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Last post Author Topic: If you think OpenOffice is a competitor to MS Office 2010, think again  (Read 10682 times)

zridling

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It's really the massive installed user base of MS Office. To a lesser extent, you might say Google Docs or Zoho, which some businesses are switching to the software for its lower costs and fewer administrative, deployment, and licensing hassles. Odd thing is, if Microsoft beefed up Office Live, it would be a boon for SOHO users.

Microsoft-Office-2010.jpg

That said, if you're an MS Office 2007 user, will you be upgrading to the 2010 (twenty-ten!) version? And if so, which features are compelling enough to do so?

Josh

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I upgraded. There are several features regarding tables, document formatting, excel vba functionality, powerpoints master slide editing abilities as well as slide options and various other small tweaks that make using the software that much easier. The ribbon is now standard across all applications which makes me very happy. I can customize each ribbon and make it function in any way I want. I can remove ribbons and have a single one which hides when I need it to so I can maximize screen real estate while working on a large document.

That said, I own two licenses to 2010. One Pro and one Pro Plus, both either free through technet or very cheap through my university. Yes, 350 (250 per year renewal) bucks for a technet subscription which gives me license keys to every MS product for personal use is fantastic and a great investment.

So yes, I upgraded and will continue to use MS Office as no other solution is as robust, easy to use, or functional. OOo does not hold a candle although I will recommend it to someone who has no means to find a cheaper copy, although a simple google search will return enough results for cheap copies of the suite.

Curt

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I have MS Office 2003 Standard, and I skipped Office 2007, so for me it is a no-brainer question: Office 2010 is The Leader and almost awesome! I *HOPE* I can afford to upgrade to the Ultimate version (I have been running the Ultimate Beta for five months, for free), but I am no longer entitled to any academic discount.

40hz

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In my case, it's mostly a matter of "When in Rome do as Romans do."
 ;)

The single most compelling reason for me to be constantly upgrading my Microsoft software has little to do with me and everything to do with needing to stay on top of what my clients are using.

Fortunately, Microsoft knows this, so they offer a very generous subsciption program (MAPS) through their registered partner network that makes regular upgrades both workable and affordable.  

daddydave

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I installed OpenOffice on a Windows XP system not long ago.
Typed three lines in Notepad.
Pasted them in OpenOffice.
Selected the lines and hit the "bullets" icon on the toolbar.
It put the bullets on separate lines from the text!

I've been meaning to try this same test on my own Windows 7 system just to see if it wasn't just something funky with that computer, haven't gotten around to it yet.

EDIT If it does the same thing in Windows 7, I'll make a video of it with a waa-waa-waa-waa sound effect at the end.
If bad things happen to other people, it's karma. If bad things happen to me, it's kismat!
« Last Edit: June 16, 2010, 12:38:01 PM by daddydave »

Darwin

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I tried the 64 bit beta at the start of the year and really liked it. However, none of my 32 bit plugins would work with it (obviously) so I reverted to 2007. I'm hoping that the college that I work at will get academic priced copies in soon. I'm faculty, so can't (legally) take advantage of the $80 student offer, sadly (otherwise I'd be downloading it as I type this).

I'm not sure that there are any must have features in 2010. However, having a unified interface would be nice, the tweaks that have been made to things like the paste function were enough to make me want it permanently, and, finally, when I'm teaching I live in Powerpoint, so welcome more flexibility with the master sldie editing function. 2007, in my opinion, was a bit of a step backward in many ways WRT slide layout and design, though slowly I have adjusted over the past three years.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

daddydave

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Had the Office 2010 RC a while ago, didn't really do anything with it. Outlook 2010 has a Gmail-style Conversation View, if I'm not mistaken..would be extremely useful at work but at home I use Outlook for everything but email. Didn't really play with the other apps too much.
If bad things happen to other people, it's karma. If bad things happen to me, it's kismat!
« Last Edit: June 16, 2010, 12:33:40 PM by daddydave »

Dormouse

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I find 2010 much better than 2007 & 2003. Used to have both of them installed - now just 2010. Mostly just easier to work with.

Haven't really seen OO as a competitor for some time. I'm not sure what its changes actually do, but they don't seem to make it better to me. Textmaker & friends seem a better, different alternative.

That said, for my producing my own stuff, I always use other programs and not office suites.

