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Word 2007 Vs. Open Office 2.3 Writer 492

hairyfeet writes "Bruce Byfield of Linux.com has just posted his third Office shootout between Microsoft Office and Open Office. This is the first version comparing the new Microsoft Word 2007 with Writer from the latest version of Open Office. The verdict: while Microsoft Office beats Open Office in a few categories, overall Open Office wins — but by not as large a margin as in the past." Linux.com and Slashdot share a corporate overlord.
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Word 2007 Vs. Open Office 2.3 Writer

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  • Curious... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @05:05PM (#20561599) Homepage Journal

    I wonder if Open Office defaults to all the annoying rubbish turned on.

    I really miss Word Perfect 4.1 :o(

  • by CaptainPatent ( 1087643 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @05:08PM (#20561641) Journal
    So how about price vs. performance

    Hmm, I seem to keep getting an overflow error.
  • by Slashdot Parent ( 995749 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @05:08PM (#20561653)
    I RTFA, but it doesn't compare Mail Merge. Does Mail Merge have any improvement in OO.o? It used to be completely unusable.
    • by WED Fan ( 911325 ) <akahige@@@trashmail...net> on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @05:22PM (#20561911) Homepage Journal

      I RTFA, but it doesn't compare Mail Merge. Does Mail Merge have any improvement in OO.o? It used to be completely unusable.

      Now, now, if you start mentioning the myriad of problems OO has, then the score could go the other way and Linux.com might have to announce a Microsoft product the winner.

      Remember, suckiness is in the mouth of blower.

  • 2007...uhggg (Score:5, Interesting)

    by blhack ( 921171 ) * on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @05:10PM (#20561687)
    A few months ago somebody other than me ordered a few dells from dell.com....they accidentally ordered office 2007 instead of 2003 (which is the standard in our company). The 2007 is absolutely TERRIBLE! The the new inferface is probably great for somebody who has never used a microsoft office suite before, but for people who have been doing things the same way for the last 10+ years the change was too much. The problem was solved by replacing the 2007 office with OpenOffice. The OO interface was close enough to microsofts that OO was an almost drop in replacement for it.

    Whats funny is that microsoft releasing this "NOW WITH SHINIER GRAPHICS!" version of Office is actually causing people in my org. to use OO. There was an incident a few days ago where a user needed an XLS 2003 file, the XLS 2003 format that Office 2k7 spits out wouldn't work correctly with the software they were using, the OO version would.

    On the last herd of dells that I ordered, i skipped an Office Suite all together. I know that at least in my organization, now that office 2003 is difficult to come by (I know, you can still order it from newgg.com etc.), we will be using OpenOffice exclusively.
    • Re:2007...uhggg (Score:4, Interesting)

      by QuantumRiff ( 120817 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @05:15PM (#20561777)
      The the new inferface is probably great for somebody who has never used a microsoft office suite before, but for people who have been doing things the same way for the last 10+ years the change was too much.

      Kinda sad, or Ironic, that you use the biggest barrier to open source adoption as the reason for adopting it. Thats the same argument people have been making about linux for a decade now.. Its different, I'm not used to it...
      • by Lonewolf666 ( 259450 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @05:26PM (#20561979)
        As GP said, the OO Writer was actually more familiar to their users than MS Office 2007. Which shows that introducing something new and different can backfire even on a near-monopolist that supposedly controls the market.

        The fact that Microsoft has spread FUD about re-training costs for Linux in the past makes it only more funny :-)
        • Crow over this guys story if you want to, but don't be a hypocrite. Consistency would demand that you call his story FUD against Office 2007.

          Most of MS's efforts against Linux adoption have been aimed at the server market, where the difference between Linux and Windows are major - arguably more so than the difference between MS Office 2007 and OO.o (any version). The fact that people are switching to OO.o because Office 2007 is too unusual for them is a strong indication that switching to Linux would have MASSIVE retraining costs.

