back to article OpenOffice is the new David Hasselhoff

A new study from German web analytics firm shows that adoption rates of open source productivity software suites swings wildly between different countries. According to the study, over 20 per cent of Germans, Czechs, and Poles run OpenOffice or other open-source productivity suites, while the UK and US lag …


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  1. John Hawkins

    Open Office is 'good enough'

    I do a lot of IT support for various family members ( including in-laws ) and one of the first things I do when I get a new PC to set up is to chuck out the trial version of MSOffice and install Open Office. It is most definitely 'good enough'.

    I prefer to use vi myself, but that's another story.

    1. Ian Stephenson

      Starting the orginal fanboi flame thread...

      Pah VI-tard!

      Use a proper editor like emacs!

      Flame on.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


      2. vincent himpe

        who needs editors

        all you need is a hex keyboard and dump it straight into write-once memory.

    2. Big-nosed Pengie


      It's better than good enough - it's bloody excellent.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Has anyone seen Merkel using Balmer to open an election campaign?

    Has anyone seen Merkel with Balmer opening an election campaign? F*** no. She will not get elected if she even considers this.

    Has anyone seen the great Nu Labour leaders opening the election campaign with their Microsoft Handler? F*** yes. Blair started two campaigns at Microsoft headquarters. Anything short of a bj in public for his overlord and icon from Redmond ya know (you never know, probably a bj in private).

    Plain and simple. Germans do not like the idea of 1Bn+ per year being syphoned out of their economy through a company which is tax-registered in Ireland. The difference between them and the UK is that they actually have done something about it. They have given a preferential taxation regime to small IT shops that repair and maintain computers which UK or USA would throw out . While this does not nullify completely the effect of the OEM-to-Microsoft discount regime it does at least mitigate it to some extent. It is an environment which Microsoft has failed to bully using their usual "install _ONLY_ mine or your discount goes" tactic. From there on the level of OO and Linux adoption in Germany is not surprising in the slightest. As far as the Chech republic is concerned it has so much German work farmed out to it nowdays that it pretty much replicates a German business environment. So no surprise there either.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    its the management........

    I know there are a staff at a number of companies that would rush to use OpenOffice (some provide it as part of standard PC builds) but are prevented by management that insist on MS Office as the default. The senior management have trained themselves to use Outlook, Word, Excel and Powerpoint and could not bothered to learn to use OpenOffice. In my experience even when companies are trying to save money, senior management insist on MS Office use and cut other IT expenditure.

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      OO Portable?

      If you're allowed to, there is a portable version which doesn't require admin privs to run. FTW!

  4. Marvin the Martian

    StarOffice -- an OpenOffice derivative?

    Seems the other way around, wasn't SO a Sun product that got opensourced into OO?

    1. gerryg

      was, not now

      OOo was Star Office opensourced but now new versions of Star Office are developed from the OOo code base FWIW

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Installed apps and what I actually use.

    I have OO, I use it for some spreadsheets, I have not used it for creating text docs, DBs or drawings - though I do tend to use it as a viewer for those hilarious email attachments I get. I also have a copy of MS office which I have opened to see if it works but have not used so far.

    I mostly use Appleworks for document creation as this is what I am most used to.

    I suspect most people have MS office because businesses have bought it by default and they are most familiar with it.

    But thumbs up to those Germans bucking the trend.

  6. Jim 48


    You can still buy WordPerfect?

    1. Equitas

      Still buy WordPerfect?

      Yes, and if you do much serious word-processing you'll use it. I have the latest versions of MS Office and Open Office on my machine, but 99% of my work is done on WordPerfect, from choice.

      The latest versions are particularly nifty in their ability to read pdf documents straight in -- even locked or text-as-graphic ones are taken straight in by seamless OCR.

      Editing and re-editing heavily-formatted documents in MS Word is a nightmare. In WordPerfect it's simple.

      I've been using computer-based word-processing since 1969 and seen quite a few programs come and go. The only one I liked as much as the current WordPerfect was WordStar.

      1. The Commenter formally known as Matt


        >Editing and re-editing heavily-formatted documents in MS Word is a nightmare.

        How so? It just works

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Oh, i thought it would be a diffferent story

    About how a former cool boy had become a lost, bloated good for nothing.


      "stop the flow of time..."

      When was David Hasselhof ever cool? He started out in Star Crash and it went downhill from there.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    England and France -- higher Office usage

    Voici le mouton Anglo-Francaise!

  9. Bilgepipe

    Heeeeeyyyyyyyy....... *thumbs*

    They actually counted software installations by looking at fonts?

    My investigations, arrived at by looking at tea leaves in a cup, animal entrails and the alignment of the planets, found wildly different results.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Open Office -not an especially hard choice for a home pc

    Open Office was free, my copy of MS Office was several years old and didn't have Access on it anyway.

    I had better uses for my cash than giving it to Bill Gates. So it wasn't a terribly hard decision.

    I was pleasantly surprised by just how good Open Office actually is.

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Give Lotus Symphony a try!

      The 2008 onwards IBM reuse of the name version, obviously, not the ancient thing from forever ago. I think it's an Eclipse (not so that you can tell) + OpenOffice mashup internally, but regardless of that I find its interface to be a great improvement on OpenOffice. It's a tabbed document interface that relies primarily on inspectors for context-specific operations, with only a single line of toolbar icons by default. So I guess it tackles the same interface overload problems that inspired Microsoft to move to the ribbon, but ends up at a completely different solution.

