Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
IBM Software Linux

IBM Joins OpenOffice.org Community 213

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the get-your-conspiracy-theories-warmed-up dept.
Petrushka writes "In a press release today, with accompanying press FAQ, IBM announces a change in its relationship to the OpenOffice.org development community. The upshot is that they're making a long-term commitment to OOo; no organization has paid off any other organization for this; they're devoting about 35 of their developers in China to OOo; and they'll be contributing accessibility code from Lotus Notes to improve current support for assistive technologies. You may recall that an alleged shortage of assistive technologies that work with OOo has been one of the big criticisms leveled against the idea of governments standardizing on the OpenDocument format, which is a file format that OOo and several other office suites support."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

IBM Joins OpenOffice.org Community

Comments Filter:
  • by somersault (912633) on Monday September 10, 2007 @08:37AM (#20537063) Homepage Journal
    One more step to not being locked into Microsoft (ie paying through the nose) for an application than can make writing look prettier, and is universally accepted \o/
  • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Monday September 10, 2007 @08:39AM (#20537073) Homepage Journal
    OpenOffice.org itself doesn't lack assistive technologies. OOo on Windows lacks assistive technologies. OOo with GNOME or KDE integration gets the accessibility technologies of GNOME or KDE, respectively.

    Still, it's a welcome sight to see IBM participating in OOo development. OOo just keeps improving with every new release, and I find that I use it more than Microsoft Office, although I have both installed at work and at home.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kripkenstein (913150)

      OpenOffice.org itself doesn't lack assistive technologies. OOo on Windows lacks assistive technologies. OOo with GNOME or KDE integration gets the accessibility technologies of GNOME or KDE, respectively.

      That is a fair and accurate point to make. I do see a lot of value to this move, however, beyond just improving accessibility for Windows users. On the one hand, this may make accessibility more cross-platform, so it will be easier to migrate from one OS to another; with OO.org already cross-platform, mak

      • I do see a lot of value to this move, however, beyond just improving accessibility for Windows users. On the one hand, this may make accessibility more cross-platform, so it will be easier to migrate from one OS to another; with OO.org already cross-platform,

        Application level quirks like this are a symptom of non free software disease that should not be imitated. If Windoze had decent accessibility built into their OS, this would not be an issue. They don't so every application developer has to reinve

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by xouumalperxe (815707)

      While you might make a solid point there (I don't really follow assistive technologies much), you're missing an important, more pragmatic point: The (perceived?) cost of migration.

      Imagine I'm Joe CTO. If I just change my users from MS Office to OpenOffice, I have to handle transitioning just one piece of software (albeit a big one). Last thing I want is to change both office suite and operating system in one go. So I need Open Office with all the bells and whistles *now*, and once that transition is compl

  • faster!!! (Score:2, Funny)

    by b1ufox (987621)
    Ok for end users this is a good news. For monopolists not so heartening news.

    Anyway what i would also like to see in Openoffice -
    -It is terribly slow. Looks like a huge piece of bloat. It will be great if it can be faster.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      It is terribly slow. Looks like a huge piece of bloat. It will be great if it can be faster.

      When was the last time you used OOo? Since 2.0, it's not that slow. It's slow in initial loading, but that's because OOo loads the whole suite when starting any of its components, so comparing load time of OOo Writer vs. Word, for example, is not an apples-to-oranges comparison.

      Once OOo is loaded, though, it responds very quickly on any fairly decent hardware -- at least like a 1.5 Ghz processor and have a gig of RAM depending on OS.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Ash Vince (602485)

        When was the last time you used OOo? Since 2.0, it's not that slow. It's slow in initial loading, but that's because OOo loads the whole suite when starting any of its components, so comparing load time of OOo Writer vs. Word, for example, is not an apples-to-oranges comparison.

        I use 2.0 and I find it slower than Word. I did not know that when I loaded OOo writer it also loaded all the rest of the suite but why waste time doing that at all? Normally I open office by clicking on a document which I want to open, in which case I do not want it to waste time with alot of features that are not relevant to the document type I have just opened.