          (Office 2007 isn't that different; have you ever used it? The ribbon is basically a merge of the toolbars and the menus, and the hotkeys haven't changed - I personally found it easier to find many the features I was used to in 2007's interface than in OO.o's, even when I had already found them once before in OO.o and had only installed 2007 a few days ago. YMMV of course but I've never liked OO.o's interface and KOffice isn't really any better.)
    • Re:2007...uhggg (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @05:21PM (#20561881)

      This was brought up in a different manner yesterday by someone. One scenario for the continued U.S. presence in Iraq is for our troops to be watching the borders for a while longer once the Iraqis "stand up." Vis-a-vis the borders with Iran and Syria, it makes a lot of sense.

      I've been using Microsoft Office for well over a decade, on a daily basis. The only way in which 2007 is "worse" than either 2003 or OOo in terms of interface is that its not the same as one would expect from prior versions of Office (which have been fairly constant back at least to Office 95), so I can see why people of the "I refuse to learn anything new" crowd (which, previously, have help fuel MS Office's dominance) might prefer OOo, which is much closer the pre-2007 MS Office interface.

      However, Office 2007's interface makes it so much easier to work with things (and much smoother to do things the right way that makes documents more easily maintainable, too) than the pre-2007 interface that I'm was much happier with 2007 after about a day of working with it (my only problem is that I have to switch back and forth between 2007 at home and 2003 at work, and that OneNote 2007, despite being a wonderful program on its own, doesn't have an interface that fits in with the 2007 style, being more in the pre-2007 style.)
      • WTF (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        This was brought up in a different manner yesterday by someone. One scenario for the continued U.S. presence in Iraq is for our troops to be watching the borders for a while longer once the Iraqis "stand up." Vis-a-vis the borders with Iran and Syria, it makes a lot of sense.
      • Re:2007...uhggg (Score:4, Interesting)

        by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @05:33PM (#20562093) Journal
        Yeah, all those companies with thousands of employees should force them to use a bizarre interface that has no relation to the line of products they've been using for a decade, because *you* find it easier.

        My stick-in-the-mud organization isn't touching Office 2007 with a ten foot pull. We can't afford the retraining costs and time. There's this thing called "productivity" that businesses seem to have a bit of a concern over.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Blakey Rat ( 99501 )
          It never occurred to you that there's this thing called "usability testing" that can actually *prove* which interface is superior. And that Microsoft made use of this magical thing while designing Office 2007, and came to the conclusion that the ribbon interface was better enough that it was worth changing things around?

          Seriously, it takes like 10 minutes to learn, and once you learn it, it's simply much, much better than the old rats nest of menus, dialogs, and toolbars.

          Microsoft isn't full of morons; they
      • Re:2007...uhggg (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Foerstner ( 931398 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @05:53PM (#20562451)
        The only way in which 2007 is "worse" than either 2003 or OOo in terms of interface is that its not the same as one would expect from any other Windows application

        Fixed that for you.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by clodney ( 778910 )
      I'll admit that whether or not you like the ribbon is going to be a matter of personal preference. My wife and I are long time Office 97/XP/2003 users, but in pretty casual use of Office 2007 we felt that the ribbon was an improvement. Things were where we were looking for them, and most often the items we wanted were right there, not buried in a menu. But again, that is mostly going to hinge on personal preference.

      But how in the hell does he manage a casual assertion that Word is unusable for documents
  • by initdeep ( 1073290 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @05:10PM (#20561689)
    Interfaces: Verdict: OpenOffice.org, not because it is well-designed, but because Microsoft Word's changes seem pointless and upset users for no good reason.
    • My girlfriend, a technically uninterested primary school teacher, has expressed the exact same sentiments. You don't have to be Linux obsessed to think MS have really buggared up the user interface.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by KeyserDK ( 301544 )
      Exactly... I mean every tried using styles in oowriter?

      Horribly hard... 5 different categories...+ a dropdown with about 6 different choices. That's 5*6=30 different views of styles. Also using the dropdown and button/tab in combination forces you to move the pointer nearly the height of oowriter window (Great in maximized mode!). Greatly eases comfort.... Stupid...

