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SlashDot Summarization

 
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1mck
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Joined: 05 Aug 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 12:24 am    Post subject: SlashDot Summarization Reply with quote

I had started a discussion at SlashDot, and it was about a few deficiencies that I found in OO, and the response was overwhelming to say the very least!

My 2 peeves were/are .pps not opening directly into the show, and instead you have to find the button to start the slide show, and the shrink to fit function for documents, which I find so, so handy in Word.

I was asked to summarize them by the Quality Assurance Team, but I was unable to e-mail the responses because the file size was too big, so I'm posting them here on the forum.

There is a real passion for OO out there, so a lot of these are rather raw because it was an open discussion.

Warning...could be some edgy language, so be aware of this.

Thank you,

1mck

ENTER KEY BEHAVIOR IN SPREADSHEETS

the enter key behaves in the spreadsheet tool. It makes sense to me, if I am entering in a lot of data, I should be able to tab through the rows and when I'm done that row, if I hit enter, it should go back to the first field of the next row. It does this in excel and I would probably switch to OO except this "feature" drives me nuts.
I haven't found a way to customize the keyboard shortcuts to add fill down and fill right, they were there and now they are gone, I really miss that feature.
I second this STRONGLY.
Seriously. The current setup of enter only going one row down...in the same column...this is not a feature to make life easier.
A simple config tick mark or something to enable 'smart return key' or something would be nice.

LACK OF A COMMA BUTTON IN CALC

The problem that literally got it uninstalled and MS purchased on one machine was the lack of a comma button. That is, a button on the toolbar that automatically added or removed the comma formatting from numbers in Calc. (The formatting options were there, but not the button. I was tempted to try to write one, but I didn't have time at the time...)

ABILITY TO FIND-AND-REPLACE PARAGRAPH BREAKS

OOo 2.x's ability to do word-counts on just selected text. A Microsoft-inspired change that would be really useful would be the ability to find-and-replace paragraph breaks: to do this currently, I actually have to save in .doc format and do the find-and-replace in Word, which I hate -- not just because I hate Word (though I do), but also because it messes up the styles.

HAVE TO HIT ALT TWICE TO BRING UP A MENU IN IMPRESS & OTHER BUGS

I also find OOo 2.x significantly buggier than OOo 1.x: e.g. the fact that you have to hit alt twice to bring up a menu in Impress; numerous layout bugs with text that uses multiple alphabets (which I have reported; one even got fixed in 2.0.2, though the others have been ignored so far). For the sake of stability, I often wish I were still working with 1.1.5 rather than 2.x, in spite of its missing a few features; the OpenDocument write support is the main one that keeps me on 2.x. Yes, OOo has its problems. But I'd never willingly go back to Microsoft Office.

BASE CRASHING
I've had Base crash on my 6 times in the past 2 days. I'd call that a deficiency.

PPS FILES ARE SUPPOSED TO OPEN IN SHOW MODE

Well, PPS files are supposed to open in show mode. PPT files get saved as a PPS file so you can give them out so everyone and their grandmother can view them without spending ten minutes finding the "View as Show" option. In MS Powerpoint, you have to open the program, then chose to open the file to open in edit mode. Perhaps you should try that.
OpenOffice (for whatever stupid reason) doesn't have the ability to start out in "Show" mode - I actually went into the /usr/bin/soffice shell script and looked, there isn't anything there. Annoying as hell, but fortunately I don't use PowerPoint-ish programs that much anyway, so it's not that that big of a problem. And starting in "Edit" mode is probably a good thing anyway, you can check for errors, etc. before showing.

PLAYING MEDIA FILES ON LINUX IN OOo USING MEDIA PLAYER PROGRAM

I think one of the worse things about OOo, though, is playing media files on Linux. Their stupid media player program, which is written in Java, requires a whole bloody media framework package installed, and of course the only place you see this is a single footnote in the help (and only if you can be bothered to look). And then, of course, you've got to deal with the sound architectures - naturally, Java still hasn't been updated to support ALSA like every other program written this century...
CONVERTING LINUX RPM'S TO SLACKWARE FORMAT

No, actually, the worst thing just try converting one of their Linux RPM's to Slackware format. Looks staightforward enough, putting everything in /opt/openoffice.org2.0, except that it expects everything to be in /opt/openoffice.org-2.0 [with a dash], /etc/openoffice.org2.0 [WTF?], and /etc/openoffice.org-2.0 [shoot me dammit!]. Makes me wonder who packages the thing, but at least it beats the hell out of building the source code on a 700MHz Duron w/256MB RAM. In short, all office programs suck. OpenOffice.org just sucks marginally less. Smile

EQUATIONS FOR LINES, AND MUTLI-SERIES GRAPHS

How do I get it to show me the equation for the line?
Yeah, and what about charts in general? As far as I know, the only way to create a multi-series graph is to manually reformat your data in the spreadsheet, moving around columns and stuff. This is completely unacceptable, especially when Excel has that extremely easy-to-use series editor.

