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StarOffice 7, GNOME-Office 1.0 Released 336

Posted by timothy
from the tell-your-boss dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Abiword 2.0 has been released. Finally the Linux desktop has a quality word processor that is faster to load than OpenOffice.org and includes proper footnotes. It also no longer uses its own font directory. At the same time Enchant 1.0.0 has been released, a cross-platform abstract layer to spellchecking. Enchant has been proposed to be a Freedesktop.org standard." That's not the only news, though: Abiword 2.0 is part of the just-released GNOME-Office 1.0, which, as riggwelter writes "coordinates GNOME2 versions of AbiWord, Gnumeric, and GNOME-DB, the database interface." Sun's StarOffice has just reached version 7, as well: read on below for some more information on that, including a first-look review.

Jim Hall writes "I just noticed that Sun Microsystems has released StarOffice 7. I've been using the StarOffice betas for a while now, so I have been eagerly awaiting this release! StarOffice is, of course, based on the ever-popular OpenOffice.org. StarOffice 7 software adds functionality to enable export to PDF, and to the Macromedia Flash format. It also introduces the new StarOffice Configuration Manager, the StarOffice Software Development Kit, a macro recorder, and support for assistive technologies, as well as for complex text layouts. Multi-platform running on Linux, Solaris OS and Windows. Only US$79.95 to buy your copy for home (free for edu, plus cost of media+shipping.) Now is a great time to show this to your boss and pitch that 'MS Office to StarOffice' conversion project."

An anonymous reader writes "NewsForge has a 'drive-by' 'quick-peek' look at the new StarOffice up on their site."

One suggestion on office software for the Free Software desktop: Casually re-start a friend or co-worker's Windows computer with Knoppix and show them you can open their Word files with OpenOffice.org. Mention their machine is moderately safe from Word-borne viruses until they reboot into Windows.

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StarOffice 7, GNOME-Office 1.0 Released

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @06:59PM (#6980483)
    Microsoft is at, what, Office 2003? That's 1996 versions beyound StarOffice 7. Come on guys, get moving!
    • Ironically, 1996 is about the same time MS Office stopped including useful features making an upgrade worthwhile.
    • by Kehl (663202) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:25PM (#6981213) Homepage
      I use Star Office at work and Open Office at home. Open/Star Office has certainly been noticed by MS however with a patented and closed source MS ".DOC" format (yes it's coming soon!), it may cause some hardship. My last three job applications (CV's) were in .TXT format (containing a reason why I sent the document in this format) and I am proud to say that on 2/3 applications I got the job! Oh and don't forget finances! XP Pro Office XP Firewall Virus Checker DVD Player Photoshop .NOT(NET) Development package ..... etc --------------- Lets call MS software updates (for a "Techie" user) 750.00 per annum Linux 0.00 Allways nice when you have an imaginary balance of + 750 each year and high tail it to France backpacking! Or you could put it in Bills pocket ..... your choice =) Vote With your feet ----> GPL
  • by EricHsu (578881) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @07:00PM (#6980494)
    AP [sfgate.com] talks about another Sun thing, code Mad Hatter or "Sun Java Desktop". What's the relationship between StarOffice and this Mad Hatter deal? Why would they work on two parallel projects like this? Presumably MH builds on the translation libraries from OpenOffice? Inquiring minds want to know...
    • by EricHsu (578881) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @07:05PM (#6980558)
      Okay, answering my own question, Sun [sun.com] talks about Mad Hatter and it seems to be merely a Java front-end to StarOffice and misc other Office type programs.

      I thought it was going to be something cooler like the Java port of OpenOffice [planamesa.com].

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @07:10PM (#6980611)

        Madhatter is a integrated desktop focused OS. First release will be based on SUSE Linux. Staroffice, Mozilla, Evolution, Gnome, tightly integrated. Target market is call centers and the like.

      • by spektr (466069) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @07:34PM (#6980803)
        Okay, answering my own question, Sun talks about Mad Hatter and it seems to be merely a Java front-end to StarOffice and misc other Office type programs.

        A Java front-end to StarOffice? I think not.

        As far as I understand it, Mad Hatter is more or less a SuSE spin-off that comes with a new Sun-theme and is bundled with StarOffice 7. At this time Sun puts the word "Java" in all their new products. This is just a brandig strategy like .NET
    • I think the important thing to note here is that a major player, Sun, thinks it's time to challenge MS on the desktop with Linux.

