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Re: [tdf-discuss] Re: Is Microsoft getting worried about free Office suites?

Olav Dahlum wrote:
On 28/11/11 13:13, Pedro wrote:
Ian Lynch wrote
Google should do a version of Office based on the
OOo/LibO code base and embed ads and search links, make it available
and brand it Google Office.  Given their brand strength and marketing,
would probably do more to frighten MS than anything we can do. Slightly
surprised they haven't already done it.

Interesting concept. But I think they are investing a lot on the "Cloud"
with the Chrome Book laptops that investing time on an offline suite doesn't
make much sense...

In the same line of thought: Google Docs is fine in the "Developed"
countries where working in the "Cloud" is a reality. This is not so for more
than 2/3 of the world's population

I do believe that currently LibreOffice is the leading alternative to MS
Office (but would love to see some numbers :) )
Just a couple of observations here. First, most businesses do not and probably will not in the near future, go to cloud computing. there are several reasons for this, foremost, security. Companies do not want important documents with proprietary information flying back and forth on the internet where they could be intercepted. Second, reliability. Remote servers and the infrastructure between local computers and them have been known to go down. Most companies don't want to have to rely on vulnerable remote connections.

Another thing, most companies would like to own the resources that they depend on for day to day operation.

I hear a lot of people talking about how tablets are taking over, but somehow I just don't see a corporate steno pool using tablets or smartphones to produce their important documents. Desktop (tower case) computers will continue to dominate all serious corporate computing applications. That means MS Office or suitable substitutes will continue to be the most important applications in the business world.

The biggest reason, as far as I can see it that MS Office will continue to dominate is not because of file format tie up, at least not from 2014 on, but because of quality shortcomings in all competing products. Face it, LibreOffice Writer doesn't have anywhere near as good a spell check function as Word does. Writer's spell check dictionary is woefully short of compound words. Writer doesn't have a good grammar checker function built in. Also Writer is very much lacking in templates and clip art compared to Word. Now home users and students might well overlook these shortcomings because of the rather large difference in the cost to obtain the software, but businesses, never. Now these things can be fixed, and many of them won't even require a lot of effort from our developers. Many of us users who may have added thousands of words to our spell check dictionaries could contribute them to the project if some developers showed us how. Also, the auto correct function as it currently exists can be turned into a fairly good grammar correcter by simply adding a lot of functions to it using its current customization capabilities. I have made mine able to automatically capitalize all the days of the week, all months except March and May, since these two also exist as other words. The program can be trained to capitalize most proper nouns, to correct most common typos, etc. With a little more effort in such areas we can bring Writer much closer to the basic quality of Word.

I never use spreadsheets, so I really can't comment on any shortcomings of Calc. But I do know that a word processor is the core of any office suite. If some of the developers will help me and a few other users who might volunteer to help with some of these things, that don't actually require the specific skills of a programmer/developer, I think that we could do a lot to make LibreOffice a much better office suite, in particular much better than OOo was at the point of the fork.

I know that the developers have done much to improve the code base, but I am sure that some of us non developers could also help to improve the useability of the suite.
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