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Preview the Office 2007 Ribbon-Like UI Floated For OpenOffice.Org 617

Posted by timothy
from the trial-balloon-target-practice dept.
recoiledsnake writes "OpenOffice.org has prototyped a new UI that radically changes the current OO.o interface into something very similar to the new ribbon style menus that Office 2007 introduced and which have been extensively used throughout Windows 7. The blog shows a screenshot of the prototype in Impress (the equivalent of PowerPoint), but this UI is proposed to be used across all OO.o applications. Some commenters on the Sun blog are not happy about OO.o blindly aping Office 2007, and feel that the ribbon UI may be out of place in non-Windows operating systems."
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Preview the Office 2007 Ribbon-Like UI Floated For OpenOffice.Org

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  • by russotto (537200) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:25PM (#28962489) Journal

    The Ribbon is no good even in Windows. And isn't it patented? There's no reason Open Office needs to ape Microsoft's mistakes.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by HillBilly (120575)

      What mistake? The ribbon is fine, it takes 5 mins to pick up unless you have a learning disability or a brain dead MS hater.

      • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:47PM (#28962917)
        It took me five minutes to realize that a UI that either shows or hides its elements based solely on window size is not one I would like to use. Frankly, to get used to something like that would take me certainly more than just five minutes. And then, I would have to find out where's ended up the nice sidebar style list from W2003. And then... Well, you get my point.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          You press the pop-out button on the Styles pane. It creates a floating tool window rather than a sidebar.

          These pop-out buttons are standard in the Ribbon UI.

        • by The MAZZTer (911996) <megazzt.gmail@com> on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @05:10PM (#28963273) Homepage

          Umm traditional toolbars show or hide elements based on window size...

          The ribbon just tries to do it intelligently by hiding stuff you might not use as often, while a toolbar just uses icon placement to determine which to hide.

          • by Chapter80 (926879) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @05:56PM (#28963983)

            Any toolbar that needs a SEARCH to find SEARCH is broken.

            That flippin' Find and Replace moves all over the place, from application to application. And if the Ribbon moves items based on usage (which it seems to), then it's a nightmare for support personnel:

            "See the little icon next to Sort & Filter? You don't have Sort and Filter? OK what Icons do you have?"

            Not to mention that Microsoft's categorization is just plain bad. Want to Insert a Powerpoint Slide? Don't press the Insert tab. Want to insert a row in Excel? Surely that's on the insert tab (nope).

            Want to find out the Properties of a document in Word? Let's see, would Properties be under Home, Insert, Page Layout, Mailings, Review, View, or Add-Ins. I could make a case for several of those, but View seems to make the most sense... as in View Properties. But noooooooooooo .... it's under the "Click the unnamed icon with multi-colored squares on it, and press Prepare". WTF???

            I've griped about this before... I'm sure the Ribbon has potential, IF IMPLEMENTED WELL, but it wasn't. Maybe Open Office will get it right.

            • Any toolbar that needs a SEARCH to find SEARCH is broken.

              That flippin' Find and Replace moves all over the place, from application to application.

              Why was this marked Insightful?

              Let's see... I fire up Word, I go to the Home tab ... there's Find/Replace/Select, on the far right. Open up Excel, open the Home tab of the Ribbon ... there it is again, Find&Select, on the far right. Let's try PowerPoint... open up the Home tab, lo and behold, it's on the far right, looking exactly like it did in Word. Even Access puts the Find/Select/etc. box on the far right of the Home tab of the Ribbon.

              So which applications were you talking about that do it differen

              • by Chapter80 (926879) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @04:50AM (#28969317)

                Word and Excel have SOME consistency (except that they sometimes call it Find, sometimes Find and Replace. Sometimes it's an icon, sometimes it's not.) Sometimes it's a big icon, sometimes it's small. Now, let's go to Outlook:

                Let's try to follow your instructions, when creating a new message in Outlook. Home tab? there isn't one. Maybe you mean the Message Tab which is located where the Home tab is in Word: Far Right? That's Spelling. No, Find is under "Format Text". How intuitive.

