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Network World’s James E. Gaskin likes

James E. Gaskin likes

“The features I appreciate in OpenOffice includes lack of weird characters when I cut and paste text from OpenOffice Writer to an HTML editor. Do that with Microsoft Word and you spend time finding and fixing all the bizarre smart quotes and the like that don’t transfer. I also like the fact that OpenOffice Writer’s word count function (it’s important to track the number of words for publications) gives word count numbers for both the highlighted block of text and the full document, while Microsoft Word only shows the count of the selected text or full document.”

“One feature of OpenOffice makes me laugh at the poor design of Microsoft Office. Have you ever tried to open a file in Word and accidentally clicked an Excel spreadsheet instead? In Microsoft Office, the file opens as garbage characters inside of Word. OpenOffice does it right and starts OpenOffice Calc to properly handle the spreadsheet.”

2 Responses to “Network World’s James E. Gaskin likes”

  1. Jamie Says:
    September 13th, 2006 at 1:44 am

    Hi There

    The thing I don’t like about OpenOffice is that it is extremely bloated and slow. Also, the Microsoft Word compatibility is still lacking after all these years. It seems to be the creators of Open Office just dont get it.

    There are only three requirements that OpenOffice needs in order to beat the pants off Word

    (1) complete 100% compatibility with Microsoft file formats
    (2) no bloat (minimal memory usage, maximum speed)
    (3) comparative feature-set

    It seems to be the Open Office team only understands (3), they do not do (1) and (2).

  2. Benjamin Horst Says:
    September 13th, 2006 at 9:15 am

    I think the team is working on all three of these issues on a constant basis. However, progress may be faster in some areas than others!

    The feature set is definitely comparable, although I would argue that OOo’s is quickly becoming superior–export to PDF or Flash don’t exist in MSO and won’t even be available in MSO 2007 when it is released. And OOo comes with Base (a desktop database), whereas MS Access is only available with some, much more expensive, versions of Microsoft Office.

    The size and speed of OOo are not ideal, but they do improve with each release. In day-to-day use, I run OpenOffice on Windows and the OOo derivative NeoOffice on my Mac. They do not start as quickly as MSO, but once open, I don’t find a speed difference. In my normal workflow, it’s not a problem, though other people will have different work styles.

    Complete interoperability with Microsoft’s file formats is probably the most difficult, largely because MS has made efforts to obfuscate and irregularly change those formats. Different versions of Microsoft Office cannot read and write all the formats properly, which shows how huge the task must be. And, MS’ formats are about to change again, as it will set its newest XML file formats as the default in MSO 2007.

    Trying to follow this moving target is never going to succeed, hence the importance of the ISO-approved ODF file format standard. ODF is the native format for OOo, KOffice, StarOffice, and will be readable and writable by many other programs. We need, and now we have, a open file format standard that all software can use equally. Rather than letting one vendor dictate the rules, this is the best way to create interoperability heading into the future.

    As ODF becomes the working standard to accompany its current status as the formal standard, everyone, proprietary and open source software users alike, will benefit from the network effects of interoperability and the product competition it will enable.