back to article LibreOffice 7.1 Community released with user-interface picker, other bits and bytes

The Document Foundation (TDF) has released LibreOffice 7.1 Community, while continuing to complain about free-loading enterprises who do not pay for support. The "community" label is an effort to steer them away, though it is not a cut-down version. The download on the LibreOffice site is called 7.1 Community, in an effort to …

  1. IGotOut Silver badge

    Mixed messages.

    On one hand they say companies are taking the product and not giving back, putting a strain in developers then state...

    "that 73 per cent of commits to the LibreOffice code come from developers employed by these companies"

    Or do they mean the support companies, rather than the end user companies?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mixed messages.

      Seems odd - baking your own cake and then paying to eat it.

      1. FIA Silver badge

        Re: Mixed messages.

        Erm... where are you getting your ingredients from? ;)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mixed messages.

      When an arrogant project starts antagonising its users, it is destined to lose them.

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: Mixed messages.

        Well yes, but this comment thread isn't about Windows 10.

    3. Tim Anderson (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Mixed messages.

      It's the ecosystem (support) companies providing these commits, not the non-playing users, sorry for the ambiguity!

      Tim

  2. Smirnov

    A poor use of volunteers' time

    "An increasing number of enterprises have chosen the version supported by volunteers over the version optimized for their needs. This has had a twofold negative consequence for the project: a poor use of volunteers' time, as they have to spend their time to solve problems for business that provide nothing in return to the community,..."

    I don't know, a bug is a bug no matter if its reported by a business user or a home user. On top of that, the horrible UI and other usability deficiencies surely are not just paining business users but home users as well, so I fail to see how businesses using the free Community version would waste volunteers' time.

    To me this reeks more like a stark attempt to get business users to pay up for TDF's support partners.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A poor use of volunteers' time

      I'm not sure we can assume that all support calls are bugs..... if only that were true :-)

    2. AMBxx Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: A poor use of volunteers' time

      I think creating 7 alternative user interfaces is the biggest waste of volunteers time.

      1. hittitezombie

        Re: A poor use of volunteers' time

        You must have missed the custom CSS craze of mid-2000s.

        1. sgp Bronze badge

          Re: A poor use of volunteers' times

          Coming up: they'll notice no-one except a few hard core contributors use options 2-6 and they'll remove the options for a better user experience. At which point the project is forked by said contributors to form "Open Office". Oh wait.

  3. Mage Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    Lacks the Polish?

    Rubbish.

    Office 2007 and later are a shiny mess. Though there is a third party replacement for the evil ribbon, which makes access to features WORSE than conventional menus.

    LO is far superior to MS Office 2003 in GUI and Writer works better than Word. The mistake is to use doc or docx for saving. Only use them to import or export. Use Styles properly. The undocked Style and Navigation windows are superior to MS Word 2007.

    1. gobaskof Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Lacks the Polish?

      If yours lacks Polish then you might need to download the correct language pack or version https://www.libreoffice.org/download/download/?type=deb-x86_64&version=7.1.0&lang=pl

      1. WolfFan Silver badge

        Re: Lacks the Polish?

        Gdansk you for that…

    2. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: Lacks the Polish?

      "...LO is far superior to MS Office 2003 in GUI and Writer works better than Word. The mistake is to use doc or docx for saving. Only use them to import or export. Use Styles properly. The undocked Style and Navigation windows are superior to MS Word 2007..."

      Or... as a business user, just use Word. You know it's compatible and you're not messing around with different formats to save or to export. You may be happy to do this but your average user doesn't want extra steps just to do their day job.

      And here's an oft-overlooked point with regards to the ribbon in Office 2007.

      MS did a ton of user research into the next features for Office.

      And found out that a huge percentage of them were actually already available but users didn't know and/or couldn't find them.

      So the aim of the original ribbon was to simplify that mess of sub-menus.

