Many Pies

Many Pies

Monday, July 29, 2013

Open Software and Libre Office

A couple of Open-y related things:

Tim Bray on OSCON 2013
On the age thing, I bet if you drew a graph of people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and older, the 40s & 50s bars would be highest, but it’d be reasonably flat. One person I was talking to raised an explicit concern that we’re not replacing ourselves and are in danger of aging away.
There’s something in that; the first generation of OSS loudmouths is still by and large active, and quite a few of them, er us, end up on the stage at OSCON year after year. I’m not convinced though; there were plenty of fresh faces among the grizzled ones.
If the young people are not so prevalent (and that's not certain) is it a good or bad? Generally it would be bad, but are we approaching a solved problem? Not sure.

I also saw this from Michael Meeks:
So I followed links and saw that LibreOffice is up to 4.1 now. A few years ago I had the intention of making suggestions to improve the Calc software so that it was more like Excel. I was particularly interested in the AutoFilter function, which fell short of what Excel was offering at the time. I can't remember the details, but I remember it requiring quite a lot of time to clearly specify what was needed, when all I wanted to say was "make AutoFilter work like it does on Excel". So I didn't make any suggestions. Since then Office 2007 and later versions have come out and the autofilter function has changed again. I'm pleased to say though that with version 4.1 Autofilter seems to have caught up with Excel 2007 at least.

On the downside though, the database ("Base") is not an Access killer yet. It does offer four different programming languages though.

I opened a document I have been recently working on and was pleased to see that the column layout was preserved well, which has been a problem in the past. It also had photos which were rotated and had dropped shadows (yes, I know, so 2010) and they were not rotated in Writer and the shadow was solid black.

In case it seems like I've got a bit of a downer on Open Source and LibreOffice in particular, let me say I'm very pleased with the way it (a version of OpenOffice before the split in fact) enabled me to create a good report writing setup which took in XML and produced RTF at the end. Also, the Graphite support means that Bibles can be worked on in many complex scripts. Also, for those who can't afford a full legal copy of Office, it's a good alternative.
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