Office 2007 beginning to Bite

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Office 2007 beginning to Bite

Postby rvjcallanan » Wed Nov 28, 2007 2:26 pm

Let me start by saying I am delighted with the announcement of this new forum. I don't know whether "Institutional and Educational" is the right place for this post but there is no other obvious category. I am talking here about "Small and Medium Enterprise" migrations and the whole saga surrounding Office 2007 and the open document standard wars. This really is beginning to bite...

At the time of writing, Office 2007 is invariably bundled on new PCs with a free 60-day trial period. This means that unsuspecting users, which is the norm in the SME sector, are using Office 2007 out of the box. Most do not even realise they are using the new open XML format by default and, by the time the 60-day trial period is up, they are completely locked in. Of course, when those same users send their open XML files by e-mail, the recipients wonder why they cannot open a "simple MS Office document" and they in turn decide to upgrade. As a result Office 2007 market penetration is accelerating at a serious rate.

There is no point in whining about the monopolistic forces at play, not to mention the sweetheart OEM/bundling deals between Microsoft and the likes of Dell and HP. The fact is that, in a very short time, Open XML will be the new de facto, if not de jure, standard regardless of current attempts to negotiate a truly open document format. I am already getting complaints from my customers that they cannot open e-mail attachments. They say it is embarrassing to have to request a resend in PDF or DOC format. Re-education works only up to a point. At the end of the day, my customers expect to be able to open any common document they are likely to encounter.

In practice, this means that OpenOffice.org needs to boost it's MS Office compatibility credentials - and fast. DOC and XLS support is no longer sufficient. My worry is that, given the success of OO.org to date, and the current stand-off in open document standard negotiations, our beloved OO.org strategists (who are they??) may feel empowered to ignore this MS threat.

Having played around with Office 2007 a little, I actually find it somewhat patronising and tedious to use although it does have a very sexy look (and impressions are everything nowadays!). I genuinely feel that this represents an opportune moment for OO.org to gain critical mass with a disillusioned marketplace...but only if reliable Open XML support can be implemented in a very short time frame. Since Microsoft has published its new "open" standards, OO.org does not need to embark on a tedious reverse-engineering process. While you can be sure there will be plenty of gotchas along the way, this is as likely to affect Microsoft in these early days as much as any potential clone application. There will of course be structural differences which have to be reconciled with native OpenOffice.org formats but necessity is the mother of invention and translation prowess has always been an OO.org strength.

Open XML support needs to be number one priority for the foreseeable future or it will be a case of déja vu (all over again)!
:cry:
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Re: Office 2007 beginning to Bite

Postby ccornell » Wed Nov 28, 2007 2:31 pm

If you do a little digging you will discover that the OOXML standard is not implementable as documented. It is full of references to proprietary things... so even though it is published, it is definitely not complete, nor open.

OpenOffice 3.0 should have Office 2007 support for importing - it's on the list of planned features

NeoOffice for Mac already has Office 2007 support (via a plugin), as does the Novel Edition of OpenOffice.org.
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Re: Office 2007 beginning to Bite

Postby rvjcallanan » Wed Nov 28, 2007 4:12 pm

That's great news. I hope there are enough OO.org users out there willing to really put this feature through it's paces when it arrives so that we can get over the initial hump as quickly as possible...time is of the essence!
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Re: Office 2007 beginning to Bite

Postby DrewJensen » Wed Nov 28, 2007 4:20 pm

Agreed -

There is an active QA group within OpenOffice.org that is always looking for volunteers. Anyone can help with that - each module ( Writer Calc Draw Base Impress ) has it's own community QA group. If anyone is interested they can contact these groups and see how they can help.
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Re: Office 2007 beginning to Bite

Postby Hagar Delest » Thu Nov 29, 2007 12:14 am

ccornell wrote:If you do a little digging you will discover that the OOXML standard is not implementable as documented. It is full of references to proprietary things... so even though it is published, it is definitely not complete, nor open.

To second this, see here : http://www.noooxml.org/.
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Re: Office 2007 beginning to Bite

Postby rvjcallanan » Thu Nov 29, 2007 3:30 pm

This has been something of an education process for me. I have visited the NoOOXML.org site and signed the petition. I have also sought out some facts from more neutral sources. It is worse than I thought. I am now thinking we should simply boycott OOXML full stop and that means foregoing the DOCX and XLSX import feature my clients so desperately crave. It should also mean boycotting HP and Dell. If OEM bundling sweeteners were banned, we simply would not have this problem.

I am wondering why the populus at large is not aware of this issue. Where are our Public Service Networks on this? I haven't seen a BBC "World In Action" or "Panorma" exposé about this abuse of the standardisation process. There needs to be a serious education and awareness drive in the mass media. Can the marketing prowess of our commercial sponsors (IBM, Sun et al) be brought to bear on the situation? The message certainly is not getting through via the usual community channels. YouTube videos and forums are all very good but most folks are too wrapped up in their lives to be concerned about these things. But let us suppose there was a scandal about some new chemical used in toothpaste. You can be sure everyone would latch onto it very quickly. Now there's an idea...

