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Open Source Software Technology

LibreOffice Developer Community Increasingly Robust 180

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-could-almost-call-it-jolly dept.
New submitter someWebGeek writes "LibreOffice, the community-driven fork of OpenOffice, appears to have a very healthy and growing group of code contributors. The Document Foundation has published new stats that portray the climbing rates of developer involvement both in terms of numbers of people and numbers of code commits. One of the most encouraging aspects, as noted by Ryan Paul in an article at Ars, is that non-corporate code contributions by independent volunteers constitute the largest slice of the latest commit-pie."
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LibreOffice Developer Community Increasingly Robust

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  • Large Deployments (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ninetyninebottles (2174630) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @06:18PM (#38930023)

    I really think Libre Office could take off and become a huge OSS success story on the order of Webkit or Apache. It just needs a few extremely large installations by companies or organizations with the funding and will to constantly improve it. Just a few major corporations that currently license MS office, dumping Word and moving to Libre Office while still investing say half or a third of the same budget into targeted improvements for their needs would tip the scales.

    I find it about on par with MS Office now, which is to say buggy, erratic, unable to consistently read MS Office formats, and with some really poor UI choices. When used only with the native format, however, it pulls ahead and such a course of action is fairly doable at least within a company, whereas it never seems to be with MS Office (someone is always stuck using a different version, even if it is just a Mac version, and then the documents get messy and weird). Also, I really like the PDF editing. I'm surprised no one else has jumped on that particular gem of functionality.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 04, 2012 @06:28PM (#38930075)

      I believe that LibreOffice will never make it in the corporate world for one single reason: It doesn't include a program that can use MAPI to connect to Exchange. Outlook is very, very ingrained in the corporate world and that alone will prevent any organization using Exchange from switching.

      • Re:Large Deployments (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Amouth (879122) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @06:42PM (#38930161)

        ^this^

        I would and could move my company to OpenOffice or LibreOffice.. but the lack of a mail server/client on par with Exchange/Outlook that is significantly lower in price to justify licensing it and not just going the MS route is the the largest barrier. If we get rid of MS Office we have to replace Outlook, if we keep Outlook only we might as well just license the whole suite so that we have working integration. If we LibreOffice had a mail client that had good exchange support and was on par with Outlook then we could move to dropping MS Office and only running exchange and buying cal's. While i know there are alternatives to exchange/outlook most of the good ones are not much cheaper to license.

        • Outlook is a bad email client, and Exchange is, well, bad lacks enphasis to express it, email server. So, if you are really complaining about the lack of a email client/server go look at an alternative (just one, any one, it will be better than Outlook/Exchange. Tried Pine lately?).

          But you may be complaining about the lack of the other functionality that Outlook and Exchange provide, that big companies love with some reason. Well, I don't know anything that provides that and is cross plataform. There are so

          • by gbjbaanb (229885)

            there's Zimbra, Horde and similar that provide the same groupware functionality as Exchange, but I think most of that is irrelevant. Most corporates I know use email, calendars and shared contacts as the two parts of Outlook/Exchange. There is a certain amount of archiving that's needed too, but that's trivial to support with other email servers.

            Thunderbird is a great client and has calendar plugins for it, so the client should be no problem.

            If you must migrate from Outlook, but keep exchange, you can use t

          • by djl4570 (801529)
            I wouldn't use "bad" to describe Outlook, yes it could be better and it is overly complicated for the vast majority of the userbase. It is important to remember that Outlook is more than just an email client. Outlook is firmly anchored in the corporate world by the integrated calendar and automatic reminder notifications. Add integration with Office Communicator and you have tools that provide email, meeting scheduling, instant messaging, voice chat and even desktop sharing. I don't see Libre Office
          • by CAIMLAS (41445)

            Here's the problem: Exchange isn't just a mail server, it's also:

            * An address/contact book server for:
            - personal addresses/contacts
            - shared/group addresses/contacts
            - organization/server-wide contacts

            * A calendar server
            - personal
            - shared from internal exchange users
            - shared from server/organization-external exchange users
            - local/server wide shared

            * connected to the same authentication backend your workstations use (Active Directory) and configurable through such

            * single authentication/configuration point for

            • by Bert64 (520050)

              Forget MAPI, use IMAP for mail and CalDAV for calendaring...

              There are plenty of packages which suit your requirements, Zimbra and Zarafa for starters but there are more.