      And my tip is: don't worry about putting in a garbage email address when downloading — the next screen is the download page no matter what you put in.

  11. Baudwalk

    WordPerfect 4 eva (whoever she is)

    What's the install count for WP 5.1 for DOS?

    Those were the days. <sniffle> Getting all misty eyed with nostalgia.

    1. vic denwood

      WP5.1 Home User

      I have WP5.1 running on DOS 3 on my vintage 1986 Amstrad PC1640 at home which is used for all my domestic letter writing

    2. Anonymous Coward

      DOS WP was always better

      My late mum used WP51 right up until 2005, working as a solicitor's secretary. She used to hate MS Word with a passion as WP was the only software that would format 100% correctly on the very odd paper sizes used for legal documents like deeds.

  12. Dazed and Confused

    method problems

    While I'm not suprised by some of these results, I would think that people who run OpenOffice are also more likely to be running FireFox and so may well be running noscript.

    1. Al Jones

      Maybe not

      NoScript has 61 million downloads, which sounds like a huge number - until you compare it to the 1 billion Firefox downloads that Mozilla claimed for Firefox last July.

      The current count for Firefox downloads is 1,296,993,260, according to

  13. Anonymous Coward


    UK stuck in the dark ages whilst the world forges onwards.

    Doesn't help that Labour have been forcing MS into schools as well. I thought times were hard, I thought that SAVING MONEY would be a good idea. I guess taking bungs/perks from the private sector is still more important than serving the people for our champagne socialists.

    Not that I would expect the Tories to be any different.

    I use OpenOffice, it has its quirks but it has none of that ribbon bar SHITE and costs a damned sight less than MS Orifice.

  14. AGuyInEngland

    Quite Obvious really

    Open Hoffice, anyone?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Perhaps this reflects a difference in attitude to piracy. There remains a perception that people "need" MS Office because it's what they're used to. Same goes for the OS. I would surmise more people in the UK are happier to have a dodgy copy of MS products than legit copies of free software - even though they can't use a fraction of the functionality on offer. (Telling them they can customise Linux desktops is therefore totally pointless - they don't want to; they just want it to work without having to apply any fixes or patches manually).

    Personally, I'm a huge advocate of OOo and I have installed it on my own, my kids', my sister's and my parents' machines. They moaned in the beginning, but they are happy using it now. My sister has even gone the whole hog and become a fan of Ubuntu after I gave her an ancient PIII laptop. Ubuntu just works on it. Who wants to buy XP when you can have a slicker, more modern OS with OOo pre-installed?

    Gone off-topic. Sorry.

  16. ScottME

    The LIberal Democrat Party of productivity software

    OO.o is able to do all that most users would ever need and more, but the inertial mass of all those MS Office installations means that people are reluctant to go out on a limb. Same way they'd vote Liberal Democrat if only they thought there was a chance of them getting elected.

    1. John G Imrie

      That Lib Dem thing may be changing

      People may well vote Lib Dem as they came second last time and they see it as a way of unseating the incumbent.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        God I hope so!

        But I worry that it'll split the vote and let Brown-eye back in! I'm sure I'm not the only one. And I _have_ been voting LibDem for years now!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Don't worry

          Your vote on its own means diddly squat.

          That's the big failure with the "I'd like to vote for LibDems but it would be a wasted vote" argument.

          Believe me, just vote with your conscience.

          At the end of the day, it won't make any difference to the outcome anyway unless the voting ends up with one vote deciding, which is, erm, not really likely.

  17. Indian-Art

    OpenOffice would be more widespread if...

    OpenOffice would be more widespread if...

    *It came pre-installed

    *More people knew about it

    *Governments/ schools had campaigns

    *Had catchy marketing like Firefox

    *This economic downturn continues

    *People use their brains :)

    1. Jim Morrow
      Paris Hilton


      >> "catchy marketing like Firefox"

      eh? wtf?

      catchy marketing? firefox? whatever it is you're smoking, it must be *very, very* good. i hope you've brought enough to share.

      paris icon because she's selling herself very well without any help from the firefox marketing geniuses.

  18. AlistairJ

    If only our company would embrace OO!

    I work for a big German company, and wunderbar though it is, we all have to write our documentation using structured framemaker on Solaris. Yueech!

    1. Anonymous Coward


      I like "big German company", but enough of my social life, about this Office thing.

      1. AlistairJ

        wot no gimp icon?

        And do you conduct your social life whilst hiding behind the gimp mask of anonymity?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the reason

    most companies use MS office, is for outlook. The switch to OO for documents, spreadsheets, databases etc isn't that big, but it doesn't really have an alternative for outlook. it's not just mail, it's the integration between mail and calanders througout a company.

    And if you have to get outlook anyway, why not get the rest of office with itm, it's probably not much more.

    1. frank ly

      E-mail and Calendars and Tasks...

      Use Thunderbird and add the Lightning plug-in. That takes care of e-mail, calendars and Tasks and also e-mailing colleagues with invitations to meetings which get entered into your calendar.

      If you need a mail server, there are many out there with free or low-cost licenses and a quick search on Google (or whatever) will yield forums, reviews, etc for them.

