Why Is Microsoft So Scared of OpenOffice?

Microsoft and its supporters have a long history of applying all kinds ofFUD to any discussion of free and open source software. Whether it’sLinux or other free alternatives to Microsoft’s high-priced products, it seems no conversation can take place without the inevitable insinuations about higher total cost of ownership, lack of support, and other baseless fearmongering.

Such claims are, of course, nothing more than deliberately perpetuated myths designed to scare customers into Redmond’s malware-infested arms, as I recently pointed out.

This week, however, we have a shining new example: A video on YouTube designed specifically to attack OpenOffice.org.

Could the sweat on Steve Ballmer’s brow be any more evident?

Running Scared

It has been clear for some time now that free and open source software has Microsoft running scared. Last year, for instance, the company made plain the fact that it was worried about Linux’s growing popularity and the detrimental effect that might have on the Windows empire.

And no wonder: Given the high prices, malware risks, and vendor lock-in associated with Microsoft’s products, it has plenty to fear. Linux blows Windows away on both the desktop and the server–let’s not even mention Microsoft’s mobile track record–and open source productivity applications are apparently putting a serious dent in Microsoft’s bottom line too.

Why else would the company bother to create this FUD-filled video? Titled “A Few Perspectives on OpenOffice.org,” it features a series of “horror stories” from customers who tried the open productivity suite and purportedly suffered as a result.

‘Exorbitant Cost, Limited Support’

“We originally installed Linux-based PCs running OpenOffice to save money in the short term,” an unseen voice begins. “But we quickly found that the exorbitant cost and limited availability of support left us worse off.”

Such concerns, of course, play upon the fourth and eighth myths described in my recent post on the topic, and are straight out of Microsoft’s standard playbook. They also fly in the face of the fact that OpenOffice.org has set download records on new releases, and likely accounts for about 10 percent of the overall office suite market today. I guess all those millions of users are just suffering in silence!

A Better Alternative

Today, of course, there’s not just OpenOffice.org–which Oracle recently pledged to continue supporting–but also LibreOffice, as well as a number of other business productivity alternatives. Amid all the increasing competition, one glaring question emerges: If Microsoft Office is so superior, better-supported and cheaper, then why the desperate attack video?

The answer is simple: Microsoft’s products aren’t superior, better-supported or cheaper. They’re flaw-ridden, vulnerable and expensive, and they lock your company into a future of more of the same. Isn’t it time you tried something better?

Author: Katherine Noyes on Yahoo! News

The New Version of OpenOffice.org, the World’s Leading Free Office Software, is Now Available for Download

The OpenOffice.org 3.1 free office software released today contains a raft of new features voted for by users, including much improved on-screen graphics and improvements to all its components. The software is available as a free download via the OpenOffice.org website.

Edinburgh, UK (PRWEB) May 7, 2009 — The OpenOffice.org Community today announced the general availability of OpenOffice.org 3.1, a significant upgrade to the world’s leading open-source office productivity suite. Since OpenOffice.org 3.0 was launched last October, over 60 million downloads have been recorded from the OpenOffice.org website alone. Released in more than 90 languages and available as a free download on all major computing platforms, OpenOffice.org 3.1 looks set to break these records.

The OpenOffice.org Community is listening to its users. Users of previous versions of OpenOffice.org were asked to vote for their ‘most desired’ new features, and this wish list helped shape the new release. The new release also includes a feedback mechanism where users can opt-in to supply feedback automatically to the developers about how they use OpenOffice.org.

The biggest single change (half a million lines of code!) and the most visible is the major revamp of OpenOffice.org on-screen graphics. Techies call it anti-aliasing – users just appreciate how much crisper graphics are on screen. The improved look extends to other subtle changes, such as: how images display when they are being dragged, how selections of text are highlighted, and even adding the ability to overline text.

New core features include:

Writer (word processing)

  • Improvements to comments: reply feature now supports ‘conversations’
  • Further grammar checker integration
  • Outline levels within paragraphs for complex documents

Calc (spreadsheet)

  • Hot hints for formulae, with new and improved formulae available
  • Improved sorting
  • More performance bottlenecks removed
  • The zoom slider added to the status bar
  • Rename sheets with a double-click

Chart (graphics engine)

  • Flexible positioning of axes for scientific and educational users
  • Flexible handling of “missing” data points

Impress (presentation)

  • Font size buttons

Base (database)

  • SQL syntax highlighting
  • Easier deployment of macro applications

Internationalization and Localization

  • Improved support for bidirectional scripts
  • New locale support

Behind the scenes, OpenOffice.org also now has a more capable file locking mechanism, enabling users to share files safely in a multi-user, multi-platform environment.

