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OpenOffice.org 2.4 Released 222

ahziem writes "The multiplatform, multilingual office suite OpenOffice.org has announced the release of version 2.4. New features include 5 PDF export enhancements, text to columns in Calc, rectangular selection in Writer, bug fixes, performance improvements, improvements supporting the growing library of extensions such as 3D OpenGL transitions in Impress, and much more. Downloads are available either direct or P2P. In September, OpenOffice.org 3.0 will add PDF import, Microsoft Office 2007 file format support, and ODF 1.2."
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OpenOffice.org 2.4 Released

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  • PDF import? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) * on Thursday March 27, 2008 @02:05PM (#22884208) Homepage Journal
    I can't wait for that. PDF import will turn OpenOffice.org into a poor-man's Adobe Acrobat.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I can't wait for that. PDF import will turn OpenOffice.org into a poor-man's Adobe Acrobat.

      I was thinking rich mans Adobe Acrobat. Say you bought MS Office and Adobe...$1000?

      Put $1000 in the bank, each year take out $50 and spend it on beer. With interest, that could last a long time!

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Omestes ( 471991 )
        $50 a year on beer? Thats less than a dollar a week, that means I don't even get malt liquor (Mickeys), much less a single can of PBR at the local pub ($2 not counting tip). $1000 sounds more like a fun night in Vegas, sans hookers and blow.
    • PDF import isn't that impressive - GIMP has been able to do that for some time.

      The fact that Openoffice 2.4 can EXPORT PDF, that's a bit more interesting.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        OOo has had PDF export for quite some time -- since around v2.0 or so. GIMP's support for importing PDFs is limited to the images, I believe.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by springbox ( 853816 )
          No, GIMP just uses ghostscript to rasterize the PDF
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mhall119 ( 1035984 )
            Which is essentially what the GP was saying, you can't edit a PDF as a text document in Gimp, you can only edit it as an image.
    • I can't wait for that. PDF import will turn OpenOffice.org into a poor-man's Adobe Acrobat.
      I thought Adobe already made a poor man's Acrobat... no, wait, that's a piggy, bloated Acrobat. My mistake.
    • I can't wait for that. PDF import will turn OpenOffice.org into a poor-man's Adobe Acrobat.
      I want a portable ODF viewer with print functionality. That's what's stopping me from actually using OpenOffice over PDF for some applications at the moment.
    • Re:PDF import? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rbanffy ( 584143 ) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @04:05PM (#22885696) Homepage Journal
      "I can't wait for that. PDF import will turn OpenOffice.org into a poor-man's Adobe Acrobat."

      I would rather say a free man's Adobe Acrobat. It's not about the cost - it's about the freedom.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by EnOne ( 786812 )
      I prefer Foxit Reader to Adobe Acrobat. It's free, faster, lighter weight, and it doesn't add things to your start menu.
    • Re:PDF import? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @04:37PM (#22886112) Homepage Journal
      Acrobat sux for reading in and editing existing documents. You would be better off editing the original document and re-exporting to PDF.
    • FYI, the brand new version of Inkscape [inkscape.org] (released 3 days ago) has very good PDF import (and export). You can modify text, modify vector-based drawings, remove or add pictures... all you've ever dreamed of.

      I think it's only possible to edit one page at a time, but with pdftk it shouldn't be much of a limitation.

  • Mac Version (Score:5, Informative)

    by rubeng ( 1263328 ) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @02:10PM (#22884264) Journal
    I'm really looking forwards to a native (non X11) Mac version. NeoOffice works OK but seems a bit slow. I see that about a week ago a new native development shapshot was released [openoffice.org].
    • by ooglek ( 98453 )
      I went to the site to try to download the X11 version 2.4.0 but it is not there. I get an error. What's up with that? Anyone else finding problems (or success) in getting 2.4.0 for OSX? Even the x11 version?
    • Re:Mac Version (Score:5, Interesting)

