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OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

From:  Florian Effenberger <floeff-AT-openoffice.org>
To:  announce-AT-openoffice.org
Subject:  [ooo-announce] OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available
Date:  Tue, 10 Aug 2010 12:13:38 +0200
Message-ID:  <4C612652.5000707@openoffice.org>
Archive-link:  Article

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

The OpenOffice.org Community is proud to announce the availability of a 
beta release of its upcoming 3.3 version. This first preview is for 
everyone interested in the new features and enhancements of the final 
3.3 release, expected later this year.

A list of all changes is available at 
http://wiki.services.openoffice.org/wiki/Feature_Freeze_T... and 
the actual download can be found on 
http://download.openoffice.org/all_beta.html

The OpenOffice.org Community invites everyone interested in the people 
behind the productivity suite, its future and talks about open 
standards, to join us on our annual gathering: the OpenOffice.org 
Conference, which takes place in Budapest, Hungary, from August 31st to 
September 3rd, 2010. More information can be found at http://www.ooocon.org


Global Press Contacts

Florian Effenberger (UTC +01h00)
OpenOffice.org Marketing Project Lead
Email: floeff@openoffice.org
Phone: +49 8341 99660880
Mobile: +49 151 14424108
Fax: +49 8341 99660889
Skype: floeff | Twitter/Identi.ca: @floeff

Peter Junge (UTC +08h00)
OpenOffice.org Marketing Project Co-Lead
Email: pj@openoffice.org
Phone: +86 139 116 248 54
Fax: +49 3212 106 44 65
Skype: peter13j

Louis Suárez-Potts (UTC -04h00)
OpenOffice.org Community Manager
louis@openoffice.org
+1 (416) 625-3843

A list of worldwide marketing contacts is available at 
http://marketing.openoffice.org/contacts.html

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OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 10, 2010 18:13 UTC (Tue) by jd (guest, #26381) [Link]

So spreadsheets have gone from 65536 rows to about a million rows. Or, if you prefer, row IDs have gone from 16 bits to 20 bits. Aside from the fact that 20 bits is a very strange number, fixed-length addresses are not very efficient in these cases as the size of spreadsheets will vary so much between uses. (On the other hand, variable-length addressing of any kind is a royal pain to program efficiently and is much harder to validate.)

Having said that, the improvements generally look good and I'm impressed with what the Open Office team have done. Not that they'll rate my compliment as any more significant than my grumble. (It's not a complaint as I don't think what has been done is wrong, merely odd.)

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 11, 2010 3:41 UTC (Wed) by stevenj (guest, #421) [Link]

I wonder what they use the other 12 bits for, since surely they store row IDs in 32-bit words?

2^20 limit

Posted Aug 11, 2010 3:51 UTC (Wed) by stevenj (guest, #421) [Link]

Ah, reading the bug report, it seems that the issue was not that they pack the address bits somewhere, but rather that they (a) allocated the spreadsheet data array statically and (b) had some performance issues with higher limits because the code was apparently not very smart about things like format changes to vast swaths of cells even if they are not being used for anything.

The new 220 limit was, not surprisingly, chosen to match the latest version of Excel. (Apparently, the abovementioned problems still prevent an integer-size limited value like 232−1.)

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 10, 2010 20:13 UTC (Tue) by MattPerry (guest, #46341) [Link]

Still no outline mode after eight years of holding out hope. :'( I still have to use MS Word when writing documentation. Ugh.

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 10, 2010 23:35 UTC (Tue) by bangert (subscriber, #28342) [Link]

Interesting choice of articles

Posted Aug 11, 2010 6:11 UTC (Wed) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

The second article really shows why the "open source" is so popular... and so pointless.

You can not be "fan of free software" and own an iPhone: first article explains why quite understandably. But of course you can be "fan of open source" and own a Mac and iPhone: open source don't say anything about freedom after all.

That's why I respect fans of free software (they are rare but they exist) which ractice what they preach, but "fans of open source". Everyone is is fan of open source! To say that you are "fan of open source" is to say that you are "fan of free gifts" - who does not?

And as for Canonical... I doubt these articles were supposed to affect Canonical - but they sure as hell affected me: now I'm trying Fedora again (after few years with Ubuntu)... and like it so far. So they are hardly pointless.

