Can OpenOffice.org regain momentum?

Can OpenOffice.org regain momentum?

Summary: OpenOffice.org is drifting. It's going nowhere fast, neither up nor down, neither forward nor backwards. Since Sun was acquired by Oracle this drift has only become more apparent.

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I'm less of a Google or Apple fanboy than I am an OpenOffice.org fanboy.

It's one of the greatest values in consumer open source, ever. Here are all the basic productivity tools you need, in one place, free for the download. They update it, too.

But OpenOffice.org is drifting. It's going nowhere fast, neither up nor down, neither forward nor backwards. Since Sun was acquired by Oracle this drift has only become more apparent.

The latest evidence, from my friend Roberto Galoppini in Rome, is word that the Free Software Foundation has felt moved to create its own list of OpenOffice.org extensions, on its LibrePlanet wiki.

The release from Peter Brown is polite. "The FSF asked the OpenOffice.org Community Council to list only free software extensions, or to provide a second independent listing which only included free extensions, but they declined to change their policy."

Want more evidence? OpenOffice has issued a call to papers for its annual conference. In Budapest. Hungary. Lovely town (actually two lovely towns, Buda and Pest) but no one's idea of the center of the tech universe. The Hilton at Dar es Salaam was taken?

That's not just snark. Like desktop Linux, OpenOffice.org is placing great stress on new markets like Africa. Here, for instance, it's loaded onto a Netbook with 16 GBytes of chip memory, designed for WiFi access, and offered by a mobile carrier at a monthly fee, bundled with the service. Sweet.

But that's the work of the carrier, and perhaps some clever African entrepreneur who put the deal together. Someone equally clever needs to get command of OpenOffice.org.

Topics: Software, Collaboration

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33 comments
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  • RE: Can OpenOffice.org regain momentum?

    Nope.
    Loverock Davidson
    • wet dreams!

      @Loverock Davidson
      as long as M$ pillages its customers the alternatives will thrive.
      LlNUX Geek
      • RE: Can OpenOffice.org regain momentum?

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        gorians
    • RE: Can OpenOffice.org regain momentum?

      @Loverock Davidson OO fails like every other socialist day dreams.
      LBiege
      • RE: Can OpenOffice.org regain momentum?

        @LBiege What has socialism got to do with OOo? If you are referring to the rhetoric pushed by the proprietary software companies then I am afraid you are naive and don't seem to understand what socialism actually is, because if you did then you would understand that Open Source Software is in fact the actual opposite of it.
        garethmcc
  • RE: Can OpenOffice.org regain momentum?

    In a word? No. OpenOffice is a clone, which in itself isn't bad. But it means that it will always be a follower and not a leader, and that means productivity, integration, compatibility and other capabilities will never be better than Microsoft Office. Even IBM, rebranding OO as Lotus Symphony, hasn't made an inroads.

    So the question is this: does the level of productivity, integration, etc. matter? Consumers and businesses seem to think so, because it isn't worth the risks to invest in a productivity suite that generally is marketed as being "good enough". Who wants that?

    Which is why OpenOffice is becoming less relevant
    carinallc
    • RE: Can OpenOffice.org regain momentum?

      @carinallc You're right, OOo is just a copy of M$ Office, which is the perfect demonstration of how not to do office software. The most obvious though perhaps not too well know deficiency is that in the spreadsheets data, formulae, formatting info, etc. are put into cells in such a away that the user can't keep them separate. You can't even define a cell as 'empty' as distinct from containing zero or a blank string.

      Somebody should spend some time in a large number of offices wher office work is done and try to find out what is really wanted. Then they should try to produce an application for which the number of mouse clics required does not increase exponentially as a function of the version number.
      Daddy Tadpole
  • RE: Can OpenOffice.org regain momentum?

    There is a simple reason why OpenOffice.org doesn't have the drive of innovative development that other OSS projects (such as Desktop Linux for example), and that is that office productivity suites are not used by developers all that much. You'll find that projects that are near and dear to the majority of developers get the most OSS love, as most developers get involved in an OSS project to "scratch their own itch" as it were. If developers don't use it all that much, there's not many of them that will invest the time and effort into furthering its development.
    garethmcc
    • RE: Can OpenOffice.org regain momentum?