      By default oowriter also includes at least 30 differentstyles.. stuff like the very important "List 1,List 2,List 3,List 4,List 5" Must have tho
    • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @05:58PM (#20562515)

      Any series of articles that thinks OpenOffice Writer has been better than Word in the past is dead before it starts. Only the most OSS-loving evangelist would make such a claim. Of course, the claim is only made because Writer won (according to the reviewer) in more categories (arbitrarily selected by the reviewer, and having equal weight).

      In this case, it's interesting that he pans the ribbons in Office 2007. It's only as anecdotal as his claim, but I personally haven't yet found anyone who's given Office 2007 a fair try and didn't prefer the ribbons after a period of getting used to them. Microsoft's usability people seem to have done their job well on this one. Word certainly isn't perfect as far as usability goes, but it's hardly the disaster this guy makes out.

      On the styles count, he pans Word 2007 for not having page and frame styles, but frankly, I have never used those features in OO Writer. I use styles and templates a lot, but if I'm doing something with enough flash to be using styles like that, I'll probably be using a DTP program anyway, and neither Word nor OO Writer is really up to that kind of page layout. Meanwhile, has OO Writer got shortcut keys for styles (and for removing them) that actually work yet?

      On page layout, apparently the only thing Writer lacks is the ability to link text frames. I imagine that will be of great concern to the DTP big boys! Or not, unless a whole bunch of other stuff has been added since 2.2, and a whole load of bugs fixed. (I can't tell, since only 2.2.1 appears to be available for download so far.)

      The comments about templates are only about those supplied with the packages, which unless you're Joe 12-year-old doing a high school project are utterly irrelevant. Professional organisations will generally set up their own, if they use them at all, which means the tools for setting up and modifying templates are far more important than the page layout equivalent of clip-art.

      On numbered/bulleted lists, Writer apparently has little room for improvement over 2.2. I imagine anyone who's suffered the pain of trying to get multi-level lists to lay out properly and struggled through the ludicrously overcomplicated numbering architecture will disagree. Lists suck in Word, but they suck even more in Writer. Neither has a feature worthy of a serious word processor.

      On headers and footers, the review criticises Word for its limited flexibility. When Writer can even put the most recent heading in the header automatically, get back to us.

      On the footnotes and endnotes thing, calling Word's facilities basic in comparison to Writer is rather harsh. There are one or two nice tweaks in Writer that Word doesn't have (at least, I haven't found them yet if they were added in 2007, and it didn't before). Most people will never use these features.

      On the subjects of cross-references, both Word and Writer suck beyond the point of being usable. They just suck in different ways. Someone should introduce them to LaTeX, which uses the stunningly complicated system of naming a place you might want to refer to later, and then referring to it by name elsewhere. When the word processors here have bookmarking facilities that do this, reliably, and without a tendency to corruption, they can claim to even have a useful cross-reference facility, but until then, it's just not true.

      On indices and tables of contents, the reviewer apparently confuses his own stylistic preferences with faulty design — unfortunate, considering that almost any professional typesetter is likely to disagree with him on that one. In any case, again neither program really shines in this area, though. Simple things (in terms of the kind of documents where you'd care about these things) like having both a table of chapters and a detailed table of contents are bizarrely awkward if they work at all. Again, without better support for pulling these things in and actually getting them to work (there's no point being able to generate both tables if you can't get

  • by ttapper04 ( 955370 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @05:12PM (#20561735) Journal
    There are 2 advantages to OO that mean anything.

    1. Its free
    2. Its open source

    Does it surprise anyone that linux users go for it?
  • Troll (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JamesRose ( 1062530 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @05:13PM (#20561747)
    Frankly, I find this amazing this got on slashdot, not because it is so anti-MS, but more because its so transparent, meaning it ends up doing it really badly. In the reading of this, all you see is paragraphs about the features of word, then at best maybe a sentence about OO, and then OO is declared the winner. Honestly, I've tried both and this article doesn't bring up any of the really good points MS has going for it, and doesn't bring up the use of Open Office at all- if open office has a feature that word also has, open office gets declared better I don't know why.
    • if open office has a feature that word also has, open office gets declared better I don't know why.

      Have you considered that the author of the article may have compared the implementation of the features and used that as the basis for his judgment?