                Next try to find "Find" when you are reading someone's message to you. Where's Find?

                Now let's say you want to find a message in your Inbox. Where's find? OK let's try to find a message in a file folder. Where's find.

                OK, let's go to Internet Explorer. Where's Find?

                See? So much for consistency.

                And using Ctrl-F proves my point. OK, so we're supposed to tell our users what? "I know the Ribbon sucks - just memorize this control sequence."

          • by swilver (617741) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:48PM (#28964757)

            The worst thing you can possibly do in a UI is hide stuff inconsistently (ie, outside of user control) or move stuff around.

            For example, hiding menu options based on use patterns. What purpose does this serve? To save screen space? The user remembers the option they want (if they donot use the hotkey) by placement (almost at the top, just below the middle, etc). Hiding options screws this up. These experts seem to believe users actually READ all the options (or look at icons or something). They don't. They just remember that the recycler was somewhere bottom right, the file menu with open option is top left, tools is somewhere on the right side next to help, etc..

            The same thing goes for moving options around, it doesn't matter for what reason. Moving them around means that the option that was in the right corner last week is suddenly somewhere in the middle this week -- mega fail.

        • by dhavleak (912889) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:55PM (#28964847)

          Insightful??

          Do you prefer a UI that hides the actual contentbased on window size? If a windows getting smaller, something's getting hidden, y'know..

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by marcosdumay (620877)

        Ok, I'll bite. First, it doesn't take five minutes to learn, unless you really don't know woh to use Office advanced features, it takes a complete relearning of the interface. That usualy takes a few mounts of practice.

        Second, name a single advantaje of the ribon. Even if it did take five minutes to learn, what return there is in spending those five minutes?

        • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:57PM (#28963099) Journal

          Damn, you are old.

          It wasn't that hard to get used to. More than five minutes, but now I can get to a ton of features a lot faster than I used to. The first week was a pain in the butt for sure. After that, I have a hard time going back to Office 03 menus.

          • I just got a new laptop at work, and it has Office 2007, replacing the 2003 that was on the old one. The only thing that makes it at all tolerable is that my new screen is 900 pixels high instead of 768, so most of the space that the ribbon's burning up is new pixels, but it takes me longer to get to many of the features I use often, and I haven't yet dug around to find all the features I'd like to have, plus it'll take me a while to memorize where it's hiding everything that I considered to be reasonably

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by revlayle (964221)
          The problem is, only a small fraction of Office users are "Advanced" users, they are the ones that has to do the most re-learning. The problem with Office (or even OOo) is that you average user has NO idea where any features beyond the very basic features are located in the software. Most know how to copy, paste, bold, italic, and save/open - and that is it.

          The ribbon is supposed to show the average user immediate-to-advanced options for their software use and allow them to discover feature they would n
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            If you're an "advanced user", shouldn't you know the (unchanged) hotkeys? I mean, I'm a pretty heavy Office user, and I was apprehensive about the changes at first, but all the hotkeys still work and the ribbon is easier to actually find things that I don't already know about.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Theolojin (102108)

        What mistake? The ribbon is fine, it takes 5 mins to pick up unless you have a learning disability or a brain dead MS hater.

        Does that five minutes start before or after the half hour it takes to figure out how to open a stupid file?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Ehh, double-click it like always...

          Ok, done with my asshole moment. Took me about the same amount of time to realize the circle was a menu, not just a stupid logo/marketing thing.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by oatworm (969674)
          Hey now, it only took me about ten minutes of Googling. First, you double-click on the file. Then, when it tells you that you can't open it because you made the mistake of installing SP2, you then go to this thread [microsoft.com], which then tells you about this new semi-secret hotfix package [microsoft.com] that Microsoft churned out. Then, you choose which part of the package you want to download, give Microsoft your e-mail address, fill in the CAPTCHA, then wait to receive an e-mail. Once you receive the e-mail, you click on the l
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Valdrax (32670)

      Good Lord, I agree wholeheartedly. The ribbon is nigh-incomprehensible to first time users. I just had to use a version of Office with the ribbon for the first time a few weeks ago, and I had a hard time with it.

