MozillaZine

Geneva Tax Authorities Distribute Mozilla 1.2.1 to Taxpayers

Saturday February 15th, 2003

The German Heise magazine is reporting that all taxpayers in the Swiss canton of Geneva are being given a CD which includes a French version of Mozilla 1.2.1. The CD also includes GEtax 2002, a tax declaration program, and OpenOffice.org 1.0.1.

Though the Heise article is in German, a rough English translation is available courtesy of Google. Thanks to johann_p for the news.


#1 Re: Break away!

by Surge

Saturday February 15th, 2003 9:14 AM

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That's fantastic. Can you imagine if AOL were distributing these two programs on millions of their CDs? I think we should push to stop shipments of Windows and make them to include Mozilla on a disk :) Imagine Sun JVM, Mozilla, OpenOffice and AOL messenger included on a disk of WinXP and their icons placed on the desktop :) And a second CD to include Lycoris (or whatever it is called).

#2 Re: Re: Break away!

by bzbarsky

Saturday February 15th, 2003 10:46 AM

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Sounds like a pretty bad idea to me (I've used OpenOffice, and I've used MSOffice. For what they're trying to do, OpenOffice is OK, but MSOffice is much more polished....)

Are there compelling advantages that OpenOffice offers over MSOffice to the average (non-corporate) user other than the moral satisfaction of using it?

#3 compelling advantages...

by joschi

Saturday February 15th, 2003 11:14 AM

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hmm... well, office costs what, $300 per seat? sounds like a good reason to go with the free one that does 99% of what you need :)

#6 Re: compelling advantages...

by bzbarsky

Saturday February 15th, 2003 12:34 PM

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That's not an advantage if I already have it on my computer. Again, I asked about _non-corporate_ users. Who all have office preinstalled when they get the machine, if it's a Windows machine. And they don't care about concepts like "per-seat" licensing, usually.

I'm just trying to see whether there's something about OpenOffice that I'm missing that makes it desirable from a functionality standpoint.

(For the sake of comparison, Mozilla has things like bookmark keywords, popup blocking, etc, that make it a better functionality proposition than IE to certain classes of users. On the other hand, IE has ActiveX plugin support, dynamic font stuff, etc, that make it a better proposition for other users. I'd like to see similar comparisons for OpenOffice vs MSOffice, other than the obvious cross-platform vs not issue.)

#14 advantages of OO.o

by webgremlin <junk@transientweb.com>

Saturday February 15th, 2003 3:50 PM

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because a full license of ms office now costs as much as a low-end desktop computer, there are a great many windows systems sold without ms office. Some use wordperfect or only a partial office suite (like word + ms works).

The advantages of OO.o are admittedly slighter than the advantages of Mozilla, but here are the ones I can readily think of: -Not a big security risk (familiar?) -Very easy and free export to PDF -Easier to style documents with something like a stylesheet, e.g., for changing look of all Headings quickly (via stylist) -Much smaller files (admittedly, not that important given disk sizes, but helpful for email transfer) -Buy an additional computer for yourself/spouse/kids/dog? You don't have to drop $300+ more or be illegal--just download 60MB or so. -Word complete-as-you-type. I'm an English/Philosophy double-major, so I write lots of papers with long, difficult-to-spell words for which this is a significant time-saver.

I have never owned or enjoyed when I used a version of Word. I owned WordPerfect Office 9, and found the switch worthwhile, despite the fact that in so doing I lose access to the one thing WordPerfect has always had over Word: "Reveal Codes" (for the uninitiated, it allowed you to look at the structure and styling of the document as the system thought of it so that you could select to copy/paste exactly the styles you wanted and actually fix those weird things that sometimes just happen in WYSIWYG editors that take forever to correct or never can be corrected without starting over).

-wg <><

#17 Re: advantages of OO.o

by bzbarsky

Saturday February 15th, 2003 4:09 PM

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OK, there we go. :) Thanks for the info.

