LibreOffice 3.6.1

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LibreOffice 3.6.1

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:44 am

Hey gerbils. Just thought I'd like to talk about LibreOffice a bit. I've been using it for the past year but I've since stopped and switched back to my old copy of MS Office 2007. I don't really need to upgrade to MS's newer versions of it. However, I still can't deny the value offered by a free office suite such as LO, and it does have features that I find easier to use and handy that MS Office 2007 doesn't have (such as exporting to PDF... I don't think MS Office 2007 can do that). The latest version (3.6.1 as of this post) seems to have fixed a lot of bugs. Anybody here tried it out? What do you think?
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Re: LibreOffice 3.6.1

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:01 pm

Haven't tried the latest 3.6.1 version yet (I'm still on 3.4.1), but I will say that it is more a matter of what you're accustomed to than anything else. LibreOffice is just as quirky (and at times frustrating) to use as MS Office. The quirks are just *different*.

As long as you're not doing a lot of collaborative document editing with MS Office users (the MS Office import/export has improved a lot over the years, but still isn't perfect), I'd say it is quite viable as an all-around office suite.

Guess I need to give 3.6.1 a spin.
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Re: LibreOffice 3.6.1

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:09 pm

LO is not some magic pixie dust, it has it's share of problems, and sometimes document transfer from MO<->LO is not working as expected. Don't know whose fault is that.

But given how LO is free, and does everything I need to do, I'm still sticking to it. And lately, it seems there is a greater chance that everyone has LO than MO.

There is only one thing that has always bugged me about LO, that is, those gigantic rounded buttons out of Win95 era... :roll:
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Re: LibreOffice 3.6.1

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:26 pm

ronch wrote: I still can't deny the value offered by a free office suite such as LO

If you have a hotmail/msn/live account, you can use the web version of MS Office (Word, Excel and PowerPoint), which I've found to be very good. It's skinned just like MS Office and although it isn't fully featured, does offer the basic functunality (importing pictures, chart creation, spell check, editing view) and it saves to your sky drive.

ronch wrote:(such as exporting to PDF... I don't think MS Office 2007 can do that).

Yes, MS Office 2007 can do that, as well as .odt and .html. Not sure what other ones (besides .txt/.rtf) there are
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Re: LibreOffice 3.6.1

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:34 pm

Sargent Duck wrote:it saves to your sky drive.

IMHO, that alone is the reason not to use such product, EVER.
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Re: LibreOffice 3.6.1

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:50 pm

Madman wrote:
Sargent Duck wrote:it saves to your sky drive.

IMHO, that alone is the reason not to use such product, EVER.

I wouldn't go quite so far as to say "EVER", but yeah. While these types of solutions can indeed be convenient, I'm going to repeat what I've said dozens of times - here and elsewhere - over the past few years: Entrusting your data to a "cloud services" provider means you are no longer in control of your own data.
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Re: LibreOffice 3.6.1

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:25 pm

You know, for two-page reading responses about "East Coast City Orchestra" and note-taking spreadsheets of who I want to meet at the career fair, I'm comfortable with that. Maybe not as much with tax returns and medical information, but it's not like all my data needs military-grade security protection.
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Re: LibreOffice 3.6.1

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:30 pm

grantmeaname wrote:You know, for two-page reading responses about "East Coast City Orchestra" and note-taking spreadsheets of who I want to meet at the career fair, I'm comfortable with that. Maybe not as much with tax returns and medical information, but it's not like all my data needs military-grade security protection.

No argument there. But how many people will actually ask themselves every time they create a document: "Does this contain sensitive information, and should I entrust it to the cloud?"
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Re: LibreOffice 3.6.1

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:37 pm

just brew it! wrote:No argument there. But how many people will actually ask themselves every time they create a document: "Does this contain sensitive information, and should I entrust it to the cloud?"

Bankers don't. They see the cloud as a way to make IT cheaper and never ask the pertinent questions, instead relying on vendor assurances. Instant fail of GLBA data security regs.

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Re: LibreOffice 3.6.1

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:22 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
just brew it! wrote:No argument there. But how many people will actually ask themselves every time they create a document: "Does this contain sensitive information, and should I entrust it to the cloud?"

Bankers don't. They see the cloud as a way to make IT cheaper and never ask the pertinent questions, instead relying on vendor assurances. Instant fail of GLBA data security regs.

[/day job]

Yes, I suppose both of our opinions are colored somewhat by our day jobs. At work I routinely deal with information covered by ITAR - no security clearance required, but verboten for non-US citizens, with potentially severe penalties for violating the rules.

But even taking that out of the equation, I guess I could sum up my take as "It's 3:00 AM. Do you know where your data is?" :lol:
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Re: LibreOffice 3.6.1

Postposted on Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:35 pm

Been using the 3.6.x releases since they were released as final. The LO guys are fast compared to Apache and even the Calligra devs, you gotta give them that, but even the final releases can (should?) be considered rolling--made the mistake of trying of 3.6.0 in production, and man, it crashed a lot while using the tracked changes feature in Writer. Spelling was also broken if you didn't manually delete extensions (fixed in 3.6.1). Heh. Contemplated trying out OO.org 3.4.1 for a bit back there :D

But still, the new coat of paint is nice (gone are the faux-Aero touches) and now sports a cool, light shade of gray. At 3.6.1, this version already feels snappy and relatively stable for most use cases. I'm actually using it now as a daily driver. The previous 3.5 branch took some time to become stable enough for production and or daily use, so I guess they've learned from that already. It seems that whenever the LO guys introduce a fairly hefty code drop of new functionality or features, something is bound to break badly. This code base is really in need of some TLC.

