Re: [tdf-discuss] A humble critique about LO: grammar, dictionaries and basic usability
On 02/12/2013 12:52 PM, Joel Madero wrote:
On Tue, Feb 12, 2013 at 9:19 AM, timofonic timofonic <email@example.com>wrote:
I wanted to reply this email, because I was having some minor
usability issues about LibreOffice. Nothing too bad, but I wanted to
share it with the team.
I was helping my gf to do some university work, I installed her
LibreOffice because she was used to OpenOffice and no problems to it.
But there were some stuff was difficult to make for her, and also a
bit to me too. I may not be a Linux guru, but I have some years of
experience as user. Here we go:
- About style and grammar checkers: I find quite confusing that they
aren't bundled with LO itself, I need to install different packages.
Despite this can be done easily by people used to Linux, others may
have difficulties to find the correct package. Also, I see there are
different extensions for different languages, yet they use Java most
of the time (I don't consider it an adequate technology not just
because it's by Oracle, but is a bloated dependency and may make
things worse for slower systems). I see there are Languagetool, it
supports lots of languages but requires java. There's lightproof,
requires Python (it's not so efficient too) and supports too few
languages at this moment. This feature is also bundled by default in
Microsoft Office and lots of people use it to proofread their
documents. There's a lack of automatically analyzing words written in
other languages like Latin (quite used for terms), too.
- About dictionary: Are dictionaries so big to make them bundled by
default? Why not include them? Also, there were a lot of missing words
in the Spanish dictionary and some lack of understanding about able to
write compound words in both ways (f.ex. psico-social and
- About page enumeration: While I agree showing advanced options is a
plus, stuff like this is somewhat messy and confusing. Seriously, I
had to check a few tutorials to find a correct way to avoid page
enumeration to the first pages of a document and I had some issues
replicating it later. It's difficult to remember it and it seems I got
confused with page style or something like that (I can provide further
details if needed).
I just wanted to share my opinion to others, maybe I'm wrong at it in
some way. But at least I tried to contribute a bit :)
(Sorry for my bad English)
Thank you for your feedback. We're always looking to improve LibreOffice
for you all (the users). We'll get a good healthy discussion about your
points and see if there is any consensus about solutions :)
[Sorry if this does not come out right, even a person in a native
English speaking country does not get his/her words right, let alone for
those who had to learn English as a second or third language. My hat is
off to anyone who can communicate in more than their native language.
So not "Sorry for my bad English". Nothing to be sorry for, in my
honest opinion. ]
It is hard to build a "good" grammar checking system. There are
specific differences with each language and sometimes differences within
dialects of the same language [i.e. American, British, and Oxford
English]. So building in a grammar checking system for each of the 100+
languages LO supports would be very hard to deal with. Also, sometimes
rules for "proper grammar" can change over time. Those changes would
need to be kept up-to-date. Let other projects who want to provide
these grammar systems, who have the time and interest to get all the
small details correct, do the work and provide the other FOSS project
their work. Saves time and overlapping man-hours of work needed elsewhere.
As for dictionaries, that is more my area. Yes, there are always going
to be missing works. LibreOffice has access to over 20 different
localized [by country] Spanish spell checking dictionaries. I know that
there are words in American English [my language] that I found missing.
There were words in my daily, weekly, monthly, correspondence that were
not in the original English dictionaries I tried and used. When it
comes down to "specialty" words for specific trade, work, or academic
groups, there could be a long list of missing words.
What I would do is contact the creators of the dictionaries and ask them
to add the specific words you feel that they have missed. They might
add them to the next version. I started out with an American English
dictionary that had under 150,000 words. Then it grew to over 500,000
words. Then 600,000 words. Right now it is a little over 797,000 words
for American English. Actually, if I added the "rarely used" and "rare
spellings" words, it will grow to 1.5 to 2.0 million words. I created
one that size once but decided not to publish it.
Your question about "compound words" is a good one. I wish there was a
good system that was able to do it better. We just have not had any
programmer willing to take the time to write the needed code to make it
Well, if this all sounds a little negative, then that is not my point.
There are a lot of really good and dedicated people out there that are
working on making LibreOffice the best that it can be. There are a lot
of dedicated people working on creating extensions to LibreOffice to add
things, like grammar checkers, that would make LibreOffice better.
Sometimes users do not know how hard these people work to make something
even just a little better than it was before. Each of our developers
may have their "niche" of development. The people who work on the
grammar checking extension systems may have been working on them for
years and years. There are specific part of some spell checking systems
that are developed specifically to control where a "hyphen" would be
placed when doing certain formatting options. Not perfect, but it could
be improved over time by those who can get into that type of work.
WE NEED people to give up opinions and comments about the use of
LibreOffice. I know we would love all of these opinions and comments to
be positive, but that is not the way life, or businesses, work.
We need people like you to let us know if there is something that needs
to be looked into that may need improving or to be fixed. LibreOffice is
all about taking suggestions from our users and seeing if they can be
worked into a future version of our product. Unlike "some" software
companies, TDF/LibreOffice do not tell its users what their users will
"like or else" just because their internal marketers or developers
thought it was a good idea.
Having your smart phone, tablet, laptop, and business computer's display
screen look and act all alike is not a "good idea and a needed option".
WE do not tell our users what works and is needed, our users tell us
what works for them and is needed by them. That is what it should be.
If our developers do not get a specific option included in the next
update of LibreOffice, it does not mean they are not looking into having
it part of a future version. I bet there are people right now thinking
up what will be, should be, going into the 4.1.x line, now that the
4.0.x line is out. All it requires something to be added to the current
line that is the stepping stone to make the new thing possible.
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