OpenOffice, but I had a lot of problems with my family members using my computer and having a whine about it. It has some problems displaying/saving Korean fonts, so I ended up having to d/l MS Office Pro 2003 :rolleyes: One of the highlights of my time with OO was my mother asking if she could type Korean fonts on my computer, and when I replied yes, my computer illiterate brother replied "No you can't, you haven't even installed Microsoft" :wallbang:
 

Martin

Senior Member
Dec 31, 2000
56,862
#6
++ [ originally posted by mikhail ] ++
I've heard of LaTeX, yes, but I've never looked into it. I assumed it was a Linux-based program.
Obviously it wasn't designed for Windows as Windows didn't exist at the time. It was also not designed for Dos. However, it does work on a number of platforms, including Windows.

Don, you're embarassing yourself. Really. Microsoft isn't dominating because they have superior products, they dominate because they have the upper hand in the OS market. They use that position to gain an advantage in other markets (browsers, media players, instant messaging), which is illegal btw.
 
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mikhail

mikhail

Senior Member
Jan 24, 2003
9,575
#7
++ [ originally posted by Martin ] ++
Obviously it wasn't designed for Windows as Windows didn't exist at the time. It was also not designed for Dos. However, it does work on a number of platforms, including Windows.

Don, you're embarassing yourself. Really. Microsoft isn't dominating because they have superior products, they dominate because they have the upper hand in the OS market. They use that position to gain an advantage in other markets (browsers, media players, instant messaging), which is illegal btw.
Incidentally, that's why internet explorer is being integrated into their OS - no one can force them to sell a product that doesn't come with it if it is their product!

Back to OO - Don, do you need Korean fonts? And if not, why would a small problem with them stop you using OO? Problems like the one Graham describes will be removed over time, but the project needs to grow if they're to have the man-power to do it.

Graham, did you report the problem to them? It helps!
 

Martin

Senior Member
Dec 31, 2000
56,862
#8
One thing that bugs me about OO is that while they have a ton of spellcheckers available, it's anything but obvious how to do it. I found it out myself the other day, I can show you how.

It's a long winded process, so in a while the path is probably wrong but for now, get the installer here and follow the instructions:
http://ooodocs.sourceforge.net/dictinstall/
 

Martin

Senior Member
Dec 31, 2000
56,862
#10
To find it!!! Look on OO's frontpage and tell me how many clicks it takes you to find that page. That's if you can guess where to look for it in the first place.
 
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mikhail

mikhail

Senior Member
Jan 24, 2003
9,575
#11
No, I meant in the program. There's a spell-checker in it already. You just click on the 'abc' button in the left-hand margin.
 

Martin

Senior Member
Dec 31, 2000
56,862
#12
Yeah but by default you only have the English one. For a project that prides itself in being international, it should be a breeze to install the other ones.
 
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mikhail

mikhail

Senior Member
Jan 24, 2003
9,575
#16
by Bruce Byfield

Now, I can admit it: I avoided StarOffice, the program that OpenOffice.org is based on, for over seven years. I first heard of StarOffice when the OS/2 version was released in 1995, and I dismissed it as a Microsoft Word clone. My opinion didn't change when I started using Linux and found StarOffice on that platform, nor after Sun Microsystems bought StarOffice in 1999 and made a free download available. Even when Sun announced an open source version of StarOffice in the summer of 2000 and called it OpenOffice.org, I was cynical about the hype--especially when it had no printing function for the first eight months.

Still, when OpenOffice.org (www.openoffice.org) reached version 1.0 in May 2002, I did my journalistic duty and had a look. It wasn't what I expected. At times, the duplication of MS Word in OpenOffice.org seemed to extend to the faults, but the first impression is misleading. While MS Word users can be comfortable in OpenOffice.org within minutes, OpenOffice.org's interface is by far the tidier. More importantly, OpenOffice.org not only matches MS Word almost feature for feature, but often exceeds it, and provides working versions of features that have been broken or overdue for overhaul in MS Word for several releases. Its implementation of styles is more convenient, and extends to more than paragraphs or characters. It exchanges files with MS Word better than most word processors, and, with the current version 1.0.3, seems largely immune to crashes.

Aside from a few minor disappointments, I liked what I saw. I quickly became convinced that OpenOffice.org's Writer (OOo Writer) is a practical alternative to MS Word. Thirteen months of use has only cemented that impression. Four minor releases have been made since I started using OpenOffice.org, and, with each one, the program has become quicker and more stable.