      I don't think even IBM has been ready to go that far (well, they could've done it with OS/2 eight or nine years ago, and I don't see that they've grown a spine since that time).

      This'll be interesting to watch.

  • Casual mistake (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @07:00PM (#6980498)
    Openoffice is based off of Star, not the other way around.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @07:01PM (#6980515)
      OpenOffice is actually a pared down version of emacs.
    • Re:Casual mistake (Score:5, Informative)

      by shellbeach (610559) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:13PM (#6981102)
      Openoffice is based off of Star, not the other way around.

      I don't think so ...

      OpenOffice was based on StarOffice ...

      StarOffice is now based on OpenOffice.

      From the OpenOffice.org Unofficial FAQ [bytebot.net]:

      1. 1.3. How does it differ from StarOffice?

        OpenOffice.org is an open-source project, which means that it is a piece of software (an office suite in this case) developed under a set of very liberal licenses (the LGPL and SISSL - more on this later).

        One of the freedoms provided is that one can take OpenOffice.org and package it as his/her own distribution. Then, this distribution can be sold to make a revenue. Such a distribution is StarOffice, from Sun Microsystems.

        Therefore, OpenOffice.org and StarOffice have exactly the same core applications, except that it misses out on certain fonts (like Asian language ones and a few for improved Microsoft file format compatibility), a database component (AdabasD), certain file filters, templates & a clip art gallery, and some sorting functionality. However, most of what OpenOffice.org lacks can be made up with the help of third-party applications...

      What you're saying is rather like saying Mozilla is based on Netscape ...

  • by dzym (544085) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @07:00PM (#6980504) Homepage Journal
    2.0, as specified in the article title, or 1.0, as specified in the article text?
  • by ENOENT (25325) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @07:00PM (#6980506) Homepage Journal
    StarOffice is based on OpenOffice.org, which is based on StarOffice.

    Around and around we go!
    • by rampant mac (561036) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @07:23PM (#6980726)
      "StarOffice is based on OpenOffice.org, which is based on StarOffice."

      Close...

      StarOffice is based on OpenOffice which is based on StarOffice which copies many functions from Microsoft Office, which debuted first on the Macintosh, who purchased ClarisWorks only to produce AppleWorks and later created Mac OS X that copies many *BSD features. Does this mean Microsoft Office is dying, StarOffice is dying or OpenOffice is dying? I'm confused.

      • by stefanlasiewski (63134) * <slashdot@stefa n c o .com> on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @07:42PM (#6980871) Homepage Journal
        Excellent, I now have a storyline for my Geek Soap Opera: "As the OS turns". Is your Office Suite cheating on your OS? Who shot J.R.E.? Sure, Mac OS X sure is pretty, BUT WHO ARE THE PARENTS??? If Microsft dies, who gets to keep the mansion?

        I love Linux. But I like OS X a lot more.

        And with a .sig like that, you my man, will cast in the leading roll!
      • Re:Complete history (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Phroggy (441) *
        which debuted first on the Macintosh, who purchased ClarisWorks only to produce AppleWorks and later created Mac OS X

        It should be noted that Claris always was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Apple. Apple did buy ClarisWorks from Claris and rename it to AppleWorks (which is also the name of a word processor Apple created back in the Apple II era), and Claris renamed itself to Filemaker, Inc. which is still an Apple subsidiary.

        Claris the company is not to be confused with Clarus the dogcow [google.com].
  • by -Grover (105474) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @07:02PM (#6980528)
    I suppose you could go do the StarOffice pitch to your boss, the only problem I forsee is trying to keep up with M$ and their new ideas for keeping Office locked down with the proposed security interface with Win2k3, and incompatibilities with other Office suites. Could be more of a hassle than it's worth down the line...

    Blah...

    • "I suppose you could go do the StarOffice pitch to your boss, the only problem I forsee is trying to keep up with M$ and their new ideas for keeping Office locked down..."

      I find the "I need such-and-such features. You could pay $600, or I have this system which is available free..." tends to work quite well.

      Of course, after the first "these 5000 documents are in Word97 format, and if we want Office2003, it'll cost 3 man-weeks to convert them" conversation, some people might have a serious think about file
  • Pointless switch? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by contrasutra (640313) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @07:03PM (#6980532) Journal
    Now is a great time to show this to your boss and pitch that 'MS Office to StarOffice' conversion project."

