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Microsoft Office 2007 SP2 Released, Supports ODF Out of the Box 274

Posted by timothy
from the file-formats-rule-the-world dept.
shutdown -p now writes "On April 28, Microsoft released service pack 2 for Microsoft Office 2007. Among other changes, it includes the earlier-promised support for ODF text documents and spreadsheets, featured prominently on the 'Save As' menu alongside Office Open XML and the legacy Office 97-2007 formats. It is also possible to configure Office applications to use ODF as the default format for new documents. In addition, the service pack also includes 'Save as PDF' out of the box, and better Firefox support by SharePoint."
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Microsoft Office 2007 SP2 Released, Supports ODF Out of the Box

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  • Great (Score:4, Funny)

    by Reality Master 201 (578873) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @03:34PM (#27800233) Journal

    Now we're gonna get the swine flu spread all over from the flying pigs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 02, 2009 @03:38PM (#27800255)

    IE8, Office 2007 SP2. Only difference is that it works in Firefox.

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @03:40PM (#27800265) Homepage Journal
    April 1st was more than a month ago.
  • Great (Score:5, Interesting)

    by El Lobo (994537) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @03:43PM (#27800285)
    Office 2007 has been a very stable and good version from the start. At my department, in the university I work for, experienced users (like our two secretaries) had some difficulties at first re-learning the new user interface, before they, after some weeks realized what a great invention the ribbon is. Yes, you need to think different here. Forget menus and toolbars. The ribbon is a great thing when you understand that they are somehow like toolbars, but they are dynamic as well. When you realize how the thing work, then you cannot live without it.

    Now having PDF as a "native" option (and , as a minor option, odf as well) without installing extra software , this is a real winner. Good work.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DesertBlade (741219)
      I thought it was a nice advancement, but since then switched to OpenOffice at home (being 100% legit with software) and like the simplicity of the menus. It also reduced screen real estate and is easy to add/remove buttons.

      M$ made a HUGE mistake not having a 'classic menu' option in Office 2007.
      • Re:Great (Score:4, Insightful)

        by faraday_cage (1386755) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @05:37PM (#27801071)

        M$ made a HUGE mistake not having a 'classic menu' option in Office 2007.

        Why was it a mistake? Why was it a mistake to leave behind something that was no longer working as intended? 73% of all new features that the public requested were command that already existed in the programs. The menu structure clearly wasn't letting people find these features.

        All you need to do is put your common commands on the quick access toolbar, hide the ribbon and you have something that looks a lot like the old menu/toolbar scenario. Don't get me wrong, I loathed the change at first. But after 2 years of teaching 2007, and seeing the feedback of users who were as equally entrenched in the old system, there is barely anyone I know who yearns or pines for the old menu.

        I did try open office at home. The word processor was ok, but not robust, and the spreadsheet module would crash whenever I tried opening anything beyond a basic invoice with only sum functions. They need to work on that if they want it to be taken as a serious competitor to Excel. It is barely robust enough for a home budget file.

        • You make a valid point, but even in VISTA you can set up your start menu back to look like it did back in Windows 95.

          I use Open Office exclusively now at home. Albeit mostly on a MAC and Ubuntu, but my son uses a XP machine without any issues. OpenOffice is not a serious competitor for excel, it is a replacement for 80% of the users who don't need all the fancy things excel can do, and for 100% less.

          If the menu system worked for millions of people why would you yank it out? Transition it out. Can the a
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by beuges (613130)

            You make a valid point, but even in VISTA you can set up your start menu back to look like it did back in Windows 95.

            Yes, and apparently for Windows 7, they have finally given in to reason and dropped the classic start menu. Just because you're used to something doesn't mean it's better, it means that right now, its better for you, because you aren't familiar with anything different and potentially better. I'm sure that for at least 90% of users, once they've been using the new interface for a week or two,

    • Victory is ours! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mcrbids (148650) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @03:59PM (#27800385) Journal

      Small as it may seem, a major victory has been won, here.

      Ever notice that the price of MS Office exceeds the price of the rest of the computer? Whole swaths of public records stand at risk, tied to a format that's both obsolete and undocumented. But, by commoditizing the document format with open standards, this has the effect of requiring Microsoft to compete on real terms - stability, usability, features, price - rather than by effective lockout through underhanded OEM de3als and shady use of their Monopoly status.

      This is a very, very good thing for everybody. (Even Microsoft - if they aren't forced to compete on real terms, they will atrophy and wither, eventually losing their monopoly and going the way of DEC)

      As always, the ball's not out of the park yet, we must remain ever vigilant and work to preserve a competitive marketplace....

