Software

Office 2007 FUI ... or is it FOOEY?


Microsoft is calling the Office 2007 interface the "fluent user interface," which is one short step from the inevitable acronym FUI. The Office FOOEY (or maybe O FOOEY)... even more fun to say than GUI, and according to some users grappling with the new design, a fairly apt term, to boot.

And what, exactly, constitutes the FOOEY? Well, according to this Microsoft Fact Sheet, it consists of nine elements:

  • The Ribbon
  • Contextual tabs
  • The Office button
  • Galleries
  • Live Preview
  • The Mini Toolbar
  • Enhanced ScreenTips
  • The Quick Access toolbar
  • KeyTips

That's a lot to take in, although once you arrive in the middle of FOOEY-town, the purpose of each element will become pretty clear. Less obvious, unfortunately, is how your old, well-worn menus and toolbars translate to the slick new interface. (O FOOEY! Where'd you put the damn view options...) Still, a lot of folks say it's well worth "untraining" yourself from previous user habits and embracing the new system, including Justin James, who recently analyzed some of Word 2007's design logic.

Along with the general befuddlement that's like to accompany your fledgling efforts to master the FOOEY comes a host of new terminology. Like the items listed above. And a whole lot more. Check out Deb Shinder's Office 2007 mini-glossary for a quick rundown of the most prominent new terminology.

About

Jody Gilbert has been writing and editing technical articles for the past 25 years. She was part of the team that launched TechRepublic and is now senior editor for Tech Pro Research.

58 comments
nickrusso
nickrusso

Did this really have to devolve into MS vs. Oo? If you like Oo (and there's a lot to like), great. But I don't see how that's germane. In any case there's lots of helpful info in the article and the posts. One hopes that we will soon see an intelligent alternative to embracing this "pretty but dumb" interface. Why hasn't anyone mentioned "Bob" or the "Search Doggie?"

Fil0403
Fil0403

I feel I'm a genius. Since I use Office 2007 I've never had a *single* problem finding *any* feature/option in Word, PowerPoint and Outlook. I must be really above the average, that's always good to know LOL.

sml
sml

The article is NOT a comparison article between MS Office and OpenOffice, it is asking about the different interfaces and how they help (or not) users. I find, that after using Office 2007 and finding out how it "thinks", it is much better than the older interface. In-context menus have been the concept it tools for graphic designers like QuarkXPress and Dreamweaver and while that design POV is difficult to understand at first, especially since a lot of software is "main menu" oriented with a top-down feel, Office 2007 is based in the task. For those who never write long research papers with footnotes, you will never has to see the references menu item. However, if you do, by some chance want to insert a reference you can find it fairly quickly if you search or you are in the context of that kind of work. Any other intelligent though out there, sans MS bashing?

niall
niall

I'm getting really sick of Microsoft just shuffling things around and pretending it's development. An Office Button? Wow!!! A mini-toolbar, god, that's just what I've always wanted. No idea how I've lived so long without one. You forgot one important feature from the list: "New animated paperclips makes using Office even easier!"

askell
askell

Be that as it may. However, the number "Office" users is legion. What are you to do if "Open" can?t display an "Office" document (which happens in my environment)? Let it be said though that "Office" users often face the same problem.

bblackmoor
bblackmoor

It's the 21st century -- paying for Microsoft Office is for suckers, and those relics still living in 1995. OpenOffice is cross-platform, open source, much more secure, and free. If you are still using MS Office... you shouldn't.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

Good dose of rat poison took care of Bob, the search doggie, and Mr. Clippy. ;)

