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German City Says OpenOffice Shortcomings Are Forcing It Back To Microsoft 480

The city of Freiburg, Germany adopted OpenOffice back in 2007, mostly replacing the Microsoft Office software it had been using previously. Now, an anonymous reader tips news that the city council is preparing to abandon OpenOffice and switch back. "'In the specific case of the use of OpenOffice, the hopes and expectations of the year 2007 are not fulfilled,' the council wrote, adding that continuing use OpenOffice will lead to performance impairments and aggravation and frustration on the part of employees and external parties. 'Therefore, a new Microsoft Office license is essential for effective operations,' they wrote. ... 'The divergence of the development community (LibreOffice on one hand Apache Office on the other) is crippling for the development for OpenOffice,' the council wrote, adding that the development of Microsoft Office is far more stable. Looking at the options, a one-product strategy with Microsoft Office 2010 is the only viable one, according to the council." The council was also disappointed that more municipalities haven't adopted OpenOffice in the meantime. Open source groups and developers criticized the move and encouraged the council to consider at least moving to a more up-to-date version of the office software suite.
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German City Says OpenOffice Shortcomings Are Forcing It Back To Microsoft

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16, 2012 @04:18PM (#42005175)

    OK, I'm not a word processor or office suite user in the slightest. The most I do with OOo is read other people's Word documents perhaps once every few months (and even then Textedit usually does the job). A simple text editor is all I've needed even for my longest articles.

    What is it in a decent wordprocessor like Word that users of wordprocessors find useful, and that OOo doesn't handle?

    I ask out of curiosity - and knowing there have to be a few geeks who also use WPs in the real world to translate for me :).

  • Re:What? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ifiwereasculptor ( 1870574 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @04:30PM (#42005345)

    The usual problem. Interoperability issues. They try to open MSO files on OO and it doesn't work properly. They blame OO, then, for having adhered to open standars that MS won't adopt in order to create that sort of lock-in and for not having thought of making the necessary adjustments ahead of time (like converting old documents) when you're planning on changing your working platform. It's understandable, but still speaks volumes about their IT stupidity.

  • by medv4380 ( 1604309 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @04:36PM (#42005435)
    Ribbons are only marginally useful, and mostly just clutter-up my interface. And since I'm unsure of the status of the Ribbon patent that would be a fight best left out of an Office Competitor. Open office works much like Office 2000, and gets the job done without much clutter. It defiantly needs work but that's mostly due to the Collapse of Sun, the Acquisition by Oracle, and then the Open Source Limbo Oracle put it in for nearly a year which resulted in a Fork, and then they handed it over to Apache. If they were just going to do that then they should have done that sooner to when they got the go ahead on the Acquisition. Personally the competition between two Open Source projects should help spur things on.
  • Re:What? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dr_Barnowl ( 709838 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @05:32PM (#42006225)

    The first thing that was wrong with the Sun / Oracle project was that they required copyright assignment. This meant that they could choose to license the code however they wish

    * Reassign the license of the code from LGPL to Apache 2.0
    * Sell the code as a proprietary product (StarOffice) without providing source
    * Reassign the license of the code to commercial only


    The downside to this is that it discourages contribution. Firstly, people willing to contribute to an LGPL project may be a little lairy of their code being rolled into a commercial product. Secondly, it's a hassle - you have to sign a contract. If your employee lays claim to your output, you have to ask their permission. There's been no sign so far that the Apache foundation have chosen to change this policy. LibreOffice lets you retain your copyright - the happy side effect of which is that the project can now never be "taken closed" like OpenOffice could still be.

    Ironically, because of the Apache 2.0 license they have chosen for the code, LibreOffice can roll any good patches in OpenOffice into their project, because Apache 2.0 permits you to add the extra restrictions of LGPL (those permissive licenses, eh?). OpenOffice can't do the reverse. Even if all the core developers hadn't jumped ship (they have), LibreOffice can continue to stay ahead of OpenOffice because of this.

  • Re:Too late (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rsborg ( 111459 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @06:57PM (#42007293) Homepage

    More likely, the Microsoft-indoctrinated employees don't want to learn a new interface, and have spent the last few years whining about it. This happened to even the M$ lock-ins when Office transitioned to the "ribbon" -- I was having to cover for desktop support during that time, and fielded at least twenty calls a day from people who wanted to roll back to the previous version.

    Never underestimate the power of concentrated whine.

    The sad part is that in the case of the Ribbon (from hell), it killed your productivity by destroying all the built-up muscle-memory and use of keyboard shortcuts. Without understanding the "new layout" you had to hunt and peck. Maybe Microsoft focus-group-tested the Ribbon interface, but did they actually pick people who used the current product?

    Microsoft research notwithstanding, I have no idea how they could foist such an abomination on their users - I still to this day do not know anyone who prefers the Ribbon over the previous interface -- however, there are folks who don't know the old interface (ie, they're new in the workforce) and accept the shitty Ribbon and live with it less unhappily.

  • by jkflying ( 2190798 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @11:45PM (#42009737)

    Have you actually used LibreOffice in the last 6 months or so? There have been huge improvements in the .docx handling.

  • by dadioflex ( 854298 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @03:13AM (#42010463)
    Telling me they were going to audit me under their Software Asset Management scheme.

    I use the bare minimum amount of MS software where I work because it has built in redundancy. If you buy Microsoft Office 2010 chances are it won't open files created with the next version. Libre and Open Office don't seem to share that failing in Microsoft's product. That's why I use them - and I pretty much use them interchangeably because my peeps aren't particularly sophisticated users (nor am I).

    So, having MS send me a letter basically accusing me of stealing because I don't use Outlook, Exchange, Office or whatever else they peddle, is pretty annoying. Why would I want to let myself get tangled up in that system?

    Ironically, we're coming to end of life with our current accounting software (Sage Line 100) and are due an across the board refresh of the entire system. I was THIS close to buying into Outlook and Exchange and a limited deployment of MS Office because it integrates better (at all) with Sage Line 200 but that letter was a kick in the nuts. I am adamantly opposed to giving them money if that's how they treat customers - and I AM a customer. I've spent some proportion of my tech budget on their OS software, including the bare minimum server OS software to host our Sage installation. I must stress if I could go Linux I would but our accounting software, and in fact no accounting software that I can get local support for runs on anything but Microsoft OS's as clients and more importantly on the server side. There ARE web-based alternatives but they're clunky as hell, expensive and obviously vulnerable to downtime if t'internet goes down,

    I'm not a tech guy, I'm an interested in tech guy. IT isn't my job, it's just one of the things I do here. Again, I don't have sophisticated users. Incredibly in a company with thirty people under the roof I am, at nearly fifty, the only geek. What can I say. We get our hands dirty, but Microsoft Office? Not THAT dirty.

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay