> Ribbons are about easy discoverability, and fundability (for things you already know about).
Maybe it is just me, but I find myself lost in the ribbons searching for basic functionality. Hence, my experience differ from yours here. When I ask my colleagues where to find said stuff, they more often than not do not know either.
> I preferred using KOffice the most
Nice to hear. Generally I love the KDE stack, so I am kind of waiting for Calligra to mature. I am planning on giving it a serious try when the developers claim it is ready.
> The Ribbon creates tiered, logical 2D groupings of controls. With a toolbar, you sort of have 1D groupings of icons... which is fine with a half dozen icons, but becomes worse and worse the more icons you introduce.
I think this is where we differ. I really want to keep it simple. 1D is simple. I hate when people start going overboard with the features in MS Office, it always leads to a terrible mess, where I (after having waisted three days with a well-meaning support person somewhere in Bangalore) need to copy and paste page by page into a fresh document, and hurry off to make a pdf of it before anybody mess up the formatting again. Citations, or more generally cross-referencing is one of the problem spots that have given me grief. Sometimes I wonder whether the proponents of MS Office ever have had any experience with serious documents. To me, a hundred pages was always a hard limit before everything went nuclear.
Actually, it has consistently been so bad that I have stayed away from large Word reports the last years. Instead, mediawiki has provided a much better way of communicating results, and preserving knowledge. The added value for the employer is just tremendous, I cannot imagine how ineffective the old word reports were at preserving knowledge. Preserving knowledge is the main challenge of technology companies today, and MS Office is not helping. Don't even get me started on Sharepoint.
Spreadsheets are if possible even worse. Seems some people try use them for developing full graphical applications, producing advanced reports, and doing complex calculations and data management. It is my firm belief that such endavours are best undertaken in more tailored environments.