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OpenOffice Vs. Google Apps 336

Posted by timothy
from the google-apps-works-pretty-well-for-me dept.
jammag writes "Both OpenOffice and Google Apps are free, so the choice is purely down to which is better. Bruce Byfield, after looking at both, concluded, 'comparing Google Apps to OpenOffice.org is like clubbing a staked-out bunny — Google Apps is so far behind that the whole exercise seems like an exercise in pointless cruelty.' Ouch, that hurts."
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OpenOffice Vs. Google Apps

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  • Depends.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Medieval (41719) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:11PM (#25722465) Homepage

    Google Apps gives me what I want: A browser-based place to write stuff and make spreadsheets and store the documents where I can access them whenever I like.

    Thus, Google Apps is fine for me.

    • Re:Depends.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MrNaz (730548) * on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:16PM (#25722575) Homepage

      I think the last missing link in OOo's suite of tools is an answer to MS Office's SharePoint server.

      A good implementation of collaborative document editing would complete OOo's competition with MS Office as well as remove one of the big drawcards that Google apps has.

      Personally, I don't use Google apps, as a JavaScript implementation of notepad.exe doesn't come close to satisfying my document management needs, and I can't imagine any serious business would disagree.

      Given the extremely rudimentary functionality of Google Apps, I can't for the life of me figure out how there's even a discussion around it's potential use in business.

      To the OOo team: Give us an answer to SharePoint! (Please).

      • Re:Depends.. (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:43PM (#25723033)

        http://www.alfresco.com/

      • by nurb432 (527695) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:46PM (#25723093) Homepage Journal

        Why spend resources on that when there are far too many other CMS systems out there already.

      • Re:Depends.. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by zappepcs (820751) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:48PM (#25723115) Journal

        In a good world, Google Apps would collaborate with OOo, and we'd get OOo with use anywhere functionality. You can use it stand alone, or when away from the office/home/computer you can use your data via web based tools. IMO, that is the best possible outcome, what I would like to see. For now, I use a USB drive to port things around where I need them because Google apps doesn't quite get me what I want and need.

        • Re:Depends.. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Duckie01 (10586) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @02:56PM (#25724175)

          In a good world, Google Apps would collaborate with OOo,

          No. In a good world, people are free to do as they see fit, as long as they can do so without harming others. The whole "people *must*collaborate* to make it a good world" thing is nothing but idealism, which in practice would take the freedom away to do anything but join the existing one party with a project going on.

          Come on. If someone wants to create something new, it's his decision, just as it'd be his decision to collaborate with an existing project. Nothing good or bad about it. Things might or might not work out the way the person had hoped for but that's a whole different story.

          I, for one, like the google competition. Let's just send them a clear message: "NOT good enough!" and hope they'll get Document up to Writer's level. If they don't, nothing is lost, because we still have Writer. If they do, it might give Writer a nice push, or perhaps even leave Writer in the dust.

          and we'd get OOo with use anywhere functionality. You can use it stand alone, or when away from the office/home/computer you can use your data via web based tools.

          Or, you might find out OOo is unsuitable to build a web app from, and start from scratch anyways after a long frustrating delay trying to get a large complex codebase to do something it won't.

          IMO, that is the best possible outcome, what I would like to see. For now, I use a USB drive to port things around where I need them because Google apps doesn't quite get me what I want and need.

          IMHO, you're doing better right now than a web app could deliver. Yes you'll need to carry around an usb drive. You could use one of those 16Gb USB sticks, that should be *plenty* for a complete Linux system with anything you'd otherwise use a web app for. That's not like lugging around a zip drive or external hdd or anything.

          Your biggest advantages? It's faster, you don't depend on an internet connection and a working service, you keep control over which version of the software you're running, and you keep control over your data.

          Google can *keep* its web apps as far as I'm concerned :)

      • by HangingChad (677530) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:48PM (#25723127) Homepage

        Given the extremely rudimentary functionality of Google Apps, I can't for the life of me figure out how there's even a discussion around it's potential use in business.

        We use it all the time. Not for polished docs we're going to hand off to a client, but certainly for internal stuff. We share out docs with staff so application testers can submit comments, saves us writing a custom app to track change requests. For developing content quickly and gathering input from multiple users, it's really nice.

        No, the formatting options may not be particularly deep, but I can dash off a quick letter and it looks fine. And that's particularly helpful when I'm starting it here and finishing at home. Saves me an rsync operation and version problems.

        If there are cheaper, easier and more convenient ways to solve these problems I haven't found them. GoogleApps works for us.

        • by qoncept (599709)
          "We share out docs with staff so application testers can submit comments, saves us writing a custom app to track change requests."

          I'm sure it works, but there are tools specifically designed that would work better. BugZilla, for one. If Google Apps suit your needs, wonderful, but they definately aren't saving you from writing a custom app.
      • by blindd0t (855876)
        I would say a good F/OSS alternative to SharePoint would be great, but that would be a fairly sizable undertaking (though certainly feasible imho). What Google Docs does have that I haven't encountered with OOo or MS Office is the ability to collaborate on the document in nearly-real-time without something like VNC or Live Meeting, respectively. If there is way to do this in OOo or MS Office, someone please tell me how! ^_^
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Mateo_LeFou (859634)

          "I would say a good F/OSS alternative to SharePoint would be great"

          http://www.knowledgetree.com/ [knowledgetree.com] ?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by dbrutus (71639)

          It already exists with Alfresco. The 3.x version just coming out of beta about now is a reasonable alternative and has the advantage of actually interoperating with SharePoint and MS Office via the new specification, CMIS which MS has signed on to. There are interfaces to Alfresco for both MS Office and OOo. MS Office just thinks its talking to SharePoint.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ThePhilips (752041)

        I think the last missing link in OOo's suite of tools is an answer to MS Office's SharePoint server.

        I know people who use Wiki specifically for the reason.

        It has lots of unexpected features for collaboration e.g. RSS feeds for new pages and category updates.

        P.S.

        Personally, I don't use Google apps, as a JavaScript implementation of notepad.exe doesn't come close to satisfying my document management needs, and I can't imagine any serious business would disagree.

        Well, I can't believe that somebody was fooled by Google's pitch.

        Google Doc thingy is fine for simple documents but falls flat for any serious purposes like e.g. specification or protocol.

        To the OOo team: Give us an answer to SharePoint! (Please).

        For that, I would expect sooner KOffice/Kolab integration, rather than something from OO.o.

        On other side, Sun is still backs StarOffice, so they as

      • Given the extremely rudimentary functionality of Google Apps, I can't for the life of me figure out how there's even a discussion around it's potential use in business.

        I'm a small business owner and I'm very mobile in my daily routine. Whenever a client asks for a price quote, I use Google Apps for its spreadsheet. There's not a lot of functionality, but I don't need much either.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jank1887 (815982)

        maybe not in business, but as a college tool, I like Google Appsz's potential. The semester before it came out, I was working on a research report with in a 3 person group. We kept emailing snippets back and forth, renaming word docs to track versions, and additions, trying to keep track via track changes. It wasn't until the project was over that I really started looking for some collaborative, wiki-like document tool. I had seen writely, et al, but never had the chance to dive into one.

        A year later I had

      • I believe this is what you're looking for.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by mrsmiggs (1013037)
        It's a bit a leap for the Open Office developers to develop their own sharepoint style collaboration tools and as pointed out why should they bother there are plenty of Open Source wikis, cms, intranet, change management packages available that would more than make up for Sharepoint. The Open Office developers should build an API which allows browser based applications to integrate seamlessly in a Sharepoint style with Open Office, the world does not need another cms or wiki but OO does need a way to fend o
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          The Open Office developers should build an API which allows browser based applications to integrate seamlessly in a Sharepoint style with Open Office, the world does not need another cms or wiki but OO does need a way to fend off Sharepoint + Office integration.

          That API already exists - it's called CMIS [wikipedia.org]. Now if OO.org uses it, they could integrate with anything that supports it (including, as I understand, SharePoint).