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 11, 2010 8:58 UTC (Wed) by AndreE (guest, #60148) [Link]

I know your comment was tongue in cheek, but playing semantics is really patronising. Sure, it's fine challenging people's expectations and habits when using software, but you must also accept that rational, objective people sometimes use proprietary software because the benefits outweigh the costs.

When I say I have to use Microsoft Word, I mean that the particular feature set of Microsoft Word allows me to ultimately be far more productive in Word than in Open Office. In particular, the outline view, for people who write structured pieces like technical documentation, is really far superior than the standard view. To stay in my job, I HAVE to be productive, and using a tool that severely impacts this productivity is not an option at all.

We are not talking about a different approach or a different philosophy to word processing. This is basically a feature that is missing. It is a non-trivial feature that directly impacts the way I write, edit, and organize my documents.

The other options, such as using Lyx/Latex, lack the convenience of the word processor and the frills attached.

Ultimately, free software wins when we don't accept the freedom as a limitation of it's quality. In the case that I need an outline or structured view in a word processor, Open Office falls short, and suggesting that I don't really "need" this feature is really describing the project is a really limited way

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 11, 2010 9:42 UTC (Wed) by Trelane (subscriber, #56877) [Link]

Rhetorical question: How have you supported OOo to get this feature implemented? (You've clearly supported MSFT with the price of MSOffice).

I'm sorry if this sounds like another "why don't you code it yourself" but it's reality. If you don't give software you want to use support of some type, but you do give support to their competitor, you shouldn't be surprised if they continue to not do what you want. (Indeed, you should be immensely grateful when they do finally do what you want, *despite* your consistent support of their competitor and lack of support of them).

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 11, 2010 10:17 UTC (Wed) by NAR (subscriber, #1313) [Link]

MS Office provides the feature, so it's easy to justify it's cost. OpenOffice doesn't provide the feature, so it's harder to justify spending some money on a feature that is not yet available and might not be useful when it's implemented (if at all implemented).

I guess this is the phase when some venture capitalist should step in, sponsor the development of said feature, then somehow get back its investment. But this last step is tricky. Can't really sell the software (the first costumer can put it up on the internet and all subsequent costumers can download it for free) and I wouldn't want to use a word processor that needs support service.

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 11, 2010 10:35 UTC (Wed) by Trelane (subscriber, #56877) [Link]

OpenOffice doesn't provide the feature, so it's harder to justify spending some money on a feature that is not yet available and might not be useful when it's implemented (if at all implemented).

Features have to come from somewhere. If you don't give them support, then you should be surprised if you get the feature, as it means that someone--despite you giving material support to their competitor and no support to them--has implemented the feature.

They have a large number of things they need to address--just like MS Office. The difference is that you've given Microsoft your money to address those things and not OpenOffice. If you don't want to use OpenOffice, then by all means continue to not support them. This is Free Software, however, and there are other avenues available then buy/don't buy, including Do It Yourself, Hire Someone to Do it, and Donate to the Project. There are other means of contributing.

I guess this is the phase when some venture capitalist should step in, sponsor the development of said feature, then somehow get back its investment.

This is Free Software. You are the venture capitalist. You get your investment back when the software works better for you. and it's not just money.

However, you're ignoring my point in that if you want something to happen, giving material support to competitors and withholding support from the project you wish to see do something is a decidedly poor way of going about things.

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 11, 2010 11:33 UTC (Wed) by stumbles (guest, #8796) [Link]

Your just rehashing the old argument of toss some money or code their way, else just piss off.

I have lost count to the number of bug reports I have submitted to other projects, most of which contained only a snippet or so of what what wrong. Guess what? They did not tell me to piss off because there was no "material support".

To blame those for throwing money at Microsoft instead of OO is just shortsighted on your part. Many times I would have rather used OO but instead had to give Microsoft "material support" because I do not have the programming skills or, and this is the biggie; needed some functionality that Microsoft Office has now and cannot wait for someone to fix a 8 year old bug or some other bug that prevents me from using OO. Often times I do not know what will crop up in OO that forces me to "give material support" to someone else UNTIL I need it. By then it is too late and OO looses.