Lazarus439
Lazarus439

The overwhelming consensus on the ribbon is that it really is better, once one takes the time to get used to it. It sounds like you're luckier than most because it came very easily to you. The concern, however, is that most users won't be so lucky, won't want to spend the time to learn the new interface and will resent the change simply because it exists. Frankly, for the great majority of users who never get fancier than bold or italic, the interface really doesn't matter much because they don't - or are not allowed to due to corporate style demands - use most of the features of the software. However, the fact that Word is now suddenly a lot different visually is jarring and distracting. At best, it will cost IT time and money to retrain users on how it works. In fact, I saw something the other day that suggested Microsoft is feeling a lot of push back and may restore the "classic" menu structure as an option. The hand writing is pretty clear -- there are already a number of third party add-ons that restore/recreate the "old" menus. Some of them are even included on Office.Microsoft.com in the Office Marketplace area.

kathy
kathy

I have found the ribbons easy to understand and adapt to with little down time. But I am frustrated with how often Word 2007 and outlook 2007 lock up, won't save, won't send, etc etc. I have powerful newer laptop, lots of memory and cache storage but doesn't matter. Laptop ran slower after installing and have used outside techs to help but they are stumped too. Difficult to run a business when doing simple word documents and emails stop everything. But I like the new features of Word, search tools for Outlook so really don't want to go back to 2003, just looking for right downloads to improve speed and functioning of Office 2007. Any advice would be helpful.

dwong
dwong

Here is my analogy: In an emergency room. Management team hires consultant to rearrange tools in a "Better way" every other month. On day, a patient die because of a Doctor couldn't find the right tools in time. What is the problem here? 1. The Dotor is too stupid. Why he couldn't find the tool? Our management team has tried so hard and always re-arrange tools in a "better" way. 2. The training problem. Why we retrain the doctors every other month and the doctor still couldn't find the right tool in time? 3. The consultant is bad. Get a "Better" consultant!

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

taken into account that the new interface is very hard on the eyes of a certain amount of users with poor sight. As one of those, I really do not like the ribbon.

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

It doesn't look like you've installed WP yet. Try running install.php. when I tried to click on that read the article link.

blarman
blarman

Have you had any experience re-training users on how to use all these fancy new bells and whistles? That's key in my book. If it takes more time to teach them how to use it than simply using an older version (where both versions sport the same features), I'm disinclined to want to get it. The cost doesn't help that one bit. Any stories on mass deployments and the re-education effort? I'd like to hear them. (fixed an sp - changed "mess" to "mass" although who am I to say which is more accurate ;)

TwoCrows
TwoCrows

As usual, the only piece of developement thrown into into will be the two-and-a-half dozens patches and assorted fixes for all the things they surprisingly *forgot*. At least for me, it?s the same thing with a face lift and a bunch of new features. I don?t really think is worth it the amount of money you have to shell out for it. I didn?t pay any attention to the system requirements. How high are they? Just like Vista? I found Open Office to be much more reliable. Nevermind the comment if are stuck with MS Office because your work enviroment requires it ;)

burkew0@comcast.net
burkew0@comcast.net

Slowed my latop to a crawl Does not play well with Access 2003 Apps Interface is ridiculous if you have to ... use 2000 or 2003 nevere ever 2007

lgsadmin
lgsadmin

What about all those MS Access applications floating around the organization? That's really the only thing preventing me from switching over.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I understand Msft has been reporting record revenues for the past several quarters, so somebody's buying their products...

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

the next version, Office 2012 will support: Horizontal User Interface Device User Interface Linear User Interface; altogether, that is HUI, DUI and LUI (pronounced Hewey, Dewey and Looey)

Fil0403
Fil0403

It's the IT world -- paying for Microsoft Office is for people who want to be productive and these people are years ahead of noobs who use such outdated software as OpenOffice (just look at the last century GUI). OpenOffice is weak on features, ugly, harder to use and eats up more RAM. If you use OpenOffice... you shouldn't.

Lazarus439
Lazarus439

I was under the impression that Tech Republic was for grown ups who could discuss their differing opinions in a professional way. Either you or I are mistaken about this.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Some companies are contractually required by their customers to provide files in specific formats and to generate those files using specific software. Only the ignorant make generalizations.

patrick_hulst
patrick_hulst

OpenOffice doesn't integrate (well) with Sharepoint or any of the other related applications. And if you are one of the many companies that have bought into the world of Sharepoint, you live in Office. It's not a bad place you know. It also doesn't include anything that comes close to what Outlook can do. So while it does a nice job feature-to-feature with Word/Excel/Powerpoint/Publisher, it doesn't hold water on the email/scheduling side.