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        > Given the extremely rudimentary functionality of Google Apps, I can't for the life of
        > me figure out how there's even a discussion around it's potential use in business.

        I use it all the time to read Word documents that are e-mailed to me, when I'm on a non-Windows machine (no wordpad.exe) and I don't feel like downloading OOo just to read a three-page memo.

        The fact that my email all arrives by Gmail makes this incredibly convenient.

      • by timeOday (582209)
        I use sharepoints that are provided to me, but perhaps I'm not getting the most out of them, since I can't for the life of me see how they're any better than a network share for storing documents.
      • Re:Depends.. (Score:4, Informative)

        by AVryhof (142320) <avryhof AT gawab DOT com> on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @02:28PM (#25723739) Homepage

        http://extensions.services.openoffice.org/project/ooo2gd [openoffice.org]

        Works with Google Docs, Zoho, and WebDAV.

        It's like Sharepoint and Live Office in one.

    • by Kjuib (584451) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:18PM (#25722599) Homepage Journal

      but... what if you need help typing a letter? Google Apps provides no such paper clip to help... you are screwed.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      I think it a little strange that you or anyone else believe locking your own data in some remove server in some proprietary format is fine, and having to work on your files through a slow internet link and browser, and paying for use on a per-hour basis is a good idea.

      But what I'll never understand is that anybody would deem Google worthy of trust as far as data privacy is concerned.

      This web-app business is another web-two-oh fad that will never work because nobody want the concept of it. Software company w

      • by Bryansix (761547)
        Oh no! It's Roland!

        Google Apps lets you share documents across diverse locations in realtime and includes the ability to collaboratively edit documents simultaneously. Internet connections are NOT slow. Google Apps loads faster then Word does. Lastly you CAN save the documents off of Google Apps and keep them on your hard drive. Stop living in the past.
        • Google apps may load quickly, but that's because there's not much to them. For baseline use, they're fine, although I'm not sure I like Google authentication or trust its privacy.

          To compare Word to Google App is to equate a 737 with a Piper Cub. I'd much rather use a Cub sometimes, but man, when you need a 737, a Cub simply will not do.

          Fitting OOo into this analogy makes it a BAC-111, meaning older technology, bulky, uses a lot of fuel, but sometimes very fun to fly if the engines don't fall off. Someone ne

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hobo sapiens (893427)

        Agreed. And I make a living writing AJAX-type apps. I think the technology is just fabulous, when used for the right things. Office apps? Not the right use of the technology. I look at Google Office apps as more of a proof-of-concept, anyhow. No way would I even consider using them for any serious work.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by zarlino (985890)
      The day Google Apps will be full of ads or will ask you for a subscription fee, I'll pay for a video of you trying to export your documents one by one after the announce that the export feature will be removed in 24 hours.
    • Re:Depends.. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:42PM (#25723009) Homepage

      "documents where I can access them whenever I like."

      except for when you dont have internet connectivity, then you cant get them even if your life depended on it.

      • Re:Depends.. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by RiffRafff (234408) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:55PM (#25723249) Homepage

        True enough. I can't access Google Docs from work, for instance:
        Your request was denied because of its content categorization: "Personal Network Storage;Interactive Web Applications"

    • by alcmaeon (684971)
      Adobe Buzzword is a lot more interesting than Google Apps, in my opinion.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Culture20 (968837)

      store the documents where I can access them whenever I like.

      Except when Google decides they'll be down for a day. "Didn't you know we were in Beta? Sorry, you're out of luck."

  • by CyberLord Seven (525173) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:11PM (#25722471)
    After all, they are still in Beta. :)
    • by williamhb (758070)

      After all, they are still in Beta. :)

      Sure, but Google reckons that in the global economy, that makes them world-betas. (say it aloud). I'm here all week...