CWuestefeld

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I agree with Dormouse. I have 2010 now, and I'm pretty happy with it. In particular, Outlook seems more stable, although it's still dog-slow, and the ribbon (of which I'm generally a fan) does more harm than good.

I really, really hate OpenOffice. Its performance is slow, it seems inaccurate (as DaddyDave noted), and it really just doesn't feel comfortable to me.

On the other hand, the SoftMaker product is a strong contender, other than that businesses seem ignorant of it. It's an order of magnitude cheaper, and provides nearly comparable functionality (except for not having a mail/PIM app, nor a database -- yet). It's fairly comfortable to use, and performance is fantastic. And it's nearly perfectly compatible with MS documents. I've got this on my main desktop, on my PocketPC, on my Ubuntu netbook, and portable on a flashdrive.

cyberdiva

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On the other hand, the SoftMaker product is a strong contender
I was about to ask about SoftMaker2010, which I've been thinking of getting.  The Neat Net Tricks software review panel had lots of good things to say about it in a review last month: http://tinyurl.com/252evty.  I'm glad to hear that you like it.  Is there a downside to choosing it over MS Office?

CWuestefeld

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Is there a downside to choosing it over MS Office?

Off the top of my head:
  • If you're a MS Office user, the interface is different. It's consistent, so not difficult for a tech-savvy user, but it may be a problem for the less-experienced that only know MS.
  • No Outlook, no OneNote, no Publisher, no Access (yet -- they're working on that one).
  • No grammar checking in the word processor.
  • People will look at you a little funny. But that's par for the course for me: somehow it seems I always pick the oddball. I used to use OS/2  :o
  • Compatibility with DOC/DOCX and XLS/XLSX files is excellent, but not perfect. In an environment where compatibility is essential you might have problems.
  • Not compatible with VBA macros (although it has its own scripting language), nor does it present a scripting model for use by your own software.

But there are any number of advantages as well.
  • Price
  • Stability
  • Performance
  • Portability
  • Immunity to malware (due to obscurity)
  • Tabbed document switching

JavaJones

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What's frustrating is that OpenOffice *should* be better, particularly in regards to compatibility. If SoftMaker can do a good deal better than OOo (as seems to be the case from the above descriptions), then there's something wrong. Granted SoftMaker is a commercial app, but I'd wager a lot more development hours and effort have gone into OOo considering the size of its dev community. Yet it's still slow, a bit clunky, and has lots of problems with file formatting.

- Oshyan

Curt

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Is there a downside to choosing it over MS Office?

..., no Access (yet -- they're working on that one).

When ("if"?) it comes, I am expecting SoftMaker's version to be absolutely fantastic, considering how many years they have been "working on that one"...  8)

zridling

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Wow, thanks for the response guys, especially Josh, Darwin, CWuestefeld, et al.

Maybe someone can take some time later this year and write a new Word Processor mega-review, or, an extended review of Office 2010.

Darwin

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When ("if"?) it comes, I am expecting SoftMaker's version to be absolutely fantastic, considering how many years they have been "working on that one"...  8)

The thing is, I've been waiting, now for well over three years (if memory serves) and it's STILL not even in public beta! I bought the 2006 suite in anticipation of DataMaker being released soon thereafter (and on the understanding that it would be a paid add-on) and then, about a year and a half later upgraded to 2008 before 2008 was even released because it looked like DataMaker would actually be part of it when it went gold. Now 2010 is out and no sign of DataMaker...

PS to be honest, a big factor in both my Office purchases was the fantastic apps that DO comprise it in its current form, TextMaker in particular.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

erikts

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That said, if you're an MS Office 2007 user, will you be upgrading to the 2010 (twenty-ten!) version? And if so, which features are compelling enough to do so?

I am currently using MSO 2007 at the office. The possibility of upgrading is so thin. Most of my co worker use OpenOffice.org.

Paul Keith

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Personally I don't know how anyone can recommend OpenOffice anymore.

When you narrow it down to it's very core, it's slow. Even other open-source applications like Gnumeric and AbiWord can be faster.

Then again, it's hard to recommend 2010 also except for the reason 40hz stated.

The sad part though is that despite what zridling said in the beginning, we're still talking about OpenOffice instead of the likes of Zoho or Google Docs.

In the end, OpenOffice has made it's mark. It's no longer obscure. It will always be that Netscape to MS Office. The question remains when the Fat Office suite will sing it's way to a sexier Fox.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2010, 05:09:32 AM by Paul Keith »

Gwen7

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i currently use office 2010. before that I used 2007. and before that it was 2003.