      Now, I don't know what it's like once you're used to it, but it didn't seem like a step forward in intuitiveness compared to the old Office menus. I don't think that I can chock that up just to me getting older and being used to the old ways.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The ribbon is nigh-incomprehensible to first time users.

        And yet, myself and other people where I work have had little to no issue picking up the ribbon when we had the opportunity to upgrade to Office 2007. Don't try to lump everyone in your claims just because you were too incompetent to learn it.

      • by orev (71566) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:55PM (#28963055) Homepage

        "I just had to use a version of Office with the ribbon for the first time a few weeks ago, and I had a hard time with it."

        That seems to imply that you're only a first time user /of that version of office/. And if that's true, then you had a hard time with it because you are probably used to the old interface, or the interfaces of similar programs. The ribbon is made to be easy to use for people who have *never used Office before*. And if you think no one is in that boat, take a look at your kids.

        The fact is that the ribbon IS a much better interface than menus, and exposes options and settings that are easy to reach and understand. The ribbon is a GUI revelation, and anyone who says different is just afraid of change.

        • by pixelpusher220 (529617) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @05:04PM (#28963191)
          GUI usage is great for 'objects' like files where the variability between objects is relatively few.

          *Actions* however are orders of magnitude more numerous. When you have to memorize an icon for every single action, it gets unwieldy. Icon graphics can only be so detailed before they are just blurs. *words* (little w) represent pretty specific ways to describe things and have done pretty well through the years me thinks.

          Given Word's penchant for "everything including 5 kitchen sinks" in available functionality, it doesn't scale well to the icon/ribbon concept.

          Most of this would be completely moot if MS has simply made the ribbon AN OPTION...but they force fed it to everybody. I don't want OO doing the same thing.
    • by Jugalator (259273) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:29PM (#28962595) Journal

      It's disallowed by MS specifically for Office-like applications. (nothing else)

      I have always assumed that clause was added to gain a usability edge over OpenOffice.

      So this could be interesting. *grabs popcorn*

    • Anyone else read that line as

      The blog shows a screenshot of the prototype it's a mess

    • by haifastudent (1267488) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:33PM (#28962683)

      The Ribbon is no good even in Windows. And isn't it patented? There's no reason Open Office needs to ape Microsoft's mistakes.

      As a casual user with no time or interest to do a full OOo course (or even RTFM usually) I welcome the Ribbon UI. I understand that experienced and advanced users may not like it, but assuming that the original interface is not removed then the addition of the ribbon would certainly help weekend users like myself.

    • by Abreu (173023) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:48PM (#28962939)

      I resisted my organization's upgrade to Office 2007 tooth and nail... I complained several times...

      The IT department installed Office 2007 anyway.

      And I hated the ribbon, with passion... for about two weeks, until I grudgingly admitted that, once you get used to it, it is quite easy to use and it puts the similar functions together in a intelligent way.

      So yeah, I like it now

    • by A Friendly Troll (1017492) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:51PM (#28962983)

      The Ribbon is no good even in Windows. And isn't it patented? There's no reason Open Office needs to ape Microsoft's mistakes.

      What mistakes?

      Microsoft invested an incredible amount of time (and money) into usability research for the Ribbon, conducted with vast thousands of people (close to 10k, I believe) with various levels of computer literacy. The Ribbon is a result of that, and it's - objectively speaking - a massive improvement over standard Office menu hell.

      Calling that a mistake is, well, a mistake.

      If you have a problem with the Ribbon, it's YOUR problem, and it's statistically insignificant.

  • by mingot (665080) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:25PM (#28962501)
    It only sucks in office until OO.o can implement it. Flame on.
    • by xs650 (741277)
      "It only sucks in office until OO.o can implement it. Flame on."

