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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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  • Use Libre Office (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2014 @10:56AM (#46779231)
    Libre Office is much better, IMO.
  • LibreOffice (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rafael Jaimes III (3430609) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @10:59AM (#46779255)
    I thought LibreOffice was the true descendant of OpenOffice.org?
  • OpenOffice? (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2014 @11:00AM (#46779283)
    I thought everyone had moved to LibreOffice already.
  • by TheDarkMaster (1292526) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @11:03AM (#46779321)
    I think the bigger problem will be the Excel to Calc transition. Because Calc is still lagging behind in functionality, especially in the matter of dealing with formulas and macros.
  • Re:OpenOffice? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Palestrina (715471) * on Thursday April 17, 2014 @11:09AM (#46779377) Homepage

    If that were true then there would not have been 100 million downloads of Apache OpenOffice, would there? Therefore...

  • by sjbe (173966) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @11:10AM (#46779395)

    We're thankfully long past the days when an emailed Word document was useless without a copy of Microsoft Word

    Sadly that isn't really true. My company has standardized on LibreOffice and we use it for most things. However I get Word and Excel files all the time that cannot be accurately read by OpenOffice or LibreOffice. Particularly .DOCX and .XLSX files. Many are just fine but the more complicated ones tend to have moderate to severe formatting corruption. Sometimes to the point of unreadability. Google Docs and other doc viewers frequently don't do any better of a job of it. I have to keep a seat of Microsoft office available for those documents that I can't read any other way even to this day.

  • by schlachter (862210) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @11:11AM (#46779405)

    I've tried over the yrs to download the latest ver of OpenOffice and to give it a try and I always end up moving back to MSFT Word within a few days/weeks.

    It's not missing features per se, it's layout/UI awkwardness and smoothness.

  • by Spliffster (755587) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @11:15AM (#46779447) Homepage Journal

    This is because microsoft manages to be incompatible with their own ISO standard (I guess their own "standard" is not documented).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O... [wikipedia.org]

    Best
    -S

  • That's obvious... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2014 @11:26AM (#46779573)

    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.

    That's because Microsoft Office has long ceased being the proprietary alternative to OpenOffice/LibreOffice. Nowadays, any typical organization use Microsoft Office + Active Directory + SharePoint + Exchange et. al. complete with compliance with bullsh*t like HIPAA and FIPS 140-2, and OpenOffice/LibreOffice cannot simply become a drop-in replacement anymore.

  • Funny, I've tried MS Office a few times over the years. I usually go back to OpenOffice. If for nothing else, I install OpenOffice when I set up a new computer, since it's too much trouble to find an unused MS license outside of normal business hours. :)

  • by Russ1642 (1087959) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @11:36AM (#46779655)

    Find me a replacement for Excel then. A real replacement, not some crappy OpenOffice thing that has 80% of the features.

  • by fermion (181285) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @11:36AM (#46779659) Homepage Journal
    Excel is about the only component in the MS Office suite that is still arguably superior. When it came out on the Mac almost 30 years ago it was revolutionary. And this is from someone who was quite adept at Visicalc and Quattro. OTOH, it is my wish that no one use MS Powerpoint anymore. It is dated and ugly. MS Word is truly useful in a few use cases, buy mostly it is just that people know how to use to get simple tasks done and teaching them how to complete those tasks differently is cost prohibitive.

    Due to the way MS products are licensed, and the cost of training, and the fact that the average person gets confused easily with software, it is cheaper for large organizations to buy the MS products for use by the minority of users that actually need it.

  • by SpzToid (869795) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @11:53AM (#46779827)

    Well yeah, but since total, absolute crap such as your posting and all the others like it pollutes the otherwise useful commentary, *someone* has to moderate in the interests of keeping this site readable for others, right?

  • by MightyYar (622222) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:45PM (#46780271)

    Excel is fantastic for exploring small sets of data... "quick and dirty" stuff. When you want rigorous statistics or a more formal analysis of data, R and friends are far superior. And anything even remotely repetitive should be done in something with a better scripting language. But I'd hate to lose Excel just as much as I'd hate to be forced to use MATLAB or Python to plot results from some small screening experiment.

    And of course, we are completely deviating from Excel's forte as a financial tool, where it is much stronger.

    Sometimes I'll even use it to clean up data for insertion into a database or some other such task. It has some nice built-in "Filter" functions.

  • by tadas (34825) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @12:50PM (#46780307)

    I'd *love* to ditch MS Office for any version of Open Office, but none of them give me MS Word's Outline Mode, an integral part of Word since Word for Windows back in the '90s.

    For you real old-timers, it's not KAMAS (a CP/M based outliner that I maintain has never been surpassed), but it's the only thing current that comes within shouting distance

  • by Kjella (173770) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @01:26PM (#46780715) Homepage

    The problem is Outlook and Exchange. The users see the mail client, calendering, and the like, as essential. The word processor and spreadsheet are secondary to that. Once some exec starts talking to sales about getting just Outlook, they are sold on the wonders of getting the whole MSOffice suite.

    If you look at Microsoft's pricing, it's fairly obvious why. If you're first getting Outlook for 135 euro [microsoftstore.com] then another 135 euro [microsoftstore.com] to get everything else is an easy sell-up, particularly since I'm guessing the sales reps will give you a volume rebate on the Office suite but never on Outlook alone. For at least a decade I've heard product after product being called "Outlook killer" but they all seem to fizzle and my impression mostly because they focus on being POP/IMAP clients. Calendaring is probably more essential to an organization, and I don't mean the simple one-off meeting.

    When are people available and what meeting rooms are available. Setting up recurring meetings (like say a weekly staff meeting) that lets you easily modify single instances (because this week is easter), calendar sharing, forwarding events with proper notification to the meeting owner, overviews of who will/will not attend or haven't answered, including the agenda or attachments, corporate directories, personal directories, all that practical stuff like that if I start writing a mail to someone in-house it warns me right away they're going to send an away message instead of waiting for me to send it, get the auto-reply, realize what I just send won't work, then another email to say forget that, let's do something else when you're back on Monday.

    Geeks hate meetings and scheduling, every one of them myself included. Good calendar software which makes it easy to drown people in meetings is just begging to be swamped with them so it's not exactly an itch we'd like to scratch. We're very busy trying to invent and push non-meeting solutions like email or IM and claim we're solving it better. I'm not going to fire up debate, but the fact of the matter is that getting all of the people involved in the same room at the same time to discuss/decide matters is still a very popular idea. And if you want to get rid of Office, you need to get rid of Outlook and if you want to get rid of Outlook you must handle this well. I'm sure there's lots of people who'd like to drop Exchange and the CALs, using non-MS products despite still sending around MS documents so it should be easier than taking down all of MS Office at once.

  • by MightyYar (622222) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @01:34PM (#46780787)

    I really detest Sharepoint. It's the flavor of the moment at work. It's slow and saves from MS Office applications sometimes fail silently. It pretends to be a suitable replacement for shared network drives, but it doesn't work for that.

    I use it rather than the old Wiki (TWiki, no gem itself) just to be a good sport, but it really sucks. It really exposes how poorly integrated MS's own internal teams must me - it is such an obvious bolt-on.

  • Re:LibreOffice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Archangel Michael (180766) on Thursday April 17, 2014 @01:36PM (#46780815) Journal

    Which, means, they should be merged and brought back together.

    This is the unfortunate case of Open Source failure, and a pretty big one IMHO. The fact that they remain split is huge problem, because now I cannot recommend either, even though they are both decent. I have no idea which one will actually survive and prosper, or which one will die a slow painful death. Merging them is really the only REAL solution for my concerns.

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