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Software Sun Microsystems

Sneak Preview of New OpenOffice 3.2 377

Posted by timothy
from the an-org-y-of-improvements dept.
omlx writes 'The last developer milestone (DEV300m60) of OpenOffice.org has been released. The next version of OpenOffice.org 3.2 has more than 42 features and 167 enhancements . The final version is expected to be available at the end of November 2009. Many companies have contributed to this version, like RedHat, RedFlag and IBM, making OpenOffice more stable and useful. I couldn't stop myself from seeing new features and enjoying them. So I downloaded the DEV300m60 version. After playing with it for many days I could say that OpenOffice developers have done very good work in it. Well done!"
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Sneak Preview of New OpenOffice 3.2

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  • Faster... (Score:4, Funny)

    by houstonbofh (602064) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:46AM (#29809099)
    "Many issues have been fixed in order to make OpenOffice.org faster. The happy news that OpenOffice.org 3.2 is now faster than before in many aspects. The startup now 30% faster in Windows."

    Thank God. If it got any slower and more bloated... I just hope Linux is also faster.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And "more easier" as well!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nine-times (778537)

      Yeah, honestly, this is the #1 thing that has kept me from using OpenOffice day-to-day. The first thing I did when I opened this article was to have my browser search for the word "faster".

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by sopssa (1498795) *

        But to be fair, it's somewhat similar issue with Firefox too. I do understand that its because of XUL:

        XML User Interface Language, is an XML user interface markup language (developed by the Mozilla project) which operates in Mozilla cross-platform applications such as Firefox and Flock. The Mozilla Gecko layout engine provides an implementation of XUL used in the Firefox Browser.[1]

        XUL relies on multiple existing web standards and technologies, including CSS, JavaScript, and DOM. Such reliance makes XUL relatively easy to learn for people with a background in web-programming and design.

        And that it's easier to develop UI elements with it, but you lose a lot of speed and UI efficiency along the way. Anyone who has compared Opera and Firefox in UI responsiveness know this.

        Open Source software usually have the mentality of making everything as open as possible and easy to modify, but it brings these issues then too. People should find some middle road to this; have it still possible, but god

        • XUL is rendered in Firefox the same way HTML is. It's just a slightly different, parallel path to the rendering engine. As for Opera being faster, well, that's very very debatable.

      • Re:Faster... (Score:4, Informative)

        by mopslik (688435) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @04:12PM (#29814667)

        You know, I used to think it was solely an OpenOffice.org issue, and while the application certainly could be snappier and less bloated in some areas, I don't think it's nearly as bad as people make it out to be.

        As the only Computer Science teacher at my high school, I often inherit lots of older hardware. The other day our local technician gave me three old Celeron 600MHz laptops that he was just going to throw in the trash. I decided to turn them into workstations for my students who did not have easy access to computers at home. As they were slow machines, I set them up with a basic Ubuntu install running IceWM -- it runs quite snappy, and is a bit more user-friendly than say DSL.

        I considered installing AbiWord for a word processor, but chose OO.o mainly because we have it installed on the school servers anyway. The result? It takes about 6-7 seconds to load up, and responds quite well. As a point of comparison, the 2GHz Pentium 4 machines running XP and Word in our department office launch Word in approximately 5-6 seconds, so it's pretty much on par.

        I know that OO.o is a beast sometimes, but my experiences have been fairly positive.

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

      by InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:07AM (#29809537)
      I evaluated 3.1 for use in my company for a department of about 100 people (would have saved $20,000 per year in licensing). The main problem was not speed but compatibility!

      Please concentrate on fixing the problems with fonts/formatting!
      • Re:Faster... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by houstonbofh (602064) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:12AM (#29809627)

        I evaluated 3.1 for use in my company for a department of about 100 people (would have saved $20,000 per year in licensing). The main problem was not speed but compatibility!

        It is as compatible as different versions of MS Office... You are only totally compatible when everyone is running the same version of the same program.

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

          by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice.gmail@com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:20AM (#29809731)
          The problem is, Office tends to be 'compatible enough', certainly to the point where most people don't think twice about which version a .doc is created in when they open it.

          OpenOffice has yet to reach that threshold.
          • Re:Faster... (Score:5, Interesting)

            by jamstar7 (694492) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:56AM (#29810427)

            The problem is, Office tends to be 'compatible enough', certainly to the point where most people don't think twice about which version a .doc is created in when they open it.