Absolutely
Absolutely

is relatively "good". Which new features are useful to you? For what kind of work? "Difficult to run a business when doing simple word documents and emails stop everything. But I like the new features of Word, search tools for Outlook so really don't want to go back to 2003, just looking for right downloads to improve speed and functioning of Office 2007." I always have this question about the difficulties implementing new versions of software: If the "new & improved version" of inconsistent software is needed enough that you must tolerate these frequent malfunctions, how did your business survive this long?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I find many new applications that won't display at 800x600 or even 1024x768 without scroll bars. Some of us aren't as young as we used to be, and many of us still have 17" monitors.

Fil0403
Fil0403

Have you actually even tried to use all these productive features you call "fancy new bells and whistles"? That's key in the book of "constructive opinion". If it takes 2 seconds for anyone with a brain who is used to Office 2003 (which actually has less features) to know how to use Office 2007 (like what happened with me, and I don't exactly consider myself a genius), people are inclined to embarass themselves when claiming it you have to re-train any human being to be use Office 2007. Ignorance doesn't help that one bit either. Answering your question: no, no stories on mass deployments and the re-education effort because that re-education effort is an ignorant idea made up by those who have never used Office 2007. I bet you'd like to hear them, but you won't. (correct, I don't think someone who expects re-training to be necessary to teach people how to use Office 2007 to know which word is more accurate "mess" or "mass" ;))

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

MS dropped Clippy and his posse; they aren't in Office 2007.

gphoto45
gphoto45

Being able to open data without loosing formatting, being able to actually watch a Powerpoint show without the images or sound locking up, and actually being able to find solutions to the issues on the internet. No more reading thru repeats and repeats of the same question, trying to find the answer! And the final answer is,, try a different distro. Nomore worrying about some 35 year old crackhead living in his mom's basement making the patches for a program I have to use to make my living. Being able to install programs without having to have a seceret code. Finally reading the real fact, installing ClamAV, and finding someone hacked my OS and has stolen my credit card numbers, and I am infected with Viri! Going back to Windows was the best day of my life!!! MS Rocks! And, it works! Look, a calender reminder that pops up on the right day! Microwaving all the linux Cds! Ok, off to work! Since I can get some work done, not just make a pretty desktop!

nickrusso
nickrusso

I note you left out Office XP, which I refer to as the Office 2003 beta.

etruss
etruss

It's not funny if you have to explain it.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

You don't want to get stepped on. Assuming your young age from the attitude expressed in your post, I strongly suspect that I am not the only member of TR that may have more IT experience than you have time on the face of the Earth. Truly productive people use software designed for [b]exactly[/b] the purpose intended: AutoCAD for CAD/CAM, TeX for typesetting, Photoshop or The GIMP for graphics, etc. The rest of us use office suites. I want the same things from my office suite as the majority of users (and bosses): 1. Word processor - basic document creation, with some advanced formatting such as custom page headers/footers, tables, image support, etc. Notes, TOCs, indexes, etc. are only rarely (if ever) used; I've only ever used such advanced features twice, myself, in over 25 years of using word processors. 2. Spreadsheet - simple budgeting and two-dimensional databasing with the occasional graph. No complex macros or forms required. 3. Presentation software - basic slide creation, no fancy transitions that distract from the presentation, no music integration, etc. Yes, MS Office will meet all these needs, but do you use all the features in any MS Office application? Section 4 in this document (http://www.ecn.wfu.edu/~cottrell/wp.html) sums up the need for MS Word in every office I've ever been in. Furthermore, very few people actually [u]need[/u] a spreadsheet program on their PC and even fewer need to design presentations. I'm also a cheap SOB. You can't beat the licensing costs for OpenOffice. Paying for Microsoft Office also includes significant file bloat (as much as 50% in smaller files!). The citation text from this page (http://www.medalofhonor.com/DarrellLindsey.htm) was copied into OOo 2.0 and Word 2003. No additional formatting was applied. The differing results of saving the file are below: - .txt - 3kB - .odt (OpenDocument format) - 16 kB - .doc using OpenOffice - 16 kB - .doc using Word 2003 - [b]31 kB[/b] Where did all the extra sh...stuff come from? Drive space is cheap and the percentage difference in file size will probably decrease with larger files, but the potential to significantly cut your drive usage exists. 15 kB doesn't sound like much, but apply it to thousands (or even millions) of documents and it starts to add up. Edit: runaway formatting

