Don't Like OpenOffice?

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Don't Like OpenOffice?

Postby crusader » Mon Mar 10, 2008 6:09 am

I feel compelled to share my thoughts about complaints voiced about OpenOffice, both in the form of outright attacks and, more commonly (and amazingly), while seeking support. It is important to state that some of my comments below are gleaned from my posts elsewhere in this forum for the purpose of painting a complete picture of my thoughts.

It is very disturbing to see attacks on OpenOffice in the support forum, especially whilst seeking support for the product. No one here has, to the best of my knowledge, forced anyone to use OpenOffice. Most of us who use this software consistently do so because it is a quality product that meets our varied needs, not to mention our data (and by extension, we) are not slaves to any proprietary format and don't have to worry about coughing up money to use data that we created and own.

At least part of the problem, I believe, of users complaining about OpenOffice is their addiction to proprietary systems (mostly M$ Office) they used before trying/transitioning to OpenOffice. OpenOffice, like any other software, should be judged on its own merit. Comparisons to M$ Office are, in my opinion, invalid because these are two different animals. Each has features the other lacks. I have found OpenOffice easy to use because I use the features it has -- based on its help files and support (this forum) and not think about what M$ Office has/can do. Until newbies adopt this mentality, they will continue to have the “M$ Office could do this” nags.

As has been mentioned elsewhere in this forum, M$ Office power users are probably most affected by these nags. My feeling is these power users ought to have powerful recognition that they are on a different train and being nostalgic about their addiction is counterproductive.

If you are a M$ Office power user and/or don't like OpenOffice, you can: respect OpenOffice by learning its features and limitations and making peace with it or go back to slavery. Needless to say, I encourage you to use the mechanism in place to suggest features and improvements.

For those of us who love OpenOffice, let us enjoy it -- and thanks to the volunteers for their exceptional support!
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Re: Don't Like OpenOffice?

Postby Zevach » Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:59 pm

I think comparing OOo to Office is entirely valid. Both suites aim to satisfy the same users, competition is the best way to improve thing from the customer viewpoint, and OOo should try to be the "best" office suite, not only the "second-best" or the "best free office suite". Unfortunately, at this point, OOo is in many ways years behind Office.
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Re: Don't Like OpenOffice?

Postby Caracalla » Thu Mar 13, 2008 12:31 am

Zevach wrote:I think comparing OOo to Office is entirely valid. Both suites aim to satisfy the same users, competition is the best way to improve thing from the customer viewpoint, and OOo should try to be the "best" office suite, not only the "second-best" or the "best free office suite".

I don't think Crusader is saying OOo should only strive to be second best. He is saying that OOo and MSO are different beasts and that users switching from one to the other should not expect things to work exactly the same in both programs. Even if OOo outmatched MSO in all areas it would still work differently and, no doubt, users would still complain about that.
Unfortunately, at this point, OOo is in many ways years behind Office.

True of course, in several areas. But in others OOo is far ahead MSO. In OOo it is easier by far to get a neatly formatted text. At least for me.
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Re: Don't Like OpenOffice?

Postby crusader » Thu Mar 13, 2008 3:31 am

Thank you, Caracalla: you eloquently stated what I was attempting to say.

If new users accept OOo for what it is (accept its pluses and minuses) and learn its features and limitations, they will be much at ease. The frustration I see vented by newbies, especially those from M$ Office, is OOo lacks this feature and that feature. Well, this is not M$ Office: accept it for what it is! Besides, as I have previously pointed out, there is opportunity to suggest features/improvements. It is important to keep in mind that no system is perfect (or even close to); not to mention, OOo is a new kid on the block.

Someone stated somewhere in this forum that both systems (M$ Office and OOo) are good systems, M$ Office is just more polished. Well stated. OOo will get there too -- in less time than it took M$ Office. For now, hang tight: the train is speeding towards the polished platform!
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Re: Don't Like OpenOffice?

Postby warrick nelson » Sat Mar 15, 2008 1:59 am

I find I use both - at home my preference is OOo while at work I have to use the provided system. However, even there I have needed OOo to get me out of a jam. A couple of years ago, I used OOo very successfully to remove MB of clutter in xls files. Just this week I've had to use OOo to open an xls file created in MS97 that MSO 07 crashes over. I frequently use Calc as a preferred graphing tool (it's default colours are far superior for my taste). pdfCreator is a wonderful tool, but OOo creates pdf natively (and I hope djvu file saves will be possible soon too - an add in for MSO 07 is now available).