  • Accessibility (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oahazmatt (868057) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:11PM (#25722475) Journal
    I use OpenOffice at home for documents I want to keep secure (for the most part, I detest cloud computing) but for documents that can be out in the open, I prefer GoogleDocs simply because I can access them from any computer available to me and make a quick change.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Mista2 (1093071)

      I like cloud computing, but only if it is on my cloud, not someone elses.
      My oldest server is a 1.8GHz box with 2GB RAM, running VMWare Server, a Novell iFolder VM appliance for file storage and sync, my mail server (Suse 10.2 appliance configured with cyrus(iMAP), and fetchmail(download mail from my pop mailbox at my ISP) allows CalDAV and iMAP for mail and calender sync. I have port open for web/java based VNC client to a locked down tiny linux desktop with mail and OpenOffice if I don't have my own netboo

  • Google Apps are a new paradigm in software, having commonly used applications entirely on a server so that multiple users can use them. I think we'll see this on par with Open Office when it becomes more popular.
    • Re:Convenience (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:29PM (#25722795) Homepage Journal

      "Google Apps are a new paradigm in software, having commonly used applications entirely on a server so that multiple users can use them."
      You are being funny right?
      This is the very old way of doing things. Anybody that worked on a PDP-11, Vax, 360/370, Model 38, AS400, or any number of other mini or mainframes would tell you the same thing.

      Google Apps are really a great example of. Good enough.
      They are good enough for most people.
      As to Convenience. No network no programs, no data as well.
      The internet isn't everywhere yet so if anything Google Apps are less convenient than carrying you data on a USB drive.

    • Re:Convenience (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Roland Piquepaille (780675) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:32PM (#25722853)

      Some new paradigm indeed. What you describe is how computing was done before (servers and terminals) before PCs got powerful enough for software to become decentralized, which until recently, was viewed as a major advance in computing.

      Nowadays, people seem to think it's such a great idea to go back to the past, but I suspect it's a concerted effort by software companies to go back to the days where they could control everything and charge everybody anything they please through centralized server.

    • Re:Convenience (Score:4, Insightful)

      by megamerican (1073936) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:38PM (#25722961)

      "The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know."

      -Harry S Truman

  • by thomasdz (178114) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:11PM (#25722487)

    I eagerly followed the link in summary hoping to see some good bunny staking pictures or even bunnies clubbing a steak (for tenderness?), but NOOOO, I get some article about Google and OpenOffice. Seriously, who came up with the term "clubbing a staked-out bunny"? Who EVER says that?
    Is this a reference to some Simpson's episode (w. Natalie Portman doing voice overs) that I missed?

  • This is pointless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 77Punker (673758) <spencr04@highpoin[ ]du ['t.e' in gap]> on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:12PM (#25722497)

    Does anyone expect a web app to come close to a heavy hitter like Open Office? It serves a different purpose; it will edit documents from any decent web browser at any location. The computer doesn't need access to my files as long as Google has them and it doesn't need any special software, either.

    Google docs isn't special because it's a great office suite; it's special because it's convenient.

    • by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:16PM (#25722577) Homepage

      I wouldn't necessarily say that. And what's more, I would like to see tests like how it handles very large files.

      Frankly, what I would like to see is "OpenOffice.org-server" that will host those apps on a network server... preferably one under user/admin control and doesn't require live internet.

      • by ais523 (1172701)

        I wouldn't necessarily say that. And what's more, I would like to see tests like how it handles very large files.

        I actually tried this a couple of years ago; it was slow on large files, but if the formatting gets messed up (say, unclosed tags, things pasted in from Word, or the like), it became unusable on a large file if there are multiple people editing at once; there were edit conflicts every few seconds. In the end we split it into something like 5 or 6 subdocuments, and I spent a few hours with Tidy and emacs sorting all the markup out. For all I know, though, Google's fixed this since.

  • Why the Vs? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BrotherJustin (1135421) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:12PM (#25722505)
    Is there something wrong with using both? If I have net connection, it's Google. If I'm offline, it's OpenOffice.
    • Re:Why the Vs? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by thermian (1267986) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:20PM (#25722637)

      Is there something wrong with using both?

      If I have net connection, it's Google.
      If I'm offline, it's OpenOffice.

