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Monday, September 28, 2015

LibreOffice turns 5


I'm a big fan of LibreOffice. I've used it to write everything from A THRONE OF BONES to SJWs ALWAYS LIE and it's been a big help in preparing the works of others for formatting into ebooks. If you're not using it yet, you really should take a serious look at it, because whether you need to replace all the italics or kick out a PDF, it just works.

While I've been experimenting with Scrivener for A SEA OF SKULLS, I still find myself returning to LibreOffice for short stories like "Amazon Gambit" and pretty much everything else. And, let's face it, it's impossible to beat the price.

Labels:

113 Comments:

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 September 28, 2015 3:53 PM  

People who pay for Microsoft Office are suckers.

Blogger Shimshon September 28, 2015 3:56 PM  

What is this "Amazon Gambit" of which you speak?

Blogger jaericho (#107) September 28, 2015 3:59 PM  

I find it funny that anyone a company gobbles up one of these office derivatives, a new fork appears and we never hear from the old one again. StarOffice --> OpenOffice --> LibreOffice.

Blogger jaericho (#107) September 28, 2015 4:00 PM  

@1 For consumers, yes. It doesn't make much sense. But if you're a student you can get a decent discount on it. (I could be crazy but I still like Outlook.)

Blogger Gaiseric ! September 28, 2015 4:03 PM  

@3. You still hear of OpenOffice though. I installed that less than five years ago on my laptop, and have used it ever since. I hadn't ever heard of LibreOffice, but OpenOffice is still very much on my radar.

Blogger James Dixon September 28, 2015 4:13 PM  

> For consumers, yes.

Some employers who have an enterprise license for Microsoft Office also have an agreement with Microsoft which allows their employees to get the full version of office for about $10. That's still more than it's worth to me, but others may find it acceptable.

> You still hear of OpenOffice though.

OpenOffice is the original open source release of StarOffice, after StarOffice was purchased by Sun. Sun actually did everything right in that regard, but then Oracle bought Sun. Oracle is pretty much impossible to work with, so the devs wound up forking OpenOffice to start LibreOffice, which is now the version of choice for almost all Linux distributions. OpenOffice still exists and is now under the overview of the Apache group.

Blogger Quadko September 28, 2015 4:23 PM  

Performance is good, then? Does running it on Windows or Linux make a difference?

Every time I've tried Star/Open Office on Windows through the years (been 5-ish years since last time, so must be time again) it's been in the "looks decent, but runs like a dog with 3 peg legs".

But I want my software and data local (and private!), so MS's drive to a cloud office means running old versions and looking for an alternative, so I'm happy to hear good things!

Blogger Bill September 28, 2015 4:24 PM  

Google Docs kicks butt.
It's WAY better than Libre Office for collaboration, and better than Microsoft office for basic editing, collaboration, and version management. At home I use both Google Docs and Libre Office (Libre for presentations and spreadsheets, and Google for regular text documents). I only use Microsoft at work, where I'm forced to use it. But, that could be changing - due to the many, many shortfalls of Microsoft, we're FINALLY looking into OnlyOffice and Zoho Docs, both look OK.

I think Microsoft screwed the pooch with Office 365, it's so bad it's forcing us to abandon it, it literally will not run in our environment, so we rolled back to Office 2013 and are looking at other options, since we really need collaboration and versioning.

Blogger Cail Corishev September 28, 2015 4:31 PM  

I saw somewhere that a new version of MS Office came out, and I thought, really? They still make that? Just shows how something can keep being profitable when you get enough hooks into government and corporate channels and don't need to compete on product/price, I guess.

Blogger John Cunningham September 28, 2015 4:34 PM  

VFM #424 here--
I used open Office for 10+ years, but it was impossible to make it work for creating multiple choice quizzes when I was an adjunct a few yrs ago. so I switched to Libre. recently, i had to get a new laptop, and for some reason I gave Open Office a shot again. works fine for me. I can create docs and save them in MicroSloth Turd format to pass on to my boss who is a Word acolyte. either Open or Libre only way to go.

Blogger jaericho (#107) September 28, 2015 4:38 PM  

When I have to sit down and actually bang out a bunch of words I'm usually doing it in markdown to update a wiki, so I like to use writemonkey. It's a distraction free writer. Text only. I find it useful to concentrate on just getting stuff down.

VD, as a writer, have you tried something similar?

Blogger Bill September 28, 2015 4:39 PM  

Interesting aside; my kids (currently in high school) do not regularly use Windows computers. Their main computers at home run Ubuntu (with both Google Docs and Libre Office), and the computers at School are Chromebooks. The only Office app they use at School is Google Office.