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 11, 2010 11:49 UTC (Wed) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946) [Link]

OO.o is a large and complex codebase and the demand for copyright assignment from Sun/Oracle has made the diversity very low to a project already starved for resources. It is not a healthy project nor is a exciting project for hackers to jump over the barriers enacted. Complaining about individual bugs here is unlikely to have any positive impact.

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 11, 2010 13:58 UTC (Wed) by MattPerry (guest, #46341) [Link]

Yes, I agree. The copyright assignments and difficulty that Sun/Oracle create for contributors, as described by Michael Meeks in several articles, is stunting the growth that OpenOffice could enjoy. It's a shame.

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 11, 2010 11:53 UTC (Wed) by Trelane (subscriber, #56877) [Link]

Your just rehashing the old argument of toss some money or code their way, else just piss off.

Way to summarize a complex issue with a simple dismissive and insulting mischaracteriztion. I'm pointing out the reality of the situation. I'm sorry if you don't like it, but it is what it is.

I have lost count to the number of bug reports I have submitted to other projects, most of which contained only a snippet or so of what what wrong. Guess what? They did not tell me to piss off because there was no "material support".

I doubt they truly told you to "piss off." Sadly, resources are limited. If you don't put up some help, your input is informative, but is just input. Not help. (OK, input is a form of help. Unfortunately, input and a donut will get you a donut.)

To blame those for throwing money at Microsoft instead of OO is just shortsighted on your part.

No, it's not. Refusing to see that if you give X help and not Y that Y can't do things that you want (while X continues to develop new things that you'll turn around and ask why Y doesn't have) is the shortsighted point of view.

Many times I would have rather used OO but instead had to give Microsoft "material support" because I do not have the programming skills or, and this is the biggie; needed some functionality that Microsoft Office has now and cannot wait for someone to fix a 8 year old bug or some other bug that prevents me from using OO

Then you've given Microsoft thousands of dollars to help their development and given OpenOffice bupkis. again, it's not surprising if they're unable to address your needs if you don't help them. Surely you've used OpenOffice to the greatest extent possible, right? You've helped others use it, given it to others, given Michael Meeks his favorite CD, etc., right?

Often times I do not know what will crop up in OO that forces me to "give material support" to someone else UNTIL I need it. By then it is too late and OO looses.

and this won't change until you buck up and pitch in. Or someone else does. I'm sorry that you seem to reject the fact that you have more options other than "buy" vs "don't buy." Your lack of accepting reality, however, helps nobody.

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 11, 2010 11:55 UTC (Wed) by Trelane (subscriber, #56877) [Link]

"helps nobody--" including yourself

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 11, 2010 15:14 UTC (Wed) by stumbles (guest, #8796) [Link]

Thanks for the clarifying remarks of which all of them are good and to the point. Since I am not able to meet any of the criteria then there is no point to submit any bug reports since those are not in your opinion worthy of pitching in. Thanks again for setting me straight.

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 11, 2010 15:25 UTC (Wed) by Trelane (subscriber, #56877) [Link]

Since I am not able to meet any of the criteria then there is no point to submit any bug reports since those are not in your opinion worthy of pitching in.

This is not my assertion; it's something you are apparently misreading into my statement. Also, I'm not associated with OpenOffice so my opinions have no direct relation to those held by members of the project.

See the later post where I realize the kernel of contention here.

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 11, 2010 12:07 UTC (Wed) by Trelane (subscriber, #56877) [Link]

Your just rehashing the old argument of toss some money or code their way, else just piss off.

I've just realized the central problem with your insulting mischaracterization. I'm not saying "piss off." Input is good. It says where good places to go with the code are.

What I am saying, however, is that you should think about the broader impact that your actions--and inactions--have upon your stated goals. If you want to use OpenOffice instead of Microsoft Office, what is it worth to you? What have you done to achieve this goal of yours?

Perhaps you don't particularly care one way or the other. That's great. Thanks for the input. It'll be taken into consideration. When they have the resources, they'll tackle all of the issues they can, prioritized by how the developers view the priorities.

If you disagree with their priorities, then you have options. You can continue being a consumer, i.e. your options are limited to "buy," "don't buy," and "give input to the developers." You can become a user, however, and move beyond merely consuming to become active within the community and develop a relationship with the project and help it succeed. You can even move to become a developer or contributor in some fashion, as discussed previously.

