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Software Upgrades

OpenOffice 3.2 Released 260

Posted by timothy
from the compatability-can-opener dept.
harmonise writes "Version 3.2 of the OpenOffice.org office suite is now available. This marks the tenth anniversary year of the office suite, with over three hundred million downloads recorded in total. The new features include faster start up times; improved compatibility with open standard (ODF) and proprietary file formats; improvements to all components, particularly the Calc spreadsheet, with over a dozen new or enhanced features; and the Chart module (usable throughout OpenOffice.org) has had a usability makeover as well as offering new chart types."
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OpenOffice 3.2 Released

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  • Right on the heels of MS 2010 beta. Doesn't appear to be much new things, it's just faster. Still. Openoffice is the best office suite out there in my opinion.
    • by doti (966971) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @02:40PM (#31103566) Homepage

      A minor (3.x) release is not meant to be innovative. That's for a major release (4.0).

    • by hey! (33014) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @02:45PM (#31103640) Homepage Journal

      Once I bought my father in law a really, really nice hammer. There wasn't made of titanium or anything like that; it didn't have any kind of electronic controls or clever mechanical gizmos to help you swing it straight. It wasn't innovative. It was just a really, really well made hammer.

      He was pleased with it, even though the hammer he already owned was in approximate terms very similar to the one I gave him. In precise terms it wasn't anywhere near as nice.

    • by viraltus (1102365) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @02:46PM (#31103660)

      Word processors cannot be improving in terms of features forever and, anyway, people only use a small percentage of those, so I think "just" faster is "just" right.

      • by CastrTroy (595695) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @03:26PM (#31104288) Homepage
        I don't think I've used any new features for a word processor since WordPerfect 5.1. That had just about everything I needed. For 99.9999% of the population, OpenOffice is more than enough. I think that MS will have a hard time maintaining market share in the next 30 years on the desktop market. Software is just becoming too much of a commodity. Easily replaced by free alternatives. Obviously the change isn't going to happen overnight, but over the long term, there's no way that MS can keep on charging for upgrades to software when software with the same features can be had for free.
        • by Sparton (1358159)

          I think that MS will have a hard time maintaining market share in the next 30 years on the desktop market. [...] over the long term, there's no way that MS can keep on charging for upgrades to software when software with the same features can be had for free.

          Features is one thing, but efficiency is a totally other ball game. And maybe it's just me (and I do use more advanced features that many other people), there's no way in a frozen hell that OpenOffice is going to catch up to Microsoft with that.

          For example, adding cells into Excel/Calc. In the Calc version I have*, I can only add 1 row/column of cells at a time. If I need to do it 5 times, not only do I have to do multiple clicks to add in a single row, I have to do that five times. There doesn't seem to be

          • by maxume (22995) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @04:42PM (#31105464)

            In my vanilla install of OpenOffice 3.1, if I select several columns and then right click on one of the selected headers, "Insert Columns" (with an 's') is one of the options on the context menu.

            This is the *first* thing I tried after I decided to see if you were missing something obvious.

            • by Sparton (1358159)

              Well damn. I thought I tried that and it didn't work. Thanks for pointing that out.

              I will admit, other than those damnably terrible colour conversions/choices, Calc works mostly well for me. I just used a Calc problem in my above post because I have it open right now.

              Other than their Wiki (and in-program help), is there a good place for finding random help/insight/tricks for using OpenOffice?

      • Does it still label drawings with "Slide n" as if a drawing and a presentation were the same thing?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "Just faster"? It isn't just faster. It's so much faster that it's like a whole new program. Great job, guys. I wish we'd see this more often: The same program, just a lot better.

    • by tyrione (134248) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @04:02PM (#31104796) Homepage

      Right on the heels of MS 2010 beta. Doesn't appear to be much new things, it's just faster. Still. Openoffice is the best office suite out there in my opinion.

      Native OpenType Postcript fonts alone makes it finally worth exploring Writer.

  • External references (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <.enderandrew. .at. .gmail.com.> on Thursday February 11, 2010 @02:32PM (#31103430) Homepage Journal

    First off, congrats on getting the release out the door. I do appreciate the project.

    That being said, in 3.0, supposedly there was support in Calc to external references (to values in other documents). In 3.1, it was supposedly fixed. It still didn't work.

    I'm curious to see if it finally works in 3.2. And for those who don't know, you should check out Novell's fork/non-standard builds over at go-oo.org. Many Linux distros use these builds automatically, but if you're on Windows, that is the version I'd grab. They have several nice improvements over the upstream version.