Blogger Didact September 28, 2015 4:50 PM  

@1,

Corporate users don't really have much of a choice in the matter. The infrastructure of most medium-to-large companies is built around Office and the Microsoft platform, so we're stuck in perpetua with the horrible buggy sluggish memory-hogs that Mr. Softy keeps producing.

This doesn't invalidate the basic point about MS Office, mind. It's just that certain users have no choice. Especially not those (like me) who use VBA heavily.

Blogger Cail Corishev September 28, 2015 4:51 PM  

One thing that's helped is that more other programs now support the Open/Libre formats. Years ago, I'd create documents in OpenOffice, but save them to MS's DOC format because that's what everything else could understand.

Now I create most documents in org-mode in Emacs, and then I can export them to ODT format and pretty them up in LibreOffice if I want to before printing or exporting to PDF. There's no need to use the DOC format at all now unless I need to email something to someone who's going to edit it in MS Office (which may do ODT by now, but I don't know, and my MS-using contacts aren't people you want to hit with anything new).

Blogger VD September 28, 2015 4:56 PM  

VD, as a writer, have you tried something similar?

No, I don't find the ability to format things distracting.

Blogger FALPhil September 28, 2015 4:57 PM  

@6 Some employers who have an enterprise license for Microsoft Office also have an agreement with Microsoft which allows their employees to get the full version of office for about $10. That's still more than it's worth to me, but others may find it acceptable.

Yeah, but with companies herding towards Office 360, that is probably coming to a screeching halt.

@8 Google Docs kicks butt.

That may be true, but it is still Google, a rabidly company promoting SJWism. No thanks.

Blogger Alexander September 28, 2015 5:02 PM  

I use Scrivener to plot and storyboard & focuswriter to actually write. I'm very interested to hear whether anyone thinks the organization & extra functions of Scrivener actually improve productivity or actually get in the way of writing.

Blogger Didact September 28, 2015 5:03 PM  

Personally, I would say that for the home user, and even for many small business users, one might as well go the whole hog and switch over to Linux entirely. Unless you're a hardcore PC gamer, image editor, or CAD software user, Linux does everything you need. And as far as PC games go, anyway, with the advent of Steam and Good Old Games that barrier to switching over is being steadily, if slowly, eroded. With a Linux machine, the massive overhead, bloat, and Microsoft's invariably cack-handed attempts to "improve" things no longer become concerns.

And the increase in speed compared to Windows or Office, even on older hardware, is quite something.

Having said that, I'll play devil's advocate for a moment and point out the two major problems with LibreOffice that will generally stop end-users from switching over.

The first is the fact that the user interface for LibreOffice Calc is simply nowhere near as good as MS Excel's. From autocompletion of functions, to freezing ranges in formulae, to simply switching off autocalculation, Calc's user-friendliness is greatly inferior to Excel's. I've used both and I still find that even older Office versions like 2003 and 2007 are better than current versions of Calc for ease of use and transparency.

The second is VBA. It's hard to overstate the importance of VBA to most end-user developed applications within the Excel environment. The language is used so heavily in banking, consulting, and other "technical" industries that getting rid of Excel is basically impossible for them. Calc uses a different language- OpenBasic- which is, as far as I can tell, better when it comes to security features. However, the Visual Basic Editor that Excel comes with is superb, and Calc has nothing that can match it. Until Calc develops something like that, it will remain a niche application with limited utility in a business environment.

- Didact (#309)

Blogger FALPhil September 28, 2015 5:08 PM  

Didact, I did that about 10 years ago and never looked back. Unfortunately, my company issues Windows laptops, so I stay frustrated Monday thru Friday. My 9 year old Toshiba laptop runs faster with Linux than my brand-new Lenovo X250 with Windows.

Blogger jaericho (#107) September 28, 2015 5:18 PM  

My 9 year old Toshiba laptop runs faster with Linux than my brand-new Lenovo X250 with Windows.

Runs faster doing what? Nine years is a helluva jump.

Blogger David The Good September 28, 2015 5:38 PM  

I'm with Vox on this one. LibreOffice is marvelous. I switched over to it completely this year for my book and article writing. MS Word was good until about 15 years ago.

Blogger JartStar September 28, 2015 5:47 PM  

Does anyone know of a non-tech company which has switched all of their regular end users over to Linux with good results?

I tried a couple of times to switch family members over to Linux and it has never worked out. They all hate it immediately and demand their old OS back.

Blogger FALPhil September 28, 2015 5:49 PM  

@20 Just about anything. I run complex numerical models and ballistics calculations in spreadsheets. I can run them in Calc and in Excel. The ballistics programs run noticeably faster in Calc on my old Toshiba, and the numerical models run perceptibly faster on the Toshiba. More than that, Chrome on Ubuntu runs returns the screen faster that Explorer on Windows.