      Which worked. For a time. But if you look at the last few releases of O365 you'll notice that MS are once again working hard to simplify the ribbon because like the original menus it's become cluttered and far less than intuitive to find things anymore, utterly defeating the whole object of having it in the first place.

      I work in the EUC space. If you ask users, then the ribbon never comes up as being an issue for them except perhaps where some addon to e.g. Outlook or Excel has failed to put their icon onto it.

      Rather than the ribbon, personally I find one of the areas where Word in particular is still ropy is collaborative working. Once a document gets above about 100 or so pages, it becomes a mess. Changes not saving or disappearing when someone edits a completely different part of the document. Corruption etc. That really is something they need to sort out properly because it's tedious as fuck working on an online copy and having to save a local backup just in case it decides to shit on the online one.

      1. AnAnonymousCanuck

        Re: Lacks the Polish?

        I'm sorry as a business user I find LibreOffice opens old MSWord documents better than a modern MSWord, What's funnier is it produces better quality MSWord documents than MSWord does. Often 20-30% smaller for the exact same content.

        YMMV

        AAC

        1. WolfFan Silver badge

          Re: Lacks the Polish?

          Yeah, LO opens Word files just fine. It even saves small, not overly complex, Word files as DOCX without serious problems. Large, complex documents are an entirely different case. On several occasions around here LO has mangled the job of taking a DOCX file, making changes, and saving it as a DOCX file. I simply no longer trust it to round trip DOCX files. I _must_ be able to send DOCX, and usually receive DOCX. We tried to go all LO internally, but we can’t control documents from outside, which are almost always MS Office formats. Hell, we use Pages, despite its faults, for certain types of files and export to DOCX… and Pages doesn’t screw up the format, so it can be done. LO either can’t do it or doesn’t want to do it. Either way, they’re off the list of office suite replacements for MS Office. It’s a pity, really, they did a lot of things very well indeed, but we just can’t live with the round trip problems. And as long as we have to do business with people who use MS Office we will have to do round tripping. Pages, Numbers, and Keynote can round trip, with very few problems. LO, not so much. At least not in our experience. If this changes, perhaps then LO would be considered. Until then, it’s MS Office and Apple’s suite for us. Mostly MS Office.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Lacks the Polish?

            I used LO for years to clean up MS docs with the exact corruption issues as described above, which was an immediate side effect of the utterly ludicrous idea of copying styles across with text - and doing that badly so you'd end up with unpaired formatting elements strewn all over the document.

            In other words, Word crashes because it managed to confuse itself, and those crashes become more frequent the larger the document gets (read: the closer the user is to a deadline).

            That is naturally exacerbated by the fact that practically nobody has a clue what document styles are for, the most basic building block for especially larger work, but the end result can be Word producing a document it will not even open anymore without crashing.

            Load up in LO which is a bit more forgiving and cleans up the unpaired formatting elements, possibly correct the abuse of local formatting with proper style application and save - and Word can suddenly handle the file again.

            I have yet to have the same problem with LO, and I've been using it for a very long time..

            1. LogicGate

              Re: Lacks the Polish?

              I experienced exactly this issue with a large document with complex formatting.

              In the end, we migrated all technical documentation to LO. MS Office (2010) is mainly kept for excel now.

              With regards to calc: I just wish LO would introduce 3d (xyz) point and mesh (and, drool, textured mesh) plotting. I guess excel compatibility is keeping it back, which is a shame.

          2. DrBed
            FAIL

            Re: Lacks the Polish?

            > We tried to go all LO internally, but we can’t control documents from outside, which are almost always MS Office formats.

            > And as long as we have to do business with people who use MS Office we will have to do round tripping.

            This is lousy argument I am hearing for decades... "xxx is fine, but we're vendor locked-in at yyy so it has to be that way, BECAUSE EVERYBODY..." (sucks).

            It sounds like "ya know, everbody around us are fools, so we have to be too".