So in conclusion, thank you for your input. Sadly, resources are finite, and not everything one wishes can be achieved. If you feel the prioritization to be incorrect, they'll look forward to interacting with you more as a customer or developer.

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 11, 2010 12:11 UTC (Wed) by michaeljt (subscriber, #39183) [Link]

> Your just rehashing the old argument of toss some money or code their way, else just piss off.

For the sake of an argument, supposing I actually needed this feature, what recourses would I have to get it available with reasonable assurance of delivery, at a reasonable cost and in a reasonable time? I an assuming that I would never find enough free time to even understand the innards of OOo enough to code it myself in a reasonable time. And to have it at a reasonable cost, I would have to group together with a lot of other people who need the feature, since a reasonable price to me would not pay for many programmer hours. Someone would have to organise that, and given that I am not aware of any reliable third parties doing so, I would have to do so myself, which would also be a massive investment of (not very interestingly spent) time and effort.

Am I missing anything here? And has anyone actually organised anything like this with success for any large free software project?

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 11, 2010 12:16 UTC (Wed) by jonth (subscriber, #4008) [Link]

It's not an argument, it's a description of the process. You raised the feature request, you can't code it yourself, so that's where it stops.

Because that feature isn't implemented, you've voted with your feet/wallet. All of this is fine. You have a solution to your needs, MS get cash to support that. OOo has lost a potential user, but still has plenty. Tell me why this is a problem?

If enough people wanted it, then the feature would be implemented. End of story.

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 11, 2010 14:53 UTC (Wed) by stumbles (guest, #8796) [Link]

Then close an eight year old "bug" saying WONT FIX instead of letting those interested thinking otherwise.

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 11, 2010 15:28 UTC (Wed) by Trelane (subscriber, #56877) [Link]

Then close an eight year old "bug" saying WONT FIX instead of letting those interested thinking otherwise.

I suspect the reality is that they'd love to implement it, but lack the support necessary to do so. As with anyone else, their time is finite too.

Thus, it's not WONTFIX. They want to implement the feature. Otherwise, they'd have closed it WONTFIX. They have higher-priority needs, and you've distanced yourself pretty clearly from the prioritization process.

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 11, 2010 12:01 UTC (Wed) by hein.zelle (guest, #33324) [Link]

(Apologies for the rather frustrated and long reply)

Suggestions for functionality and improvements should be at least "valuable" to a software project, even if they don't come with actual code. Suggestions for significant functionality improvements are worth implementing, although I can fully understand if it can't be done immediately.

My experience with openoffice from reporting bugs and requesting features is that they are extremely unresponsive and slow, and end up classifying bugs as features, and feature requests as worthless. That's formulated too harshly, but it's the result of about 5 frustrating years of experience with their bug tracker. I am currently still getting feedback on bugs and requests I reported 4 years ago, and nothing has changed.

In my opinion openoffice.org has locked itself into a situation which is very hard to escape - forced compatibility with microsoft is preventing any major deviations from ms office, and therefore also preventing serious improvements. It feels to me that they are focusing on copying features so much that they end up copying bad design decisions blindly, including things that I consider bugs. I guess that makes this reply a bit two-fold, as outline mode is not a new feature apparently but something that's already in ms office.

Here are some things I run into on a daily basis during work. I usually don't solve it by switching to ms office, but by reverting to LaTeX. In my opinion they could easily be fixed, and I don't really understand how anybody can properly work with them on big documents.

- file open dialogs tend to come up with your home directory, or
the last directory used the previous time. When working in
directory "project-a" and inserting a figure, it makes sense to
start with the directory where the document is located. Lots
of "modern" applications get this wrong. Opening a file from
the commandline works, but after that file->open reverts to the
last directory it remembered from 3 weeks ago.

- opening a nonexistent (new) file from the command line, like
ANY editor, results in the very useful message
"/home/zelle/doesnotexist.odt does not exist".
Exit program.

- Style-based section headers always break in some way. No
matter if you start from a fresh document, a fresh template or
an existing word document, by the end of the report the
automatic sections are broken.

