Tom's Definitive Linux Software Roundup: Office Applications

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ksa-_-jed

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And don't bother looking for any anti-virus becuase you don't need it or cracks for your software becuase almost all app are free !!!!!!!
 

DjEaZy

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... for my laptop @ work the only licensed thing are win7hp and KAV... all other apps are free... infrerecorder, inkskape, OOo and so on...
 

bloody llama

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Open Office and the other open source software are great for what they are, but try replacing Access 2007 or 2010 with something open source, and you'll be tearing your hair out.
 

jsowoc

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I assume that OO 3.0.1 is what you have in the repositories - was that the reason for testing the older version (version 3.2 came out two months ago)?
 

JonathanDeane

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[citation][nom]bloody llama[/nom]Open Office and the other open source software are great for what they are, but try replacing Access 2007 or 2010 with something open source, and you'll be tearing your hair out.[/citation]

This is very true, I love Open Office and for my home use it does 100% of what I would use MS Office for, that being said if I had to run a business on it I am afraid it would be worth it to pony up the dough for an MS product.
 

ejmarkow

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Tom's Hardware omitted the best performing, most comprehensive, free and Open Source Accounting ERP software available for download. It's called "xTuple ERP PostBooks Edition" and utilizes PostgreSQL. This software is capable of running anything from a small to large business. Link: http://www.xtuple.org
 

killerclick

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We installed Linux and OOo into one of our offices (sort of an experiment to cut costs) and it was a riot. Not that Linux and OOo are bad, it's just that the power of habit is too strong to break when Windows and Linux are concerned. Windows and OS/X... not so much apparently.
 
G

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Open Source is the future. ...... companies that profit millions or billions off of proprietary software. They are what hold us back.
 

randomizer

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[citation][nom]killerclick[/nom]Windows and OS/X... not so much apparently.[/citation]
Well it's not like Office on Windows and Mac are vastly different, I'd hope that users would feel comfortable using the exact same software...

I must attest to the uselessness of OOo Calc though. It needs a ground-up rewrite. It's slow to load and process even a small to moderately sized amount of data and charts are slow to redraw when altered. I have not tested GNUMeric enough to comment on that but it's supposedly alot faster.

I'm interested in looking at those project management programs. There's also OpenProj to add to the list.
 

haplo602

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hmm ... not my area of software, I try to avoid office apps as much as I can, but last time I worked in Writer/Calc it was slow and unresponsive. The best thing in Writer was the TeX like equation editor, way better than what MS had to offer. I think they made some progress on OOo since that time, so I'd have to test.
 

Tjik

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Adding Inkscape to the productivity set and you've got a really strong offer.

A note about Scribus: I don't how rich set of PDF tools MS Publisher has, but with Scribus you're able to create active PDF elements, optional JavaScript control of these elements, without having to buy Adobe editing software. In contrast to Adobe's software (I think this still applies) you can create whatever you want from a clean sheet. It looks simpler but when you start to dig deeper there are tons of options and possibilities.

When it comes to productivity it's hard to beat LaTeX. Word processors are clumsy beasts, not automatically producing good documents. Linux is a better platform for LaTeX.
 

mitch074

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Scribus almost as good as MS Publisher? What are you smoking?!

OK, to be fair, quality-wise there are three products at the top: Quark Xpress, MS Publisher and Scribus. However...
- MS Publisher sucks when you send the file to a print shop: they don't like it. They scoff at it. It sucks for professional jobs. I cite my print agent here.
- the Postscript and colour management code in MS Publisher is so far from the two others that, if you want reliable results, ... you simply won't use it. Scribus allows you to manually set the colour space of each and every element on your document, which is a MUST for professional printing, and has so many PDF export options (including a debugger, a MUST to ensure no transparency elements remain on the document and that all glyphs in custom fonts are exported with it).

Scribus is bare when you open it: that's NORMAL. You want to see the documents, not the template collections MS Publisher feeds you.