#24 yeah, thanks :)

by joschi

Saturday February 15th, 2003 4:28 PM

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i had *no* idea that OO did autocomplete of words for you, that is so cool. its one of my favorite features in many code editors, i'd love it in a word processor (i'nm such a lousey typist :)

#41 cowriter

by smkatz

Sunday February 16th, 2003 9:57 AM

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I know this is an open source fourm, but disabled people (as well as slow typists) and I am a disabled person, so I am not being stereotypical, use Cowriter.. which doesn't complete things like HTML tags or programming blocks, but does complete words.

<http://www.donjohnston.com/catalog/cow4000d.htm> ~$300

and now that you know the name, <http://www.rjcooper.com> and others make knockoffs. But schools normally provide cowriter (or word add-ons that do word prediction) for free.

#38 re: advantages of OO.o

by GAThrawn

Sunday February 16th, 2003 7:31 AM

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I hate to be the one to burst the bubble here, but MS Word has many of the features you mention above. Now I'm not knocking OOo here, I have it installed on both of my home PCs, one of which was self-built so didn't come with MS Office, and one came with MS Word+MS Works, and I'm afraid that on the PC that had Word+Works pre-installed I removed the dire MS Works and replaced it with OOo (minus the word processor) and kept MS Word.

Now IMHO OOo being a fully fledged office suite has a lot of advantages over MS Works, but few if any over MS Office other than the cost (and hard disk footprint) in fact the only ones I've noticed are the above mentioned PDF export, along with far better HTML output when saving a spreadsheet (or whatever) to HTML and the ability to link to the Netscape/Mozilla address book for things like mail merges.

MS Word does have a built-in stylesheet like ability (definitely since Word 2000, maybe before) the UI is different but its there displayed in the default toolbars. Not many users use it because people are used to styling each heading, bullet and paragraph separately in Word, but its one of the first and most time saving features that a trainer will show you if you ever take a MS Word course. (clue if you hover the mouse over that combo box that normally just says "normal" the tooltip says "style" and clicking the box gives you a drop down list of pre-defined styles and clicking the Styles button beside it lets you see and modify all of the default styles and create your own.

Word has also had auto-complete as you type for predefined autocompletions, since Word 97 it has tried to autocomplete when it thinks you're typing something like a date, and you can predefine any number of other autocompletions through it's AutoType feature (in Tools -> Autocorrect).

Sorry to refute your claims like that but I do work in IT in a large company and see both of these features used on a daily basis by experienced users.

#40 yes and no

by webgremlin <junk@transientweb.com>

Sunday February 16th, 2003 9:51 AM

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I'm glad to know about the styles feature in Word. Should I have to use it much, I'll know where to look. IMO it is definitely more discoverable in OO.o, though. You said Word has "many of the features" that I mentioned, but in fact you only described it as having that one. The autocomplete in Word you described is not at all what I mean. Every word processor I've used since at latest WP 7 (including OO.o writer) has that. OO.o writer (and spreadsheet, where it can also be very useful--or annoying) both offer to autocomplete *any* word of five (approx) or more characters that you type. So if I type "curmudgeon" and use the word again, by the time I type "curm" (or possibly just "cur") I can just hit enter and get the rest of that long and tricky word filled in. Note for users: if you have the spell-as-you-go feature on, it will only offer as autocomplete suggestions words it thinks are spelled correctly or has been told are ok (Right click > Add...).

As in word, OO.o also has the ability to expand user-defined abbreviations as you type, and it corrects common spelling mistakes automatically. I don't think I've seen what you mean about autocompleting dates, but OO.o doesn't do anything with that (though of course you can insert dates in various formats).

-wg <><

#22 Re: compelling advantages...

by Z_God

Saturday February 15th, 2003 4:20 PM

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You should try it out once. I switched from Word 2000 after having used every version of Word from 6.0 to StarOffice 5.2. It has a couple of features such a complete long words as you type that can really save a lot of time. Also with some things such as creating and editing tables in Word it took me often many tries to get things correctly and sometimes I couldn't even get it correct at all. I've encounter such problems much lesser in StarOffice/OpenOffice. You should try creating all your documents with it for some time and see if you like it, if not you should go back to MS Office.

Also these days, I do not see many computers sell with MS Office included. They mostly come with MS Works, StarOffice or WordPerfect.