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by infinitelink (963279) *

        I don't know. With Microsoft at least we're dealing with one entity: in the event it is needed the government can go to Microsoft and say "hey, we need you to support your older formats better so we can ensure they're accessible and/or move them to newer ones"; there's someone definite to deal with, entrenched so they're strong to a great extent (and not likely going anywhere), with all the incentive in the world to ensure they please such requests (which when governments request something of Microsoft, req

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lord Ender (156273)

      You are insane. Office 2007 was a horribly slow, buggy nightmare. SP2 is wonderful, though. Finally, I don't have to deal with Outlook freezing on me for 2+ minutes several times per day.

      Office 2007 was crap from the start. Only now is it even usable.

    • Forget menus and toolbars. The ribbon is a great thing when you understand that they are somehow like toolbars, but they are dynamic as well. When you realize how the thing work, then you cannot live without it.

      This is a serious question from somebody that's never seen this ribbon thing: What does it do for you that was so hard (or impossible) in previous versions of MS Office or in other word processors?

    • The ribbon is a piece of crap. The interface is cumbersome, non-obvious in several respects.

      I mean, what's a home tab?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Forget menus and toolbars.

      No. Toolbars and menus worked well. In fact, for every other application out there, they still work well. And they stay out of the way of whatever I'm working on.

      Ribbons take up entirely too much space on the screen. I need them to be hidden/minimized/whatever for two reasons: (1) My work, the main thing I'm focusing on, gets more space on the screen and (2) it gives me the illusion that I still have some sort of menu.

      When I have a series of words on a bar at the top of my window, I expect them to yield

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Everyone's entitled to their opinion, but my experience is the opposite. Our university department also had our lab machines upgraded to Office 2007 due to pressure from our IT personnel. It was promptly rejected by all the students and all the staff as frustrating and incompatible. Nobody liked it.

      It was frustrating because commonly-used options were hidden away (no "Office classic" mode? What were they thinking?), and incompatible because there were enough changes in Excel (for example) to break tools

    • by Sir_Lewk (967686)

      Yes, you need to think different here

      I don't want to think different to do something I've been doing perfectly fine since the mid-nineties. I have more important things to do.

  • I will not trust this move for a few years, until it is clear that Microsoft is not entering the usual embrace/extend/extinguish cycle. There is a lot of room for that in ODF...
  • Non-free software will make great progress in satisfying the technical needs of its users including adding features introduced by free software. For example, Office 2007 SP2 now supports, in some form, ODF. The fact that it isn't free software still remains a liability when it comes to user freedom and to software progress in general.

    Does your support of free software end when non-free software has the features you've come to enjoy?
    • The reason this is news is that you no longer have the problem of using Open Office and saving in .doc format and then having things not display right on a Windows system running MS Office due to different fonts. This makes it much easier to use Open Office in the business world without having to worry if the document will display wrong when someone at another firm opens the file.
    • by CSMatt (1175471)

      Far from it. But at least now I can send collaborative documents in their native ODF instead of having to convert them to the binary formats first.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @03:52PM (#27800323) Journal
    Like AcidTest for browsers, is there a standard test that will test the export/import compliance with standards for the Office documents? Mod me paranoid, but I am worried Microsoft will implement ODF export/import deliberately in a buggy way to damage the reputation of the ODF format.
  • After MS Office 2007 SP1 was never compatible to CrossOver I hope SP2 will get that soon. The shop I am working for only uses Microsoft Office 2007. They are trained to use it. OpenOffice will not work, because they would need retraining. But I need to maintain their computers. And it would so much easier to do if I could just switch them over to Linux. I also need the Service Pack, because without it the mailboxes in Outlook 2007 are limited to 2GB. Those people send and receive large Powerpoint presentati

    • I second that! I just got the student version of Office 2007 and it runs great under Crossover, in fact Office 2007 under Wine is using slightly less memory than native Open Office... just goes to show where the real bloat is. Anyway, having SP2 support would be awesome and would go a long way towards letting me use Open Office when I want to, and MS Office when I have to, with fewer headaches.

  • So, in all seriousness, now, aside from price (free, unless you count 'retraining) - what need for OpenOffice?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by zlogic (892404)

      It runs on Linux?
      Retraining will be needed only once while every new version of Office will cost something like $400. If a few clients upgrade to a new version of Office and send you stuff in an incompatible format you'll be forced to upgrade.

      • It runs on Linux?

        Both Microsoft Office 2007 and OpenOffice.org can run on Linux on x86, the former under Wine. But I will admit that once the subnotebooks with an ARM Cortex CPU come out, OpenOffice.org will have the advantage that it also runs on Linux on ARM.

    • Open Office is free software which respects you as the user so that if you have a problem you can fix it yourself. You are also free to use the software for whatever purpose you choose and to carry the torch in your own direction should Microsoft not agree with your ideas for improvement or not want to fix a bug that's hanging you up.
      • by cdrguru (88047)

        Open Office is free software which respects you as the user so that if you have a problem you can fix it yourself.

