Stability of OO user interface

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Stability of OO user interface

Postby Lucio Chiappetti » Mon Dec 01, 2014 3:59 pm

The question is not for me (I am a happy user of OpenOffice under Linux for my work needs) but for a friend.

This friend is disabled (spastic). Recently his home PC (with Windows ME on which he uses some Microsoft Word and Excel) broke and he got a new PC with Windows 8.1, and he found that the new user interface of Word and Excel is quite awkward for him (and I agree). His needs are simple (write simple Word documents occasionally with some tables, use simple Excel spreadsheets prepared by some friends in which he inserts some data).

An example of why the new MS (Excel in this case) interface is no good for him. He sometimes needs to insert a new row in an excel table. Now the "insert new row" function is no longer available in a top level menu, apparently it is hidden in some submenu of the home menu, more over there is there a dropdown menu with a tiny arrow. If you do not click on the tiny arrow to have the choice of "insert new cell / insert new row / insert new column" but accidentally click on the menu itself (which is easy if you are spastic), the effect depends on what you have selected in the spreadsheet (if you have selected a cell instead of an entire row, it will insert a blank cell pushing down all the rest, which will screw up all formatting and relative references !!!).

So I thought he could use something like OpenOffice or LibreOffice under Windows provided the user interface is more similar to the old MS Word and Excel interface, and will remain stable with time.

From the screenshots it looks like OO 4 is not different from OO 3 which I have, so in this respect it might be suitable for my friends. But is it likely to remain stable ?

Two more questions: one concerns language, while I like to use the English version of any program, my friend will need the italian version. What is the support level of OO for such language ?

Second question (I hope if won't be offensive in this forum): what is the best choice between OpenOffice and LibreOffice in this context (I looked at some web resources about comparison, but the specific question is what is the best choice for a simple user concerned essentially with stability of the UI)
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Re: stability of OO user interface

Postby RoryOF » Mon Dec 01, 2014 4:19 pm

As a guess, I would expect that the user interface of OpenOffice will remain stable; any changes are likely to be implemented by use of the Sidebar. I would not be surprised if LibreOffice moved towards a new interface (I have no certain knowledge of this - it is merely my guess).

Reports suggest LibreOffice is less stable than OpenOffice. I have had no problems with stability of OpenOffice on linux (and before that, on Windows) - I find it very usable for my purposes - writing/editing large text files (very stable), trivial Calc use, and preparation and delivery of Presentations (not quite as stable as Writer).

 Edit: In terms of support, I think there is a greater pool of OpenOffice information and certainly an active group of volunteers on this forum, whether for OO or for LibO. The LibO forum has a higher proportion of unanswered questions than this forum. 
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Re: stability of OO user interface

Postby acknak » Mon Dec 01, 2014 5:15 pm

As I understand--and I could be wrong--major changes to the UI would require massive effort, far beyond the volunteer resources available. There was a large push to move toward something like Office's ribbon interface and it came to nothing, citing the effort needed and the lack of clear consensus. The sidebar is the largest UI change I can think of in the project's history and that is purely an extension--an optional extension. It had/has no direct effect on the main menus and so forth.

Some would describe the OO UI as "stable", others might say "stagnant", but either way I don't expect it to change anytime soon.
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Re: Stability of OO user interface

Postby MattInRochesterNY » Mon Feb 02, 2015 12:16 am

I recently returned to OO from LO due to the stability of the user interface. So I doubt you'll have too many problems with the interface.

It really seems the UI/UX developers at LO can't be bothered to listen to the feedback from the users. Makes them seem a lot like the people they were trying to get away from before they forked it from Oracle.
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Re: Stability of OO user interface

Postby amolck » Mon Jul 13, 2015 4:51 am

I really do hope OO doesn't get the Ribbon UI. The Ribbon is THE reason I dropped MS Office and moved to OO.
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