[LINK] RFI: OpenOffice and Web-Page Management
Mon Nov 11 22:41:18 EST 2002
I usually "lurk", rather than post to link, but I have a heavy personal
interest in free software for windows so I thought I'd pipe up on this one.
> I love open office, but then I'll put up with a great deal to indulge my
> skinflint behaviour. I really like being free(as in beer) and legal.
> The free (as in speech) bit is also good, but I'm not a good enough
> programmer to really take advantage of that side.
> I found some problems with office in general calc so far, all on the
> windows platform. They don't really relate to web stuff but might still
> be useful.
> 0.5) It's REALLY SLOW to startup. If people have less than a PIII, most
> users would comment, many would complain.
> 1) converting to excel 97/2000 gives an MS spreadsheet with a print area
> set to the maximum bounds of the spreadsheet, which needs to be reset to
> avoid many hundreds of wasted pages (This was in 1.0, it may be different
> in 1.01)
> 2) Converting to excel 97/2000 failed on my more complex formulae -- if
> and choice fomulae resulted in N/A entries in the cells in 97/2000. For
> me, this was a significant problem. It's fine that the file is zipped XML
> and not proprietry, but I don't have any other apps that read zipped XML
> Spreadsheets! So now I have a very complex wage/tax/hecs/family
> benefits/household budget analysis tool that scales with income, but it's
> locked in to OOO. Test for compatability as you go, some functions just
> don't convert to MS. I don't know if this is fixable or not, but MS has
> the CHOOSE and IF functions so it should be.
> 3) Even when displaying the formulae in the cells, a copy and paste to any
> other application gives the values, not the formulae.
> 4) A copy of a vertical column to a horizontal selection does not
> automatically transpose values like MS office, you have to do special
> paste, then transpose.
> 5) I pasted in a whole bunch of complex formulae I'd developed in word
> (because you (at least I) can't find/replace hard returns, tabs etc in
> ooo!) and it mostly worked. I did one particular one and it just sat
> there, displaying the formulae instead of evaluating them. I had to edit
> the cell, move the cursor and press enter to make it "stick". I even
> closed down, rebooted and reopened, there they were, unevaluated. I had
> to do this (F2, left, return, repeat) down a few hundred cells.
> 6) I got 527 errors working with large copy/pastes (internal buffer
> overflow), but it fixes that as soon as you scroll around.
> 7) Every time I opened the help, It crashed; elegantly mind you, saved the
> file, apologised to me and so on. That might be because I tore out all
> the MS HTML stuff from windows and maybe the help needs it a bit, so that
> might just be my PC.
> 8) in word (write?) you can't hold alt and get a column-style selection.
> (Try it in winword, it's staggeringly useful for data, but you should
> change to a fixed-width font first.)
> Some of these are just usability things -- some might be fixed next
> release, some might not be implemented ever. The point being that if you
> want this to be a drop in replacement for MS Office, it's just not
> polished enough. I wish it was, and I think it will be, but it's not yet.
> Users won't put up with it, esp. those who've paid money to learn office
> at tafe as part of a certificate in this or that.
> If you don't have user inertia, say a new startup business or it's the
> user who's saving the cash, then it's fine. The biggest strength in a
> business is the "programmability" which it undoubtedly has, but I haven't
> investigated that I'm afraid.
> Daniel Rose
> National Library of Australia
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