      @garethmcc
      I thinks it's more likely to be that OO.o came from a massive and messy code base, has never had many developers outside Sun and Novell, and is the wrong model. OSS likes small pieces strung together, not monster piles of code. Compare OO.o to KOffice, and you'll see what I mean. KOffice has just a couple of devs, yet the office suite is really cool and relatively complete because everything is written as KParts, added one at a time.
      daengbo
  • Please oh please give me a reasonable alternative for MacOSX

    I don't want to buy Word. I don't want to buy iWork (and find it sorely lacking, anyway). I don't want to use GOOG docs (for various reasons, just ONE being that I find the software sorely lacking).

    So, gimme a reasonable alternative to OOo. (In fact, I'll bookmark this page, today, to listen to your wise comments. Seriously!)
    fjpoblam
    • RE: Can OpenOffice.org regain momentum?

      @fjpoblam Symphony is also distributed through Open Office. IBM provides paid support. I hear good things.
      DanaBlankenhorn
      • RE: Can OpenOffice.org regain momentum?

        @DanaBlankenhorn IBM is also working with a company called Expresso to add collaboration capabilities a-la-Google Docs to Symphony on the back of their LotusLive platform. Look at http://www.expressocorp.com/ibm
        taunyana
    • RE: Can OpenOffice.org regain momentum?

      @fjpoblam Lotus Symphony from IBM runs great on Mac OS X. The current GA version is 1.3 and it is OK, but Version 3 is due out soon and is much improved. I've tried Version 3 Beta 2 that is available for download from symphony.lotus.com and I suggest you give it a try. As someone else has already commented, Symphony is IBM's free office productivity suite based on OO.o. If IBM puts more muscle behind Symphony I believe it can give life to OpenOffice.org ... dressed up in IBM attire and supported by IBM.
      taunyana
  • it's great as it is, but needs more love

    There are reasons to love OO over its alternatives. Everyone for whom the suite is important should help to promote it. We sort of take it for granted - or I do.
    howardshippin@...
  • OO has gained my momentum

    Since MS brought out 2007 which I hated (Office for dummies?) and 2010 which I hear isn't much better, I am just waiting for an excuse to ditch 2003 (which I generally love) to move over to OO. Sadly my full move will have to wait til I retire in a couple of years. Looking forward to it!
    jonc2011
    • RE: Can OpenOffice.org regain momentum?

      @jonrichco You can start ditching Office 03 now and starting using OO. It won't be long before your patience with OO runs out and you start to switch back to Office.

      I wouldn't be using OO at all, if not that Ubuntu cannot WINE Word properly.
      cardinal4
    • RE: Can OpenOffice.org regain momentum?

      @jonrichco You can start ditching Office 03 now and starting using OO. It won't be long before your patience with OO runs out and you start to switch back to Office.

      I wouldn't be using OO at all, if not that Ubuntu cannot WINE Word properly.
      cardinal4
    • Why not switch now?

      @jonrichco There really isn't much that Office 2003 can do that OOo can't. What specifically is it about OOo that seems lacking?
      garethmcc
  • OO makes simple things complex

    Nope - far too many 'basic' things are missing that people (corporations) would rather pay the big bucks to keep having. Just one example is OO.o's inability to 'reduce' image size in documents. E.g. I have a 4 mb photo - I use the picture tools to reduce its in document size. I then want to reduce the .odt filesize by shrinking it. In MS Office 2007, it's as simple as going to the image format tab and selecting Compress Pictures. Press 'Okay' and it's all done!

    In OO.o? Go to the *source* file, use an image editor, reduce its resolution, save it, go back into OO.o, re-insert the image, hope it's the right size, do all the formatting stuff again... Blah, blah, blah. Grrrr!!!!

    I for one will take Google Docs over OO.o any day, because it makes things SIMPLE!
    richardschwarz.oz
  • RE: Can OpenOffice.org regain momentum?

    Yes but it needs to have a cloud extension like Office Live Workspaces . I think OO is about where Office XP was in terms of it usability . Collaborative features would enable OO to move into the enterprise
    rustyfoxau@...