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posted by cmn32480 on Thursday February 02, @08:06PM   Printer-friendly
from the that-only-took-10-years dept.

Martin Brinkmann at gHacks reports

LibreOffice 5.3 is the newest version of the popular open source Office suite, and one of the "most feature-rich releases in the history of the application".

The Office suite, available for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems, is now also available as a private cloud version, called LibreOffice Online.

LibreOffice, at is[sic] core, is an open source alternative to Microsoft Office. It features Writer, a text editing program similar to Word, Calc, the Excel equivalent, Impress which is similar to PowerPoint, and Draw, which enables you to create graphic documents.

LibreOffice 5.3 ships with a truckload of new features. One of the new features is a new experimental user interface called Notebookbar. This new interface resembles Office's ribbon UI, but is completely optional [submitters emphasis] right now.

In fact, the new user interface is not enabled by default, and if you don't look for it or know where to look, you will probably notice no difference at all to previous versions.

To enable the new Ribbon UI, select View > Toolbar Layout > Notebookbar. The UI you see on the screenshot above is enabled by default, but you may switch it using View > Notebookbar to either Contextual Groups or Contextual Single.

[...] One interesting option that the developers built-in to LibreOffice 5.3 is the ability to sign PDF documents, and to verify PDF document signatures.

[...] The Writer application got some exciting new features. It supports Table styles now for instance, and there is a new Page deck in the sidebar to customize the page settings quickly and directly.

There is also an option to use the new "go to page" box, and arrows in the drawing tools which were not available previously in Writer.

Calc got a new set of default cell styles offering "greater variety and better names", a new median function for pivot tables, and a new filter option when you are inserting functions to narrow down the selection.

The article also has 4 demo videos embedded.

In the comments there, Donutz notes that the Ribbon UI requires the Java Runtime Environment.
Oggy notes that the suite is available from PortableApps. (Martin's site is largely Windows-centric).


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  • there is no "View > Toolbar Layout" (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, @08:18PM (#462073)

    If you're going to include instructions on how to toggle the feature in TFS, you should make a point of including the critical preliminary step, too.

    First:
    Tools > Options > LibreOffice > Advanced > Enable experimental features (may be unstable)

    LO will need to restart.

    After the restart, the instructions from TFS will work:
    View > Toolbar Layout > Notebookbar

    • Re:there is no "View > Toolbar Layout" (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, @08:23PM (#462080)

      Great, so you turned on the faux ribbon. How to turn it off again? There's a reason why the experimental features option is flagged as potentially unstable.

      Click the document icon to the left of the File tab on the ribbon.
      Choose Menubar to turn the menu bar back on.
      View > Toolbar Layout > Default

      Optionally, once that's done, go turn off the experimental features so you don't get stuck again.

      • Re:there is no "View > Toolbar Layout" (Score: 5, Informative) by Gaaark (41)

        by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 02, @09:17PM (#462108)

        MS ribbon sucks... why would we want this? (I know... for the MS Office users to be able to handicap their way into the FOSS world, but still.... stupid is....)

        When i HAVE to use the office ribbon, im just glad i know some shortcuts like CTRL+P etc, cause ..... yeah....

        --
        --- [redacted] due to [redacted] by Agent [redacted]. Dated [redacted] ---
        • Re:there is no "View > Toolbar Layout" (Score: 3, Insightful) by jmorris (4844)

          by jmorris (4844) on Thursday February 02, @10:32PM (#462152)

          MS ribbon sucks... why would we want this?

          Because we seem to have an inferiority complex that forces us to chase Microsoft and Apple's taillights.

          • Re:there is no "View > Toolbar Layout" (Score: 3, Insightful) by Nerdfest (80)

            by Nerdfest (80) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 02, @11:20PM (#462172)

            ... even when they're heading in completely the wrong direction (including bad UI choices. lack of options, removing features, and bad architecture .... I'm looking at your systemd).

            • Re:there is no "View > Toolbar Layout" (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03, @07:11AM (#462259)

              You might also look at Chrome (Chromium’s existence notwithstanding).

            • Re:there is no "View > Toolbar Layout" (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03, @09:19AM (#462289)

              What is amusing about this discussion is how there is this implication in all this that somehow OS software has the GUI sorted and these guys have diverted from awesome to a bad path.

              I am not going to explain why this is so amusing since if you lack the basic awareness of the state of software to know why there is no hope for you....

        • Autocad & Tablets (Score: 5, Interesting) by edIII (791)

          by edIII (791) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 02, @10:35PM (#462154)

          What is the effin problem though? Other than it being Microsoft. I fully appreciate memorizing all the shortcut keys, and that can be useful, but it doesn't take away from dropdown menus or ribbons, but works together with them.

          I love the ribbon. It is a more pictorial (icons) representation of a dropdown menu. My preferred word editor for a long time was, and still is, MS Word 2007. LibreOffice does some weird shit when you're using table of contents, styles, etc. Still getting used to it since I don't have the option of continuing with Microsoft. I at least understand the eccentricities and learning curve of Word 2007 when writing technical documents.

          What's confusing to me is, what is the fucking difference? Side by side, I have a portable copy of Word 2007 and LibreOffice 5.1 running on two different monitors right now. Other than the fact that the ribbon will change based upon the top tab, it's not that functionally different from the dropdown menus and quick access of LibreOffice. In a way LibreOffice has it's own somewhat annoying ribbon vertically on the right (properties through navigator). I can create the same amount of screen real estate in either LibreOffice 5.1 or Word 2007, and I can get a little bit more in Word 2007 for the record. I can make Word 2007 look close to LibreOffice 5.1 with a little bit of work customizing the quick access bar.

          Both of them have abilities to be modified. You can hide stuff in LibreOffice to regain screen real estate, and in Word 2007 you can minimize the ribbon bar, and you have a rather fully customizable quick access bar you can add whatever buttons you want. Additionally, once minimized it does not mess with anything popped out like Styles. So I can be writing a document with the Styles popped out on another monitor.

          What I really love about the ribbon, is it gets close to what I found the ideal way of working. That was when I was doing digitization work on oil and gas data and had an expensive and very large tablet to work with. What was such a joy was that it was in effect the ribbon, but presented in a large ass rectangle (maybe 12-14" x 8"). You had to print out the buttons that you customized (it covered the whole tablet including the whitespace for the "mousepad"), but that included a color wheel. The printed menu was put behind plastic and you ran the mouse over the whole tablet. I could work with a couple points of seismic data and then quickly move the mouse over to a few buttons and the color wheel and I was done. Got an amazing amount of work done in a short time that way.

          My point being, is that ribbon can be fairly awesome. What would be even more awesome is we could have our tablets docked to the side of us and run the ribbon on them like that older digitization tablet on steroids. My only real complaint is the lack of screen real estate in both Word 2007 and LibreOffice 5.1. You move the whole UI off the primary screen and onto a secondary and smaller touch screen and you've arrived.

          I guess I just don't understand the detractions of that particular UI, or how it's really all that different from FOSS offerings.

          • Re:Autocad & Tablets (Score: 2) by darnkitten (1912)

            by darnkitten (1912) on Friday February 03, @02:38AM (#462212)

            You move the whole UI off the primary screen and onto a secondary and smaller touch screen and you've arrived

            .

            That's how I use GIMP (at least the graphic menus), but the multi-window mode is also one of the main UI objections most people have...

            • Re:Autocad & Tablets (Score: 2) by jimshatt (978)

              by jimshatt (978) on Friday February 03, @02:19PM (#462365)
              Luckily GIMP gives you the choice between multi-window and single-window. And LibreOffice allows you to turn this on or off. I don't believe MS Word gives you an option. So that's the difference.
            • Re:Autocad & Tablets (Score: 2) by edIII (791)

              by edIII (791) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 03, @08:33PM (#462580)

              Don't think of it like multi-window. Think of it like the dropdown menus, ribbon, or whatever sitting next to your keyboard on the left or the right, or even right above your keyboard. I've envisioned something that curves around your mouse and keyboard to provide a literal dashboard. It's not a huge distance to cover, and when you don't want to move that's what a keyboard shortcut is for.