Fil0403
Fil0403

It has several compatibility issues and doesn't have any e-mail client.

TechExec2
TechExec2

. [b][i]"...OpenOffice doesn't integrate (well) with Sharepoint or any of the other related applications. And if you are one of the many companies that have bought into the world of Sharepoint, you live in Office. It's not a bad place you know..."[/i][/b] True. Any company that is heavily invested in Microsoft servers and services will have a more difficult time escaping from desktop Windows and MS Office. True. MS Office is an excellent office suite. MS Windows is an excellent operating system (just IMHO...I know many disagree). However, after 15 years of mostly happily running Windows and MS Office, I recently switched to the excellent Linux and excellent OpenOffice. I refuse to submit to capricious and repeated de-activations by the aggressive "Windows Genuine Advantage" (WGA) that Microsoft added to Vista. (Spit!) Linux and OpenOffice handle everything I need to do very well, even large complex Word (Writer) documents and Excel (Calc) spreadsheets. And there is endless joy at not being subject to the never ending stream of Windows malware. It's a lot like moving from the most dangerous crime-ridden part of downtown into a gated community in the suburbs with chirping birds and pretty flowers (is that enough visualization for you? :^0 ). [b][i]"...It also doesn't include anything that comes close to what Outlook can do. So while it does a nice job feature-to-feature with Word/Excel/Powerpoint/Publisher, it doesn't hold water on the email/scheduling side..."[/i][/b] The FOSS program that works like Outlook and works with Exchange servers is Evolution (1). ------------------------------------- (1) Evolution http://www.gnome.org/projects/evolution/

Lazarus439
Lazarus439

Both points are well taken! More and more of us will become candidates for vision assistive technologies as things are evolving, even with vision corrected to 20/20. Most of my users - all but three - would be overjoyed to have 17' monitors! We only stopped buying 15" ones because they're not cheaper than 17" and more and hard to find anyway! Flat panel/LCD? Forget it!!! The CEO is happy with 800x600 on a 15". End of discussion.

Lazarus439
Lazarus439

Is there a reason why you can not post coherent, reasoned opinion without being insulting and/or condescending? What does "anyone with a brain" or calling a legitimate question "ignorant" add? You are a "Web / Multimedia Developer", not exactly a typical user. The fact that you mastered the new interface and found it better is nice, but no more. It tells nothing about how secretaries, executives, doctors, nurses, engineers, lawyers, etc., etc, - in short people whom computers are tools to do something else - will take to the ribbon. If you have had experience with a large scale upgrade to Office 2007 and found that your users did not require or want some training to become familiar with the new interface, say so. That is valuable information; the fact that you think the question is "ignorant" is not. Frankly, I suspect the majority of IT staff have exactly the same question. We have the question because we've been there and done that and learned the hard way that users don't like change, even if it is good for them, and their productivity, in the long run.

nickrusso
nickrusso

Speaking historically of other bold new interfaces that flunked...

TechExec2
TechExec2

You're right! He did earn THE LINK. And, thanks.