#23 many people dont get bundled office

by joschi

Saturday February 15th, 2003 4:25 PM

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when you get a piece of software "bundled" with your machine, you are still paying for it, its just hidden in the total cost. many people buy machines without bundled software, i've never bought a machine with office preinstalled... so for many reasons the fact taht office costs $369 and open office does all you could need, for free, is a pretty compelling advantage.

as for actual technical differences, there must be a feature comparison published out there somewhere, probably on one of suns star office sites.

but lets reverse your question, what features does office have to make it worth $369 more that open office?

#35 Re: Re: compelling advantages...

by klee

Sunday February 16th, 2003 6:37 AM

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Two more points that make OO.org better than MS Office for writing scientif papers:

1. OpenOffice.org Writer gets footnotes right (especially, they're placed on the correct page).

2. OpenOffice.org Writer doesn't crash or cause dataloss on long and complex documents (unlike MS Word---see a comparing test in the German manazin c't about 1 or 1,5 years ago).

#43 Footnotes

by webgremlin <junk@transientweb.com>

Sunday February 16th, 2003 9:59 AM

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Indeed. I have never had a problem with footnotes in WP or OO.o, but I have seen really absurd placement of footnotes in classmates word-prepared documents.

-wg <><

#36 Re: Re: compelling advantages...

by klee

Sunday February 16th, 2003 6:37 AM

Reply to this message

Two more points that make OO.org better than MS Office for writing scientif papers:

1. OpenOffice.org Writer gets footnotes right (especially, they're placed on the correct page).

2. OpenOffice.org Writer doesn't crash or cause dataloss on long and complex documents (unlike MS Word---see a comparing test in the German manazin c't about 1 or 1,5 years ago).

#46 Who has Office preinstalled?

by Gunnar

Sunday February 16th, 2003 3:42 PM

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The price comparison is valid. If users get it preinstalled (without having to order and pay for it), then they most likely have MS Works, which isn't really that good. Unless you are pirating Office, the difference (free vs. $400+ retail for the whole package) is quite noticeable.

Sure MS Office is better, but it's not $400 (or more) better.

#48 3D Objects

by JonL

Monday February 17th, 2003 7:52 AM

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An advantage of Impress/Draw components over Powerpoint seems to be the handling of in-built 3D autoshapes. You have a much wider selection of 3D shapes available and much more control and flexibility of them available easily. It surprises me how often I want to use 3D spheres etc. in presentations and drawing. On the downside there is this ( <http://www.openoffice.org…sues/show_bug.cgi?id=4131>) bug with importing large Powerpoint files that is currently causing me lots of headaches. (And the equation editor in OOo whilst buggy at the moment seems much better (and more familar to a scientific author) than Word's Equation editor.

#49 Re: 3D Objects

by JonL

Monday February 17th, 2003 7:59 AM

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That link should be: <http://www.openoffice.org…sues/show_bug.cgi?id=4131> .I missed a space between the text and the ending bracket.

#10 Try upcoming version of OOo

by bandido

Saturday February 15th, 2003 2:11 PM

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For those of you interested in trying the upcoming beta of OO1.1/SO6.1, you can download it from <http://sf1.mirror.openoffice.org/developer/644_m1/> . There are many polish and bug fixes. The GUI is more Office XPish. There is a new PDF button in the toolbar that will convert your document to PDF format allowing it for easy document exhange with other users. It keeps all formatting intact, since almost everyone has acrobat or it's bowser plugin, it will facilitate document sharing (no, you cannot edit a PDF file, at least not yet.... And finally they might have recognize that usability needs to be improved. There is a partially functioning MailMerge menu under Tools. Mail Merge in OOo and SO is very powerful but at the same time it was a disaster in terms of discoverability and usability, they appear to have started addressing that issue. Hope they address Page Numbering, which is alsoan unintuitive process. I have been using this new pre-beta version eveyday and it has not crahed on me not even once

#15 thanks!

by webgremlin <junk@transientweb.com>

Saturday February 15th, 2003 3:52 PM

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I've been religiously checking the "developer" link on the OO.o frontpage for months now (yes, I'm addicted to having cutting-edge software)--where did you find that link?