      If you don't like Thunderbird, someone else will be along soon to suggest another alternative.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      If you look at what outhouse actually does to email and more importantly what it doesn't give you (threading, for one), it's a complete no-brainer to ditch it immediately. ``Oh what about calendaring'', the junkies whine. Let me note that worse comes to worst, the couple of minutes jotting notes in a paper agenda is easily justified by the gobs of time not wasted on all the other things that outhouse gets wrong. But beyond that, there are plenty of software alternatives, including ones that don't regularly clam up and sulk, refusing you access to your ``company wide'' calendar data. Open formats, particularly ones easily picked apart by a small shell script, are a good thing in that regard.

      Then again, the stupidity built into outhouse users is legendary. Had the CFO appear at my desk and insist I drop *everything* *right there and then* to install sexchange instead of the existing unix IMAP solution. Nevermind that the long-standing problem he wanted fixed was his insistence on storing 10000+ mails in a single (local) outhouse express mail store, about which a micros~1 tech note clearly says "Do Not Do That". Nevermind that he was quite literally the only one in the company still using outhouse (any version). He'd been told by the entire rest of board to move over to thunderbird, like them. But nooooo.

      Things like that really make me believe sexchange/outhouse are a deliberate stupidity and ignorance poison cocktail to sour the lives of mail admins the world over. Because email has a tendency to be sent out to other systems. I'd stop accepting anything with micros~1 headers in it, just because, if I could get away with it. If it wouldn't cut down much on the spam, at least it would up the average intelligence behind the messages that do get through.

      1. Tom Maddox Silver badge


        Would have rated it higher but it needs more misspellings and ALL CAPS ranting.

      2. The Original Steve

        But why bother?

        When you think Outlook is most people's primary application (spends the most time running under my Citrix farm), does document management that integrates with SharePoint (which has a free version), forms, support for VBA, excellent calendar support including scheduling with others based on their calendars, it's lightning fast, can be managed by Group Policy, integrates with Office and has thousands of 3rd party products that integrate with it. (Email archiving software, management tools, Antivirus, even CRM solutions)

        It would take companies years to recover from the lost productivity during the transition to Thunderbird or some other generic POP3/IMAP application (FOSS or not). I don't have time to dick around with "plug-ins", retraining staff, the loss of functionality compared to Outlook with Exchange, shite calendaring support, lack to syncronising with PDA's/phones etc.

        I'd pay £40 a user to have that fixed thanks.

        Love it or hate it, Office sorta just works. No fiddling, no checking compatibility in other apps (as Office is the defacto), rich history of VBA apps behind it, saving as PDF, SharePoint integration etc, Windows integration.

        The 2007 release (and 2010 beta) is rock solid, with great management, document recovery, integration and user accecptance. The only end-user issues are normally with the more eldery IT folks (in particular devs) who refuse to use it.

        For the price - the basic office apps are a bargin, with no big name single suite out there (free or not) comparing on management, intergration, features and 3rd party support.

        Simple as that.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Yes it does the job but ...

    If only they'd create a user interface that looked like it was written in the 21st century.

    1. andy gibson

      @ Menelaus

      But if they did it would look like Vista or Windows 7, need twice as much RAM to run and take 5 times as long to start.

      We need it to be FUNCTIONAL and QUICK, not pretty.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      21st century interface

      Please, no! I can't think of a single example of an interface designed in the 21st century that wasn't a complete steaming pile of semi-transparent-orhea.

      Stick with menus, of the non-smart, textual variety. And when they pull-down, let them just appear, not fade in gently with sound effects. These are tools, not works of art.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      yeah agreed, it looks so crap no one wants to use it. Most people want to see something nice/shiny when they work, especially if they have just bought themselves a new PC. OpenOffice just looks terrible. Also it takes 5 minutes to start.

      1. Keith Oldham

        Re : agreed

        It does NOT take 5 minutes !!

        6 seconds to start & load a spreadsheet f(~70K) from a fileserver over a wireless network to a 2 year old modest laptop (1.5 GHz Celeron mobile).

        The tweaks that speed up starting are well known ( turn off Java and enable Quickstarter)

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Open Office vs Word

    Word does vector graphics better. Word has recordable macros. Word has Outline View. Word is a grown-up productivity tool. God forbid my management went freetard and forced me to use the hippyware instead.

    Oh, and, because OO is free, it's almost impossible for anybody else to enter the market as a competitor.

  22. Richard Jukes


    Until OO is compatiable with VBA and macro's it wont gain large market share. There ARE companies out there running MS Office 2003 purely because upgrading would break thier VBA/macros.

  23. SynnerCal

    OpenOffice would be more popular if...

    ... the Calc module didn't suck badly in comparison to Excel (e.g. row/column limits that I hit regularly, bad performance, regular lockups);

    ... the DB module actually was usable, without needing the skills equivalent to an Oracle DBA;

    ... the team that redesigned the Office GUI for Office2007 get to design the next version of MS-Office, (maybe I'm an old Office2003-using pensioner, but to me life is too short to spend five minutes hunting for the _basic_ features you need to use each time).

    ... it (OO) loaded a little bit quicker (although it's getting better release on release).

    On the upside, I've had a pair of Office2007 files that barfed badly with the official DOCX convertor in MS-Office, that subsequently worked fine when loaded into OO. Go figure.

    1. Mountford D

      And also...