This article examines the following:


Reasons for considering OOo Writer as an alternative to MS Word
OOo Writer's interface
OOo Writer's improvements over MS Word
OOo Writer's styles and formatting capabilities
OOo Writer's import and export filtering capabilities
The stability and future of OpenOffice.org

This article also features an extensive reference document: A Comparison of MS Word 2000 and OpenOffice.org1.03, in PDF format, 32Kb.


Thinking About Moving On
Why consider OpenOffice.org at all? Ignoring the functionality and features for a moment, there are several practical reasons:


OpenOffice.org is available in over twenty-four languages, and projects for additional languages are announced regularly. In addition, the program runs on the Windows, Linux, and Solaris operating systems. The Mac OS X version now has working pre-releases. This interoperability is far beyond that of most alternatives to MS Word.
OpenOffice.org is released under the Lesser GNU General Public License. As open source software, it's free for the download from www.openoffice.org.
Because OpenOffice.org is open source, you can legally install it on as many computers as you want. You can also reinstall it without contacting the project first. Neither is possible with MS Office.
Because OpenOffice.org is open source, upgrades are also free. You can wait for official releases or upgrade to development releases as they become available, whichever you prefer. You can also choose between the latest official release and a developer's build, which may be less stable, but has the latest features that are being developed.
Free support is available on the mailing lists. This support is as detailed and as accurate as any you can get from paid technical support. As often as not, you may be answered by a person who helped to write the code for the feature you're asking about.
You or your company can join the OpenOffice.org project and influence the direction of future development.
If your company needs a feature that isn't there, your company can sponsor development of the feature. The only restriction is that the finished feature will be available to everyone.
If your company prefers a traditional relation with a software developer, your company can purchase StarOffice from Sun Microsystems for $75.95 for a single copy, or $50 per copy for 150. StarOffice is an enhanced version of OpenOffice.org, with additional translation filters, fonts and clipart, a manual, and a database (see www.sun.com/software/staroffice/6.0/index.html).

These reasons are obviously compelling to a great many. In the first month after OpenOffice.org was released, the project reported nearly a million downloads. Nobody knows exactly how many copies are circulating now, but a conservative estimate would be that there are at least ten million users in the spring of 2003. Judging from the number of reviews and their tones, the demand for StarOffice is almost as great.


Like Deja Vu All Over Again
MS Users will immediately feel at home in OOo Writer; its interface is a close duplicate of MS Word's. Even the shortcomings are similar: For example, both menus offer the confusing choice of Configure or Option in the Tool menu, and neither has a Reveal Codes function. OOo Writer even duplicates MS Word's Print Preview, even though it is much closer to a WYSIWYG interface and the feature is unnecessary only for a correct view of some Table of Contents layouts.

Yet a closer look reveals some differences. Some, such as the division of font attributes over several tabs in Format > Character, are dubious improvements, but, overall, OOo Writer offers a rationalization of MS Word's ramshackle interface, with a more orderly arrangement, and some advanced features tucked away in sub-menus.

Differences in OOo Writer (compared to MS Word) include:


Templates tools are in the File menu.
Tables are in the Insert menu, instead of being a main menu item.
The label wizard is under File > New. Unlike MS Word's label feature, it's a true wizard, with instructions. For some reason, though, envelopes are under Insert and don't rate a wizard.
Outline and summary tools are under File > Send.
Word count is under File > Properties.
Collaboration tools are in the Edit menu.

When users start to customize (one of the first things that many writers do after installing a word processor), they'll find the same sense of familiarity. Like MS Word, OOo Writer includes extensive Autoformat and Autocorrect features that can be turned on or off according to preference. Both also offer extensive customization of toolbars, keyboard shortcuts, and general behavior.

The main difference is that MS Word tends to offer customization of internal behavior, such as using white text on a blue background. By contrast, while OOo Writer includes settings for internal behavior--including the ability to turn off font previews and font history in the toolbar's font list--many of OOo Writer's customizing features affect how the program interacts with hardware and other programs. For instance, among OpenOffice.org's options are the number of Undos permitted, the size of the cache allocated for graphics, and the default format in which to save files. Considering the importance of choice for many users' open source software, this orientation seems only natural.

Despite some shortcomings, OOo Writer's interface manages a delicate balance. On the one hand, it is close enough to MS Word's--especially for basic tools--that those familiar with MS Word can be almost instantly productive in OOo Writer. On the other hand, OOo Writer's interface could be called the overhaul that MS Word's has badly needed for several versions. I'd compare the differences to those between North American cars and Japanese cars when they were first introduced into the market: Like the first Japanese cars, OpenOffice.org is not superlatively better than its competition, but better enough to be a sensible alternative.