2010 is very powerful and comprehensive. but it also has 50 times more capabilities than i'll ever want or need. and i'm a fairly sophisticated user.

i feel Word plateaued with office 2000. everything that came after that was bloat. unless it fixed something that didn't work as advertised. mail merge was something that didn't work correctly in 2000.

so...what would i be buying it for if i had to pay out of my own purse?

the answer so far is >> i wouldn't.
   

zridling

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The sad part though is that despite what zridling said in the beginning, we're still talking about OpenOffice instead of the likes of Zoho or Google Docs.... In the end, OpenOffice has made it's mark. The question remains when the Fat Office suite will sing it's way to a sexier Fox.

Perhaps it depends on the industry on whether the need for heavy desktop suites will thrive, no doubt for spreadsheet use at the least. But since most business "documents" (I use that term very loosely) are simple communications, i.e., simple shared documents, you'll likely see the likes of Google Docs, Zoho, and Office Live rise as mobile/tablet computing becomes more prevalent. Placing these "simple" documents online using HTML bypasses the need for proprietary formats, file conversion, and the cost of a proprietary program to read and access them.

Paul Keith

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Maybe I'm mistaken zridling but isn't Zoho a heavy desktop suite?

As a person who doesn't know spreadsheets, I just got the impression that Google was looking for light sharing and private wiki-doc hybrid while Zoho was gunning for the full Office suite.

I haven't tried Office Live though.

There's still also the question of privacy and downtime though and I think that's the major dilemma. Maybe I'm mistaken and that documents are like Surfulator and doesn't sync well with DropBox but if they did, then the real issue is mass sharing but even Dropbox' public folder isn't supposed to be Delicious for documents.

Target

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Perhaps it depends on the industry on whether the need for heavy desktop suites will thrive, no doubt for spreadsheet use at the least. But since most business "documents" (I use that term very loosely) are simple communications, i.e., simple shared documents, you'll likely see the likes of Google Docs, Zoho, and Office Live rise as mobile/tablet computing becomes more prevalent

could be, but for businesses (especially big businesses) at fixed sites the cost of bandwidth just to process their documentation (be that word processing, spreadsheeting, or data base applications) could well be prohibitive

also worth noting that potential privacy issues aside, that sort of bandwidth is available to everyone

40hz

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Of course there's nothing stopping Microsift from doing a version of Office Live to run on a customer owned server (or cloud) rather than their own. That would solve company security and availability issues, eliminate the need for 'thin' client solutions, and still give Microsoft the topside control it's looking for.

The best approach for that would be to sell a turnkey hardware/software combo with a managed "push" type subscription plan. Microsoft could then handle updates and security without the customer needing to worry about it. Plug it in, boot it up, and let your employees get to work. All your data stays local so no worries there. And bandwidth is only limited by the speed of the internal network since nothing is going out on the WAN end.  

Icing on the cake would be if you could have it automatically mirror data somewhere - and have the applications automatically failover to Microsoft's cloud and use that mirrored data should the customer's own server go down.

Talk about 100% uptime!  

Seems like a plan.  
« Last Edit: June 17, 2010, 09:00:45 PM by 40hz »

CWuestefeld

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The best approach for that would be to sell a turnkey hardware/software combo

I really don't think so. Dedicated hardware for servers is on the way out, except for very specialized applications like super DB servers. These days, everything is about virtualization.

Josh

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Microsoft office is already terminal server compatible (Install on server, run on client on demand). Has been since O2K.

40hz

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^ I was envisioning this more as a service rather than a software product. I also assumed Microsoft wouldn't be too gung-ho on releasing the binaries for Live. Installing on hardware, which could be provided as part of the subscription (much like sat/cable boxes) allows Microsoft to retain full control of the product, yet still address the client's desire to keep their data local.

You could also do it using a virtual approach. But that would mean installing on a server Microsoft didn't have complete control over.

Much as I personally like the notion of virtual (job security!), I'm still not 100% convinced it's the all-inclusive 'optimal solution for everything' that some of it's advocates are making it out to be. Part of that probably stems from the fact I go back to mainframes where everything basically was virtual.

It wasn't a panacea back then. And I doubt it's going to be one now.

But I could be wrong!  ;D
« Last Edit: June 18, 2010, 03:48:14 AM by 40hz »