        I would bet that this is why it is always accused of being slower thet MS Word and this is one of the reasons I would have a hard time convincing

        • MS Word is worse. (Score:4, Informative)

          by DrYak (748999) on Monday September 10, 2007 @10:04AM (#20537977) Homepage

          I would bet that this is why it is always accused of being slower thet MS Word


          MS Office actually load its whole suit in memory, *at boot time*.

          But there's a taskbar widget for OpenOffice.org that can do the same stuff if you want to get the same startup speed and you don't mind wasting a lot of RAM.
          • by Ash Vince (602485)

            MS Office actually load its whole suit in memory, *at boot time*.

            But there's a taskbar widget for OpenOffice.org that can do the same stuff if you want to get the same startup speed and you don't mind wasting a lot of RAM.

            The answer to this depends on where I am. Currently I am at work so I find this feature bloody useful as I use office alot and open a large number of different documents to view the contents or make small edits. When I am at home I would find this more annoying though as I spend less time opening Office documents.

            • you have the choice with Open Office, you have no choice with Microsoft Office, the memory will be used...
              • You do have a choice in windows as well, though it is a bit more hidden... I have a tendency to nuke most of my startup apps in windows, because I don't like, often use, or need most of them... It just depends on your usage... it's like those stupid printer notification icons... "zOMG! you are low on yellow ink, prepare to die!" that it can't just tell me when it tries to print next time.

                What I really wish, is that the startup assistant/tray icon was an optional choice, clearly marked on a separate pane
          • Re:MS Word is worse. (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Macthorpe (960048) on Monday September 10, 2007 @11:22AM (#20539239) Journal

            MS Office actually load its whole suit in memory, *at boot time*.
            How did this get modded informative? That doesn't happen at all, and you can take that from someone who just installed Office 2003. There's no trace of a service or process related to Office, and physical memory usage is the same as it was before.
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by xtracto (837672)
              Shut up with your objective comments, we are trying to bash Microsoft here!
              • by Macthorpe (960048)
                My bad...

                Um... Word gave my dog cancer! And when I came home today, Powerpoint was snorting cocaine off the back of an Asian prostitute called Ling!

                Better?
            • http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=220570&messageID=2223103

              Technically, you're right. Office is not preloaded, it's loaded flat out. It just misses Office.main_window.show() or something like that.
              • by Macthorpe (960048)
                But only if Office Startup Assistant is off, and on my version of 2003 it's not even started by default. Emphasising:

                Can I Remove the Osa.exe File? You can safely remove the Osa.exe file without causing the Office XP programs to fail. However, if you remove Osa.exe, you no longer benefit from the performance advantages that are provided by running Osa.exe

                This is a long way away from the "Office does this by default and can't be turned off" behaviour that some of the posts around here are claiming, though I will concede that Office XP behaviour and 2003 behaviour seems to vary.

      • Which is why, periodically, one dreams of one of the older programs (WordStar, XYWrite, Word5.1) being released and updated just enough to run correctly on modern OSes. A single app, encompassing a core functionality, that doesn't completely overwhelm a modern computer. Comparitively Emacs/TeX is a lightweight, responsive, document-processing system compared to Word/OO/Pages, etc, and when you've reached the, "I run Emacs because it's so small and quick" stage, it's time to take a hard look at your produc
  • Huh? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 10, 2007 @08:45AM (#20537129)

    and they'll be contributing accessibility code from Lotus Notes
    That's about what, 2 lines of code? =p
  • WTF? (Score:5, Informative)

    by spectrokid (660550) on Monday September 10, 2007 @08:46AM (#20537133) Homepage
    IBM has its own office package: http://www-306.ibm.com/software/lotus/products/sma rtsuite/ [ibm.com]
    Is this another case of the one division not knowing what the other does, or is IBM giong to drop smartsuite?
    • by tsa (15680)
      Maybe they donate part of Smartsuite to the OS community, or they develop code for the implementation of ODF in both suites?
    • by simong (32944)
      Well, if they abandoned it, I'm sure all three existing users would notice.

