back to article Is it a bird? Is it Microsoft Office? No, it's Onlyoffice: Version 7.2 released

The latest point-release of Onlyoffice, a free Microsoft Office-compatible suite, is here with multiple small improvements and better support for Asian and African writing systems. Despite Microsoft's seemingly unassailable hegemony, Office does still have rivals other than Google Docs. There's more than one free-and-open- …

  1. Joe W Silver badge

    Ligatures

    Well, they are more common than one would think, even in English. Like in "fluid", in print the "fl" would be a single type. There's a bunch of other combinations that make up a ligature.

    I might take a look at it, though I am happy with Libreoffice at the moment. I have some... problems... with MS Word, so much so that my colleague has forbidden me to edit documents (even if I just open and close a file, things get messed up). Yeah, at work I have to use it. Don't really like it.

  2. tiggity Silver badge

    Ribbon

    The touted Ribbon interface is not necessarily a selling point for many users

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      Re: Ribbon

      I would say it's a mis-selling point - for me, at least, it is.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Ribbon

        You are not alone. I consider it the worst UI innovation in years.

        Still, if we all liked the same things, eh?

    2. drand

      Re: Ribbon

      Totally agree, I find it hateful, but I suspect it's a play for MS refugees - the more similar the UI, the less organisations have to worry about retraining and supporting users if they do take the plunge away from Word.

    3. Miss Config
      Meh

      Re: Ribbon

      I have always assumed that the Ribbon is about Microsoft office ( small 'o' ) politics.

      Their programmers are paid and even promoted depending on how many 'great new ideas' they can add to the ribbon.

      Whether customers actually use all those brand new facilities is entirely secondary.

    4. StrangerHereMyself Bronze badge

      Re: Ribbon

      I don't agree. It's basically a tabbed toolbar, nothing more.

      1. karlkarl Silver badge

        Re: Ribbon

        So you think a tabbed toolbar is a selling point?

        Strange.

  3. andy 103
    WTF?

    but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

    but if you prefer something that looks more like Office 365, and perhaps has rather better file compatibility with it, Onlyoffice is shaping up strongly

    If you prefer something more like Office 365, why not just use Office 365? I've never understood the "benefits" of these MS Office alternatives because it usually only ever boils down to price. Office isn't expensive, and if you think it is then you probably have bigger problems than finding an alternative to it.

    As for Microsoft Office 2021 you can buy it for *a lifetime of use* for £120. If you used it even for 2-3 years the cost is negligible.

    Most businesses use MS Office and don't run Linux on employee hardware. So the OS argument is defunct too.

    So what is the use-case for: somebody who wants an office suite - outside of a workplace - and isn't using Windows/MacOS - and needs the equivalent functionality that MS Office provides? How are all 3 of those people not managing?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

      Plenty of thumbs down yet nobody has given a use case!

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

        The O/P has applied so many conditional statements that no alternative could exist.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

        IMHO MS is slowly making everyone move all their files into their cloud. It is subtle but all my colleagues are refusing to let management roll it out across the company. Many of them go to sites where internet is NOT allowed so... You fill in the blanks. Forget to make sure that your commissioning doc is on the HDD and that's a whole day wasted.

        Some of us in the IT department moved to Linux 3-4 years ago. All our servers are Linux so it makes sense. It also means that Orifice 365 is not an option. Now we hear that MS is threatening to block access to future Exchange servers from non MS apps. Effing morons. We (As in IT dept) are making plans in the background to deploy our own email server. Google is not an option for obvious security reasons.

        As an SME, we get forgotten by MS.

        Perhaps we should all move to Mac's.?

        1. ICL1900-G3 Bronze badge
          Headmaster

          Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

          I agree with everything you said - except Mac's. It is Macs!

      3. steelpillow Silver badge

        Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

        People who work from home or other arbitrary off-site locations (look up "contractor") may well have *nix based desktops which suffer limited file compatibility with MS Office. Being able to handle your client's files smoothly is critical, so if they use arcane Office features the usual stuff like LibreOffice can leave you floundering. Anything that has better file compatibility, and can be picked up for free when the need arises, has to be a Good Thing.