            F* that, even drug dealers diversify their own suppliers.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Lacks the Polish?

        Weird that that "ton of user research" failed to spot the spectacular drop in productivity when they introduced it, something that I experienced myself - they induced a prolonged "where the flying f*ck did they stick that now" period of mining for things that used to be easy to find or lived under an easy shortcut. That was actually the point I totally dropped MS Office 365 and only have it on a machine somewhere to "translate".

        I think you can call it the photoshop effect - you spend time learning where everything is and picking up shortcuts, and only then do you really become productive. Which is, of course, the exact point companies like Microsoft then nuke the current interface and call it "innovation" whereas LibreOffice also experiments with new interfaces but - and this is really, really important - retains access to the old one(s) for those who have actual work to do. In other words, you have a choice, instead of having someone's cocaine induced disaster rammed down your throat because you don't have an alternative anyway.

        That said, I've not been near the presentation side in years, as we run a lot of Macs that has settled on Keynote as a default, probably because that's the only really usable part of what Apple offers as "productivity" suite. I understand what they tried to do (basically Pages and Numbers are DTP applications with wordprocessing and spreadsheet functionality sort of dangling off to the side), but it ain't working for me, and it appears I'm not the only one.

        Oh well, never mind. Back to LO :).

        1. TonyJ Silver badge

          Re: Lacks the Polish?

          "...Weird that that "ton of user research" failed to spot the spectacular drop in productivity when they introduced it, something that I experienced myself - they induced a prolonged "where the flying f*ck did they stick that now" period of mining for things that used to be easy to find or lived under an easy shortcut. That was actually the point I totally dropped MS Office 365 and only have it on a machine somewhere to "translate"..."

          So... hit any Alt + combination and even now, W365 will give you shortcuts to legacy key combos.

          As for the spectacular drop - in all of my time working in EUC I witnessed very little of it. Mostly in finance teams because they had incompatible plugins.

          What about the flip side you so conveniently overlook? People like myself that have to write endless documents in Word and have since back in the day of Office 2003? My productivity increased because I suddenly had easy and fast access to things I knew were there but had to dig around for them because it might not be something I used that often?

          If you include the beta versions of Office 2007, the ribbon has been around since 2006. Pushing 15 years. If it was as horrible to use on a day-to-day basis as the vocal minority on here claim, then MS would have been forced to roll it back and LO would have continued to completely ignore it. So - even if you claim that MS were mulish sticking to it, LO still didn't have to adopt a version of it, did they?

          And.. there are an awful lot of people who've grown up with it.

          I can guarantee for every Linux user on here that hates anything that MS do with a passion and will denigrate any changes as change for change's sake, that I can show you at least the same number - probably more - of "ordinary" or even somewhere between "ordinary" and "power user" (like me) of Office that found the ribbon to be a massive productivity boon.

          I work in the EUC space. I've migrated tens of thousands of users from various versions of Office to newer ones over the years on all flavours of Windows including Server Based Computing and into the latest versions of 365 and as above I can count on one hand the people who didn't like the ribbon and I'd say zero since at least 2010 if not before.

          And you can downvote that as much as you want, but my direct experience will always trump your imagined problems and very real personal dislike.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Lacks the Polish?

            The problem here is that you think all users are alike, based on the users you worked with. The users here are not likely to be like them. I'm not disputing your experiences and maybe your users outnumber what I'd broadly call power users, but personally I found the ribbon a huge PITA and a big step backwards. Your faith in MS's research and infallibity isn't borne out by reality - clippie anyone? Again I'm not disputing the effort MS put into finding a solution for the thorny problem of usability in a big, advanced, product but the ribbon never seemed like a good solution to me. I got to tolerate it. The very first thing was to stop the menu options jumping around based on usage. I'm sure that seemed like a good idea at the time to some MS researcher.

            1. TonyJ Silver badge

              Re: Lacks the Polish?