    Why not switch the company to OpenOffice.org? I doubt the company needs StarOffice.

    You're just going from one pay-for product, to another (albiet less cost). If you REALLY want to show your boss the beauty of alternative software. Show him something thats great, FOR FREE! (that will get any bosses attention).

    And if you choose StarOffice just because "Money means better" to the management, you're just as bad as MS.
    • Re:Pointless switch? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by phraktyl (92649) * <<moc.ooggard> <ta> <ttayw>> on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @07:33PM (#6980798) Homepage Journal
      For most large companies, it's not about free or not free, it's about dedicated support. From a company standpoint, they would rather shell out money for the non-free version if they can call someone on the phone and get an answer. Sure, the free version may have mailing lists and USENET, but a company can't rely on that, and they can't point fingers when something goes wrong.

      That's the same reason a lot of companies will pay through the nose for RedHat Enterprise---not because it does more, but because they have a single place to call when something goes wrong.
      • by kotfu (641127) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @07:59PM (#6980971) Homepage
        Exactly. Why just the other day, we had this problem with Word crashing all of the time. We called those bums at Micro$oft, got right through to a person, and told them that we didn't get our sales presentation finished on time because Word kept crashing. The MS guy was real nice, he took all of the blame, and even offered to remunerate us for our lost revenue. My boss said, "see, that's why we spend the big bucks for Micro$oft products, they have great support and always make things right."

        Really what happens is you wait on hold for 30 minutes, and then talk to someone offshore who may or may not understand the English you are speaking. After hitting your credit card for 35 bucks, you are told to reboot, and that will fix the problem.

        I'll take the mailing list any day.
      • YOU GET VERY LITTLE SUPPORT WHEN YOU BUY STAROFFICE. You have to pay Sun MORE money for corporate support.

        On top of that, how much support do you need for an OFFICE SUITE? I of course understand how you would need support for an Operating System/Server, but who could justify spending the money for StarOffice (thousands of dollars) just for support.
      • Re:Pointless switch? (Score:3, Informative)

        by Lumpy (12016)
        For most large companies, it's not about free or not free, it's about dedicated support.

        oh bull crap. several PHB's tried trotting out that lie the LAST time we went around with Open source.

        Fortunatley we called them on the carpet. Made them gather the call data to microsoft from the help center. and show us the number of important support calls to Microsoft on Office.

        Oh guess what... ZEREO calls were made and billed to us No support was needed for Microsoft Office and therefore we wasted money on a
    • by DeathPenguin (449875) * on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @07:43PM (#6980876)
      >>And if you choose StarOffice just because "Money means better" to the management, you're just as bad as MS.

      Unfortunately, it seems that many management types look up to MS management. A friend of mine worked for an ISP which ran Windows server software. In spite of my friend colocating a Linux server which had no problems to speak of, a mail system superior to NTMail, and trying his darndest to get his boss to switch to free software, his boss still insisted on equating free with crap. PHB's (Pointy-haired bosses) don't know the meaning of the word "free," and are willing to piss away enormous amounts of money for a warrenty card and tech support number even if the product itself is inferior.

      That's where StarOffice comes in. OpenOffice is great, no question about that. Only problem is that it doesn't come with any sort of liability. Sun calls their version of OpenOffice StarOffice and fills this gap, maybe even going a little further to make the migration from MS to non-MS a little easier.
    • by rmohr02 (208447)
      Make the switch to StarOffice at first. Then, after StarOffice and OpenOffice have had new releases, show your boss how the programs look exactly alike, and that one is free, while the other costs $80.
    • Re:Pointless switch? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Kunta Kinte (323399) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @07:45PM (#6980895) Journal
      You're just going from one pay-for product, to another (albiet less cost). If you REALLY want to show your boss the beauty of alternative software. Show him something thats great, FOR FREE! (that will get any bosses attention).

      Of course you can also pay for StarOffice because...

      (i) The money going into StarOffice is being used to continue the development OpenOffice, as Sun still pays for a lot of the Development of OpenOffice.

      (ii) You can get product support, and training from Sun. Important for even small business, or any overstressed IT department.

      Not all of the cost of software is in the purchase of that software.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    One suggestion on office software for the Free Software desktop: Casually re-start a friend or co-worker's Windows computer with Knoppix and show them you can open their Word files with OpenOffice.org. Mention their machine is moderately safe from Word-borne until they reboot into Windows.