        In my case, it tends to be reading documents produced by local council officers who have just come off an MS Office training course and want to show off. Then, there are the community activists with a huge "anybody who does not believe in Microsoft, UFOs and my inalienable right to shaft them, deserves to be shafted anyway" chip on their shoulders.

        Feel free to count the use cases there.

        1. andy 103

          Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

          Being able to handle your client's files smoothly is critical,

          Right, so if it's critical then presumably you'd be using the appropriate tool for the job, i.e. MS Office running on either Windows or MacOS.

          You can clearly see the contradiction with your previous statement ...may well have *nix based desktops. So by this analogy, they should use a Mac / MacOS for all of that work? Right tools for the job and all that.

          1. d3vy

            Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

            "Right, so if it's critical then presumably you'd be using the appropriate tool for the job, i.e. MS Office running on either Windows or MacOS."

            My main reason for remaining on windows and using office is that I know 90% of my clients will have the same setup for their employees - Makes everything much easier if Im using the same tools.

        2. gerryg

          Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

          I agree with your assessment of documents produced by local councils but would extend it to many other organisations: central government, charities, NGOs etc.

          It seems like they take the opportunity to use every feature of their office suite to decorate documents baroque-style despite the intention that they get completed and returned electronically.

          I can't believe it's that easy to work online with designed for print features using the same office suite. But it can be painful using LO.

          It's possibly some form of localised expression of being in control but it does make things very difficult for the user.

          Whether it is cock-up or conspiracy I leave to others

          1. NATTtrash Silver badge

            Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

            ...documents produced by local councils...

            Are we talking "just reading" here, or are we talking "collaborative composition"?

            All the documents we work with (in healthcare, government aso) by definition are (required) to be pdf. So those can be as baroque as they like, pdf is pdf. Although I must admit the occasional Word file does pop up of somebody doing a rogue low level action...

            As for collaborative composition: yeah, well, that ship already left with WP4 and the introduction of the WYSIWYG GUI right? That's when people seemed to get more concerned (and spent days) on the selection of "the right" font" instead of just producing the text that was their core task to begin with. So I do not think that is an issue connected to the choice/ use of a specific office suite...

            1. steelpillow Silver badge

              Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

              You are seemingly being confined to official "public communications" which are legally required to be distributed. Financial spreadsheets, working drafts, Powerpoint presentations and other formats with beyond-PDF functionality are often have to be shared with interested parties, such as the local CALC (County Association of Local Councils), the financial auditor and so forth.

              I usually return documents in one OpenOffice format or another, on the grounds that these are at least as legitimate as the proprietary formats they use. I also attach a PDF so they have no excuse for failing to read it when their version management system barfs on the source format. :)

              1. NATTtrash Silver badge
                Pint

                Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

                I also attach a PDF so they have no excuse for failing to read it when their version management system barfs on the source format. :)

                Ah, so far apart, but similar minds... ;)))

    2. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

      Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

      It's not only about price. It can also be about retaining control over your own data, or having a choice if the software supplier takes a path you don't like.

      Then there is the warrentless surveillance of course.

      1. andy 103

        Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

        It can also be about retaining control over your own data, or having a choice if the software supplier takes a path you don't like.

        It's these bullshit arguments which prompted me to write the original post.

        Retaining control over your data? So local file storage then. Office 2021 can be used without any kind of cloud based storage, as can all of these other MS Office alternatives. Warrantless surveillance argument also goes out of the window here. There's no difference in this regard to using Office 2021, Libreoffice, Onlyoffice, whatever-office. You can have a local installation and save your data locally, if you're really paranoid.

        As for if they take a path you don't like? We hardly need to worry about this because it seems every other developer of an Office alternative is keen to make sure it can work with MS Office files!. Not that anyone gives a shit and I'd be willing to bet 99.9% of businesses won't be looking for an alternative just because Microsoft changes an underlying file format or makes some questionable UI decision (it certainly hasn't stopped most of them so far!).

        No I'm afraid these arguments are all just moot points that are in the heads of people who are in the significant minority of users. So back to that question of use-case? Literally under 1% of the population, at a push.