Use the tools suited to the job - they are different and this can be pretty handy.

And OOo, please, pretty please, I beg you, don't change to the Ribbon!
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Re: Don't Like OpenOffice?

Postby Boatman189 » Sun Mar 23, 2008 5:55 pm

We have been using OO for over three years now and it is the ONLY suite we use now. At first I was like most Ms user I hated this program because it didn't do the things the way I wanted them too. However slowly I began to realize that what it did it did better than either MS or IBM's Lotus suite.
As the others have stated here almost all complaints here are the same and based on OO being different than MS office,which it is, but in my book, now that i spent the time to learn and understand it's strengths and weaknesses and accept it for what is not what I thought it should be.....that, well, that is really a good thing!
Both Lotus and MS Office are on our lan but all we use now is OO and they are just far off mostly frustrating memories
now...
I believe there are many thousands of us VERY satisfied customers out here, it is just we are never here complaining because we already know what OO can do!! I haven't been to these forums in well over a year myself

So THANK YOU to all involved in this fantastic project and all you hard work...I know you don't hear that enough..

God Bless

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Re: Don't Like OpenOffice?

Postby DeShock » Sun Mar 30, 2008 12:29 am

I originally found and tried OOo when I was looking for an alternative to MS Office. Personally, I do not have an issue with MS Office ( I use it at work all the time). I was looking for an alternative that would help with my personal budget (i.e. not cost me too much $$). With OOo being FREE it was a step in the right direction, so I downloaded OOo to give it a try. I have been using it on my home computer without complaint. It does what I need it to do. I really only use Calc and Writer. I am not a power user, but I am fairly certain the average user would get what they need from OOo.

The only issue is learning it if you are already very comfortable with MS Office. There are help menus, tutorials, and forums to help on that front as long one is willing to put in a little effort. If it is too much to take the time to learn, then spend the money on MS Office. It is all about personal preference and need.

All in all I am comfortable recommending OOo software to my friends and family.
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Re: Don't Like OpenOffice?

Postby anjalip222 » Mon Apr 14, 2008 3:41 am

Hi, I have been using OpenOffice for one year now, and although I'm still not a pro, I must admit it IS frustrating at times to handle OOo.

I fundamentally disagree with many comments posted here telling us OOo should not be compared to MS Office. Hey, why not? Let's not hide anything - OOo as a project is meant to offer credible competetion to MS Office for the purpose of reducing Microsoft's overall dominance.

So, on the one hand, you want to lure people away from MS Office into OOo, but when the same people (having tried OOo) complain about their frustrations, you are quick to point out that such comparisons are invalid. Isn't that a conflict of interest? Of course, users will compare the two packages. You know they are different, but people who want to use it for the first time WILL see it through the lens of MS Office. It's natural that they do so.

I'm not disagreeing that OOo is different from MS Office, but what's disheartening is that some people here spend their time poo-poohing the genuine concerns of novice users. The customer is always right, MS understands this, but here one feels as if there is a whole team trying very hard to browbeat the novice into accepting the many flaws in OOo. Why should we? In fact it is quite healthy for the OOo team to be having feedbacks from users, even if they are by "anguished" or "disillusioned" people.

Personally, I don't exactly compare OOo with MS Office. I am quite happy with whatever basic features OOo has, it is sufficent for me. But what seriously puts me off is when those features don't work as expected. OOo is filled with dysfunctional features, any sightly experienced user will agree, just take a look at their defects-list. I've myself added a defect or two in the issue tracker. As soon as a new version is launched, new defects crop up by the hordes. Mind you, I'm not trying to discredit the developer here.

The main point I'm trying to make is that since there are defects in OOo, existing and unforeseen, users will bring them out, the experienced will do so in the issue tracker while the inexpereinced will take out his frustration in complaining here. There's really no harm in this so as to warrant such reverse-frustration as the author of this post may feel.

Now, coming to comparions between OOo and MS Office, yes, they are indeed "different beasts". But have you ever made an effort to educate people about it? How does a new user know what is different in OOo? I for one feel that features in OOo like styles, page setup, headers/footers, etc. are actually better than their MSO counterparts.