ISSUES WITH CROSS-REFERENCES IN WRITER

Doing cross-references in OpenWriter is clunky and difficult. For each section heading or similar (e.g. Section 2.3.5.13), you need to manually create some kind of bookmark. It is not automatic like MS Word or Framemaker. This is definitely a show stopper for using OpenWriter with complex legal documents and their dozens or hundreds of cross-references.
Agree, cross referencing is painful. Now I just use Hyperlink->Document, which is really not good enough.
First, it didn't just show the section number which is what I want. Second, it doesn't seem to automatically update when the number changes (due to an insertion or deletion in the numbering sequence). Thus unless I'm missing something, this is worthless.
If you're doing references that deep, with documents that nasty, you probably want to look at LaTeX or one of its variants. The markup used in LaTeX really makes quick work of dense references like that.
Beats the hell out of either Word or OpenWriter, that's for sure.


CALC CRASHING WHEN IMPORTING CSV FILES INTO IT

One bug that's really annoyed me with the latest 2.0 release is that it crashes every time I import a csv file into Calc, save it and then try to forward the file via my mail client. I haven't investigated it, so I don't know if it does with all open documents, or if it's specific to what I did above. I've filed a bug report, though.

BULLET POINTS AND INDENTATION ISSUES

Bullet points and indentation are screwy. These are two things used by common people, not some set of rarely-used features. Bullet points can get really messed up when importing from Word -- even documents that don't have macros. Indentation is also set at too large an interval. Why not default to 1/4 inch (US Letter), like most everyone else's word processor?Just like Word, at times the auto formatting gets in the way. This is especially true of bullets and indentation.
Other than that, I have few disagreements with OpenOffice Writer. The two items, above, though are used by me on almost every document I produce. So, if I have Word and Writer on the same machine, I may actually use Word, to avoid this....

* Stuff
* More stuff

into a bulleted list. Never mind that at least some versions of MSO do exactly the same thing and the menu item to turn this on/off is in exactly the same place, it 's still the number one example that people give me when they say "I hate OO because ..."



ISSUES WITH ARRAYS WITH MULTIPLE RANGES

One example is arrays with multiple ranges - can't do that in Calc! And pivot tables (called Data Pilot in Calc) are a joke.

ISSUES WITH ADDING TREND LINES TO DATA CHARTS

As a college student, learning EE, i need to add trend lines to my data charts and calculate the slopes and their standard errors. A thing you can not do with OO, but you can with Microsoft Office.
The problem is that while you can easily have a trend line, you can't easily show the equation of that line or the R^2 value on the graph itself (like in Excel). Take that how you want, but at least in my department, professors wanted to see that information on the graph.

ISSUES PLOTTING IN OPENOFFICE BEING CUMBERSOME COMPARED TO EXCEL

Right now, however, I have a stack of homework and a lab report due. The professor accepts Excel, everyone else is doing it in Excel, and it's such a simple plot that Excel couldn't possibly screw it up. Should I waste an hour or so getting it the way I want it in gnuplot (because I don't know gnuplot, and would have to read manuals and such), spend even longer learning R, or just whip it out in Excel and call it a day?

OpenOffice could fill the role of Excel here, except that it makes things sufficiently hard and frustrating that it's not worth it.

COMPATIBILITY ISSUES FORMATTING, FONT ISSUES

The biggest problem I have is compatibility with MS Office. I have been using Open/Star Office for some years, but I work with people who want to work with MS Office products, so this has been a major issue for me. I really need both way compatibility - my line manager likes me to be able to read his documents and vice versa.
It is getting better (OpenOffice 2.0 is a big leap forward), but I still find that there are issues. These seem to be far worse for spreadsheets and presentations than for word processed documents, and I have ended up using gnumeric for spreadsheets rather than OpenOffice Calc; I would be doing the same for presentations, but I've not got round to checking out some of the alternatives. It is mainly formatting that is a problem, with different page breaks on Word documents sent me by colleagues, occasionally text hidden behind graphics etc. Although the problem with presentations seems the same, my presentations tend to confuse Powerpoint's layout engine much more severely: one bullet point that goes over the page boundary, and all the fonts from then on get massively confused. (WMy manager and I recently co-authored a presentation for the Internet2 spring meeting, and ended up sending text files containing the bullet point text as well as the Powerpoint files in order to be able to work together.) Font compatibility is probably a major cause of these issues, so it's not all precisely OpenOffice's fault. However, it should be easier for a novice to create documents which are readable.

COMPATIBILITY WITH MS OFFICE, PRINTING, GRAPHICS ISSUES

(in)Compatibility with MS Office has been the deal breaker for OO at my workplace.

I was overjoyed about a year ago when the word came down from our new CEO that we should try to wean ourselves off M$ Office. I had been trying to do that for 5 years, but he did it in one email.

I have, sorry to say, switched back. First, it was trying to print Excel files from Calc. I just can't afford all that wasted paper. Excel went back on my machine.

Then I had to update a manual written in Word. Writer (00 v.2) ate ALL the graphics in the entire manual and went on to balls-up the fonts and formatting. I reported the error and got a message back from the coder that this bug would be fixed in the next release - and that my report was one of hundreds. So Word went back on my machine.