  • Clippy (Score:5, Funny)

    by MrEricSir (398214) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @02:33PM (#31103442) Homepage

    I'm sorry, but I refuse to use any office suite that doesn't have animated characters telling me what to do.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Jeng (926980)

      For some reason the first thought that went though my head was

      "What meme would work best as an animated character?"

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by natehoy (1608657)

        Does CowboyNeal have an avatar?

        • Re:Clippy (Score:5, Funny)

          by Red Flayer (890720) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @03:11PM (#31104060) Journal

          Does CowboyNeal have an avatar?

          Yes, he does. Unfortunately, you need a six-panel display to render the avatar due to size.

          Furthermore, the advice you're likely to get from the CowboyNeal office assistant may be somewhat suspect.

          It looks like you're trying to set a tabstop. Would you like some help with that?
          Options:
          Link to BBW pron
          Link to mature porn
          Link to hirsute porn
          Link to horseporn
          No thanks, I'm good.

          That's not the kind of office assistant most of us could use.

      • Re:Clippy (Score:4, Funny)

        by Duositex (620105) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @03:09PM (#31104034)

        An LOLcat?

        "I seez u r trying to makes lettrz. WordCat help u."

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by sconeu (64226)
        Natalie Portman.

        It looks like your composing a Slashdot post. Would you like some assistance?

        1. I'd like to see Natalie Portman, naked and petrified
        2. I'd like to pour hot grits down my pants
        3. In Soviet Russia...
        4. I, for one, welcome our new meme-assisting overlords
        5. CowboyNeal is my pilot
        6. I'd like to get in the First Post!
        7. No thank you. You must be new here.
    • Confession time (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @03:00PM (#31103892) Journal
      Although I hated Clippy with a great passion, I liked the professor office helper. If Microsoft had chosen the professor, I don't think they would have gotten the vitriol they did. Clippy was a smug jackass. Not a helpful, humble character like the professor. He looked like Einstein, so he seemed to be smart, but he was also old which made him seem like a kind grandparent. I'm slightly ashamed to admit that he did teach me some things about word, I didn't already know.
      • Re:Confession time (Score:5, Insightful)

        by CastrTroy (595695) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @03:38PM (#31104432) Homepage
        Nobody is as bad as the Windows XP Search dog. Why would I want a dog helping me find files. This whole idea of little characters popping up to help me is kind of demeaning, but having a dog help me is just terrible. I think they should really try to have a more professional image. There should be no cartoon characters popping up, especially on the XP Professional version. If it was Windows XP Kids edition I could understand, but I think it just makes the product look like a joke.
        • by dreamchaser (49529) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @03:41PM (#31104478) Homepage Journal

          The Search Dog is a retriever!

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by smisle (1640863)

          I had a funny moment yesterday - while teaching an 86 year old lady how to use a computer, she accidentally clicked on the search icon in windows explorer. The little search-pup appeared, and she looked at it quizzically ... When I showed her how to close the search panel, she said:

          "oh, thank you. Good riddance."

          Microsoft (and all the other OS companies) really need to determine their target demographic. It seems like everyone is shifting toward designing for the computer illiterate - removing "confusing

        • Don't get me wrong, I love dogs but when you do a fresh install of XP and you dismiss the dog and it runs into the distance and jumps off the edge... I like to add a little yelp as it does that.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by gbjbaanb (229885)

        I'm slightly ashamed to admit that he did teach me some things about word, I didn't already know.

        Don't be ashamed - there's so much bloat in Office that there's TONS of stuff you still don't know is in there.

        • As opposed to the bloat in OpenOffice I guess.

          Of course, some people think any software with more functionality than Notepad is bloat.

          Either way, so far I do feel MS Office is more polished than OO.org, but OO.org has come a long, long way. And it's free. So, I use OO.org. :)

    • Perhaps OO could introduce its own animated characters-- starting with an animated wire cutter!
    • by gad_zuki! (70830)

      >I'm sorry, but I refuse to use any office suite that doesn't have animated characters telling me what to do.

      Oh, I'd love to see what the OSS equivalant of Clippy would be. Perhaps, an otaku neckbeard sitting in front a PC playing WoW, surrounded by empty boxes of fast food and alternately yelling "RTFM" or "Read the manpage already!"

  • OO Fan Boy here. I am happy to see the success that OO is having, the continued development...and most importantly...starting up to a blank document in less time than it takes me to walk to the fridge for another can of Pepsi. Thank you OO development team!

    Seriously, though, I like to use OO and it is the only my wife has used at home for documents, but making it start up faster should have been a number 1 priority all along.