              However if you read my first post you would realise that I said MS cocked up by allowing the ribbon to become as cluttered as the original menus they were trying to move away from, hence the big push to simplify it again. I am far from an MS fanboy and I will call them out on here (see recently my comments about their cock up allowing Defender services to be stopped, for example).

              I do feel very strongly about this for a few reasons. As I say, I have literally 10's of thousands of users migrated without any notable complaining about the ribbon.

              If it were such an obvious failure, why have LO incorporated it? I notice no one ever seems to answer this one.

              You're right - the user base here is anything but the average worker drone and I would even go so far as to say the concept of a power user here is nothing like the average office power user.

              There is almost always the same comment about the ribbon on here - Office 2007 was when I stopped using Office... fine. No one is/was forcing you to use it (unlike the majority of office users again who don't get any say). This is another thread that is apparent on some of the commentards here - "My choice is good. Any other choice is bad"

              Likewise the folks saying about compatiblity - for chuckles, a little while ago. I fired up a very old copy of my CV that was done in Word 2000, in .DOC format and has quite of bit of heavy styling. Opened fine. No issues whatsoever.

              Also...clippy? It's as relevant as Bob - different times with different concepts of how to make a product useful to the untrained masses but says more about where your mind is with Office as opposed to where Office itself is today.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Lacks the Polish?

                Use a Mac and you still have the menu to fall back on if you don't like the ribbon; there are some functions that are easier to find in the menu and I use whichever is easiest at the time...

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Lacks the Polish?

                If it were such an obvious failure, why have LO incorporated it? I notice no one ever seems to answer this one.

                That's because the answer to that one is so obvious that even an "expert" like yourself should have been able to work it out: to help people who have come from Word. It's not because everybody wants it, it's because it's an option that some people need - even bad choices are still choices, and supported in LO.

                As for "Ihave been very productive for years because ..", well, in those days I was a consultant working for a large outfit with a tech support department that had a macro fetish, so every new report started off with a very badly structured set of header pages, making format code fragmentation pretty much inevitable.

                Despite that, I could work very quickly and so could my colleagues - until the ribbon arrived. I don't doubt that Microsoft has improved on it since, but that's still only climbing back from badly harmed productivity in the first place. In man hours alone it would have saved us a fortune if we had been able to keep the old interface and migrate when we had the time and bandwidth to do so, but instead we had it rammed down our throats without options because Microsoft needed the money for needles "up"dates (it was mor a downgrade IMHO).

                This is why LO eventually won the day for us. There are also other aspects that are more security related, but LO won out initially simply because it paid more attention to user needs.

            2. tiggity Silver badge

              Re: Lacks the Polish?

              Same here, ribbon was a productivity killer compared to old menus in word.

              1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

                Re: Lacks the Polish?

                I remember being subjected to Microsoft's bullshit team as to why the ribbon was so much better than the menu bars.

                They did this by enabling all of the menu bars simultaneously and using this as some kind of justification for making the interface use larger, less obvious icons in more arbitrary orders and groupings.

                The key UI issue, wasn't so much the menus vs menu bars vs ribbons, but more the abject stupidity of how things were organised and therefore how discoverability was left behind. Largely down the side of the sofa with the loose change. The ribbons just change the discoverability problems, they never fixed the actual interface.

          2. DrBed
            Devil

            Re: Lacks the Polish?

            @TonyJ

            And you can downvote that as much as you want, but my direct experience will always be that Trump is your imagined problem but very great person I like.

            ^FTFY

            MAGA!

            1. TonyJ Silver badge

              Re: Lacks the Polish?

              "...@TonyJ

              And you can downvote that as much as you want, but my direct experience will always be that Trump is your imagined problem but very great person I like.

              ^FTFY

              MAGA!..."

              That brought nothing to the discussion. Grow up and take your medicine again.

              For one thing I'm a Brit. For another anyone with half a brain found and finds Trump loathsome.