Then there was the boss's powerpoint. He worked all day, built this file in Presenter (or whatever it's called), unfortunately he saved it in ppt format instead of the native format. Went back to it the next day. WHAT A MESS! Every slide had to be redone. Powerpoint went back on his and my machines.

We use Access databases all the time. Base has never been up to the tasks we throw at it, or compatible enough to replace Access.

So that's my sad story of trying to convert an office to OO. I know it's mostly not OO's fault (except for the graphic-eating bug), and their word processor and presentation software is much easier to use (IMHO) than M$'s bizarre shite, but until EVERYBODY stops using M$, I'm stuck with it. (at least we haven't bought a NEW version of Office - and have no plans to - just reinstalled the ol' 2000 version)

OPENOFFICE DOESN'T HAVE AN E-MAIL CLIENT

OO doesn't have Outlook, for example. Those who don't know the difference between Outlook and Outlook Express would say "Good Riddance.", which is why I'm posting anonymously. OL is where a lot of the differentiating features are kept, and there are some slick ones there. I had a job a couple of years ago that involved a lot of emailing (in my case, with more than one account...), and a lot of meetings. Outlook is a strong email client, especially when dealing with multiple accounts, but it also has the Calendar and the ToDo list. (not to mention Notes, but I think I'm one of the few people who actually used that...) Not only is that a great place to centralize all your appointments and such, but it also syncs with PocketPCs and cell phones quite nicely. I made great use of it, even miss it in some ways...

CSV LIMITATIONS

The marketing department is forever complaining that the csv file I sent them has 500,000 rows and Excel can only see the first 60,000 lines. Open Office is just as bad, and older versions can only see 30,000 lines. If Open Office didn't have limit, 90% of the marketing department would switch from Excel tomorrow.

MEMORY USAGE ISSUES

Incidentally, Excel 2007 also raises the memory usage limit from 1 GB to "maximum available memory," which means 64-bit systems will actually let you work with humongous workbooks. If a 2^14-by-2^20 spreadsheet seems like overkill, you've never seen what finance departments can do with Excel. Smile

INSERTING VIDEOS IN PRESENTATIONS ISSUES

I have yet to figure out how to insert a video in a presentation.

I hear you. Recently I needed to display video as part of a presentation, and discovered there was no easy way to do it. I found this note [openoffice.org] about the current lack of video support in OOo2, but also information about a Java plugin from IBM that could play MPEG4. Unfortunately I was never able to get the Java option to work.

After alot of experimenting, googling and hacking, I came up with a solution that did the job for me: I added small "video" icons to the slides, and edited their "Interaction" properties so that each one ran a specific Bash shell script when I clicked on it. In turn, the shell script would display the desired video with mplayer. The method worked well enough, although there were some annoyances: a confirmation box appeared after the click, as well as a Konqueror window (why?!)

SLOW RESPONSE ISSUES WITH OPENOFFICE

When we switched to OO from Microsoft Office, moving from our $399 Dell specials to nice $2,000 each systems with AMD FX-55's really made OO much easier to use. It's just too damn slow to use on a normal system. You really need some horsepower. Of course even with a top of the line system, things like doing an Edit -> Copy in Impress still take so long that you think the computer has locked-up. So, spend more on an upgrade than you would have on Office, and OO will be usable.

Of course the boss now wishes we had stuck with Office since it would have not required so much money spent in hardware to throw at it, and we wouldn't have had to do so much training.

PAGE FLOW LOGIC ISSUES

The page flow logic (where to put page breaks automatically) has problems when tables imported from word come into play. But there are occasions where documents with images and tables do not get their page flow ok automatically. Usually some fiddling required to trigger the page flow algorithm to run is required.

DEFAULT BORDER ISSUES

Why are OOo's default borders different than MSFT Office's borders ?
(OOo uses something like .7/.7/.7/.7, while MSFT Office is at 1/1/1.25/1.25)
If the goal is to transition people over, this little difference shouldn't exist!

SETTING MARGIN ERRORS ISSUES

There are few things that I have missed in the OpenOffice Calc. The chart creation is not as painless as it is with Excel. In addition, it seems that it's not possible to set error margins for XY plot chart with individual error margins for upper and lower margin. It's possible to set a constant error margin for all point and for both upper and lower margin, but it's not possible to define an individual error margin for each point separately and define greater margin for positive error than negative error. So, the XY plot is not so flexible as it could be and I cannot come up any work-around for that. Well, at least this was situation with OOo version 2.0.0. I haven't yet checked the latest version.

REFERENCE/LITERATURE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM AVAILABILITY

Shortcoming: No decent reference/literature management system available.
Workaround: Use MS Office+Reference Manager/Endnote, unfortunately.

GRAMMAR CHECKER AVAILABILITY, AND WORD COUNT ISSUES

I really like open office, but there are 2 main problems for me with it; 1) it doesn't have a grammar checker, and knowing how bad I am at this stuff I would really like one; I know it won't be perfect but it might be nice. 2) word count. This is a really big one for me. The word count when i ran through exactly the same document in each was radically different (by about 100 words on 5000). Because the work was assessed I needed the word count to be exactly what they would get if they checked (so I had to use Word) - even if OO's way of counting is better a bit more agreement might be nice.