-wg <><

#20 Re: thanks!

by bandido

Saturday February 15th, 2003 4:16 PM

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It was easy. I went to their download site from OOo webpage and stripped the last part of their download url until I was left with <http://sf1.mirror.openoffice.org/developer/>. I created a bookmark of the ftp site which i check on a daily basis. BTW, the official OOo1.1 beta is coming at the end of February or early March. SO6.1 beta is by invitation only and will be out on or around March 3rd

#18 Re: Try upcoming version of OOo

by bzbarsky

Saturday February 15th, 2003 4:10 PM

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Does it support authoring of math-heavy content usefully? (This is my biggest beef with MSOffice and has been for years)

#26 Re: Re: Try upcoming version of OOo

by AlexBishop <alex@mozillazine.org>

Saturday February 15th, 2003 6:19 PM

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"Does it support authoring of math-heavy content usefully? (This is my biggest beef with MSOffice and has been for years)"

And my day was going fine until you reminded me of the horrors of the Microsoft Equation Editor.

Alex

#29 Re: Re: Re: Try upcoming version of OOo

by bzbarsky

Saturday February 15th, 2003 7:29 PM

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Heh. Well, every single "word processor" equation editor I've ever used is that bad. :(

#27 maybe?

by webgremlin <junk@transientweb.com>

Saturday February 15th, 2003 6:37 PM

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It has functionality for such, but I've never tried to use it so I couldn't say how good (or poor) it is.

-wg <><

#34 Re: Re: Try upcoming version of OOo

by turi

Sunday February 16th, 2003 3:44 AM

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I still use TeX for math-stuff but the OOo math-"thingy" is superior to that of word. You have button similar to those of the MS product so it's easy to start and there's at the same time a text area where you can edit the "source". For example a "dot" b = |a| |b| cos alpha looks like this: a circ b = abs{a} abs{b} cos(%alpha)

So once I know how to type something I don't have to go looking for the right button anymore.

#47 Re: Re: Re: Try upcoming version of OOo

by bzbarsky

Monday February 17th, 2003 1:23 AM

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Right. The question is, does the output it produces look more like that of TeX or more like that of Word? This is an issue of fonts, kerning, spacing, etc, not just of data entry...

#51 New OOo pre beta version is out

by bandido

Wednesday February 26th, 2003 6:07 PM

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#42 and thanks again!

by webgremlin <junk@transientweb.com>

Sunday February 16th, 2003 9:57 AM

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I downloaded it and now that I've managed to get it installed (for some reason it crashed on startup the first time I installed it) it is a siginificant improvement over my previous developer version. The biggest thing for me (ok, this is petty, but it makes a difference) is that in this version the icons look right whereas in the last they were all borked. I can't figure out how it decided on what colors to use for its XP-style buttons, though.

-wg <><

#50 Re: and thanks again!

by Trucoto

Wednesday February 19th, 2003 6:36 AM

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How did you manage to install it? It crashes every time I launch setup.exe, something related to Java.

#4 Re: Re: Re: Break away!

by robdogg

Saturday February 15th, 2003 11:25 AM

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>> Are there compelling advantages that OpenOffice offers over MSOffice to the average (non-corporate) user other than the moral satisfaction of using it?

Yes, it takes 35-45 seconds to start, so it allows me to go and get coffee, knowing that nothing is happening to my computer.

#5 Hardly

by mesostinky

Saturday February 15th, 2003 12:09 PM

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"Yes, it takes 35-45 seconds to start, so it allows me to go and get coffee, knowing that nothing is happening to my computer."

You must have a really slow computer. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but on any recent hardware its not nearly that long. On my XP1900 it take 16 seconds to launch fully in linux. On windows you can have OpenOffice preloaed in memory like MS office does and than it launches very quickly. Even if you don't preload it like MS Office, future launches happen much quicker than the initial one.

#7 Re: Hardly

by Ascaris <ascaris1@att.net>

Saturday February 15th, 2003 12:51 PM

Reply to this message

It took 13 seconds for OpenOffice 1.0.1 Writer to start on my 900 MHz Duron laptop under WinXP. This is admittedly significantly longer than WordPerfect 10, which took seven seconds, but I'm not going to fret over six seconds.