              Don't you have a bridge you should be under?

      3. Zolko Bronze badge

        Re: Lacks the Polish?

        "as a business user, just use Word. You know it's compatible"

        no it's not: if you mix Word versions from Mac and Windows, Office 2013 and 2016, English, Italian, German and French documents, NOTHING is compatible. For example, tables are called "Tabellen" in German and "Tables" in French, so if you edit a document created by a German colleague and add a French table to it, the table indexes don't update. Or if you copy-paste a portion of text from one document into another, and the styles of headers are different, you will end up with headers all mixed up and you have to manually correct everything. If you import a picture and want to add some elements to it (like arrows or circles) the elements are all anchored to some magic place, and if you later want to change the size of the picture it's all over the place.

        Also, LibreOffice's simple UI is now infinitely superior to Words: where the bloody f****ck is "Search and Replace" in Word now ?

        1. TonyJ Silver badge

          Re: Lacks the Polish?

          I've worked for global companies such as WBA. It is incredibly rare to be shuffling the type of multi-language content around that you mentioned.

          Maybe your businesses are structured differently and it does sound like a nightmare - is it fixed by adding the correct language packs? Genuine question.

          Search - Ctrl + F. Search and Replace - Ctrl + H - as it's been literally forever. Or View - Check Navigation Pane. Also where it's been since Word 2007.

          Not sure why you get such different styles - you do have the option to match the source destination or destination formatting or just keep the text. But... I won't argue that Word does get it wrong catastrophically sometimes and then it becomes a pain (or a macro) to fix and neither should be the case.

          I do also concede that the anchoring is a fucking nightmare and always has been. That is definitely something they need to improve.

          In terms of version compatibility - I've got colleagues who use Office for Mac and the last few versions have had no such issues. Ditto earlier versions of Windows versions of Office.

          I would also flip the argument around because everyone is so focussed on the perceived problems with MS Office - what about the issues and bugs that in LO? Including some long term ones that probably won't get fixed (one was mentioned earlier in the thread)?

          How does LO handle all of your mixed languages and versions you mentioned above?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Lacks the Polish?

            Ah yes, mixing languages.

            Wasn't it MS Excel that came up with the brilliant idea to not tokenise formulas so a German spreadsheet didn't work on, for instance, an English varian because Germans use "SUMME" as opposed to the English "SUM"? That was an epic disaster.

            As for bugs, that won't make a difference in either, other than that with LO I can go to any other platform if I want security, and as long as the platform has the same fonts available, documents will even render the same.

          2. yetanotheraoc

            Re: Lacks the Polish?

            "Search - Ctrl + F. Search and Replace - Ctrl + H - as it's been literally forever."

            Sure yes. But if you don't already know that, how do you find out? In the proper cascading menus the shortcut is right next to the menu item:

            * Search ........ Ctrl+F

            * Replace ...... Ctrl+H

            With a ribbon, the shortcut still works, and it's great for me because I know the shortcut already, which is the case *because* I used to use a menu. And I bet you learned the shortcut the same way I did. I can find a list of shortcuts by searching the web. But the menu is a better teaching tool: "What was that shortcut again? Dang, I don't remember. Oh well, there's always the menu. Oh right, *that's* the shortcut. I'll remember it next time."

            So, tell us again the ribbon is just as good as the old cascading menu?

      4. yetanotheraoc

        Re: Lacks the Polish?

        "If you ask users ..."

        There's more than one kind of user.

        I used Excel for the first time in early 1990s when taking over a manager's work so they could get something more important done. I couldn't afford MS Office on my own laptop, so I had never even seen Excel before that. I got on by tapping the Alt key and arrowing through the menus to find the feature I figured was probably there if I knew where to look.