LACK OF SUPPORT FOR SECOND LANGUAGES

support for a second language. Routinely I have to use two languages - English and Portuguese, sometimes mixing both languages in a single document. The support for switching from one language to another in OO was horrible - it involved several mouse clicks to go back and forth. Of course that may well be much improved in current versions, but there's another problem. The spelling checker for Portuguese was not very well developed at the time I experimented with it, lacking even the simple ability to recognize verbs any other form than their infinitive.

LONG START TIMES IN OPENOFFICE

My #1 complaint with OOffice, on Suse anyway, is the extremely long start times. Doesn't matter if its the distribution RPMs or upgraded ones direct from OOffice. It can take 30-60 seconds to get the application open. Once it's open, it is very responsive (This is on a 2GHz Athlon 64 system), but the start times are killer. I don't mind if I'm working on docs and keep a window up and open, but for starting and viewing documents from email for example, its brutal. I've started using KWord/KCalc, etc which are much worse compatability wise, but start so much faster I don't care if the formatting is a bit off.

GROUPING-SYMBOL MATCHING ISSUES

Foremost, the number one feature I miss is grouping-symbol matching. Emacs has had this since RAM was measured in kilobytes, and it's one of the Most Useful Features Ever. (I also miss it in text area fields in my web browser.) I think MS Office is also missing this important feature.

EDGE CASING ISSUES IN WRITER

There are a handful of edge cases in Writer (e.g., right before or after a table) where it's not always easy to insert or delete a paragraph. More than once I've ended up editing the XML by hand, and that should NOT be necessary (although it's a nice ability to have and creates a lot of flexibility for automatic document generation).

OPTION ISSUES IN CALC

When you've got a chart in a Calc, it can be a pain to remember how many times to click, double-click, or right-click, and in what order, to get to a specific option (e.g., to modify the data range (select, right-click), or to switch to a logarithmic scale (select, double-click, then right-click)). Shouldn't it be possible to just right-click once, choose Properties from a context menu, and get a tabbed dialog box with *all* the available options that can be modified for the chart? The capabilities I need are available, but the UI needs work.

CONFIGURATION ISSUES WITH BASE

OOo Base is quite rough around the edges still. That's to be expected, as it's a relatively new addition, but it's very noticeable. Getting it configured to talk to a local RDBMS, for instance, is non-trivial and more than a little confusing. It _should_ be a small matter of selecting the type of database from a list and plugging in host, username, password, and database name. At least, it should be that easy for any of the major database systems (Postgres, MySQL, Oracle, MS SQL Server, ...). Setting up a database-in-a-file (using the built-in database engine) isn't very easy either.

WINDOW TITLES ISSUES IN SOLARIS

My biggest annoyance with OpenOffice is that on Solaris (my main work machine), the window titles are garbled. I'm not exactly sure what is going on, but instead of something like "Untitled1 - OpenOffice.org Calc", I see " " (curtesy of xwininfo). I've looked around a little, but never found any information on this problem. I've only ever seen it on Solaris.

Update: after looking at the hex values of each of the characters, I discovered that the text I see is the ASCII values OR'd with 0x80. It's at least consistent, but really weird (and hard to read).

IMPORT ISSUES IN CALC FROM EXCEL
Calc has some serious issues (data mangling) importing spreadsheets. Do not use the import Excel function unless you know exactly what your doing -- and what the potential slip-ups are. A big one is the fact that it treats integers cast as strings as an integer = 0 in formulas -- with no warning.
NUMERIC OPERATIONS NOT RECOGNIZED BY CALC

Another issue is its formula handling. All spreadsheets since Visicalc recognize any of the numeric operations (+ - / *) as the beginning of a formula -- Calc doesn't (it only recognizes the = sign).

OLE DATA IMPORTING AND TABLE OF CONTENT ISSUES FROM WORD

OLE and other types of inserted data works very, very poorly when you're importing documents in from Word. I found this out the hard way when I was trying to get the thing to work on a rather large document (my Master's Project). Don't rely on it for anything of this type - it always did something wrong with a picture, or an inserted chart, etc. etc. unless you're able to do a LOT of manual editing. From what I can gather, which is far less extensive for components other than those that are word processing oriented, this problem is found throughout the suite.

OO.org is pretty cool, and the developers have obviously worked hard, but it's got a long way to go to be truly compatible with Microsoft outside of the bare essentials and some of the extra features (i.e. table of contents).

INCONSISTENT ENTER KEY BEHAVIOR IN CALC

For the record, the "biggest" problem my power user faces is how the Enter key behaves after entering data across several horizontal cells. In MS, Enter will move the cursor down on row and back to the first column that data was entered. For example, B3 -> B4 -> B5 Enter C3. OO does not have this behavior. The Enter key can be customized, but only to go one cell down (default), up, left, or right. Searching the forums confirmed that other MS users are also frustrated by this missing behavior. I tried a quick macro, but no luck.