            OpenOffice has yet to reach that threshold.

            I just save all my OO.o documents as 'Office XP' docs & spreadsheets. ZERO problems with formatting so far when my buddy (using the latest and greatest MS Office) opens them. And I use some strangeassed templates, too...

            • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @12:23PM (#29810875)

              Aha! A data point!

              (Just two more of these and I can form a DATA TRIANGLE!)

          • Re:Faster... (Score:4, Informative)

            by Comboman (895500) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @12:05PM (#29810587)

            The problem is, Office tends to be 'compatible enough', certainly to the point where most people don't think twice about which version a .doc is created in when they open it. OpenOffice has yet to reach that threshold.

            My experience is just the opposite. I've had several documents created in MSOffice95 that wouldn't open properly in MSOffice2003. Open Office 3.0 on the other hand opened them just fine.

            • Re:Faster... (Score:4, Informative)

              by shutdown -p now (807394) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:19PM (#29811887) Journal

              My experience is just the opposite. I've had several documents created in MSOffice95 that wouldn't open properly in MSOffice2003.

              Office95 had major compat problems with other Office versions, but that's ancient history now. Most people who use MSOffice today use either 2000, XP, 2003 (majority), or 2007 (second largest). Between those 4 versions, it works.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by PitaBred (632671)
                Until you try to save a file in Excel that says it saves fine, but if you close it an open it again, it blows up massively. Excel 2003 will do that if you have too many comments in cells (which is a nice way of annotating differences between sheets). Self-compatibility doesn't even work half the time in MS Office.
        • Re:Faster... (Score:4, Informative)

          by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:31AM (#29809933)

          It is as compatible as different versions of MS Office...

          Sorry, but that simply isn't true. The last major screw-up Microsoft made on that front was nearly a decade ago. They may have introduced different file formats since, but new versions of Office open files created in older versions just fine, and in some cases vice versa if you download the right add-in software from MS.

          You are only totally compatible when everyone is running the same version of the same program.

          Indeed. And that means your comment overlook sthe fundamental problem: most people aren't comparing moving from one version of MS Office to either another version or to OpenOffice. They already have a version of MS Office that works fine, and is compatible with itself just fine. OpenOffice being 100% compatible isn't a plus point relative to what most users already have, it's merely a prerequisite for even being equal, and one that isn't yet satisfied for a lot of people.

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

            by FictionPimp (712802) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @12:06PM (#29810591) Homepage

            I wrote my resume in Word 97. I needed to update it recently and found that it did not look correct at all in Office 2008. I was forced to use open office. After saving it as Office XP in open office it opened in Office 2008 just fine.

            • by sean.peters (568334) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:12PM (#29811739) Homepage
              I've had the same experience - frequently, a document too fouled up to open in MS office, will magically be "fixed" if opened and resaved from OO.o.
        • by Radhruin (875377) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:39AM (#29810105)

          This is not my experience in the least. In my day-to-day, I have far more documents created in OO.o that end up looking mangled in all versions of Word than ones that come out looking right. And it's also a rare occurance when a .doc sent to me displays properly in OO.o, and I'm certain many are made in 2003 and some in 2007.

          For example, I recently had to make a .doc format resume for a job application, and it was completely mangled on the other end even though it looked fine in OO.o. The only thing this had was some alignment changes, headers, and paragraph text. After getting the job, I had to coordinate with background check people, movers and the like, which included sending lots of word documents, some including forms, back and forth. The forms didn't work at all (they showed up mangled, I couldn't click them even though the fields were visible), and the layout of the non-form-encrusted documents were usually mangled.

          In fact, I can't recall a single instance where a somewhat complicated word document (one that contains more than just text of various sizes in standard paragraphs) displayed correctly in Open Office when it was created with Word or displayed correctly in any version of Word when it was created with Open Office.

          • by FrankieBaby1986 (1035596) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @12:33PM (#29811041)
            I can only hope that some day, businesses will stop asking for Word Doc resumes and realize that it is NOT a display format. PDF is a proper vehicle, or plain text for the best searchability / compatibility.