As to if there is any benefit to using OpenOffice other than (I forget the wording, but it was something like the moral superiority of not using MS)... I would say that there certainly is. With the idiotic and draconian licensing agreements that MS is pushing these days, it makes a lot more sense to get something like OpenOffice, or if you must have tech support, Sun StarOffice. It is much cheaper and more straightforward to use the Sun/open source solution, and that is likely to become increasingly true as Microsoft continues to push toward its "rent your software" model.

I do not like where MS is going with Windows, with .NET, with its software licensing. They're looking to cash in on their monopoly in a way that makes the current antitrust-law violating MS look benign. I like open source stuff conceptually, but so far, I have not been compelled to make the jump to Linux. I am, though, beginning to think about it... and if MS continues their current nonsense (and there is no reason to think they will not), they will assuredly lose yet another user. The trickle can easily become a flood if they piss off too many of their users.

Microsoft is more hated by their own customers than any other company of which I am aware. Things like the new licensing of Office, the proclivity of MS to change the licensing terms when they put out fixes for bugs that are present because of their incompetence (talking about XP SP1, if that is not obvious), the continuous failure of MS to understand the security and privacy needs of their users, Windows Product Activation, et cetera, are onerous enough to make me think of the lack of a splash screen with "Microsoft" on it seem like a "killer app" feature.

OpenOffice is not up to the polish level of Office, for sure; customizing the toolbars, specifically, is very clunky and buggy in 1.0.1. Mozilla and NS7 still have some performance and polish issues that I do not see in MSIE/OE, and Linux is (as I understand) hard to get configured on a lot of computers... certainly, though, the appeal is not wholly in the open source products themselves (with the exception of Mozilla... as a longtime Netscape user and devotee, its NS lineage is a thing that pulls me to Mozilla, rather than pushes me away from MS) , but in the freedom of choice, and the freedom of being dominated by one corporation, that makes OpenOffice and other open source programs appealing. Certainly, though, I think anyone here understands that.

Frank

#12 reclocked

by mesostinky

Saturday February 15th, 2003 3:23 PM

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I saw you said 13 seconds, so I just reclocked my desktop, under 1.01 in linux its actually 14 seconds to launch on my XP1900 under linux and 4 seconds till the splash screen. Secondary launches take about 3 seconds.

On my laptop with its crappy 4200rpm hard drive its 5 seconds till the splash screen and 19 seconds till it fully open and that's with an old PIII 700. That's with 1.02, with 1.01 on the laptop it was about 2.5 seconds slower.

I'll say again that if OpenOffice take above 40 seconds to launch, use the quicklaunch if your on windows, buy new hardware, or stick with somethign else. I think saying above 30 seconds is the norm is incorrect except for really old machines.

#13 Re: Re: Hardly

by flacco

Saturday February 15th, 2003 3:49 PM

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<i>It took 13 seconds for OpenOffice 1.0.1 Writer to start on my 900 MHz Duron laptop under WinXP</i> <p> Took 22 secs on Red Hat Linux 8, dual Athlon 2000's, to open OOo 643 developer's build - the first time. <p> Second open took about 8 secs. <p> It's probably faster on the "finished" builds, but OOo is simply not known for its dazzling start-up performance.

#16 What is it with Open Source and splash screens?

by flacco

Saturday February 15th, 2003 3:55 PM

Reply to this message

Only tangentially referencing Mozilla's ass-disgusting splash screen - when starting up OpenOffice, the splash screen hangs there a loooong time while OOo cranks up - and it's "always on top", so you can't even do something else like view a web page while it starts.

#37 Re: What is it with Open Source and splash screens

by klee

Sunday February 16th, 2003 6:56 AM

Reply to this message

#8 Have You donated something ...

by mariuz

Saturday February 15th, 2003 12:53 PM

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All complain but have you donated something to *Zilla and OoOoOoOoOoPeN OfFiCe ? All you need to do is to pay some homeless programmers (Usa,Russia, India ..) to do some optimisations to the *zilla Don't know the last 1.3a is realy good , it seems the engine feels faster . When i looked at Antword i liked it was so SIMPLE and featureLess .... OoO is the best ..i can Open any voord,Ixeel ... I hate the interface but is doing the job . This gives linux a chance . At work use rh80 as a desktop... All my coworkers want in linux is Photoshop and dreamzilla coze NetBeans works on loonix My linux stay up all the day , Windows crashes randomly 2-3 hours