        Sure most of the computer-using world can. Right after they learn Java. And spend enough time with the codebase to understand what the problem is and the correct way to fix it.

        This sort of "respect" is worthless to 99% of the computer-using world that does not have the knowledge or the time to fix anything like this. Nor can they hire someone to (a) learn the codebase and (b) fix the problem because learning the codebase is prohibitively time-consuming. Therefore, expensive. Very expensive.

    • So, in all seriousness, now, aside from price - what need for OpenOffice?

      I have little need for office suites. Text is sufficient for most documents I'm not sharing with anyone else. For people like myself, OpenOffice is overkill*. Why should I waste my employer's money (or my own, at home) on MS Office? Now that ODF is supported, all documents should interoperate just fine (theoretically).

      *My 'Documents' folder contains a handful of old ODF files I can get rid of (including an essay I let a family member type at my machine), 2 that I'll keep (my resume, and a letter I am typing

  • by dirk (87083) <dirk@one.net> on Saturday May 02, 2009 @03:58PM (#27800375) Homepage

    Save as PDF was supposed to be a feature in Office from the beginning, but Adobe objected (legally) and forced them to pull it, so MS offered it as a separate download. I wonder why Adobe decided to drop their objection to MS putting this is Office.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "Formerly a proprietary format, PDF was officially released as an open standard on July 1, 2008, and published by the International Organization for Standardization as ISO 32000-1:2008."

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pdf

      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @04:30PM (#27800625) Journal
        Informative? Maybe, but irrelevant. PDF was only ever semi-proprietary. Adobe controlled it, but the spec was freely available and could be implemented by anyone, royalty-free. Adobe's complaint was not that they implemented PDF support, it was that they did something Adobe's software did (convert Word documents to PDF) and bundled it with a product that had an effective monopoly in the market (MS Office). It was an antitrust complaint, not a copyright/patent infringement case.
    • This may have something to do with recent attacks on Adobe's Reader. People are switching to alternatives that can read PDFs and don't leave them vulnerable to such attacks. So Adobe may be moving from an application domination strategy to a file format domination strategy. Such a strategy would allow and even encourage all applications to support PDF as fully as possible. Another reason may be seeing as how Open Office has has this feature for a while, the legal argument you vaguely refer to may no longer
      • by afabbro (33948)

        This may have something to do with recent attacks on Adobe's Reader. People are switching to alternatives that can read PDFs and don't leave them vulnerable to such attacks. So Adobe may be moving from an application domination strategy to a file format domination strategy. Such a strategy would allow and even encourage all applications to support PDF as fully as possible. Another reason may be seeing as how Open Office has has this feature for a while, the legal argument you vaguely refer to may no longer be valid(if it ever was).

        These are all silly speculations.

        • This change was obviously in the works long before the recent spate of Adobe Reader problems. Service Packs of this size take months to put together and test.
        • PDF was recognized as an ISO standard in July 2008. I think that had a lot more to do with it.
        • Hence, Microsoft has no problems implementing it, with or without Adobe's consent. Adobe was not a factor in this decision.
    • My best guess as to why Adobe stopped objecting? Someone from MS stopped by and handed them a check with a lot of zeroes.
    • by MeanMF (631837) *
      Maybe they figure that SP2 is still technically a separate download....
    • Adobe: Remove "Save as PDF"
      Microsoft: Sure would be terrible if something happened to Photoshop in the next update.

  • by B5_geek (638928) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @04:04PM (#27800429)

    I am the type of user who types it first, then makes it pretty. Too often in the past going back to WordPerfect5.1 for DOS days, the darned program would try to guess what I wanted to do next and force different styles on me. i.e. bullet points.

    Having to stop what I am doing and FIX the errors that computer has made is complete regression in UI design, and 10+ years later they still have not learnt.

    So now all of my data input happens in nano. I use OO as needed, as opposed to more regularly.

    • What the heck does making the ribbon optional have to do with inaccurate prediction? The kind of prediction you're talking about will be the same with or without the ribbon.

    • by Bert64 (520050)

      Maybe try latex, it's designed to let you concentrate on content...

  • Well it's about fucking time.
    • by cdrguru (88047)

      This has been a free download add-on since the release of 2007 and maybe before that.

      It might have been nice if it was released with the product, but if you don't understand how this happens regardless of intentions, you don't understand large products.

  • >> it includes the earlier-promised support for ODF text documents ...

    And boy does it suck at that. We tried it out, and it is extremely unimpressive. Tracked changes are gone when you save to ODT, nested tables from ODT often lose their text, and object positioning is often wrong. Generally speaking, anything more than simple letters requires manual intervention.

    Did they just repurpose the open source converter they commissioned? It certainly is the worst filter I've seen from Microsoft in a long

  • ...to see all of the "improvements" Microsoft will make to ODF. Why I'll bet that within three years we won't even be able to recognize it... or inter-operate with it!

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