              What I remember from the Autocad Tablet was that the mouse didn't have to move all that far to access functions, and especially the color wheel. It's also worth noting, and I didn't mention this last time, but the mouse was pretty darn special too. It had a transparent window and crosshairs so you could see *exactly* what point you were on, which is very different from standard mouses where you rely on the screen to indicate where you are. Without that I can see it being difficult to use a mouse like that, hence the touch screens on the tablet or dashboard replacing them.

              • Re:Autocad & Tablets (Score: 2) by darnkitten (1912)

                by darnkitten (1912) on Tuesday February 07, @05:57PM (#464173)

                Back when I was using GIMP constantly (before touchscreens), I had a gaming keypad next to the keyboard, with my most-used functions mapped to the 'pad keys. I was able to shove the Tools menu window and the Layers/Channels/Paths window off onto another monitor, and, with my Wacom pen in hand rarely had to touch keyboard and mouse...

          • Re:Autocad & Tablets (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03, @04:01AM (#462229)

            The issue is that ribbon is MS Office specific and requires you to spend time learning how to use it in order to get marginal benefit. If you applied the same amount of effort learning shortcut keys you'd get even better results. But, with ribbon, you're forced to jump through hoops if you want to do anything that isn't statistically determined to be the most common thing to be doing.

            What's more, because of the pictorial representation, it winds up taking up a ton of space and forces you to move the mouse all over the place in order to make your selection.

            Proper UI for desktop apps was largely perfected in the late '90s early '00s with a menu bar on the top of the application and each entry being roughly sorted into categories that were themselves stored in menus. For the most part, you'd know that if you were looking for one type of function or another you could reliably guess where it was without having to know. You could navigate it efficiently with just keys if you wanted to, but if you wanted to use the mouse, you didn't have to move it very far. Just compare the distance the mouse has to move with the ribbon compared with the distance you have to move it with traditional menus and you'll realize just how inefficient the ribbon is.

          • Re:Autocad & Tablets (Score: 3, Insightful) by mhajicek (51)

            by mhajicek (51) on Friday February 03, @07:22AM (#462263)

            The ribbon is a tablet interface. Some of us still use proper workstations with keyboards.

            • Re:Autocad & Tablets (Score: 2) by edIII (791)

              by edIII (791) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 03, @08:41PM (#462584)

              Proper? These things can work together and not be mutually exclusive. The vast majority of the time I'm working with SSH shells and headless servers, and I'm not doing much with the workstation itself. So by some of us, you mean both of us.

              Touch screens are somewhat superior to a mouse, and whether or not you have a proper workstation, you still have some sort of quick access bar (depending on OS/windowing system). So why does that quick access bar *have* to be on the workstation itself, and not split out to a separate touch screen? Tradition, or something?

              • Re:Autocad & Tablets (Score: 2) by mhajicek (51)

                by mhajicek (51) on Saturday February 04, @06:33AM (#462775)

                I do CAD and CAM. My left hand is shared by the Space Pilot and the keyboard, my right hand stays on the trackball. I access most functions through access keys for the dropdown menus; I only have icons on the screen for functions which are inaccessible through the dropdowns. I haven't updated to the latest version of my software since they ditched dropdowns in favor of ribbons, and the access keys for the ribbons are nonsensical and often two keys per selection. for toolpaths for example, which used to be . Unless I'm hitting one of those few icons my pointer stays on the work in the graphics window.

          • Re:Autocad & Tablets (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03, @08:33AM (#462285)

            The two main problems with the ribbon are:

            - No logic in where everything is hidden.

            - Things move around based on some hidden rules such as what you use the most and what is currently selected. Extra ribbon panes appear and push themselves in front of what you have selected. Good luck printing THAT.

          • Re:Autocad & Tablets (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03, @10:43PM (#462635)

            > What is the effin problem though?

            -high real estate costs
            -poor discoverability
            -icons over text
            -low proximality
            -varying size of elements (depatterning makes it much harder to scan)
            -customizeable is horrid for users switching between systems
            --yes neophytes, who don't know they've changed something locally or that something might have been changed at the 'new' place
            --and experts, who grow used to their process optimizations and by muscle memory make mistakes on clean machines

          • Re:Autocad & Tablets (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03, @10:44PM (#462636)

            Even though I'm past 100 comments.... The answer is pretty simple.

            THERE IS NO REASON TO CHANGE THE UI. NONE. EXCEPT TO GENERATE FORCED UPGRADING TO STAY CURRENT.

            So, if you perceive no fucking difference, then LEAVE IT THE FUCK ALONE, mmmkay?

            No love,

            Me

    • Re:there is no "View > Toolbar Layout" (Score: 4, Touché) by driverless (4770)

      by driverless (4770) on Friday February 03, @10:10AM (#462309)

      If you're going to include instructions on how to toggle the feature in TFS, you should make a point of including the critical preliminary step, too.

      First:
      Tools > Options > LibreOffice > Advanced > Enable experimental features (may be unstable)

      LO will need to restart.

      You forgot the step before that:

      If you plan to enable the ribbon on a previously entirely unpolluted, ribbon-free interface, take a large brick and smash yourself repeatedly in the face with it. Then, once you enable the ribbon, it'll seem less painful in comparison.

  • Couple words on ribbon (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, @08:19PM (#462075)

    Thanks, no.

    • Re:Couple words on ribbon (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, @08:24PM (#462081)

      2007 called. They want their word processor back.

      • Re:Couple words on ribbon (Score: 3, Funny) by cmdrklarg (5048)

        by cmdrklarg (5048) on Thursday February 02, @08:38PM (#462086)
        Hell, I want 2003 back.
        --
        THE SOFTWARE, IT NO WORKY!
        • Re:Couple words on ribbon (Score: 3, Informative) by DannyB (5839)

          by DannyB (5839) on Thursday February 02, @09:06PM (#462100)

          The Ribbon. From the company who brought you Edlin.

          • The ''demand'' for this ''feature'' (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, @09:40PM (#462117)

            My suggested dept. line was
            from the software-projects-playing-follow-the-leader dept.
            Perhaps not the best dept. line ever.
            I was thinking about the Firefox/Google thing I will admit.

            The editor's dept. line is
            from the that-only-took-10-years dept.

            I think that this (sub)thread indicates that the "demand" for this was not high among users/potential users with not much incentive for the LibreOffice devs to invest a huge amount of time and effort.
            I'd like to have seen a poll on the popularity of this notion before it was coded in.
            ...and a poll in a few months from now among folks who have tried it.

            -- OriginalOwner_

            • Re:The ''demand'' for this ''feature'' (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, @09:56PM (#462133)

              My suggested dept. line was
              from the software-projects-playing-follow-the-leader dept.
              Perhaps not the best dept. line ever.
              I was thinking about the Firefox/Google thing I will admit.

              The editor's dept. line is
              from the that-only-took-10-years dept.

              I've grown quite tired of your complaining about the editors changing your submission. Editors edit. The editors have a whole community of readers, of whom only one is you. If you want to publish stories exactly the way you wrote them, then please start your own blog. Otherwise, accept the fact that the editors edit submissions. If you notice they are regularly doing something to your submissions, you might want to take a look at what you are doing and... do something different. How does it go? "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results."

              Don't get me wrong, I've seen many an interest story and comment from you, but so much of its value is hidden by its presentation. For example: "Micro$oft" "Windoze", excessive use of bold and italics tags, selective quoting of stories to push an agenda. If you have a point, just make the point and let its value stand on its own.

              And, just like you, I'll choose to post Anonymously.