    ... Then have them yell at you for "breaking" their computer. Not everyone understands that Knoppix doesn't actually write to any of your disks.

    • by bogie (31020) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:58PM (#6981457) Journal
      Or have them get annoyed at you when OO screws up and loses all the formatting of the word doc.

      Sorry but even as a big OO booster, I'm the first to say that importing word docs is still a total crapshoot. Plain text letters etc come through fine most of the time. In fact most of the content comes through, but when it comes to even slightly complex word docs with images and lots of formatting OO chokes badly. Sure you end up with most of the text and images, but then you have to spend 5 minutes trying to move everything back to whre it should be the .doc import feature loses its charm.

      I don't fault OO for this since sucky MS won't open their file specs though. Unfortunately MS knows that proprietary Office file formats are the key to its desktop monopoly, so don't expect that to change in our lifetime.

      Honestly though I just don't think its right to outright lie to people and say OO can easily open all Word files. That's probably never going to happen. For me its not a problem since I never deal with a ton of word docs anymore, but for those who HAVE to both send and recieve word docs all day long I can't say they should see that as a plus for using OpenOffice.

      God I hate proprietary file specs and protocols.
      • ... but when it comes to even slightly complex word docs with images and lots of formatting OO chokes badly. Sure you end up with most of the text and images, but then you have to spend 5 minutes trying to move everything back to whre it should be ...

        I'm sure you're right about OO's performance here. Unfortunately, you can say exactly the same thing about Word opening slightly complex .doc files. Word will choke when trying to make them, choke when trying to save them and (it's wonderously consistant!)

  • Contratulations goes out to all of the developers for the Abiword, Gnumeric and GNOME-DB office programs. These applications show the power of open source software and the open source process. Thanks for all of the hard work and the dedication to excellence!
  • by The Ancients (626689) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @07:05PM (#6980559) Homepage
    I have read various comments on this but wouldn't mind the /. crowd's various takes. What happens when MS's Office switches to bastardised XML? Is it going to tip the whole cart over, or is it a small bump in the road? For someone considering switching to *nix, this could make a significant difference...
    • Some might say that ALL xml is bastardized.
      However microsoft's office xml is apparently no more bastardized than any other xml document.

      --jeff++
    • by Otter (3800)
      What happens when MS's Office switches to bastardised XML? Is it going to tip the whole cart over, or is it a small bump in the road?

      An ignorant opinion, but probably no more ignorant than most people's:

      Grocery lists will continue to open fine, your 300 page thesis with autogenerated table of contents and bibliography will continue to cause a kernel panic if you're using Nvidia drivers on an Athlon/VIA system and basic documents will continue to open all the text and numbers but need some prettying up. S

      • If you're doing your thesis in a WYSWIG word processor, you kind of deserve what you get anyway. I believe LaTeX and its spin-offs are still the accepted way of doing those documents.

        I prefer raw hand-coded (In EMACS...) HTML when I have to exchange documents with my managers. I can churn out a document faster with that than a WYSWING word processor, and if you put .doc on the end of it, they never know the difference.

    • Why? As soon as you switch over and someone sends you a MS Bastard-XML doc, send it back and request it in html or rtf. If they want to do business with you, then you shouldn't have to buy over-priced software.
    • by Jody Goldberg (61349) <jody@@@gnome...org> on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @07:50PM (#6980926) Homepage
      1) We'll start supporting it. Indeed I've already roughed in a basic framework for Office XP xml for Excel. Its a good deal easier than their binary format, especially given how much of their implementation detail is exposed in the file format.

      2) It will not be used very much because old versions of office can't read it (oops the Office 97 install on your secretaries machine is out of date).

      3) It will not be used very much because 100 Meg of uncompressed xml takes longer to parse than people with 30Meg of xls want to wait.
    • by 4of12 (97621) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:35PM (#6981302) Homepage Journal

      I guess there's XML and there's XML and getting between them is not necessarily easy.

      Microsoft made a big deal about the most recent versions of Office writing out XML, but that was because XML was a buzzword, sounded as if it might be more open than ".doc", and was essentially a selling point.

      From what I've read, people have been underwhelmed [com.com] with the XML coming out.

      But your question is a good one when you see the potential for XSLT transformations [tomw.net.au] that enable OpenOffice to import and export DocBook XML.