      You are absolutely correct.
    • by clone53421 (1310749) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:45PM (#28962873) Journal

      It only sucks in office until OO.o can implement it.

      Correct. After that, it sucks in both of them.

    • by amplt1337 (707922)

      Right. After that, it sucks in BOTH Office and OO.o.

      This looks like an excellent reason to pin OO to 3.0.

  • by danaris (525051) <.moc.cam. .ta. .siranad.> on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:25PM (#28962507) Homepage

    They want to take what's probably the single most reviled "feature" of MS Office 2007 and put it into OpenOffice? When one of the big selling points of OpenOffice, among people I've talked to, is that it looks and feels more like the Office they're used to?

    Please tell me they're only thinking of putting it in as an opt-in option, not as the default or only option...

    Dan Aris

    • by Em Emalb (452530) <(ememalb) (at) (gmail.com)> on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:29PM (#28962587) Homepage Journal

      Yeah, you beat me to it.

      Let's face it, most companies out there use MS Office. And most users of MS Office got used to the setup that hadn't changed in quite a while. When Office 2k7 came out, my CEO wanted it on his computer so he could test it out. As CEO, he reads/edits/writes a lot of documents.

      Because of the god-awful changes, it took him quite a while to get up-to-speed. So much time, in fact, that he requested we A) not upgrade anyone else and B) remove it from his machine and put Office 2k3 back on it.

      Now, he's not the most technically proficient person out there, but he's better than most (compared to average users I mean) and for him to say it was pretty eye-opening.

      I can't comprehend why OOo did this. Not a good idea.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      If it as an opt-in, I say why not. It might convince the, I don't know, 5 or 6 people that like the ribbon to switch over to OO.o. If this is going to be the default... well...
    • by Hatta (162192) * on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:41PM (#28962801) Journal

      This is why the interface should be distinct from the core. They should just focus on writing a good word processing engine, and let others design user interfaces for it.

    • by Desler (1608317) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:45PM (#28962871)

      They want to take what's probably the single most reviled "feature" of MS Office 2007 and put it into OpenOffice?

      Do you have any evidence that the ribbon is actually reviled in mass among the majority of users or are you just wrongly extrapolating to all users based on what people on sites like Slashdot say? Plenty of people where I work absolutely love the new ribbon interface and mention how they don't want to have to go back to any previous version once they get really used to it.

      • by danaris (525051)

        I'm extrapolating from what I hear on Slashdot, what I hear on other online sites, and what I see and hear in my own workplace and personal life.

        I don't know of any scientific studies that have investigated the matter, but if you know of some proving that the ribbon is the best thing since sliced bread, please feel free to share them with us.

        Dan Aris

        • by Desler (1608317) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:53PM (#28963021)

          I'm extrapolating from what I hear on Slashdot, what I hear on other online sites, and what I see and hear in my own workplace and personal life.

          So basically you have little to no basis to make such a sweeping claim.

          I don't know of any scientific studies that have investigated the matter, but if you know of some proving that the ribbon is the best thing since sliced bread, please feel free to share them with us.

          No one said that the ribbon is the best thing since sliced bread, but to claim make a claim that the ribbon is "the single most reviled "feature"" requires some actual evidence beyond what a few tech sites say. If one were to listen to what Slashdot users and other tech sites say, people were supposed to have dropped Microsoft and anything closed-source years ago and we're all supposed to be running Linux on our desktops.

  • by Vornzog (409419) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:26PM (#28962513)

    Aww, *hell* no!

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:26PM (#28962525) Journal

    Let me be the first to assure that the interface is also out of place in Windows OS'es. I'm still at a loss to figure out exactly what functionality that new interface added to Office. It did require us to purchase all new manuals and devote a considerable amount of time to retraining our users. Perhaps that was the "goal"?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Red Flayer (890720)
      I think the goal had nothing to do with selling manuals, or greater usability, or anything practical.

      The goal was to make the new version of Office seem "different" so that people would justify spending lots of cash on it.