      Sure, rarely used unique features are neat - but it's the usability of common features that matters most for the usability of something as well-defined as a word processor.

    • I've tried both and this article doesn't bring up any of the really good points MS has going for it
      From your own lack of points I see you're struggling with that one as well.

    • Re:Troll (Score:4, Informative)

      by Reality Master 101 ( 179095 ) <RealityMaster101NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @05:38PM (#20562181) Homepage Journal

      Indeed. What tipped me off was this:

      The ironic part is, Word needs master documents, since it cannot reliably handle documents longer than about 40 pages.

      Sheesh. I've used Word with docs hundreds of pages long dozens of times. I can only remember one document that I had trouble with, and that had a huge number of embedded files all over the place.

  • Why compare? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by no_pets ( 881013 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @05:13PM (#20561751)
    If you've got money to burn, buy MS Office. If you are a tightwad, download Open Office. If you are somewhere in between, download Open Office, use it, and if you decide you aren't happy with it, buy MS Office. If you still aren't happy, I can't help you. You'll probably never be happy.
    • by benhocking ( 724439 ) <{benjaminhocking} {at} {yahoo.com}> on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @05:21PM (#20561879) Homepage Journal

      If you are somewhere in between, download Open Office, use it, and if you decide you aren't happy with it, buy MS Office. If you still aren't happy, I can't help you. You'll probably never be happy.
      Or maybe — just maybe — office applications aren't what determine your own personal level of happiness. ;)
    • "If you still aren't happy, I can't help you. You'll probably never be happy."

      iWork 08 [apple.com]

      Super Furry Animals
    • Maybe you have money to burn but still like Open Office better ? ;-)

      Personally, I'm somewhere in between, know MS office from work and dislike it for its lack of reliability. Sudden crashes or changes in formatting are not uncommon.
      Admittedly it is an older version (Office 2000), but as it is far from being the first Word release, I doubt if these bugs are fixed by now. Microsoft had time enough before launching Office 2000 and didn't get it right.
      Which leaves me in the Open Office camp for my private use..
  • That's great! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by The Bungi ( 221687 ) * <thebungi@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @05:16PM (#20561803) Homepage
    I guess if this was someone doing a review of Word vs Writer with Word coming up on top it would be automatically discarded, but I'm sure we can trust Linux.com for a good, balanced review.

    Except where he forgot to review things like collaboration (shared workspaces, SharePoint and NetMeeting interop), revision control, integration, extensibility model, autoformatting, the insane amount of clip art available for free from the Office website, mail merge, the document map functionality, Office Update, speed, etc. etc.

    People don't generally use something like Word because it's a good word processor - there are cheaper solutions for that. Word is good because it's part of a complete integrated solution. Otherwise you can get something cheaper or more specialized [wikipedia.org].

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DogDude ( 805747 )
      I'm sure we can trust Linux.com for a good, balanced review.

      That's especially true when you remember that Slashdot.org and Linux.com are the same company.
  • Flawed. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Txiasaeia ( 581598 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @05:16PM (#20561807)
    The author missed several key points of comparison. First of all, like it or not, Word is the de facto standard word processor, period. OO is hampered by a lack of compatibility with Word. No matter how much I personally might like OO, if I can't open a Word 2003 document in OO from a client the way that it's supposed to be viewed, I'm going to have a problem. And forget about an easy way of loading .docx files in OO! No matter how advanced a user you are, it's still a huge PITA to convert several documents into a format readable by OO. Another practical matter ignored is the simple speed of opening Word. This might sound like a ridiculous complaint, but when I'm opening dozens of documents per day, I appreciate the speed at which Word loads up, as opposed to the longer waiting time of OO. Next, no mention of platform interoperativity? OO works on OSX, Windows, and Linux, whereas Word 2007 works on... Windows, and *maybe* Linux if you screw around with it. This is sort of important to mention.

    Of course, it's also somewhat amusing that OO has "won" the author's three comparisons in 02, 05, and 07, given his obvious predilection for Linux, and the fact that the article is published on linux.com. I wonder if it would have been published had he said that Word 2007 was superior?