  • Looks like the self update function is still broken, at least on the Mac version. It's telling me 3.1 is up to date.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by baka_toroi (1194359)
      Maybe they only pushed the update to the main website, not the self-update servers.
      • Perhaps, but the self update has never worked once on the Mac since the first version came up. Hopefully this is fixed in 3.2 so when 3.3 comes around people won't need to download a massive file.

      • So, they are using experienced Mac users tactic. You know, if something gets updated, don't jump to updates. Go to some site like macupdate/versiontracker and hunt for "omg it broke my computer" comments. IRC can also be used, see if guy comes back after "I got it updated, let me reboot brb".

        Perhaps they are doing the exact same thing, waiting for credible disaster stories. If nothing happens, auto update server will have it.

    • by CmdrPorno (115048)

      Same here, although it could be like Firefox, which only automatically updates for minor releases. Also, auto-update functions often lag behind the actual release of the software.

    • When I tried a moment ago (in Windows) it just said "Checking for updates failed." I wonder if the root cause is the same?

      • I didn't get a failure, although I often used to in previous versions. It just said I was already up to date. Just tried again and I did get your error, that's probably just from the traffic.

  • by sznupi (719324) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @02:44PM (#31103630) Homepage

    Not a very useful metric, considering how on the most popular desktop OS OpenOffice requires downloading of installation package to upgrade. Yes, OSes with package management and OOo included, together with using the same download for installations and/or upgrades on several machines, swing the usage upwards; but I doubt it's anywhere enough to compensate.

  • My machine has 3.0.0 installed, but I deleted the installation files and have no copy anywhere.

    I can't uninstall 3.0.0 without the installation files, and there doesn't appear to be anywhere to download them.

    The new version won't install until I uninstall the old version.

    Looks like I'll be using 3.0.0 forever.

    • I just installed 3.2 over 3.0.0 on my windows machine with no problem at all (except it left an empty 3.0 folder in my programs menu). I don't know what you could be doing wrong but...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jridley (9305)

        Did you still have the installation files on your hard drive that the 3.0.0 install dropped on your desktop? I removed mine.
        I actually went out and found a copy of 3.0.0 on a shareware site, and put the files there. 3.0.0 still refuses to uninstall. 3.2.0 says 3.0.0 has to be uninstalled first. The 3.0.0 installer refuses to uninstall 3.0.0 - it says 3.0.0 is not installed, even though I can go to the start menu and start up OO apps, and they are version 3.0.0.

        I think there are some holes in their insta

        • by Rockoon (1252108) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @03:50PM (#31104630)
          The fact that you have had this problem more than once tells me that you are a willy-nilly file deleter, and it is likely that you will have the same sort of problems with other operating systems if you continue to be a willy-nilly file deleter.

          I dont know why it dropped files essential to uninstallation on your desktop, and its hard to believe that the installer was coded specifically to do that. Did you tell it to install directly to your desktop? If so, don't do that. Really.

          Just say'n.
          • Re:Unable to install (Score:4, Informative)

            by Spad (470073) <slashdot@NOsPAM.spad.co.uk> on Thursday February 11, 2010 @04:42PM (#31105466) Homepage

            It's the default location; specifically "C:\Users\\Desktop\OpenOffice.org 3.2 (en-US) Installation Files\" (Win 7) - though I've never had any problems upgrading after deleting the install files because Windows should cache any required MSI files in C:\Windows\Installer\.

            Though I still don't understand why MSI-installed apps need the original MSI to uninstall or change them - I thought Microsoft had abandoned that stupid behaviour when they stopped requiring you to have the Office install CD to uninstall Office 97. I've seen a few machines where a deleted or corrupt .NET MSI cache has made it impossible to upgrade, repair or remove said framework(s).

    • Dunno what your problem is. I never keep the installer files - I extract them to my desktop, then delete them when the installer finishes - and I've never had a problem updating or uninstalling.

  • Bibtxt (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Bibtxt is the biggest item to get OpenOffice working.

    If I can import and export Bibtxt files Bibliography files and use Templates for writing styles.

    That is I can write in APA then tell OpenOffice to reformat for IEEE. Though it can be done with Tex this is the killer feature people would like in Academia. With enough people using it for this feature then many people would ask for it in their business.
     

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Maybe you should create a feature request for it and get some of you friends in Academia to vote for it.

      Hint: I did a search for Bibtxt in Issues and the whole OO site and found no mention of this file format.

      • bibtex (Score:3, Informative)

        by maccallr (240314)

        think he means bibtex (a LaTeX bibliography tool/format)

      • by caseih (160668)

        A google search reveals a lot of information on using bibtex with OO.org. Not sure exactly what bibtxt is that you mention, but bibtex seems to be the standard. The program Zotero (http://www.zotero.org/) seems to be very promising in replacing endnote.