      Small, incremental, behind-the-scenes upgrades to a product, while truly valuable, just don't get the same "I got something for my money" reaction that a UI change does.

      In short, the ribbon was a marketing ploy.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by blincoln (592401)

      Let me be the first to assure that the interface is also out of place in Windows OS'es. I'm still at a loss to figure out exactly what functionality that new interface added to Office.

      My theory is that it's another step in the bizarre UI design model that MS seems to have come up with, where the Windows UI is the same across every type of device (desktops, servers, tablets, handheld PCs, cellphones, etc.).

      It began with them putting the Start menu on handhelds and cellphones, which IMO was a stupid idea. Som

  • Underwhelming (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dyingtolive (1393037) <brad,arnett&notforhire,org> on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:27PM (#28962551)
    Its a nice idea, I guess, and I understand that if you keep it closer to that one big name competitor, then you can make it easier for people to transition, but I prefer to dedicate my limited real estate on my screen to what I'm actually trying to work on, not the tools that I can use to get the job done. I can't imagine this interface on my eeePc. I think the only thing I'll be trying out on this interface is the option to set it back to the old one.
    • Re:Underwhelming (Score:5, Informative)

      by hannson (1369413) <hannson@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:40PM (#28962787)

      I have a eeePC myself and I love the ribbon after I've minimized it, after that it works like a horizontal dropdown menu which is a plus because of the limited screen size. A minimized ribbon is actually smaller than menubars and toolbars. YMMV

  • If OpenOffice allows me to revert to the classic UI, or even a hybrid mix of the classic UI and the "ribbon-ized", then I think it's a good idea. However, if not, at least Gnumeric and AbiWord still have a sane UI.
  • by sauge (930823) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:28PM (#28962577)
    I use Linux, Windows, and OS X. I have always found OS X to be the easiest of the three to use GUI-wise. Why is there such a following to a windows like interface? Go for better! 3-D, or maybe a new scheme all together. MS interfaces are just the most horrible things - stuff hidden in illogical places, five or six mouse clicks to do things... I can go on but perhaps others following will. There are other ways.
  • Optional or not? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sunderland56 (621843) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:29PM (#28962583)
    If the new UI is a user-selectable option, I can't see anyone having an issue with it. It may even help the adoption rate of Open Office, since it would be an easier transition for people used to MS Office.

    If the new UI is the only UI, I predict a lot of yelling and screaming. Changing an existing UI is never a pleasant thing.
    • by rrhal (88665)
      Since the ribbon interface to M$ Office 2007 sucks, and most people hate it, I would think that offering a clean ribbon free office implementation would be appealing to most office users. OpenOffice would be a natural step for most people to take so they can have their old comfortable interface back. If there is an option to turn the ribbon on I have no problem with that.
  • by HikingStick (878216) <z01riemer@noSPAM.hotmail.com> on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:32PM (#28962641)
    I think the program was called GeoWorks. It used a layout of icons very similar to what I saw in the screenshots. We've come full circle. The old is new again.
  • I'll say.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by qoncept (599709)
    "... and feel that the Ribbon UI may be out of place in non-Windows operating systems."

    Ya think? The Ribbon UI is out of place in Windows. With Outlook 2007 running on one of my screens, you couldn't come up to me and tell whether or not that window was in focus. It doesn't match anything else in windows, it doesn't look cool, and its a huge, huge step backward in usability. I finally gave up Office 97 for Open Office about a year ago, and now I just do my best to not have to use either because they're b
    • Re:I'll say.. (Score:4, Informative)

      by jerquiaga (859470) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @05:10PM (#28963281)
      You clearly don't use Office 2007, or are a moron. Outlook 2007 is the single Office 2007 application that DOESN'T use the ribbon interface. That apparently won't happen until Office 2010.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by caseih (160668)

        He's not talking about the Ribbon interface though. He's talking about the custom window decorations that all apps (including Outlook) have in Office 2007. And he's right. None of them fit with windows XP at all and you can't easily tell which windows are active and focused because of the color.