- bullet list indentation always breaks at some point. Indenting
bullet lists with tab leads to incomprehensible jumping
left/right, usually unfixable.

- bullet lists using a style are completely incompatible with bullet
lists using the toolbar buttons.

- The style windows are incomprehensible. I have a PhD and 17
years of linux experience, and I still can't readily define a
new style template without screwing up the section, header and
list styles.

- There are no sane default settings (which are REMEMBERED) for
paper size, language and a bunch of other things. Try setting
a default of a4 paper for all your documents, without
consulting the manual or google.

There are lots of other minor niggles, but these are really troublesome in daily work. I really wish such issues would be addressed properly before copying any more features and bugs from ms office. Until then, I'll revert to LaTeX for serious documents whenever I can get away with it.

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 16, 2010 8:51 UTC (Mon) by rmano (guest, #49886) [Link]

I could have written this comment myself. Let's add the positioning of figures, and these are the most problematic points of OO.org.

Maybe all of this is (partly) due to the necessity of maintaining MS Word compatibility, which I understand is important (and not here still: highlighting in different colors with OO.org 3.1.1 are impossible to undo in word...).

I too use LaTeX for anything important, but the problem is that this way is very difficult to cooperate... almost no one use LaTeX in my university, even among researcher (and no one in the administrative side).

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 11, 2010 13:50 UTC (Wed) by AndreE (guest, #60148) [Link]

I support OpenOffice by recommending it to people who don't have needs such as mine, and by using it on my home computer for basic word processing tasks. I also registered my support for the option in the related bug thread. An important part of a project are people who use the type of software regularly for relatively important tasks that can give suggestions about the potential direction of a project. That so far has been my role. If I didn't care about Open Office at all I would just ignore it.

Should I do more? Should I code the solution myself? If I can't, should I donate to a project without any guarentee of the feature getting added? That's money I could donate to other projects that do fulfill my needs and time spent coding on projects that more in sync with my skillset. Ultimately it is about incentives. I think I have provided a level of support matching the return I currently get out of the project. Asking me to invest further (time, money, code) would require me to feel that I would be getting something out of it, because ultimately I have only finite resources and their are infinite projects to donate to and spend my time on. If a project doesn't encourage my support by working towards satisfying my needs in some way, then how it's only natural for me to choose competitor products (be they opensource or proprietary).

Also, please note that this isn't a criticism for not adding the feature. The bug request for this is 8 years old now, so clearly the project has decided it's not worth doing or would rather do a complete/elegant solution that takes more time. What I was replying to was the assertion that certain features can't be reasonably NEEDED by users of the software in any clear, quantifiable sense.

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 11, 2010 15:39 UTC (Wed) by Trelane (subscriber, #56877) [Link]

Fair enough. There're cost/benefit tradeoffs all over

What I was replying to was the assertion that certain features can't be reasonably NEEDED by users of the software in any clear, quantifiable sense.

"need" is a poorly-defined concept. That's probably a part of the problem here. Anything (apart from physical laws) can be worked around; it's another cost/benefit tradeoff. In OpenOffice's case, the difficulty in integrating with the snoracle upstream raises the cost of doing the work, even to those skilled in it, rather appreciably (from what I've read; I've no personal experience with it). Thanks for clarifying your point, tho. I think we're mostly in agreement. (also, as noted by the "rhetorical" preface, I'd not intended to call anyone out to "prove" their FOSS love credentials. Rather, it's intended to provide food for thought.)

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 11, 2010 13:56 UTC (Wed) by AndreE (guest, #60148) [Link]

The flipside of your argument is that if a project wants my support, they should implement (or least provide a roadmap for implementation of) the features I desire.

Surely that's the essence of competition. Vendors compete on the basis of features. Customers determine costs vs. benefits of each product and make a decision.

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 11, 2010 15:34 UTC (Wed) by Trelane (subscriber, #56877) [Link]

Sure, this is the consumer model.

So we're at an impasse. You're willing to contribute only if the project does everything you want. The project has different priorities than you and won't/can't implement the features you want without additional support.

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 11, 2010 20:42 UTC (Wed) by Wol (guest, #4433) [Link]

If I needed to support a commercial company, I'd support Corel (for WordPerfect). In fact, I might well go out and upgrade my current version anyway (or I might not. I'm thinking of running WP6.1 under wine, because recent experience tells me it's probably much better than v13 or v14 or whatever the latest version is).