But seriously, if there was genuine mass awareness of this issue, I would find it much easier to persuade my clients to avoid OpenXML altogether. In such a scenario, folks would have no quibbles about requesting a resend of a DOCX file in DOC or PDF format.

So it all boils down to marketing. Hasn't this always been the achilles heel of open-source?
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Re: Office 2007 beginning to Bite

Postby ccornell » Thu Nov 29, 2007 3:50 pm

Well, the fiasco with Microsoft stacking the deck for the ISO vote did make the news here in Europe... but like anything, it sparks and then goes out of the public consciousness almost faster than it arrived. That leaves those of us who actually care to carry the proverbial torch.
It is likely to come back into the limelight in March with the second round of voting from ISO. Most people have taken the fatalistic approach and assume that despite the fact the proposed open standard is neither open, not a standard anyone (not even Microsoft) can implement, it will be passed and accepted as an ISO standard.
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Re: Office 2007 beginning to Bite

Postby saphil » Fri Nov 30, 2007 7:05 am

"Aversion to marketing" continues to be the kryptonite of open source.

We could really use a transnational PAC that can raise attention and awareness (and money) to hire a real marketing company to spread awareness.
There are still plenty of profitable open source supporters who haven't drunk the MS kool-aid yet, aren't there?
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Re: Office 2007 beginning to Bite

Postby rvjcallanan » Mon Dec 03, 2007 12:45 pm

I'm thinking that the best interim solution for shops using OpenOffice.org for Windows (which is probably the norm in the SME world) is to install the free MS viewers i.e.

MS Word Viewer 2003 + Office 2007 Compatibility Pack
MS Excel Viewer 2003 + Office 2007 Compatibility Pack
MS PowerPoint Viewer 2007

Just be careful that you only make file associations with the problematic Open XML family i.e. DOCX, XLSX, etc
OpenOffice should still be the default app for DOC, XLS, etc.

I know it's galling to have to bow to client pressure in light of the standardiation shenanigans...but it's better than having them re-migrate back to MS Office.
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Re: Office 2007 beginning to Bite

Postby saphil » Mon Dec 03, 2007 6:53 pm

Since I use OpenOffice.org on Linux, I hadn't even thought of the free viewers. Can you copy the text from the viewer window to an OpenOffice.org document to edit and reply?
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Re: Office 2007 beginning to Bite

Postby DrewJensen » Mon Dec 03, 2007 7:44 pm

The next is - can you run the viewers under Wine?
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Re: Office 2007 beginning to Bite

Postby rvjcallanan » Tue Dec 04, 2007 12:58 pm

While you can copy and paste into OO.org, the results are not predictable because the internal document structures are not compatible between the two apps. Pasting in unformatted mode is a bit more reliable but of course you lose the formatting. In any case, this process is a bit fiddly for passive/non-technical/SME users. Having said that, it is rare enough that an attachment from outside the organisation needs to be edited.

Jarte is probably a better choice if you want to be able to edit, however this only supports DOCX.

BTW, looking at the LINUX side of things, has anybody tried Jarte or the free MS viewers with WINE, BOCHS or such like? Apart from PowerPoint, these viewers are 2003 vintage which probably increases the likelyhood that they will run in emulation environments.

*** SORRY ***
Didn't see previous post with same question
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Re: Office 2007 beginning to Bite

Postby kieranmullen » Sat Jan 19, 2008 8:18 am

Why cant OpenOffice get in on a Bundling deal?

I understand they are paid by other comany's so both parties can benefit financially.

However openoffice has no financial motivations so therefore they may not care as much?


Something I think should have been done a long time ago simply becuase it is free. Cross Promotion. Talk to the Mozilla.org people. Promote each others work.
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Re: Office 2007 beginning to Bite

Postby kingfisher » Sat Jan 19, 2008 9:44 am

For enterprises which exchange documents, the prevailing standard is what counts. The only question for most commercial or government users of office software is whether they need to upgrade their M$ software or not. M$ has arrived at its exalted position by understanding the market.
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Re: Office 2007 beginning to Bite

Postby kingfisher » Sat Jan 19, 2008 11:11 am

I came upon an article summarising points made by the ODF Alliance. I'm not sure whom the Alliance hopes to convince but the decision will be made by users in general on pragmatic grounds.
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Re: Office 2007 beginning to Bite

Postby ccornell » Mon Jan 21, 2008 10:12 am

kieranmullen wrote:Why cant OpenOffice get in on a Bundling deal?