Getting to Know You
From the start, StarOffice was meant to rival MS Office. "What other word processor is there?" Marco Boerries, the original developer for StarOffice asked rhetorically when I asked about the resemblance to MS Office during an interview at Linux World 2000 in San Jose.

Although Boerries is no longer connected with either Sun or the OpenOffice.org project, the legacy of that intention remains. Unlike many word processing alternatives, OOo Writer is not simply a collection of features suitable for beginning to intermediate users, but an attempt to match MS Word feature for feature. Autoformatting, autorestore, autosummary, versions, envelopes and labels, fields, mail merges, outlining, track changes, versioning--OOo Writer may sometimes call these tools by different names, or place them somewhere else in the menu, but it has them. Moreover, in most cases, these tools have features that their MS Word equivalents lack. Even more importantly, in several cases, OOo Writer has workable versions of features that have been crippled for several releases in MS Word.

Consider, for example, the following improvements over MS Word:


True text frames, instead of text boxes. What's more, styles can be defined for frames. The last time MS Word tried to implement frames, styles couldn't be used inside them.
The Navigator, a floating palette for moving around a document, not only by page, but by any object from tables to OLE objects and Notes. As a bonus, the Navigator can also be used for a quick outline view of headings. The Navigator is in addition to the Find and Replace tool. On large screens, it can be kept open in one corner for use.
An Index and Table tool that allows customization of each aspect of an entry level, including the chapter number, heading style, page number, and leader character, as well as columns in the TOC. While this tool takes some experimenting to use, and could use some autoformats, overall it allows considerable flexibility.
Sections whose columns, background, and positioning of footnotes and endnotes can be set.
Footnote and endnote settings for numbering styles, sequences, positions, paragraph and character styles, and continuation notices.

One major improvement is the header and footer tool. The equivalent tool in MS Word, with its grayed-out, indirect review of what's being edited, and its tools for creating different headers and footers have reduced more than one writer to a whimpering heap of misery. OOo Writer bypasses these difficulties by treating headers and footers as text frames that can be edited directly. Moreover, header and footer styles are attached to page styles. And, as if these changes were not enough to simplify a writer's life, the default paragraph styles include left and right footer and header styles, while headers (but not footers, for some reason) are predefined in the Autotext tool.

An even more widespread grievance with MS Word is the corruption of automatic numbering sequences. Entire web pages have been devoted to understanding this problem and devising work arounds (see, for example www.mvps.org/word/FAQs/Numbering/WordsNumberingExplained.htm). The most common workaround is to insert numbers by using fields, then automate the process by recording macros and adding them to the menu or toolbar. In OOo Writer, such elaborate preparations are unnecessary because all bullets and automated numbering sequences are placed in fields to begin with. As a result, lists in OOo Writer simply don't corrupt. Changing styles, copying and pasting, inserting unnumbered or unbulleted paragraphs in the middle of the list, mixing lists or list levels--all the actions that can break lists in MS Word leave OOo Writer's lists unharmed. Over a long project, this feature alone could save hours of time and frustration.

Another major complaint against MS Word is that its master documents tend to crash, corrupting the component files. This problem, which has existed at least since MS Word 6.0, is so well-known that most users avoid the feature entirely. Instead, MS Word users tend to write in one long document--a habit which, in itself, increases the risk of crashing. By contrast, the master document feature in OOo Writer offers a vast improvement. Admittedly, in the first releases, attempting to define a new page style in a master document would crash it, although files would not be corrupted as a result. However, this problem does not exist in version 1.0.3, the latest version as I write.

So far as I can determine, the only major features that MS Word has that OOo Writer lacks is a grammar checker (which many users don't want) and the ability to record macros. OOo does include a scripting language, but many users will probably not use it without a recorder. However, the latest beta for version 1.1 includes a workable macro recorder, and a stable version is expected by Fall 2003. Meanwhile, in almost every other area, OOo Writers' features equal or exceed their MS Word counterparts'.


Tech Writers Do It With Styles
For tech writers, styles are probably the most important features in a word processor. They are also the features in which OOo Writer differentiates itself the most from MS Word.

The settings for OOo Writer's character and paragraph styles are virtually identical to MS Word's, but arranged slightly differently. For example, Indent and Spacing are two separate tabs, while font characteristics occupy no less than four tabs: Fonts, Font Effects, Position, and Numbering. While this proliferation of tabs is irritatingly inefficient, rummaging through it does reveal some innovations. I question whether anyone really needs the six different forms of underlining and five of strike-throughs on the Font Effects tab (except, perhaps, for identifying different users' notes in a collaborative document), but typographers may appreciate the Register-True setting, as well as the setting for the alignment of the last line in a justified paragraph and the ability to rotate text 90 or 270 degrees.

