back to article Apache releases new OpenOffice build, promises faster upgrades

The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) has released an updated version of the OpenOffice free software suite, with enhanced graphics and better encryption support. Version 3.4 of the office suite has had major changes in the graphics capability of the package. OLEObject handling has been improved, thanks in part to volunteer …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OpenOffice: Yay! We've released something that works nearly as well as MS Office 2000.

    I used to hate Microsoft with a passion, but to be honest, they've cleaned up their act now and the free version of Office 2010 does everything I need exceptionally well. Open Office just doesn't cut it anymore.

    1. Denarius Silver badge

      from what planet R U ?

      I assume you, AC, are a troll/MS lackey. nobody in my large corporate environment can contain their rage when office 2010 or even worse, office 2007 is foisted on them. Office 97 was excellent and 2003 worked well. The change of interface is so big Open Office variations are welcome.

      The MS office suite has blown the best MS argument for staying with them out of he water as there is no consistency with previous versions.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Office 97 was *not* excellent...

        ...It's just that enough people were willing to put up with it.

        MS Office stalled more than a decade ago, and Open Office has since overtaken and passed it in terms of both stability and correctly-implemented features. About the only thing Microsoft can do now is to keep releasing new versions with default formats incompatible with previous releases.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @AC 22:33GMT - Good for you!

      Go buy a couple more licenses.

    3. Quxy

      I know I'm feeding the astroturf troll, but..

      Do you even *use* MS Office for anything but interoffice memos?

      Let's talk about graphics handling, shall we. How do *you* import scalable vector graphics into Word or Powerpoint. Industry-standard PDF or SVG? Nope? But Microsoft's own WMF and EMF formats work, right properly? Guess again.

      OpenOffice/LibreOffice may share MS Office's abomination of a UI, but at least they've managed to get a number of features to work that have been broken in Microsoft's own suite since, well, forever. swriter is not not (nor will ever be) a real DTP application, but at least it can handle basic line art, which is something that Microsoft has never managed. And the list goes on and on.

      I really have no clue why, after more than a decade, Microsoft can't implement basic functionality that Linux and OSX provide in core utilities. Thanks to our enterprise licences, I've always got the latest version of MS Office, but I'm always obliged to fall back on FOSS to find something that works.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I know I'm feeding the astroturf troll, but..

        Great, so does the built-in grammar checker work now, or do I still need to install a plug-in to achieve basic functionality?

        1. Quxy

          Re: I know I'm feeding the astroturf troll, but..

          I believe that LibreOffice's grammar checker is every bit as useful as MS Word's.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: I know I'm feeding the astroturf troll, but..

            And not quite as useful as not using a "grammar checker" at all.

          2. Tom 13

            Re: every bit as useful as MS Word's.

            No, no! We're looking for something USEFUL here.

    4. Tom 13

      Re: something that works nearly as well as MS Office 2000.

      Tell me when either of them get to a version that works nearly as well as WordPerfect 5.1 did and I might get excited. If you want to guarantee my excitement, it has to work as well as Ventura 4.0 or 5.0.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Yay, everyone loses.

    You now have to choose between two very similar office packages, both based of the same code, consumer confusion means both lose out.

    Should I use LibreOffice or OpenOffice? Or should I just download that Microsoft Office from Bittorrent to fuck Microsoft over... decisions decisions.

    When will the OpenSource "community" learn? They have already ensured Linux Desktop will never get any foothold as they can't even decide on a common package manager or window manager... Too many companies trying to pull things their way and they ALL lose out...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yay, everyone loses.

      Oh come on Mr Shitpeas, we all known you use Google Docs on Windows for everything..

      Did you just took the opportunity to sully up the open source community?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yay, everyone loses.

      I know, I know: YHBT...

      Still, being a fan of MS Office 2010 I can't help myself anyway. Keep well in mind that it is /because/ of that oss community that end users are able to pick up a copy of MS Office /far/ cheaper and far more easier than before (of course I'm talking about legit channels).