        1. HereIAmJH

          Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

          How about those of us who have been in the industry for a very long time, and don't want to reward Microsoft for their previous bad behavior by giving them money that we don't have to?

          If I need 100% MS Office compatibility, I have machines with MS Office. For everything else that just needs to create an occasional document or spreadsheet, those machines all get LibreOffice. With the added benefit that I don't have to worry about document compatibility between Windows/Mac/Linux platforms.

        2. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

          There's a lot of people who have suffered a Microsoft "update/upgrade" suddenly rendering all (or worse, a significant subset) of their important documents unreadable.

          There are documents that need to be available and editable a decade or more later.

          O365 means MS will update you without any way back, or you will lose it entirely if you stop paying monthly. If you find that you need the version from a decade ago, the answer is No.

          Local storage doesn't help if you can't read the file.

          The open source alternatives are the backstop. Lose those, and you are very likely to be screwed in a few years.

          1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

            There are documents that need to be available and editable a decade or more later.

            Available/readable is what PDF is for. Editable? Use copy/paste from the PDF, that also takes care of archival integrity.

          2. d3vy

            Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

            "There are documents that need to be available and editable a decade or more later."

            Maybe this is anecdotal but ive yet to find a file from the old days that office 2016 (The last one I paid for - Ill be upgrading again soon) cant open. Stuff I created back in word '97 still opens without any issues - maybe excel is different I didnt do much with spread sheets back in the old days but Ive had NO compatibility issues at all.

        3. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

          Office 2021 can be used without any kind of cloud based storage.

          So why does Autosave insist on a OneDrive account to enable & use it?

        4. 43300 Bronze badge

          Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

          "Office 2021 can be used without any kind of cloud based storage"

          Well, yes it can if you are determined (and know what to avoid) - but it will nevertheless steer you towards Microsoft's cloudy services whenever it has the opportunity, and some functions (like the autosave slider at the top) simply won't work unless the files are on Sharepoint.

    3. Crypto Monad

      Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

      > As for Microsoft Office 2021 you can buy it for *a lifetime of use* for £120

      FYI, that's licensed for non-business use only. If you need to use it for any business purposes, you'll pay £250. And although it's "a lifetime", support ends in Oct 2026.

      It's still considerably cheaper than paying for Office 365 over that period, especially if you buy it shortly after its release date.

    4. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

      If you've never understood the importance of not having a single supplier then you've never run a business. Monopolies are never good for customers.

    5. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

      £120 up front is still a decent chunk of cash. Especially since much of the programme's functionality may never be used.

      £0 is always zero.

      And Office is only one of the many bits of software that home office users might need, but where paid versions come at a useful cost.

      Indeed there are a number of programmes I use in the free versions because I can't justify the significant cost of buying the paid/annual version. The step up from free to the all bells and whistles paid is just too steep. FBackup is free. The paid version Backup4All is $50. Not a lot of money, I know. But still in the bracket where Mrs Terry6 is going to be saying "You paid £50 for what?"

      Where there is an inexpensive paid version of a programme I need, with just a small additional bit of useful (to me) function I pay for it happily.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

      I'll give this a whirl.

      1. Some of us don't want to be under Microsoft's thumb any more than absolutely necessary. Work may dictate that we must use Microsoft's crap office suite while on the clock, but in our own free-time, with our own money, we may not want to have to deal further with Microsoft's garbage.

      2. Some of us dislike the way Office works, especially the GUI elements that Microsoft keeps fucking with such as the ribbon or the bothersome dialogs to save a file, to name just a few.

      3. Some of us may not appreciate all the neat, new features that Microsoft continually splonks into their software whether we want it or not.

      4. Believe it or not, some of us don't LIKE constant change for change's sake in our software.

      5. Some of us just may not want to financially support the monopolist Microsoft.

    7. Robert Grant Silver badge

      Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

      > If you prefer something more like Office 365, why not just use Office 365

      I prefer software that crashes less. O365 is terrible for collaboration. Try Confluence or Google Docs. I'm not saying the Microsoft engineers didn't do a heroic job, but it's just such a legacy product they probably can't spend the time they need on basic collaboration features working really well.