      by w3c.org ( 1039484 ) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @03:03PM (#22884894) Homepage
      Yeah I've been using the 3.0 beta for a week now, on my good ol' powerbook, and it rocks. Really. No X11, it's quick (can't tell how fast loading is from NeoOffice, but quite faster). I didn't run NeoOffice since. Sure, it can be quirky, it has its glitches, but it runs ok, and saves & restores document perfectly if it crashes (happened just an hour early, got everything I was working on restored). Great thing. Go, OpenOffice team, go! :)
      • Doe sit crash less than neo office? Are there less glitches ? If you search my comment history, I'm not a heavy office user anymore, but I do want a office suite that won't crash period.
    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      Are they going to support PPC on the mac past 2.3.0. I note later version are Intel only...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 27, 2008 @02:10PM (#22884278)
    FWIW, NeoOffice [neooffice.org], a Mac Os X port of OpenOffice.org just had a new release last week. It's based on the 2.2.1 code and adds Quicktime video support, import from scanners and cameras, Mac OS grammar checking in Leopard, and some more stuff. Details here [neooffice.org]. Don't forget if you download it to grab the latest patch [neooffice.org] too.

    The insane thing is NeoOffice only has two code developers.
  • by phayes ( 202222 ) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @02:12PM (#22884298) Homepage
    REGEXP search & replace! Supposing you're a geek... Of course we're all geeks here on slashdot, right?
    • by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert AT slashdot DOT firenzee DOT com> on Thursday March 27, 2008 @03:03PM (#22884884) Homepage
      It's had regex find/replace by default for years... Not sure if 1.x had it, but the beta builds of 2.x and everything since has.
      • by panda ( 10044 )
        Hey. Don't I feel silly now?

        It's under "More Options" on the Search and Replace dialog.
      • It's had regex find/replace by default for years...

        The funny thing is that MS Word has had regex for years, as well... though like everything Microsoft, they've wandered a bit from standards.
        • by Xtifr ( 1323 )

          MS Word has had regex for years, as well... though like everything Microsoft, they've wandered a bit from standards.

          Well, I'm no fan of MS--don't own their software, can't even verify the claim that they support regex--nevertheless, honesty compels me to suggest that regex "standards", such as they are, are something that few adhere to very strictly. Especially if the standards you're referring to are POSIX. I think GNU grep, sed and awk will do standard regex, but only if you pass a special flag or environment variable. Perl has so many useful extensions (embrace? extend?) that hardly anyone uses the standards with

    • by panda ( 10044 )
      Ok. Excellent idea. It's one of the features that I miss from Nisus Writer.

      I'll file an issue tonight as a feature request. It might not make it into 3.0 at this point, but maybe 3.1.

  • Thank god! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Digi-John ( 692918 ) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @02:17PM (#22884352) Journal
    My life has been empty without the ability to switch between slides in STUNNING 3-D! I seriously just peed a little in excitement.
    Come on; there's not even a reason to have *any* transitions between slides. Nothing says "Oh god, what an amateur" than seeing slide after slide spiral into another one, or slowly dissolve, etc. Transitions are just a way to waste your time trying out different possibilities instead of polishing your content or doing something else useful.
    • Re:Thank god! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by stuporglue ( 1167677 ) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @02:22PM (#22884396) Homepage

      Nothing says "Oh god, what an amateur" than seeing slide after slide spiral into another one, or slowly dissolve, etc.

      Depends on the transition, the material and the audience. For example, if you're switching between a before and after slide (eg. with photos) using a crossfade can make it more clear what the differences are. Also, some suits prefer a smooth transition to a blocky sudden switch.

    • Agreed. Nothing ticks me off more than trying to quickly scroll through an embedded presentation only to be immediately halted by a bunch of ridiculous transitions. They were cool to play with in 8th grade speech class, but I've never seen them used effectively other than for a quick laugh.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Yeah, for that matter, we should just go back to using transparencies and overhead projectors. REAL professionals don't embed video or audio or anything in their presentations either. Just an outline. Why, back in my day, we just wrote on big sheets of paper with a marker!