            But yes, as a student, OO.org has some major compatibility issues, especially in formatting of doc files or in some powerpoint files. Fortunately I have yet to get a complaint from a teacher receiving a PDF from me.
          • by ACS Solver (1068112) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:58PM (#29812531)

            Oh yes, sadly, I can only say that I have the same experience as the parent poster. Most Word documents sent to me render with minor issues in OO. Image alignment might be off, occasional problems with paragraph indentation, etc. Usually I can live with that. Documents with tables that are at least somewhat complex though (nested tables, numbered lists within tables, etc.) usually come out really screwed. Documents I create in OO and save in .doc format get mangled way too often, that happens most of the time for documents that go beyond simple formatting.

            I'm a happy Ubuntu user, I like having open-source alternatives and all that. But several months ago, I finally gave up on OpenOffice and am now using Wine to run MS Office (by the way, kudos to Wine devs, Office runs really smoothly). Ultimately, OpenOffice wasn't just being an inconvenience with its compatibility issues, it made some people I send documents to think that my emails are unreliable because my documents would often be "damaged" (those are non-tech people that I guess haven't even heard of OO). I am willing to tolerate minor inconveniences to support open-source software, but when its use makes me unreliable in the eyes of others, it's time to consider other options.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Jace Harker (814866)

            This may not be the source of your trouble, but in my experience 80% of conversion layout problems are due to fonts. If you run Linux or Mac, chances are that you're using fonts that are similar to, but different from, Windows fonts. The result? When the document is opened on a different OS, the necessary font substitutions cause spacing shifts and flow problems.

            The solution I've found is to use only Times New Roman and Arial in a document where layout is important, because I know I can depend on every W

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Tweenk (1274968)

              The package name is now ttf-mscorefonts-installer. You can also install ttf-liberation to get fonts with the same metrics as Times, Arial and Courier.

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

          by InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:40AM (#29810121)
          It's not 100% compatible like Office.
          For home use the compatibility is good enough but in business EVERYTHING has to look just right and consistent. When we evaluated it we found that:

          1. We would have to recreate a 2nd set of templates for OpenOffice. We're talking 100s of templates that need to be duplicated and then maintained.

          2. Most of our old documents (we're talking TBs worth) had at least minor formatting issues. Like something as small as the logo moved 5mm to the left. Which in the business world is a big deal. It's impossible to fix them all.

          3. Even if we did fix them when they're opened in Word again there's a high chance that a new formatting issue would be introduced. So you can't reliably collaborate with people using MS Office (that means other employees in the company, clients, partners, etc!)

          The only way it would have worked for us is if we invested in recreating templates, given up on old documents and kept that department working in isolation.

          Every couple of years we put together a team of a dozen volunteers and test it again. OpenOffice has been getting better and it's just a matter of time before it's good enough.
        • ...on the same machine, printing to the same printer. Usually.

          That's one of the things wrong with MS Office.

      • by Jim Hall (2985) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:27AM (#29809871) Homepage

        Actually, Microsoft Office isn't all that compatible with Microsoft Office, when you are talking about different versions. In my 6-7 years running Linux at work, I used OpenOffice exclusively to write and edit documents, and to create and modify spreadsheets. I never had a problem exchanging documents with others. Of course, I was careful to save documents in the Microsoft Word "DOC" format, and spreadsheets in the Microsoft Excel "XLS" format.

        It's true that sometimes Word will fail to render a document properly. But it's not the fault of OpenOffice - sometimes, Microsoft Word fails to properly display other Microsoft Word files. An example I wrote about a few months ago:

        Last night, one of the attendees sent out some notes for us to read before the meeting. We all dutifully printed out our copy of the document, and brought it with us to the meeting.

        Despite the fact that the document was created with Microsoft Office, and that we all run Microsoft Office, there were 3 different versions of the printed document at the meeting. You could tell by looking around the table that one version of the notes (printed from Microsoft Office for Macintosh) arranged the text around a table in a weird way. Another version (printed by Microsoft Office 2007) put a page break in a different place and put an extra blank line between a table and its caption. The original version (Microsoft Office 2003) was formatted as intended.

        This was a simple 3-page document in "DOC" format, with an enumerated list of paragraphs, so it didn't take long for us to realize our copies printed out differently, and to figure out the correlation between versions of Word and how the document printed out.

        I think it just goes to show: if you have a document that absolutely must preserve formatting, send it as a PDF.

        • An example I wrote about a few months ago:

          Your example is wrong. It's *expected behaviour* that documents printed on different computer+printer combinations will look different. What's important - and what Word is designed to do - is make the hard output look like the screen. WYSIWYG means What You See Is What You Get, not What You See Is What They Get.