              • by jimicus (737525)

                You still need some central, backed-up way to store your contacts list. Your head of sales won't thank you when his entire contact list disappears because his laptop's been stolen.

                • by Super_Z (756391)
                  Zimbra uses an LDAP server for contact list storage. You can configure software like Thunderbird, Apple Address Book, Apple Mail etc. to use this LDAP server with a few clicks. It just works.
        • by Lumpy (12016)

          "If we get rid of MS Office we have to replace Outlook, "

          Why? you guys running an illegal copy of Exchange server? because that comes with as many Outlook licenses as you have user licenses.

          • by Amouth (879122)

            Exchange does not come with Outlook Licenses, they stopped doing that with Exchange 2007 & Outlook 2007.

          • by Osgeld (1900440)

            yea but what are you going to replace outlook with, it does more than simple email

        • by alexgieg (948359)

          the lack of a mail server/client on par with Exchange/Outlook

          Other than opening Outlook once or twice in computers with Office, I haven't ever used it, much less with Exchange, so I don't know what it provides that's different from other e-mail and calendaring programs. I'm familiar with Gmail, Thunderbird, Eudora and a few others, plus the standard feature set of IMAP/POP3/SMTP, but that's about it. Could you provide a short list of the specific features corporations particularly like, specially when it comes to integration with other Microsoft solutions, that isn't

          • Re:Large Deployments (Score:4, Informative)

            by rahvin112 (446269) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @10:54PM (#38931619)

            Fully integrated email/calendar. The ability to send an appointment while checking others schedules AND scheduling a conference room at the same time. It doesn't help that pretty much every enterprise in the world uses outlook so you can email an outlook appointment outside your organization and have it fully work in not only adding to their calendar at the correct time and provide full details.

            A small list of features:
            - Email with full calendar support.
            - Web-mail with most of the features of the Outlook client.
            - Folders and structures including common folders that can be shared between multiple people.
            - Integrated Contacts with separate personal contacts and company directories.
            - Company directories can store all contact information and in the case of VOIP systems can be linked such that clicking a phone number dials the phone.
            - Integrated Instant messaging and RSS feeds that can be secured and restricted to certain people.
            - Task handling that will track a task list, even between multiple people and offices.
            - Fully shareable calendars and other items allowing people to delegate calendar, email and other tasks to a subordinate.
            - Integration of other items such as the ability to schedule conference rooms and such with a calendar appointment.
            - Distribution lists, Journals, notes and Internet faxing.
            - Push email and calendaring that transfers everything to a PDA/phone automatically with secure handling. Works so well emails often show up on the phone before registering on outlook/exchange.

            Many other features, of course MS is one of the best companies at inter-product ties, such that there is integrated handling of all MS products including the ability to directly cut and paste document items directly into emails and have it fully handled and look and behave perfectly. This extends as well to Share-point which is a network enabled file management system that allows collaboration including multiple people in the same document over the Internet along with check-in and checkout library type handling.

            It's reached the point that if outlook and exchange are down large companies can't even function. I'm not exaggerating either. I've seen personally an exchange crash idle almost the entire company while it's restored. This list was neither comprehensive nor even all the popular features. Just the ones I'm familiar with in my little tiny slice of life. As it's been stated before, most people only use 10% of the programs, but the features that make up that 10% is different for everyone, meaning everything gets used by someone but on average only a small subset is used per individual/company/business.

            To replace MS Office at the enterprise level we have to replace the whole kit and kaboodle. Office, Exhange, Outlook, Sharepoint, etc, precisely because MS has tied them all together so well that they are essentially indispensable to most companies.

            • More recently, it also integrates with Lync, which is a pretty decent intranet IM/VoIP solution (at least on the client side, I've no idea how hard it is to manage on the server).

            • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 05, 2012 @03:57AM (#38933115)

              I Agree and Zimbra Does This TODAY.
              Here's a comparison between Zimbra from a few yrs ago to MS-Exchange:
              http://www.slideshare.net/agileware/zimbra-collaboration-suite-vs-microsoft-exchange-2008 [slideshare.net]

              We deployed Zimbra a few years ago because we needed enterprise calendaring. You know - seeing other people's calendars and setting up shared calendars for a group. We aren't a Microsoft-shop.

              Zimbra made all that easy.

              For a long time, using the calendar meant having to use the zimbra web-client or a java-based thick-client. That changed about a year ago when Thunderbird+Lightning finally started working with calendars properly.