      C'mon, don't be such a luddite.
      • Re:Thank god! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Colonel Korn ( 1258968 ) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @02:44PM (#22884614)
        The GP's complaint against transitions is that they serve no functional purpose. One reply pointed out that in some very limited cases, they do (before/after photos benefit from a crossfade), which is reasonable. Your reply equates transitions with video and audio, which is absolutely unreasonable in the framework of the GP's post. Video and audio have obvious utility. Transitions are almost always decoration, and I agree with the GP that they're usually a distraction from the material.
        • by Thornburg ( 264444 ) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @03:17PM (#22885088)
          Hey, this is Slashdot! You're not allowed to use interpretive thought or intelligible communication. Please go to some communication-nerd website and post your well-reasoned, level-headed thoughts there. We don't want them here!

          (For those completely devoid of sarcasm detection skills, the above post may be used to calibrate your Sarcastometer--it should score 8.6).
        • Re:Thank god! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by xtracto ( 837672 ) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @04:32PM (#22886068) Journal
          Transitions have a specific use and is to "inform" your audience that you have changed the slide. Even a very discrete fade out transition is sometimes useful. When you give a presentation people are usually looking at you and hear you talking. They just refer to the slide when it is shown at first *or* when you point at a specific feature of the slide.

    • Come on; there's not even a reason to have *any* transitions between slides.
      I favour a minimal approach to slides, but the last talk I gave I thought, twice, that my slide had failed to change because there was no transition. I also like using something like a flip or cube rotate effect between sections to indicate to the audience that I am shifting topics.
    • Re:Thank god! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by claus.wilke ( 51904 ) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @02:45PM (#22884634)
      I would argue that if you are preparing a presentation that is running by itself, without a human presenter, a simple but elegant transition effect will work better than no effect at all. This might be quite useful for exhibits at tradeshows and similar occasions.
    • I see Keynote used on big televised awards ceremonies a lot. The companies doing the graphics buy Macs to run Keynote, and they want Keynote for the transitions. Those kind of presentations are not done by amateurs. If OpenOffice is just going for the 'engineer making presentations to management' market then yes, OpenGL is a waste of time. However if they're looking a bit further then it is worth it.
  • Only one comment (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @02:29PM (#22884456) Journal
    I'm using Office XP Pro side by side with OO. There is really no major differences now between the two in my use of office packages. One thing is for certain, at this update rate I could not afford the MS version of updates, but with OpenOffice... meh, this is great. If I could get a car manufacturer to upgrade my vehicle for free once a year (new cupholders, dash panel, etc.) It would also be great, but I'll settle for what I get with OpenOffice thank you very much.
    • Maybe a silly question, but, does OOo have an option for keyboard shortcuts yet? I can't live without ctrl-b for bold ctrl-i for italics, and I really like ctrl-+ for increasing fonts. I won't give up MS Word until I can have those.

      OTOH, I have given up powerpoint altogether -- it's safer to have open office presentations + OOo installer on a CD than to have a powerpoint presentation and hope they have the right version of MS office.

      • Those standard shortcuts work fine for me. I'd miss those too if they didn't work. I type faster than quite a few people who are hired partly on their typing speed... shortcuts are very fast if you have the 'skilz' for it :)
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by snilloc ( 470200 )
        Tools Menu --> Customize --> Keyboard

        (I abso-friggin'-lutely needed ctrl-d to fill down in Calc.)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MojoStan ( 776183 )

        OTOH, I have given up powerpoint altogether -- it's safer to have open office presentations + OOo installer on a CD than to have a powerpoint presentation and hope they have the right version of MS office.

        I might be missing something, but why can't you just put the free PowerPoint Viewer on the CD along with your PowerPoint presentation? Wouldn't it be nicer (to them) to install the 2 MB PowerPoint Viewer on "their" computer than whatever needs to be installed to view OOo presentation files? (OTOH: I wouldn't be surprised if there were simple "viewers" available for OOo presentations.)