          I think it just goes to show: if you have a document that absolutely must preserve formatting, send it as a PDF.

          Exactly. If you want something that is guaranteed to look identical on someone else's screen (and printer) as it does on yours, then you want a program that's designed to do that - and Word is not.

          • by jimicus (737525) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @12:43PM (#29811255)

            Your example is wrong. It's *expected behaviour* that documents printed on different computer+printer combinations will look different. What's important - and what Word is designed to do - is make the hard output look like the screen. WYSIWYG means What You See Is What You Get, not What You See Is What They Get.

            A large part of this is that as part of the printing API, Windows allows applications to find out what printers are capable of. Word in particular takes full advantage of this, and renders documents according to what the default printer can do.

            The Unix way, OTOH, expects the application to produce Postscript and it's the driver/printers' problem to render this appropriately on the page. Which, arguably, is the whole damn point of a printer driver

      • by Abreu (173023)

        I find OpenOffice 3.1 has less compatibility problems with .docx documents than with straight .doc's

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        MS office isn't compatible with _ITSELF_ on the formating issue.

        problem with MS office is, it relies on information from the printer driver to format documents. test it this way, install 2 printers on your system, say one HP the other a xerox, set the default printer to HP, format your documents on ms word, note where page breaks are, save the doccument and exit office.

        change the default printer to xerox, open your document again. check the page breaks, margins, etc.

        are they different ? yes ? congratulation

  • by harmonise (1484057) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:47AM (#29809111)

    Will this be backported to Ubuntu 9.04? I'd like to upgrade to OOo 3.2 because there are some features that I need, but I don't want to have to update my entire operating system and my other applications. Compiling OOo myself is beyond my capabilities.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bcmm (768152)
      Rolling-release distros are awesome. Maybe you should try one.
      • Rolling-release distros are awesome. Maybe you should try one.

        You seemed to miss this part of my post so I will post it again:

        I don't want to have to update my entire operating system and my other applications.

        I only want the newer version of OOo. Everything else on my computer works fine and I don't want to mess with it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by NoYob (1630681)
      Why would it need to be back ported? Is Ubuntu 9.04 on an old kernel or old C/C++ runtimes?

      If there is a problem, you could try compiling it yourself - most of it is C++ code.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      Check jaunty-backports first, if not there's probably a PPA. Of course wtih a PPA it's essentially unverified and not security patch supported. I really wish there was more of a "auto-backports" service for the most popular distros - basically like doing a nightly build of upstream except it's a package. And of course untested and unsupported in every way.

    • http://download.openoffice.org/other.html#en-US [openoffice.org]

      Has a list of binaries to download for multiple platforms, including Debian/Ubuntu Linux.

      Ian

    • "Will this be backported to Ubuntu 9.04?"

      Once it's in the main repository you can upgrade using synaptic [nongnu.org], else download the tar.gz [openoffice.org] file and extract to a /tmp location and type the following five lines, at a command prompt:

      su root
      tar -zxvf OO.version.tar.gz
      ./configure
      make
      make install

      .. and that's the sum total of my knowledge of compiling ...
      • by armanox (826486)
        Generally you should extract to /usr/src for compiling software. That's central self-compiled software directory,.
      • by Abcd1234 (188840)

        Once it's in the main repository you can upgrade using synaptic, else download the tar.gz file and extract to a /tmp location and type the following five lines, at a command prompt:

        Or you could just use CheckInstall [asic-linux.com.mx], thus obviating the need to bypass the package manager.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:47AM (#29809123)

    Based on the section headings from TFA, I gather that version 3.2 is more secure, faster, more international, and more easier.

    Apparently a grammar checker isn't one of the 42 new features.

  • Remove the password length limitation:

    “ The current minimal password length limitation ( 5 characters ) is outdated and makes no sense any more. Thus the limitation is removed, although the password is not allowed to be empty. “

    This was an interesting note, but they didn't explain it further. Why did they change the minimum from 5 characters to 1 character now? It sounds it might be pretty trivial to bruteforce it.

    • by kenp2002 (545495)

      Even at 15 characters it's trivial due to lookup tables and dictionary attacks. Passwords are to prevent snooping, not a security measure. I think it's just them throwing in the towel and expecting that if a document is to be secured a GPG\PGP level protection be used.