    8. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

      > why not just use Office 365?

      How many reasons would you like?

      * It costs money. One might not want to spend money, or might not have money to spend.

      * It doesn't run on Linux. I prefer Linux to Windows, thanks.

      * It's closed-source and proprietary. I'd prefer something open.

    9. Alumoi Silver badge

      Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

      you can buy it for *a lifetime of use*

      Your or MSO2021 lifetime?

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

        We all, surely, know that in the computer industry "lifetime" means you can use a given product for as long as they want you to, after which it will be allowed to degrade or at worst, killed off completely.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

          <* sniff *> Goodbye Flash

          <* sniff *> Goodbye Internet Exploder

          1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

            <* cheering *> Good riddance of Flash

            <* cheering *> Good riddance of Internet Exploder

            FTFY ;)

    10. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

      Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

      "So what is the use-case for: somebody who wants an office suite - outside of a workplace - and isn't using Windows/MacOS - and needs the equivalent functionality that MS Office provides? How are all 3 of those people not managing?"

      I can't speak for the other two people, but the employer provides MS Windows / MS Office, at home I'm getting along fine with LibreOffice. I don't need a ribbon or extra MS Office compatibility, if I did then I would give OnlyOffice a look.

      (shrug) It seems you are winding up for a rant, but only succeeding at shouting into the wind?

    11. mark l 2 Silver badge

      Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

      A 'lifetime of use' is not your lifetime but the lifetime of the product which is decided by Microsoft, who might EOL it in a couple of years which means your £120 is not as much of a bargain as you make out it to be, unless you want to risk running an out of date version of the software? In which case you might was well pick up a copy of MS Office 2007 for £10 from ebay which will probably do 99% of the stuff you will ever do on a newer version of Office and save yourself £110.

      Ive never tried Onlyoffice myself as I don't really need MS Office compatibility but if i did require to collaborate with MS Office users then it might be a better choice than Libreoffice - which i currently use - which can have issues when opening more complex documents created in Microsoft Office.

    12. Stork Silver badge

      Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

      I’ll bite. I use Libre Office as the UI reminds me of MSO from years back, I can find my way around it and it doesn’t (or at least rarely) gets in my way. MSO always tries to guess what formatting I want.

    13. 43300 Bronze badge

      Re: but if you prefer something ... more like Office 365

      "As for Microsoft Office 2021 you can buy it for *a lifetime of use* for £120"

      That'll be one of the cut-down versions. The full Pro+ edition (which has all the programs) will be a lot more than that!

  4. katrinab Silver badge
    Meh

    What is the OnlyOffice Nextcloud integration like these days?

    Last time I tried it, which I think was about 3 years ago, it didn't really work with high dpi displays, as everything was way too small. Has that been fixed yet?

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Very little software is truly rescaleable. Some will try to assess the screen resolution and apply a fixed multiplier, but it would be far more useful to allow the user to decide - especially for those with sight issues.

      P.S. and KEEP to the size and positions the user wants.

  5. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

    Interesting?

    The latest point-release of Onlyoffice, a free Microsoft Office-compatible suite, is here with multiple small improvements

    Hmmm, I've had some issues with Libre Office recently, I wonder if this is worth looking at. I'll read on....

    Onlyoffice has a more modern ribbon-based interface

    Nope. Nopety nope nope. Thrice nope. With a great big side order of nope.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Interesting?

      TBH, given the fact it's using a decent GUI toolkit, I think that, for many people, OnlyOffice is the best free Office clone out there.

      I'm still getting feedback about random problems with LibreOffice's handling of perfectly good OOXML files, with which OpenOffice doesn't have problems, which suggests they have problems both with the development process and QA.

  6. AlanSh

    I like ribbons

    I'll be the odd one out then. I like the ribbon based system that came with Office 2016/2019. I don't like the replacement with the Office 365 version. It's been dumbed down and I wish I could go back. I'll have a look at ONLYOFFICE (with shouty bits)>

    Alan

    1. aerogems Silver badge

      Re: I like ribbons

      I like them too... At least on the whole. They're a much more efficient use of screen space and lets you expose a much larger number of features without needing to go into dialog boxes 2-3 layers deep. It took some time and effort to break old habits and learn new ones, but the payoff was worth it.