      The reason should be obvious: competition. In the likes MS had never seen before and initially had it haunt them because this form of competition couldn't be bought nor dominated. It just kept going and wouldn't go away no matter what they tried or did.

      All this development means is that we can welcome back yet another serious competitor on the Office market. One which is more rooted in the whole OSS community, which has more experience with maintaining bigger projects (which also come with high expectations) and most of all: which doesn't have anything to proof.

      Sure; in the lights of Libre Office vs. OpenOffice its obvious that Apache has the name which most people know yet it seems they also have a lot of catching up to do. Still; being an Office 2010 'power user' (at least that's what I consider myself) I think this is great news. 2 competitors are much better than 1.

      In the end we /all/ benefit, no matter if you use MS Office, LibreOffice or OpenOffice (in order of personal preference).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Choose between two...?

      It's even more confusing in the Apple world, where you can add NeoOffice into the mix.

      I must say, I'm minded to agree with the honourable Mr. Shitpeas here. I do sometimes wish the FOSS community would show a bit more maturity in toiling together for the common good, rather than hiving off a new fork of a product, every time one bunch of developers stops seeing eye to eye with another.

      Gain the market share first, lads. Then, when world and dog knows your product, start offering alternate versions. The other way round just confuses potential adopters and gets you nowhere.

      1. pcsupport

        Re: Choose between two...?

        Here here.

        Have an upvote for your common sense comment.

      2. vagabondo

        Re: Choose between two...?

        What relevance is "market share" in the FOSS world? Your comment is only germane where there is a market.

    4. Magnus_Pym

      Re: Yay, everyone loses.

      Everyone has already won.

      The availability of FOSS has meant that the likes of Microsoft face comparison with good quality, properly coded software. Where they have clearly been taking the piss (ie) they have lost out. Software is cheaper and better now because of FOSS.

  3. amanfromearth

    I like OpenOffice, and I also like Libreoffice

    -but which is best?

    there's only one way to find out...

    1. Swarthy

      Re: I like OpenOffice, and I also like Libreoffice

      Two Office Suites Enter - One Office Suite Leaves

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thanks, apache

    Can't wait to give it a go.

  5. Ilgaz

    Shouldn't say it but...

    If we're talking about an office suite, fortune 500/ government support counts more than our/ your support.

    IBM brand alone matters way more than "I hate oracle" type.

    We should question why IBM and others puts its weight behind open office and if a new, large installation occurs, the reason(s) for it.

    It has been almost a decade watching professionals try to explain why they (have to) use adobe and gimp fans flame them or call them names. Hope similar won't happen with this office thing or Microsoft wins, open standards lose.

    I am sure they are abusing this division right now at USA/ EU cycles.

    1. vagabondo

      Re: Shouldn't say it but...

      "We should question why IBM and others puts its weight behind open office"

      The Apache Licence allows OpenOffice to be integrated into a proprietary product, unlike the GPL3 used by LibreOffice. The technical arguement is contemplatively trivial.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Shouldn't say it but...

        "We should question why IBM and others puts its weight behind open office and if a new, large installation occurs, the reason(s) for it."

        As vagabondo says, they can repackage it.

        Even if they just use it internally (which I believe they are eating their own dog food), that saves on several 100k of licences.

        Plus, last time I dabbled with it, it had a nifty tabbed interface to switch between documents.

  6. batfastad
    Thumb Up


    I'm a heavy LibreOffice and MS Office XP/2002 user. Office XP runs like stink on modern hardware, properly rapid. I've seen more improvements in LibreOffice in the previous 12 months than in 2-3 years of OpenOffice. LibreOffice Calc no longer crashes when trying to do their version of pivot tables but still needs some slight speed and stability improvements in charts. Writer is pretty much good to go for most document needs. Presenter needs some sort of multi-monitor presenter view. And a real Firefox style auto-update, which doesn't involve downloading the whole shebang, uninstalling, re-installing. Uninstalling/re-installing LibreOffice takes a worrying amount of time and disk thrashing!