              Since June-ish, I haven't used the Zimbra web-client at all.
              When MS-Office switched to the Ribbon, people my age with 15 yrs using the old menus were thrown for a loop. At that point, I dumped MS-Office and haven't looked back. The only Office-like tool I still use is Visio. There isn't any substitute for that and I don't see one on the way either.

              Because I work in a smaller company now, we've switched to web-apps for every corporate app that we could. This means we don't mandate any specific desktop and encourage departments to use what works for them and their budgets. More and more are deploying Linux-based desktops AND solving real problems with it. I doubt it will ever completely replace Ms-Windows here. Some things just aren't possible with Linux, but we provide terminal servers for those groups. Business productivity software works great over the LAN using RDP - when and if it is necessary. Not having to deal with AV and viruses on the desktops constantly has this CIO happier. When a virus does hit here, it is on a server or a printer, not most desktops.

              I know this method can't work for everyone inside every company. Heck, we can't do it for ours 100% either.

              Zimbra has freed us from the MS-Koolaid. If you run Exchange, you must run AD ... DHCP, DNS and buy CALs from MS. Then MS-SQL becomes required and all the MS-Windows Server licenses ... sure, all these things are integrated but they are a bear to upgrade - at least MS-Exchange is. Exchange is the linchpin - Zimbra removes it.

              Younger users - those in their 20s are used to integrated webmail+webcal+webIM+webdocs. It isn't a big leap for them to use Zimbra.

              As a replacement for Sharepoint, we use Alfresco. It isn't perfect, but the price is right. Did you know that whitehouse.gov uses a Drupal front-end connected to an Alfesco back-end?

              Costs for acquisition and support for both Zimbra and Alfresco are much less than the Microsoft options overall while providing competitive features. It is definitely worth a look.

              • The only Office-like tool I still use is Visio. There isn't any substitute for that and I don't see one on the way either.

                If you use a Mac, OmniGraffle is much, much nicer its main drawback being, yeah its Mac only. One of the teams I worked with also used a Web based Visio replacement and seemed to like it, although it was software as a service with a subscription.

        • We struggled with the same issue, and decided to replace Outlook desktop with Outlook web for the 600 desktops that we are migrating to Linux and LibreOffice. OWA in exchange 2010 is robust enough to address the majority of our enterprise needs. We also found that cross-platofrm compatibility with OWA is much better than desktop clients and prefer OWA on Mac, Windows, and Linux, to a mixed back of clients on each OS. You're right that MS prevents licensing portions of the office suite separately, as we had
          • by Amouth (879122)

            OWA 2010 is light years head in the right direction compared to previous OWA's.. but i think it still has a bit to go for general ease of use (not MS's fault but the tech just isn't quite there to completely blur the line between desktop and web apps). If MS continues in the same direction and at the same pace they have from 00-03-07-10, then what you have done will be an option on our side as i would expect the newest version of OWA to support some of the up coming offline web app and local data storage

        • Why do people think MS Exchange is so good? Don't they know anything about it at all?
          Also don't give me the "no other single program" bullshit - MS Exchange is a suite and a not entirely well integrated one at that. Take a look at any mailing list where MS Exchange admins post their cries for help on weird mail munching bugs and you'll get an idea that it's still not yet as good as advertised a decade ago.
          As to why it's never going to happen, you are asking to hit an obscured hidden target in a moving pil
          • by Amouth (879122)

            from your post i could make some assumptions to the environment that you have seen it used.. but i don't like taking stabs into the wind.. but i will say we do not have issues like you have described and what i see other people having. mainly because we do not even attempted to use a single tool for all jobs.

            Exchange's lights shine as a work group server. while yes Exchange can handle all the functions of a general MTA it isn't good at it.. Sendmail is much much better, same with filtering spam and viruse

            • by dbIII (701233)

              from your post i could make some assumptions to the environment that you have seen it used

              You'd be wrong anyway because it's several different environments spread over more than a decade and having to clean up other people's messes.
              I agree with the way you have it - put it under adult supervision of something else to do the hard work and make it trivial to do backups of the mail that passes through it. The first time I did a full test backup and then bare metal restore of MS Exchange I just could not under

        • by Bert64 (520050)

          Try Zimbra, it has a local desktop client you can use, a very good web interface and it supports imap/caldav so you can use other clients and aren't locked in to the ones they provide.