Absolutely
Absolutely

1. TechExec2 was spot-on, with every word he said. Particularly, your comments about open source development are ignorant. 2. He DID NOT shout, THIS IS SHOUTING. See? 3. "...and a quick scan finds that you have berated others with personal insults and bathroom "humor" (http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=219478&messageID=2216756 )" Those who he has insulted can stand up for our/themselves. 4. "...and you have especial vitriol for George Ou (http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=218684&messageID=2211869)." George writes a lot of content. Some of it is bound to annoy somebody. The fact that TechExec2 once wrote something to George that is not complimentary is (1) between them, if George even cares to complain (2) not a big deal anyway. George takes a lot of grief from a lot of people, and gives as good as he gets. 5. You've been LINKED: http://piv.pivpiv.dk/

TechExec2
TechExec2

. I almost forgot! In your reply, you were so busy with your faux apology and counter attack that you completely ignored my main point about ignorance. It's no sin to be ignorant about something. But, it is a sin to be willfully ignorant and spread falsehoods. Your failure to address that is more evidence of your insincerity.

TechExec2
TechExec2

. I was born a night, but not last night. You are not innocent. You are responsible for your post. [b][i]"...For the record, I did not personally insult anyone with my post. I was expressing my opinion politely, which is what forums are all about. the strongest word I chose to use was "silliness". I admit that, for my part, I did lump all posters into those who have used Office 2007 for 5 minutes, and for that I apologize..."[/i][/b] Yes you did. All of us make mistakes. When appropriate, I forgive and ask to be forgiven. However, [u]nobody[/u] who is sincere about making an apology immediately follows it with a whole lot more attack. You are not a child who does not understand this. And, I am not afraid to face the truth even when it is not pretty. You are not sincere. [b]You are not innocent[/b] Given that you have been a TR member for nearly a year, and given the format of the TR forums, it should be obvious to you that when you reply directly to someone's post on TR, you are speaking directly to that person and about that post. Furthermore, [u]you quoted my words in your post[/u] and [u]then[/u] offered your reply directly to them. It's obvious to anyone with half a brain that you were speaking directly to me and about my post. Furthermore, regardless of who you now claim you were speaking to or about, there was nothing polite about your post at all. It goes beyond just the words you used. Your post was condescending and sarcastic. Most of my reply to you was about the facts, countering the false information you posted, and providing information. And, when the time came, I thought I was restrained when I addressed the directly insulting part of your direct reply to me. [b]In closing...[/b] I stand by my firm response to your ignorant, insulting, condescending, sarcastic, and very direct reply to my post. I only respond in kind on TR. And, I find your lack of veracity disturbing. P.S. And, you STILL have not offered one shred of information about your claimed serious experiences with Linux and OpenOffice.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

You posted incorrect information and you posted information about FLOSS that is totally off the mark. TE is pretty stable, but I've noticed he has no time for completely ignorant comments we've all heard time and time again (and debunked time and time again).

sml
sml

For the record, I did not personally insult anyone with my post. I was expressing my opinion politely, which is what forums are all about. the strongest word I chose to use was "silliness". I admit that, for my part, I did lump all posters into those who have used Office 2007 for 5 minutes, and for that I apologize. However, your words in response to me show that your method of choice is personal attack. You called my post (and by inference, me) "embarrassingly ignorant", shouted that I do not know anything, and you falsely claim that I have never seriously used OSS applications like Linux. These are not "polite" words . . . and then you intone some sort of smug threat: "Under the circumstances, I've tried to be very polite with you. But, if you do it again, I'm going to give you "THE LINK" You were erroneously incensed by my post, assuming it was written only to you. Had you carefully read my post and the one before, I was asking all posters to stay on the topic, which was pros and cons of the Office 2007 interface, especially compared to the older interfaces. I have since observed that you have invaded other topics about MS Office or Windows to mention like features in OSS applications: For example, Your post about a Linux feature in a Windows topic: http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=219088&messageID=2214130 A reply to stay on topic: http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=219088&messageID=2218862 and a quick scan finds that you have berated others with personal insults and bathroom "humor" (http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=219478&messageID=2216756 ), and you have especial vitriol for George Ou (http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=218684&messageID=2211869). Looking at your posts I can see you are prone to bouts of anger, insult, and hyperbole, threaded with some very useful and kind words to those who agree with you. I recommend, as many others on TR have, that you search within yourself and excise the anger within you. Your words cannot be taken seriously and read like a hurt child screaming for attention.