      Face it, passwords have been about as effective as a cheap diary lock on a $4 pony covered diary from Target. They are pointless in the realm of securing a document. They are nothing more then a way to prevent your typical 5 year old accidenta

    • Re:Pass minimum (Score:5, Insightful)

      by natehoy (1608657) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:58AM (#29809359) Journal

      5 characters isn't much to bruteforce anyway.

      I suspect they eliminated a password length requirement because the security of the password is really up to the needs and desires of the user who set that password. If I have a password length of 5, then someone who wants a trivial password to keep casual lookie-loos out is going to choose 12345 anyway.

      ("Amazing! That's the same as the combination on my suitcase!")

      Allow me to choose one character minimum and I'll choose one character and use it. No real loss in security, and since I'm choosing the level of security it's my decision to make. I can't sue OO for "lack of security" because OO is simply allowing me to choose how secure I want my stuff.

      Someone who wants to protect (as in really protect) their document is going to choose a 50-character password with a mix of uppers, lowers, numbers, and scrunchy special characters. Then it'll be so secure, even the original author can't open it.

      • by sopssa (1498795) *

        That would be the case with the most simplistic encryption methods for the documents - but if it takes CPU power to decrypt it, you will gain defense against brute-forcing. Even if its 1-2 secs (*on usual computer), cracking it will be much more harder because of the amount of passwords you will have to try. On the other hand it doesn't annoy the user and the program can make things even a little bit more secure.

  • Yay! I think people were beginning to dislike me a little when I'd ask them to convert and resend an attachment that I couldn't open. Looks like I'll have to hunt around for some other subtle way to annoy my co-workers :)

    • by natehoy (1608657)

      Send them all their "database" data that people tend to want in Excel spreadsheets in a SQL import for MySQL instead, and suggest that they use an actual database for data analysis instead of a spreadsheet? ;)

      Excel: Strong enough for a primitive database, but made for number crunching.

      • by sopssa (1498795) *

        I really wonder if you two have actual jobs and how do you manage to keep them.

      • As the data warehouse guy here, I fight the export to Excel battle regularly and that has nothing to do with my comment. I was talking specifically about Word documents that OO won't open correctly with the version I'm using.

        • by natehoy (1608657)

          Sorry, I was answering your specific stated issue of wanting another subtle way to annoy your co-workers.

    • "Yay! I think people were beginning to dislike me a little when I'd ask them to convert and resend an attachment that I couldn't open. Looks like I'll have to hunt around for some other subtle way to annoy my co-workers :)"

      Why not point them to where they can download [openoffice.org] Open Office?

      'Import of password protected Microsoft Office XML documents has been implemented [mail-archive.com] in CWS dr72'
      • Why use Open Office when the university installs Windows and MS Office on your PC for you and everyone you work with uses MS Office except for that weird guy over in IT? The reality is that short of a university wide switch to Open Office, I will continue to be that weird guy in IT running Linux and using that Open Office thingy.

        Any feature that allows me to work with MS Office easier is wonderful from my perspective.

        • by armanox (826486)
          My school didn't. They recomended Open Office to people who did not have MS Office, and the "weird" guy in IT was using TeX.
  • by xtracto (837672) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:51AM (#29809207) Journal

    Now now...

    If you have used Microsoft Word to write your blog you would have seen that "more easier" is kind of green-underline (i.e., it does not make sense).

    That hurt even *my* eyes... and my native language is not English.

  • While I'm sure that a lot of people will enjoy more convenient typing in of passwords on openoffice documents and typing in Tamil fonts, I'm a little more concerned about the proposed ribbon interface from a while back [slashdot.org]. In the one screenshot in TFA that showed the toolbar, it looked like the usual icon driven interface. Can anyone confirm that a non-ribbon UI will still be available?
    • I can't confirm either way, but last I heard the plan for a new UI was a very long-term one, and, though spurred by the ribbon, wasn't necessarily aiming to mimic it.
      Of course, I'm equally worried about them abandoning moves towards something similar to the ribbon UI purely on the grounds that a lot of noisy people dislike it - the huge bulk of office users to whom we've rolled out Office 07 are quite content with it, and I find it a definite improvement.

      The project page is here: http://wiki.services.o [openoffice.org]
    • by Blakey Rat (99501)

      At the rate OpenOffice development moves, you can be sure you won't see any hint of it for the next 5 years at least.

  • by tom17 (659054) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:56AM (#29809299) Homepage
    I don't see any mention of coloured tabs in Calc. I know it's a silly little thing, but some people use coloured tabs in Excel and this means that you can't edit these files on OO.org without losing the colour information.