              • ''your complaining'' (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward

                by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, @10:16PM (#462145)

                I've grown quite tired of your complaining

                I'm old and I'm crotchety.
                The main thing that I do these days is bitch about stuff.
                If you aren't into that, do skip over my comments.

                As for the -content- of the 2 examples, one suggested that large numbers of users were champing at the bit for this feature.
                I doubt that that was/is true.

                -- OriginalOwner_

      • Re:Couple words on ribbon (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03, @08:45AM (#462286)

        2007 called. They want their word processor back.

        Along with their keyboard and mouse interface.

        Don't people realize that the current trend is touch screens and SMS-speak?

  • I love ribbon (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, @08:22PM (#462078)
    There. I went ahead and said it

    It works beautifully and is at least as efficient as the old drop down menu system.

    IMNSHO people who haven't gotten used to it in ca. 10 years that it has been around are just not fit for change

    That said I have no problems in software developers allowing multiple UI options
    • Re:I love ribbon (Score: 5, Insightful) by tibman (134)

      by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 02, @08:46PM (#462089)

      I would not say beautiful. Outlook for example, if you reply to an email you can't insert an in-line image. You have to "Pop Out" your reply to get the ribbon to add the insert image option. That's not intuitive, that's stupid.

      Most of the ribbon icons have to have text with them because outside of basic text editing the icon doesn't tell you much. So much lost screen-space! The text isn't top-aligned or centered or anything so your eyes have to scan in every direction. Because everything is chaotic it leads to some people customizing their ribbon to ditch all the crap they never use. Good luck to anyone else who ever sits down at that computer, lol.

      I agree with you that multiple UI themes is the way to go. But Microsoft is definitely not the company to push that. "The start button take up a lot of space on our tablets." *Removes the start button from desktops, laptops, and tablets* WTF

      --
      SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
    • Re:I love ribbon (Score: 5, Informative) by DannyB (5839)

      by DannyB (5839) on Thursday February 02, @08:54PM (#462093)

      I shouldn't have to 'get used to it'.

      Pull down menus were invented to hide a large number of commands that would otherwise take up screen real-estate when not being used. That is the major drawback of both Toolbars and the Ribbon. It takes up screen pixels when it isn't being used.

      I find it amusing how far user interface principles have devolved. Pull down menus could have text and icons, and reveal the shortcut keys. Then came toolbars. But the text was too much. So toolbars got icons. Many of the icons weren't clear what they meant. So then came tooltips. But you have to hover and wait for the tooltip, and the icons still aren't always clear what they mean. So then came the ribbon which can have more text and icons in an attempt to clarify the commands better.

      • Re:I love ribbon (Score: 5, Insightful) by Nerdfest (80)

        by Nerdfest (80) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 02, @09:09PM (#462102)

        The other bad thing about the "ribbon" is that it's not static. You need to look all over where things are. It might be good for someone who maybe ting to do something, but isn't really sure ... "Here, how about trying one of these things?". If you know what you want to do exactly, hotkeys are best. If you know the *type* of thing you want to do, traditional menus are best. Ribbon menus are Clippy holding up pictures.

        • ^ This (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, @09:54PM (#462129)

          it's not static

          Yeah.
          Try to imagine a user with the ribbon UI and a guy in a call center trying to talk him through a problem.

          With a different-UI-for-every-user thing, at best, that's going to be difficult.
          If there was a reset-to-defaults/user's config toggle, that would be useful in this instance.
          ...but an every-bloody-user's-thing-is-unique setup??
          Just, WOW!

          -- OriginalOwner_

          • Re:^ This (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03, @01:26AM (#462201)

            Every single item on the ribbon has a shortcut key. You don't tell a person to click on a bunch of things, you tell them to press four keys and you're done.

            It amazes me the hate for the ribbon. People are simply hating just because they want to. Don't like it taking up space? Turn on auto-hide. Don't want it to be dynamic? Turn that feature off. Back when we used menus, there were constant complaints about the menus being too long (having to hover over the little arrow to scroll the menu, forgotten that?), nested menus making it too hard to find something, constant complaints about not perfectly moving the mouse from one menu to another sub-menu so your place 3 menus deep suddenly closes and you have to start over again. Etc... Now all the whining is from people too ignorant to learn how to use the tool's they're using. All the real UI complaints are gone.

            • ''[Each item] has a shortcut key'' (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03, @03:38AM (#462222)

              Every single item on the ribbon has a shortcut key

              I see 3 possible tracks out of the scenario I presented:

              1) The guy being helped has a great memory and remembers the keystroke sequence from that point onward.

              2) He has the presence of mind to say, "Wait a moment while I write this stuff down."

              3) He doesn't write it down, doesn't have have a particularly good memory, and, the next time he encounters the same thing, he's right back to scrolling through goofy-looking icons that are devoid of meaning to anyone except the guy who created those graphics.

              Which do you think will be most common?

              I agree with the folks who like regular old dropdown menus with the shortcuts printed right beside the clickable commands.

              -- OriginalOwner_

              • Re:''[Each item] has a shortcut key'' (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

                by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 14, @02:15AM (#466815)

                When you press Alt, all the shortcut keys are displayed next to their icons. You only need to remember one key: Alt

          • Re:^ This (Score: 2) by choose another one (515)

            by choose another one (515) on Friday February 03, @03:40PM (#462433)

            > ...but an every-bloody-user's-thing-is-unique setup??
            > Just, WOW!

            Just imagine with the old menus and toolbars if you could change the UI by moving all the buttons around, changing what was on each toolbar, changing the contents of each menu. Then add to that OLE controls that when you click on them can insert their own items or menus, even naming items the same as ones that are already there, just depending on context/focus...

            Imagine a guy in a call center trying to talk a user through a problem with that UI.

            Oh wait, that was 2003, that was what we already had _before_ the ribbon. Sheesh people have short memories.

            • ''people have short memories'' (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03, @07:56PM (#462567)

              ...or maybe it's that we have had a completely different experience.
              Looking through the (meta)thread, it's pretty clear who has been dependent on M$ file formats and M$ apps to access those.

              I've never had that dependency.
              Even going back in my working days, I have had intelligent corespondents who sent their communiques in plain text.

              Going back to the DOS days, when I needed formatting for printing, I used (shareware) VDE (Video Display Editor) which used WordStar-compatible markup.
              That app served those needs until I switched to FOSS.

              I never felt any need to feed MSFT's cash cow with its closed file formats by giving The Borg my bucks in order to use their proprietary junk on my personal machine.

              -- OriginalOwner_

        • Re:I love ribbon (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, @10:12PM (#462140)
          Same parent AC here. Hotkeys work perfectly well with ribbon! Press ALT and see for yourself.

          Unless you meant to say something else which I have misunderstood
      • Re:I love ribbon (Score: 2) by everdred (110)

        by everdred (110) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 03, @12:33AM (#462191)

        large number of commands that would otherwise take up screen real-estate when not being used (...) It takes up screen pixels when it isn't being used.

        Got an Office application open? Double-click on one of the ribbon tabs. Try this and let me know what happens.

        --
        We don't take no shit from a machine.
        • Re:I love ribbon (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03, @10:34PM (#462629)

          Aaah! AAAAH NO! My word processor is gone! All I have is a white screen open! Aaaah! I'm going to get fired and it's ALL YOUR FAULT!

    • Re:I love ribbon (Score: 2) by Celestial (4891)

      by Celestial (4891) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 02, @09:00PM (#462096)

      Perhaps, but as long as it requires Java I'll never use it. My computers have been Java free for four years now, and will remain that way.

      • Re:I love ribbon (Score: 2) by butthurt (6141)

        by butthurt (6141) on Thursday February 02, @09:19PM (#462110)

        Unless you're using the database, it's inessential:

        For certain features of the software - but not most - Java is required. Java is notably required for Base.