      We live in a time of extreme opinions. Ever tried expressing a liking for two supposedly opposing products in a room full of geeks, or here? I have, it ain't pretty.

      I use OpenOffice, MSOffice 2003, and Google docs. I think MSOffice is better, but I like OpenOffice for my Linux laptop, and Google docs when I'm away from my main machine.

      I also like and routinely use both Windows and Linux. I'm an open source developer of six years standing, coding for both platforms, and I STILL get blasted by clueless f**ks who think that just because they've commented on a slashdot story they are fully able to preach 'though must prefer open source and hate Microsoft' to me.

      It does grate some times, I have to say.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Lumpy (12016)

        "think MSOffice is better,"

        upgrade to Office 2007, that will change your mind.

        The BEST office suite ever made was office 2000. I wish that OO.o would strive for speed and performance instead of ooooh shiney like everyone else does.

      • by heritage727 (693099) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:50PM (#25723151)

        We live in a time of extreme opinions.

        If you believe that you're the stupidest person in the history of the universe.

      • by rugatero (1292060)

        Ever tried expressing a liking for two supposedly opposing products in a room full of geeks, or here? I have, it ain't pretty.

        I'm sure it's not as bad as all that. Incidentally, I happen to be equally fond of both emacs and vi. (Ducks)

      • Re:Why the Vs? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Xtifr (1323) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @03:54PM (#25724863) Homepage

        Ever tried expressing a liking for two supposedly opposing products in a room full of geeks, or here?

        As someone who uses both emacs and vi on a daily basis, that's a solid yuppers! :D

        In fact, I don't bother with OpenOffice or Google Apps, because I already have both emacs and vim! :)

  • by h4rm0ny (722443) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:13PM (#25722521) Journal
    Open Office kicks seven kinds of Hell out of Google Apps in terms of functionality. Google docs offers online sharing of documents / collaborative working. You know what Open Office is doing with your data (f' all) and you don't know what Google is doing with it. Choose a product according to your requirements. Simple enough.
  • by choas (102419) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:14PM (#25722545)

    Because that's what it is, right ?

    A locall?y running suite to an online suite...

    I mean, I'm all for opensource and stuff, but this...

    Let's compare my wallet to my bankaccount...

    Wallet wins hands down because I can pay a cabfare with it...

  • by IANAAC (692242) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:18PM (#25722611)
    It doesn't do what I need it to do, primarily support for plugins and extensions. There are a couple of important add-ons I use in OO.o that just aren't available in GDocs.

    Well, also, I use a translation suite (Heartsome) that can't deal with any online docs. The document has to be reformatted to XLF format for use in the suite. Once complete, I convert it back to either ODF or doc format, and then I suppose I could use GDocs as storage. But there are a million online storage options out there now, some offering dav access.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:18PM (#25722613)

    Apples and Oranges, people...

    GoogleDocs, for example, is merely a quick, easily accessible and SHARABLE online tool.

    OpenOffice is a full suite of office software with an actual footprint on a single existing computer.

    Not even worth comparing at this point. Not until we get more into a blur of web-based software and installed software.

  • Google Apps is right there in my browser and doesn't take a minute to start.

    Also, unlike OpenOrifice.org, actually using Google Apps isn't like eating a bowl of sawdust with milk on for breakfast every morning.

    • Google Apps is right there in my browser and doesn't take a minute to start.

      Unless your browser takes a minute to start. This can happen in a lot of cases: your dial-up or ISDN Internet access takes a minute to start, or your laptop's 3G card takes a minute to start, or it takes a minute to read the privacy policy that a Wi-Fi hotspot's captive portal presents and put in your credit card number.

  • O Rly? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Thyamine (531612) <thyamineNO@SPAMofdragons.com> on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:20PM (#25722629) Homepage Journal
    This is one of those articles that probably started out as an interesting idea, but then immediately was like 'oh, a bit of a waste of time'. I suppose the idea is that they are both popular and free to use, and thus was born the idea.

    As everyone has (and will) pointed out, they serve different purposes. It's like comparing the OS on my phone to the OS on my laptop, and then saying 'wow, you can do so much more with the laptop OS'. Duh, mofo.. shortage of article ideas this month?

    And don't mean to sound so harsh, just too much coffee I'm thinking.
  • Nobody I know uses open office, however a lot of people I know will can and do use google's applications. There is something to be said for simple/easy to use.

    Plus, oo requires me to install something, why do I want to go through all of that headache?

    This article reads like a fanboy post to be quite honest.

    • Plus, oo requires me to install something, why do I want to go through all of that headache?

      On the other hand, google apps require me to install something that costs money per month [att.com], why do I want to go through all of that headache?

    • Maybe people you know do use OpenOffice.Org, but they know that you use MS office, and convert their files before sending them to you.

      People who don't know me, regularly send me PowerPoint and Word documents, and if you were to ask them, they'd probably tell you that I do use MS Office.

  • by famebait (450028) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:20PM (#25722633)

    -when we'll be comparing novels to text messaging.

  • by pubjames (468013) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:22PM (#25722667)

    Is it just me or are office apps becoming increasingly unimportant.

    Ten years ago I spent most of my computing time in some kind of office app. Now I rarely use them. And I receive fewer office documents via email.

    Perhaps the office app is just dying? Are they just transition applications between a paper based office and a paperless one anyway?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:32PM (#25722861)

      Is it just me or are office apps becoming increasingly unimportant.

      Ten years ago I spent most of my computing time in some kind of office app. Now I rarely use them. And I receive fewer office documents via email.

      Sorry that you lost your job...I'm sure you'll find another once the recession is done.

  • Freedom matters. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by McDutchie (151611) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:25PM (#25722717) Homepage

    Both OpenOffice and Google Apps are free, so the choice is purely down to which is better.

    Ummm... no. One is free of charge only, the other is both free of charge and free as in freedom. One stores your data on computers you have no control over and leaves you at the whim of unexpected feature changes [slashdot.org] by a publically-traded company whose customers are their advertisers and whose product is your eyeballs; the other leaves you firmly in control over your own data and your own software. These are serious considerations.

    • Ummm... no. One is free of charge only, the other is both free of charge and free as in freedom.

      What amazes me is that it took this many comments before anyone pointed that out. This is supposed to be a site for open source geeks and no one noticed!

      Unless some can tell me where I can download the Google docs source from, that is.....

      It shows what a bad idea the term "free software" is. Something like "freedom software" would have been better. "Open source" would have been fine if the OSI had trademarked it and prevented it from being used for restrictive "shared source" type licenses.

  • The question is not so much functionality or reliability. This will eventually converge. The main difference is confidentiality. Are the data on google docs treated correctly? Is it possible to access them for other purposes? It is convenient for example for schools to collect grades on a google spreadsheet. Are these data kept away from third eyes? Are students with good scores for example being targeted suddenly by job hunters? I'm not aware of any case, where data has leaked, but we put a lot of trust in
  • It's like using the the online banking interface to management my wealth in the bank [GoogleApps], and using quicken/spreadsheet to management my wealth that I manage (like Stock, Cash...) [OpenOffice]

    or a better example: Gmail versus [insert your favorite email client]. No matter how sophisticated the gmail is, there are always some non-replacable reason that I want to keep my email client. It might looks stupid 20 years later why I still keep that (if we are moving everything to the cloud) but at this mom

  • Biased agenda. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:37PM (#25722947) Homepage Journal

    I think this says it all.
    "But if Stallman's observations aren't enough to stop you from using network apps, a comparison of a leading example like Google Apps with free and open source software (FOSS) such as OpenOffice.org should be."

    I really like OpenOffice. Version 3 is very good but this is clearly based on an agenda.
    Google Docs are.
    1. Good enough for most people. Guess what folks if a program does what you need it too any other features are meaningless.
    2. Stores your data online. Great for anything that isn't extremely private. Even better because Google will probably do a better job of backing it up than you will.
    3. It works most every where. No need to install it or keep it updated.
    4. Works with many common file formats just like OO.org.