    And does it render the same as Excel/Word yet?

    Until these and other niggling incompatibilities are resolved, my wife will still be nagging me to install Office in Wine...

    Tom...

  • Me first, me first with the 'doesn't have $X feeture' :)
  • by PhilHibbs (4537) <snarks@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:03AM (#29809435) Homepage Journal

    One of the "fixes [openoffice.org]" is that it will convert text cells to numbers in formulae if it can. This is one of the major differences from Excel that led Microsoft to move all their formulae into a different namespace, in order to prevent users from seeing behavioural inconsistencies across products. That's the way they put it, The Internet described it as deliberately breaking interoperability. I'm agnostic on that distinction, but OOo is now in line with just about every other spreadsheet in existence including Excel, Gnumeric, and Google Docs in this respect. It will be interesting to see what happens to the msoxl namespace when this comes out. I don't know if 3.2 will convert the msoxl namespace formuale to the default namespace when it opens an Excel ODF file.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by spitzak (4019)

      Indeed this bug in OO was used as an excuse by Microsoft to make their ODF output be incompatible. Their argument was basically "since these two different ODF programs treat this sample document differently, we are allowed to write a completely different third implementation". This bogus argument was wrapped in a disgusting and somewhat horrifying amount of obfuscated technobabble by obviously intelligent but amoral individuals at Microsoft (you can find several repeated links to this posted by astroturfers

  • People complained about Windows 7's GUI "tricks"/tweaks.

    Default button in password dialog now is "OK"

    That's the first entry under "more easier." Amazing. I bet it took a developer a long time to fix that, too. Probably weeks! ... ?? It doesn't even seem worth mentioning, really.

    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:27AM (#29809857) Journal
      Any dialog box that has 'OK' instead of a meaningful verb as a button title is an automatic usability fail (this is one of the first things everyone learns about HCI, it's really not hard to get right...) so that quote alone tells me that OO.o is still not tackling usability issues properly. Someone has obviously looked at that dialog box, but not fixed the important issue with it, so the odds of them fixing the more serious issues is quite slim.
      • I'm curious: what's HCI?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MartinSchou (1360093)

        The thing is, OK translates as "OK" into pretty much every language I know of.

        "Accept", "encrypt", "agree" and any other suitable verb I can think of do not.

        But - what do you suggest they should use instead? And considering that the "OK" button is quite common if not omnipresent in Windows, I take it you doubt that anyone has ever looked into any of Windows' issues.

        Another possibility is that the people working on the GUI don't consider themselves suitable or knowledgeable enough to work on the more deep ro

      • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @12:58PM (#29811479) Homepage

        Any dialog box that has 'OK' instead of a meaningful verb as a button title is an automatic usability fail

        No, it's perfectly valid in many dialogs, particularly confirmation dialogs and warning dialogs. "Warning: This operation can not be undone. [OK][Cancel]" is perfectly fine. "Continue" is too weak, sounds like an info screen. "Agree" or "Accept" sounds like you actually have a choice or that you're positively agreeing with it which you don't. "Ok" is intentionally netural, like "objection noted, but I'm still going forward with this". Granted, OK could have been used a lot less compared to useful verbs like "Save", "Connect", "Create" and so on but it's not that useless.

  • I -really- like the ribbon bar in Office 2007 so it will be hard to part with it.

    But,

    1) I'm still so happy that Linux booted up after I transplanted the hard drive from an old opteron into a new xeon with a completely different motherboard, that I'm thinking I can live with Open Office for now.
    2) There's still an empty socket for another xeon on my new motherboard.
    3) Windows 7, Visual Studio, all start to pile up in terms of costs, or, I could get another xeon, or upgrade my xeons, get more ram...

    The hardwa

  • by Kate6 (895650) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:06AM (#29809507) Homepage

    It's interesting to see how many companies are putting work into this product considering the gradual rise of online based office suites like Google Docs.

    In early 2008 I went through some personal events that caused me to suddenly lose access to my primary desktop. When a co-worker introduced me to Google Docs, I immediately liked the idea of having all my important documents be stored somewhere that I could access from any Internet enabled device. Since then I've also come to appreciate the ease of collaborations using Google Docs. I've had whole discussions about requirements documents that went on completely through Google Docs - the client would type in some basic concept of what they'd wanted, I'd reformat it to more formal requirements while they watched, they'd edit, I'd start working and add in notes or questions as they came along, they'd add in replies... It's been absolutely fantastic for streamlining off-site development processes.