“OpenOffice.org 3.1 demonstrates that we are listening to our users, and thanks to the long term commitment from our sponsors, we can invest the time and effort to make significant changes to the software,” said John McCreesh, OpenOffice.org Marketing Project Lead. “OpenOffice.org has all the features users want, it’s easy to use and free. We urge everyone to download and try it today.”

Download OpenOffice.org 3.1 for free

Guide to new features

OpenOffice.org Community Announces Third Major Release of Its Free, Easy-to-Use Office Software

Finally, after 3 years of continuous improvement, OpenOffice 3.0 has been released.

OpenOffice.org 3.0 is more powerful than ever before and with support for MS Access 2007 .accdb files, improved support for VBA macros, and a new ability to read MS Office Open XML files, it’s even easier to make the change away from legacy MS Office software.

OpenOffice.org 3.0 naturally has a fresh look, with a new start center, new splash screen, new icons, and a host of usability improvements. New core features include:

Writer (word processing)

  • New slider control for zooming which allows multi-page display while editing
  • Powerful new multilingual support
  • Improved notes capabilities
  • Ability to edit wiki documents for the web, in addition to conventional office documents

Calc (spreadsheet)

  • Increase in capacity of up to 1024 columns per sheet
  • Powerful new equation solver
  • New collaboration feature for multiple users

Draw (graphics)

  • Ability to cope with poster-size graphics – up to three square meters or 32.3 square feet.

Impress (presentation):

  • Fully featured table designer inside a presentation

You can read the full press release here: http://www.prweb.com/releases/OOo/3/prweb1459364.htm

And download OpenOffice.org 3.0 for free at: http://download.openoffice.org/

Whack and SparkWeb have graduated. Help me congratulate them!

Whack 1.0 has been released. Whack is our Open Source XMPP (Jabber) component library for XMPP components. External components are processes that run outside of the Openfire’s process but can connect to the server to register new XMPP service. Whack is an implementation of XEP-0114: Jabber Component Protocol.

Unlike the other igniterealtime products, Whack followed a different evolution path. We started coding Whack around November 2004 and after a few months it was operational. Openfire and Whack share the same component’s API so around 2005 we were able to run Fastpath as an internal component (i.e. running in the Openfire’s process) or just move it as an external component using Whack. It was impressive seeing the same code running as internal and external. Since then Whack continued to evolve but always at a very slow pace. Whack was always stable in each step but it was just not ready for prime time. We wanted to keep adding more things to it to reach a 1.0 release. Since our collaboration software Clearspace uses Whack to integrate with Openfire we needed to push the boundaries of Whack once again and I’m happy to say that we now reached the 1.0 release. And that is why we decided to make a public release in 2008 after 4 years of continuous but slow growth.

A few months ago we also released a new product called SparkWeb. SparkWeb is our Open Source web-based IM client. SparkWeb is based on XIFF just like Spark is based on Smack. Today we updated the products page to list SparkWeb as an official product. Welcome SparkWeb! The family has grown a little bit now.

You can get Whack from here. Questions could be posted to the Whack forum.

SparkWeb can be downloaded from here. If you want to build from the source code you can read the Getting and Building SparkWeb document.

Microsoft: ‘ODF rõ ràng đã chiến thắng’

Chuyên gia công nghệ Stuart McKee của tập đoàn phần mềm Mỹ thừa nhận ưu thế của định dạng tài liệu mở và có phần áy náy vì đã không hỗ trợ chuẩn này trong Office 2007 sớm hơn.

“Chúng tôi tồn tại nhờ vào việc kinh doanh phần mềm. Chúng tôi chưa thể triển khai ODF trong quá trình phát hành Office 2007, nhưng cam kết sẽ xây dựng một sản phẩm không đơn giản chỉ đóng vai trò phiên dịch giữa ODF và OOXML”, McKee nói.