        -- https://www.libreoffice.org/get-help/system-requirements/

      • ''Java'' (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, @10:06PM (#462139)

        I may have been hasty with that description.
        (...and Donutz appears to be a poorly-informed anti-FOSS troll.)
        After a re-read, he seems to be saying that *LibreOffice* requires Java.
        That's not necessarily true for -all- users (as another comment there indicates).

        As I think about it a bit, I am reminded that the LibreOffice guys have been trying to get the Java dependencies OUT of the suite.
        That they would go the other direction to add *this* feature seems counter-intuitive.

        A subsequent comment there points to the stuff that -does- require the JRE.
        Base, the database module was built that way and there are some widgets that -some- folks use which still have JRE dependencies.

        Calling Java a *requirement*, however, seems to be trollish.

        -- OriginalOwner_

    • Re:I love ribbon (Score: 2) by krishnoid (1156)

      by krishnoid (1156) on Thursday February 02, @09:10PM (#462103)

      I'll be happier when they have their own version of Ribbon Hero.

      Actually, if you have to use Microsoft Office at work, you could consider loading Ribbon Hero. It's mildly educational and fun to try out when you need a short filthy casual break.

    • Re:I love ribbon (Score: 2) by Gaaark (41)

      by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 02, @09:21PM (#462112)

      I'm sorry, but wha????

      It is the most redikulus piece of shite ever! Very unintuitive. Peoplewhohaveneveruseditsay"Wha?"

      It takes a lot of unintuitive work to get it to even a simple use, let alone an advanced use.

      Idiotsays"Duh"?

      --
      --- [redacted] due to [redacted] by Agent [redacted]. Dated [redacted] ---
      • Re:I love ribbon (Score: 3, Insightful) by WillR (2012)

        by WillR (2012) on Thursday February 02, @09:49PM (#462124)
        And the old UI was better?
        Nothing says "intuitive" like digging through nested menus. Or 16-pixel-wide toolbar icons based on objects nobody under the age of 30 has ever used.
        • Re:I love ribbon (Score: 4, Insightful) by Nerdfest (80)

          by Nerdfest (80) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 02, @11:28PM (#462178)

          Toolbars with poor icons are not intuitive. Well-designed drill down menus are *extremely* intuitive.

          • Re:I love ribbon (Score: 2) by Reziac (2489)

            by Reziac (2489) on Friday February 03, @04:10AM (#462233)

            The nice thing about drill-down menus is that I don't have to know where to look, or what to call something. I just need to know more or less where to start, and the menu itself will funnel me to the right place. With the ribbon, fuck if I even know where to start.

            • Re:I love ribbon (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03, @08:47AM (#462287)

              May I suggest starting from "Home" and working your way right, ending with "File"...

              ("File" is usually the largest, as it often includes options/settings).

        • Re:I love ribbon (Score: 2) by TheRaven (270)

          by TheRaven (270) on Friday February 03, @01:11AM (#462197)
          In any Mac app, the help menu contains a text field. If you type something into it, then it will list help topics in the menu and also other menu items. If you select one of the menu items (mouse over or move down with the keyboard) then it opens the (nested) menu and points to where to find it. This makes it very easy to find things in the menu. The Mac version of MS Office retains the menu, but also has the ribbon. I like the ribbon for commonly used tasks - it's basically a tool bar with tabs, with some context-sensitive tabs - but the menu is far better for finding things that I don't use often.
          --
          sudo mod me up
    • Re:I love ribbon (Score: 4, Insightful) by kurenai.tsubasa (5227)

      by kurenai.tsubasa (5227) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 02, @09:28PM (#462113)

      We're probably the only two. I also liked the ribbon, because it gave everything a keyboard shortcut and made those shortcuts discoverable in a predictable manner. It also respected old keyboard accelerators for navigating the menus. I absolutely hate grabbing the mouse.

      Unfortunately, this notebookbar thing in the latest LibreOffice only looks like the ribbon on the surface. Enable it, and not even the menu accelerators work anymore. I guess I'll be sticking with the menu interface for the time being. Now, if only there were an option to enable a Vim mode….

      Disclaimer: as much as I wish everything I maintained was a LaTeX document in version control, in the real world, despite the clear, obvious, and not-so-obvious advantages LaTeX has, everybody uses Word documents, splashed and highlighted in a bazillion different, garish fonts and colors, spaces instead of tabstops to align shit, what's a heading?!, argh!

      • Re:I love ribbon (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, @09:53PM (#462128)

        Everything had a shortcut with few exceptions for things people didn't routinely do prior to the invention of the ribbon. The ribbon itself makes it a lot harder to discover things as the organization is a complete mess. It's roughly ordered by type of thing to do and then it's purely a matter of statistics about what is in there.

        The result is that you don't have any obvious way of figuring out what's where or even if it's in the interface at all. If all you ever do is things that everybody spends their whole day doing, then the ribbon probably isn't that big of a deal, but it can take ages to figure out where things are if you don't already know. And it certainly doesn't help you remember where they are.

        Some things are the way they are because that's the best way of doing it. Just because there's a newer method doesn't automatically make it better. The older system was relatively consistent between programs and so you didn't need to spend a lot of time figuring out where things were, in most cases there'd be 2 or 3 places to look and you'd generally find it in that first or second spot. No need to learn how to use a program apart from functionality specific to the program because you could easily find most things without having to think.

        A UI isn't supposed to be front and center.

        • Re:I love ribbon (Score: 1) by kurenai.tsubasa (5227)

          by kurenai.tsubasa (5227) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 02, @10:13PM (#462143)

          I wouldn't exactly call the menus well organized either. Same thing. If you don't already know where it is, you're going to have a hell of a time finding it.

          I also don't see how the ribbon is any more front and center than the menu. It's bigger, but they both take up space. Plus, if I pull down a menu, then it hides what's behind it. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but the ribbon stays put.

          There are only two programs I use that have things in relatively the same places in their menus: the old Office menu and LibreOffice. So I'm not sure what all these other programs are that have the same menu options as well.

          • Re:I love ribbon (Score: 3, Informative) by Scruffy Beard 2 (6030)

            by Scruffy Beard 2 (6030) on Thursday February 02, @11:34PM (#462180)

            Apple went to some effort to standardize pull-down menus:
            Menu Bar Menus

          • Re:I love ribbon (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03, @04:08AM (#462231)

            Yes, but there's a solution to the imperfect organization of menus that doesn't require dumping it for something that's far less efficient.

            Yes, the menu does cover things up, but when has that ever been a problem? Most of the time it only covers a small part of the screen and most of the time there's a short cut listed anyways. So, if it happens to cover something important, you can remember the shortcut for half a second while you type it after closing the menu.

            Virtually all programs use the same set of menu items with relatively little variation. You're obviously not somebody who's computer literate if you're suggesting that old MS Office and Libreoffice were the only ones, because most wordprocessors used the same one as did most software in general. That was a huge advantage. You didn't really have to take a class to start using most programs as the basics were all in the menu bar. Classes for computers were mostly for the purpose of mastering their efficient use and getting to the more complicated tasks.

            What's more, for a mouse driven interface, the ribbon is even worse as it requires that you move the mouse all over the screen to use. The shortcut keys aren't listed next to the items and you do have to move the mouse a much farther distance if you need to access anything in the ribbon.

            People who like the ribbon are mostly people who weren't computer literate to begin with. People who were computer literate actually understood how the interface worked and didn't have any trouble getting around in it. You shouldn't have to guess where it's located, scan a quarter of the screen trying to figure out if it's there and if it is there, if there's an option it's hidden under. That's terrible UI designed and MS ought to be ashamed of themselves for having loosed it on the world.

