Let’s start a topic for OpenOffice.org (OOo). Please share opinions, good or bad experiences.
I replaced MS Office (had Office XP and then 2003, never tried 2007) with OOo because I wanted something free. Luckily, OOo has been a great alternative, it’s amazing to get such a suite for free.
Here are some negative things that I’ve discovered after ~6 months of use. Please note, they all address the Writer program.
My native language dictionary has a serious lack of words.
User interface feels a bit old, but I can live with that.
Just like with MS Word, I can’t get page numbers the way I want when there is a frontpage, indexes, preface etc. - I have to split it all into separate documents.
Cross-references works great for illustrations and tables, but I can’t manage to insert cross-references for other chapters.
The document I’m currently working with contains many illustrations, headings and footnotes. When inserting blank rows OOo often crashes, probably because it gets too difficult to figure out where to put all those illustrations.
When inserting images I use “link” instead of actually saving the document with images within, but the path to the image file requires that you never change the structure of your folders from the very root. This is not a convenient way to handle image links. Even if I perfectly keep the folder structure, I can’t even move the whole package from one drive to another (e.g. from D: to E:).
This is what I’ve mainly come across. Until the latest version, 2.3, the PDF exportation has been ■■■■■■ since there has been no option to choose any PDF settings. Now I can chose JPEG quality and other things, which is great. I won’t drop PDFCreator, but obviously, OOo now exports good PDFs.
Except for these problems I love OOo. Also, I think open source is very nice. And the suite is constantly being developed.
I also recently replaced MS Office and so far so good, although I haven’t used it for anything complicated yet (will have to soon) so I can’t tell much. But the first impression is quite favourable. By the way I had tried it before and it consistently crashed every time I tried to handle a huge (I mean really huge) file, but to be honest it was in MS’s DOC format not in OO’s native one --anyway it would be great that any issues in this field be ironed out because DOC support is a must.
I don’t care much about the dictionaries, only to detect typos, but I’d guess it would be possible to contribute to them, being an open source community project and all.
I don’t know either how the DOC compatibility is these days, when I started to write my large document two months ago I began with DOC but quickly changed to ODT. I think this was a good choice. Still, OOo crashes all the time (about 15 times today only), it just won’t handle some page breaks. Not when it has to move pictures, footnotes etc. all in once.
Another bug is the rendering, some visual bugs appear (like “damaged” text, missing lines & borders etc.), but they go away once you scroll the page up and down.
Interesting idea with the dictionary contribution, you may be right.
Well I use Microsoft Office 2003 on my main PC because of schoolwork. I type a lot of documents which I must access at school and since the school uses Microsoft Office 2003 as well, OpenOffice won’t work as well for me because formatting is a bit different.
On my notebook however I have Ubuntu and OpenOffice, no Windows or Microsoft software
Today I made some changes to the document I’m writing, which I wasn’t sure that I could easily undo. Thus I made a copy of the original ODT file. Now, the original file was 93 KB, but the slightly changed new version had a size of 51 KB! I am very confused. All I did was to insert some page breaks, and remove a few words. A total word count of both documents indicates that no words are lost in the new, small document, the only difference is constituted by the few words I removed. And no images have been changed (actually, there are no images in the ODT file, they are all linked).
How is it possible? I’m afraid that I’ve lost data because the file size went from 93 to 51 KB, but 30 minutes of investigation shows that there is no data loss. I also tried to export to MS DOC format, then the sizes of both documents were around 325 KB so there really is hardly no difference! I don’t get this. Bottom line, it seems to be alright, but still…
Odt files are zipped. This explain the size difference. Maybe Oo compression is not much optimized so results can change.
The side of this is that you can decompress an odt file and tamped with it ;D
The real deal are text files.
If you embed images these will be zipped in the odt files and linked from your document.
I searched about the issue with relative paths it seems that actually absolute paths are used only if necessary.
I have tried a few times, and it seems to work like this:
The link is stored as a relative path when possible (i.e., when the linking document and linked object are on the same "storage domain"). When displayed, all link paths are expanded to full path, so it looks like an absolute path is always used.
If you insert a page break and choose another template you can renumber the pages. Then you can customize footer and header for each different template used in a document.
There is another feature i never used it’s called section, a quick reading seem to show that it can be used to merge different documents.
It explains the difference between DOC and ODT, but not those two almost identical ODT files. Strange optimization…
Perhaps it was necessary in my case, because here is the path of the document: D:.….….….…\Produktion\Dokument
and here is the path of the images: D:.….….….…\Produktion\Grafik\Bilder (aktuella)
I don’t know how to explain, but I get the feeling that this hierarchy causes the paths to be absolute.
Ah, sounds interesting, but tricky. I think the menus and structure of the GUI generally makes it difficult, especially for automatic numbering, headings etc.
Anyway, I’ve found a system that works. Six different ODT files makes my whole document. Won’t change that now, I’m sure it’ll mess everything up…
I think so too. Wish there weren’t like 35 images already in the document… I won’t change the paths to all these, there is no need for that. Once the document is finalized it’ll be exported to PDF so I won’t ever have to go into the ODT:s again.
I’ve tried it several times without any problems at all, so that doesn’t apply to everyone I guess. The PDF:s work great, also printing on paper works. I already have PDFCreator too, we’ll see which one I’m going to use for the final output (I will have to make at least two PDF:s - one with JPEG compression, for distribution, and one loss-less version for printing).
Writer constantly crashes, it just won’t handle manual row breaks that causes images and tables to be placed on the next page. Now I have to change a lot of text in my document, so the only alternative has been to remove like 20 pictures. I’ll have to insert them all again. And you know what? I moved all picture files to the same folder as the documents, but still, absolute paths are used for the links.
I’m really not as thrilled any more, as I used to be with OOo. It’s too unstable. Still I will not even dream about considering the M$ Office suite…
AbiWord? Perhaps I should check it out. Two essential cons right now though: (1) I doubt that my ODT document will be totally perfectly imported into the program (I tried exporting it to DOC and opening in M$ - no good), (2) currently I don’t want to relearn a new interface with all its functions… I’ll stick with OOo, I’ve learned pretty well what causes the crashes. Still, that knowledge don’t really mitigate the consequences of the crashes. :-\
Löwenbräu? Isn’t that a lager bier? I prefer hefe weißbier