      The mail-merge facility REALLY sucks in the Linux version of OO. Not only is it buggy and feels like beta release, it is extremely difficult to use, requiring OO Base as an intermediary store.

      MSOffice on the other hand will suck in an Excel sheet of names and addresses with sheer ease and produce a reamful of beautifully formatted mailshots before you can get off your seat to make a coffee. OO Writer on the other hand will require you to install OO Base first (as that is not normally installed by default), export your spreadsheet contents into OO Base, set up your headers then fight your way in OO Writer with the buggy field insertion facility and then try and work out the incredibly cryptic mechanism. Needless to say, the alignment on print was nothing like the preview.

      It was easier to install CrossOver Office and then stick on MSOffice to be honest.

  24. Nigel 11
    Thumb Up

    One other reason for Office + Openoffice

    Office 2000 or 2003. OpenOffice is the upgrade, for users who don't want to learn a completely new user interface.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Huge margin of error - no use to man nor beast

    From their numbers as you report them


    Open Office is 21 +/- 5 ie 16 to 26%

    Microsoft Office 72 +/- 15 ie 58 to 87%


    Open Office is 9 +/- 5 ie 4 to 13%

    Microsoft Office 80 +/- 15 ie 65 to 95%

    So MS office use could actually be higher in Germany.

    Perhaps that's why the study link has gone Error 404 - Seite nicht gefunden?

  26. Outcast

    Bah amateurs

    Protext FTW

  27. Lord Lien
    Thumb Up

    Open Office..

    @ John Hawkins, good advice that one. I do the same. Most people only need basic functions & Open Office is perfect for that.

  28. Stevie
    Thumb Down


    Last time I looked at it OO was a nightmare. The only way you could define it as a competing product to MSOffice is if you only used the most basic functions of the word processor or spreadsheets (and Azathoth forbid you should want both to work together to do mail-merging).

    The problem, as always, was that OO was made and run by software guys who have almost no idea of what an office suite is supposed to do in the real world. This is endemic in the FOSS world, and is easily spotted by the mantra "people only buy (insert product) because they're too stupid to do otherwise". See posts above for canonical examples.

    I was told on one occasion, at a presentation of SUSE, that Novel (who were the then-current torch-holders for OO) had grudgingly added pivot-table support to the OO spreadsheet after being "moaned at" by business communities for a year, even though the presenter could see no reason for them. The fact that the pivot table is a vital tool in any sales department had apparently passed this genius by. I immediately canceled any thoughts of a Novel/SUSE database product as it obviously would include no OLAP support if and when it appeared.

    He then went on to say they had also added digital camera support to the workstation version of SUSE, although he couldn't see any reason for it. I stuck up my hand and said: "So you are giving a promo in New York and have no interest in Madison Avenue or the Newspaper Industry as potential clients?" The look of dawning comprehension on his face was a thing to behold.

    The FOSS community (as if there really was such a thing) would do well to stop insulting what is presumably the consumer base for the "equivalent" products and start learning how such things are actually needed to work in the real world, then deliver that functionality.

    And one more rant while I'm at it: We'll never be free of MS dominance if, as soon as some glaring lack-of-equivalence is thrown into harsh relief, the pro-OO community fall back on "What do you expect, it's free?" Any corporate IT guy only falls for that one once.

    In my case it was the oversung attraction of MySQL which dozens of "experts" were telling me could compete with our database software of choice. When it became obvious that was a vast overstatement of the reality (in the first five minutes of real-world meets product) those people gave me the mantra, and I vowed from that day never again to put my name behind "community delveloped" software unless the recommendation came from a similar-sized enterprise, and to never believe word one of the developer buzz.

    But I guess I'm too stupid to know any better.


      A pile of bogus assumptions

      This is just so funny...

      > The problem, as always, was that OO was made and run by software guys who have

      > almost no idea of what an office suite is supposed to do in the real world. This is

      > endemic in the FOSS world, and is easily spotted by the mantra "people only buy (insert

      > product) because they're too stupid to do otherwise". See posts above for canonical

      > examples.

      You assume here that Open Office is "hippie-ware" like any other bit of prominent Linux or Free Software. Infact, Open Office is a proprietary office suite that was "liberated" after it had been well established as commercial software. It was a proprietary office suite before Sun came along and bought it. It was produced by a German company. So the idea that it's popular in Germany doesn't seem terribly far off.

      OO -> FOSS -> bad is just the usual Lemming nonsense of trashing anything that isn't the market leader.

    2. Jim Morrow

      who needs the Borg when there's Office?

      > The problem, as always, was that OO was made and run by software guys who have almost no idea of what an office suite is supposed to do in the real world

      .... and this differs from redmond's office how? those fuckers don't have a clue about what an office suite is supposed to do either.

      once upon a time, the typical office stooge could do all their word processing, spreadsheets and database stuff on computers that had floppy disks and less than a meg of memory for everything. their needs today are still the same as they were in those days. but now these so-called office productivity tools -- now there's a great lie -- are encrusted with bloatware and pointless features that make them as productive as kicking a dead whale across a beach. and they need 3Ghz multi-core processors, terabytes of disk and Gigs of ram to be able to churn out a simple letter before the onset of the next ice age. ffs the average mobile phone has more than enough horsepower to meet the needs of just about anyone who works in an office, if only the application suites weren't overblown, bloated piles of shite.

