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Re: [tlug] OpenOffice.org1.0.2

On 2/5/2003, "Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon" <> wrote:

>In case you don't already know, an updated version of (1.0.2)
>available from:

Yes, we all know where to get OO and most people (everyone?) on this list
probably read Freshmeat daily, or nearly so :-)

>Personally, the cross platform capabilities of are the final
>missing piece that has enabled me to begin actual migration over to Linux

I migrated to Linux five years ago, and my general answer to the office
problem has been "Don't send me MS-format stuff."  In business, it's (a lot)
more difficult to say that, but on my home systems I can and do apply that

I have actually found the cross-platform capabilities of OO to be rather poor.
 I have't yet had cause to try its export capabilities to an MS format, but
importing a Word document proved to be far more difficult than I could have

I work at a small IT consulting startup in Viet Nam, and last week the owner
(a native Japanese speaker) gave me a one-page advertisement for our company
so that I could check the English and make any technical or design corrections
I thought were necessary.  Importing this 20 megabyte(!) document was really
rough.  Granted, I blame Office XP for much of this, but I would like to see
OO better able to handle such cruft.

Initially, I couldn't even load it.  The main trouble with this turned out to
be that when he had gotten some graphics off the Internet (freely usable, as
far as I have been able to determine) to use on it, instead of embedding them
in the document, Word created links to these sources and put resize
information in the document, which resulted in having to transparently
download them and resize them on the fly *everytime the document was opened*. 
Deciding how stupid it is to do this as a default action is an exercise I
leave to the reader.

That was tremendously problematic for two reasons: international bandwidth to
Viet Nam is small and all of the sites involved were overseas, and local
connectivity is not terribly reliable.  The building where our office is
located has a shared DSL line, and outages can occur several times a week. 
I'm told the situation with leased lines isn't very much better. These two
problems make opening a document with embedded graphics both time-consuming
and hit-or-miss.  However, I am impressed that OO could deal with such
stupidity on the part of Word, even if it did take 2 - 4 minutes to open the
document and more often than not failed to load some of the graphics b/c of
the connectivity situation.

What it really couldn't deal with was the layout.  This was a simple, one-page
document with a few graphics embedded in it and anchored to paragraphs or in
one case the page, and a couple of text boxes.  The layout was a mess.  After
I solved the graphics problem by finding the links and downloading the
graphics and resizing them to what I needed with Image Magick, I tackled the
layout problem.  Since OO just could not fit them all on the page and get the
alignment of them right as it was in the original document, the only solution
that worked was to throw away most of the graphics (I kept two, plus the text
boxes, and substituted native list bullets from OO), and drag things around to
get something that looked a lot like the original.

The final native OO document is a remarkable 42633 bytes (sure beats 20 meg!),
and the exported Word document is an even smaller 34304 bytes, however, it
lost the bullets from the bulleted list, the formatting is slightly borked on
same, and the title font was reduced to 10.5 points from 26 to 10.5 (exporting
to Word 97/2000/XP format).  If I export to Word 95 format, it replaces the
graphical bullets with round ones, but loses formatting in one of the text
boxes.  This is not a terribly complex document, so I'm pretty disappointed. 
We are going to be offering Linux-based server options to our customers, and I
would love to offer Linux-based workstation options as well, possibly
including thin clients.  However, at this point I have great difficulty in
doing so b/c of the situation with [F|f]ree office suite software. Office XP
won't even install under Wine (it checks for the existence of a real Windows
install) and Office 2000 isn't all that stable/functional under both a recent
Wine snapshot and the latest Codeweavers release (the number one problem is
getting it to save files; it thinks the filesystem is read-only and I haven't
gotten around that yet.  Found a hack for the source that helped some people,
but it has not yet solved the problem for me.  Also, it tends to just hang
frequently), so I'm still searching here.

I've heard the filters under Star Office are much better, but don't have SO
around to try it.  Does anyone have it?  How good are the filters, in your
experience?  Also, it is stable?  I have found that OO crashes several times a
day (and I'm not even a heavy user), esp. in file export operations, running
on an up-to-date RH 7.3 system.

SO is a much harder sell, though, because people generally already have
Office, and a large percentage of the installations of proprietary software
here are unlicensed, which makes a Linux-based desktop solution, even using
thin clients, a difficult value proposition.

>opposed to mainly familiarization testing outside of work).  Now I can
>something on a Linux box (with OpOf) utilizing different fonts, formatting,
>etc., save it to a floppy, pop the floppy into a MicroMuck box, and just open
>up to continue

I take it these are very simple documents?

>Can someone point me to documentation detailing that?  I would like to
> 1.0.1 to 1.0.2 in both the MicroMuck boxes
>problem) and the Linux boxes....

In the case of OO, it has its own installer and will install 1.0.2 in a
completely different directory.  D/l it and install it exactly as you did
1.0.1.  You'll need to run the initial setup again, too.  In the case of
software generally, it depends:

1) What distro are you using?  If Mandrake, SuSE, Red Hat, or any of the other
RPM-based distros, you use the rpm command to install packages.  The basic way
to do this is:

rpm -Uvh

where U = Upgrade (works for both upgrade and new installs), v is verbose, 
and h causes progress hash marks to be printed.

To remove an rpm, use:

rpm -e

(Note that the .rpm extension is not used.)

On Debian systems, apt-get and dselect are your best bets.  They call dselect
user-friendly, but I beg to differ.  It uses console graphics, but I think
apt-get from the shell is easier to use for installing things if you know what
you want to install.

There are graphical frontends available for both of those, but I can't tell
you much about them.  Check Freshmeat to get some idea of what's out there. 
Any distro probably includes at least one.


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