    If OpenOffice gets any of that sorted then I'm happy to switch but it seems they're already a year or so behind.

    The problem that both face is that as far as most people buying new PCs are concerned, MS Office is it! They get a trial pre-loaded and they know it will open Word/Excel documents, sorted! They just don't know about LibreOffice/OpenOffice until they start using it at work or start poking around open source projects. And unfortunately it will likely stay that way whilst their friends/colleagues keep sending them docx/xlsx documents which gives the impression that only Word/Excel can open them.

    So medium term, MS Office will remain. Long term though (maybe very long term!), I believe that open source will win. Quality of product will combine with low price (free) and be deployed in larger organisations, building brand awareness to hundreds/thousands of users. It will be a gradual process. So any line of code contributed to open source projects is better than a line of code contributed closed-source!

    I can't see many enterprises choosing clunky cloud version wannabes and completely ditching local machine versions for many years. I use Google Docs for most family letters/spreadsheets etc to save me the headache of "where's the x document" questions. But the improvement in cloud office suites is pegged to the protocol/infrastructure that they're currently botched onto. Are there any open-source equivalents of Google Docs Writely/Spreadsheet out there at the moment? That would be a useful addition to several office intranet systems I maintain but never a replacement for a desktop office suite editing a 150MB presentation.

    As a side rant, is there not a class action suit here somewhere? MS using their OS dominance to flog Office, like the whole IE thing? And whilst they're at it, Windows Media Player? And Apple with Safari, iTunes? Or is it now presumed to be just good business sense and that any private company would do exactly the same?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Runs like stink"?

      In 1995, MS Word and WP were acceptably fast on 33 MHz i386 machines, so why is it such a gift for Office 2010 -- which contains no discernably new features -- to "run like stink" on a 3 GHz quad-core 64-bit processor?

      1. Anonymous Dutch Coward

        Re: "Runs like stink"?

        If you're flaming someone, read his post: Office XP<>Office 2010...

        But you do have a point: given that there's hardly new functionality (at least for my undemanding use), why not just repackage Office XP and call it 2010... Oh wait, they did that, but with a ribbon on top...

        1. squilookle

          Re: "Runs like stink"?

          They could repackage Office XP, apply any bug fixes they can/need to, and sell it as 2010 Light or something. I'll bet that would sell. Probably eat away at regular 2010 sales and not touch Libre/Open Office user base though.

          "Runs like stink" could be the official marketing phrase for it though.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Runs like stink"?

          I didn't intend to flame "batfastad", in fact I agree with his observations about LibreOffice. My point was that when the best Microsoft can say about an application is that it "runs OK on modern hardware", they've really lost the plot.

  7. squilookle

    I'm personally on LibreOffice now and have no plans to change, It seems like the more alive of the two projects, although Open Office is clearly not dead and I'm sure there can be room for both of them. In fact, competition between the two of them might be good if the rivalry can push them forward faster. On the other hand, it gives more scope for the resources of the developers to be divided and less focused, and for confusion among the end users.

    I would be interested to see a detailed (independent) comparison of where the two are as that is not something I am certain about at the moment.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll just stick with LibreOffice

    Whatever new features or functionality will be added to OpenOffice they will make their way into LibreOffice but not the other way around, due to ideological differences between AL and GPL.

    Other than that, they are both valuable alternative to proprietary office suites and as long as they follow ODS we all win, consumers and corporations alike.

    1. Anonymous Dutch Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: I'll just stick with LibreOffice

      Very valid point: OpenOffice can try to get ahead all they want on functionality, but LibreOffice can copy the juicy bits whenever they want - and the reverse isn't true.

      So yes, IBM and whoever throws money at OpenOffice can get in the support racket for that version, which could end up being the only remaining reason of choosing Open over Libre... until the feature balance tips over so far in favour of Libre that the support business will be attracted to that version as well...

      (Well, a man can dream, can't he?)

