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Apache OpenOffice Reaches 100 Million Downloads. Now What? 285

Posted by timothy
from the hundreds-of-millions-served dept.
We're thankfully long past the days when an emailed Word document was useless without a copy of Microsoft Word, and that's in large part thanks to the success of the OpenOffice family of word processors. "Family," because the OpenOffice name has been attached to several branches of a codebase that's gone through some serious evolution over the years, starting from its roots in closed-source StarOffice, acquired and open-sourced by Sun to become OpenOffice.org. The same software has led (via some hamfisted moves by Oracle after its acquisition of Sun) to the also-excellent LibreOffice. OpenOffice.org's direct descendant is Apache OpenOffice, and an anonymous reader writes with this excellent news from that project: "The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of more than 170 Open Source projects and initiatives, announced today that Apache OpenOffice has been downloaded 100 million times. Over 100 million downloads, over 750 extensions, over 2,800 templates. But what does the community at Apache need to do to get the next 100 million?" If you want to play along, you can get the latest version of OpenOffice from SourceForge (Slashdot's corporate cousin). I wonder how many government offices -- the U.S. Federal government has long been Microsoft's biggest customer -- couldn't get along just fine with an open source word processor, even considering all the proprietary-format documents they're stuck with for now.
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Apache OpenOffice Reaches 100 Million Downloads. Now What?

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  • by urbanriot (924981) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @11:03AM (#46779317)
    With so many people experiencing issues with Microsoft Office 2013 activation and random requests to re-activate which result in error codes, or issues where "A problem has occurred" with no log entries or error codes when you try to install the software, it's quite possible Microsoft has strongly encouraged people to seek alternatives.

    Since experiencing so many reliability issues with Microsoft Office 2013, issues that did not exist with Microsoft Office 2010, I've become a vocal advocate for making the switch from Microsoft to either OpenOffice or LibreOffice.

    I often encourage OpenOffice for older folks that are looking for a more reliable experience while I suggest LibreOffice to those who want a feature rich experience and don't mind the occasional glitch or updating the software as regularly as they release updates. I feel both are great projects.
  • Re:LibreOffice (Score:5, Informative)

    by hawkbat05 (1952326) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @11:04AM (#46779329)

    LibreOffice is a fork of OpenOffice, created when some core developers were worried with Oracle's lack of attention to the project. Some time after that fork, Oracle donated OpenOffice.org code and trademarks to the Apache Software Foundation to continue the project.

  • by rubycodez (864176) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @11:06AM (#46779337)

    you are funny, the miniscule percentage of government spending that goes to Microsoft is a budget rounding error

    And if Microsoft fell, those people would do other things for a living, maybe even get a few good companies while losing one giant crappy one

  • by CronoCloud (590650) <cronocloudauron@gma i l . c om> on Thursday April 17, 2014 @11:19AM (#46779501)

    Sometimes it's a typeface/font issue, which is why I "accidentally" copied the TrueType fonts from a Windows partition over to /usr/share/fonts/TrueType

  • Microsoft is probably counting every OEM that ships with the trial version of Office, and all the bundled licenses, even if they aren't used.

    Most companies buy too many licenses, so they can be sure they have enough. So if we buy 50, and use 30, but only 10 use it on any sort of regular basis, MS will still count it as 50.

  • by sjbe (173966) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:16PM (#46780031)

    People who do "serious" work with Office have real problems migrating.

    I'm one of those people who does "serious" spreadsheet work. By and large switching between the Excel and OOo/LO works pretty well. Occasional formatting issues and the odd formula incompatibility but mostly it works fine. I try to use macros as little as possible so I can't speak to compatibility there but I would expect it to be something of a creeping horror.

    Write and Word do have incompatibilities.

    Sadly yes. Quite a few of them in fact.

    I never tried to open a MS Access database in OpenOffice Base,

    I have and it generally works but probably not exactly the way you expect. Base isn't really the same thing as Access. It's more of a connector application than a standalone database product. I use it primarily to do ODBC connections between spreadsheets and a database. Unfortunately they tend to break their ODBC code between versions so I've been stuck on a pretty old version of OO for quite a while.

    Switching from MS Office to OpenOffice / LibreOffice is not easy at all for power users. To put into geek terms: imagine switching from Apache to Lighttpd. For most things, it will be great. But, if you have some serious .htaccess magic going on or are relying on mods which exist only for Apache - well, you are out of luck and you are probably not going anywhere.

    Bingo. If you have a heavily macro'd set of Excel spreadsheets or the like you probably aren't going to want to switch. Just way too painful. But most people could probably switch with only modest problems here and there.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:31PM (#46780151)

    Effects: Rotate. I found that in about 15 seconds and I don't use Open/Libre office draw at all.

  • by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Thursday April 17, 2014 @01:13PM (#46780529) Homepage

    The users see the mail client, calendering, and the like, as essential.

    Calendaring is one a business task that is critically important to many businesses, but is quite widely ignored in the open source world, at least with respect to easy setup.

    In my small office, we use Apple's open source Darwin Calendar Server: http://trac.calendarserver.org... [calendarserver.org] It'll serve calendar data to the mac calendar client, as well as Mozilla's Sunbird client, probably others too.

    It works great and it has been extremely stable (I have it running on a debian VM), but it isn't totally trivial to set up. Not hard exactly, but certain OS defaults don't work (e.g., requires extended atrributes, which requires editing fstab, and if you don't, it will never ever work): https://wiki.debian.org/HowTo/... [debian.org]

    Anyway, a simple to set up calendar server would be a substantial contribution to the open source business software stable.

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