    • Re:Flawed. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by frisket ( 149522 ) <peter@[ ]maril.ie ['sil' in gap]> on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @05:41PM (#20562225) Homepage

      He also missed the key difference between OO and Word for professional authors and editors: Word has a style margin (set to 0mm by default so that you don't know it's there, but easily reset). With this, you can easily see what named style is in use for each block element, which makes style-editing long documents a snip. With OO, you have to click on each block element in turn to find out what named style is currently applied, which slows editing by an order of magnitude.

      I once asked OO if they intended to introduce any similar at-a-glance display, but they just buried their heads in the sand like Microsoft Marketing, bleating some inanities about how it "wasn't needed", and their interface was "just fine as it is".

      Meanwhile those professional authors and editors who do use styles, and who haven't yet switched to XML for lack of a decent non-technical editor, are going to ante up for a copy of Word. Much as I hate to say it, this was one interface method that Microsoft got right and that OO has missed by 180 degrees.

  • If it were... (Score:3, Informative)

    by WED Fan ( 911325 ) <akahige@@@trashmail...net> on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @05:19PM (#20561847) Homepage Journal

    Now, if it were say, a "Windows User Magazine" and the results were the opposite, you'd guys would be screaming about bias.

    Is it surprising that Linux.com does this?

    Does MS Office 2007 work on Linux?

  • Open Office Draw vs. uh. Visio? Close, but not quite.
  • Bias? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bteeter ( 25807 ) <`moc.reteetnairb' `ta' `nairb'> on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @05:22PM (#20561913)
    Linux.com favoring OpenOffice? Get out, really? This comparison is more like a 500 word high school paper. There are no real details, no screenshots and few specifics.

    If Microsoft wrote a review / comparison this we'd have 200 comments here screaming FUD.

    I'm sure Open Office is a great match for Word now, but if the writer wants to make that point, he needs to use some specific metrics.
  • by klubar ( 591384 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @05:23PM (#20561931) Homepage
    Although I initially disliked the ribbon, after using it for a couple of months I find the menu bar so 2000's. The ribbon really does expose more commands and make them easier to find. Other features I like about Word 2007 include the live preview and a very smart right click menu. The spell checker and suggestions are pretty dead on, and the new grammer checker is actually useful enough to leave on.

    Other features I find valuable in word include macros and really powerful indexes and table of contents. The whole color scheme and master documents (although difficult to learn) really are helpful.

    The real problem with word is that it needs to satisfy a large number of users with different expectations. Everyone who uses word says that they only use 10% of the features, yet the 10% selected is always different.

    I guess the real benefit to word is complete compatibility with other word documents. For collaborative editing, going around in cycles with different software is a pain.

    Given the relatively low cost of office (about $120 for home/student, and about an incremental $200 on the purchase of a new machine for a small business license) makes it pretty difficult to switch. In a corporate environment with software licensing the cost of the full office suite for a new employee is less than it costs for the office chair. Saving money a couple of bucks isn't enough of a reason to switch.
  • Ask a writer (Score:4, Informative)

    by athloi ( 1075845 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @05:24PM (#20561941) Homepage Journal
    I'm a technical writer, and for doing long documents, I would not use either of these products. Open Office, while prized by some of my colleagues, seems to have too many mission critical failures or half-baked features. Microsoft Office, while good for both the home and small business market, becomes a hindrance when you use it for larger projects with more diverse requirements. I can make either one do what it must, but I would prefer Adobe FrameMaker or its open source clone, Lyx [lyx.org].
  • by ElephanTS ( 624421 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @05:27PM (#20562001)
    I've been interested in this and conducted my own tests. You can definitely type faster in Word2007 whatever the OO people say. All those millions spent in development go somewhere you know.
    • Does Word 2007 come with some new magic keyboard? My typing speed has sat at about 75wpm for the last twenty years, and that's going from old IBM Selectric typewriters, through XT clones running Wordperfect 5.1, through 386SXs running Microsoft Works, OS/2 running AmiPro, OS/2 running IBM Works, and various versions of Word dating back to the DOS days.
  • I see no reason in the article to switch from LyX to either of those. I guess while OO is an option, Word isn't, MS doesn't make a Linux version.
  • File format that will be readable in a decade.
  • Dissenting opinion (Score:3, Informative)