      1. The Commenter formally known as Matt

        Wow, what a moron

        > those fuckers don't have a clue about what an office suite is supposed to do either

        Except they do. Which is why (well along with clever marketing etc) Office is the gold standard.

        > their needs today are still the same as they were in those days.

        Really, then why don't you try to use some of that software from the 80's? Because it lacks the functionality that’s why. (Presuming you could find some ancient hardware to run it)

        > are encrusted with bloatware and pointless features that make them as productive as kicking a dead whale across a beach.

        So what features are pointless?

        When I was in school I used stuff like wordart, different fonts, colours and word counts etc to do my homework. Functionality like mail-merge, revision highlighting etc were pointless features.

        Now I have a Job in an office, now features like revision highlighting etc are very necessary and wordart, word counts and font colouring are pretty pointless.

        So which features are bloat? Correct answer: None of them. Everyone may only use 20% of the features of word (for example), the trouble is everyone uses a different 20%. If you make an office suite/word processor etc and only include 20% on the functionality of MS version then you will be relegated to the dustbin of history.

        >the typical office stooge could do all their word processing, spreadsheets and database stuff on computers that had floppy disks and less than a meg of memory for everything

        Who cares? You can't do that anymore, why? Well no-one uses floppy disks anymore, cos they are shit, unreliable, large (in size) and tiny (in storage space) slow and expensive as hell compared to modern alternatives and extra RAM costs about as much as a month old dog turd. So this argument makes about as much sense as Steve Ballmer calmly sitting in an unbroken chair.

        Imagine for a moment that someone has been stupid enough to put you in charge of the business direction of a successful software company. Your developers need direction for the next six months coding, do you a) Concentrate on efficiency, working on a smaller program footprint - less hard disk, less ram and 4% faster at calculations that currently take a couple hundredths of a second, or b) Developing new features that your users are asking for and you competitors don't have (or hell even ones your competitors do have)?

        If you answered a) then this is why no one is stupid enough to put you in charge of a software company. Users do not care, you have just spent 6 months producing nothing of value, and you don't have the features they need, but your competitors do. So you lose your customers.

        Joel makes a similar argument, but much more eloquently than me here:

        This is the same reason why OOO wont even start approaching the level of MS Office in the near future.

        Seriously either you haven't thought about this argument before or you are a child.

    3. jake Silver badge


      "Last time I looked at it OO was a nightmare."

      Maybe you should look at OO again. It has progressed since you last looked at it, judging by your appallingly ignorant rant.

      "The only way you could define it as a competing product to MSOffice is if you only used the most basic functions of the word processor or spreadsheets"

      And what percentage of MS Office users use anything other than the most basic functions? My guess would be so small a number as to approach statistical abnormality and/or meaninglessness.

      "I was told on one occasion, at a presentation of SUSE, that Novel (who were the then-current torch-holders for OO)"

      Since when did Novell ever carry OO under their umbrella? Do you live in an alternate reality?

      "had grudgingly added pivot-table support to the OO spreadsheet after being "moaned at" by business communities for a year, even though the presenter could see no reason for them."

      People have been using so-called "pivot tables" (better known as "a form of data mining") for a hell of a lot longer than Microsoft has held a trademark on the term. I was doing the same thing with 13-column pads & 10-key calculators in the late '60s thru' the '70s ... and then VisiCalc appeared, making our lives vastly easier (thanks, Dan & Bob!). Breaking down data by product, region, date of sale, whathaveyou isn't exactly new. Come to think of it, what the fuck do you think insurance company actuary tables are? Lloyd's has been around for how long, exactly? (nb: google should be avoided at all costs, they are an accident waiting to happen ...).

      And as a side-note, using a spreadsheet as a database is almost universally frowned upon in $LargeCorporateWorld these days ...

      "He then went on to say they had also added digital camera support to the workstation version of SUSE, although he couldn't see any reason for it."

      I *STILL* see no reason for explicit support for digital cameras. I've been using digital cameras with Slackware since I first owned a digital camera, probably 15 years ago. To date, all of them have appeared to the system as removable media ... so what the fuck are you whining about?

      "I stuck up my hand and said: "So you are giving a promo in New York and have no interest in Madison Avenue or the Newspaper Industry as potential clients?" The look of dawning comprehension on his face was a thing to behold."

      Trust me, youngster, publishing & the news industry was well aware of the digital world a lot earlier than you were ... and apparently the SUSE sales-droid wasn't technically competent.

      "And one more rant while I'm at it: We'll never be free of MS dominance if, as soon as some glaring lack-of-equivalence is thrown into harsh relief, the pro-OO community fall back on "What do you expect, it's free?" Any corporate IT guy only falls for that one once."

      Me and mine are free of the MS monopoly. The wife and I run several interactive businesses (feed store, tack store, riding school, driving school, trail rides, vineyard, winery, tasting room, bakery, dog kennel, dog training/LEO consulting, sheep station, horse rehab, horse breeding, "day camp" for local at-risk kids, and the totally separate "mechanical" that rents machinery to all of the above, as needed; likewise "maintenance" ... to say nothing of my free-lance computer/networking consultancy (nine-to-five free since '88, and happy about it!), and I might go commercial with my home brewery in the coming year). It has all been handled by FOSS software since the year dot.

      But seeing as it doesn't work for you, I must be doing something wrong. Care to enlighten me as to the fatal flaw in my plan?