        The hated ribbon has broken that discoverability. So while it may be easier to "find" things on the ribbon when you already know where they are, it's impossible to find something when you don't know the location. That *was* possible with a proper cascading menu, and the ribbon changes the meaning of find to be more like "remember". These days the quickest way to find a feature that I figure is probably there if I knew where to look is by searching the web. (Oh yes, the office help system last worked properly in 97. Don't get me started.) Consequently my rate of learning new features in Excel fell off a cliff, and I spend most of my time in VBA automating routine tasks.

        The Ribbon is a UI for people whose knowledge of computers amounts to first click this, then click that. I will admit where I work that's most of them.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lacks the Polish?

      Wow: 12 years and people still can't cope with a GUI change...

      There's nothing wrong with the Office ribbon. There isn't now, and there never was. Just old people who can't learn new skills (systemd)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Lacks the Polish?

        Referring to systemd is like the new Godwin's.

      2. Gnomalarta
        Thumb Down

        Re: Lacks the Polish?

        I only exist to call out ageism wherever it is to be found.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just old people who can't learn new skills

        The problem is "just people who can't learn new skills", the "old" is you being a bigot.

        When you're a little more mature you'll realise the confidence of youth is based on inexperience.

      4. croxed

        Re: Lacks the Polish?

        I think Dilbert captured the thinking behind the changes really well recently https://dilbert.com/strip/2021-01-11

    4. WolfFan Silver badge

      Re: Lacks the Polish?

      No, Writer is NOT better than Word. Style support is not as good as Word 2003; Word style support has improved with every new version, so Word 2019 is _considerably_ better at it than Writer. Table support is improved over what it was, but still isn’t up to Word; LO’s problem is that Word has had good table support since 1986, LO has a lot to catch up on. At least they’re better with tables than with styles. (Yes, I spend a lot of my day with tables, and use styles a LOT, I don’t use Pages because I hate the way it does styles, and, to a lesser extent, tables.)

      Worse, the suggested ‘save as ODT, export to DOCX’ causes problems. Part of it is that DOCX is a moving target. Part of it is that some LO features are not available in DOCX, including lots of stuff to do with styles and tables, and this appears to be deliberate; things under the hood are not quite compatible. Exporting causes complex documents to have serious problems. (Guess how I know) And because some features are not available in DOCX, you _must_ save as ODT and export… and then spend time fixing the problems.

      The majority of my documents go to MS Office users. It’s simply easier to just use MS Office and have done.

      I don’t care about the Ribbon. I really don’t. I do care about my documents. I can generate documents my way with MS Office and minimal effort, while it takes effort to do the same in LO, and more effort to fix the exports.

      And, one more thing: there are MS Office versions available for iPad. No official LO for iPad. I can touch up my MS Office documents from my iPad, but not any LO documents. Being able to fix things on an iPad has been a lifesaver more than once. Not having an official iOS version is a significant handicap for LO.

      YMMV.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Lacks the Polish?

        And, one more thing: there are MS Office versions available for iPad. No official LO for iPad. I can touch up my MS Office documents from my iPad, but not any LO documents. Being able to fix things on an iPad has been a lifesaver more than once. Not having an official iOS version is a significant handicap for LO.

        It's called Collabora Office. Collabora is one of the more active contributors to LO.

    5. J27 Silver badge

      Re: Lacks the Polish?

      I honestly don't think the ribbon is any worse than the menus, at least after the first 1 month work in period. Do I think it's better? Not really, but Microsoft has to do something to claim they've improved the Office suite. A product that's been functionally complete since 1997.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Basic macros & file operations

    Oh dear, I hope that isn't an accident waiting to happen. A whole new world of toxic documents.

    1. Roger Kynaston Silver badge

      Re: Basic macros & file operations

      Downvoted for the old reference. Also, the ribbon was a pig to get to know and that is one of the reasons I persisted with Open Office and into LibreOffice. My boss lady was a big user of Office productivity software and she hates the ribbon still. Menus evolved a long time ago and they work. Getting rid of them was not wise.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And yet no Android version

    They can slap it on an M1, yet cannot slap it on Android and run it on a tablet?