ODF (Open Document Format) trở thành chuẩn ISO từ cách đây 2 năm trong khi OOXML (Open Office XML) của Microsoft mới được Tổ chức chuẩn quốc tế thông qua hồi tháng 4. Một vài công ty như IBM và Sun cho rằng OOXML quá độc quyền để được coi là một chuẩn.

“Microsoft tham gia vào cuộc đua quá muộn và thật khó để tiến hành những cuộc đàm phán trên toàn thế giới khi mọi thứ đã an bài”, McKee thừa nhận thành công của ODF.

Microsoft sẽ hỗ trợ định dạng tài liệu mã mở trong gói Office vào năm tới, nhưng khả năng OOXML và ODF sẽ hợp nhất thành một chuẩn chung là điều khó có thể xảy ra.

Xem bài đầy đủ bằng tiếng Anh tại:

http://www.infoworld.com/article/08/06/19/Red_Hat_Summit_panel_Who_won_OOXML_battle_1.html

(theo InfoWorld)

FOSS Việt Nam nhiệt liệt đón mừng tin OpenOffice.org Việt 3.0 được dịch hoàn toàn ra tiếng Việt

VAIP. Trên diễn đàn FOSS Việt Nam, ông Đỗ Vũ Quỳnh đang công tác tại Tổ chức hợp tác ĐH Pháp ngữ (AUF) đã công bố “rất vui mừng vì có thể thông báo rằng chúng ta đã cuối cùng dịch ra tiếng Việt tất cả các chuỗi của OpenOffice.org với 100% phần giao diện và 100% phần trợ giúp. Đây là một thành tựu rất quan trọng, vì OpenOffice.org là một chương trình rất phổ biến mà cho phép mọi người đều dùng phần mềm nguồn mở cho các công việc hàng ngày”.

Đó là công sức không mệt mỏi vì cộng đồng của nhóm các thành viên đã giúp dịch tập hợp chuỗi khổng lồ này gồm các anh, chị : Nguyễn Đình Trung, Đỗ Thị Hảo, Ngô Huy Hoàng, Nguyễn Công Ngọc Sơn,  Nguyễn Thị Thanh Nhàn, Nguyễn Thùy Trang, Nguyễn Văn Bách, Phan Trọng Khanh. Thành tựu của những người dịch này còn có ý nghĩa hơn vì gần như tất cả họ đã dịch lần đầu tiên trong tập hợp chuỗi này. Và còn lớn hơn nữa vì phần trợ giúp của OpenOffice.org chứa các chuỗi rất phức tạp, có định dạng khó hiểu  và còn rất nhiều lỗi trong tiếng Anh.

Ông Nguyễn Chí Công UVBCH Hội Tin học Việt Nam cho biết “Hội Tin học Việt Nam và các báo chí nên đăng ngay tin này, biểu dương và cảm ơn nhóm thực hiện, thậm chí đề cử trao giải đóng góp cho cộng đồng CNTT-TT”. Ngoài ra để chỉnh sửa lỗi dịch và việt hoá có thể sửa dần và cũng cần có một diễn đàn riêng để mọi người góp ý cùng sửa  lỗi.
Cũng trên Diễn đàn FOSS Việt Nam, ông Quách Tuấn Ngọc Cục trưởng Cục CNTT Bộ GD&ĐT cho biết sẽ giới thiệu ngay đường link tới tất cả các khoa CNTT và các phòng CNTT của các Sở và các trường THPT.

 

Bạn có thể download bản OpenOffice.org 3.0 beta (và các phiên bản cũ hơn : 2.1, 2.3, 2.4) từ trang tải xuống của dự án vi.openoffice.org:
http://vi.openoffice.org/about-downloads.html

OpenOffice.org 3 beta is ready for testing

The OpenOffice.org Community is pleased to announce that the public beta release of OpenOffice.org 3.0 is now available. This beta release is made available to allow a broad user base to test and evaluate the next major version of OpenOffice.org, but is not recommended for production use at this stage.

If you are a regular user of OpenOffice.org, here’s a great opportunity to help us make the next release the best ever.

What’s new in OpenOffice.org 3.0?