The feature *I* miss from OOo is "reveal codes". Coming behind that is hidden text.

Cheers,
Wol

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 12, 2010 0:12 UTC (Thu) by elanthis (guest, #6227) [Link]

Rhetorical question: where do I pay Oracle for a version of OpenOffice with the same feature set as MS Office? Even at $400, that's way less of my life I have to piss away on something I have zero interest in but need for work than if I tried to spend the time implementing the feature in OOo.

It's not my job to support your obsession with Freedom. If you want me (and others) to use your software, you need to make the value proposition worth it. I never, ever, EVER want to work on a word processor. Your Free/Open code is hence not something I need. The remaining advantage of open code is the freedom to trade it for no cost... But sometimes, $300 a copy is just a better value.

The only Freedom that regular users care about is freedom of their data, not software. MS is not antagonizing people writing MS Word importers, so I do not feel threatened by Word the same way I do about a great deal of other proprietary software that attempts to force user lock-in through legal means. If anything, I feel more threatened by the FSF's attempts at locking me in to software that doesn't do what I need and then trying to convince me it's my fault.

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 12, 2010 0:54 UTC (Thu) by Trelane (subscriber, #56877) [Link]

It's not my job to support your obsession with Freedom.

Nice tainting word "obsession" aside, I never claimed it was. I said if you want to use OpenOffice and need a feature, you should help make it come about. Clearly, you're wedded to the consumer model. That's your right, but you shouldn't be surprised if people don't do what you want if you aren't willing to pitch in. That was my message.

If you want me (and others) to use your software, you need to make the value proposition worth it.

I'm not an OpenOffice developer, so OOo isn't my software. That aside, you're reiterating that you're a consumer. Right. I got that already.

Your Free/Open code is hence not something I need.

Bully for you. I assume you also take your car to the dealer for all maintenance.

The remaining advantage of open code is the freedom to trade it for no cost...

No, not really. You don't have to be a coder to gain from having your Four Freedoms respected. Of course, you don't have to care about your Four Freedoms. It's your life, not mine.

But sometimes, $300 a copy is just a better value.

Indeed it sometimes is. and sometimes it's not. and sometimes it's not solely money that's important in life.

The only Freedom that regular users care about is freedom of their data, not software.

Perhaps you, not all. and a majority of americans voted for Bush. I.e. popularity does not imply correctness or beneficiality.

If anything, I feel more threatened by the FSF's attempts at locking me in to software that doesn't do what I need and then trying to convince me it's my fault.

Erm, "lock in" implies compelling. Nobody's compelling anyone to choose FOSS, let alone the FSF which heretofore has been entirely uninvolved in this discussion. Perhaps you're bringing your own baggage to the discussion? I was bringing up the fact that reality works a certain way, and one's goals can conflict with one's actions. That's it.

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 11, 2010 13:37 UTC (Wed) by MattPerry (guest, #46341) [Link]

Touché. True, I don't "have to" use MS Office when writing documentation or long documents; I have chosen to do so in those instances because I have found it to be the best tool for the job and I want to use a single tool to build the work from start to finish. I use OpenOffice for the majority of my personal office needs as it fits my needs quite nicely. It's just this one area in which it falls short and for a limited set of tasks that I have to perform.

OOo, outline mode, and big documents

Posted Aug 11, 2010 15:51 UTC (Wed) by dwheeler (guest, #1216) [Link]

OpenOffice.org (OOo) works well for big documents, in fact, I think OOo works better than MS Word for big documents. I've been involved in the writing of 1000+ page documents, and 200-300 page documents are a non-event for me. My 200-page PhD dissertation was written in OOo. I even created the standard template for George Mason University (GMU) for PhD dissertations using OOo.