The only things I like better about Windows is that Word handles extremely large files with less problems than Writer does, and Impress does not import graphics files as cleanly as PowerPoint.

Blogger jaericho (#107) September 28, 2015 6:02 PM  

@23: More than that, Chrome on Ubuntu runs returns the screen faster that Explorer on Windows. Lol That's not even a fair test. Everything runs faster than IE.

I am surprised and curious that your spreadsheets run faster on the old machine. There should be more than an order of magnitude difference between the machine regarding performance. Something sounds fishy.

Blogger SolemnSentinel September 28, 2015 6:05 PM  

OT: Hey Vox you been bulking up?

http://media.gq.com/photos/55828f6e1177d66d68d53bfe/master/w_925/blogs-the-feed-vin-diesel-flaming-sword.png

Blogger Russell (106) September 28, 2015 6:20 PM  

No, I don't find the ability to format things distracting.

The Dark Lord show his mercy by using only one sentence to eviscerate. He is kind.

Blogger automatthew September 28, 2015 6:20 PM  

VD, as a writer, have you tried [writing in markdown]?

There would be great rejoicing from a Finn and a Texan if that were to come to pass. But it would be selfish technical rejoicing. Writers should use whatever tool is best for the muse.

I did convert the [non-technically-savvy] author of that Gene Wolfe literary analysis, though. Volume two is being written in Markdown, and he's saving all the writeups to a GitLab repo using the web interface.


Blogger Dalrock September 28, 2015 6:21 PM  

My only complaint is that Google Docs won't read the Libre Office native formats, but this is Google being difficult and I can export to MS formats to get around this.

Libra Office is excellent and does everything I wish to do for home use, including the blog.

Blogger Didact September 28, 2015 6:21 PM  

@22,

JartStar- apparently it's a pretty sizable list.

I'm the last person to proclaim that Linux will ever take a significant amount of market share in the enterprise environment. But there have been instances in the past where WinDOZE clients have moved to ditch that pile of horripilation and abuse and move onto Linux, and Microsoft has had to call in massive favours to get them to stay. I seem to remember that this happened some years back with the city of Munich.

Linux still has basically zero desktop penetration in banking and consulting, which are the industries that I know. And that is for the reasons I mentioned above- namely, the level of integration that MSFT offers for all of our vendor-supplied and in-house software.

Blogger MidKnight (#138) September 28, 2015 6:26 PM  

@Didact

Having said that, I'll play devil's advocate for a moment and point out the two major problems with LibreOffice that will generally stop end-users from switching over.

I'll second devil's advocate.

I have to keep MS related toolchains around, so I end up using MS Office more than I otherwise would vs libreoffice (MOST of my time is actually in sublime or bbedit....)

THAT said.

I have numerous clients who rely on custom business applications wrapped up in OLE that simply will not play in open office (and I tried, really tried, but "free" didn't make up for "didn't work").

I'd used libre at another client's for years as they had insufficient licenses, but various changes at the board level brought in windows infrastructure, and they now get office licenses tied to the site license for servers/etc. Roughly 2/3 of them use MS Office, half the rest google docs, and the remainder Libre. Some people just don't like Libre.

Lastly - O365 isn't cheap, but the licensing terms, at a comparable price to the volume licenses, allow for up to five installs per mailbox, including main desktop, laptops, computers at home, etc.

Blogger automatthew September 28, 2015 6:30 PM  

LibreOffice 5 looks to have HYUUUGE improvements in the UI, at least on OS X.

Blogger Unknown September 28, 2015 6:36 PM  

@18 has it right. Regardless of how good LibreOffice word processing is, Excel is the problem. Every MBA data munging hot shot uses Excel, and has to have Excel, and that's the way it is. There is no adequate replacement for it. It pains me to say so, but that's been the problem every time I've tried to get people to migrate away from MS Orifice.

Blogger FALPhil September 28, 2015 6:44 PM  

@24 Well, to be honest, it does have a few upgrades on it. It was sold as a gaming machine and has built in accelerators for video, and 4GB of the fastest RAM I can find. I have added a solid state drive, a DVD, and an 802.11ac adapter.

The funny thing is, I am not the world's biggest Toshiba fan by a long shot. But this works for me, and I will keep it running till the processor or related motherboard component dies.

Blogger FALPhil September 28, 2015 6:46 PM  

Oops! My bad. The Toshiba is only 7 years old, not 9.

Blogger Cataline Sergius September 28, 2015 6:56 PM  

I'll kick the tires on it. Openoffice sucks but I prefer something on my own drive rather than out in the Cloud.

Blogger epobirs September 28, 2015 6:58 PM  

@8

That makes no sense. Until a few days ago, Office 365 WAS Office 2013. Office 365 is a subscription service, not a separate version of the software. If you have the subscription you get whatever is the most current version at the time of installation. Upgrades for Office 2016, which was released on September 22nd, aren't automatic until some point in the near future and dependent on which type of subscription is used. Large businesses, of course, want to schedule their rollout after testing extensively with existing reused documents and applications.

If you want Office 2016 sooner than later and have a 365 subscription, you just go to the site on the machine you want to upgrade and login. The install button gets the process started. One minor annoyance is that Office apps oinned to the task bar will have to be pinned again. For individual users the differences are subtle, as most of the major new features are for collaborative use. The thing that made itself most obvious in Word 2016 was the reversion of AutoCorrect from the arrangement in Word 2013 that annoyed those who made frequent use of the feature.

I've tried Star/Open/Libre Office repeatedly over the years. There was always enough that annoyed me that I found no reason to switch but then I've always had access to free or very cheap MS Office licenses. Office 365 is cheap enough on an annual basis to keep things that way, especially since my other activities make it useful to stay abreast of the latest generation of Office.

Where I've mainly used Open Office is with clients who were replacing a creaky fleet of ancient XP and Win2K PCs with Dell and HP refurbs running Windows 7. (Since I've done a lot of contract work replacing the same models in banks with newer units on the three year warranty cycle, some of the refurbs I've installed may be machines I'd previously installed in a bank years previously.) These are businesses like convalescent hospitals that operate on a razor thin margin and have nearly non-existent IT budgets, meaning they couldn't afford new Office licenses and version before 2003 would not work on Win7. (2003 has issues but there are workarounds, like using Word as the Outlook editor, which many users prefer anyway.)

So those systems got Open Office 4.x, the then current offering. This lead to a shitstorm of complaints from users who are VERY easily confused. The amount of billable time I spent getting them past their confusion would have paid for a bunch of newer Office licenses from places that sell old OEM items cheap. It was this kind of experience that told me that Windows 8 was going to be extremely ill received. The guy then in charge of Windows development, Steve Sinofsky, just couldn't get how resistant to learning new things the bulk of the user base out is in real life. If they'd done Windows 8 solely for tablets and convertibles with a tablet mode, while offering an updated Windows 7 Plus for the desktop market, it would have avoided so much trouble. They could then have held off until Windows 10 to present a unified platform configurable to both usage modes.

We tried to warn them.

Blogger VFM 188 September 28, 2015 6:58 PM  

I've used MS Word, Open Office, Libreoffice, and others, and always come back to the one, the only, the purest distillation of the wordsmith's toolbox, a program giving total and complete granular control over every jot and tittle, every phoneme and morpheme....

....WordPerfect.

Blogger Tank September 28, 2015 7:01 PM  

Yes, WordPerfect works great.

Blogger VD September 28, 2015 7:04 PM  

VD, as a writer, have you tried [writing in markdown]?

Yes. Hated it. Couldn't do it.

Blogger Quizzer W September 28, 2015 7:15 PM  

I'm a Scrivener convert. It combines a fast text editor with EverNote-like functionality, and has a pretty slick output model to combine your project into another format (pdf, doc, docx, etc). You can write a lot of extra material that can optionally be compiled into your "final document". Collaboration features are non-existent, so if you need that skip it. If you are not using the "note taking or making" features I'm not entirely sure it'd be worth it, but they have a trial version you can check out. Plan a couple of hours for the tutorial so you can get a feel for what it offers.

Blogger David The Good September 28, 2015 7:29 PM  

I'm on OSX and as much as I dislike much of what Apple does, it's still nicer to use than Linux. Tried switching by converting a laptop to Linux. Can't pull it off. There's always something wacky happening on the Linux laptop that's maddening.

It's like those folks that tell you how much they love their Volkswagen bugs. I think what they like is tinkering, not having a reliable ride.

Blogger David The Good September 28, 2015 7:30 PM  

@Cataline Sergius

LibreOffice runs a lot quicker for me than OpenOffice and there's no learning curve to make the jump.

Blogger Floyd Looney September 28, 2015 7:43 PM  

It's what I use too (LibreOffice) but there was an off-shoot called OxygenOffice Pro... anyone ever check that one out....

Blogger Floyd Looney September 28, 2015 7:44 PM  

@37 I remember loving Wordpad... lol

Blogger S.G. September 28, 2015 7:59 PM  

Since I only do word processing or surf the internet I have used Linux and LibreOffice on my laptop for the last few years. The combo works works pretty well.

Blogger Blume September 28, 2015 8:07 PM  

I concur. OpenOffice is what I use.

Blogger Jack Ward September 28, 2015 8:10 PM  

I've had mixed results with Libre, running it under 8.1. Sometimes it seems to work OK; othertimes not so much. I attribute a lot of that to Microsoft and their undoubted messing with anything not MS office. That said, I may try Open Office again. Or not.

Blogger Phillip George September 28, 2015 8:20 PM  



Vox, do you know any Germans, anybody on the ground who could confirm or deny supermarkets being co-ordinatedly ransacked, looted? The media can't be trusted but not too many stories get totally disappeared into the ether - is this one of them? Jim Stone is trying to awaken people to the tinkering of google searches to disappear information, search statistics etc. It's easier to deny a war is coming to suburbia somewhere near you but this might be right? thanks

Blogger MidKnight (#138) September 28, 2015 8:27 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger MidKnight (#138) September 28, 2015 8:28 PM  

@quizzer

Love scrivener - especially for larger pieces where I can break things up into chunks, make notes on the intent of each section, keep research material handy, etc.

Blogger James Dixon September 28, 2015 9:07 PM  

> It's like those folks that tell you how much they love their Volkswagen bugs. I think what they like is tinkering, not having a reliable ride.

Oh, the ride is more than reliable enough. You're just expected to change your own oil and perform your own tuneups (it helps that it doesn't need tuned up as often as Windows).

Blogger tridekka September 28, 2015 9:20 PM  

Tiny Tim called and said real men use Emacs... and that his son's Emacs packages are bigger than y'all's.

Combined.

Blogger Chris Nelson September 28, 2015 9:25 PM  

Not much a user of word processors, but there's really not a good full featured replacement for Excel. Many folks don't need those features, but if you need to work with those that do, you have to deal with it. Everything else can be done with OSS.

Blogger Markku September 28, 2015 9:45 PM  

Real men use ed.

Blogger Eric Castle September 28, 2015 10:12 PM  

I thought I might bring up a little old something called Vim but realized there are enough potential holy wars in the world right now.

Blogger Bill September 28, 2015 10:32 PM  

VI or Emacs.

Blogger Bill September 28, 2015 10:39 PM  

@36 epobirs

That makes no sense. Until a few days ago, Office 365 WAS Office 2013. Office 365 is a subscription service, not a separate version of the software. If you have the subscription you get whatever is the most current version at the time of installation.

Ok, then whatever you call the thing with all the cloud services; OneDrive, OneNote, Sharepoint, Lync, LiveMeeting, etc. This was a different thing than Office 2013 (Word, Excel, etc all looked the same). We called it Office 365.

OpenID Jack Amok September 28, 2015 10:45 PM  

I keep trying to use LibreOffice, but I guess I'm just hopeless and still like Word better. Maybe I have a corrupted LibreOffice install, because I find it slower than Word, which I imagine comes as a surprise to most of you. Of course, I still have connections to get Office at employee discounts. Maybe I'll give Scrivener a try though.

I still find that even older Office versions like 2003 and 2007 are better than current versions of Calc for ease of use and transparency.


Personally, I find older Office versions better on ease of use than newer Office versions.

Real men use ed.

How do you describe someone who uses vi?

Blogger maniacprovost September 28, 2015 10:47 PM  

Emacs was the reason I quit programming. However it did hone my ability to hit the control key with my pinky while casting spells on the number keys.

Blogger Cail Corishev September 28, 2015 10:53 PM  

As a heavy Emacs user, I'd like to take a shot at Vim, but since it started out as a port of vi to the Amiga, that's just too cool.

The most impressive office suite I've ever used, in terms of doing a lot with a little, was GEOS for the Commodore 64/128. A GUI file manager, WYSIWYG editor with proportional fonts and a spellchecker, a desktop publisher with Postscript output, a spreadsheet, a paint program, and more, each runnable in 64K of RAM three years before the first release of MS Office? Outstanding.

Blogger Bill September 28, 2015 10:55 PM  

Toad. Best development environment ever.

Blogger Markku September 28, 2015 10:58 PM  

How do you describe someone who uses vi?

Vi is ed for the harebrained.

Blogger Markku September 28, 2015 11:13 PM  

I trooooool.

I use emacs.

Blogger Markku September 28, 2015 11:13 PM  

And PyCharm for Python

Blogger rho September 28, 2015 11:36 PM  

Emacs was the reason I quit programming. However it did hone my ability to hit the control key with my pinky while casting spells on the number keys

Son, you remap the caps lock key to be control as the Good Lord intended.

Usually extended emacs usage leads to falling in with the Cult of Lisp. Seems you got off easy with carpal tunnel. You could have started writing emacs extensions that wrote new emacs extensions, and then you would have been forever lost to us. M-x goodnight-sweet-prince; 'Buffer is read-only'.

I've always used OpenOffice, but this new version of LibreOffice looks good, and glowing recommendations certainly help. Annoyingly, I have to keep MS Office around to open things that for one reason or another don't open properly in OpenOffice. It'd be nice if LibreOffice did that better.

Scrivener looks interesting. It seems like a perfect tool for the writer who works from an outline. Like a big linked list of data buckets. I work that way sometimes, and the best solution I had was an ad hoc directory structure with text documents I could script against. It works exactly as well as you would imagine. Thanks to VD for bringing it to my attention.

OpenID malcolmthecynic September 28, 2015 11:47 PM  

I use Word - word 2007. I just keep installing it on each new system. Works great.

Blogger automatthew September 29, 2015 12:11 AM  

Vim, forever.

Vim has the ultimate user lock-in; it rewires your brain.

Blogger automatthew September 29, 2015 12:15 AM  

Son, you remap the caps lock key to be control as the Good Lord intended.

'Struth.

Blogger Jack Ward September 29, 2015 12:20 AM  

I was using Office 2007 on my now mostly dead and buried laptop [Vista] The 2007 would not install on the 8.1 that came with the new laptop. [I have a legal copy of 2007] I was reasonably happy with it though not an in-depth user. Thats when my adventures with Open Office and Libre started. Maybe I will try an reinstall Libre and see what comes out the other end. Maybe the latest version will be golden.

Blogger Markku September 29, 2015 12:27 AM  

Ctrl and alt should be pedals.

Blogger Markku September 29, 2015 12:55 AM  

If you can come up with it, someone already has

Blogger rho September 29, 2015 12:57 AM  

Ctrl and alt should be pedals.

I had a keyboard in the late '80s with a broken right Shift key, so my left pinky game is pretty solid. But that said, I support this, because Copy-, Cut-, Paste should be a kick drum solo.

Blogger rho September 29, 2015 1:14 AM  

Vim has the ultimate user lock-in; it rewires your brain.

You learn vi/ed because they're the best of a bad lot of minimal text editors. It rewires your brain because they are horrible.

Blogger Jill September 29, 2015 1:31 AM  

I love Libreoffice--have been using it for years.

Blogger IoshkaFutz September 29, 2015 1:47 AM  

I use MS Word 2003, but only for the final drafts. Otherwise I work on devices, preferably sipping cappuccini at the local bar because I get antsy sitting at a computer.

I was happiest with Word 5 for DOS, equiped with my editing macros, running on an old XT processor, MS DOS pocket device, the HPLX200 . . But I got fed up buying the wonderful old things on ebay only to see them go belly up after a few months.

And so I got in touch with INFOVOLE makers of Textkraft for iPad and was successful in having them implement my little editing module that does away with the need for highlighting (either by finger painting, extension tapping or swiping), using only one and the same button.

After the successful software implementation, I will now pester the makers of phablets to combine my one button editor idea with retro-tapping.

If you have a phablet and turn it around you will see, except for the camera... a huge piece of still uncivilized real estate. Why not put two sensors, one on the left and one on the right... allowing for six impossible to miss commands:
Left - tap
Left - double-tap
Right- tap
Right - double-tap-
Left-right - tap
Left-right - double tap.

This would easily allow for the "creative" work to be done above on the virtual keyboard and all the editing with retro-tapping effected by one's otherwise unemployed but powerful middle fingers.. and would change the feel of writing/editing on devices, making them more similar to musical instruments.

Blogger luagha September 29, 2015 2:01 AM  

Vi is like your mother. She's always there for you in the roughest times.

Blogger Eric September 29, 2015 2:17 AM  

You kids and your fancy WYSIWYG editors. nroff works just fine.

Blogger Kirk Parker September 29, 2015 2:34 AM  

"(I could be crazy but I still like Outlook.)"

Definitely certifiable.

Didact @ 18,

Good grief, if VBA is essential to banking, etc, then it's no wonder things are so bad.

Blogger Dago September 29, 2015 2:41 AM  

No, I don't find the ability to format things distracting.
I laughed

Blogger Groot September 29, 2015 2:45 AM  

@75. IoshkaFutz:

I'm wet. I'm an excellent driver. Of course, you can't have pancakes without maple syrup. One minute to Wapner.

Blogger IoshkaFutz September 29, 2015 3:13 AM  

@75. Please translate.

Even if nasty, just spell it out.

Blogger Markku September 29, 2015 3:28 AM  

I surmise that he meant to say that he likes it; and then his train of thought saw a butterfly and went chasing after it.

Blogger IoshkaFutz September 29, 2015 3:52 AM  

@82. Grazie Markku.

BTW I have fond memories discussing the topic with you (as Jake-the-Rake) back in 2013.

http://voxday.blogspot.it/2013/09/the-real-story.html

I had hoped to get the "connective editing" idea implemented in Android, but only found IOS developers receptive. When INFOVOLE turned my feature request into an actual button, I danced a Hitler Jig of happiness. and I'm once again translating the endless screenplays from Italian to English al fresco (cafes, while walking, or stuck in Roman traffic) with alacrity and dispatch, but now on an internet-enabled flat screen device.

Saluti up there in Suomi

Blogger Markku September 29, 2015 4:02 AM  

And what did I solve your problem with? Emacs.

You were saying, automatthew?

Blogger IoshkaFutz September 29, 2015 4:14 AM  

@84. You helped me focus. And now you're selling me John C. Wright books. You're a positive influence.

Blogger ScuzzaMan September 29, 2015 4:23 AM  

I'm a tech agnostic, totally uncommitted to any product or vendor.

On the marketing side, however, it seems plain that Microsoft's penetration of the banking & finance industries now mirrors IBM's penetration of those same markets back in the 70's and 80's.

As the most backward bunch of reactionaries on earth, these guys change very slowly, and they never let go of anything unless they can get a buck for it. So you find all sorts of weirdness in the IT infrastructures of the major banks,, shit that goes back for decades. I still have mainframe sysprog friends making a good living helping banking executives avoid making decisions to replace things because the risk of change always outweighs the risk of stasis, in that culture, unless there's a gun pointed at their heads.

But Microsoft slowly and surely killed IBM off at the periphery, and are now committing the same slow suicide as their former prey. The people who use their products the most, who contribute the bulk of their revenues and almost all of their profit, are the people who hate them the most.

This is not a long-term strategy for marketing success.

Blogger Shimshon September 29, 2015 5:12 AM  

Vox has mentioned the Alphasmart Dana as a good writing tool in the past. It does look pretty nifty. Super cheap on eBay. Solid hardware. Runs PalmOS 4 (so can run any software compatible with it) and USB and SD card ports pretty much make it future proof. It's also got serious retro cred.

I'm in the process of putting together a book, and I found it easier to work on the content in Sigil even before I got to the final formatting stage. I like my CSS and HTML manually crafted and edited, thank you very much. Just be careful to close all tags and don't forget to convert "&" to "&" or you can lose content (as I discovered) if you accidentally allow HTML auto-correction.

Vox and Markku, is it possible to write in LibreOffice without requiring further formatting for publication?

Blogger Shimshon September 29, 2015 5:14 AM  

That's "&"

Blogger Cail Corishev September 29, 2015 7:03 AM  

Ctrl and alt should be pedals.

I should be able to press them with my mind, by "thinking" them down. I've been waiting for that, and the ability to "click" with a look and a thought, ever since reading about the MindDrive in Games Magazine in the early 1990s. I thought I'd be thinking words directly into the computer by now.

Blogger James Dixon September 29, 2015 8:33 AM  

> I was using Office 2007 on my now mostly dead and buried laptop [Vista] The 2007 would not install on the 8.1 that came with the new laptop. [I have a legal copy of 2007] I was reasonably happy with it though not an in-depth user.

I'd think Office 2007 should be usable under Wine at this point. I'd expect even Office 2010 to work reasonably well.

Blogger Athor Pel September 29, 2015 9:21 AM  

"56. Blogger Bill September 28, 2015 10:32 PM
VI or Emacs."



I remember using VI in college. Modal interfaces need to die in a fire.

Blogger automatthew September 29, 2015 10:33 AM  

Vim is wonderful and you are all secretly sad you don't grok it.

Blogger Russell (106) September 29, 2015 11:15 AM  

Emacs for everything and the kitchen sink. Vim for nothing but an editor.

Things go south when you confuse the two.

OpenID joshtheaspie September 29, 2015 11:24 AM  

Pel: Well then how the frack am I supposed to go to a specific line in a huge xml file just by typing the number and hitting one key after that? I like my "go to end of file by hitting g in command mode" thank you.

Blogger Markku September 29, 2015 11:48 AM  

You do realize that there's an actual button on your keyboard, just for that ONE thing, Josh?

Blogger Markku September 29, 2015 11:55 AM  

Vox and Markku, is it possible to write in LibreOffice without requiring further formatting for publication?

No.

Blogger Markku September 29, 2015 12:00 PM  

I suppose this is what that rewiring looks like. "There's a button that says END. Hmm. Too obvious. I think we'll go with 'g'"

Blogger pdwalker September 29, 2015 12:03 PM  

Vim is the gift that keeps on giving. I'm still finding "gee wow!" features that I never knew about.

Emacs (autocorrect tried to write emasculated, ha!) almost turned me off computing 30 years ago)

Mind you, all religions, cultures and beliefs are equal, so I guess I don't mind if people want to sacrifice their children on the alter of emacs.