    If you need OO.org than Google docs will not work for you. But then if you need a feature in Microsoft Office that OO.org doesn't support then you need Office.
    But for a lot of people Google Docs are great.
    But since both are free as in beer. You might as well use both.

  • This article is really quite pathetic. Google Apps is barely out of beta. OpenOffice is based on StarOffice which has been around for over 10 years now. Isn't it kind of silly to expect a first generation product to have all the features of something that is in release 8?

    I knew this article would be a steaming pile of manure in the first two paragraphs. The writer acts as though Stallman's opinion is the truth from on high. I know very few people who care if they have access to source code, especially sourc

  • by Hierarch (466609) <CaptainNeedaNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:43PM (#25723047) Homepage

    I haven't seen anybody hit my own personal reason to use Google's applications: collaborative editing. If I'm working on my own document, I want it right here under my control, so I'll use OpenOffice. (Actually, I'm more likely to use vi and latex.) But if I'm working with someone, who may not even be in the same country as I am, I'm going to go to Google. My alternatives are to email copies back and forth and manually deal with merges, or to set up a revision control repository of whatever flavor I like. That's more of a pain in my work day than I like.

    This also isn't something where OpenOffice can improve. It requires having the infrastructure in place to conveniently share documents, and that's just not part of the OO paradigm. Sure, a repository makes it possible, but I don't want to run a repo, I want to work on documents! Google can do it "out of the box."

  • How lame... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Ecuador (740021) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:45PM (#25723079) Homepage

    What a lame comparison. Open Office is a huge (as in bloated) and slow software suite that makes me cry when I have to use it for something serious. I prefer to use Koffice even though it lacks some features I'd like. The fact that using MS Excel on a VM on my linux machine is several orders more productive than running OO natively, should be a good indication. Notice I did not mention MS Word and "productive" in the same sentence, for Word processing I resort to Abiword (or Kword if I want more DTP style).
    So, in summary, OO compares (IMO) badly to its real competitors. Google Apps are a whole different paradigm, targeting completely different usage scenarios. It is not either Google or OO (or Koffice etc). You first decide if your needs require web or local applications and then you decide among the available software for the platform. The web apps will probably never have the same feature set as the local apps for probably good reasons.
    Lame, lame article.
    Next week on /.: PS3 vs MAME, MS Flight Simulator vs Hot air Balloons, Mars Rover vs RAV4.

  • Next comparison (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sockatume (732728) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:46PM (#25723089)
    Computing site shocked to discover that FlickR performs poorly in comparison to photos stored on hard drive. FlickR declared backwards-ass waste of time.
  • Comparing OO to Google apps may make more sense if we try to look at their features in a more abstract setup: type of storage, type of UI, ease of use, functionality, freedom and openess. Let us say we compare Google apps with storing OO documents in the cloud. Then, the main advantage of Google docs goes away and we are left with an application that runs only on a Web interface, whose code is not accessible to the user and that uses a closed format for documents versus an application that runs only on a cl

  • Context, please (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blophyus (1166871) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:51PM (#25723173)

    From the article:

    Which leads to one simple question: With all these politically free, feature-rich alternatives available for the download, why would anyone choose to work with Google Apps?

    Because it's online. I work with people across the country and across the world. For many of these people, attaching a document to an email is asking a lot. Not to mention the version control headaches (documentA.doc, documentA2.doc, etc) that inevitably arise in document-sharing situations. Google Docs stops this kind of suffering. I've used it with technologically illiterate people to great effect.

    In a quantitative comparison of features, yeah, OO has more. Clearly. *cough*. I don't think that was ever a question. If you're a power user, or you're trying to write complex documentation or something, then yeah, you probably need OO. But for sharing simple docs across geographically dispersed people, Google Docs wins hands down.

    The question isn't proprietary vs FOSS vs web-based vs desktop. It's "what do you want to use it for". A Blackberry isn't a replacement for a laptop, but if all you want is mobile email, it's probably fine.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jedidiah (1196)

      This sounds a bit odd...