    by intx13 ( 808988 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @05:39PM (#20562203) Homepage
    I have to say, it took me a while to warm up to Office 2007, but now that I'm used to it I quite like it. I have a few caveats.. I don't like the need to right click to bring up text-formatting options within floating objects, nor do I like how the selected menu reverts to "Home" after you do certain things, but in general I find that I can work as fast as I can in Office 2003.

    With that in mind, there are some very nice features in 2007 that previous versions didn't have. The equation thingy is improved, using masters/templates is a lot more natural and easy, color selections have been changed to some very pretty gradients (rather than the typical 128 standard colors or whatever) so that for style-blind people like myself, making pretty presentations and whatnot is a breeze. Styles feel more natural in Word, so that you can set up the style and then just concentrate on the content (kind of in the direction of Latex, though obviously not the same). I could list more, but I don't want to be accused of being a shill :) So in general, if you have the cash to spare or you have access to 2007 for free through a school or company (and you don't mind a few days getting used to the reorganization of things) it's an improvement over 2003.

    Now, Open Office. Style support has always been better than Word, and still is better than 2007's support. Equations used to be *much* better than Word, but with the changes in 2007 I'd say they're about on par now. Open Office's PowerPoint equivalent (can't remember the name) doesn't have all the bells and whistles of 2007 (not even close), and it's object-drawing (like for flow-charts) isn't as easy to use, but it certainly gets the job done without any major flaws. The whole application is a LOT slower than 2007 (or 2003) Office... and this is a big drawback to me, as my computers aren't exactly state of the art. On the other hand it's free, I can install it on as many computers as I want, it has better file type support (with the exception of 2007's ???x files), and I don't feel a chill go down my spine every time I use it like I do when I see that Microsoft logo :)

    After using 2007 for a couple weeks, however, (and this is a big thing when it comes to Mr. and Mrs. Sixpack) Open Office just feels clunky. I'm not sure if it's the slower response of the application, or the bland UI, or just in my head, but Open Office just feels like it's a step behind Office. However, when it comes down to it, I'm going to run Open Office at home because I don't intend on paying for Microsoft Office.

    So, to conclude this long winded post, if two identical machines are running next to each other - one has Open Office installed, the other has Office 2007 installed - I'm going to use Office 2007. It's faster, slicker, and just plain prettier. Granted it takes some time to get used to, and not all of the changes have been for the better - but in my opinion most of them were. As they say, "you don't sell the steak, you sell the sizzle" - anybody can develop a word processor; it's not difficult. When it comes down to these two options though, Office 2007 has the sizzle. Is the sizzle worth my money? Nope - but that doesn't mean it's not still better than the competition.

    Ok, Bill Gates, I've backed a Microsoft product for once in my life... where's my 30 pieces of silver? :)
  • by The MAZZTer ( 911996 ) <<megazzt> <at> <gmail.com>> on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @05:51PM (#20562405) Homepage

    OpenOffice 2.3 won't install until I uninstall OpenOffice 2.2. OpenOffice 2.2 won't uninstall until I present the original OpenOffice 2.2 installer, which I deleted right after I installed it, and probably isn't widely available anymore.

    And this isn't the first time I've had uninstall problems with Windows Installer either. It's just a bloated, buggy mess. The most annoying part is that the OpenOffice installer seems to use NSIS. From experience in using programs that use both, I find NSIS far superior. I've never had an NSIS uninstaller fail on me, and when an NSIS installer failed it was because of some amateurish mistake of the person who made the install script, not because of NSIS itself, and they were isolated incidents. I don't see why OOo doesn't just use NSIS instead of using a Windows Installer packed inside an NSIS self-extracting archive... that just seems dumb.