      What I really miss is the Formatting Pallet from Office v.X and 2004 on the Mac platform, of which the Ribbon is kind of a pale imitation. It's a pity they didn't just port that over to the Windows version, but I guess it's more common for people to use windows maximized on Windows compared to Mac (where Apple seems to go out of their way to make it difficult to do) so it wouldn't have fit quite as well with the overall aesthetic.

  7. Lazlo Woodbine Silver badge

    I've tried various MS Office alternatives, and nothing seems to be quite as good as MS Office for me personally, and seeing as I don't have to pay for it as I have an Education licence through work I usually just go back to using MS Office.

    The last one I tried was WPS Office and whilst I found it looked OK, it has the most inaccurate word count I've ever encountered.

    The document I was working on was 250,000 words or thereabouts, Word and Google Docs argued about which side of 250k we were, but they were close. WPS Office on the other hand reported over 275,000 words and I can't find any reason why it's so far out,

    I will try ONLYOFFICE when my new computer arrives at the weekend.

    1. TVU

      "and nothing seems to be quite as good as MS Office for me personally"

      What I use for MS compatibility is the paid-for SoftmakerOffice together with the free online version of MS Office and no one can tell that I am not using MS Office.

      PS Their free FreeOffice is pretty good too and that's what I install for other people who want a free office suite.

      1. Lazlo Woodbine Silver badge

        I've tried FreeOffice and found docx compatibility to be sketchy at best when given a reasonably complex document.

        I quite like the free online MS Office but it throws up one very annoying issue, the site where I upload my work doesn't like the docx files it creates and really mangles the paragraph formatting. No idea what the problem is.

        All I have to do to fix it is to open the office online document in desktop Word and then reupload it and the file is fixed.

        Google Docs is also fine, and produces a docx suitable for uploading, but Docs really struggles with a file over about 90,000 words - or it does on my Mac Mini with 16gb RAM...

  8. Kristian Walsh

    They keep using that word, but I do not think it means…

    …what they think it means. The feature they’re describing isn’t “ligatures”.

    Ligatures in English and other European languages are basically stylistic choices, not a requirement of the language. Other European languages might use what look like ligatures to English speakers, but are actually letters in their own right: To Danes, “æ” is just as much a letter as “w” is to English-speakers, and the French “œ” represents a different sound to the two letters “oe”, and “ß” isn’t interchangeable with “ss” in German (Swiss notwithstanding). Every other joining of letters is done to make text look “interesting” or to solve kerning problems, like ff, fl, fb, ffi, and fi in typefaces where the f glyph has a long overhang to right. Anyone who actually types the “fl” codepoint (U+FBO2) into a document is causing more harm that good - that code only exists for round-trip encoding compatibility with the original MacRoman 8-bit encoding from 1984 - it is not a character.

    (As an aside, I have a pet hate of monospaced fonts that form ligatures, and I reserve a special place in hell for the ones that try to get all arts-and-crafts-movement with the punctuation combinations used by programming languages: after decades of training my eyes to find &&, <=, !=, +=, ++, ==, ?. and other digraphs in code, rearranging them into artsy shapes only hides them from view)

    Unlike Latin scripts, in calligraphic scripts like Arabic, ligatures are essential to creating legible text, rather than something that looks like a jumble of individual letters thrown on a page.

    But from the sound of it, and the examples used, this release isn’t talking about ligatures at all, but what’s called contextual rearrangement: the way that some writing systems lay out glyphs (the shapes that we in English call “letters”, “numbers” or “punctuation”) in a different order to the reading or storage order. This is common to pretty much all of the scripts used to write the native languages of India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

    Here's an example in Sinhala, as used in the Sri Lankan language of the same name: ඵ + ේ → ඵේ

    If your browser rendered that right, you'll notice that the second character has “wrapped around” the first, with one part of it being rendered to the left, and the small diacritic mark from the second character (the bit that looks like a p) now sitting to the right.