      • Re:I'll say.. (Score:4, Informative)

        by penguinboy (35085) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @09:17PM (#28966355)
        Have you used Outlook 2007? The message composing window definitely uses a ribbon.
  • Oh, dear god! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jugalator (259273) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:32PM (#28962661) Journal

    I like the Office 2007 ribbon now that I'm used to it, and the simplicity from tabbed toolbars over deep hierarchies in tall menus.

    BUT... That "ribbon" in the article looks horrible! They've lost like ALL functionality but the buttons in them, and the design looks like a big step backwards. Note how Office 2007 ribbons add/remove rarely used commands as you resize the window, and crams in much more features in the space than OO.o there. I hope the end result will look nothing like in the preview. There are ribbons, and there are ribbons. :-(

  • What's the point? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by igotmybfg (525391) <slashdot@nosPam.danielthompson.net> on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:33PM (#28962679) Homepage
    Is the Ribbon UI that groundbreaking? To me, this argues that we are just shuffling & renaming things and calling it a new version. Software word processors have been around for at least 30 years, are you really trying to tell me that this "innovation" will change everything and make me super productive? Honestly, development on this could have stopped right around when mail merge was added and I think we'd all have been fine with it.
  • Oh, cool... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Aphoxema (1088507) * on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:34PM (#28962685) Homepage Journal

    I like the ribbon, it's helped me convince people to use Open Office.

    Wait, what? Ah, shit...

  • I could consider using it on my 1680x1050 notebook but not on my 1024x600 netbook: it's either the ribbon or the document, and I value the document more than the ribbon. I really hope there is the option to keep using the old menu system and that they think about small displays.
    • by Duradin (1261418)

      Perhaps this is why netbooks keep increasing in size... Not enough room for "branding" the screen with useless ui components.

    • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:58PM (#28963113)

      If you minimize the Office 2007 ribbon, it takes the exact same amount of space as a menubar. Even when not minimized, the ribbon is smaller than the default Office 2003 toolbars. I don't know who keeps spreading this misconception, but please stop-- the ribbon uses no more pixels than the menu/toolbars it replaced.

      In short, Microsoft *did* think of the small displays. You're just assuming they didn't because your head is full of misinformation from reading Slashdot.

  • by pecosdave (536896) * on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:39PM (#28962765) Homepage Journal

    When I started rolling out Office 2007 at a company I used to work for I was asked, often, if the ribbon could be disabled. I went to the office support site (which is something Microsoft actually has right) and started watching training videos to see which ones I should suggest to users. The first thing the video said when addressing the ribbon was you were stuck with it, can't turn it off.

    I personally prefer OpenOffice.org. I have a copy of Office 2008 for my Mac that I was given, I don't even have it installed now that I don't have that job anymore, I prefer using Neo Office on my Mac, and OpenOffice.org on my Linux machines.

    That being said - the interface is fine, as long as it's optional, I'm all about customization and user preference.

  • Which is better anyway.

    Better behaved, better looking, and less '1995' than OO.o 3. Still uses much of the same code, still shows up as 'swriter', but smoothed out a little, so's it won't kill yo sef, but it sho will make yo ugly.

  • Here come the haters (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bigredradio (631970) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:46PM (#28962911) Homepage Journal

    I know there will be a lot of "haters" regarding this. However, if the hopes of smoothly transitioning users from MS Office to OpenOffice it will need to give an option to have a similar look and feel.

    To transition non-tech employees to Linux, I used an XP theme on Ubuntu. http://ubuntu.online02.com/node/14 [online02.com]

    The transition was flawless.

    Besides, I wonder how much money was spent by Microsoft on usability studies to come up with this interface. How much money has been spent on usability studies for OpenOffice? Might turn out to be a better way to work in the long run. Just because it is MS does not necessarily mean it is sh*t. That just seems to be the default.