      Smartsuite is installed on all corporate IBM PCs but the option to install Office is the first thing in the global software repository, and it generally has to be used to share documents with clients. Sun have similar issues but at least StarOffice can talk .doc.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mdm-adph (1030332)
      Aye -- IBM has apparently abandoned SmartSuit -- they don't plan on even making a Vista-compatible version, from what I hear. Trust me, I know -- it's what we use in my shop, and we're in a awful mess right now because there's so many spreadsheets flying around in SmartSuite's (unfortunately) proprietary format.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Aye -- IBM has apparently abandoned SmartSuit -- they don't plan on even making a Vista-compatible version, from what I hear.

        Maybe that's part of the rationale behind this. Maybe IBM wants to be able to promote OpenOffice as the migration path for SmartSuite users.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          IBM editors read (but not write) SmartSuite formats. This may also be something that IBM contributes to OOo. So I'd say yes, this is the path IBM wants to see for SmartSuite users.
    • If they're abandoning it, it's a pity as AmiPro/WordPro/WhateverItIsThisMonthPro was a nice alternative wordprocessor a few years back. I had been told unofficially by an IBMer once that they had an internal port to Unix started, but vehement managment opposition to it ever seeing the light of day. I'd kind of hoped they'd treat it like DataExplorer [opendx.org], and let it fly free. (They would be encouraged to keep Notes down on the farm, preferably muzzled and in a cage.
  • Good lord.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Otter (3800) on Monday September 10, 2007 @08:47AM (#20537141) Journal
    Any time you need interface contributions from Lotus Freaking Notes, something is badly wrong.

    I'm curious about the accessibility support for that helpful feature it has, where entering the password characters puts up random numbers of bullets while hieroglyphics blink randomly around the input box, apparently to distract and confuse shoulder surfers. Do they have a similar function for blind users? And how about sighted users and blind shoulder surfers? Shouldn't it make random annoying noises as well, to confuse them?

    • Re:Good lord.. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Otter (3800) on Monday September 10, 2007 @08:52AM (#20537175) Journal
      For those fortunate enough not to know what I'm talking about: see the last entry on this page [mac.com].
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by gEvil (beta) (945888)
      It gets even better than that. Ever tried using Notes on a Mac? Version 6 was the retarded little brother of the Notes family. Thankfully with version 7 they've managed to put him into a nice suit, but he still acts funny and drools all over himself...
    • Re:Good lord.. (Score:5, Informative)

      by hachete (473378) on Monday September 10, 2007 @10:26AM (#20538299) Homepage Journal
      I've used and programmed Lotus Notes on and off for the past 10 years. It's not that bad for what it does. For a networked environment the database replication was way ahead of it's time, and it still has no real competitor in that field. OK, so the field has moved on; and the interface is shit. Still, admin wise it's pretty good, and IBM has done a lot of good work with Notes.

      We've rolled out a wiki in the same breath as running a huge Notes infrastructure. What I don't understand is that, as crap as the Notes interface is, it's still way ahead of any browser for editing documents. Anyway, so the Notes database is the back-end, and the web-browser is the new client. Call it a wiki, and people love it. Call it Notes database and they'll run a mile. I suppose it must say something about the whole thing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I'm not defending Lotus Notes in general, but in this particular case you're wrong. I had to work extensively with Lotus Notes many years ago, and the reason for the hieroglyphs was NOT to confuse shoulder surfers, as you seem to believe.

      It used to take quite a while to authenticate when using a modem (you know, the 56kbps stuff and earlier). The hieroglyphs were there as a visual clue that you had entered your password correctly, BEFORE you even attempted to authenticate. The same password always produced
      • by Otter (3800)
        I appreciate the correction -- I'd been mystified as to why the blinking hieroglyphics where there are at all, and when I read the Hall of Shame page, figured that must be the explanation.