    These days, most software can display this sort of thing properly (it uses a finite-state automaton described in the text renderer and/or the font itself to choose the appropriate cluster glyph based on the input sequence), but for an editor, locating your cursor within one of these clusters as you move it “left” or “right” is a more complex problem.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: They keep using that word, but I do not think it means…

      In other words, "ligatures" are what makes "joined-up" handwriting writing joined up.

      1. Kristian Walsh

        Re: They keep using that word, but I do not think it means…

        Yes. Early typefaces used a lot of ligatures, in order to make (cheap) printed books look like (expensive) written manuscripts - Gutenberg’s Bible uses about sixty different ligatures, as well as variations of each standalone letter, in an attempt to make the printed pages look like they were produced from the much more expensive woodcut process.

        Most modern “handwriting” fonts use carefully designed beginning and end stokes such that when the letters are printed right up against each other, the strokes join up. But, when type was set with metal, you couldn’t easily overprint one character with another like this, so “handwriting” faces had to use lots of ligatures to deal with letter combinations - an early (and famous) example of is the Claude Garamond’s “Grecs du roi” greek typeface from the mid-16th century. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grecs_du_roi )

    2. Irony Deficient Silver badge

      Re: They keep using that word, but I do not think it means…

      …what they think it means. The feature they’re describing isn’t “ligatures”.

      I mostly agree with your comments, except for the following:

      Page 304 of version 15.0 of Unicode describes the characters from U+FB00 through U+FB06 (viz the set of ligated Latin characters from legacy encodings) as “Latin Ligatures”.

      Anyone who actually types the “fl” codepoint (U+FB02) into a document is causing more harm that good - that code only exists for round-trip encoding compatibility with the original MacRoman 8-bit encoding from 1984 - it is not a character.

      In Unicode, the “Latin Ligatures” are characters — only the codepoints that are associated with “surrogates” (16-bit code units that when paired are reserved for representing 17- to 21-bit codepoints) and “noncharacters” (e.g. U+FFFE and U+FFFF) are not characters. The Unicode-preferred method of creating a “f‍l” ligature is “f”, then the zero-width joiner (ZWJ, U+200D), then “l”, but that method requires both OS and typeface support for the ZWJ. (I’d used this method for the ligature in the previous sentence; it’s not rendered as a ligature on my crusty laptop.)

      (As an aside, I have a pet hate of monospaced fonts that form ligatures, and I reserve a special place in hell for the ones that try to get all arts-and-crafts-movement with the punctuation combinations used by programming languages: after decades of training my eyes to find &&, <=, !=, +=, ++, ==, ?. and other digraphs in code, rearranging them into artsy shapes only hides them from view)

      Monospaced fonts that include ligatures have historical precedent on typewriters, so they can be essential for documenting typewriter character sets, although that is a specialized niche. Is there a reason that you use typefaces with “arts-and-crafts-movement punctuation” with code, given your distaste for them?

      1. Kristian Walsh

        Re: They keep using that word, but I do not think it means…

        I agree with your comment entirely, because I was careful to use the word “letter”, not “character”. You are correct that these are all characters, because that’s what as Unicode calls them, although, personally, I try to use the word “codepoint” when talking about Unicode values, because it removes ambiguity (far too many C programmers grew up thinking “byte” means “character” and vice-versa), but what these ligature characters are not is letters. Using these very specific codes instead of the letters they represent in text will make your documents hard to search properly.

        The ZWJ sequence is the “proper” way to encode ligation, and you need font support for it to look right (which it does, by the way). But when you enter those three codepoints into a document, you are stating that you specifically want to represent the two letters “fl” stuck together as one unit, not just an f followed by l in normal text. Except in texts discussing typography and ligatures, you rarely would want to do this.

        This is all in keeping with Unicode’s principle that it exists to encode meaning, not appearance (yeah, I know, Emoji, but they are very much an exception). So, there are always six letter characters in the word “waffle”, even if your nice typesetting program decides to render it using just four glyphs (w, a, ffl, e).

        Characters to codepoints, and letters to characters can have unequal mapping too, which is why I always say “codepoint” when speaking of values in memory. For example of letters/characters confusion, speakers of Dutch have not still decided whether ij is a ligature, two letters or a letter character in its own right: Is the word “rijstafel” eight or nine letters long? Well, it depends...