The most immediately visible change to OpenOffice.org 3.0 is the new “Start Centre”, new fresh-looking icons, and a new zoom control in the status bar. A closer look shows that 3.0 has a myriad of new features. Notable Calc improvements include a new solver component; support for spreadsheet collaboration through workbook sharing; and an increase to
1024 columns per sheet. Writer has an improved notes feature and displays of multiple pages while editing. There are numerous Chart enhancements, and an improved crop feature in Draw and Impress.

Behind the scenes, OpenOffice.org 3.0 will support the upcoming OpenDocument Format (ODF) 1.2 standard, and is capable of opening files created with MS-Office 2007 or MS-Office 2008 for Mac OS X (.docx, .xlsx, .pptx, etc.). This is in addition to read and write support for the MS-Office binary file formats (.doc, .xls, .ppt, etc.).

OpenOffice.org 3.0 will be the first version to run on Mac OS X without X11, with the look and feel of any other Aqua application. It introduces partial VBA support to this platform. In addition, OpenOffice.org 3.0 integrates well with the Mac OS X accessibility APIs, and thus offers better accessibility support than many other Mac OS X applications.

A more detailed guide to the features can be found at http://marketing.openoffice.org/3.0/featurelistbeta.html

Beta Availability

OpenOffice.org 3 beta is immediately available in US English for MS-Windows, GNU/Linux, Mac OS X and OpenSolaris platforms from http://download.openoffice.org/3.0beta. This page also contains details of where to find localized builds and language packs as they become available. For more details, please consult the appropriate native language project – see http://projects.openoffice.org/native-lang.html

Help us gathering bugs in May!

In order to help us release OpenOffice.org 3.0 on schedule in September, users of the beta release are encouraged to report any bugs, issues or errors at http://qa.openoffice.org.

If you would like to test just the new features, there is a list of test cases by component at http://qa.openoffice.org/ooQAReloaded/TestcaseSpecifications/OpenOffice.org_3.0

If you are nervous about reporting bugs through the formal bug reporting system, you can simply email details to the user support mailing lists http://www.openoffice.org/mail_list.html

The developers look forward to receiving your feedback on this beta release of OpenOffice.org!

“2008 – the year of 3”

OpenOffice.org 2.4 is released

The OpenOffice.org Community is pleased to announce the release of OpenOffice.org 2.4, the latest version of the leading open source office productivity suite. OpenOffice.org 2.4 includes new features, enhancements, and bug fixes to all its core components. OpenOffice.org 2.4 is available for immediate download from http://download.openoffice.org.

New features:

Users will appreciate changes such as usability improvements in printing, and further enhancements to PDF handling (OpenOffice.org creates PDF files ‘out of the box’ to ISO standard). The default font is now DejaVu, which supports more languages/localisations than the previous BitStream Vera -part of a raft of localisation improvements covering languages from Hiligaynon to Quechua. Mac OS X users will appreciate the use of the native Quicktime player and spell-checker.

Writer, OpenOffice.org‘s word processor, now has easier selection of the language for spellchecking; users can set options for printing hidden and place holder text and for following hyperlinks; text selection and ‘find and replace’ have been improved; and ‘power users’ will
appreciate new extra keyboard shortcuts for paragraph styles.

Regular users of Calc, OpenOffice.org‘s spreadsheet, will appreciate the streamlining of data and formulae entry. Other new features include a ‘smart move and copy’ for blocks of cells; the ability to transform data into columns; and improvements to printing, data filtering, and the Data Pilot.

Usability improvements have been made to Draw, the drawing and diagramming module, and Impress, OpenOffice.org‘s application for creating presentations. Both applications have enhanced PDF export capabilities. In addition, Impress now has a new range of thrilling 3D transition effects supported through an extension.

The Chart module, used throughout OpenOffice.org, continues to evolve rapidly. Novice users benefit from more intelligent default choices from the graphics engine; advanced users have more options allowing them to fine tune a chart exactly the way they want it.

OpenOffice.org‘s database application, Base, now supports MS-Access 2007 (accdb files on MS-Windows), and has enhanced capabilities for MySQL, Oracle/jdbc, and native (HSQL) databases. The Query Designer is also improved.

OpenOffice.org 2.4 is the eleventh release in the 2.x series (launched in October 2005) and demonstrates the Community’s commitment to continuous and regular improvement of its software. The next major release – 3.0 – is planned for the autumn/fall this year. If you would like to help us, please visit http://contributing.openoffice.org.

The OpenOffice.org Community