        It still seems like an annoying solution to a complete non-issue, or at least something that would be an non-issue if it weren't for the even more annoying random number of bullets per password character. (Does that also have some utility I'm not noticing?) I'm more than old enough to remember modems and don't recall lengt

      • by Belial6 (794905)
        There was a feature to protect against brute force attacks. Each time you entered a wrong password, a longer and longer pause would be put in before it would try to authenticate.
    • by MartinB (51897)

      I'm curious about the accessibility support for that helpful feature it has, where entering the password characters puts up random numbers of bullets while hieroglyphics blink randomly around the input box, apparently to distract and confuse shoulder surfers.

      I'm curious as to what qualifies you to talk about this when you haven't even observed the application's behaviour correctly.

      The hieroglyphs act as a checksum of the entered password. So I know that when I enter my pw correctly, the last char to display

  • We all now Open office is slow so lets hope We get the fast and Wonderfull Lotus notes interface on Open Office.
  • What's that as a level of investment? $50,000pa?
     
    • by Anonymous Coward
      if they are trying to kill OO with low quality code? I hope not, but China? Crap, I have seen the code that comes from there, and it makes their toys look positively great.
    • by vidarh (309115)
      More like $50k per month fully loaded based on actual experience hiring Chinese developers - the Chinese market is heating up quickly. Especially for people with even rudimentary English skills.
  • by downix (84795) on Monday September 10, 2007 @08:53AM (#20537183) Homepage
    This reminds me of an issue we have at work. At work, we run OpenOffice now, it gave us flexibility and yet fully functional... except for one guy, the Editor. He installed it, and the next day went to me "Frankly, it sucks. I won't use it." So, we have this one Office 07 guy out there, and he keeps getting angry when he can't read any documents we send him, or we can't read his documents, yet it's our fault because we won't pay for Office '07 when everyone else is happy with Open Office.

    I know this guy, he just went home, installed it, looked, went "this doesn't look like Office 07" and left it at that. Until we can woo this kind of person, however, I fear that OO, and any open standard wp for that matter, will never truely break into mainstream, because he is the Editor, in charge of a whole department.
    • by flynns (639641)
      He'll get over it.
    • by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Monday September 10, 2007 @09:02AM (#20537269) Homepage Journal
      You bring up a good point Open Office will not cure stupidity. This is important to remember.
    • by mpe (36238)
      This reminds me of an issue we have at work. At work, we run OpenOffice now, it gave us flexibility and yet fully functional... except for one guy, the Editor. He installed it, and the next day went to me "Frankly, it sucks. I won't use it." So, we have this one Office 07 guy out there, and he keeps getting angry when he can't read any documents we send him,

      IIRC Sun brought out an addon for MS Office which enables it to read OASIS formats.

      or we can't read his documents, yet it's our fault because we won
    • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday September 10, 2007 @09:07AM (#20537309) Homepage
      We "wooed" employees by saying, "this is our new company policy. all computers will be changed over to this new standard effective XXXX" 95% had no problem, the 5% that did whined big time. but we had finance on our side so in the big shirts meetings when the whiners whines got to them they got shot down by the director of finance saying, "It will cost us $180,000 to switch back to MS office, replacing that employee with someone that is professional enough to understand business means change is not only cheaper but probably a good idea anyways."

      It shut all the whiners up fast when they found that replacing them is far cheaper than catering to their whining.

      You unfortunately have a high level whiner. so you need to have even higher than him do the smackdown.
      • by o'reor (581921)
        So much for the "nobody ever got fired for picking Microsoft rather than the free alternatives" :-)

        About time that mentalities evolved in upper management too, but it's good to see it, even if it took 10 years to get there...

        • by Lumpy (12016)
          It's really easy to do this. You simply do their footwork and show them the Costs. If they have a real number in hand the finance guys eat it up like it's free pizza.

          finance guys run the business contrary to what the Operations executives think. They can not do anything unless finance releases the cash. Finance loves It that saves money and if you show a good savings with minimal change expense, you become the golden child for that moment.

          Talk money, learn the jargon and thought patterns of the Fina
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      He installed it, and the next day went to me "Frankly, it sucks. I won't use it."

      What about: "It's Corporate Policy. Don't like it, feel free to search another job".

      That's what they told me when I didn't want to use Microsoft Office 2003 at work...