        As for monospaced fonts with overly-stylised punctuation ligatures, I do not use them, because I do not like them, but in recent years they appear to have become the go-to monospaced font used on websites, especially when showing code fragments in documentation, where I do not have such easy control of the typeface used. (The practice of turning != into an elongated ≠ is particularly abhorrent, as it makes a presumption that the monospaced text is source-code in a C-family language).

        1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

          Re: They keep using that word, but I do not think it means…

          I was careful to use the word “letter”, not “character”.

          Perhaps you’d intended to use “letter” instead of “character” in the sentence referring to “f‍l” that ended “ - it is not a character.”?

          what these ligature characters are not is letters.

          For the “Latin Ligatures”, agreed. For characters like “æ”, it’s language-dependent; it’s a presentation form of two letters in modern English (e.g. “encyclopædia”), but it is a single letter in Old English, modern Danish, Norwegian, Faeroese, Icelandic, &c.

          Except in texts discussing typography and ligatures, you rarely would want to [ligate using ZWJ].

          It could be dependent on the typeface being used. If a particular typeface doesn’t clearly distinguish “f” from a following “l” with the default kerning, a manual ligation could be appropriate.

          (yeah, I know, Emoji, but they are very much an exception)

          As are the characters in the “Dingbats” block.

          As for monospaced fonts with overly-stylised punctuation ligatures, I do not use them, because I do not like them, but in recent years they appear to have become the go-to monospaced font used on websites, especially when showing code fragments in documentation, where I do not have such easy control of the typeface used.

          If you use Chrome, Firefox, or Opera, the Stylus add-on will allow you to override the CSS of websites with distasteful typefaces.

  9. aerogems Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Always good to have options

    I don't see myself switching from MS Office any time soon, but it is always good to know there are options out there should I ever have a need for them.

  10. FIA Silver badge

    As such, its competitive position up against the other free office suites is that Onlyoffice has a more modern ribbon-based interface,

    First they laugh at you.

    Then they fight you.

    Then you win.

  11. Sandtitz Silver badge

    OLE ?

    "Spreadsheets can be inserted into other documents as OLE objects, meaning that they remain live and can be edited and updated."

    Isn't this decades old stuff in MS Office and elsewhere?

  12. Type something here

    No flowchart drawing, no OCR, no thanks.

  13. captain veg Silver badge

    the unready

    "This version has improved font support, notably for handling ligatures – the combined characters created by joining two (or more) letters together. This isn't a big deal in English;"

    Depends on which English. In the time of Æthelred it was pretty common.

    -A.

  14. StrangerHereMyself Bronze badge

    Name

    What a stupid name! Incredibly cheesy to say the least.

  15. Piro Silver badge

    anæsthetic - Latin?

    Greek.

    Hard to resist the extreme pedantry.

  16. GBE

    Wikipedia says OnlyOffice is developed by a Russian company

    At this point in history, I'd be a little wary of recommending a Russian software product to anybody.

    The github repo has binaries, but when I downloaded the "source code" tarball there's no source code in it.

    1. StrangerHereMyself Bronze badge

      Re: Wikipedia says OnlyOffice is developed by a Russian company

      The source code says it's developed in Latvia (Core).

  17. Kev99 Silver badge

    It appears this software may be web-based only with no desktop version. Why anyone in his right mind would want to put ANY proprietary, confidential, personal, business critical data on the internet / cloud where anyone could hack, steal, or otherwise corrupt it is beyond me. Even if they had 2056 bit encryption, the problem of PEBKAC would defeat it.

    1. 43300 Bronze badge

      There is a link to downloads - https://www.onlyoffice.com/en/download-workspace.aspx

      Those only appear to be a 30-day trial of the paid version though, and you have to give details. Can't see any downloads for a free home-use version.

  18. d3vy

    Some of these comments are amazing.

    I honestly don't understand the tribalism that exists around *checks notes* an office suite.

    Who gives a crap if I use office, or libre office, or word pad? It has literally no effect on anyone's lives.

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