TechExec2
TechExec2

. [b][i]"...Is not Open Source code often written by uncontrolled, unknown people? Yes!..."[/i][/b] No. Open source projects are done by known people. They may be unknown to YOU, but they are known to the others in the open source community. And, as I said, certainly all of the major open source projects are done by professional programmers. Who is the final vettor? The Linux distribution maker and his quality control testing process: Red Hat, Novell/Suse, Canonical/Ubuntu, etc. etc. [b][i]"...Sure, it is vetted eventually, but like Wikipedia, it can contain significant errors that go undetected until you get burnt by them . . as with commerical software from ANY vendor..."[/i][/b] BIG BIG differences between Wikipedia that allows anyone on the Internet to post and edit articles that go up right away vs. open source projects that have known leadership, source controls, testing, and controlled releases. OSS projects have tester input also. Projects don't get included in a Linux distribution based on contributions by "uncontrolled unknown" people. [b][i]"...So lets stop the "MS vs. Open" siliness and judge each solution on its actual merits, not inflammed comments after 5 minutes of usage. Every software has pros and cons, let'e get into the detail..."[/i][/b] The only thing silly here is your post. I'm posting here about my experience with both MS Office and OpenOffice and it is far more than just "5 minutes" (1). You want to get into more detail? Where is your post about detail? You've done nothing but make inaccurate and silly complaints about my post. [b]In summary[/b] You really don't know what you're talking about. You clearly don't understand ANYTHING about how open source projects work. I seriously doubt that you have EVER seriously used Linux or other OSS before. You should be embarrassed. I strongly suggest you check into this before you make such an embarrassingly ignorant post again. Under the circumstances, I've tried to be very polite with you. But, if you do it again, I'm going to give you [i]"THE LINK"[/i]. So, mind your manners and we won't have to resort to that! :^0 ------------------------------ (1) My other posts here http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=221679&messageID=2228416 http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=221679&messageID=2228736

blarman
blarman

Let's be accurate here. Most official FOSS releases such as FireFox, OpenOffice, and many others (check slashdot.org) are NOT written by "uncontrolled, unknown people" but rather by a known group of professional programmers assigned to the task just like other commercial software. Their work is both internally and publicly vetted through betas and experimental versions which go through an extensive review program prior to inclusion in an official release. The biggest difference is that in FOSS releases, you get to see the CODE as well as the executables. There is a lively debate on MS Office v Open Office - that's the great part about a market environment! Everybody gets to pick what has the most value to them. If you value interoperability with other MS Apps like Sharepoint or you need to run Visual Basic macros then MS Office has value OO doesn't. If you value basic functionality and cost, OO is the clear winner. Each has its place. In the end, you put your money where you perceive the value to be.

sml
sml

"The most likely cause of your getting infected with a virus is something you chose to do. If you must go there, don't visit porn sites, warez sites, or gamer sites without strong protection measures (much more than anti-virus). Run Firefox with the NOSCRIPT extension and don't allow just any website to run JavaScript in your browser. Use a stateful firewall so that your computer is completely invisible on the Internet. Don't use IM. Don't install software from sources you don't know much about. Etc. Etc. Etc." So no matter Open Source or Commerical software, you have to avoid suspecious sites, disallow JavaScript, not use IM (?) don't install software from unknown people . . .?!? Is not Open Source code often written by uncontrolled, unknown people? Yes! Sure, it is vetted eventually, but like Wikipedia, it can contain significant errors that go undetected until you get burnt by them . . as with commerical software from ANY vendor. So lets stop the "MS vs. Open" siliness and judge each solution on its actual merits, not inflammed comments after 5 minutes of usage. Every software has pros and cons, let'e get into the detail.