Next, Koffice and its document explorer: that's what Navigator in OOo is for. It used to be open by default in OOo, but MS Word users got so distracted by it they asked OOo to have it closed by default in version 2.0. Koffice didn't get the message.

Font rendering in OOo: A complete rewrite happened between versions 2.4 and 3.1. 3.0 had most of the code in place, but it was deactivated. Versions 3.1.1 and 3.2 have nicely hinted, antialiased output.

Database front-ends: OOo base has one very nice feature, in that it can draw interfaces on top of external databases. While Access allows you to create all-in-one files (forms and data in the same package), Base allows you to create forms that are actually Writer documents hitting on, say, a MySQL DB.

Spreadsheet: Calc is the part that got the most work in version 3.2. You may actually forget about older versions, OOo Calc 3.2 is a different app altogether.

Grisbi has one nice thing going for it: it's developed in cooperation with the French Ministry of Finance (through APRIL). GNU Cash is more US-based. If you're not French, Grisbi has no advantage over GNU Cash. If you are, though, Grisbi is damn cool.
 

adamovera

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[citation][nom]randomizer[/nom]Well it's not like Office on Windows and Mac are vastly different, I'd hope that users would feel comfortable using the exact same software...I must attest to the uselessness of OOo Calc though. It needs a ground-up rewrite. It's slow to load and process even a small to moderately sized amount of data and charts are slow to redraw when altered. I have not tested GNUMeric enough to comment on that but it's supposedly alot faster.I'm interested in looking at those project management programs. There's also OpenProj to add to the list.[/citation]
Doh! Good catch, yeah it looks like OpenProj should have been here. This story has been in the system so long I forgot to give you a heads up that it came out today. Next time I'll be sure to link you to the preview before it hits.
 

adamovera

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[citation][nom]jsowoc[/nom]I assume that OO 3.0.1 is what you have in the repositories - was that the reason for testing the older version (version 3.2 came out two months ago)?[/citation]
The office suites and the word procs, spreadsheets, and presentation apps were done first - like several months ago before Communications Apps published - Ubuntu 9.04 repos. Good news is that the links are to the latest stable versions, so ya'll might not have the issues I did with the older versions.
 

Bolbi

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"But what value has MS Office really added in the past decade?"
As opposed to OpenOffice.org (which I really HAVE used extensively), MS Office loads much quicker. But the main plus that OpenOffice.org just can't overcome is the huge MS collection of clipart, photos, etc. I tried importing OpenClipart into OpenOffice, but there's no way to search it, and so you have to scroll through thousands of images to find the one you're looking for. Not fun. Creating cards with Word? Developing a website with Expression Web? I need that clipart!
 

randomizer

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[citation][nom]mitch074[/nom]Spreadsheet: Calc is the part that got the most work in version 3.2. You may actually forget about older versions, OOo Calc 3.2 is a different app altogether.[/citation]
And it's still horribly slow. For production environments you'd spend more time waiting for it to redraw a chart than you would actually getting work done. I have little or no problem with other OOo components (bar subjective preferences) but Calc just isn't up to par performance-wise. The addition of antialiasing was a much-needed feature so it's good that they added that. Charts (particularly line graphs) without AA are hideous to say the least.

[citation][nom]adamovera[/nom]Doh! Good catch, yeah it looks like OpenProj should have been here. This story has been in the system so long I forgot to give you a heads up that it came out today. Next time I'll be sure to link you to the preview before it hits.[/citation]
Haha, no problem. I'll just bug you more often to see if there's anything in the pipe :D
 

adamovera

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[citation][nom]Tjik[/nom]Adding Inkscape to the productivity set and you've got a really strong offer.A note about Scribus: I don't how rich set of PDF tools MS Publisher has, but with Scribus you're able to create active PDF elements, optional JavaScript control of these elements, without having to buy Adobe editing software. In contrast to Adobe's software (I think this still applies) you can create whatever you want from a clean sheet. It looks simpler but when you start to dig deeper there are tons of options and possibilities.When it comes to productivity it's hard to beat LaTeX. Word processors are clumsy beasts, not automatically producing good documents. Linux is a better platform for LaTeX.[/citation]
Inkscape is in the next segment - Multimedia Apps (Video/Audio/Images). I'm sure if I used Scribus more that I would find more positives to it, but ease-of-use is a big issue for people coming from the MS sandbox, and the thing about publisher was "Oh snap, it's who's birthday today?!?" and within five minutes you've made a card. But hey, Scribus is the only game in town and not bad at all considering the price tag, especially since Publisher is now $170 (considerably more than it was when I used it - like double!).
 