      "I vowed from that day never again to put my name behind "community delveloped" software unless the recommendation came from a similar-sized enterprise, and to never believe word one of the developer buzz."

      So basically, you've bought into the entrenched Microsoft coolaid^Winertia, and refuse to investigate the evolving reality of other options for yourself? OK. I can live with that :-)

      "But I guess I'm too stupid to know any better."

      If you say so, who am I to argue?

  29. Christian Berger

    Most importantly

    Schools in Germany are dumping MS Office in favour of OpenOffice, probably because the typical pupil cannot afford the software.

    In face I've even seen a school dumping Windows almoust completely. The only machine left was a Windows 2000 application server.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lets Face IT

    Open Office in a buisness is a load of crap...

    When used in an environment with mutiple users, machines and printers it regualrly falls flat on its face. It is NOT compatable with MS office, yes it opens and saves the office format but it gets a few formatting options wrong, which is not good enough when you are paying for the man hours required to reformat a document written in the wrong program...It is much easier and safer to just use one industry standard program instead, especially when your documents have the potential to be sent out to clients....

    It makes me laugh at how many people moan about the new interface in MS office...It is SO much more intuative, but because MS got it wrong to begin with, and because people are stupid and unwilling to just try stuff, they moan about it. The fact is that having all your graphics tools under the graphics tab and your text tools under the text tab is much better than hiding them all under 3 different menus.

    1. Equitas


      "It is SO much more intuative, but because MS got it wrong to begin with, and because people are stupid and unwilling to just try stuff, they moan about it."

      I hope the spell-checker is good -- and intuitive :-)

  31. Don Mitchell

    Open Office is Slow and Bloated

    Open Office is typical of a lot of open source software, just a poor copy of something that a company spent a fortune researching and developing. Why would anyone with talent invest in new software creation if they are going to be ripped off by zealots with no talent?

    Furthermore, OO uses far more CPU and memory resources. A few years ago, Zdnet did some measurements that showed how bad Open Office was. Writer used four times as much memory as Word and used more than 10 times as much CPU time! (reference:

    Just recently, a pro-OO site has published benchmarks that show OO is still slow and bloated. They did one study of MS Word and a separate study of Open Office, but of course they never display a side-by-side comparison of the two. That's because their measurements show Open Office is still four times slower than MS Office. (reference: 2009 benchmarks on

    1. Matthew Barker
      Thumb Down


      While at Sun, I opened a 40MB Writer document in OOo. It took 1GB of virtual memory and 512MB of system memory for that document. Larger documents were taking more space.

      It was the last of many straws; I started avoiding the tool whenever possible.

    2. Keith Oldham

      Re : Open Office is Slow and Bloated

      Just because a company spent a fortune researching and developing a product is NOT a reason for everyone to buy it !

      If you need it ( or more likely think you need it - go ahead) - for the rest of us OpenOffice is fine.

      Also if you use Linux then MS Office isn't an option and I'd FAR rather use Linux & OpenOffice than anything that NEEDS Windows

  32. ZenCoder

    OS is good enough for most.

    MS Office

    Someone wants open office .. I tell them go to ... they select open office and run an installer .. it downloads the latest version and installs it automatically.

    When their version is out of date they download and run 1 file.


    MS Office .. first you find your disc and your serial number. Then you go through a tedious install process, maybe having to activate, maybe having problems activating but probably not.

    Then you you get to start downloading and installing dozens of service packs. If its an old version of Office like 2000 (which it might be considering the cost of the new stuff) .. you'll have to manually download the patches and apply then in the right order. You will get plenty of error messages about DLL files and you won't be sure if you should keep the newer file or overwrite it.

    Then well chances are some of the updates/patches were applied in the write order or the install silently failed. So you download a copy of Belarc Adviser and find out which patches didn't install right.

    Maybe you switch from Windows Update to Microsoft Update only it slows your computer to a crawl so you spend 15 min trying to figure out why and then 1 min switching back to windows update.

    Then you just have to make sure your patches are kept up to date and you don't do anything to anger the activation Gods.


    I tend to chose the solution that is free and has a working fully updated office suite in under six clicks.

    BTW I know there are situations were only MS office will get the job done. There are compatibility issues and I've seen huge spreadsheets that slowed open office to a crawl that worked fine in Excel.

    However there are situations where only a sledge hammer will work, but I am not to about to ad one to my tool box.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    you pay for what you get..

    Microsoft Office 2007 Pro = £270 (before discounts/tax etc)

    OpenOffice 3 = £0 (no discount or tax)

    Difference between the two base editions is one single integrated Email/Calendar client - but would you spend £270 (per user) just for a email/calendar client??? Me, my money? err No.

    I used Microsoft Office in anger since Office 95 and StarOffice 5.12 through to OpenOffice 3.1.1 in the same vain.

    Nowadays for documents, spreadsheets, presentations (etc) there is not much real difference between what the two suites provide.

    So if its your cash, which would you go for?

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Day-to-day use no good

    I had to use OOo (pronounce it like a dog howling) while I worked at Sun. I've also made daily use of MS Office and Apple iWork. I can say, after long use, I'd rather pay money. When it isn't crashing or corrupting one's work, it works well enough. But the user interface is like trying to find tools in a cluttered and messy office or garage workbench where every tool you own has been piled. At least MS has taken a cue from Apple and figured out how to hide most of the extras most of the time.

