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Mike Hall wrote:
I think an appreciation of this point is absolutely crucial to a successful product, which is why I bang on about it. And I'm only faithfully recording my own experience.

Unfortunately there is a difference in quality, which implicitly you seem to recognise. Yes, it's true that there have been several poor MSO releases, but in a large organisation those are not normally deployed on the corporate desktop until the problems are fixed. MS does eventually retreat on its silly ideas and there are, to all intents and purposes, almost bug free MSO versions so far as the vast majority of end users are concerned. This isn't the case with OOo/LibO - there has never been a release of such a quality that support costs could be contained at a realistic level. I wish there were and I can fully understand why this community would be very inclined to argue black is white here. Further, it's pretty frustrating to report bugs and find that they aren't fixed within a reasonable period. I don't think you would deny that that is a fairly common experience and complaint from OOo/LibO users. I see that on many bug reports.

My perception and experience of the choice of application software in large organisation is that it is much more rational and hard-headed than you imply. The main cost is not the licence, for which in any case large organisations generally pay very little per desktop. It's user support that is costly, ie overall cost of ownership.

I am one of the multitude of end users of Writer who hope that it can become something that we can all take pride in because we all helped in whatever way to make it what it is.

Over the years I have used MS Word, and OOo, I simply don't ever use spreadsheets, presentation programs or any other part of MS Office or OOo except for the word processors. That said, I find MS Word to be unstable for long documents. Writer does a better job, but it has some severe shortcomings that would be very easy to fix if anyone would bother. My prime example, the word list in the spell checker is PATHETIC!!! There is almost a total lack of compound words in it, and I have had to add well over a thousand of them in order to get the spell checker to operate at an acceptable speed. The only alternative is to consider the spell checker USELESS, and to just permanently turn it off. No business would ever consider that to be an acceptable alternative, and would instead consider the price for a copy of Microsoft Word a bargain compared to the hassle of trying to use a word processor with a nearly useless spelling checker.

Naturally we cannot purchase a word list to use, because anything sold would be copyrighted and therefore useless to us. Likewise, as I understand there is no Open Source or other non copyright word list that is sufficiently better than what we are now using to be worth bothering with. Therefore we must create our own. I don't think that most of the work of doing this would require the skills of a programmer or software developer. I think if someone could tell some of us end users where to find our own word lists that we have had to add hundreds or thousands of words to, turn them into email attachments, and send them to LO, they could be combined, stripped of unwanted proper nouns and such, and used to create a very good and complete word list to incorporate into LO Writer. And of course once we have such a word list, every release from that time on will have a very good spell checker.

I am a computer hardware expert, but not a software expert, at least no more than most end users, but perhaps this is something where someone like me might just be able to help. Robert Derman

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