          Exchange becomes a huge pain in the ass as soon as you want to use anything other than their official client with it.

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        Why?

        Libre office works fine and if you have an exchange server you get a bajillion free licenses for outlook.

        That is what we do for now. we install Libre office and our free copy of outlook on every PC. 100% legit.

        i know a lot of other businesses doing the same thing. Although we will be ditching the Exchange server soon for Google Mail. It's stupid to run your own Email server anymore with a tiny business that has less than 2000 employees.

        It is far cheaper for us to let google do it for us and elimi

        • by ArhcAngel (247594)

          Saves over $40K a year in operation costs in the IT budget, and the guy was a jerk.

          If you were only paying me $40K a year I'd be a jerk too. I'm not saying his skill set was worth more but I'm sure HE thought it was.

          • by Lumpy (12016)

            Well google corperate mail is not free so add that cost +40K and you have your answer. Still overpaid for a MCSE.

        • by eulernet (1132389)

          Also, Google's antispam is very efficient and included in the price.

          In comparison, if you want a good antispam with your Exchange server, you need to take Forefront licences.

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        Well there is that and it would need a lot more love to their replacement for Excel and Access. you'd be amazed how many companies have these huge applications built out of Excel and Access. Would it have been smarter to hire actual coders? of course but companies are conservative and "if it ain't broke" is law, at least in these parts.

        Just tell me they are recoding the thing to get rid of Java please? Its irritating as hell it wants to install a program with a history of exploits that frankly nobody uses

        • Re:Large Deployments (Score:4, Informative)

          by Dr_Barnowl (709838) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @09:22PM (#38931149)

          AFAIK they are doing so ; the main use of Java is for Base, which few people use AFAIK. The secondary use of Java is for some of the file export filters - like the "flat" XML outputs which are good for some XSLT sheets. I think these are getting rewritten in C++.

          • by hairyfeet (841228)

            Cool as I don't mind it asking to install MSFT Visual C++ like it did last time I installed it, as everyone and their dog has MSFT Visual C++ installed anyway. All the games use it, and many of the freeware programs use Visual C++ the way they use to use VB back in the day. it also gets updates through WU so no need for a constantly running third party updater like with Java.

            I did find it strange with so much hatred in the FOSS community they would use Visual C++ but i think its a good sign, they are usin

        • by micheas (231635)
          It's on the roadmap, the last I looked at the issue they were looking at a replacement for the java odbc connector. which is the main java dependency as I recall.
      • by styrotech (136124)

        MAPI? MAPI was 'deemphasised' in Exchange 2007 and I think actually deprecated in Exchange 2010.

        Writing MAPI clients these days is wasted effort considering even MS wants to move away from it. The Gnome Evolution connectors have shifted away from the original OWA based version (for Exchange 2000/2003) as well as the MAPI version (for Exchange 2007) to concentrate on a new web services one for Exchange 2010 onwards.

        Also I seem to recall that if your Exchange server predates Exchange Web Services (eg 2003 and

      • by CAIMLAS (41445)

        Yes - except most things don't need MAPI, only email.

        For that, you've got Thunderbird. Thunderbird is fairly mature of late, but it's still got a lot of work which needs to be done. It outperforms Outlook by quite a bit. The only thing missing is (like you said) MAPI.

        Since Android has probably a bazillion implementions that do MAPI, I'm kind of surprised there's no Outlook alternative which does MAPI well. The only thing I'm aware of is Evolution, and that won't work with the online version(s) of Exchange (

    • by FaxeTheCat (1394763) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @06:31PM (#38930093)
      The problem is that those corporations who have money (I work in such a company) could not be bothered to use resources on development and doing extensive work on specifying improvements or changes. Those corporations who have money want something that works NOW, not something that (maybe) works in 2 - 3 - 4 years.
      And for those companies, the Office license is not a major expense that management will divert attention and resources to save.

      Then add that those companies with money also will have the full Microsoft suite like Exchange, Sharepoint and Lync. Not having Office with those would be pretty stupid, as they work best together (yes, you may call it lockin, but I just tell it like it is).