    I've had way fewer issues on MS office and actively prefer iWork when I don't want to have to think about the tool, but what I'm writing.

    I think the reasons to use OOo is lack of funds, nationalism, gadget freakery, masochism or training for a job where it's required. I can think of no other reasons and would probably even prefer going back to WordPerfect or IBM DisplayWrite and Quattro Pro on DOS.

    Paris because she's not enough of a masochist to subject herself to OOo.

  35. JohnG

    Open Office and MS Office

    Some people may use Open Office for much of their work but need Visio (part of MS Office).

    There are too many things that don't work when switching between MS Office and Open Office - formatting go astray, macros not working, etc.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not the fault of OOo

      Totally the fault of MS.

      They never released details on their binary formats, it all had to be reversed engineered.

      Their "standard" formats are poorly documented and internally inconsistent; you have no hope of implementing them without the confidential MS documentation.

      In fact, MS didn't even need their own pseudo-standard, they could have just used the existing ISO ones (and proposed any extension/changes where required, y'know, worked WITH the community). But no - lock-in is the future apparently.

      Guess that's why Denmark is now demanding all documents come in ODF, not DOCX or anything else.

      Some of the formatting/layout quirks in OOo drive me nuts I'll admit (and MS has quirks that drive me bat-shit too). But OOo does everything I why do I want to pay £300+ for what I will never use?

  36. phoenix

    Nothing Wrong

    with open office for the majority of business users. Yes it doesn't do things in quite the same way as MS office but if you are going to pull it upon pivot tables and VBA (utter shite) then I don't see a big enough argument. Paying £300+ a copy for MS office should be a big enough arguement not to us it

    By the time you have hacked around excel with that poor excuse for code production you might as well have done the whole thing properly in a SQL database and then you would make meaningful use of the data. The number of spreadsheets we have work that are hacked together, usually by sales staff, with same data repeated many times makes a DB admin shiver. The moans as data falls out of sync and older data taken as current, I just walk away laughing.

  37. Stephen Byrne


    Office 2000 is, IMHO, the best office suite created, ever.

    It's small, fast and just works. I install this suite on dozens of computers every week and I never have a problem with anything like you mentioned. I simply run the installer, enter the key and about two minutes later it's done, on any version of windows from 2000 to 7.

    That's one double-click to open the installer, and one to click "Install Now". Three clicks, FTW!

    Personally I could care less about 2003 and 2007 (ugh) but it might not be a bad idea for OO to go back and have a look at Office 2000 as a baseline instead of trying to keep up with MS all the time.

    Eye Candy + Bloat != a usable tool.

    I'd love to see a trimmed down bare-bones version that runs as fast as Office 2000, then I would actually consider using it since I do in principal think it has potential.

  38. Randall Shimizu

    Not enough awareness

    I think that most people are not aware of OO and it's capabilities. So they assume the MS Office is the only software available.

  39. Fran Taylor


    "That's because their measurements show Open Office is still four times slower than MS Office"

    Who these days does anything with an office suite that uses any CPU? Modern systems do everything instantly. I can load up documents of hundreds of pages in OO and it's as close to instant as I can perceive.

    So indeed MS Office takes 2 ms to render my spreadsheet while OpenOffice takes 8 ms. Who cares?

    Well indeed let's try this benchmark: install both packages on a Linux system and see which one boots up faster.

  40. Equitas

    Who uses what?

    I've got the current version of MS Office on the computer I use for work. I bought it. I've got the current version of Open Office on the same machine. And I've got the current version of WordPerfect on the same machine. I bought it.

    The relevant question is not one of what I have on my computer, but rather which of these programs or suites I actually use.

    If it were merely a question of producing simple letters or documents, the Open Office would be just fine. Most of my work, however, involves very complex, heavily-formatted documents which will be edited many times. For such documents, WordPerfect is the only one of the three which I have found able to handle the work simply and reliably.

    I've had more than forty years' experience in computer-based word-processing, dating from the days of the MT/ST tape-based systems of the late 1960s. I've seen programs come and go. I've used a great many of them. For the work I do, the current version of WordPerfect is the best I've found thus far.

  41. Stevie

    Bah and Double Bah!

    [4 Jake] Oh, Jake, there you went and spoiled it by saying "how many people use all those MS Office features".

    Don't you know that if you are going to *say* product x can compete with product y, it actually has to be able to do so in product y's back yard? In point of fact almost every small business that has a mass mailing operation I know of that uses MSOffice uses the functions I mentioned. Personal experience shows this includes lawyers (formerly a bastion of Wordperfect), doctors offices (Wordperfect was also once king here too), magazine subscription departments, schools and colleges.

    Individual workers may not use the functions, but the businesses certainly do. You can't "sell" OO to a business on the grounds it is just as good a stand in for a typewriter and a desk calculator as MSOffice is unless you add that disclaimer, because (and this is the real point) although the letters will get typed just dandy on OO, the business will still need to buy something better to mail them out.

    Pivot tables are called pivot tables. They are not "better known" as anything, at least, not by anyone who actually knows what they are and what they're used for. Cuss words are optional.

    The "Sales droid" was in fact a lead technician in the Novel SUSE team. If he didn't know what he was talking about, that's his fault, not mine. the point I was making (apparently lost in the red haze that fell over you upon reading the first couple of sentences of my post) was that *as* a technician he had no actual connect to the world he was attempting to impress that day.