    And now I hear Google is planning on capitalizing further on that aspect with the upcoming Google Wave [google.com]... And Microsoft is planning to release an online version of Office 2010 [cnn.com]... And I'm yet to hear of similar plans from the OpenOffice scene.

    Which makes me sad. I've been an OpenOffice user for most of the last decade... Started using it when it was still StarOffice, before Sun bought and open sourced it. I'd hate to see it fall by the wayside.

    • by PhilHibbs (4537)

      Why does OOo need to compete with Google Docs? They both support ODF. There's no need for Sun and Google to get into an online office war.

  • Not just more easier... but the wiki is "no more installed" and "not installed any more." "This new feature make saving password..." I guess he's from a non-English speaking country, though.
  • Full text (Score:5, Informative)

    by davidwr (791652) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:06AM (#29809515) Homepage Journal

    The site is slow and may be intermittent, so here's the text:
    --snipsnip--

    Home
    A sneak preview of new OpenOffice 3.2 part 1

    By FahadTue, 10/20/2009 - 17:20

    The last developer milestone ( DEV300m60) of OpenOffice.org has been released. The next version of OpenOffice.org 3.2 has more than 42 features and 167 enhancements . The final version is expected to be available at the end of November 2009.Open Office 3.2
    Many companies have contributed to this version like RedHat , RedFlag and IBM, making OpenOffice more stable and useful. I couldn't stop myself from seeing new features and enjoying them. So I downloaded DEV300m60 version. After playing with it for many days I could say that OpenOffice developers have done very good work in it. Well done !
    I will review in this post some interesting features : more secure , faster , easier and more international.
    more secure

    Detect if non-encrypted streams are in encrypted document:

    OOo expects that an encrypted document does not contain any non-encrypted streams starting from ODF1.2 version. The exceptions are the streams that are part of the ODF format: "mimetype", "META-INF/manifest.xml" and signature streams that follow the pattern "META-INF/*signatures*".

    The manifest.xml is part of the document signature now:

    In OpenOffice.org 3.2, the manifest.xml will be signed . This will introduce the limitation that macro signatures can't be introduced after the document was signed, because this would need manipulation of the (then) signed manifest.xml.

    ODF document integrity check:

    The document integrity check proves now whether the ODF document conforms the ODF specification. It mainly affects the ODF1.2 documents. If an inconsistency is found, the document is treated as a broken one, the office suggests to repair the document in this case. The macros are disabled in repaired documents.
    Faster

    Many issues have been fixed in order to make OpenOffice.org faster. The happy news that OpenOffice.org 3.2 is now faster than before in many aspects. The startup now 30% faster in Windows. Many issues have been ironed out in Writer (6 issues) and Calc (10 issues) regarding loading and saving times.

    Now I can see that OpenOffice is faster than before but still there are many things have to be done in speed side.
    More easier

    Default button in password dialog now is "OK" :Default button in password dialog

    Although it is a small change but it makes OpenOffice more usable . Now The OK button in the password dialog is the default button again .

    Remove the password length limitation:

    password length limitation" The current minimal password length limitation ( 5 characters ) is outdated and makes no sense any more. Thus the limitation is removed, although the password is not allowed to be empty. "

    Import of password protected Microsoft Office XML documents:

    This is a great feature. Many people asked me how we can open password protected docx/xlsx files. All document types are supported including: MS Word 2007 documents (*.docx, *.docm) - MS Word 2007 templates (*.dotx, *.dotm) - MS Excel 2007 documents (*.xlsx, *.xlsm) - MS Excel 2007 binary documents (*.xlsb) - MS Excel 2007 templates (*.xltx, *.xltm) - MS Powerpoint 2007 documents (*.pptx, *.pptm) - MS Powerpoint 2007 templates (*.potx, *.potm).

    Encryption support for "Microsoft Word 97/2000/XP" :

    This new feature make saving password protected Microsoft Word document possible with Microsoft Office standard RC4 algorithm.

    Keyboard shortcut configuration dialog now supports "ALT" modifier:

    supports ALT modifierBefore OpenOffice.org 3.2, the dialog for configuring keyboard shortcuts never allowed to use the ALT-key. Now ALT as well as SHIFT-ALT, CTRL-ALT and SHIFT-CTRL-ALT modifiers can be used in the dialog.