KEYBOARD USABILITY
Problem: There is no straightforward way to set keyboard shortcuts for assigning/removing styles, inserting specific special characters, etc. For non-trivial documents, this means repeated use of the mouse/toolbars/insert character dialog are required.
Workaround: Macros can be used, though this is slow and awkward.

TYPOGRAPHICAL WEAKNESSES
Problem: Support for high-quality typography is poor. In particular, support for professional-grade OpenType fonts is weak, with some of the best (the Zapfino Extra family is a clear example) not rendering properly at all on screen and even being substituted with completely different fonts in PDF output. No advantage is taken of features like ligatures, true small caps, different figure styles, stylistic and contextual alternates, and similar refinements. More generally, the layout algorithms (e.g., for H&J) are poor.
Workaround: There isn't really one: these are straight-up missing features or outright bugs. However, DTP packages already provide this sort of feature routinely, and more significantly, new versions of MS Office are likely to take advantage of the OpenType rendering support in Windows. OpenOffice's cross-platform nature may be a liability here.

POOR SUPPORT FOR FORMAL, STRUCTURED DOCUMENTS
Problem: There is very limited support for things like structured headings and matching tables of contents (try generating two tables, one with only chapter titles+subtitles and one with chapter titles+all subheadings, or formatting a table of contents significantly differently from the default styles). There is no direct support for bibliographies. The UI for bullets, numbering and list styles is poor.
Workaround: Short of typing things in manually (or editing the auto-generated version every time) there's not much you can do. Cross-references can do a limited amount to support bibliographies within a single document.

POOR SUPPORT FOR COMPLEX PAGE LAYOUTS
Problem: Features like frames don't always work as expected. There seem to be several obscure bugs where multiple frames are concerned. Features like overlapping frames and transparency aren't supported.
Workaround: Usually patience or ingenuity, IME.

START-UP TIMES ARE VERY LONG
Problem: It takes forever to load Writer the first time.
Workaround: Get a faster machine? Smile

MAIL MERGE SUPPORT IS VERY POOR
Problem: Various. The UI is confusing. Output options are limited. (Can you merge to a single file in the latest version? You couldn't the last time I tried it.) The data source system is bug-ridden to the point that it's easier to start again and set up a new source if the slightest thing goes wrong.
Workaround: I've never found one for most of this, although some limitations can be overcome by merging-to-print and using a cheat printer driver that outputs to Postscript/PDF or similar.

LABELS & MAIL MERGE ISSUES

Labels: Try making anything other than a full sheet of a single label. For example, take a sheet of return address labels (20 x 4, or 80 labels). I don't need 80 labels with one address, but I'd like to have 20 labels for each of four addresses. How can I do this other than copy followed by paste 80 times? And I haven't found a keyboard shortcut to move to the next label, so it's really paste, mouse click, paste... Why can't I highlight a block of labels and copy/paste that? Or apply formatting to a block of labels (bold, font changes, etc)?
Admittedly, the labels can be done, but in a sub-optimal way. So on to something that can't be done...

Mail merge: Has anyone ever successfully taken a field from a spreadsheet file and merged it into a label? I wanted to make file folder labels (yeah, mail merge and labels -- I like hurting myself) for my bills. Top line is the bill (phone, cable, gas, electric, etc) as listed in a spreadsheet file, bottom line is "2006". I find I have to predefine the spreadsheet as a persistent "data source" and then have to try linking it somehow. Of course, the variable text and constant text cannot seem to coexist on label, and it's just downhill from there. I gave up after three hours!

I realize that OOo is free, and that many people are working hard on it without pay, so I am trying to go the distance as much as possible. If anyone reading this has worked on OOo, thank you! I appreciate what you've accomplished, and realize that it will get better. Already, it's great for a lot of things.

But the labels and mail merge stuff is killing me. Seriously. I can't follow the logic. Please just rip off MS in terms of the job steps, and be done with it.

PAGE LAYOUT ISSUES IN WRITER

I find that "complex page layouts" apply to anything more complicated than a letter. It's difficult to position illustrations in a book. I can't find any support for pamphlet-style text flow (e.g. where one side of the paper has pages 1 and 4, and the other side has 2 and 3, such that when folded it reads like a book.) Those are two layouts I use all the time, and they don't seem all that complicated to me. I'd expect them from a word processor, and shouldn't need a dedicated page-layout engine. But I use OO anyway because they're supported only marginally better in Word.

ESSENTIAL COMMANDS ISSUES

Essential commands are not working. I mean, try ^[:wq or even ^[ZZ to write and quit.

IMAGE COPYING AND TEXT ISSUES IN WRITER

When you add an image from a file, it is in line with the text, but when you copy the image that you've already imported to paste again in elsewhere in the document it acts differently. This makes editing the text difficult as OOo will move the image out of place from the text that goes with it.


GRID LINE PRINTING, AND PRINT AREA ISSUES IN CALC

I had the hardest time in OpenOffice Calc printing the grid lines.
(Found out: it's on Format -> page, but that's not possible with a read-only file, since Format->Page is grayed out!)
Also, setting the print area, and it was hard to figure out how to get a randomly sized spreadsheet to print in a scale of (1 page tall by x wide) or (1 page wide by x tall) (found out: it's also in Format-> Page, likewise with the read-only).