TechExec2
TechExec2

. [b][i]"...Being able to open data without loosing formatting, being able to actually watch a Powerpoint show without the images or sound locking up..."[/i][/b] As reported by "jh@" elsewhere in this thread, apparently there are some problems in OO.o Impress that must be fixed. But, I find OO.o Writer and OO.o Calc to work very well for me. [b][i]"...Nomore worrying about some 35 year old crackhead living in his mom's basement making the patches for a program I have to use to make my living..."[/i][/b] Let's dispense with the myth... A lot of OSS (open source software) projects may have started out that way years ago (absent the crack), but today's major OSS projects (Linux, Apache, Samba, StarOffice/OpenOffice, Xen, PHP, PostgreSQL, MySQL, Firefox, and many others) are done by professional programmers. By definition, that means people who make their living doing programming. Often the relationships are less well defined than in a traditional company because the source code is not OWNED by the company doing the paying, but some company is paying people nonetheless. Who's paying? Red Hat, Novell, IBM, Sun, HP/Compaq, SGI, Google, Oracle, TiVo, MySQL AB, Fujitsu, Mozilla, and many others. Look for companies that use OSS in their profit-making businesses and you will find people on staff who are expected to, or allowed to, work on OSS projects as part or all of their paid job in the business that depends on OSS. [b][i]"...installing ClamAV, and finding someone hacked my OS and has stolen my credit card numbers, and I am infected with Viri!..."[/i][/b] Did this actually happen to you? Or, are you just throwing out a hypothetical? And, since when is your anti-virus program responsible for your getting infected with a virus? Since when is that an OSS problem? The most likely cause of your getting infected with a virus is something you chose to do. If you must go there, don't visit porn sites, warez sites, or gamer sites without strong protection measures (much more than anti-virus). Run Firefox with the NOSCRIPT extension and don't allow just any website to run JavaScript in your browser. Use a stateful firewall so that your computer is completely invisible on the Internet. Don't use IM. Don't install software from sources you don't know much about. Etc. Etc. Etc. [b][i]"...MS Rocks! And, it works!..."[/i][/b] Sure it does...Right up until when it gets infected with malware or when Vista's WONDERFUL new WGA capriciously de-activates Windows. It's not "stupid" to run MS Windows (some here will strongly disagree). But, the truth is that there are a lot of problems on the MS side of the fence. edit: Neglected to include Firefox and Mozilla in the list! :0

Salmanassar
Salmanassar

On the upside: pasted your citational text in Word 2007 (what started the discussion imo) and it was only 13k saved as .docx Fully agree on the other counts but I have to say I prefer working with M$ Office. Although 2007 has a scandalous interface makeover...

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

Indeed an Accounting workbook I use does not port well between apps, and I have also had problems exporting Quickbooks reports to Calc. I have to save the Calc sheet as an Excel doc before doing the export, QB does not seem to recognize Calc as an equivalent. Of course QB could do something about that if they were so inclined...

jhilgeman2
jhilgeman2

One reason that we cannot rely on a simple one-way conversion is our interaction with our clients and vendors who almost all use MS Office programs to read our documents and create new things to send to us, so we cannot completely eliminate Office from the equation. That is why cross-compatibility is so important. One of the replies to my thread said that he teaches an introductory course on it, but as I mentioned, the real problems come when you're dealing with in-depth use of spreadsheets with complex functions, which usually means the accounting departments. And the real bucket-kicker is the lack of an Outlook replacement. It's still impossible to convert without something that is virtually identical to Outlook 2000 or 2003 (as long as it's not a replica of the piece of trash that I've been trying for a few months now called Outlook 2007).

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

[i]It's a lot like moving from the most dangerous crime-ridden part of downtown into a gated community in the suburbs with chirping birds and pretty flowers[/i] ...the decrease in rent. ;)

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

to move back and forth to avoid possible compatibility issues in BOTH directions." I teach both Excel and Calc at an introductory level and use the same data files and scenarios for both. At the introductory level I find no compatibility issues. When it gets intermediate (using macros for example), I have found some minor comaptibility issues that are relevant only to the degree that the more advanced options are fine tuned. Some macros translate nicely, some need to be revamped, some don't translate at all well.