#19 Re: Have You donated something ...

by bzbarsky

Saturday February 15th, 2003 4:11 PM

Reply to this message

So if I've donated something to Mozilla, does that mean I can complain about OpenOffice? ;)

#25 Re: Hardly

by Ascaris <ascaris1@att.net>

Saturday February 15th, 2003 5:23 PM

Reply to this message

It took 13 seconds for OpenOffice 1.0.1 Writer to start on my 900 MHz Duron laptop under WinXP. This is admittedly significantly longer than WordPerfect 10, which took seven seconds, but I'm not going to fret over six seconds.

As to if there is any benefit to using OpenOffice other than (I forget the wording, but it was something like the moral superiority of not using MS)... I would say that there certainly is. With the idiotic and draconian licensing agreements that MS is pushing these days, it makes a lot more sense to get something like OpenOffice, or if you must have tech support, Sun StarOffice. It is much cheaper and more straightforward to use the Sun/open source solution, and that is likely to become increasingly true as Microsoft continues to push toward its "rent your software" model.

I do not like where MS is going with Windows, with .NET, with its software licensing. They're looking to cash in on their monopoly in a way that makes the current antitrust-law violating MS look benign. I like open source stuff conceptually, but so far, I have not been compelled to make the jump to Linux. I am, though, beginning to think about it... and if MS continues their current nonsense (and there is no reason to think they will not), they will assuredly lose yet another user. The trickle can easily become a flood if they piss off too many of their users.

Microsoft is more hated by their own customers than any other company of which I am aware. Things like the new licensing of Office, the proclivity of MS to change the licensing terms when they put out fixes for bugs that are present because of their incompetence (talking about XP SP1, if that is not obvious), the continuous failure of MS to understand the security and privacy needs of their users, Windows Product Activation, et cetera, are onerous enough to make me think of the lack of a splash screen with "Microsoft" on it seem like a "killer app" feature.

OpenOffice is not up to the polish level of Office, for sure; customizing the toolbars, specifically, is very clunky and buggy in 1.0.1. Mozilla and NS7 still have some performance and polish issues that I do not see in MSIE/OE, and Linux is (as I understand) hard to get configured on a lot of computers... certainly, though, the appeal is not wholly in the open source products themselves (with the exception of Mozilla... as a longtime Netscape user and devotee, its NS lineage is a thing that pulls me to Mozilla, rather than pushes me away from MS) , but in the freedom of choice, and the freedom of being dominated by one corporation, that makes OpenOffice and other open source programs appealing. Certainly, though, I think anyone here understands that.

Frank

#32 Re: Hardly

by robdogg

Saturday February 15th, 2003 10:19 PM

Reply to this message

Think about what you are saying. On an PC running nearly the speed of P4/1.8Ghz it takes you 16 seconds to bring up a word processor. That is NOT slow for you? That's acceptable to you?

2 quick notes: my PC @ work is p3/600Mhz with 512 Mhz. And it does take this long. Secondly stop spreading FUD about MS Office preloading on Windows. It does not preload anything. If you have some serious data, I'll be glad to take a look at it - otherwise stop repeating the same mantra you've heard from others.

#33 MS Office does preload

by webgremlin <junk@transientweb.com>

Sunday February 16th, 2003 12:02 AM

Reply to this message

robdogg, look in your start-up folder. If it's not there, then it's not preloading on your machine, but it does on most of the installations I've seen.

-wg <><

#39 Re: MS Office does preload

by GAThrawn

Sunday February 16th, 2003 7:42 AM

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Absolutely. By default (and without asking the user) every version of MS Office since Office 97 has put something called the "Office Startup Assistant" into the Startup folder on Windows (OSA.EXE for anyone who watches their processes in WinNT's task manager). If that's not preloading components then I'd love to know what it is doing! At least OOo's installer actually asks if you want to dedicate resources to helping it start up faster.

#45 Re: MS Office does preload

by robdogg

Sunday February 16th, 2003 1:41 PM

Reply to this message

I remove the startup link about 5 seconds after I've installed MS Office. And still, Word comes up in less than 5 seconds cold. I thought, "preload" was meant as in "Internet Explorer" preload theory (which is also full of holes, btw).