BIBLIOGRAPHIC COMPATIBILITY ISSUES

The biggest reason that I cannot switch to OO is that there is no bibliographic (reference) software worth using with it. I use Endnote extensively and have no desire to go back to the days when I had to deal with formatting references in publications by hand without a database.

ADDRESS LABELING ISSUES

The only problem I've ever had with OpenOffice (and the only reason I have to keep MS Office or Wordperfect around) is that the system for putting in address labels is so badly broken that it's useless. I have two files of about 250 addresses each, listed out as plain text, which I can load into MS Office or Wordperfect, set my paper type to labels, and *POOF*! Each address is on it's own label, no extra fighting needed. When I try to do that in OpenOffice, I either get the same (first) address on all of the labels, or I get only one label filled out (again the first one.)
If I want to actually get the separate addresses to show up on each individual label, I have to manually type the stupid things into a database first, and _THEN_ it will let me put them onto the labels. Major pain in then neck, and entirely not worth it, when it'll take less time to fire up my copy of wordperfect and just print the damn list. (The time required to manually enter 500+ addresses is _NOT_ worth it.)




MOUSE SCROLLING AND CUT AND PASTE ISSUES

Mouse scrolling is by line not screen, cut&paste of cells is not intuitive and available special options are reliant upon the phase of the moon and a PRNG.

HISTOGRAM CAPABILITY ISSUES IN CALC

If only Calc had built-in histogram capability. I was able to find a macro to do the job [ooomacros.org]), but it becomes a little clunky when one has reams and reams of data (as bioinformatics are likely to produce). Certainly I realize that OOo isn't meant for hard-core statistics. But it's often nice to do these kinds of little tests to know if a trend is worth rigorously following up.

BULLET POINT COMPATIBILITY ISSUES

If I open my CV which was originally created in Word XP in OpenOffice, and then save it and then open it again in Word 2003, the bullets are screwed and the formatting runs all over the place.
If I create a new document in OpenOffice and put in bullets and then save it and open it in Word 2003, the bullets are screwed.
If I create a new document in Word 2003, put bullets in it and then save it and open it in OpenOffice the bullets are screwed.
This means that I am stuck modifying my CV and customer facing documents in MS Office on my laptop as I can't guarantee that things are going to come out the same on the other side.

CALENDER REQUIREMENTS FOR OPENOFFICE

The one and only missing feature, the reason my company just cut a check for thousands of dollars in MS office licenses? Outlook calendar and reminders.
Does anyone have a free product that will replace this? I kid you not - but everyone who will not switch to open office where i work cite this as their ONLY complaint. Reminders, collaboration (the ability to send reminders on the calendar to other outlook users) and the horrible program that is outlook is why i cannot switch them.


REQUIREMENT OF OPENOFFICE FOR VERSION 2.0

Sadly, in an environment with significant parts Windows, Mac, Linux, and other, the lack of a decent Mac version of OpenOffice is an issue. Sure there is the NeoOffice/J which is fine, if a bit slow, for OpenOffice 1.x, but nothing for OpenOffice 2.x. Mind you, MS Office is no better, with Office running only under WINE for Linux. Lets hope standards support becomes a must have, soon and we can get some real tool independence.

DATA TEXT TO COLUMNS ISSUES IN CALC

I was using OO as an Office replacement for a while. As a word processor, I actually prefer OO, but as a spreadsheet, there was only one crucial function that caused me to switch back, namely, Data>Text to Columns. I can work around it using sed scripts to parse the file before opening it in OO, but the extra step is enough of a hassle to interfere with my work flow. I also don't think it's likely that the casual user is going to want to deal with sed and regexp's. I also realize that if I really wanted the feature, I should buckle down and implement it myself, but frankly I don't have the time or the skill. TC

KEY BINDING ISSUES

People have been asking for improvements to the key binding support for years and have apparently been ignored. Why must everyone roll their own key bindings from scratch? Why does the key binding interface change for every release? Why do they expect people to learn their key bindings?

HEADER ISSUES USING PHP

Here is a prob that I ran into. Using PHP and the following headers works fine if you want to generate a HTML table and dump it into Excel.

header("Content-Type: application/vnd.ms-excel");
header("Expires: 0");
header("Cache-Control: must-revalidate, post-check=0, pre-check=0");

Using the following to open the table in OOo doesn't work. (It didn't for me at least)

header("Content-Type: application/vnd.sun.xml.calc");
header("Expires: 0");
header("Cache-Control: must-revalidate, post-check=0, pre-check=0");

Luckily there is a nice PEAR package that takes care of this problem --> http://pear.php.net/package/Spreadsheet_Excel_Writ er/ [php.net]

GRAPHING ISSUES

I find graphing in OOO to be completely unacceptable. I am a scientist, and I generate dozens of what Excel likes to call "x-y scatter plots" every day. They tend to be mildly complicated, but thats OK. I like tricks like multiple axes, ease of changing scales and labels and legends, and also the ability to make each graph its own sheet in the workbook. I have spent time trying, but I have to conclude that OOO is just bad at all of this.