More importantly, OOo Writer extends the concept of styles in several ways. First, it introduces the Stylist, a floating palette similar to those in Adobe products. As anyone who has used FrameMaker or Photoshop is aware, floating palettes can speed work considerably. However, the Stylist does more:


It allows a variety of views, displaying not only separate views for paragraphs and characters, but also ones for different functions, such as text, HTML pages, or indexing. Other useful views include a hierarchical tree view, showing which styles are based on which, and a view of the styles used in the current document.
Its Fill Format tool applies a selected style by passing the cursor over text. Basically, it's the word processor equivalent of the Fill tool in a graphics program.
Styles can be modified from their context menu. Those who have descended the levels of MS Word's style catalogue, only to forget the changes they planned to make, will deeply appreciate this shortcut.

OOo Writer includes a style catalog every bit as awkward as MS Word's, but, with the Stylist, there is no need to plumb its depths ever again. In fact, the first keyboard shortcut I learned in OOo Writer was the one to open the Stylist: F11.

Secondly, OOo Writer extends the concepts of styles beyond text. Text and graphic frames also have styles in OOo. So do pages, although, since they appear in the main document, and apply between page breaks, their styles are not as convenient as FrameMaker's or PageMaker's master pages. But, because they exist, you no longer simply add columns to the page you're on--you can add them to a particular page style instead. Bullet and number lists also have hierarchy styles, in which the indentation, the space between the bullet or number and the text, the character before or after the bullet or number and the graphic or special character for a bullet can all be defined. Once list styles are defined, they can be selected for use by a text style on its Numbering tab. By contrast, although MS Word has list styles, they cannot be linked to other styles, and do not offer the same degree of control over the bullets or numbers. The one design flaw is that restarting the numbering in a style requires a manual override in the Options tab for the style.

Finally, OOo Writer also extends the concept of styles to tables and headers, although neither is described as a style. Like MS Word, OOo Writer has an Autoformat for tables, but its Autoformats can be added to by the user. Similarly, the Autotext tool includes default headers that can be added to templates. Although the location for these styles seems odd--there is no reason why they couldn't go into the Stylist--they are additional gifts to designers. OOo Writer is still closer to MS Word than it is to FrameMaker (let alone PageMaker), but the use of styles offers at least rudimentary document design.


Every Move You Make
Import and export filters are never perfect. Building a completely functional filter is too time-consuming (and, for proprietary companies, too expensive). Filters for MS Word are especially difficult, since new versions of the format are frequently different from earlier ones. Although OOo Writer imports and exports to Rich Text Format and MS Word 6.0, 95 and 97/2000/XP formats, its filters are no exception. Considering the difficulties of creating filters, however, OOo Writer's are better than anyone could expect.

Experimenting with complex documents ranging from 65Kb to 12Mb, I found several consistent problems with MS Word documents opened in OOo Writer:


Forms do not translate reliably or sometimes at all.
Macros do not translate. Since OOo Writer does not support VSB or any form of internal macro, this problem is not surprising. However, OpenOffice.org does give the option of preserving macros in MS Office documents, so that they can be used when you open the document in MS Office again.
Bullets are sometimes given extra indentation.
Random lines or formatting, such as the changing of a type date to a field with a different format, occasionally happen.

Going from OOo Writer to MS Word was much smoother. So long as the same fonts are available to OOo Writer and MS Word, the only major problem is that bullets sometimes use unexpected characters--and that can be avoided by setting the bullet character in the Options tab for the list style. Without the same fonts, changes in pagination, paragraph length, and justified passages are common, as might be expected.

Still, considering the difficulties of writing translation filters, what is unusual is not that OpenOffice.org's filters have problems, but that they have so few. Most of these problems arise from the fact that OOo and MS Office use different fonts for creating symbols.

The advantages of OpenOffice.org filters include:


The list of what they do translate is much longer than the list of what they don't. It includes equations, tables, comments, and indexes--all of which are not only problematic in other translation filters, but often do not translate at all.
It does not seem necessary to develop a special template with styles that use the same names as MS Word styles to improve translations.
While many word processors crash when translating files larger than a few megabytes, OpenOffice.org seems able to handle files of almost any size. However, the process may take five to ten minutes, depending on the computer.

Overall, OO's translation filters are the most reliable I've seen, and require the least tweaking. Even so, constant movement between MS Word and OOo Writer should probably be avoided if design is important to you. Better to make the move to OpenOffice.org and stay there as much as possible.


Built on Rock or Sand?
The final question: How well does OpenOffice.org perform overall?

The bad news is that, like MS Word, OOo occasionally crashes.