          • Re:I love ribbon (Score: 2) by urza9814 (3954)

            by urza9814 (3954) on Friday February 03, @03:44PM (#462439)

            Yeah, because 'HOME' is so much more logical as a label for text formatting options than 'FORMAT'...
            Well, except the formatting options that aren't under 'HOME' that show up under 'LAYOUT', which makes a bit of sense, although there's also some under 'DESIGN' -- although you better not get used to finding it on those tabs since they aren't always present. And several options appear in both or all three locations, because even Microsoft knows there's no logical place to put it so they just put it everywhere...

            And then you go to 'Page layout' and change the spacing...and instead of applying to the PAGE, as you would expect from PAGE layout, it only modifies the selected paragraph. And you can add a footer from references, but ONLY a footer -- if you want a header, you have to go to insert.

  • Why!? (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, @08:22PM (#462079)
    One of the most attractive factors of LibreOffice is that there is no ridiculous "ribbon" UI. Why would they waste development time making one? That effort could have been spent better elsewhere, and now it makes LibreOffice scream like an imitation of MS Office rather than being its own "office" suite solution that's an alternative. This sort of wasted effort would be analogous to Mozilla wasting time trying to make Firefox look like Chromium.
    • Re:Why!? (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, @08:28PM (#462082)

      With all that development time being 'wasted' on this ribbon UI, that frees up a spot for you to contribute your skills... why not put your money where your mouth is?

      • Re:Why!? (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, @09:05PM (#462099)

        Presumably because one of the flaws in the OSS ideology is that most people aren't programmers, and most who are do not have the time, energy, knowledge or commitment to make what are potentially large changes to a project that might take months to understand well enough to be able to meaningfully contribute to it. Worse yet, considering that this is apparently a new thrust for development, the would-be contributor is undertaking a project that might very well threaten what might be a sacred cow to the internal developer politics, which means that, assuming anyone notices it exists and that it will nit become a tool used in internal bickering, it won't be taken into the main project, and the patches this would-be contributor would add suddenly become a a second job to maintain. And it's even worse if it results in a full fledged fork.

        As a result, the person says screw it and sticks with an older version or just goes to Office, because if LibreOffice is going to ditch a major feature that differentiates the two products, then you might as well go with the market leader and just bypass compatability problems between LibreOffice and the rest of the world.

        Now, I don't know what kind of skill parent poster has, but OSS is no magic panacea, even if it is a good idea. In many cases the OSS aspects are of more interest to organizations scared of being marooned with proprietary software than individuals who have little in the way of time, knowledge, or resources to make their own changes.

        Simply put, OSS software is going to be compared to commercial software and unless the authors are willing to acknowledge this their project may well be doomed to obscurity and obsolescence, ironically giving commercial competitors a leg up. The idea that most users can modify their own software (never mind the size of some of the most important OSS projects being far larger now than then) may have been true in the 1980s where OSS took root in garages and CS departments running large Unix systems. The world does not work that way anymore and hasn't for a long time.

        I have used Linux for many years, as well as other OSS projects. OSS is a great idea. But the simple fact is that one of its strengths is simply not what they think it is, and if project maintainers adopt that attitude, they're ultimately undermining their own ideology and work by highlighting its greatest weakness.

        • Re:Why!? (Score: 2) by jimtheowl (5929)

          by jimtheowl (5929) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 02, @11:18PM (#462171)
          That is a lot of effort to portray OSS has having to catch up with features in commercial software when the topic at hamd is that the said feature is disliked and unwanted by most.

          It is almost as if those commercial entities are financing and pushing those changes over to OSS so that they can cover all avenues and force those 'features' down our throats regardless of whether we buy their products, perhaps in the very hope that we will abandon OSS software and join their ranks. Now that I think of it, decreased product quality has been the modus operandi of corporate America from lightbulbs to washing machines. Perhaps there is a perceived need to extend this to software.

          "But the simple fact is that one of its strengths is simply not what they think it is, and if project maintainers adopt that attitude.."

          Your making blanket statements without justifying or explaining anything. Please consider that at least some readers here have the ability to think by themselves and will not just accept your 'facts' because you say it is so.
          • Re:Why!? (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 04, @08:09PM (#462922)

            "But the simple fact is that one of its strengths is simply not what they think it is, and if project maintainers adopt that attitude.."

            Your making blanket statements without justifying or explaining anything. Please consider that at least some readers here have the ability to think by themselves and will not just accept your 'facts' because you say it is so.

            Poster of the comment you replied to, here.

            The fact that you zoom in on this statement makes me wonder if you even read the post. I am not advocating for or against the ribbon. In fact, I think that it is a very, very bad idea for them to abandon the menu bar (if that is in fact what they do, it's too early to tell now). Rather, I am responding to the attitude of OSS projects that are along the lines of, "if you want to change it, then change it yourself," which is highly impractical for the vast majority of computer users today. This was not so much the case when it was first conceived, in the environment in which it was conceived, but it is now. It is the right of the project developer to run their project the way they want to, but this attitude will do very little to help a project building mainstream desktop software to get traction, popularity, or new contributors.

            Nor was I really saying anything for or against corporations involving themselves in OSS. I was simply stating that, in the large business context, a main feature is that a business CAN build on an OSS project with less concern than many proprietary products, because they are not stranded if a proprietary software producer goes belly up on them or goes completely off the deep end. The corporations you're referring to are likely software companies sticking their noses into OSS to promote their own agenda, which is not a good thing, but it's also not really what I was getting at. I was getting at the "change it yourself" feature of OSS being attractive to certain groups of adopters. Today, at least for mainstream desktop OSS, that feature would be more attractive to businesses that can afford to hire programmers to do the modifications and updates they need, as opposed to a desktop user who not only can't afford to hire programmers, but in most cases can't program themselves. An attitude - note, attitude, not the option via source code availability to change OSS itself - of "you want it changed, do it yourself," suggests that this feat is practical for most modern computer users. It is not, and it hasn't been for quite some time. Even for those who can, complicated software development isn't something you can just hurl yourself into, but may require weeks or months of study of the code. In most cases, you can't just bang out 25 lines, throw it into the program, and call it a day, confident it won't need to be touched for ten years, nor can you even be confident that your work will be accepted into the main project if it goes against the internal developer politics (which can be, in a word, ugly). This attitude might be more practical for developer-oriented projects where the user base is likely heavily technically inclined with a very tight-knit community of users and developers, but LibreOffice is a product that would be front-and-center of interest to the stereotypical "grandma" that many people use as a test and example for software ease-of-use.

            Unless, of course, you are aware of evidence that the majority of software users are capable of, and willing to, make large-scale changes to OSS? Because if you've got evidence of that, I'd really love to know, since it'd be a game changer for the entire computer industry. Most of the people I know who are not explicitly trained (by themselves or formally) in programming have little to no familiarity with it or software development as a whole.

    • Re:Why!? (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, @08:31PM (#462083)

      One of the most attractive factors of LibreOffice is that there is no ridiculous "ribbon" UI.

      Let me hear an "amen".

      The ribbon is one of the most god-awful interface changes Microsoft made to their office suite. It's turned any attempt to use any feature I'm not already familiar with into a painful hunt. (And even features that I use with some frequency turned into a fricking waste of time to hunt down when I was forced to "upgrade".)

      That said, there are apparently some not-right-thinking people out there who have been sucked into believing that the cult leaders of Microsoft's UI design actually have a grasp of interface design. If slapping something similar to that bit of nastiness gives them incentive to consider LibreOffice as a viable alternative to MS Office, bring it on. Just make sure it remains perpetually optional for those of us who prefer menus.

      • Re:Why!? (Score: 3, Interesting) by Zz9zZ (1348)

        by Zz9zZ (1348) on Thursday February 02, @08:43PM (#462088)

        As long as it stays optional then I see zero harm including a ribbon UI for anyone that wants it. Software should be about freedom and choice, hopefully the choices don't get limited or obfuscated the way browsers seem to love so much.