  • styles vs templates (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @06:05PM (#20562599) Journal
    I don't tend to use word processors, so this is an honest question. What's the difference between styles and templates? They both sound like the same thing to me.
    • by Junior J. Junior III ( 192702 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @07:06PM (#20563439) Homepage
      Styles are usually just format related, ie font face, size, indent and tab settings, etc. all wrapped up into a "Style" which you can apply to content all at once instead of making the same dozen changes to every place you want to update. Also, once the style is set, you can change the style in one place, and it gets updated everywhere. This is nice if you want to revamp the look of a document.

      A template has styled elements to it, but is more like a partially pre-populated bunch of content, like a form letter. You open the template, and it generates a stub of the document you're creating. You fill in the unique bits, and save it under a unique filename. Ideally as much of the work should be done for you by merely opening the template as possible.
  • by dankelley ( 573611 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @06:13PM (#20562725)
    http://oestrem.com/thingstwice/?p=65 [oestrem.com] provides an informative comparison of the aesthetics of LaTeX, Word, and OO Writer. When beauty is the goal, LaTeX wins.
  • by autophile ( 640621 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @08:22PM (#20564373)

    Here's what I love about the two word processors. When you import a Word doc into OOo, it looks pretty good, except it seems to replace all the styles with "n0003957" and "z8937zaa" tags. Then, when you make your edits and send it back to the original guy, and he opens it up in Word, all his styles are screwed up, and it's your fault.

    That's why in my corporate environment, we only use Word. Because the two just don't do round-trip very well.


  • ... vs LaTeX! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @09:58PM (#20565375) Journal
    Semi serious, and very biased, but here you go:

    The Interfaces: N/A or, choose between vi, emacs, kyle, lyx, pico, notepad, ... There's one out there for you. I like bash + gvim + makefiles. Winner: LaTeX!

    Styles:\section, \begin{quote}, ... Simple, transparent and robust. Winner: LaTeX!

    Page Layout: Er... Well, you can ultimately place a box anywhere you wish with a picture environment. It can be painful, but can force it. Winner: None!

    Templates:\documentclass ... blah.bst. Winner: LaTeX (by a country mile)!

    Outlining:No idea what that is. LaTeX doesn't do it anyhow. Winner: word (according to TFA).

    Bulleted and numbered lists:\begin{enumerate} or itemize Just Works. Impossible to screw up. Winner: LaTeX!

    Tables:Ye gods. Well, there's super table (nice) and longtable for those long ones, but that doesn't work with supertable... But basic tables Just Work. No formulae, buy you can always \input a mechanically generated table file, and (if you use makefiles) have it automatically update whatever you use to generate it. Winner: Really, it's down to personal choice on this one.

    Headers and Footers: They're part of your template. But you can arbitrarily customize your own. Winner: LaTeX!

    Footnotes and endnotes:I try to avoid these as a matter of preference. Winner: I don't know since I avoid them.

    Cross-references:Winner: LaTeX, by a very, very long way.

    Indexes, tables of content, and bibliographies: See templates and cross references. There's a BST file for any job out there. Winner: LaTeX!

    Master documents: \input FTW! That said, I challenge you to find a real document which is too large for vim on my computer even without \input. Winner: LaTeX!

    Drawing tools: Er..., well, xfig can output latex code... er... Winner: Not LaTeX.

    Unique features:Split pane view? Well, there's diff, or xdiff or gvimdiff or your editor has. Version tracking? Well, it works with CVS, SVN, git, ... Export to PS and PDF works amazingly well, with full cross reference hyperlinking in PDF.s. Other than that, look at the package list on CTAN. Winner: LaTeX!


    1. Use LaTeX.

    2. It's nice to seperate editing, presentation and content.

    3. Then you can go the way of the UNIX and use the most suitable tool for every step.

    • Completely serious

      Some fairly basic functionality only available via a text interface: ed is a complete bitch to use, so my ability to use it for really basic layout strokes my ego. Winner: my predetermined favourite!

      Some functionality that I never use and don't understand: Who cares? Winner: Whatever he said.

      Something my predetermined favourite sucks at: Ummm, well yknow, stuff and such. Winner: It really depends on your personal tastes.


      1. Use my personal favourite obscure UNIX utility

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