      The companies of any size who would want to save money, would do that by using LibreOffice or one of its cousins without paying.
      • Re:Large Deployments (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jjoelc (1589361) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @07:04PM (#38930295)

        Wile I don't fit into that large deployment category, I do what I can to promote LibreOffice. We have roughly 100 desktops, and the reality is that well over half of them have no use for MS office in any real capacity. I. deploy LibreOffice to every workstation mainly to make sure everyone has at least that baseline functionality. I store all of my documentation and send out all of my memos etc in an open document format. even if very few people regualrly use LibreOffice to do anything more than read the stuff I send them or open the occasional word document attachment... At least they have been exposed to it, and I have actually had a few people ask me about it when they buy new computers, and see the price of MS Office. It's not much, admittedly, but it works. I'm not pushy about it, I don't evangelize... But they all get some exposure to it, and at least know that there are options when they are personally in the position to make that choice.

        • The problem is that LibreOffice is stuck as the cheap option.
          The question is how can they get out of that position. The answer is: Money, and somebody with a vision. It seems both are currently lacking, and is there any plans to change it?

          And just so there is no misunderstanding: There is nothing wrong with what you do. It is what many people do. Spreading it will put pressure on Microsoft, and judging by the profit of the Office division, they need it...
          • by eulernet (1132389)

            Most of the products start by copying the competition at a lower price, but at a lower quality.
            Over the time, the quality increases, and the leader has to innovate more and more to avoid being taken over.
            At some point, for the customer, the cheaper option is the best choice.
            There is still psychological inertia that keeps the old clients tied to their original supplier, but such beliefs disappear over the years.

            Read also how cheaper competitors win:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disruptive_technology [wikipedia.org]

      • The problem is that those corporations who have money (I work in such a company) could not be bothered to use resources on development and doing extensive work on specifying improvements or changes.

        But those companies do just that when it comes to Apache or SQL or Linux. I've certainly been paid by corporations to make needed improvements to OSS software and lots of staff at corporations spend time working on OSS the company uses.

        Those corporations who have money want something that works NOW, not something that (maybe) works in 2 - 3 - 4 years. And for those companies, the Office license is not a major expense that management will divert attention and resources to save.

        MS Office is a significant expense, just not one many major companies or organizations have learned to expunge yet. LibreOffice does work now and many businesses do use it. It simply doesn't have the market yet where the development is shared by enough parties to make it supe

        • That is slowly improving, as noted in the article, but one or two big corporations would really push it over the edge.

          I just explained why big corporations are not pushing it over the edge. You had lots of reason why I was wrong. Still no big corporation has started paying for LibreOffice development. That must mean that I may closer to explaining how big corporations think than you are.
          Changing from MS to FOSS on the desktop is a big issue in these corporations. It is a boardroom issue. Before you can get that kind of decision through the boardroom, you need to present something that works. Today. That is the chicken and

      • Those corporations who have money will have quite a poor future if they don't stop using inapropriate software, and deploy something that let their people be productive, and their data be secure.

        Maybe they'll even stop being corporations who have money. That is, if the government doesn't interfere.

        • Those corporations who have money will have quite a poor future if they don't stop using inappropriate software, and deploy something that let their people be productive, and their data be secure.

          Maybe they'll even stop being corporations who have money. That is, if the government doesn't interfere.

          I think those that run billion dollar companies with offices in 100+ countries probably know more about running a business than you do. For some reason, the one I work for choose Microsoft. Not because they want, but because it currently is the best. Not because it is perfect or anything, but because it is best by a good margin. And because it improves productivity. We are still well below the average IT cost in the industry. Maybe those who run the company know something you do not?

          • For some reason lots of those people are needing the help of governments to keep their business...

            But anyway, I wasn't implying they don't know how to run their companies. I was saying that they'll adopt the best tool out there. FreeOffice just have to be the best tool (for a time, and consistently), and the important companies will use it (or stop being important).

      • I think this depends on organizational perspective. Mine was that 1M USD to license Windows and Office every three years is not chump change. So we are moving approximately 600 desktops to Linux and LibreOffice. As we move our workforce increasingly towards web based systems and workflows, desktop tools in the MS Office suite rapidly decrease in value. Similarly the value of windows as the default corporate OS is also rapidly decreasing as we look to cross platform solutions where we can work from next-gen
        • My organization's was money as well. We do government contract-based employment services work. The cost of MS-Office licenses were absurdly high, and after some attempts to negotiate some lower per-seat rates I finally just threw up my hands and told our sales reps to forget it, I'd throw OpenOffice on the thirty computers in question and be done with it. It's not a completely perfect solution, and some documents, particularly resumes, with lots of formatting, can be problematic, but it's workable enough.