SEARCHING ISSUES IN WRITER/CALC/GRAPH

I am struggling to complete my thesis right now, in Writer/Calc/Graph of course, and there is one key functionality that is limited to the point of being crippled. Search. While it should theoretically support RegEx syntax, in fact it is far more limited than Word's. You can't even search for manual line breaks, multi-line patterns or formatting like hidden text. This has been much whined about on OOo forums and reportedly some work is being devoted there, but at the moment it IS a royal pain.

MACRO RECORDER ISSUES

...is laughable at present. In MS Office recording a macro is usually a good starting point for writting your own procedures, because you get the function calls with all the necessary arguments nicely written down. The OOo recorder uses references to UI elements instead of actual Basic functions, though, so it is more of a UI operations recorder and the resulting code is far less useful...

IMPRESS PPT IMPORT ISSUES

I deal primarily with Powerpoint==>Impress, so these all relate to PPT import:
1) OOo does not support half as sophisticated gradient model as Powerpoint.
2) OOo does not support half as sophisticated shadow model as Powerpoint.
3) Though much improved in 2.0, WordArt compatibility is still not complete.
4) This can drive you crazy: different white space handling. In Powerpoint, white spice tends to be ignored, whereas in OOo it can cause lines to wrap or empty bullet points to appear.
5) Though improved in 2.0, there are still some line spacing elements of PPT that OOo can't handle.
6) This is annoying because OOo actually supports this feature, but just doesn't import it from PPT: bullet point renumbering. i.e, taking the second bullet point and telling it to display as #5, making the third #6 and so on.
7) This is incredibly minor, but in Powerpoint, if you put shadows on text, the bullet point also gets a shadow.
Cool In Powerpoint, you can set a shape's (like a rectangle etc) background to be "Background" by which it means the slide's background.
9) OOo doesn't yet offer a way of editing custom animation paths, although it imports them correctly.
10) I don't remember all the details off the top of my head anymore, but there are still a few animation properties that don't have quite the same range of options.
And yes, there are bug reports for some of these, and the devs are aware of the others. I'm actually a (minor) contributor to OOo and have a working relationship with the team.

ENVELOPE PRINTING ISSUES

Honestly, it was a very small thing that kept me from using OpenOffice: I couldn't print envelopes. No matter what I did, it would not print anything the envelope when I sent it through my printer. MS Office worked just fine, so I went back to that.

Maybe it's been fixed by now. It was a known, listed bug and scheduled to be fixed in the next major revision. I couldn't wait around for that to happen. I run a small business, so I didn't have time to go fix it myself. I had already sunk money into MS Office, so I didn't feel like paying someone to go fix it. In the end, it was just easier to go back to what I knew instead of beating my head against something that didn't work.
It's nice to have alternatives, but if they don't do what you need then there's really no point.


COMMENT FUNCTIONS, VISUAL MODELS OF PARAGRAPHS, MANUAL BREAKS, MACRO READING, KEY ASSIGNING, AND BULLET ISSUES

* Lack of properly implemented comment function (called Notes in Writer). This is essential for teamwork.
* Inconsistent visual model of paragraphs, which doesn't separate them properly as objects from each other. This is most clearly demonstrated on indented paras. To select a para with its associated formatting (which I need to do very often), you have to also select the indent of the following para! This is completely illogical, and you have to fine-tune your movement in order not to select text from second para by mistake. The quadruple-click method they suggest only selects the text content of the para.
* Manual breaks aren't shown as formatting characters. They are shown only in Print Layout mode and only when text margin are displayed. My main working mode, however, would be Web Layout, which allows me to concentrate on content, not formatting, and have continuous flow of text of arbitrary zoom wrapped to the window.
* Macro Recorder spews out something incomprehensive. VBA is much more readable.
* There's no quick and easy way to assign a key to a style or a symbol, besides recording a macro. This feature is a huge time saver.
* An awkward system if dealing with bulleted and numbered lists with 2 levels of styles. This could be handy in principle, but needs to be **** up. Besides, I even can't visually set the indent of the para text from a bullet or number - have to enter a number into a text box. Still more, bullets and numbers tend to get screwed on round-trips between Writer and Word.
I think the list is not complete, but this is what has come to my mind so far and all those are pretty serious issues for me as a professional translator. That said, OOo is handy to have as an addition to MS Office - recently it saved me a couple of hundreds of pages screwed by Word 2000.
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9point9
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a lot but I can't see anything there which strikes me as being a new issue. See the issue tracker and submit bugs:
http://qa.openoffice.org/issues/query.cgi
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with 9 point. Be certain to file RFEs and bug reports. Then again, some things are just a wee bit over stated.
Quote:
The marketing department is forever complaining that the csv file I sent them has 500,000 rows and Excel can only see the first 60,000 lines. Open Office is just as bad, and older versions can only see 30,000 lines. If Open Office didn't have limit, 90% of the marketing department would switch from Excel tomorrow.