      If only a similar set of transformations could be developed for OpenOffice to import and export the XML of the latest version of Microsoft Office. From what I understand, the schema is not documented and the formatting and rendering rules for documents are still kept a private affair, just as it has been for .doc files.

      You're still locked-in, dude!

  • by mijok (603178) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @07:19PM (#6980694)
    I'm sorry if this is a bit O/T but it's something I've wanted to say here for a while and no closer topic has shown up lately either (so please don't mod down...): Since we (probably) all want to avoid lock-in and thus open formats to be more widespread (ie. other office suites than MS) I have a suggestion that others might want to follow. I've tried to help Open Office spread in the following way (the reason chose Open Office is that it's supported on more platforms than any of the others AFAIK and is thus most suitable for this purpose): I'm (among other things) a business student and frequently books on eg. finance include a CD-Rom with Excel spreadsheets as examples of some concepts in the book. I test whether the sheets work flawlessly in Open Office and if so send the authors a suggestion that since Open Office would definitely fit on the CD they could spread that along for free and thus allow students who don't have access to MS Office to use the additional material if they just have a computer. So my suggestion is simply that others too do this when they encounter such books. Please note, however, that the authors of such books are businesspeople and thus "MS Sucks, Open Source rulez!" is not the way to approach them - just try to emphasize that it adds value to their book and that it's very easy to implement (you can tell how easily it worked for you) and if you feel like it you might mention that MS surely needs some competition (and they certainly acknowledge that since MS has been used in books as an example of how a monopoly sets prices).
  • Can any of the wordprocessors handle msword docs with auto page numbering , auto table of contents and/or tables. Last time I checked these were the features that were lacking. Every thing else I came across in baisc msword docs was there. The lack of rendering for tables created in msword was a major stumbling block in converting anyone who has to exchange docs with ms users.
    • Re:Lazy Questions (Score:2, Informative)

      by jimmy_dean (463322)
      Abiword 2.0 will handle all of that except for the auto table of contents which will be a new feature for the next version, 2.2.
    • Re:Lazy Questions (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SCHecklerX (229973)
      While I'm sure abiword will get all of those features, I prefer that they aren't there. It's NICE having a WORD PROCESSOR that ACTS LIKE ONE rather than trying to be a document processor / layout engine.

      Word processors should be used for letters and very short papers. Anything approaching a book, or anything needing any kind of consistency should be done using a document processing language like LaTEX.

      Same goes for spreadsheet 'programming'. If you have to automate some data analysis, write a program

      • I have to agree.

        A few months ago I had to type up a fairly complex docu

        I was getting sick of maintaining my own TOC, so I decided to try the MS word features. I started the TOC when I was 80% done witht he document, which was a big mistake. It worked miserably. Page numbers not getting updated, TOC pointing to the wrong place. MS word couldn't handle msword docs with auto page numbering , auto table of contents and/or tables.

        yicky
      • I appreciate your opinion is validly yours to have, but here's mine: I'd love to have page numbering handled properly and even basic table ability. Granted, I don't even write that many papers these days, but my wife still does, and there's no chance with all the crap she has to shove in her head that she'll want to "learn latex" to get what many people, if not you, expect nowadays as "basic features." And so, in the meantime, her system dual-boots to you-know-what to use you-know-who's version of Office. S
        • Re:Lazy Questions (Score:3, Informative)

          by jimlintott (317783)
          LyX. If she spends thirty minutes with the LyX tutorial she'll never use a word processor again. LyX acts like a front end for latex. It is WYSIWYM (what you se is what you mean) and excellent for large documents.

          Best little piece of software I've seen. Ever.
          www.lyx.org
      • by Jody Goldberg (61349) <jody@@@gnome...org> on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:01PM (#6981000) Homepage
        Same goes for spreadsheet 'programming'. If you have to automate some data analysis, write a program. Spreadsheets should be used for quick analysis, or a place to keep your notes for anything not complex enough to warrant a database

        I respectfully disagree. Spreadsheet make a very nice interface to complex analytics. Real practitioners do their own calculations on the complex bits and use a spreadsheet front end as a scratch pad, a way to quickly twiddle data. Spreadsheets are not databases, and generally should not be used that way. However, to dismiss them as being merely stedding stones to real databases is to miss the point entirely. They're quite good at lots of other things.