      1. Bruno Girin

        Re: I'll just stick with LibreOffice

        Well except that AFAIK LibreOffice are considering multi-licensing their code GPL + Apache to enable more sharing between both projects.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Bruno Girin - Re: I'll just stick with LibreOffice

          By donating OO to Apache, Oracle and IBM have shown the finger to the developer communities formed around the project so why should LO developers care, especially when they can take whatever they want from OO ?

          More than that, have you read the ASF press release where their president Jim Jagielski FUDs about "transforming OpenOffice from a codebase of unknown Intellectual Property heritage" ?

  9. GrantB

    Why not both?

    At work I use Office 2010, but at home I have both LibreOffice and OpenOffice installed.

    Other than minor differences in identifying toolbar buttons, I can't say I really notice a lot of differences. Tend to prefer Libre at the moment, but not a lot in it, and both seem to have no problems opening documents created in the other. Both are fine for kids creating essays or simple presentations for school. I do the odd rare document update and sometimes create quick and dirty spreadsheets for budget calculations.

    The big win is that when applications use an open document format, then you can select and use the best one at any given time. This is obviously something that Microsoft quite rightly should and does fear, even if the free office-suites don't really compare in functionality with Office 2007 or newer

    Still would like to see either one attempt to really look at the UI. Both attempt to look & feel like a generic Office suite from the 2003 era. I know lots of people like that, so leave that in for those who want it, but would like to get a fresh/clean UI that attempts to pare the UI down to the most used functions. Maybe thinking about a tablet style UI would be an interesting exercise, or look at UI changes in things like Ubuntu.

    1. Matthew 25

      Re: Why not both?

      Please no. Thinking about a tablet UI is what spawned Unity, Gnome 3 and Windows 8 Metro. Tablet UIs should stay on tablets not be foisted on WIMP desktop users.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    I used to use open office

    and i tried to stick to it for years.

    Now i am doing less coding and more document writing (due to rising through the ranks) and i had to go for something that makes documents which are nice to look at and clients think are professional enough to get them to part with cash.

    So.... i use pages.

    While i still agree with a lot of the concepts and principles of open source, commercially I have to do what brings in the $$, flame if you like, but having got templates set up nicely, changing software suite is no longer a case of choosing whatever takes my fancy today.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I used to use open office

      I use NeoOffice on my resolutely "Microsoft Free" laptop, when I need to open a spreadsheet, but for most everyday writing I find myself more and more resorting to Byword —write in markdown and then export as a nicely formatted PDF. It also runs and syncs my docs across macbook, iPad and iPhone, using DropBox, which means I can pick up where I left off, whatever device I'm using. Obviously not an office suite replacement but good-looking, positively anorexic compared to the bloatware most of those are and capable of producing a surprising range of decent looking documents, so long as you don't need all the fancy-schmancy stuff like a zillion styles, footnotes, etc.

      [Yes. Hidden in there is another allusion to one of my favourite rants –the lack of a mobile version of Open-, Libre- or NeoOffice]

      1. Bruno Girin

        @madra Re: I used to use open office

        Do you mean a mobile version like the Android and HTML5 ports currently being built? http://lxnews.or/2011/10/17/libreoffice-mobile-and-web/

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: @madra I used to use open office

          They've been saying they're "currently" working on a mobile version for about a year now and have produced absolutely zero. I'm filing under 'vapourware' until I see some evidence... *any* evidence

    2. Schultz


      ... creates publishable output and is free. Not WYSIWYG, but you'll get used to it before you reach page 100 of whatever you are writing.

      1. Norman Hartnell

        Re: Latex...

        LaTeX is great for formal text, but have you ever tried to use it to run text flow around irregular images? Scribus grinds to a halt if you have more than a few tens of pages with lots of images. Sometimes something like LO/OO/Word is better if you want a free/cheap solution to certain typsetting tasks.

      2. Robert Ramsay

        Re: Latex...

        Are you Randall Munroe in disguise?

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Shock, Horror....You have a choice.

    Welcome to the 'tard world/

    Don't use this it's shit, use this it's great.!

    No don't be an idiot that can't do this, but this can.