          Al

    • The biggest dealbreaker for me is that LibreOffice will friggin' mulch Office files. I've opened up a .docx with it, modified it, and then saved. What I got was a mess. Formatting wrecked, tables gone, figures gone...ugh. Maybe it's fine if you stick to ODF formats, but MS Office interoperability is borderline useless until then get the formatting figured out.
      • While we're dueling anecdotes, I was once able to fix a corrupted Word file for my mother that nobody could open because it confused their parser, and all their products have the same one. OO.o (at the time) was able to open and re-save the file so that it would work correctly, with no loss of formatting.

      • Re:Large Deployments (Score:4, Informative)

        by ninetyninebottles (2174630) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @07:22PM (#38930369)

        The biggest dealbreaker for me is that LibreOffice will friggin' mulch Office files. I've opened up a .docx with it, modified it, and then saved. What I got was a mess.

        I have the same problem with various versions of MS Word. My solution is, sans one client, avoiding the hell out of docx files. They are awful and older versions of Word can't read them either. They are simply a bad idea.

        • by gbjbaanb (229885)

          They are awful and older versions of Word can't read them either. They are simply a bad idea.

          you need to upgrade to the latest version of Office. That'll be $loads please.

          Who says it was a bad idea.... for Microsoft. How else do you think they make billions in revenue?

        • by Freultwah (739055)
          Older versions of Office can read and write docx, xlsx etc just fine. Head to microsoft.com/downloads and fetch the free Office Compatibility Pack. Done and done. Docx for me has time and again proven more robust than doc, which is why I've started to use it more or less exclusively. I'd use odt, but nobody else does, and I must work with others, so tough luck.
          • Older versions of Office can read and write docx, xlsx etc just fine. Head to microsoft.com/downloads and fetch the free Office Compatibility Pack. Done and done. Docx for me has time and again proven more robust than doc, which is why I've started to use it more or less exclusively.

            Heh, a manager came to me the other day and said she got another .docx file and asked what she should do. I said, "Open it and see if the formatting is okay". She just laughed and said that course of action NEVER works. She was right too, it was all messed up in Word 2003. I'm not sure why your experience is so diametrically opposed to mine, but it sure seems to be.

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          Really? Because I have the ancient MS Office 2K and it reads docX just fine with the converter pack which is free. hell I can even save in DocX if I wanted, but I prefer plain old .doc which seems to work on every version I've encountered. I even had to deal with a 6.5Mb doc that had headers, footers, tables and graphs, and we had MS Office 2K, 2K3, 2K7, and the one for the Mac at the time, 2K6 i think. the ONLY one that couldn't deal with it was the guy running OO.o 2.0 which turned it into word salad and

          • Really? Because I have the ancient MS Office 2K and it reads docX just fine with the converter pack which is free. hell I can even save in DocX if I wanted, but I prefer plain old .doc which seems to work on every version I've encountered. I even had to deal with a 6.5Mb doc that had headers, footers, tables and graphs, and we had MS Office 2K, 2K3, 2K7, and the one for the Mac at the time, 2K6 i think.

            I'm currently on a project with a lot of paperwork, all in MS Office formats. The main client is using Word 2003 and 2000 and has no choice about it because they are a huge corporation with strict rules. The high priced consulting firm uses Word 2007. The independent contractors have a mishmash of OO/LO versions of word, etc. The regulatory expert is using Word 2000 on a Mac. I have access to all of these versions, albeit across several workstations.

            I regularly get .docx files saved out of some version of

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        Office 2010 does that to office 2003 files.

        Only Libre office will open them for us and it even runs the Excel scripting perfectly.

        I guess it depends on what special formatting ot scripts you have in the document.

      • I find LibreOffice docx support pretty weak. I wouldn't dream of saving anything beyond a trivial file in OOXML format in LibreOffice. I usually save either as a .doc or .odt.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I don't have Office at home (being both tight and honest) so I use LibreOffice. But it's compatibility with Office is poor. It handles most things well, but not pictures. There are so many "LibreOffice opening an Office document without pictures" bugs that there's recently been an effort to consolidate the bug reports.

      If I needed it for professional work I'd buy Office. Being unable to read documents with pictures is intolerable.

    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      Most certainly. If Microsoft has it's way (which I'm sure they will) with Office 2012, there will be a wide open field for LibreOffice advancement.