The good news is that OOo Writer crashes without corrupting open files, and that its autorecovery has yet to fail me. Moreover, with version 1.0.3, the current version, the crashes are much rarer than they were in version 1.0.

Undoubtedly, the crashes are the most serious blow to OpenOffice.org's credibility. Remember, however, that while MS Word has been around long enough for advanced users to learn the workarounds to avoid its weak points, we're still learning the limits of OpenOffice.org.

In addition, OpenOffice.org also includes options that can improve its stability. If memory is a problem, either because of the computer's RAM or the size of the document, reducing the number of Undos permitted can help prevent crashes. Similarly, increasing the graphics cache for inserted objects can prevent crashes in large documents (at least until the system's RAM is entirely filled).

Finally, open source advocates believe as a matter of faith that their licensing and work methods repair bugs faster than proprietary development. With OpenOffice.org, that belief seems largely substantiated. As reports are filed with the project, the stability has increased in interim releases. Considering the complexity of OpenOffice.org, its fixes may come more slowly than many projects, but, even so, problems are unlikely to linger for several versions, the way that MS Word's have.

As I write, the first beta for version 1.1 of OpenOffice.org has just been released. Its features include:


A PDF export feature built into the menu, rather than selected from the printer, as in earlier versions, with a choice for screen, print, and press optimization that was obviously borrowed from recent versions of Acrobat Distiller.
A macro recorder.
Some additional basic templates for presentations.
A change to Times New Romans and Helvetica for default fonts. This move should ease the transfer of files between OOo and MS Word.

An earlier release of version 1.1 also included a translation filter for DocBook. Since OOo stores files in a compressed XML format, this filter should be relatively easy to build. If it is included in the final 1.1 release, it could make OpenOffice.org the WYSIWYG editor of choice for DocBook.


Conclusion
OOo Writer outperforms MS Word in almost every way--by a wide margin in its implementation of styles, and by a narrower one in general stability. MS Word's main advantage is the ability to reduce drudgery by recording macros.

That feature alone is probably enough to make some users stay with MS Word for the next few months. Depending on your work habits, you may have other preferences. For that reason, I suggest that, before evaluating OOo Writer, you make a list of the features you like or dislike in MS Work, then go looking for them in OOo Writer before you do any serious work.

To make the exercise easier, I've included an extensive table with this article (in PDF format). Based on questions to the TECHWR-L and WORD-PC lists, the chart summarizes what writers like and dislike most about MS Word, and how (and if) those features are implemented in OOo Writer. Use the chart as a guide to your custom tour of OOo Writer. Then consider the advantages that free software has for your IT budget. Even if you decide not to make the switch, you'll find that the exercise helps you to focus on your word processing needs. It will also give you a glimpse of the latest trends in office software.

Not too many years ago, many people dismissed open source development as incapable of undertaking large projects. Then GIMP became the open source answer to PhotoShop. More recently, Mozilla has become the open source equivalent of Internet Explorer. Now, with a big boost from the proprietary StarOffice, OpenOffice.org is a serious challenger to MS Word.

In fact, if OpenOffice.org continues to be as much in demand as it was in the first month of its release, don't be surprised if you find features that originated in OOo Writer appearing in MS Word. Flaws and all, OpenOffice.org is looking more and more like a milestone in software.

Your word processing may never be the same again.


Bruce Byfield is a freelance journalist, product manager, and technical writer. A recovering academic, he is the writer of the standard reference on the American fantasist Fritz Leiber and a widely published poet. His other obsessions include raising Nanday conures; running long, painful distances; listening to punk-folk music; and indulging a four to 10 book a week reading habit. He can be reached at [email protected].
 
Jan 24, 2004
2,179
#17
++ [ originally posted by Martin ] ++
...They use that position to gain an advantage in other markets (browsers, media players, instant messaging), which is illegal btw.
I don't want to bolster Microsoft but you've to admit that this strategy is quite smart. I, and I guess you as well, would exploit and defend Microsoft's position in the same way - if we could make some cash. Just an Unique Selling Position ;)
 
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mikhail

mikhail

Senior Member
Jan 24, 2003
9,575
#18
++ [ originally posted by kurvengeflüster ] ++
I don't want to bolster Microsoft but you've to admit that this strategy is quite smart. I, and I guess you as well, would exploit and defend Microsoft's position in the same way - if we could make some cash. Just an Unique Selling Position ;)
The EU doesn't think so. They fined them a record amount (something like half a billion) and forced them to ship copies of Windows without their media player, all because of their "market position".

Fair enough, you can't really blame a huge corporation for taking advantage of its position, but it's still wrong - monopolies aren't something we should encourage.
 

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