TechExec2
TechExec2

. [b]Great information![/b] Your post provides some great information about MS Office/OpenOffice cross-compatibility. Personally, I have seen very minor compatibility issues in moving from Word to Writer, and Excel to Calc. I intentionally have not tried to move back and forth to avoid possible compatibility issues in BOTH directions. It's most helpful to hear from someone like yourself who has pushed it harder and found some issues. Impress: I haven't spent time with OO.o Impress. Your experience sounds like there are some significant problems to be fixed there. I'll have to try it. Base: I don't work with MS Access so have no need for OO.o Base. Although I've read a lot of bad things about OO.o Base, I'll withhold judgement until I actually work with the program. [b]One-way conversion[/b] I think it is nearly impossible to completely eliminate ALL of the cross-compatibility issues between MS Office and OpenOffice. For that reason, I think any project that rolls out OpenOffice should be a complete rollout, not just to certain people. At the end of the project, the further use of MS Office should be outlawed entirely. Deal with the compatibility issues in ONE project and only in one direction (MSO to OO.o) and never again. Then, reap the rewards every single year after that. In your case, that means saving > $200,000.00 over the next ten years. Well worth doing that one project so long as OO.o works sufficiently well. The problems you found with OO.o Impress are unacceptable.

jhilgeman2
jhilgeman2

I love Linux and open-source projects, but not all businesses can implement OpenOffice. Last year I tried implementing OpenOffice 2.0 on several new workstations (P4 2.8Ghz, 512Mb RAM). Pros: 1. It's free and has free community support. (Huge when you're paying tens of thousands of dollars annually to MS) 2. Writer did a pretty good job of replacing Word. Very little compatibility issues there. 3. A little sluggish, but only slower than Office by a few seconds, so it was acceptable. 4. Although it did report more memory usage in Calc than Excel, Calc seemed to throw less memory errors. 5. No pesky validation routines. 6. Seems like the OpenOffice team is continually working (per wikis) on speeding up the product and addressing problems. Cons: 1. Above everything else in importance, compatibility issues with Excel's counterpart, Calc. It did not always import macros properly, which is a huge thing for number-crunching people that use Excel all day long. Some macros didn't work at all, and some worked but rendered different results (VERY dangerous if it goes unnoticed). Function names were sometimes the same as in Excel, but would have different argument orders, making it frustrating even for someone common to programming in different languages. Keyboard shortcuts were not the same and sometimes didn't exist for certain functionality. Most of the complaints I got were from people missing the Ctrl+D and Ctrl+R shortcuts for copying/filling rows and columns with formulas/values/etc. 2. Impress / Powerpoint had the most visible compatibility issues. Many transitions and animations simply vanished, and only the most simple of pages would render the same way. This drove our marketing director (one of the higher profile test subjects) crazy, and we ended up putting Office back on the computer because there was no easy solution for fixing the presentations. There was nothing wrong with the construction of the problematic presentations, either - I re-created a few just in case she had been doing something wrong, but Impress still failed to impress. 3. No Outlook replacement. There's no way our company can work without Outlook today, and I know it's the same issue for many other companies. 4. All apps used much more memory and were overall slower than their Office counterparts. This wasn't a huge issue, since our average workstations could handle it, but I can see it being a problem on older machines. I can't say much about the database replacement app, since we don't utilize Access very much. However, whenever you hear people talking about how great OpenOffice is, but I think they are slightly biased by the free concept and a mutual hatred of MS's practices. Don't get me wrong, I don't like the MS licensing issues, either, but I think it's more useful to see a fairly-balanced comparison rather than just painting the OpenOffice grass a bit greener than it really is. If OpenOffice addresses most of the issues I've listed, I'd be more than happy to try it again. After all, I'm not a big fan of spending >20k a year for Office licensing.

Editor's Picks