The Future of Openoffice / Microsoft Compatibility

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The Future of Openoffice / Microsoft Compatibility

Postby fixxxerdx » Thu Aug 28, 2008 4:35 pm

I didn't think this post was appropriate for any of the subsections so I figured I would post it here as a General Question informational gathering request for Openoffice.

I wanted to ask everyone what they think the future of Openoffice will be. I'm currently looking at the possibility of implementing Openoffice.org into my corporate office and switching end users in the office over from using Corel's office suite to Openoffice. I am wondering what everyone thinks as far as the future of Openoffice and its future compatibility, support, and user friendliness moving forward. I do have some users (executives) that still use Microsoft Office and I'm wondering about any major compatibility issues in Openoffice ---> to Microsoft and vice versa as far as creating, editing, and saving, opening files between systems.

I'm very attracted to the progress Openoffice has made since I started using it a couple years ago and it looks like it is getting better. I do see how people can and would get frusterated however due to the minor differences in Openoffice vs. Microsoft Word, Excel, etc.

How compatible is the future of Openoffice? What are everyone's thoughts on this. Openoffice if implemented into our corporation would save us alot of money on licenses and this would be a cost effective change for the company. I can also see how this switch would also cause an increase in user issues/technical issues, and overall strain for those who simply want things to be compatible and work.

Any feedback is appreciated....

Thanks!

Dan
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Re: The Future of Openoffice / Microsoft Compatibility

Postby acknak » Thu Aug 28, 2008 5:14 pm

[Moved to General Discussion forum]

OOo's compatibility is good now, and only going to get better. When it first came out, OOo was about equivalent to Office 97. Now, I think we're somewhere beyond Office 2000 in most areas.

The biggest gaps are in MS newer technologies: Sharepoint (document management), and the new .net and friends introduced with Office 2007: Silverlight, XPS, etc. Also, there are some MS apps that simply aren't covered by OOo: Visio's active diagrams are often requested. Oh, and if you depend on custom macro programs they will have to be ported over to OOo's macro system.

Many of these include nice new features, but they also (just happen to) require everyone to replace their software. If you need those features, then you need to stick with MS and pay your ticket. If you don't need the features, then getting off the train seems like a real good idea.

The only way to know if OOo can work for you is to test it with your actual workflow. Set up a small pilot: one or two people using it for daily work, and see where you run into problems.
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Re: The Future of Openoffice / Microsoft Compatibility

Postby foxcole » Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:01 pm

The Open Document Format and open source programs are picking up steam... and now that Microsoft has been essentially forced by European governments to reveal its MS Office source code, the export and import filters for those document types can only improve. Previously the developers had to rely on what was essentially guesswork as to how Office did things.

But OOo development has been primarily focused on two programs, Writer and Calc, as these have the heaviest user base. Calc has made some improvements recently, has taken a couple of important steps forward with its Data Pilot features, which is equivalent to Excel's pivot tables, but Excel power-users do not yet find Calc satisfactory. If your organization has highly experienced Excel users, they might not want to make the move to OOo just yet. Impress, the presentation module, is not as sophisticated as PowerPoint, so users who need the advanced features in PowerPoint may also want to stick with Office.

But as you've already noticed, the great thing about open source programming is that change is constant, and new players continually join the development field, more so now that development on this project brings high visibility to the supporting companies.

For my purposes, I find Writer to be superior to Word and I use it exclusively in my work. I've had no issues with sharing .doc format files... nor have I had issues with most Excel spreadsheets, only those that contain pivot tables.
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Re: The Future of Openoffice / Microsoft Compatibility

Postby Hagar Delest » Mon Sep 01, 2008 2:08 pm

On the file format side, MS is not going to improve inter-operability so beware if you use their file format, see that post from that thread.
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