Yes, MS Word has an outline view, and yes, that'd be nice in OOo. But writing big documents involves more than an "outline view". MS Word's support for handling paragraph styles is lousy, and paragraph styles are are a fundamental tool when writing larger documents. For example, you have to reconfigure MS Word to even *see* the paragraph styles (I've done it), and I can't tell you the number of times that MS Word has silently corrupted my big documents (forcing me to create tables of contents by hand and other horrors). In contrast, OOo makes paragraph styles an integral part of the standard user interface, and I simply haven't had the troubles with big documents in OOo that I've had with MS Word. Generally, I write my document by creating various heading levels, then auto-generating the table of contents. Once I'm happy with that, I can start putting in serious text. This approach works just fine with either program, and makes the "outline view" far less important. You can create big documents with either program, and I've done both... but I prefer OOo for big documents. Even without an outline view.

Limited outline facilities

Posted Aug 12, 2010 8:32 UTC (Thu) by grmd (subscriber, #4391) [Link]

I've just checked using 3.1.1 and the limited outline facilities are still there. It is possible to use the standard paragraph headings in conjunction with the Bullets and Numbering facility to promote, demote and re-order headings, or headings with their subordinate headings, but it is not possible to collapse paragraphs.

From a limited perspective everything that is needed to make a fully functional outline mode is already there and, indeed, it is possible to make good use of what is already there for the purposes of outlining at the time of document creation, (although it becomes difficult to use effectively if large parts of a document are already written).

charting improvement

Posted Aug 11, 2010 3:38 UTC (Wed) by stevenj (guest, #421) [Link]

Chart was enhanced and now supports drawing objects. The drawing toolbar allows to insert simple shapes such as lines, rectangles and text objects. Furthermore even complex shapes such as cubes, symbols, block arrows, flowcharts and stars can be inserted. The drawing objects can be edited by several dialogs which can be opened via context menu. Also the font and formatting of text objects can be changed.

This sounds like a major improvement to me; I'll have to take look at Chart in the new release. Currently, to make publication-quality graphs with insets, annotations (e.g. labeling curves directly rather than using a legend), etcetera, I have to create the graph in one program, export to EPS, and then edit it in Inkscape, which is rather cumbersome.

OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta Release Available

Posted Aug 11, 2010 6:51 UTC (Wed) by spaetz (subscriber, #32870) [Link]

New print UI: OOOHHH. I have been waiting for this forever. If this actually integrates a bit better than the previous crap, I will save many trees by actually printing multiple pages on a page and do duplex and stuff.

Cross-references implemented?

Posted Aug 12, 2010 16:05 UTC (Thu) by morhippo (subscriber, #334) [Link]

Who cares about the outline mode - you can easily work around that. How about implementing dynamic cross-references in Word format, so people can actually exchange any serious business documents with MS Office users?

Reported in 2001, not fixed in 2010, despite offers to pay for development!!!

http://www.openoffice.org/issues/show_bug.cgi?id=2593

Is OOO not putting resources in the wrong spots by adding pretty sexy stuff (AA, charts, bla), but not fixing the basic stuff like cross-references in Writer?

Cross-references implemented?

Posted Aug 12, 2010 20:54 UTC (Thu) by boudewijn (subscriber, #14185) [Link]

That's a typical case of one man's superfluous junk is another's essential feature. Charts are used a lot in serious business documents as well. I haven't yet to encounter cross references -- but then, I stopped using Word in 2007, when I started working at Hyves.

There, all documents are written using Google Docs. Using the employees personal google accounts...

Cross-references implemented?

Posted Aug 13, 2010 7:58 UTC (Fri) by morhippo (subscriber, #334) [Link]

In any legal or scientific document of any significant length, there will be cross-references - these currently break, all of them, once you save as MS Doc. The information in the cross-references is simply lost - you get "reference not found".

This means you cannot cooperate with Word users on such text documents. This means the usage of OOo by any community exchanging structured documents with others is not possible. I fail to see how anyone can write a longer cooperative document and not use dynamic cross-references.

The bug has been reported in 2001. It has not been fixed since, even though at the moment the feature is only missing in the doc export filter.

Cross-references implemented?

Posted Aug 17, 2010 15:35 UTC (Tue) by cbosdo (subscriber, #69599) [Link]

Do you have any link to a specific bug report? or some test document I could open to check what's going wrong?

Cross-references implemented?

Posted Aug 17, 2010 20:46 UTC (Tue) by morhippo (subscriber, #334) [Link]

As set out in the first comment in this thread by me:

http://www.openoffice.org/issues/show_bug.cgi?id=2593


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