      Let's see: Office 2012 is supposed to be something like "the biggest innovative complete re-implementation" of the Office framework to allow it to use the new Windows Phone/8 style UI elements. They may be doing away with the Ribbon UI (which, once I understood it as being modal, made decent sense and was implemented fairly well in 2010.) Over the minimalist cubi

      • Let's see: Office 2012 is supposed to be something like "the biggest innovative complete re-implementation" of the Office framework to allow it to use the new Windows Phone/8 style UI elements. They may be doing away with the Ribbon UI (which, once I understood it as being modal, made decent sense and was implemented fairly well in 2010.) Over the minimalist cubism of WP7/W8, pretty much everything is desirable.

        That Ribbon is not going away any time soon, is evidenced by the fact that Win8 has more Ribbon, not less - e.g. Explorer is now ribbonized [lifehacker.com].

        And of course no-one is going to redo Office entirely in Metro stile. What you'll likely get is a separate version of Office for Metro, just as IE10 comes in both desktop (same UI as today) and Metro ("cubism") versions in Win8.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 04, 2012 @06:43PM (#38930165)

    I was never a big fan of activity-based metrics. Do they really tell you anything? Do you really care how many people it took to build your car? Or do you care how well it works? Would making a car with twice as many people make it better? Or worse?

    Ditto with software. Don't tell me how much you spent, in subsidized and volunteer programmers. Tell me what you accomplished. Large numbers don't guarantee anything. And small numbers don't necessarily hurt you. Look back at earlier generations of office applications, where Quattro Pro was originally written by four programmers, and Emacs by one.

    Telling us how many people it took to make a particular version of LibreOffice actually tells us nothing.

    • by styrotech (136124) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @09:10PM (#38931073)

      Telling us how many people it took to make a particular version of LibreOffice actually tells us nothing.

      Sure it does. It tells us that more developers are now able or willing to work on LibreOffice and that the fork is working.

      It tells us that the development community is growing and and momentum is building after stagnating under the watch of Sun and Oracle.

      Surely a growing active community is better than a shrinking and stagnating one?

    • IMO TFA comes off as a (lackluster and obvious) attempt at an anti-"BSD Is Dead" troll.

  • by ISoldat53 (977164)
    But it crashes nine times out of ten when I try to open a document.
    • by bogaboga (793279) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @07:08PM (#38930307)

      In my case, I also wish I could use it. But the problem is its lack of a [credible] MS-Access like database. The one found bundled with it sucks big time! It's a non-starter for me.

      I could pitch this suite to those who could find its other attributes compelling, but the fact that it's just too ugly (by default), kills the 'appetite' for those who would probably give it a chance.

      • by gbjbaanb (229885)

        you're complaining that it doesn't have Access!!!!!

        Fine, Base might suck donkeys (I've never even bothered to try using it). Why don't you try a more functional DB. Even sqlite is better and that doesn't even pretend to be a competitor.

        LibreOffice might do well to dump Base completely, Access-style DBs might have been useful 20 years ago, but today putting a (crap) DB in your office suite is a pointless exercise.

        • by Osgeld (1900440)

          depends, for SOHO's access works fine, tons of normal people know how to use it and it there included with your office package.You tell someone like my dad who just keeps customer data in an access db that so and so showed him how to do however many years ago that "SQLite is a software library that implements a self-contained, serverless, zero-configuration, transactional SQL database engine." and watch the fun begin

        • by jimicus (737525)

          Fine, Base might suck donkeys (I've never even bothered to try using it). Why don't you try a more functional DB. Even sqlite is better and that doesn't even pretend to be a competitor.

          LibreOffice might do well to dump Base completely, Access-style DBs might have been useful 20 years ago, but today putting a (crap) DB in your office suite is a pointless exercise.

          Access may have a terrible engine under the hood but that's not the point. The point is the GUI makes it possible for someone who knows precisely zero about databases to put together a basic system very quickly and easily - meaning that if a department has a relatively simple set of needs, Dave (who happens to know quite a bit about computers) can do it rather than having to go to all the hassle of setting up a formal project, finding money in the budget and getting approval from higher up.

          Is it desirable t

    • by Jorl17 (1716772)
      That happens to me with Office.
  • by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Saturday February 04, 2012 @07:15PM (#38930337) Homepage

    Unfortunately LibreOffice hasn't yet managed to fix the horrible memory footprint OO.o had, so I've switched to writing all text documents in TeX (using Lyx) and using Gnumeric for spreadsheets. But for opening files others send me, this is easily the best. It'll even make an excellent effort at rendering shitty formats like .doc.