        --
        ~Tilting at windmills~
        • Re:Why!? (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, @09:15PM (#462106)

          That's the problem. Office XP had a barebones version of ribbon in the form of smart menus that would hide things that it didn't expect you to use frequently. The next version, Office 2003, the ribbon came and was mandatory.

          The problem with things like ribbons is that once you've paid for developers to create it, either via pay or taking time away from useful work, there's no incentive to maintain duplicate UI and the old one tends to be trashed.

          • Re:Why!? (Score: 2) by tangomargarine (667)

            by tangomargarine (667) on Thursday February 02, @09:52PM (#462127)

            The next version, Office 2003, the ribbon came and was mandatory.

            Sorry, but 2007 was the version with OOXML and The Ribbon.

            --
            "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
        • Re:Why!? (Score: 2) by tangomargarine (667)

          by tangomargarine (667) on Thursday February 02, @09:49PM (#462123)

          As long as it stays optional

          I guaran-fucking-tee you in 5-10 years it won't be optional anymore.

          --
          "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
        • Re:Why!? (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03, @09:33AM (#462295)

          As long as it stays optional then I see zero harm including a ribbon UI for anyone that wants it.

          If Firefox[1] is anything to go by, the optional feature will become the default, the setting to switch back will be removed, then you'll have to install an extension to get rid of the default feature, and finally the extension API will be broken a few times and then removed.

          [1] You know, that other end user focused, copy everything people dislike about the competition project.

      • Re:Why!? (Score: 2) by DannyB (5839)

        by DannyB (5839) on Thursday February 02, @09:04PM (#462098)

        I'll give you an 'amen', but I would argue that the Windows 8 UI was a catastrophe far worse than the ribbon disaster.

        • Re:Why!? (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03, @09:38AM (#462297)

          Two sides of the same coin. The Windows 8/10 UI just took it up to eleven.

    • Re:Why!? (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, @08:37PM (#462085)

      >"One of the most attractive factors of LibreOffice is that there is no ridiculous "ribbon" UI."

      I agree, but the reason for adding it as an option is to attract converts who are used to using that UI. My guess is that most of the people who hate the ribbon and are able to switch to Libre Office have already done so. Thus lack of a ribbon option is now getting in the way of increasing market share. As long as it is optional, it will be a significant advantage for Libre Office.

      • Re:Why!? (Score: 2) by Joe Desertrat (2454)

        by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Thursday February 02, @09:51PM (#462125)

        >"One of the most attractive factors of LibreOffice is that there is no ridiculous "ribbon" UI."

        I agree, but the reason for adding it as an option is to attract converts who are used to using that UI.

        I always believed that the reason that Microsoft came out with the ribbon in the first place was not to make it easier to use (I think they have given up on that?) but because alternatives like Open Office and Libre Office were getting far too close in form and function and they feared more and more people would notice that. Therefore they suddenly had a whole new interface so that captured users would hesitate more to use the "unfamiliar" alternatives. And please don't start in about how one can do such and such in MS Office blah, blah, blah you can't in the alternatives. Most people don't care. They barely use any of the basic formatting features, let alone anything more advanced, and god forbid they actually discover a "cool" feature or it ends up in everything they do, whether appropriate or helpful or not.

        • Re:Why!? (Score: 2) by TheRaven (270)

          by TheRaven (270) on Friday February 03, @01:18AM (#462198)
          It's possible, but it's a dangerous strategy. If LibreOffice looks more like MS Office N than MS Office N+1 does, then that makes it easier to switch at your next upgrade cycle.
          --
          sudo mod me up
          • Re:Why!? (Score: 2) by Joe Desertrat (2454)

            by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Sunday February 05, @10:13PM (#463202)

            If LibreOffice looks more like MS Office N than MS Office N+1 does, then that makes it easier to switch at your next upgrade cycle.

            It did and it did, but much as most people won't change from defaults within familiar software, they won't change from familiar software names either. Especially if they have to seek out an alternative and install it themselves. Trick them into using it and you'll rarely hear a peep. At one job we were ordered to switch everyone to using Firefox rather than Internet Explorer. We could not force some holdouts to switch until we came up with the simple expedient of making the big blue e link to Firefox rather than IE. They all switched then and we never heard a single word of protest. I assume they all considered it as one of those upgrades and accepted it.

    • Re:Why!? (Score: 3, Insightful) by Arik (4543)

      by Arik (4543) on Thursday February 02, @08:48PM (#462090)
      True as far as you go, but honestly this shouldn't surprise anyone.

      The whole concept of an office suite is completely wrong to begin with. Word is neither fit as a text editor nor as a DTP program. Excel might work ok if you could find anyone that actually uses it as a spreadsheet (I don't know, never seen that happen) but it's normally used as a really shitty substitute for a database. Assume it's implemented flawlessly it's still junk. A perfect implementation of a brain damaged design is still junk.

      But it's far from a perfect implementation and it must be absolutely soul-killing for the people that work on these things, to spend your time duplicating Microsofts shitty designs and even duplicating their bugs to maintain compatibility.

      This is what chasing the mass market brings you. Because the mass market, and this is no less true in computers than in dozens of other fields, the mass market is a very ignorant thing. It's mostly interested in buying the same thing it bought last year. It worked (to some degree) last year it should work this year. It's really a poor tool for the job? You have a much better one cheaper? Don't care, it's the one we already use, we fear change more than anything. What if we can't figure it out!?!?!?

      --
      Friends dont let friend enable ecmascript.
      • Re:Why!? (Score: 3, Funny) by DannyB (5839)

        by DannyB (5839) on Thursday February 02, @09:13PM (#462105)

        Once the great unwashed hoardes began using computers, applications were bound to be used in unnatural ways that God never intended.

        Example:

        Back in the mid 1980's when Macintosh was new. A woman went on and on about how much better than Macintosh was for typing her text than using the typewriter. She could backspace and correct mistakes. She could erase entire paragraphs. Or re-arrange paragraphs. Etc.

        What was her wonderful word processing software?
        .
        .
        .
        .
        .
        .

        Mac Paint

        • Re:Why!? (Score: 2) by Murdoc (2518)

          by Murdoc (2518) on Saturday February 04, @07:25PM (#462910)

          That is so true. It's bugged me for so long how people do things like using IRC and email for file transfers, or facebook/forum posts like they were IM. Sure they can do it, and it's ok in a pinch, but come on, for regular and large jobs? Use the right tool for the job!

      • Re:Why!? (Score: 2) by tangomargarine (667)

        by tangomargarine (667) on Thursday February 02, @09:42PM (#462118)

        But it's far from a perfect implementation and it must be absolutely soul-killing for the people that work on these things, to spend your time duplicating Microsofts shitty designs and even duplicating their bugs to maintain compatibility.

        This is an interface thing; there's no need for them to worry about compatibility at all. It's not like the file format system.

        --
        "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
        • Re:Why!? (Score: 2) by butthurt (6141)

          by butthurt (6141) on Friday February 03, @05:51AM (#462246)

          As others have mentioned, an obvious reason for adding a ribbon interface is so people migrating from Microsoft Office will have less to learn. For that purpose, the more similar it is in the way it looks and works, the better. Some tasks are done in a fundamentally different way so it won't be possible to make a complete clone.

        • Re:Why!? (Score: 2) by Arik (4543)

          by Arik (4543) on Friday February 03, @07:22AM (#462262)
          Yes it's an interface thing. OO/LO etc are absolutely heinous offenders in that area - importing obnoxious and unusable UI concepts from MS to the common linux desktop en masse. No, they aren't the only one doing it, but they're a big part of this self-sustaining circle-jerk of destruction that's prevent anything better from even being conceivable to many users.
          --
          Friends dont let friend enable ecmascript.
      • Re:Why!? (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03, @07:31AM (#462267)

        But would you use instead of a word processor? LaTeX is a lovecraftian madness built upon a monkey patching foundation. Or that's the impression I've got from the 3 times I tried to learn it.