    As a matter of fact he went on for about five minutes about Blue Screens of Death until I stood up and demanded a straw poll on how many there had actually seen one in the last three years, just so we could move on and get to hear about the SUSE product, which was why we all went to the presentation. Turns out this paragon of the bleeding edge hadn't actually used a Windows OS since NT4 - but still felt qualified to speak about the opposition (then, XP sp2).

    The point being that if you're going to try and compete, you have to do so, not just say you are. That requires knowing something about the world you are selling to, and the other people competing with you for the dollars.

    As for your other points, well, I take software as I find it. If I find it to be useful, I use it and don't sweat who sells it or what it runs on. If there's something wrong with it, I tell the people responsible for it rather than ranting into the air and expecting them to use The Force to figure out why I'm not happy. And I have no need to lie about my experiences with Novel, SUSE, OO or anything else. If you *don't* know that Novel offer their own version of OO, it is *you* that needs to get about more.

    All I ever ask is that stuff does what it says on the box. When it doesn't, I say so.

    Thanks for calling me young though. Anyone who meets me wouldn't make that mistake (my start in my computer career predates the toy operating systems called "Unix" and "Windows" by a few years).

    1. jake Silver badge


      "Individual workers may not use the functions, but the businesses certainly do."

      Not my businesses. And we get along just fine. But then, we are actually running several businesses, and not trying to maintain a management hierarchy.

      Likewise the corporations that I have moved to FOSS solutions over the years. (As a side note, most of those have managed to get rid of most middle-management, with no loss in productivity, thus leading to greater profit ... seems that fiddling around with MS toys is a serious time-sink).

      I find it interesting that you didn't really address any of my on topic questions.

      And as a side note, Stevie, see that button labeled "Reply to this post"? Shirley a "computer expert" like yourself can figure out what is is for ...

  42. accountant

    Office 2000 is supreme

    I use Office 2000 and will fight to the death to keep Office 2007 away from my laptop.

    I'm an accountant. I therefore use the keyboard far more than the mouse. I link spreadsheets. I use pivot tables, and link to them. About the only feature of Excel 2000 that I don't regularly use is the scenario and goal seek (no need in the business).

    I tested OpenOffice's Calc last year for my own accounts at home. At the time, I had data and a pivot table to bring the numbers together. OO crashed and burned, because it's pivot tables ("data pilots") just don't work. Formatted convincingly, but utterly static.

    The worse aspect about OO's Calc was the inability to construct spreadsheet links. This is really, really basic stuff. Kindergarten crapola in the world of spreadsheets.

    In Excel 2000, linking spreadsheets is about four or five keystrokes (5 seconds) (or about ten mouse clicks over 20 seconds). In Calc, it was a mouse-only interface, used a non-modal dialogue box that would break the Disability Discrimination Act, and resulted in an objective URL. \\computer\c\folder1\folder2\folder3\folder4\filename.odf#sheet1!a1:z26 .... Excel does this only when the linked file is unopened. So while both files are opened and being linked, OO Calc makes a simple requirement utterly unworkable.

    Microsoft has at least got the message that if it wants to sell software, it has to react quickly to its customers. By and large, this seems to be what happens. Microsoft appears also to have learnt that supplying a new function can generate the most extraordinary demand, and then the bastard customers get picky when it isn't perfect!

    I sense that OpenOffice takes quite a different view. Somehow, it might be user's fault for wanting functionality that Excel can do slickly.

    I just wish Access 2000 was as easy to use as Excel 2000.

    I also just wish that Excel 2007 was entirely keyboard-enabled. But Office 2007 is to Office 2000 what Vista was to XP. Excel 2007 contains more "functionality", but the morons have buried it underneath another layer of dialgoue boxes and toolbars. Keyboard access to new dialogue boxes again doesn't really comply with the DDA, so are useable only by mouse users. The overall look and feel of Office 2007 is more "spin and marketing" than "business productivity". It is harder for power users to use (mistake) and the removal of word-menus for indescribable icos makes remote support nigh impossible (double-mistake).

    Most business processes (especially in accountancy) are repetitive. Macros cannot replicate this real-world repetition because it requires fuzzy logic to process. So any user interface designed to be "flash" rather than "productive" is going to piss people off. It slows down thruput, increases the risk of error, increases the steps required in additional manual manipulation of data.... productivity software? More like sabotage software!!

    Sadly, there is no-body else in the market for Excel. Microsoft has a complete monopoly because the product has been bloody brilliant (and remains good, even after the 2007 make-under).

    OO Calc might well have changed, but I doubt that they have remedied the faults in the software. More likely, they have aped Microsoft's latest prettification projects. I would need to be convinced before re-considering a trial of OO.

    But OO is academic anyway. Where Microsoft plays its trump card is Outlook (the full-fat version). OO has no equivalent. Connected to Exchange, this is perhaps the best user-front end program ever, in just about all versions. 2000 is the best because of its complete keyboard access (you never need to use the mouse once) and, more importantly in an enterprise, it's permanent access to the Global Address Book when connected (Office 2003+ caches it once a day, so users have to put up with duff data, or magically know by clairvoyance when to re-download the entire address book).

    So here was a view from real-life business, not an IT person, but the sucker that you IT people call a "customer" (sometimes).

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