Most of the changes in the 3.6.0 and 3.6.1 focus on polishing or refining existing functionality, in some cases bringing them closer to MS Office-like behavior.

Anyway, I'm still excited about the direction of LibreOffice. The code cleanups are going well, new functionality continues to come without breaking much, and the devs seem to have an idea what they want to become of LibreOffice. Here's to hoping they finally get a top to bottom code overhaul done by 4.x!
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Re: LibreOffice 3.6.1

Postposted on Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:26 am

I have used OpenOffice.org exclusively for years. Then, bothered only by the Oracle logo on the splash screen and OOo's uncertain future, I decided to switch to LO. Two features important to me were broken, however, in 3.5.0 and 3.6.0:
1. *.doc documents imported from OOo lose borders around frames
2. importing documents in Excel 2003 XML format fails reports some file error. The files are generated by a third party application, OOo imports them perfectly, and MS Office imports them almost as well.

I'm back on OOo for now. So, try out both OOo and LO, and see for yourself which one has fewer quirks. You may even want to use both for different tasks.
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Re: LibreOffice 3.6.1

Postposted on Thu Sep 06, 2012 6:35 am

I'm aware of the problems that may arise when you use LO and collaborate with other people using MO. However, it seems you don't even have to collaborate with other folks to run into trouble.

I remember last year when I created a presentation using Impress. After hours of work (and having faith that I am saving my work properly), I was shocked to find out that LO didn't save my work properly and all the things I did were so mangled I had to repeat the entire thing.

I also ran across some problems with Calc where in I do a simple summation of a column of cells, and I later find out that one cell wasn't included in the sum.

As for Writer, my wife is a lawyer and she tells me she just hates the way Writer deals with bullets and indentations. She uses MS Word for that and she thinks Writer simply sucks. I wanna install LO on her computer but that obviously would make her work more difficult than it should be.

Things like these keep me from using LO in the office. I'm not in the process of creating a presentation these days just to check Impress' reliability, nor am I actively verifying that LO now sums up a column properly (I encountered it only once or twice), but I guess I could use the opinions of those who really work with LO everyday and may come across problems. It may be free, but if it makes work harder then I doubt people would mind spending for MO.
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Re: LibreOffice 3.6.1

Postposted on Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:10 am

I just came across a strange behavior with LO. Not sure it's a bug, maybe it's a design decision.

When creating a numbered list, say a To-Do list, you normally do it this way:

1. Walk the dog
2. Wash the dishes
3. Watch TV

I just found out that when you start out to make a list like this, LO doesn't automatically insert the next number for you. Like when you type '1. Walk the dog' and press ENTER, the cursor just goes down one line and doesn't put '2.' for your next entry. I found that you have to go to Format > Bullets and Numbering, and select the numbering style from the Numbering Type tab. I think users shouldn't have to go look for this function when all other word processors do this for you automatically. It's a little inconvenience especially for those new to LO.
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Re: LibreOffice 3.6.1

Postposted on Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:17 am

I hate that other word processors create numbered lists automatically, because I find they don't do a good job understanding what I want to do and adjusting accordingly. Word 2003 (I know!) is especially horrible about this. If I want auto-bullets, I'm happy to go to the menu and select them for myself.
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Re: LibreOffice 3.6.1

Postposted on Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:03 am

1. Recent versions of LO do create numbered lists automatically.
2. Even in earlier versions, there's a toolbar button to start a numbered list; no need to go through the menus.
3. I'm actually with grantmeaname on this one, automatic list creation is generally more of an annoyance than a help. Ideally it should be manual, but there should also be a toolbar button and/or hotkey (one click or one keystroke) to turn it on.
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Re: LibreOffice 3.6.1

Postposted on Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:07 am

Grantmeaname: I understand your point. I've never had trouble with earlier MS Office versions with regards to this, perhaps because I've come to accept it as standard. Still, it's a bit of a shift for LibreOffice. It's actually not a bad idea to just let users choose which bullets/numbering style they wish to use, but novice users or those who expect MS Office-like behavior may find it annoying. I know my wife won't like it. As someone who likes LibreOffice for what it is (which is a full-featured office suit... albeit it admittedly still has lots of bugs), I'm more inclined to explore how to do stuff on LO. Unfortunately I know many folks used to using MSO just won't take it.

Justbrewit : Ah, thanks for the heads up. Yeah, just saw it. I think the last LO version I've tried was 3.5.4. I believe it entered succeeding numbers automatically. The latest version (3.6.1 as of this post) doesn't do it automatically, although as you've pointed out there are buttons that turn numbering and bullets on/off.

It's not a problem though, as long as you know how to turn it on/off. Just something I noticed just now with the latest version.
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Re: LibreOffice 3.6.1

Postposted on Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:48 am

Ahh, OK. So they default the auto-numbering feature to "off" in 3.6.1. For those who prefer the auto-numbering behavior it can be enabled via Tools -> Autocorrect Options -> Options (and check the "Apply numbering" box).

I just upgraded my work system to 3.6.1; we'll see how it goes.
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