    • Well I wonder how different is office 07 to office 03 and how he managed to survive the change, if he ever did of course.

      A sad story nonetheless.
    • by jimicus (737525) on Monday September 10, 2007 @09:19AM (#20537411)
      What if....

      ...you took OO.o as it stands now, rebranded it "Microsoft Office 2009 Preview" (just the splash screen, title bar and help text should be adequate) and showed it to someone who'd made such a complaint. Tell them that "Microsoft found people were confused by the change of interface in 2007 so they changed it back again to something which looks more like Office 2000" or other such bull.

      I bet most of the complainers would announce themselves to be perfectly happy with this, and far prefer it to OpenOffice.
      • In short, It works. You don't have to change anything just say it's "A new version of Office" and few people notice. The reason is that 90% of users, the only feature they use is _maybe_ change the font or font size. And File->new and File->save. That's about it for most users.
    • He installed it, and the next day went to me "Frankly, it sucks. I won't use it." So, we have this one Office 07 guy out there, and he keeps getting angry when he can't read any documents we send him, or we can't read his documents, yet it's our fault because we won't pay for Office '07 when everyone else is happy with Open Office.

      A plausible alternative theory is that OOo does suck, but your Editor is the only person who needs certain features or communicates with certain other parties that demonstrate this.

      In most office environments, the cost of paying for business software is a negligible expense relative to the money saved or wasted by making a poor choice of which software to use. My employer probably spends several times more money on employing me for a single day than they do on whatever blanket MS Office licence they hav

  • by Shadow_139 (707786) on Monday September 10, 2007 @09:04AM (#20537277)
    It was all good until I read : "....they'll be contributing accessibility code from Lotus Notes to improve current support for assistive technologies..." Lotus Notes is EVIL and must be killed, -- I forgive you Outlook & Exchange....,
    • by tomstdenis (446163) <tomstdenisNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday September 10, 2007 @09:19AM (#20537413) Homepage
      Having used lotus notes while on assignment at IBM I can attest to it's evilness and lack of "straightforwardness." It's a bitch to setup without an IT support dude sitting at your ... wait a tick ... IBM makes money out of service contracts? No way...

      Tom
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Manic Miner (81246)
      Notes can be a git to use, takes a lot of getting used to... but it is WAY better than Outlook & Exchange, Organising meetings is easier, the replication features make it easy to work "off-line" on a laptop then sync up your changes when you get into the office.

      Once you are used to the user interface and have learned a bit about the power of notes, it makes Outlook look like a childs toy.
  • I, for one, welcome our new IBM overlords.
    • That's good, as otherwise they'll just tread upon you with their Big Blue Heels.

      "And then you realize, you are so ready for IBM"
  • Oh no (Score:3, Funny)

    by bytesex (112972) on Monday September 10, 2007 @09:12AM (#20537359) Homepage
    We'll get Lotus Notes into OpenOffice now - run for the Hills !
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      This may actually cause the first "black hole" scenario for software. Notes combined with OpenOffice may actually be so bloated that the code will collapse in on itself and suck all surrounding code into it. When you try to open the application everything seems to slow down as you get closer and closer to actually running the program; as if time almost stops when you're at the verge of finally looking at a document.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by SEE (7681)
        Er, no. The first time someone created document editing software that collapsed upon itself, sucked all surrounding code into it, and slowed the computer to a halt, they called it EMACS.
    • I'm still waiting for SMIT [ibm.com] to be ported.
  • We use Lotus (Ami Pro/Freelance/123 etc) plus MS Office 2003 plus MS Office XP. Now we'll get OO. Gee I can hardly wait trying to open up some PM's 175 page converted Powerpoint presentation.
  • by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Monday September 10, 2007 @09:40AM (#20537623) Homepage Journal

    It's also worth pointing out here that the upcoming version of IBM's Lotus Notes product includes internal support for ODF documents (.odt, .ods and .odp). Based on what I see in the beta, it looks to me like the ODF support is provided by an embedded and tweaked version of OOo, but I think it's still worth adding Lotus Notes to the list of apps that support ODF.