      • by joib (70841)

        Presumably the parent meant bibtex, not bibtxt.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by steveg (55825)

      Have you looked at Zotero [zotero.org]? It may do what you want -- I think it does import and export Bibtex, but if what you want to do is manage citations and bibliographies, it may do what you need without any importing or exporting. You can insert citations into your doc and then change your mind about the formatting en masse. Ditto the bibliography.

      This requires both the Zotero Firefox plugin and the Zotero OpenOffice plugin. Dunno if it is compatible with 3.2.

  • I like Open Office right up until the point where I have to edit documents using those keybindings. Unfortunately, the features don't include any mention of improved alternate keybinding support. Surely not everyone wants to adapt to Windows keybindings?

    As an example, Firefox supports emacs editing keybindings via a simple Gnome option.

    Having to create keybinding files from scratch is a chore. Worse, new OO releases often don't support past keybinding files. I don't think it would be a major effort to inc

  • "improved compatibility with open standard (ODF) and proprietary file formats"

    So, is it finally able to save RTF files without losing random formatting information?

    Actually, I don't care any more. I just sucked it up and bought a heavily discounted copy of Office 2007 and installed it on two of my Windows machines (Desktop and Laptop) instead of dealing with OO.o's document mangling.

    • Odd. My experience has been totally different. I've not had it mangle a document in about 7 years.
      • It mangles bold and underline in every RTF I've tried across multiple computers. This was as recently as OpenOffice 3.1.

        By mangles, I mean it randomly moves the ending for the bold/underline/italics. So, if you close said document and reopen it (in OO.o or any other word processor that opens RTF), everything is underlined until the end of the current line or paragraph (for example). This is really fun to explain to other people.

        It got to the point where I would save something in OO.o as RTF (this was a b

  • PHP support? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Alworx (885008)

    Mmm... no... not this time... :-(

    Am I the only one who is waiting for some kind of DOM to create docs via PHP? Possibly with updated fresh modules?

  • I installed 3.1 just last week because I needed some office on my machine and tried to paste some cells from calc into a writer document, a process that MSOffice 2003 does perfectly, and got some kind of embedded spreadsheet WTF with tiny font that actually distorted when you moved the handles at the side. Seems to get a table you need to actually 'paste as html', and even then there's no way to get to the bits that overflow off the right of the document...

    I really want to love openoffice and will update, b

  • by coats (1068) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @04:08PM (#31104892) Homepage
    Bug 108855: certain names in spreadsheet-to-spreadsheet links were forced to lower-case during "save."

    Works fine with 3.2.0 -- the bug is gone.

  • A simple, honest, question: is it worth it? I've used OpenOffice a couple of times in the past, but it didn't work for me. Seemed too slow, a bit "bloaty" (as for example you would find a java aplication to be "bloaty", not in the Microsoft "and-the-kitchen-sink!" way), and it seemed to be a bit basic (Excel look-alike, I'm looking at you).

    I'm using Windows with Office 2007 (and Office 2010 Beta on my main machine), and I'm happy with those. No, I don't have "bluescreens", "problems", "errors" or "grief", e

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by okooolo (1372815)
      only you can answer that question. Nice thing about open source is that you can download it, try it and decide for yourself. for the record I'm not a big fan of OO..
    • by Spad (470073)

      Not if you're happy with MS Office and don't care about things like Cost, Openness, Install Size, Cross-platform compatibility, etc. That said, if you want a portable office suite that you can stick on a USB key, then it's very handy (http://portableapps.com/apps/office/openoffice_portable)

      I use OO at home, because I don't want to pay for MS Office & I prefer FOSS to piracy where the FOSS option does what I need, but couldn't get by with it at work because it can't do Outlook or Sharepoint Integration a

    • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @07:03PM (#31107512)

      I "don't" really have anything "to reply to" in your post, but I just wanted to make sure somebody on "Slashdot" is mocking your insane use of quote "marks." "Consider" this a "public service."

  • Faster startup is nice, but the improvement that would thrill me more than any of these is the option of having file dialogues default to the current working directory, in other words, correct Unix user interface behavior. It drives me crazy having file dialogues default to the last directory used (on a previous invocation of the program) or my home directory. Sure, I can then navigate to the directory I want, but its extra work, and navigating through a gui is much slower than using the command line. If I

    • Which current working directory? Don't forget that is Unix/Linux you can have many terminals open, each in a different directory. So how is OO going to know which terminal to use?

      I think they made a decision which works. Besides, in many other programs on Linux, they behave the same way. Think of it as if you are cd'ing to a directory when you open a file. In this case, it is working as you ask.

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