    Impress and Draw now support comments:

    To support collaboration, it is now possible to add comments to a presentation or drawing

  • by denis-The-menace (471988) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:09AM (#29809569)

    Here are some of my pet peeves:

    Need Comment/UnComment button in Macro Editor
    http://qa.openoffice.org/issues/show_bug.cgi?id=87296 [openoffice.org]

    Generated HTML changes default spacing
    http://qa.openoffice.org/issues/show_bug.cgi?id=14600 [openoffice.org]

    Outline View (aka MS Word)
    http://qa.openoffice.org/issues/show_bug.cgi?id=3959 [openoffice.org]

    (Vote for mine and I'll vote for yours if I can!)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Enderandrew (866215)

      I believe the issue with Outline View (haven't checked recently) is that OOo needs a series rewrite in how in handles page layout and various views. From what I understand, this has been a known issue for YEARS but no one has stepped up to the plate. If this has changed, I'd love to be corrected.

      There is also a big issue where Calc doesn't correctly read/handle external references in Excel. This is a killer, must-have feature. If you can't reference a cell in another spreadsheet, then you can't be taken ser

    • by cellocgw (617879)

      OK,
      I believe mine is issue 3914 -- it's the desperate need for NormalView (or equivalent) in Write/Word. Just as someone posted that vertical space is at a premium (which is why all 'ribbons' and toolbars should be moveable to a vertical array on the side of the screen), there is absolutely no reason to show page edges, headers, or footers while writing and editing the document. Page layout tasks come after the document has been edited.

  • Someday, when we are all enlightened,
    progress on a software product will be measured by the number
    of unnecessary features that have been removed, making
    a more focussed and easier-to-use product.

  • by presidenteloco (659168) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:22AM (#29809759)

    OpenOffice, like Word and everything else I can think of, gets
    one fundamental thing wrong in the user interface design.

    Documents are 8 1/2" wide x 11" tall with say 6.5" x 9" tall
    useable writing area.

    Screens are not very tall, but quite wide these days, on average.

    Therefore, all (yes, ALL!) of the available vertical space in the application
    window should be devoted to displaying the document.
    There is plenty of room for controls to the side, or perhaps sliding down
    from the top on demand. A one-line control bar at the top might be
    justified for inherently horizontal things like font and style names, but
    that's it.

    As it is, we are editing our documents through the letter slot in the door.

    Maybe that will be version 4.0

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Blakey Rat (99501)

      That's a good point, and I've always wondered the same thing. The weird thing is that Word *used* to let you do this-- you could move all the toolbars, and even the menu bar, to the side of the screen. (Of course, in practice this did more harm than good as users would accidentally drag the menu bar all over the place, then lose it, then call support...)

      I wonder if Microsoft has considered a "vertical mode" for the ribbon. Seems to me that it would work just as well laid out vertically as horizontally.

    • by MSG (12810) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @12:00PM (#29810503)

      I would agree with you, except that your range of motion tends to be greater left to right than it is forward and back. That means that it's easier to move your mouse along horizontal controls.

      Rotating your screen solves the problem much better. You maintain the horizontal mouse-friendly controls and get more vertical viewing area.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sorak (246725)

      That is interesting, but I would suggest that, if they do that, that they find a way to work the icons/ribbon such that it can work either way. Text documents are typically done in portrait orientation, but spreadsheets are often done via landscape orientation. If the UI adjusted to the orientation, that would be cool (but time consuming for some developers, I'm sure)

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @02:17PM (#29812809)

      Dear Sir,
      this might be relevant to your interests [openoffice.org].

      Yours truly,

      Anon

  • 42 Features (Score:3, Funny)

    by heritage727 (693099) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:38AM (#29810085)
    Wow, I guess OpenOffice.org really is the answer.
  • by WuphonsReach (684551) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @01:35PM (#29812157)
    So, have they finally made OOBase useful for things like:

    - import/export data to CSV files?

    - The ability to query remote DBs and write the data into a local table?

    - Done away with the compressed zip format that makes working with a few dozen/hundred MB of data impossible?

    (I swear that nobody in the Open Office project truly understands Microsoft Access' strong points and why it is so hard to replace. MSAccess is a great glue program, allowing you to easily move data sets around, deal with ad-hoc databases, quickly look at a table, copy/paste to/from a spreadsheet.)

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