        • Spreadsheets are not databases, and generally should not be used that way. However, to dismiss them as being merely stedding stones to real databases is to miss the point entirely. They're quite good at lots of other things.

          Just to second Jody's point: I've seen spreadsheets (specifically Excel) used for, of all things, spacecraft design (among other things). In fact, JPL's Project Design Center (aka Team X) uses a whole slew of linked workbooks to develop entire conceptual mission designs. The beauty of

  • by Anonymous Coward
    "Finally the Linux desktop has a quality word processor "

    And people wonder why Linux isn't 'on the desktop' yet!? Seriously, apps like these are needed; they aren't some kind of swish extra that only Windows users can have. So while it's nice to see a decent 'quality' wordprocessor, it's also a bit embarrassing really.

    What was everyone doing? Waiting for M$ to release Word or is it just a sign that Linux is still currently in the palm of techies, not office workers?
    • *nix has had quality office applications for sometime.

      90% of the features of current MSOffice go unused, and the offerings for *nix are more then enough for most people.

      Hell, even 'works' is more then most people need.

      ANd before you argue with me, take a good look around at the average user... and identify what they are really doing. You will be suprised.
  • by rmohr02 (208447) <mohr.42@osuOPENBSD.edu minus bsd> on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @07:50PM (#6980927)
    StarOffice 7 software adds functionality to enable export to PDF, and to the Macromedia Flash format.
    I would like to mention that OpenOffice 1.1 supports exporting to PDF now. Perhaps OO will see Flash support in the future?
  • by Jody Goldberg (61349) <jody@@@gnome...org> on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @07:55PM (#6980954) Homepage
    Mitch Kapor's OSA Foundation funds a free spreadsheet test suite

    Gnumeric has received a grant from Mitch Kapor [osafoundation.org] (creator of Lotus 1-2-3) to develop an interoperability test suite with leading proprietary competitors. The money will be used as form of bounty to fund the expansion of our existing tests [gnome.org] for worksheet functions (eg =SUM, or =ODDFPRICE). Our goal is to ensure that a users data will produce the same results (or better :-) using Gnumeric. The test suite will be in xls format, and will be freely available to all other interested projects.


    Exact prices have not been decided as yet, but this is an excellent opporunity for non-coders to help opensource programs, and earn a bit of money too. Specifics to be announced on the mailing lists [gnome.org] in the coming weeks.


    Official announcement here [gnome.org]

  • by Benoni (132028) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @07:55PM (#6980956) Homepage

    If you want to take Gnumeric 1.2.0 for a spin, consider participating in The Cooperative Bug Isolation Project [berkeley.edu], a research project being conducted at UC Berkeley. We have prebuilt Red Hat 9 packages of Gnumeric and several other popular applications. These binaries are built with extra feedback instrumentation that lets us understand how the software is working (or failing to work) in the hands of real users.

    Even if you have never written a line of code in your life you can help make the software better for everyone simply by using our special bug-hunting feedback packages.

    Read more about it [berkeley.edu] or download and install [berkeley.edu] today!

  • The biggest coup for any productivity suite would be a nice document management application like iManage for DocsOpen. Law firms (like mine) MUST have such a thing with hundreds of thousands of documents.
  • by RealAlaskan (576404) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:15PM (#6981126) Homepage Journal
    Dr. B.D. McCullaugh is a big name in statistics, and has made a name for himself in (among other things) testing statistical software. In this [elsevier.com] article, he says:
    The problems that rendered Excel 97 unfit for use as a statistical package have not been fixed in either Excel 2000 or Excel 2002 (also called "Excel XP"). Microsoft attempted to fix errors in the standard normal random number generator and the inverse normal function, and in the former case actually made the problem worse.
    That's the entire abstract!

    According to the release mentioned above [gnomedesktop.org], Dr. McCullaugh recommends using Gnumeric instead of excel.

  • Blatant bias.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jondo (693238) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:16PM (#6981133)
    Finally the Linux desktop has a quality word processor that is faster to load than OpenOffice.org and includes proper footnotes. It also no longer uses its own font directory.

    Koffice [koffice.org] Loads faster than OO, has proper footnotes, has never had its "own" font directory, and is properly integrated into the rest of KDE.

  • While i realize the new release isnt finished, the story tag seems to try lead one to belive Gnome Office and Staroffice are the only office suites available.....

