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Old 03-02-2005, 07:13 AM   #1
SadPenguin
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StarOffice vs OpenOffice.org


I've been having problems with importing Word documents with outline numbering and cross-references into OpenOffice.org (I've posted details on the OOo forum).

As a more general point, though, I'd appreciate any feedback on whether StarOffice is likely to be better for MS Word compatibility than OOo. OOo seems incapable of dealing easily with complex outline-numbered MS Word documents (such as the legal agreements which are the main reason I need a word processor in the first place), and I was wondering if SO is any better at cross-compatibility with MS Word - and if so, why this functionality hasn't been ported over to OOo. I don't particularly want to pay £50 or whatever for a copy of SO, only to find that it is no better than OOo at dealing with this.

I'm planning to download the SO v8.0 beta later today, so may be able to answer this question for myself before too long, but if anyone has any experience of this issue then please let me know - it may save me hanging around after work to complete a pointless 200MB download!
 
Old 03-02-2005, 08:31 AM   #2
uman
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I don't know about SO, but you may want to try AbiWord. I don't use it because I like the full-featured suite functionality, but it does have some advantages over OOo when it comes to importing MS Word documents.

Cheers,
Uman
 
Old 03-02-2005, 08:44 AM   #3
dataangel
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The first release candidate (or was it beta?) of OpenOffice 2.0 was just released. Snag it and see if it performs better. I bet it does.
 
Old 03-02-2005, 09:42 AM   #4
SadPenguin
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Abiword did better on the outline numbering, marginally worse on the formatting.

I may try the OOo beta, but I had heard that it doesn't really solve this problem. Update: Just tried the OOo beta. I heard right - the problem has not been resolved.

I went ahead and downloaded the SO beta anyway, and will report back on what happens when I install it. If I end up having to buy a proprietary product then so be it - I'd prefer to stick with a Free solution, but in the end I just need something that works. Without being Microsoft - whose use of secretive closed file formats to force people to buy their products amounts to money with menaces, IMO.

Last edited by SadPenguin; 03-02-2005 at 10:07 AM.
 
Old 03-02-2005, 09:46 AM   #5
SadPenguin
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Code:
The download file appears to be corrupted. Please download staroffice again.
Grrr. Not in the office now till Friday. Suspect it may be my cheapo 256 MB data key that's to blame anyway...

Last edited by SadPenguin; 03-02-2005 at 10:09 AM.
 
Old 03-02-2005, 08:22 PM   #6
KimVette
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OOo is not interested in fixing bugs -- only adding more buggy features to an existing buggy program.
 
Old 03-02-2005, 10:20 PM   #7
kpex
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StarOffice probably won't have imprved MSWord support compared to OOo - as far as I know StarOffice doesn't have any MSWord support that isn't derived from OpenOffice code.
 
Old 03-02-2005, 10:49 PM   #8
Mega Man X
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If you just need to get 100% compatibility with MS Office, your best bet is to install MS Office in Linux with Crossover Office. It ain't free, but it's well worthy it. You could also try to run MS Office through plain wine. Here is a tutorial that tells you how to achieve this:

http://frankscorner.org/index.php?p=office2000

No matter what, OOo and SO won't be so compatible with MS Office. I for one found OpenOffice to be just crap. It does not handle huge (and I mean really huge files) very well, specially sheet files. It does not work well importing MS docs either.

If you are starting a document from scratch for personal use (and you are not going to give it to somebody else to open with MS Office) OpenOffice can be useful (and so is Abiword), but no way I'd use it for serious stuff as creating a Resumé for a job application...

Just my two cents...

Last edited by Mega Man X; 03-02-2005 at 10:50 PM.
 
Old 03-03-2005, 01:06 PM   #9
KimVette
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Quote:
Originally posted by Megaman X

(snip)

It does not handle huge (and I mean really huge files) very well, specially sheet files.

(snip)

Just my two cents...
What do you mean it doesn't handle "really huge" files well? I hate opening even moderate-sized files in OOo - I'd shoot myself before opening a "really huge file" in OOo.Calc

Example: I subscribe to a business-related spreadsheet (in excel format) from the state. The spreadsheet has no formulas in it. It consists of two worksheets, one with an average of only 1,000 records, and the second worksheet averages 3,000 records (it can vary widely from month to month though). Each record in the first worksheet is hyperlinked to the associated records in the second worksheet.

Microsoft Office opened the December, 2004 spreadsheet, with Norton Antivirus enabled, on my hopelessly obsolete, lowly 975Mhz dual Pentium III, in under five seconds. That same exact spreadsheet takes OOo over 45 minutes to open. I then exported it to .sxc (Native OOo format) and re-opened it, and using the native format saved only two minutes. It took 20 minutes to save, btw.

Now, for the January, 2005 spreadsheet, which was unusually large, Micrososoft Excel opened it, running under wine this time (so there's an API thunking/translation layer slowing things down), opened the document in under a minute. OpenOfficeOrg.Calc took over two hours to open the same exact spreadsheet.

It is piss-poor performance in OOo that not only drove me back to M$ Office, but the pain of Office 2000. I started to look into OOo architecture to see if I could re-implement the file I/O, but do you think that file I/O is componentized in OOo to make updates easier? No, file I/O is scattered throughout the project (and Linux developers have the gall to make fun of M$'s code?!?!). It is poorly-architected, to put it delicately. I emailed back and forth with one of the coordinators of the project but he had the typical geek attitude: that adding new features is more important that addressing inherent architectural flaws -- a moronic stance, considering that they're looking to take on M$ Office head-on. It is exactly that kind of developer attitude that keeps people running M$ products; because although M$'s licensing policies have become anti-consumer, at least their products perform well and you don't have to wait hours for M$ Excel to open a simple moderate-sized spreadsheet consisting of text.

Adding features to a broken architecture only delays the inevitable, and makes fixing the program more difficult and yes costly down the road. I am hoping that the KOffice team sees this as an opportunity to leapfrog OOo, take on M$ head-on, and embarrass the OOo team (and Sun) in the process.

Heck, I've created 50,000-row spreadsheets in M$ Excel before (product listings, itemized sales reports, bug reports, build logs, etc.), and even spreadsheets of that size take mere seconds to open in M$ Office.
 
Old 03-03-2005, 04:36 PM   #10
Mega Man X
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KimVette, that's exactly what I meant. Nice to see somebody also has to open big files in OOo. And I know the feeling you got when suggesting the guys at OOo. Many Linux programs and programmers have the very same attitude. Gaim is a good messenger, I don't deny it. But the guys simply update it and release a "new" version of gaim without adding any useful feature or fix. It's just for the sake to keep the title of "The most active project at sourceforge".

I gave up long ago to talk to those guys. Linux developers (not generalizing) really need to work more together for a common purpose. Looks like instead of fixing something wrong together (which is the purpose of OpenSource) they simply start over from scratch (do we really need 500 different text editors or so, so many API Kit's?. Doubt it...). It just leads for more and more frustration for both newbie and advanced users...

And some names just has to be changed too for taking Linux seriously on the business. BitchX is a horrible name, regardless what it means.

My rant is over
 
Old 03-03-2005, 05:50 PM   #11
SadPenguin
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Quote:
I for one found OpenOffice to be just crap.
Well, I didn't like to say it, but...

I still object to being forced to pay for M$ Office just because they insist on keeping their file formats secret. It really does seem to be money with menaces, as I said before. But I've a horrible feeling I can see which way this is heading. Ah well, I'll give SO a try once I can download a copy successfully.

The suggestion about using wine or Crossover Office was very helpful, however - let's just hope I don't need to use it
 
  


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