Therefore I would suggest that OOo contributors create a post or PDF manual, honestly putting down all the areas in which OOo is better as well as all the areas in which OOo lags behind MSO. This way new users will have a fair estimation of what to realistically expect from OOo, and there will be a lesser chance that someone will be disillusioned with OOo.
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Re: Don't Like OpenOffice?

Postby ccornell » Mon Apr 14, 2008 9:57 am

anjalip222 wrote:Therefore I would suggest that OOo contributors create a post or PDF manual, honestly putting down all the areas in which OOo is better as well as all the areas in which OOo lags behind MSO. This way new users will have a fair estimation of what to realistically expect from OOo, and there will be a lesser chance that someone will be disillusioned with OOo.

Take a look here:
http://wiki.services.openoffice.org/wiki/Documentation/OOoAuthors_User_Manual/Migration_Guide/General_Differences
and... don't forget.... OpenOffice.org is open source, and a community project. If the OOoAuthors document covering the general differences is missing bits or in inaccurate, then jump in there and help make it better :-)
 Edit: Don't forget to look at the other sections of the Migration Guide... it also covers specifics about Writer vs Word, Calc vs. Excel etc. 
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Re: Don't Like OpenOffice?

Postby anjalip222 » Mon Apr 14, 2008 12:28 pm

Thanks, ccornell. As I said earlier, I don't need the comparisons myself, but maybe the new users do. However, instead of hiding such information deep within some page/URL, such information should ideally be more visible to the newly migrating user - such as on the main OOo web-page, on the OOo downloads page, etc.. Such information should be available to the new user BEFORE he makes up his mind to install OOo. That's my opinion. Thanks again.
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Re: Don't Like OpenOffice?

Postby ccornell » Mon Apr 14, 2008 12:53 pm

The very first link on the main OpenOffice.org page leads you to http://why.openoffice.org Anyone who is interested in improving this can join the Marketing project and work with the other project members to improve that information - it will need to be rewritten for the 3.0 release anyway... so there's a chance to either provide that information directly, or link to another page (if it's allowed.. there might be legal reasons why it has not already been done... I don't know as I am not a marketing project member nor am I a lawyer)
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Re: Don't Like OpenOffice?

Postby crusader » Thu Apr 17, 2008 1:34 am

anjalip222 wrote:Let's not hide anything

OOo hiding? OOo is open source. It is -- you know who -- who takes your money and keeps the source code too.

anjalip222 wrote:OOo as a project is meant to offer credible competetion to MS Office for the purpose of reducing Microsoft's overall dominance.

From OOo website:
OpenOffice.org's Mission Statement is...

To create, as a community, the leading international office suite that will run on all major platforms and provide access to all functionality and data through open-component based APIs and an XML-based file format.


anjalip222 wrote:but what's disheartening is that some people here spend their time poo-poohing the genuine concerns of novice users.

Interesting... look who's talking! A review of the posts show the volunteers are most courteous -- even in light of outright abuse... Actually, it is the novice users who are "poo-poohing" OOo.

Even more interesting is the fact that on one hand you are bad mouthing OOo, "many flaws," "defects by the hordes." Yet on the other hand, you state, "I am quite happy with whatever basic features OOo has." I give you credit for consistent inconsistency.

anjalip222 wrote:The customer is always right, MS understands this

Like in Vista?

anjalip222 wrote:but here one feels as if there is a whole team trying very hard to browbeat the novice into accepting the many flaws in OOo.

Now here is an assault on the whole team! I have yet to see a single post "browbeating" the novice "into accepting the many flaws in OOo." On the contrary, there is encouragement for all users to provide feedback and make suggestions... As I have said before, to the best of my knowledge, no one on this forum has forced anyone to use OOo. Remember, there is always M$ Office.

As for the "many" flaws, I don't recall anyone claiming OOo being perfect.

BTW, Anjalip222, with the "whole team trying very hard to browbeat the novice into accepting the many flaws in OOo," I am just curious: have they been successful?

anjalip222 wrote:As soon as a new version is launched, new defects crop up by the hordes.