    Oh, and siag office too.. if you want something more lightweight.
  • by GileadGreene (539584) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @09:54PM (#6981867) Homepage
    Abiword 2.0 is part of the just-released GNOME-Office 1.0, which, as riggwelter writes "coordinates GNOME2 versions of AbiWord, Gnumeric, and GNOME-DB, the database interface."

    I see a word processor, a spreadsheet, and a database app. How about that other stalwart of the "office productivity" suite, presentation software? Much as it pains me to say it, Powerpoint has become almost indispensable (at least in my line of work) these days. OO.org's Impress is nice, but still not quite on a par with PPT. A Gnome-Office PPT equivalent would be a nice addition to the suite. Or is there some other open source presentation option out there I'm not aware of?

  • by The Revolutionary (694752) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @10:18PM (#6982034) Homepage Journal
    I'm currently an OpenOffice.org Writer for various informal to semi-formal tasks. Although for anything "serious" I use LaTeX. Something like Abiword, which integrates better with my GNOME desktop, is just the sort of application I would like to use.

    Also, the story claims that one of Abiword's distinctive features is, "includes proper footnotes". Well what is this supposed to mean? I've never had any difficulty making OpenOffice.org Writer do footnotes properly. Is there some widely known deficiency of which I am completely unaware?

    There were also a number of other issues last I tried; perhaps this have since been resolved:

    Seemingly no support for automated numbering of a proper outline (i.e. cycle Roman numerals, capital letters, numbers, etc.). I can't even get it to work manually, changing the sort of "numbering" I want at each level of indent.

    select+delete or cut text fails to properly redraw the screen, leaving a line of the removed text visible, and leaving me to wonder whether I actually removed the section properly, or if it is just due to improper redraw.

    In "Web Layout", strange breaking occurs where page breaks "should be", leaving me to wonder whether it hit "Enter" accidently, or if it is merely this bug.

    Scrolling results in text distortion, making one or more lines unreadable until scrolled off the screen again, or until the application window is covered and redrawn (although disabling "smooth scrolling" seems to "fix" this).

    Also, Abiword doesn't appear to allow the insertion of any "objects" other than "pictures". Of course this isn't a "fault", as I suppose it is waiting for a framework to be standardized for this sort of thing.

    No, between everything else, I don't have the time now to get a handle on the code base and fix or implement these things myself, and so please don't tell me to.

    I'm simply stating that as I found it last I checked, it was not sufficient to meet my needs, and I will, if most of these issues still remain, have to wait a while longer before I can adopt or endorse it for regular use.

    I look forward to switching.

  • by RedBear (207369) <redbear.redbearnet@com> on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @10:43PM (#6982203) Homepage
    Just one question about all these wonderful new "office" suites. They all use the same, standardized, open file formats by default, and are 100% compatible with each other, right? Right?

    Because that would be a huge benefit of moving away from MS Office, right? Because all these different office suites are totally compatible and interchangeable, even though they can never be totally compatible with the secret, changing MS Office formats.

    So I don't have to keep saving in DOC just to exchange files between StarOffice and GNOME Office and KDE Office, right? I can save in some new, default, standard, universally recognized file format, and easily exchange files between all these different programs without any translation problems or confusion, right?

    And Microsoft will quickly be forced to create a patch for their Office products so they can read and write this new open file format that the whole world is suddenly standardizing on because it's used by default by every open source office suite in the world, right?

    Or am I smoking crack and about to get my first -1, Troll rating for openly wondering why there is still no apparent single, open, standard, widely used file format? One to compete on solid ground with the single, closed, proprietary file formats from Microsoft and others that we all revile on a daily basis.

    We've had 15 years or more to replace DOC and its brethren. Where is the replacement for DOC? Or the replacement that can be used for anything, like a combination of DOC, XLS, PPT, PUB, etc? I'd really, really, really like to know. Because until I know that, I feel pretty stupid telling people to drop the nice, simple, standard (de facto if not de jure) Microsoft Office file formats. When they ask what they're supposed to use instead, I have no answer.
  • by DuckWing (19575) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @10:57PM (#6982326)
    unfortunately for me, AbiWord doesn't come close to OpenOffice Write. OO does a better job of converting MS documents. AbiWord, in all my tests, is pathetic at it.

    for OpenOffice, any MS Word doc with graphics is hosed and forget about Word Art.

    Quite frankly, both have a lot of work ahead of them IMHO.

If a thing's worth having, it's worth cheating for. -- W.C. Fields

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