        • Re:Why!? (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03, @10:39PM (#462631)

          LaTeX is for monkeys with half a brain, designed and implemented by one of the greatest CS minds alive.

          Our apologies that this excludes you.
          -OSS Community

    • Re:Why!? (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, @09:13PM (#462104)

      I think we now know where all those laid off Mozilla developers went.

      The lack of ribbon interface is a huge part of why I use LIbreoffice rather than Office. The fact that it's also free and supports open file standards are just that much better. I've hardly touched office as a result of the ribbon and the only reason I touch it at all is that I have people asking for help with it.

      • Re:Why!? (Score: 2) by DannyB (5839)

        by DannyB (5839) on Thursday February 02, @09:18PM (#462109)

        Free and open standards. Also the ability to open some really obscure file formats. Claris Works?

        Also it runs on the OSes I use, including Windows.

        I can save a document directly to PDF -- and if I save it as a PDF/ODF hybrid, it can be re-opened in LibreOffice for editing. A PDF generated from Writer is much better than a PDF from MS Word that is generated by 'printing' to, oh, say, CutePDF. The LibreOffice generated PDF can have a table of contents in the sidebar based on the structure of the Writer document.

        • Re:Why!? (Score: 2) by tangomargarine (667)

          by tangomargarine (667) on Thursday February 02, @09:45PM (#462121)

          I can save a document directly to PDF -- and if I save it as a PDF/ODF hybrid, it can be re-opened in LibreOffice for editing.

          I don't understand why so many people want to edit PDFs. Isn't the format intended just for printing? But now we have all kinds of crazy interactivity. Heck, I submit my tax return via an interactive PDF that submits data to a server! Augh!

          P.S. FYI you can export directly to PDF from LibreOffice, too.

          --
          "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
          • Re:Why!? (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, @09:55PM (#462131)

            It's meant for printing primarily, and back in the day, it was rather expensive to buy the software needed to edit it anyways.

            Sticking to something like an .ODT is usually much better anyways.

          • Re:Why!? (Score: 2) by deimtee (3272)

            by deimtee (3272) on Friday February 03, @10:56AM (#462317)

            Speaking from the digital print industry:-

            Acrobat 3 (1996) was a great improvement over everything before, but still just a little bit buggy. Design goal was "your piece of paper displayed on the screen".

            Acrobat 4 (2000) was the pinnacle. Rock solid and printed exactly the same everywhere. Could make some text edits with Acrobat Pro, to fix typos etc., but more than that and you went back to the source and fixed it there. If you had Acrobat Reader (free, and back then did not phone home), and could open a document then the printout would look exactly the same.

            Acrobat 5 was a steaming pile of unstable shit that nobody ever used anywhere ever in the entire universe. I think Adobe deny that it ever existed. They were drunk. It was a joke, They were hacked. IT'S NOT THEIR FAULT. [/Blues Bros. Elroy]

            Acrobat 6 (2003) was not as stable as 4, but added some "useful" features so eventually replaced it. (Useful to designers, not the printers) Started to get much more anal about "do you have a licence for this font" so many documents printed with the wrong fonts.(It would substitute fonts that were unlicensed. (also, separate licences for display and print W..T..F.. ))
            I still used 4 for any document it could open.

            I moved on to IT about then, so had much less to do with day to day printing, but my impression from the digital guys is that each version since has slightly improved in stability, while adding features mostly unrelated to printing, but has still not quite reached Acrobat 4's level of rock solid "this is what your piece of paper will look like".

          • Re:Why!? (Score: 3, Interesting) by DannyB (5839)

            by DannyB (5839) on Friday February 03, @02:45PM (#462382)

            Not to edit just any PDF. I like that I can generate a PDF that can be opened as the original ODF document in LibreOffice. In other words, the PDF is bigger because it also contains the ODF document. If you open *that* PDF in LibreOffice, you have the actual ODF document from which the PDF was created.

        • Re:Why!? (Score: 2) by darnkitten (1912)

          by darnkitten (1912) on Friday February 03, @02:33AM (#462210)

          Also the ability to open some really obscure file formats

          ...Like MS Works documents, or documents from old versions of MS Office. Or WordPerfect files (many of the locals here use old computers).

          • Re:Why!? (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03, @10:49PM (#462639)

            For what it's worth, WordPerfect's "ribbon" was a strip of paper you put above the F1-F12 keys, which had a list of what the button alone or in meta-combinations would do. It was pretty useful.

            And even scarier, I know professional writers (two!) who continue to use WordPerfect because it's got the fewest distractions, the best throughput for their use cases. Honestly. I have *seen* one of them. Blue screen, white text on it, menu bar at the top, all of it in monospaced fonts with lines from the old ANSI tables.

            Except - why is this scary? Most of us would probably get all warm and fuzzy if someone said "I use my grandpa's speed square and hammer." The truth is that if a tool works well for one's purposes, its age doesn't matter at all.

            Something that HR might do well to learn...

    • Re:Why!? (Score: 4, Insightful) by AthanasiusKircher (5291)

      by AthanasiusKircher (5291) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 02, @09:58PM (#462135)

      One of the most attractive factors of LibreOffice is that there is no ridiculous "ribbon" UI. Why would they waste development time making one?

      First off, lots of people actually like the Ribbon in MS Office. (I don't get it, either. I've always hated the Ribbon. But I'm not going to pretend there aren't people who want this option. Look at the LibreOffice forums and you'll see posts for many years about it.)

      But, setting all of that aside, one of the primary motivations for people to migrate away from MS Office a decade ago was because LibreOffice (then OpenOffice) looked similar to the UI they were used to. Most people don't adapt well to new interfaces -- they just want to get stuff done, and Microsoft's decision to revamp its UI completely disrupted that for many people. Hence, as you rightly note, a good "selling point" for LibreOffice/OpenOffice was that it looked familiar.

      Well, guess what? It's been a DECADE since MS put the Ribbon in. There's a whole young generation of computer users who basically never used anything else in an office suite. And if you want to attract them to migrate to an open-source free alternative, most will want to keep using a similar UI to what they're used to (just as the people fleeing MS Office a decade ago did).

      If LibreOffice did NOT do it, they'd risk becoming increasingly difficult for migration from MS Office users (who already tend to be put off by minor incompatibility and formatting issues).

      That effort could have been spent better elsewhere, and now it makes LibreOffice scream like an imitation of MS Office rather than being its own "office" suite solution that's an alternative.

      Here's the reality -- most people don't give a flying crap about any potential "advantages" LibreOffice may have over MS Office other than that it's free. Many of the "advantages" have to do with choices about how more "advanced" functions operate or whatever, stuff that 90%+ people won't ever use as they type up their simple letters or create a budget spreadsheet or whatever. The "advantage" to those people is "free." But if you put up barriers to adoption, like "This won't look like what most people are familiar with in the world's most popular office suite... but GET USED TO IT!" That latter rhetoric sounds more like Microsoft's own perspective on forcing users to adopt their new UI without a choice....

  • Optional, eh? (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, @08:56PM (#462094)

    The submitter's emphasis was on "completely optional", but I suspect the emphasis should be on "right now"...

    • Re:Optional, eh? (Score: 1) by butthurt (6141)

      by butthurt (6141) on Thursday February 02, @09:29PM (#462114)

      Does the project have a history of foisting unpopular changes on users? This isn't Microsoft or Mozilla.

      • Re:Optional, eh? (Score: 2) by tangomargarine (667)

        by tangomargarine (667) on Thursday February 02, @09:55PM (#462132)

        Mozilla didn't either, until suddenly they did.