It is not unusual for new products (this goes beyond software) to have some defects -- that is why there is a feedback system. If, as you claim, "new defects crop up by the hordes," OOo would not have the volume of users it has.

anjalip222 wrote:Mind you, I'm not trying to discredit the developer here.

You are certainly not being fair to them either... to put it mildly.

anjalip222 wrote:There's really no harm in this so as to warrant such reverse-frustration as the author of this post may feel.

I still maintain that newbies need to realize -- and accept -- that OOo is not M$ Office. Comparisons don't help -- they just feed frustration -- and people like you encourage it. I wonder why.

Please note: I have not said (here or elsewhere) for users to accept the "hordes of flaws." I have repeatedly advocated providing feedback and making suggestion for features that would make this product even better.

Whining that M$ Office has this and that does not improve OOo: constructive ideas expressed in a civil manner do!

Bottom line: OOo is not M$ Office. No one here is shoving OOo down the throats of M$ Office fans. I will repeat what I said earlier (in my first post of this thread): "Respect OpenOffice by learning its features and limitations and making peace with it or go back to slavery. Needless to say, I encourage you to use the mechanism in place to suggest features and improvements." To the best of my knowledge, whining and "poo-poohing" are not the mechanisms.
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Re: Don't Like OpenOffice?

Postby eugenesanderson » Fri Apr 18, 2008 12:27 am

I think it is unfair to compare Open Office to Excell, since in my opinion Lotus has always been a better program. Compare Open Office to Lotus! It compares well, although sometimes it runs slower on my PC. It would be nice if it had the readily available selection of colors that Lotus has, but hopefully that will come in time. Personally, I really like the ability to customize format codes!

It seems that most people who compare to MS do that because they have never used anything else. I personally am cheering Open Office as a breath of fresh air in the otherwise moribund field of office software.

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Re: Don't Like OpenOffice?

Postby Hagar Delest » Fri Apr 18, 2008 2:13 pm

eugenesanderson wrote:It seems that most people who compare to MS do that because they have never used anything else.

Of course!
Same for the OS. That's all the MS strategy through the OEM installation. Don't give any choice to the customer to keep him under control.
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Re: Don't Like OpenOffice?

Postby Aleve Sicofante » Fri Apr 18, 2008 8:10 pm

I'm sorry but OOo has just been copying MS Office for years. It could have created a different office suite like others have tried (look at GoBe Productive, former developers of ClarisWorks), they could've actually invented something, but they chose to copy Microsoft. How can you ask people not to compare them?

It's interesting to see how things will evolve now that Microsoft is changing their UI paradigms (removing the menu bar seems like their new great idea, we'll see how good it does). From now on, OOo and MSO won't be so comparable (unless OOo moves in the same direction, of course).

However, expect comparisons anyway since these applications serve the same purposes and target the same customers. That should be OK and the OOo team should learn from those comparisons and other criticisms. I can't imagine an LCD manufacturer saying "please don't compare me with my competition. I'm just myself". Sounds a bit ridiculous.
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What would Mac designers have implemented?

Postby Weatherlawyer » Fri Apr 18, 2008 11:29 pm

I am still upset that typing or pasting something like 00:00 into Calc will get you 00:00:00 as standard.

I'm not much good at maths but a standard "00:00" looks more like 00:00 to me than 00:00:00 does.

But what do I know?
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Re: Don't Like OpenOffice?

Postby Hagar Delest » Sat Apr 19, 2008 1:06 pm

That's because of the time format autorecognition. Just change the cell format.
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Re: Don't Like OpenOffice?

Postby Weatherlawyer » Sun Apr 20, 2008 7:00 pm

Every bloody time?
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Re: Don't Like OpenOffice?

Postby Villeroy » Sun Apr 20, 2008 7:17 pm

Weatherlawyer wrote:Every bloody time?

Simply ignore it. Take it as a hint from that your input has been recognised as numeric. When you are done, you may change the formats of some cells for pretty presentation. The format of a cell is completely independent from it's value. What ever you do or don't do with number formats, it won't change a single value in your spreadsheet.
Alternatively you can format the respective cells or entire columns before you enter something. Btw: OOo plays very well with styles and templates. Learn about templates and styles (cell styles in this particular case).
Please, edit this topic's initial post and add "[Solved]" to the subject line if your problem has been solved.
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