I doubt that 90% of the market place wants to be able to pull half a million records into a spreadsheet...
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I almost forgot, this might interest you as well...

What people want in 3.0
http://www.oooforum.org/forum/viewtopic.phtml?t=25355
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The marketing department is forever complaining that the csv file I sent them has 500,000 rows and Excel can only see the first 60,000 lines. Open Office is just as bad, and older versions can only see 30,000 lines. If Open Office didn't have limit, 90% of the marketing department would switch from Excel tomorrow.

Another point on this is that at that size of data pool you should use a database, not a spreadsheet.
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Last edited by 9point9 on Tue Aug 15, 2006 11:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

9point9 wrote:
Quote:
....the csv file I sent them has 500,000 rows and Excel can only see the first 60,000 lines.
Another point on this is that at that size of data pool you should use a database, not a spreadsheet.
I blame management. During the 90s they slashed jobs like systems analyst, arguing that people could do things like business model development on the desktop. IT departments withered or vanished. You end up with people using spreadsheets as word processors and databases. It's like using a door wedge to jack up your car. You can do it, but it's not wise.

Oh, and I blame M icrosoft advertisming as well. The latest series suggest that by just dumping office 2007 onto desktops people will become more productive. Ha!
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps I should mention that although I consider 500000 rows to be silly in a spreadsheet, I do indeed want it to be supported! I mean, I do have 4GB of RAM that I am trying to use in my Linux box and I rarely use more than three.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pitonyak wrote:
Perhaps I should mention that although I consider 500000 rows to be silly in a spreadsheet, I do indeed want it to be supported!


Isn't QuattroPro the only spreadsheet to offer that? I has 1M rows and 18K columns, iirc.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2006 5:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pitonyak wrote:
Perhaps I should mention that although I consider 500000 rows to be silly in a spreadsheet, I do indeed want it to be supported! I mean, I do have 4GB of RAM that I am trying to use in my Linux box and I rarely use more than three.
I can't even spell the noise I made when I read that!

....0.5GB RAM on Windoze XP at home - 128k on NT4 at work. Sad
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2006 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Isn't QuattroPro the only spreadsheet to offer that? I has 1M rows and 18K columns, iirc.

I really enjoyd Quatro Pro and my Father still uses it (it is not available on Linux).

Quote:
I can't even spell the noise I made when I read that!

As long as you were not drinking so it would have all come out your nose! Laughing
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2006 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
CALENDER REQUIREMENTS FOR OPENOFFICE

The one and only missing feature, the reason my company just cut a check for thousands of dollars in MS office licenses? Outlook calendar and reminders.
Does anyone have a free product that will replace this? I kid you not - but everyone who will not switch to open office where i work cite this as their ONLY complaint. Reminders, collaboration (the ability to send reminders on the calendar to other outlook users) and the horrible program that is outlook is why i cannot switch them.


Um, I wonder if this person realizes that Outlook is available as a stand-alone program for $110, which is a lot cheaper than even the upgrades for Microsoft Office. They could have easily gone with Microsoft Outlook running right beside OpenOffice.org and saved a ton of money.

Also, if the company has an Exchange server, it should come with Outlook licenses for each user. Ours did. Outlook 2003 is the only MS Office program in our building that everyone has the same version of because we upgraded our Exchange server back in January.

But we have Word 95*, 97, 2000, XP and 2003 all running somewhere in the building (and anyone complaining about opening a Word file in Writer should try to open a Word 95 file in Word 2003, or worse, open a Word 2003 file in Word 95 and see how many incompatiblities there are), and we have Excel 97, 2000, XP and 2003 all running somewhere in the building, most of the people don't have PowerPoint, even fewer have Access. And we have people running Excel 97, Word 2000 and Outlook 2003 on the same computer. Keeping track of who has (and needs) what is an absolute nightmare, but I can't get anyone other than me to switch to OOo, and they won't spend the money to upgrade everyone to the same version of MS Office.

*- Ok, I admit it, our one copy of Word 95 is a special case that is reliant on 10-year-old third-party software. That doesn't make it any easier to deal with.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I had started a discussion at SlashDot, and it was about a few deficiencies that I found in OO, and the response was overwhelming to say the very least!

My 2 peeves were/are .pps not opening directly into the show, and instead you have to find the button to start the slide show, and the shrink to fit function for documents, which I find so, so handy in Word.


At SlashDot, eh?
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andrew Pitonyak wrote:
I mean, I do have 4GB of RAM that I am trying to use in my Linux box and I rarely use more than three.

I don't see a smiley, so I'll take a chance and assume you're serious... as far as I understand, on x86, you'll never see Linux use more than 3G, as it segments 1G for kernel / 3G for user. Also, Linux tries to use all your memory ("free" memory is wasted memory). If you mean your applications are actively using 3G of RAM, I'd love to know what for!
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2006 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

acknak wrote:
If you mean your applications are actively using 3G of RAM, I'd love to know what for!

A lot of multitasking perhaps? Try running Nexuiz and there's a gigabyte gone.
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