Saturday, February 12, 2005

OO.o is SO.o SO.o

Maybe it is the learning curve of using UNIX, but so far I am unimpressed with Open Office. org. It appears functionally equivalent to MS Office. So there is no problem there. But it is UGLY. Checking the boards, there seems to be some issue with the conversion of fonts from the OSX standard to the sort used by Open Office.
The real problem is one I may have foisted on myself years ago.
I have my folders and files arranged in a way I've have them since long ago in a galaxy far far away. A folder for gaming stuff, a folder for academic stuff, a folder for business stuff, etc.. I didn't create these in the 'documents' folder. That whole system reminded me too much of the straitjacket of windoze.

Here are two problems I've encountered with Open Office.
1. It won't allow me to open files or save files from/to my folders other than certain pre-set ones (aka documents, archive, etc..) This is pretty irritating. Should I have to reset my entire filing system to accommodate a program?
2. After I save a document in MS-Office format I am supposed to be able to retrieve those files in that format. However, in the MacOS these files seem to be invisible. I was able to put one of them in RTF format on the desktop. But, if I was just going to save things in RTF, I could use a much leaner word processor (like textedit, or text wrangler).

So, now I am faced with a choice. Is it worth sitting down and spending some hours learning the ins and outs of X11, and Open Office so I can have the privilege of using a non-MS program (and not relying on a program that needs costly updates)? I am not sure. I do most of my writing in TextEditer and then import it into word when I need to make it look pretty (or for quizzes and such I just edit existing Word docs).

I suppose learning how to operate in the UNIX environment might have fringe benefits (lots of cool hacks require it).
But, then, there are likely to be the inevitable inconsistencies.
There is something call NEO which appears to be Open Office for Mac, but it is 'community' created and the disclaimers seem pretty ominous.

Hmmm. Any advice from the peanut gallery?


At 6:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

herm... frustration detectors are blinking!but to clarify:

1. openoffice isn't unix-specific per se (it's the os x (a unix, specifically bsd, variant) implementation of star office, and is based on an openly distributable--sort of--program written in a generic c++ that has been ported to differen operating systems and processors).

2. OppenOffice doesn't require unix knowledge. It does require installing X-Darwin or some other flavor of X for os x. which is pretty simple given that apple produces and distributes one with the same installation interface as all their other software.

3. It's true that open office font system is independent of the os's fonts. That said Times Roman, Courrier and all the other "standard" fonts are installed with the basic package. That works for a lot of use. (caveat: i don't use openoffice yet, waiting for the 2.0 version).

4. Not sure about your directory problem. I myself also have a funky "oh so rebelious" filing hierarchy that does not make use of the system's Documents folder. But i can navigate this hierarchy just fine with open office. Strange to appeal to the "straightjacket of windoze" when os x implements exactly the same kind of hierarchy (which i work around fine with text documents, but man, so many times iphoto and other graphics manipulation programs have assumed that I'd just want all my images in the Pictures folder...). But again: how won;t it let you open or save your files where you want? Just navigate using the "up directory" button or key stroke and worm your way into the apocrypha of malaan... :}

5. Yep, it's ugly... X systems are tweakable, and there's probably an "aqua look" theme for it... but i havenae tried to figure that out. And it does appear that the actually aqua-implemented (as opposed to X implemented) version is a ways off. (though youmention this neo prohject...)

6. I am able to straighforwardly save a document within open office as a ms word *.doc type file and it both appears with icon and is recognized as a word file... strange things with yer system, mayhap? I know that using any program os x sometimes takes a moment or two for icons to be drawn to the desktop or folder.

all of which points are not made to convince you that you like something that you do not... but if yer really wanting to have at a ms alternative, and the frustrations you describe are what stand in the way, a moment of further investigation may be in order.


At 12:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All work to convert OpenOffice to full OS X (as opposed to X11) has stopped. Trey was telling me about NeoOffice/J, which is a java port and so sidesteps X11 but apparently is still not exactly standard OS X UI.

I just got Apple's new Pages, hoping to also eliminate M$ Word from my life. I haven't really jumped in yet. It looks quite nice, but the one thing that utterly annoys me is that you can't hide the white space on the borders of the page - it's like you are always viewing in Word Page Layout mode.

Misc random article reviewing Pages:

Benny Boy


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