    You know what, use what you bloody well want, if it works for you, great.

    I personally use Open Office at the non-profit I help run, I use Office 2003 at home and I use Office 2010 at work. Why?

    Well at the non-profit I run, costs are everything and it's does the job.

    At home, Office 2003 was free (yes it;s got a valid license) and my wife knows how to use it).

    At work, well as we also use sharepoint,Outlook & Lync nothing else integrates as well. I could easily use Open/Libre office, but I choose not to.

    Thats the great thing here, it's choice.

    Use what you like, but don't be such a dick and think your way is the right way.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shock, Horror....You have a choice. - Please do not insult your wife.

      Are you trying to tell us other version of Office suite would be too difficult for her to learn ?

  12. teknopaul


    i still find it hard it believe how badly Oracle handled aquisition of sun assets.

    a lot of damage to the world of open source that dark day.

    i for one have libre office installed. alongside Windows office since LO can often open word docs created by Windows office that for some me reason Windows office cannot open anymore. Yey, go Microsoft.

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @esvcg - Re: I know their website needs updating

      That is irrelevant unless you are a person very sensitive to marketing glitz.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: I know their website needs updating

      Yes, god forbid we have straightforward, clean, (mostly) standards-compliant,[1] concise,[2] efficient [3] web pages. It's almost as if the people at Apache think web pages can be used to deliver information rather than distract the masses.

      Kids, lawn, etc.

      [1] OK, three validation errors for Sloppy, but I'm inclined to forgive them. And some CSS3 constructs which are not yet published as standards; I'll let that pass too. All of this degrades gracefully in a standards-compliant user agent.

      [2] About 32KB including images. That's more like the web pages of 15 years ago. In a good way.

      [3] Looks like the DOM tree's only about seven or eight levels deep.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    I'm having a flashback

    vi vs. emacs.

    KDE vs. GNOME

    Does anyone give a stuff? Use Libre or Open. If you've already decided not to use Office, you have already crossed the chasm.

    The real issue is switching cost. For a home user, the switching cost is a certain visual dissonance when they trade the pretty ribbons of Office for the party-like-it's-1999 UI of LO/OO. That's offset to some extent by the cost savings, which is, I suspect, why Microsoft are bending over backwards to get low-cost versions of Office out to this market.

    For enterprise users, the switching cost is less about license costs and more about the enormous collective wisdom built up over years of Office. I'm talking about macros, templates reflecting a corporate style, scarily-complex spreadsheets that no-one dares touch, line-of-business VB apps that need Access, and all that jazz. This is an incredibly hard nut to crack...and, I suspect, one that it would take the resources of an IBM to address. I'd suggest that they stick Global Services on the case, but paying $$$ to IBM's consultants to save on Office costs seems like a poor use of a customer's money...

  15. Denarius Silver badge

    if we are being historical hysterical then

    ah! the golden days of fun flame wars.

    I still draft documents in vi before formatting in some WYSIWYG word mangler. Using a text editor that has no "smarts" to bugger up my line of thought allows more thought to be applied to the document. Not for most people so desist from the flame icon, fellow commentards.

    I note a few articles around the web making the observation that word 2 and excel 3 did most common jobs well, in windows 3.1 and 4 Mb RAM. That was nearly 20 years ago. Progress has slowed, hasn't it ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: if we are being historical hysterical then

      I have VMs and old 486 laptops that work fine with Office 4.3 for basic word processing / spreadsheets, and Clarisworks for home use or DTP.

      Heck I have a Mac Plus and Classic that run Clarisworks, MacWrite, Multiplan, and have great typing keyboards.

      Unfortunately back when I actually had a 486 with wfw3.11 for my homework use, I couldn't initially get my mits on a copy of Office (or Clarisworks).

      Today's choice of free LibreOffice, OpenOffice and Lotus Symphony I would have loved, compared to using the basic MS Write and Paint with no print preview.

      (Eventually on my next PC, thanks to cover disks I found Smartsuite and Clarisworks 3, then some grey copies of Office...)

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like