Well, I can think of at least two bundling deals that OpenOffice.org/StarOffice is in on... check out Google Pack... it comes with StarOffice (for free). Singapore Airlines provides OpenOffice in every seat-back computer on their airplanes.

Those are two bundling deals that OpenOffice.org/StarOffice is involved in.

Every desktop Linux distribution comes with OpenOffice.org... usually as part of the default install. So, the Linux computers from Dell (for example) will all come with OpenOffice.org.

It's not perfect, but it is happening. :-)
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Re: Office 2007 beginning to Bite

Postby AndrewZ » Sat Feb 16, 2008 8:14 am

DrewJensen wrote:The next is - can you run the viewers under Wine?


I have tried the 97 and 2003 MS Office viewers under Wine without problems, but the Office Compatibility Pack, which is a good quality .docx to .doc converter, does not work under Wine. However, you can also

* Use OxygenOffice, which has a well-integrated and easy to use support for .xlsx, .pptx, and .xslx
* Use OdfConverter without OpenOffice.org (or with any OpenOffice.org) in both Linux and Windows as a command line tool
* Use Zamzar.com which converts .docx to .odt nicely
* Use Docx2Rtf which has some problems with .docx

So, there are a good amount of options--even for Linux users.
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Re: Office 2007 beginning to Bite

Postby bcdalai » Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:43 am

After so many developmet, OpenOffice.org still can't save files to the new openxml file formats (.docx / .pptx / .xlsx) supported by microsoft office 2007/2010.

It can open and change but can't create this new formats.

When will this feature will be added to OpenOffice.org, is it will be added in version 3.3 / 3.4.

Please add this feature, so that it will be a complete replacement to MS-Office.
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Re: Office 2007 beginning to Bite

Postby Hagar Delest » Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:21 am

It is planned for 3.3 IIRC but there was a "?" in the roadmap, so not sure it will be available.

Note that the OOXML version used by MS Office is not the version that got its ISO stamp. So what will be the degree of compatibility???

Better avoid that format and that's all. MS will always make sure there is no full compatibility with other products to keep their market share. Therefore, you will never find any good MS Office replacement solution. If you want to break from the vendor lock-in policy, use ODF and OOo. There is enough compatibility issue with MS Office formats (including .doc, .rtf) to make the use of these formats dangerous with OOo.

NB: to avoid multi-posting, I've removed your other topic.
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Re: Office 2007 beginning to Bite

Postby bcdalai » Tue Aug 03, 2010 8:17 am

If you OOo will not full support MS-Office 2007 formats then there will be very much compatibility problem. When different organizations using different products and keeping the formats in their own preferences, then this compatibility problem will arise. I mean to say that each program must have the ability to create file formats of other same competing progams.

You are right, there are not always full replacement solutions. but those who are using Ms-Office have no problem in creating ODF docs, but OOo can't create the MS-Office 2007 formats.

This the real problem I faced and want to draw the attention of the OOo developer and request to add this in the future release.

Thank you.
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Re: Office 2007 beginning to Bite

Postby Hagar Delest » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:11 am

bcdalai wrote:I mean to say that each program must have the ability to create file formats of other same competing progams.

We all agree about that here!

bcdalai wrote:those who are using Ms-Office have no problem in creating ODF docs, but OOo can't create the MS-Office 2007 formats.

The ODF support in MS Office is not that good, there is a discussion about that somewhere in this forum.

bcdalai wrote:This the real problem I faced and want to draw the attention of the OOo developer and request to add this in the future release.

We are just users like you. If you want to contact the devs, see [Tutorial] Reporting bugs or suggestions. But they are already working on it. The only thing I don't know is which format will be implemented: ISO OOXML or MS Office OOXML???
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Re: Office 2007 beginning to Bite

Postby ccornell » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:33 am

bcdalai wrote:those who are using Ms-Office have no problem in creating ODF docs, but OOo can't create the MS-Office 2007 formats.


Maybe that's because ODF is well documented and an ISO standard... and the MS Office formats are not - they are closed, binary, proprietary formats. The only way to support MS Office formats is to reverse engineer the format. Is you say OOXML is documented.. well part of it is, but it's full of references to closed binary formats and despite being 6000 pages long, doesn't fully document the file format)... and MS doesn't actually implement it as documented.

So given that MS Office doesn't use well documented open international ISO standards for any its file formats... you cannot expect other Office applications to fully or accurately support their formats.
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Re: Office 2007 beginning to Bite

Postby bcdalai » Wed Aug 04, 2010 1:01 pm

ccornell wrote:So given that MS Office doesn't use well documented open international ISO standards for any its file formats... you cannot expect other Office applications to fully or accurately support their formats.


Thanks everyone for this disscussion.

Let the OOo developer decide, how to handle this issue.
I know this but want that, OOo developer should do something to solve this and minimize this big issue.
As it is closed source and fully compatibility and support may not available on this matter.

Thanks you all.
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