(LibreOffice, very good. OpenOffice has lost mindshare; Excel still blows the doors of Calc unfortunately. For what I do, Calc is too buggy and often doesn't work. Shame.)

Blogger Markku September 29, 2015 12:07 PM  

Vi wouldn't have turned you off computing... Because you wouldn't have been able to figure out how to exit the damn thing.

Blogger pdwalker September 29, 2015 12:50 PM  

Heh. Not true.

However, it did involve pressing a lot of CTRL C's and CTRL Z's. My first day on the server saw me bring it down because the machine ran out of memory because of all my stopped processes.

Emacs I had to leave running because I couldn't figure out how to mash the 37 keys together required to quit.

So, point for emacs not bring the machine down through sheer determined ignorance.

I got better. vilearn brought me to the promised land.

Blogger Jill September 29, 2015 12:52 PM  

"Vox has mentioned the Alphasmart Dana as a good writing tool in the past. It does look pretty nifty." It is. My husband bought me one for my birthday this year, as I wanted a word processor that didn't do much else. If you transfer your files to your computer using the cord rather than the card, the formatting also transfers.

Blogger Cail Corishev September 29, 2015 1:27 PM  

how the frack am I supposed to go to a specific line in a huge xml file

In emacs? With goto-line, which you can bind to whatever key or key combination you like. I don't use it a lot, so I have it bound to M-g-g, which in my head means "Command-go-go". To go to the end of a file, I use M->, which runs the command end-of-buffer.

I use vi/vim dozens of times a day to edit files, so I don't have anything bad to say about it. I use emacs for pretty much everything else except web browsing. It has a web browser (of course) but I've never found it good enough.

There's evil-mode now, which apparently gives you vi-style commands in emacs. Sounds confusing to me, so I've stayed away from it.

Blogger Markku September 29, 2015 1:49 PM  

Now that there is good Emacs thinking. Emacs is more of an operating system than an editor.

Like Vim? Great, program it with Lisp.

Blogger Russell (106) September 29, 2015 2:12 PM  

Like Vim? Great, program it with Lisp.

You're a cruel man, Markku.

Blogger Cail Corishev September 29, 2015 3:17 PM  

Everything should be programmable in Lisp. My TV for instance: there's one channel on which the volume is always much lower than the others. If my TV ran Emacs/Lisp, I'd just add a function to the change-channel-hook which would check the channel number and adjust the volume. Easy.

There are very few things in life that couldn't be improved on if they ran Lisp.

Blogger Markku September 29, 2015 3:30 PM  

Before the Fall, wives had a Lisp interface.

After the Fall, they just defun your life.

Blogger Cail Corishev September 29, 2015 4:02 PM  

My favorite XKCD will always be #224, where a guy achieves complete Lisp enlightenment and thinks the gods must have used Lisp to create the universe. God appears and says, "Honestly, we hacked most of it together with Perl."

Blogger Athor Pel September 29, 2015 4:04 PM  

"99. Blogger Markku September 29, 2015 12:07 PM
Vi wouldn't have turned you off computing... Because you wouldn't have been able to figure out how to exit the damn thing."



kill -9 process#
I'm not saying that's how I exited VI but it is the ultimate answer to most Unix problems.


"105. Blogger Cail Corishev September 29, 2015 3:17 PM
...
There are very few things in life that couldn't be improved on if they ran Lisp."


I learned Lisp by using it to do things in AutoCAD. There are things that I literally could not do in AutoCAD without some code I wrote years ago.


"106. Blogger Markku September 29, 2015 3:30 PM
Before the Fall, wives had a Lisp interface.

After the Fall, they just defun your life."


I owe you several beers for the smile this comment gave me.

Blogger automatthew September 29, 2015 10:46 PM  

What the the antiviim hate about Vim is its greatest strength, its reason for existing. Modality.

Modality means never having to touch a trackpad.

Modality means editing at the speed of thought.

Modality is Ubik.

Blogger chris September 30, 2015 1:19 AM  

@107, Cail, that is a brilliant cartoon.

A disciple of another sect once came to Drescher as he was eating his morning meal.

“I would like to give you this personality test”, said the outsider, “because I want you to be happy.”

Drescher took the paper that was offered him and put it into the toaster, saying: “I wish the toaster to be happy, too.”

Blogger Gaiseric ! September 30, 2015 11:58 AM  

Honestly, though—whenever I see LibreOffice in print, it want to pronounce it like Liberace.

Blogger Markku September 30, 2015 7:09 PM  

Modality?! Emacs is SO modal that it has Vi as a mode.

Blogger Markku September 30, 2015 7:14 PM  

Dammit, Emacs.

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