        --
        "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
      • Re:Optional, eh? (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, @10:13PM (#462142)

        The current, trendy thing to do in software is to make major changes, claim they will be optional, and then suddenly the old feature/interface/thing is "deprecated," never mind who uses it. Shortly thereafter it gets a bullet through the head unceremoniously in an arbitrary update. If you are lucky (if you want to call it lucky) you might be informed halfway through the beta that the old feature is going away, or more likely they might quietly drop the "optional" in the description. Otherwise, you can assume the main "warning" you will get is that they put something in the release notes a couple of months before it goes into effect, and it will probably not be noticed by anyone until around a week before it goes into play.

        AFAIK LibreOffice is not known for this, but I don't think they've ever made a change like this before, really. Certainly not to the interface subsystem, and considering the comments in this thread, it's pretty obvious that this is one of the more divisive changes they could have possibly made. Considering the sheer arrogance of some of the comments asserting their way is inherently better and that anyone who disagrees are uncivilized barbarians (granted, that's hyperbole as of this writing, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if it becomes literal by the time the comments stop coming), people have every right and reason to wonder, especially since I doubt many, if any, here have any idea of what the thoughts are in the development team on the future of either interface, or whatever political sacred cows it may be tied to.

        Also, contrary to popular belief, the fact that it's OSS doesn't "save" it - it takes a lot of knowledge, time and resources to make effective changes to large software projects like this. Not everyone is a developer, and just being able to write code doesn't mean one has the time or energy to learn the ins and outs of a large software project such as LibreOffice in order to make meaningful changes. While OSS projects are free to run themselves as they wish, in the end, these sort of changes will only hurt the projects (and their user base, before it's alienated). In the end, many may find themselves out of a userbase outright, or in some cases relegated to a relatively small group of ideological purists, not unlike many Apple fans who are now used to this sort of change. Unlike Apple, however, they won't be making billions for their trouble.

  • Two Words (Score: 2) by mechanicjay (7)

    by mechanicjay (7) on Thursday February 02, @09:45PM (#462122)
    Fuck. That.
    --
    My VMS box beat up your Windows box.
  • One Word (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, @09:55PM (#462130)

    No!

  • Unimportant "Features" (Score: 3, Interesting) by ilsa (6082)

    by ilsa (6082) on Thursday February 02, @10:52PM (#462159)

    I wish they would spend less time on arguably pointless features that most people don't care about, and more time making it solid.

    My personal benchmark is Impress. Impress *still* doesn't have working slide transitions. They either look like god-awful crap, or they don't even function at all. It's 2017. I don't expect anything as fancy-pants as the Object Slide in Keynote, but there's no excuse for not having such simple functionality that everyone else has perfected years ago. If they can't fix such a glaringly obvious feature, what assurance do I have that they've fixed more subtle problems?

    And then the neckbeards wonder why more people don't flock to linux. *sigh*

  • Outline mode (Score: 3, Insightful) by tadas (3635)

    by tadas (3635) on Thursday February 02, @10:56PM (#462161)

    Wake me up when it has an outline mode as good as MS Word did in 1995. This has been requested since at least 2002, but they can't seem to get it done. Instead, they waste their time on crap like the ribbon bar....

    • Re:Outline mode (Score: 2) by Bill Dimm (940)

      by Bill Dimm (940) on Thursday February 02, @11:57PM (#462184)

      I used outline mode in Word once in the 90s and found it to be inferior to a program I had used on the Amiga 1000 back in the 80s. I haven't tried outlining in Word or LibreOffice lately. I've been using Xmind, which is pretty good (similar capability to the program on the Amiga, plus more bells and whistles).

      • Re:Outline mode (Score: 3, Informative) by darnkitten (1912)

        by darnkitten (1912) on Friday February 03, @02:42AM (#462214)

        Everything was better on Amiga. :)

      • Re:Outline mode (Score: 2) by tadas (3635)

        by tadas (3635) on Friday February 03, @02:57AM (#462217)

        I used outline mode in Word once in the 90s and found it to be inferior to a program I had used on the Amiga 1000 back in the 80s

        I still have a soft spot in my heart for KAMAS (the pretentiously-named "Knowledge And Mind Amplifying System") outline software that ran under CP/M, and was actually also a FORTH interpreter. I didn't say that Word outline mode was the *best* outline software I've ever used, just that it is the only thing I've found out there *today* that does the job for me.

      • Re:Outline mode (Xmind - More good news) (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03, @03:50AM (#462226)

        XMind (dual licensed)

        For licensees that wish to distribute XMind 3, modify the source code, and/or build extensions, the [Eclipse Public License v1.0] can be used to maintain copyleft of the original code base while encouraging innovation with commercial and other open source offerings incorporating XMind.

        At the same time, for licensees that are concerned with incompatibility between the EPL and GPL, we are providing the LGPL as an option to license XMind.

        -- OriginalOwner_

        • Re:Outline mode (Xmind - More good news) (Score: 2) by tadas (3635)

          by tadas (3635) on Friday February 03, @04:18PM (#462455)

          What does this Xmind, which from the web site looks like a Powerpoint substitute, have to do with outlining?

          • Re:Outline mode (Xmind - More good news) (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03, @07:26PM (#462544)

            Bill Dimm said that he uses it in that capacity.
            I took him at his word.

            That said, up the (meta)thread, DannyB notes that he knew a gal who used Mac Paint to do "word processing".

            Different strokes for different folks.

            -- OriginalOwner_

            • Re:Outline mode (Xmind - More good news) (Score: 2) by DannyB (5839)

              by DannyB (5839) on Tuesday February 07, @02:29PM (#464059)

              I didn't know her personally. I recall the story from a Mac publication from the mid 1980's. I don't even remember which one. I don't believe it was that she though the MacPaint approach superior. Just that she didn't know any better. At least I hope so.

  • Maybe (Score: 2) by Gaaark (41)

    by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 02, @11:45PM (#462182)

    Maybe it's the locked down, please don't get a virus shit thinking at our work, but the ribbon I see is a piece of shit!
    Try to print, and it is NOT intuitive until you finally have clicked on EVERYTHING, and finally go "fuck, there print is!"

    For the average user (who you tell to open a tab in the browser and they say "what does that mean?"), It is completely a loss to them.

    It is sooooo much easier if you know CTRL +P, etc.
    If it wasn't so freaking looooooooocked down, maybe it would be better, but what I get to see (luckily, not that often) is W. T. F.!?!?!?!??

    And yes, I agree... Can't live without multi monitor, lol. Sooooo much better!

    --
    --- [redacted] due to [redacted] by Agent [redacted]. Dated [redacted] ---
  • Word Perfect (Score: 2) by Justin Case (4239)

    by Justin Case (4239) on Friday February 03, @03:47AM (#462225)

    Word Perfect, in the early 90s, came close to -- well -- perfection with reveal codes and WYSIWYG.

    Then came HTML 1.0 with content containers you could see and understand and edit with anything and display or print on any device.

    All the "progress" since then has been wasted time and disgusting slime.

    M$ used to say you can't switch to anything even slightly different because users are too stupid to learn a new UI. Then they upended all the M$ UIs proving that to be just another marketing lie from the company that produces nothing but lies.

    Fuck 'em all -- M$ and the Libre people trying to chase a moving target with bug-for-bug compatibility.

    --
    By reading this sentence you agree that all "by doing this" agreements are nonsense and void.
  • An objective view (Score: 2) by gidds (589)

    by gidds (589) on Friday February 03, @01:15PM (#462347)

    OK, I admit, I don't have an objective view on the Ribbon.  But, judging from all the opposing and opinionated comments, neither does anyone else.

    However, one question does occur to me:

    How many other programs have adopted a Ribbon?

    (Honest question.  I'm not aware of any, but they may exist.)

    After all, if a Ribbon is a good UI, then you'd expect other developers to implement something similar in other programs too.  Most developers will be opinionated, too, of course, but after 10 years you'd expect that some would have added one to existing programs, or used one in new programs.

    If they have, then how are those doing?

    Or if not, doesn't that suggest that the Ribbon isn't such a great UI?

    --
    [sig redacted]