    • Re:Only one comment (Score:5, Informative)

      by vertickle ( 1263292 ) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @02:55PM (#22884792)
      Thank them with your wallet. http://contributing.openoffice.org/donate.html [openoffice.org]
      • by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @03:42PM (#22885424) Journal
        I do. Also contribute to EFF, Chronix Radio, Ubuntu, and several other F/OSS applications. I don't think everything should be free, but I feel damned comfortable paying what feels comfortable to me in a value for dollar kind of way. I happened to pay $45 for OOo and think it was a damned good deal at that price.
      • Huh? Weren't you paying attention? They are going to use that money for new cup holders!
    • It's called leasing.

      You should compare leasing costs against buying + finance + depreciation. It's not so different.

  • Since when is a bug fix a new feature?
  • I'm not a big word processing or spreadsheet person. The only complaint I really have about OO is that it takes an eternity and a half to start up. Whether or not I use that quick-start-up feature doesn't seem to make a bit of difference. The only thing that feature does is making Windows many many seconds slower to start up. Does 2.4 improve OO's start up time in any way? Is this even an issue that the developers consider to be a problem?
  • Any word (Score:4, Informative)

    by Kelz ( 611260 ) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @02:56PM (#22884804)
    On when they're going to fix autoformat? Has anyone else ever tried to make a resume in OO (god forbid you use bullets or tabs)?
    • Pet Peeve... (Score:4, Informative)

      by mutube ( 981006 ) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @03:15PM (#22885058) Homepage
      Auto-completing words when writing bullet lists. If you don't end the lines with full-stops, hitting Enter will auto-complete some random word instead of starting a new line. You're list of "My Favourite Animals" becomes:


      Which, as you can imagine, is quite distressing.
  • by mlts ( 1038732 ) * on Thursday March 27, 2008 @02:57PM (#22884818)
    I wish the OpenOffice.org project maintainers would PGP/gpg sign their MD5 sum files at the least, or if they can get a code signing key, Authenticode sign their installer on Windows.

    PGP/gpg is available at no cost, and having the key available from keyservers (and signed by a good number of people) would provide basic software assurance.

    I know this is a relatively small gripe, but just for integrity reasons it would be nice that they did so, so I knew a copy I have was not corrupted (or even worse, tampered with.) OOo does such a major role in day to day use for a lot of organizations that if a compromised version made its way around the Internet, it could mean a major disaster.

    Last, and I know I'm boring with this, a number of companies won't install anything on their machines unless the files are cryptographically signed in some way. This is more of a legal CYA policy, but it would be nice to be able to use OOo in places like this and have validated, signed executables.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Zadaz ( 950521 )

      a number of companies won't install anything on their machines unless the files are cryptographically signed in some way

      Sure! Just like my copy of Windows, OSX, Photoshop, Acrobat, Office, Toast, and... every other commercial application that I've ever had are cryptographi--

      Oh, wait. Hell, even Firefox doesn't have a sig. to download.

      I'm not saying the danger isn't there, but generally if someone has access to make nefarious changes to an archive, modifying the signature as well is pretty trivial, if not m

    • by ichthus ( 72442 )
      You're right. Your post was boring, but a good thought nonetheless. :)

      There probably isn't much worry if you're downloading directly from Sun/OOo -- if that copy is somehow compromized, so would be the checksum.

      I usually download OOo from my ISP's mirror. They provide MD5's or SHA1's or something, and I believe that if my sum matches my ISP's, and my ISP's sum matches the original... looks good to me.

      But, your last paragraph brings up an interesting and valid point -- and probably the best reason for cry
    • by nuzak ( 959558 )
      Most distributions have extra downstream packaging work to do, which means signing is up to the redistributor. Your package manager should check it automatically -- apt and yum certainly do. It makes a little more sense for windows distributions where people would get it straight from OOo, but I think the number of people that actually verify the checksum is vanishingly small.
  • What I hope for (Score:4, Interesting)

    by the_crowbar ( 149535 ) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @03:07PM (#22884946)
    Two things that bug me about OOo 2.3:

    1) On Linux Impress can not handle more than a few slides before using 100% CPU power. We have several digital billboards (50" Plasma Tvs) and I was tasked with making sure they had something to display. No prob I thought. I set up 3 media pc cases with Ubuntu 7.10 (i386, onboard nvidia gpu) and installed OOo. I was having some problems creating the slide shows with OOo Linux. I switched to my Windows box and was able to create a basic slide show. (1280x720 resolution maybe 10 slides) I tried running the show on my Ubuntu desktop (amd64) as well as the media pcs (Ubuntu i386) and OOo Impress would jump to 100% CPU after a few slides. In the end I used Wine and PowerPoint viewer to display the slideshow because it worked without killing the CPU. Here's hoping 2.4 fixes this bug.

    2) OOo base is unable to open a new form from a button on a form. I was trying to use OOo Base as a quick proof of concept for a new HR database. It is easy enough to connect Base to a MySQL DB and create a form to modify records. The problem came when I tried to create a search page. The search was fine. I could display the results in a table, but then there is no way to select a result from the table and then open it in another form. This is not really a bug rather than a much needed feature. At this point Base is ok for only the simplest of things.


    I can't wait to try out OOo 2.4 to see if they have fixed these two things.
  • Smooth drawings? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I wander if circles and such draws smoothly on the edges as MS Office does. i guess that is related to anti-aliasing on drawing objects.
  • I finally finished compiling 2.0 and now this comes out!

    I am going to write a letter!

    [yes, this is clearly a terrible joke]
  • soffice.bin: 267 MB... And I even quit writer, so it's just the quickstart program using 267 MB... had the exact same problem with 2.3, can't believe they didn't fix something THAT obvious... It's got to do with the non-english dictionary I use. When I write a word wrong, it loads ALL included dictionaries into memory (german, thai, engrish, etc.) before deciding that it can't find the word, giving up and underlining the word. The 200 MB hogged memory is never freed either. There was an old bug-report abo
  • by wpegden ( 931091 ) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @04:46PM (#22886218)
    Openoffice still doesn't do good anti aliasing of vector graphics (for example, in a presentation). It seems idiotic to implement OpenGL "eye candy" before dealing with this half-decade old issue. Who is going to put up with crappy-looking drawings, just because they can now transition between them smoothly?
    Here's one thread on the issue: http://www.oooforum.org/forum/viewtopic.phtml?t=33584 [oooforum.org]
  • What are you complaining about? Some of us gentoo users haven't even finished compiling the last release yet!
  • OO Base last time I checked was pretty much unusable, I heard the lead dev left some time ago and no one has picked it up yet. Is there any progress on that front at all? People always seem to leave Access out when they compare OO to Office...
  • by xiox ( 66483 ) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @06:08PM (#22887138) Homepage
    One of the most annoying features of OpenOffice are all those modal dialog boxes. Why do I have to keep closing the formatting dialog whenever I switch between different bits of text? It really slows down repetitive operations. Many of the dialogs could become non-model, giving a much smoother feel to the whole program.
  • One thing that has really pissed off a lot of people (like myself) who want to use OOO for anything vaguely scientific is the lack of vaguely functional error bar support. The fix is finally coming, but not yet. We'll have to wait till 3.0 [oooforum.org], apparently,

    Frankly, I would have considered this a higher priority than 3D transitions for slide presentations...but I'm glad it's going to be fixed, only seven years after it was identified as an issue...

  • Waiting for outliner (Score:4, Informative)

    by harlows_monkeys ( 106428 ) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @06:34PM (#22887398) Homepage

    The major thing OO is missing for me on the word processor front is good outliner support. There was a note from the developers posted on their forums a while back where they acknowledged that adding this is important, and that the navigator stuff is not a substitute. So, the good news is, OO will get good outliner support. The bad news is that it is going to be a lot of work, so it might not be soon. :-(

  • Too slow (Score:4, Informative)

    by kylehase ( 982334 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @12:46AM (#22890308)
    I just installed OO 2.4 to work on a few spreadsheets and it feels really slow. The response (so far) was worse when working with graphs.

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