  • ... a number of other OSS word processors support Open Document, so it'll be easy to just move over to one of those. KWord would be a good choice, since it runs on Linux, Mac and Windows, and the KDE developers would never do anything so radical and alienate their core users.

    Oh... wait...

  • The ribbon is a good idea because it accomplishes the following:

    (a) It makes features more visible. Features are easier to discover when they are visible and have multiple representations (such as text and icons).

    (b) It cleans up the user interface. The ribbon cleans up the user interface by combining the menu and button bar representations into a unified representation.

    (c) It encourages a workflow. Document are created in stages, since things early editing and early formatting can hinder productivity.

  • Looks Useful (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fast turtle (1118037) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:51PM (#28962993) Journal

    Blasphemy you say!! Well I'm an Office 2007 user so I know what the damn ribbon looks like. From what I can see is that they took the idea behind the ribbon of grouping commonly used features into clusters and unlike MS they went with large enough Icons with decent contrast to be easily visable on a high rez monitor (1280x1024+) like what I use.

    So before everyone goes apeshit about this proposed change, take the damn time and actually compare the stinking ribbon with this and you'll see that the change doesn't resemble the ribbon. What I'd like to see is this being offered as an optional customization for those who appreciate its usefulness.

  • OSS Criticism (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ohio Calvinist (895750) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:51PM (#28962995)
    One of the most frequent criticisms I often hear regarding FOSS is that the applications don't "look and feel" like the OS or other software in the ecosystem. They don't always use the system-default Save/Open dialogs, menu style and common controls and for a lot of users, like it or not, gives the perception of out-of-placeness or inferior. Firefox is a prime example where going out of the way to fit into the UI based on the OS has helped user-comfort and therefore adoption.

    If Windows 7 is going to implement the ribbon system-wide, it makes sense that OO.org would minimally make this an option, if not the default on the Windows release, even though I am amongst those who are not fans of the ribbon.
  • by businessnerd (1009815) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:57PM (#28963105)

    When I finally upgraded my work computer to have Office 2007, I was having a hard time at first, but soon I came to like the new PowerPoint a lot. At this time I was doing a lot of work in PowerPoint, so it's where I got the most exposure. The main reasons I liked it were the improvements in functionality of the tools themselves and some of the new tools. Smart Art is convenient, positioning objects is much smoother, auto-formatting of slides is smarter. I can whip up a very nice looking presentation without a lot of thought about formatting. Things are pleasing to the eye without having to study color theory first, because MS did the color theory part for you with their pre-defined color schemes that have consistent values, densities and complimentary colors. Word and Excel improved on their "intelligence" too. For instance, bullets and numbering just happens instead of it being an explicit instruction. However, when it comes to ribbon, I am torn.

    In PowerPoint, the ribbon works. The reason for this is that the tools you use are very task specific. If I am inserting a picture, there is a certain set of tools that I always will use with a picture, but will rarely ever use with any other task. That way, the tools I need are right in front of me, and the tools I don't are hidden. However, in Word and Excel, the tools are not as task specific and the definition of what task I'm working on is very unclear. Furthermore, the tools used are not always perfectly described by an icon, which means it becomes very hard to find what you're looking for. This is especially the case in Excel, where ther are just so many tools available to you that turning everything into an icon on a ribbon just makes it impossible to find what you're looking for.

    But the more I think about it, every time I switch back to older versions of Office, I don't miss the ribbon, I miss the other improvements. I can find may way around just as fast, if not faster in the old style than with the ribbon, and I've gotten pretty used to the ribbon now. While the new UI is completely bad, it really does not improve things overall the way it claims. Like I said, PowerPoint seems to be a good fit, but even still, I get by just fine with the old style.

  • by hacker (14635) <hacker@gnu-designs.com> on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @10:10PM (#28966731)

    I've been developing and supporting hundreds of Open Source projects and packages for close to 20 years now... and I "get it". But can we please stop imitating, and get back to innovating? Nobody likes the "ribbon", and it just confuses users. Ask them. Ask Windows users what they prefer.

    Stop imitating, start innovating. Again.

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