      You have people that can't be bothered to attach a document to an email but
      you expect them to run an alien office suite? That sounds like one big fat
      contradiction.

      I would expect that they would be clinging onto msoffice as if their life depended on it screaming in fear of anything different.

  • by jonnyj (1011131) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @02:00PM (#25723299)

    ...for any kind of regulated business unless you plan to do due diligence on the security, confidentiality and availability of data held by Google.

    Can you guarantee that Google won't pass your customers' personal data to a backup site that's not in your home country? Can you be certain that no Google admin will pass your confidential downsizing proposals to the media? Does Google offer guarantees that important correspondence is available within the timescales required by a regulator? Does Google guarantee to delete obsolete data in accordance with local data protection laws? Is the answer to these questions supported by an enforceable contract?

    Google apps has its place for personal correspondence. But if your using the cloud to store corporate or customer data without answering questions like these, you're professionally negligent.

  • Bad Formatting (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fireheadca (853580)

    Google Docs sometimes has a nasty habit of badly formatting tables.

  • font choices & UI (Score:3, Interesting)

    by amigabill (146897) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @02:21PM (#25723615)

    I'd tried using Google Apps for some stuff in my HOA (Home Owners Association) to make up flyers to hand out and stuff like that. I can tell OpenOffice I want a 50 point font size for a big headline. I can't make a really large font size in Google Apps. Google Apps does not seem to have a WYSIWYG editing environment, so it's hard to tell if I'm fitting into a single page, into a single half-page, or what amount of space it's taking up. I have to keep telling it to "print" which then gives me a pdf dump that I can see in Acrobat to see my real-life formatting. It's a huge pain in the ass.

    I ended up typing it up in OpenOffice and then uploading it to Google Apps for access by other HOA board members and shared storage. Weird, as uploading docs, it preserves the large font sizes that it does not allow me to choose during document creation directly on their site. I've ended up considering Google Apps to be an online storage area only, and not as a functional office tool.

    And my biggest annoyance is just using the Google Apps tools. The user interface for spreadsheet is extremely different than the user interface for their "word processor". There's really no commonality in the user interface at all between tools. That annoys me. I'd like a little consistency, but Google doesn't seem interested in that at all.

    One of these days I'll take some time to check out Adobe's online office tools. They can't be any less useful than Google Apps are.

  • Speaking of liver...

    With all these different solutions, overloaded with features, one could think whatever you need, you will find it.

    What I would love to see is a collaborative system for creating scientific papers: with bibliography management, figure and table management, conversion from and to word (and LaTeX?), some sort of equation editing...

    Can anyone suggest something?

    j.

  • Collaboration (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ElectricEuphonium (1179769) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @02:31PM (#25723799)
    I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned the power of the collaboration features in Google Apps. I love OpenOffice and I use it for everything that only I need to maintain, but when it comes sharing spreadsheets with friends, teammates, etc. Google Apps is in a totally different league. Try having 3 or 4 people edit the same spreadsheet at the same time on any other platform. To me that is the main reason to consider Google Apps over OpenOffice.
  • by Hercules Peanut (540188) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @04:27PM (#25725323)
    Our school has labs. These labs use deep freeze. When the power goes out, students lose data. Sure they can be smart and save their work to the network drive but many don't or forget or were just getting started or couldn't remember their password, or autosave only saves to a network drive after the initial "save as".........

    Please spare me your "they ought tos......"* It happens and when it does those who were using google apps, lose little or no data.

    Then there is the online collaboration stuff between teachers and staff from different schools who need to work together and whose IT departments don't.

    Then there is the storage space that is far greater than any IT department has quota'd(sp?) before so we can share those large image files.

    It's not about what OOO does better, which is most everything. It's about what Google apps does that no one else does. The technical superiority of OOO and MS Office are things that can be picked up later as Google improves the product. I for one can't think of anything MSOffice has done to improve my Word or Excel functionality since Office 95 so the gap on useful features is closing fast.


    *unless you can tell me how to get autosave to save to a network drive if you haven't saved your work initially in Vista

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