Miharu

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For normal user, perhaps OpenOffice is a good alternative.
But I feel MS Office product have more stuff and you really appreciate it when you know how to use it.

I have tried OpenOffice since everyone said is a good alternative.
After few tests, I perfer paid for something good than a open source.
-Things like Access turn very badly. (weird format understand by OpenOffice only. You can't do multi-platform db.)
-MS Doc have some notable differency. Just open the same .doc in MS Office and OpenOffice, you'll find many differency. This could be really trouble some when you want the same thing everywhere.

But my point is just on "most valuable MS Office Product" (Word, Excel and Access). You can use alternative like OpenOffice for others products.
 

randomizer

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[citation][nom]Miharu[/nom]Just open the same .doc in MS Office and OpenOffice, you'll find many differency.[/citation]
Unfortunately that's because the developers have to reverse engineer the format due to its proprietary nature. If something like OpenDocument Format was used there would be no such cross-compatibility issues because the standard is there to read by anyone, including Microsoft. But so far MS have refused to implement OpenDocument properly.
 

Tjik

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[citation][nom]Miharu[/nom]For normal user, perhaps OpenOffice is a good alternative.But I feel MS Office product have more stuff and you really appreciate it when you know how to use it.[/citation]

A problem is that we expect smooth interoperability, even though just one part has an interest in making it work flawlessly. Thus it always will be mixed bag of success and failure when moving a lot of documents and data from original MS software to alternative software. You could compare this to how well web pages developed with IE as a reference follow web standards, since however we criticize acid3 as a reference it's still not very impressive that IE8 scores only 20/100.

If we're not dealing with businesses pottered by home brewed templates, dinosaur Excel sheets and such, I can't see any real compelling reason to establish a dependency on MS solutions. Open standards are however we look at it safer for long time archiving.

If MS Office suite applications aren't optimal for "normal users", then I doubt that Word is optimal for advanced users, who could learn some basic LaTeX. Easy to fill in LaTeX templates, designed to represent one's company well, would produce so much better documents, and actually enable the "normal user" to produce no brainier documents with a highly professional look.

In many cases, maybe most, it's just a question about habits. Breaking habits might cost money, but establish new habits from scratch leaves a lot of options open.
 

gsacks

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Good article. There is always a trade-off going with open source software, but it continues to improve. I've been using OpenOffice at home for several years on both Windows and Ubuntu Linux. I've gotten pretty used to it, and so has my wife. But I'm sticking with Quicken for my finances. Windows (commercial) apps tend to be more polished than open source apps, and for many users that is enough to convince them, regardless of features. For me, then best feature of Linux and open source apps is that once you install them, they leave you alone. No constant nagging about updates and upgrades. No invasive background software constantly polling the internet for bug fixes. No constantly trying to set themselves as my 'default app' for whatever type of file. No warnings from windows that 'xx program is trying to change something on your system'. My Linux system leaves me alone. My Windows system is always trying to get my attention, and I have to proactively tell it to shut up.
 
I use Open Office on my home computers. When using Linux though, I like KOffice on slower machines, but Open Office still provides the best compatibility with documents saved in MS office. The only thing I don't care for in OO is Draw, since it's no Visio. For flow charts Kivio is what to use if you're in Linux :D.
 

jrch2k10

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scribus is not designed to compete with publisher (wich i dont like btw), scribus is a contender again st adobe indesign and quarkpress aka professional level page layout design, that is why there is no such things like bussiness card templates
 
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