    Notes 8 is built on the Eclipse RCP, BTW, and runs nicely on Linux (which is my platform of choice) as well as Windows and OS X. I imagine it can run just about anywhere Java does. To be honest, I don't think the new version is hugely better than previous versions, and I've never been a big fan of Notes, but for Linux users whose companies use Notes it's really nice to have a native client rather than mucking about with Notes under WINE, or running a Windows OS on another box or in a VM. As an OOo user, it's also very nice to know that I'll soon be able to send ODF documents to my colleagues secure in the knowledge that they can read them.

    Disclaimer: I work for IBM, but I'm not a spokesman for IBM. IBM is happy about that state of affairs, and so am I.

  • Am I the only person who thinks that contributing any interface code from Lotus Notes is a *bad* idea?
  • The correct way would be to promote "choice" for customers by offering yet another standard and bribe countries like Azerbaijan, Loolooistan, and Iamsodumbistan to make it an ISO standard. It should offer features like "Page break as in Lotus Notes Style" or "autospace like in IBM370/155 JCL //job card punch format" that no body else can offer. Howzthat for product differentiation? Instead is joining OO.org. How sad, the business acumen is so lacking in the Internation BUSINESS Machines!
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Monday September 10, 2007 @10:18AM (#20538163) Journal
    If IBM (and sun) really want to make a dent in Office, they should work on MsPM and Visio clones. In particular, if they first do the file format library (open, read, write close files), then it allows other OSS projects to move forward. Then followed up with clones/improvements. By doing these 2, they pretty much remove one of the large blocks to corporate adoption.
    • by MartinB (51897)
      MSProject - too low end.

      Take a wee look at this fella: Rational Portfolio Manager [ibm.com].

      Kicks lumps out of MSP.

      (Yes, I work for IBM. No, I don't work for Rational. No, I'm not speaking for IBM. Yes I do use RPM on a daily basis)
      • by vidarh (309115)
        For most companies, MS Project is "too high end" in the sense that they only use a fraction of the capabilities of Project. Of course it's not enough for large scale project management, but most places I've seen Project used it's been used to "draw" a GANTT chart, rather than as a real project management application.
  • by xgr3gx (1068984)
    This is pretty cool.
    I was working with an engineer from IBM who had a Linux laptop setup by IBM for his work computer. It used OOo, as well as a Linux version of Lotus notes. (I know many of you hate Notes, but like the Mainframe, it'll be around forever b/c my company runs many critical apps off of Lotus notes databases)
    He also had working VPN (I think it was IBM's connectivity software), so he could connect back to his office LAN from my office.
    I was very impressed. He said that many of the eng
    • by fsmunoz (267297)
      Lotus Notes 8 is included in the image and it's much better since it is almost a complete rewrite (uses Eclipe and OO I think). The VPN is most likely Lotus Mobile Connect (http://www-1.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?rs=3183&uid=swg24013528). They are bundled with the Open c4eb that IBM uses internally (based on RH). There are also available for other dists used internally (namely Debian).
    • by hachete (473378)
      Notes also comes in a Mac OS X variety, which is currently open in another window. It's pretty good. It's a pity they couldn't improve the email interface, even the gmail interface is better ... meh, it's corporate software what do I expect?
  • IBM should release Lotus 1-2-3 as open source. It was once the de facto industry standard and there plenty of people who remember it. It is one of the most well-documented application programs ever, and its @ functions are still cloned to this day. It ran on all platforms from DOS to Windows to UNIX. The WKx (WK4, WK3, etc) file format is very well documented and an industry standard. I'm not sure IBM even remembers they own 1-2-3's source, since they got it with their purchase of Lotus to get the groupware
  • Price is important (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kenodi (880090)
    Is important that Open Office keeps getting improved and all the help from IBM is welcomed. At some point (if not already there), the dominant MS Office will have to make a revolutionary step in order to justify the price tag.

    Users will look at the quality/price ratio although a bit difficult if you have to divide by zero for Open Office :)

"Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods." -- Albert Einstein

Working...