    • Part of the memory footprint issue is because OO.o (maybe LO too? never checked) had some odd default configurations. Though it's been a while since I remembered the things you need to tweak to make it lighter. I moved to google docs and just use [microsoft | libre] office when I need more functionality, which is fairly rare now.
  • by elashish14 (1302231) <profcalc4@gmail.3.1415926com minus pi> on Saturday February 04, 2012 @07:49PM (#38930537)

    I for one, am excited to see what changes are coming in the future. TDF has been in existence for only about a year and a half now. Here's a list of things it's not gonna achive in that short of a time:

    1. It will not magically implement all the functionality that's been in MSOffice for over a decade.
    2. It will not integrate with LO $REQUISITE_MS_PROTOCOL (and it's not like it's even possible because they're all proprietary anyways)
    3. It will not instantly purge LO of all Java dependencies for which replacements are in development
    4. It will not be able to make it run in under 10MB
    5. It will not have a brand new shiny interface which can resurrect a living unicorn.

    So seriously, quit bitching. Having a large, active community is a good thing and should hopefully signal that there's a lot of good stuff to look forward in the future. No, it's not gonna be here today or tomorrow. Like I tell my kids: learn to be patient. Please.

  • Developers are always become more robust. My own weight has increased more than 25% since I started developing software. Why would LibreOffice developers be any different?

  • by unixisc (2429386) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @04:40AM (#38933225)

    While my Linux box was still working, I used KOffice a bit, and it was minimally okay. Didn't try doing much of the stuff I was used to doing in MS Office under Windows. However, in KSpread, some of the Excel nicities, like autofill, where by highlighting 2 successive cells filled w/ 1 and 2 and then dragging it, one could get a whole list of numbers, seemed to be missing.

    All this I did w/ the KOffice that came w/ KDE 3.5 (I'm not talking Trinity here). So my question is - has anyone tried KOffice lately, and how is it? Has it borrowed features from LibreOffice or even Office that would let it be more functional? Whenever I do get back to using it (once I get PC-BSD), I'd like to work using it, but I'd like to know what other users' experiences have been like.

    • by lbbros (900904)
      KOffice is basically dead commits-wise. What you might be interested in is the Calligra Suite, a fork which is under heavy development. More info: http://calligra-suite.org/ [calligra-suite.org]
      • by unixisc (2429386)

        Thanks for pointing me that way. It definitely looks better. Looking @ the site [calligra.org], two things weren't clear:

        • Is it forked from the latest KOffice 2.3.3, or something earlier?
        • Feature wise, how does it compare w/ the latest LO, if not MS Office?

        Any idea?

      • by makomk (752139)

        I think Calligra Suite has mostly been focused on developing office applications for Nokia's now-dead Meego phones, as were most of the KOffice devs prior to the fork, so don't expect it to have improved much as a desktop Office application. (In fact, I seem to recall that some of the patches merged to make it more suitable for Nokia's use even broke functionality in the desktop applications.)

        • by unixisc (2429386)

          A couple of questions:

          1. Wouldn't Calligra then be focussed on Tizen, or is that project not a Qt based project?
          2. KDE itself has different projects for different platforms - one for desktops, one for netbooks and one for Plasma Active. Similarly, wouldn't they be having different projects for Calligra on an x86 (or other) based desktop, vs an ARM based phone or netbook/tablet?
          3. Or is the KOffice team totally independent of KDE?
          • by makomk (752139)

            I believe that Tizen is indeed pretty much dropping Qt. There is also still a seperate desktop version of KOffice, it's just that it hasn't been getting much love aside from the big code merge to split away the core code in order than it can be used on mobile. I don't think that KOffice has been co-operating much with KDE in general either - the mobile office application was as I understand it not aimed at KDE at all.

        • No, this is not correct although I understand why you might get that impression.

          Here is the short story on the Calligra Suite:

          Calligra was indeed spun off from KOffice about a year ago. Some call it a fork but it was actually more of a split. Some applications moved to Calligra (KPlatoPlan, Kexi, Brainstorm, KPresenterStage), some others were indeed forked ( KWordWords). Many of them got new names as did the whole suite (which you can see in the previous sentence).

          KOffice was a nice enough office su

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