    The problem here is Google's choices with Android:

    No paged virtual memory support in Android, apps are limited to 512Mb heap, Windows had virtual memory since Windows 3.1 in 1992 FFS, so why not Android? You Google programmers know how to do a the super-fast paged heap garbage collector/compactor right? The type where you remap pages not copy bytes around? These are 64 bit processors now, you have all that address space to page into. You can make it faster AND support large memory models for apps in Android. I have a tablet in front of me that cost barely $150 and has 8GB RAM, and yet the OS on it lets me access 1/16th of that RAM! This needs fixed!

    Android apps have a lifespan determined by Google code, not the user. So no "save work before exit?". That data you worked on all day? Poof and its gone when you switch apps.

    Poor cross platform independence, all the crap of variable screen sizes is loaded onto the apps.

    Piss poor stylus support. By default (excluding Samsung) you won't get hover events in Android, so apps cannot use stylus-Hover unless they're designed exclusively for Samsung devices.

    Mouse events likewise not device independent, a click isn't downgraded to touch event if the app doesn't support clicks.

    Some incredibly bad GUI design choices. Take a tablet it will usually be used in landscape, so its a letterbox with limited vertical screen space. So then someone decides to take the top part as the status bar, and the bottom part as the navigation bar. A big thick bar across the bottom with 3 pissy little buttons on it. So now your landscape tablet screen is even more letter box format! WHY?

    You can hide the bars in an app, but that only really works if you hide top AND bottom together (your full screen mode puts the app interface under the status bar even if you're not going to hide the status bar) and those bars will pop straight back up when you tap the screen. You tap on the app to do something and the navigation bar pops right back up as if every tap means the user is finished with the app. This is a business app and you probably want the status bar there all the time, but the navigation buttons you only need when you're finished with the app..... and since they are designed to work on a phone in portrait, you could fit the navigation buttons on the middle of the status bar in when in landscape. There simply isn't a need to waste huge tracts of screen.

    It should be trivial to port apps like Libre Office to Android and get them to work consistently, but it is not. Fix this.

    1. Rosie Davies

      Re: And yet no Android version

      Have you tried AndrOpenOffice? I have it on my phone and it sort of works well enough, certainly well enough I was prepared to pay fir it. Though the phone is a Cosmo, I'd hate to try and use it without a proper keyboard.

      Rosie

    2. HellDeskJockey-ret

      Re: And yet no Android version

      It might help to remember that Google docs is included in the latest versions of Android. As I have an aversion to installing more apps that works for me. If I have serious writing to do get out the desktop/laptop and have at it. I do use Libre Office on my Linux box.

    3. Ilgaz

      Re: And yet no Android version

      I hate to say it (I hope I misunderstood) but isn't there a complete MS Office for Android which is identical to Windows version? It isn't like MS got access to "hidden Android features" either.

  6. BenDwire
    Go

    Ribbon UI in Office 97?

    Much complexity and history lurks here. Menu bloat is a problem with these massive office applications, which Microsoft addressed with its ribbon UI in Office 97.

    No, Office 97 was a good version! The ribbon was introduced in Office 2007 for Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Access.

    I switched my company to Open Office and then Libre Office as my users wanted to cling on to Office 97 well into the 21st century. It's always been good enough for what we needed, although LO has performed significantly better in later releases.

    And yes, I used to donate to TDF

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Ribbon UI

      Ah yes, we got the 7 right. It's easy to think the 1990s were last decade sometimes. It's fixed.

      Don't forget, please, to email corrections@theregister.com if you spot anything wrong. We fixed this within a minute of someone emailing this slip-up to us just now, whereas it takes hours to get round to reading all the comments on stories after editing and writing articles etc.

      C.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ribbon UI in Office 97?

      WHY "Used to" . If you use why not donate now.