#44 Re: Hardly

by robdogg

Sunday February 16th, 2003 1:38 PM

Reply to this message

Oh and one more thing. Preloading OpenOffice really slows down computer startup and takes 50 MB of RAM. Check your Task Manager. Though I have plenty of RAM, 50MB is still a lot.

#9 Re: Re: Re: Break away!

by mesostinky

Saturday February 15th, 2003 1:19 PM

Reply to this message

"Are there compelling advantages that OpenOffice offers over MSOffice to the average (non-corporate) user other than the moral satisfaction of using it?"

Maybe because it works? Thinking that people and coporations use OpenOffice solely for "moral" reasons is a pretty native position to take. Most people use MS Office for very basic word procession, spreadsheets and email. For most users OpenOffice is a fine drop-in substitute and their are of course many free and proprietary email clients to choose from. As far as advantages to the non-coporation user, Price is one of the biggest advantages. The fact that its got more features than most non-corporate users will ever need is another advantage. OpenOffice is also truly crossplatform and of cource opensource which is becoming important these days. It sometimes has difficultly with Microsoft's undocumented proprietary file formats and it doesn't come with a email/groupware package yet. It also doesn't come with an exact duplicate for Access. For average non-coporate users these things many times are not even a problem. If you do happen to be an Access addict than obviously OpenOffice may not be for you just yet. The lack of groupware capability being finished does hurt for large coporations, but keep in mind most businesses are small business and have only the basic needs I described above. Overall its a good program and while it may not be as polished as MS Office yet it does work well right now and its only getting better. I use it daily for home use and don't miss MS Office at all.

#11 But it is a good idea

by johann_p

Saturday February 15th, 2003 2:24 PM

Reply to this message

Whether or not MS Office has a few more features that wont be used by 99% of the users is not the issue here. The isue is that you can give it away for free. Hence, allowing citizens to file their tax reports electronically does not force them to buy products from a certain company, which they might not want to do. It is a lot like publishing a web page that does not require ActiveX or Flash - Mozilla users should understand that argument. There are a lot of other reasons why this is a good idea indeed, which I wont go into. But saying this is a bad idea is like saying that distributing Mozilla with this CD is a bad idea because IE is much more polished (and yes, in some respects, IE *is* more polished than Mozilla.) The reason they distribute Mozilla is NOT that Mozilla has nice features IE does not have. And this is not a moral argument, but a very practical one - both for the administration and the citizens.

#21 Re: But it is a good idea

by bzbarsky

Saturday February 15th, 2003 4:17 PM

Reply to this message

Oh, I agree that for tax filing purposes, as desceibed in the article, the idea is great.

What I said was a bad idea was Surge's suggestion that AOL try to put OpenOffice on every desktop in the US. And it would be a bad idea for AOL (or for anyone else, until OpenOffice matures a bit more).

Now this can all change quickly, of course. A year ago, I would not have recommended Mozilla to my parents (and my parents are _not_ techophobic end-users -- they're both computer professionals who're just too busy with the real work they're doing to bother with debugging their web browser or websites that don't work with it). Now Mozilla has improved to the point that suggesting they try it is almost a possibility.

#30 Flash...

by bmacfarland

Saturday February 15th, 2003 8:52 PM

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I'm kind of torn on the Flash front. Yeah, it's dominated by Macromedia, everyone knows it. But the file format SWF is published and there are other tools to produce the files. I like that SVG + SMIL has the W3C support (not sure about SMIL officially), but they have a few problems. They aren't polished enough, the tools aren't up to par, and a lot of end users don't have viewers (though that's changing as Adobe starts to put their SVG viewer out there).

#28 better translation

by mlefevre

Saturday February 15th, 2003 7:25 PM

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this story made it onto slashdot and there's a human translation of the article at <http://slashdot.org/artic…8&mode=thread#5308732> (with a couple of corrections in followups)

#31 I wonder...

by MozSaidAloha

Saturday February 15th, 2003 9:11 PM

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...If the IRS did this, more people would pay tax. Te only people using MSIE would be tax dodgers. :D