Grows Up

Nine years after Sun Microsystems bought StarOffice, the resulting project is ready to roll out its 3.0 release. Enhanced format compatibility and features put it on par with Microsoft Office.

When Sun Microsystems bought the little-known StarOffice productivity suite in 1999, and soon thereafter released the product's code base as open-source software, it was unclear how far the arguably quixotic initiative might reach—and what damage it could possibly wreak on Microsoft's ironclad grip on the office productivity market.

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OpenOffice is one step away from total adaptation.
This is the one step I'm waiting it to do:

OpenOffice formatting should NOT BREAK THE LAYOUTS
of my documents, spreadsheets, presentations.

I could live with its crappy clunky slow and dated user interface,
but the breaking of document appearances?
It makes me glad that MS Office is de-facto standard.

I do not want the .doc to be the new .html/css
loaded with "cross-browser" inconsistencies.

How easy is it to transition? I've been customizing my MS Office keyboard and toolbars for years. And I've got numerous macros and VB apps. If those don't transition or require a lot of work to make work then where's the advantage?

If stuff like this does transition smoothly then MS is in trouble.

For people with customized MSO-specific toolbars and VB macros, why would anyone reasonably expect that these would copy into OO.o?

Of all the people at work I know, only one knows about VB macros.

For the rest, OO.o can be an acceptable app.

(Chugworth said @ #8)
But does it have real-time grammar checking? That's one feature I was surprised that it was missing.

Looks like you could do with it too.

Used it as my main office suite for two years but then moved back. Mostly due formatting issues when I open OOo docs in Office on other PCs (which I have to do often), but also usabilty problems etc.

But this said, for 90% of people, OOo is perfectly acceptable and even better free

"what damage it could possibly wreak on Microsoft's ironclad grip on the office productivity market."

That's hilarious. I'm sure Microsoft is shaking in their boots. Who comes up with this stuff?

As always, you get what you pay for. That's why one title is loaded with features and one isn't.

"loaded with features" is not always the best solution/product.

Vista Ultimate is loaded with features. But a simple home user wanting to simply share family photos online or get emails and such would not be better served with Ultimate (and the increased price tag) over Home. Heck even a free Linux distro can do that super easy - all the while avoiding the malware concerns.

Face it, sometimes the value of what you get is often more than what you paid for it.

Have you actually used OOo, C_Guy? It --IS-- loaded with features. Moreso than any other open-source project I've used, save for various Linux distros and maybe maybe maybe maybe maybe GIMP.

The only real advantage Office has over it is the fact that the clusterf*ck they call the ".doc" format is so firmly entrenched in the business world. It's momentum that's keeping Office ahead, more than features.

I've started using OOo on my Mac since it's been available for Aqua and it's been good. Had a few quirks with it, but it does everything I need and the difference between it and Office is minimal. I'd imagine your average user just typing a letter would hardly notice the change.

It's got some way to go to be a good Mac app, but as an MS Office replacement it's more than good enough for most users.

It still lacks so many features that people seem to use in MS Word like outline view in Writer and custom animations in Impress.

Its still quite enough for me

Sun has seemed a bit schizophrenic about open source in the past. But it does seem that they are heading in that direction. OO.o is becoming a fairly mature product now, and IBM's Lotus Symphony shows that you can take a plain OO.o and skin it up in a visually appealing way.

OO.o may never ever become a market leader, but it is certainly an acceptable Office suite for many.