  7. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    a desktop tool in an era of cloud and mobile

    And highly to be praised for that.

    I'm not part of a team working on collaborative documents; my documents, my storage, my problem, thanks.

    1. LogicGate

      Re: a desktop tool in an era of cloud and mobile

      And well suited for the coming era of safely air-gapped corporate documentation..

  8. davebarnes

    I donated

    I donated. As an individual. They have a 501(3)(c) which is good for us old farts doing QCDs from our tIRAs.

    1. Dr_Bingley

      Re: I donated

      IIRC, the ODF cannot actually use donations to help pay for development due to the way it is registered in Germany. They can use it for promotional activities and things like server capacity, though.

  9. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker Silver badge

    "Reveal Codes in WordPerfect (remember that?)"

    I lived by that feature! I had some basic typing experience with WP5 for DOS but really got into it with WP6 for Win3.1 -- a whole new world of WYSIWYG, fonts, layouts, etc. (And the high school had laser printers instead of tractor-feed.)

    When I learned HTML a year or two later the idea of markups and tags made perfect sense.

    (Sadly the school converted to MS Orifice because of Win95 around the same time.)

    1. Andy Miller

      Re: "Reveal Codes in WordPerfect (remember that?)"

      I hung onto WordPerfect for years to keep Reveal Codes. The amount of time I spend these days thinking "Why in the name of all that's holy has Word stuck That content There, and how do I stop it!?". Please, I want reveal codes back !

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. stuartnz

    Lacks Polish? Partly true, by extension

    One of the main reasons I update today was the promise of the new Extension Manager interface. I am now running 7.1.3 and there has been no change at all to the Extension Manager. The Release Notes direct readers to a blog post about the new dialog https://yusufketen.com/post/2020-08-31-libreoffice-gsoc-final-report/ that seems to confirm the "lacks polish" problem. As I get older and lazier, I'm a big fan of "it just works", so even though I'm sticking with LO because it's "Local Office" not "Cloud Office", it would be nice if some of the sharp geeky edges could be smoothed a bit.

  12. Dr_Bingley

    I'd actually be happy to pay or donate money to Collabora, which I think is the largest contributor.

    All of their subscriptions seem to be aimed at companies, however. Why not do wat Crossover do? Offer a refined version of the Open Source product for a reasonable price, and thus allow users to get a better user experience as well as an opportunity to support a product they value.

    1. stuartnz

      I checked out Collabora's sample offer, abut it seemed more aimed at businesses who want online access, hence "Collabora", I guess. Like you, if they offered a paid version available for download that was "gussied up" a bit, I'd happily give them my money.

  13. Jimbo94

    WordPerfect (remember that?)

    Oh yes. WP5.1 - best word processor ever produced. Then along came Word for Windows. Which was great, though only if you had three hands.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quick heads up on a language pack bug that has now been fixed

    LibreOffice 7.1. has an interesting bug in that a language pack would fail to install if the Mac had "show extensions" enabled (pretty much the default for any security minded user).

    The interim fix was to disable "show all filename extensions" in the Finder advanced settings until the install was complete, but there's already a (working) fix been pushed into the daily compiles that addresses this, and that is expected to be part of the 7.1.1 release.

    Aside from that I noticed that LibreOffice is now just about the fastest starting major application on an M1. I have not seen it start this fast in years.

    The only thing left to do is now to use the proper Mac input routines so you could enter accented characters as is the norm in all other applications on MacOS - for the moment you either have to get the right keyboard or learn your keyboard's deadkeys, the UI in LibreOffice for this is, umm, how, do I put this politely, utter rubbish. On the plus side, that keeps the NeoOffice guys in business..

  15. werdsmith Silver badge

    Software is not a religious cult. Use the one that works best for up you. Choose the car that works best for your requirements. Linux, Mac or Windows. Canon or Nikon. Neither is best of all, only best for you.

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