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Microsoft Office Coming to Ubuntu?

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ubuntu-officeSince everyone is too afraid or partisan to say it I just have to be brave and say it for myself and all mankind. LibreOffice (OpenOffice.org if you want to play that game) is the single greatest let down of the Linux desktop. It is not even decent let alone usable; often breaking documents in both open document and proprietary formats. The interface is, let us face it, ugly and cartoonish as well as unintuitive. Going through the template collection gives one the eerie feeling of someone going through a beggar’s collection.

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The inescapable conclusion is that someone took a text editor (gedit perhaps) and called upon a bunch of hackers to serially add word processor functionality. Instead of improving it or calling it what it is (rubbish) a bunch of self-appointed FOSS crusader zealots bully anyone who dares to tell the truth into submitting that LibreOffice is a drop in replacement for Microsoft Office. They maintain the fiction that you only need to install Microsoft fonts onto your Linux Box and you get yourself a free version of Microsoft Office.

When I tried that, installing all the fonts from Windows, the result was a disaster. Whenever I tried to use the fonts in LibreOffice the text was presented as a series of adjoined pictures. You could even see the edges. How am supposed to be able to share documents with Word users when I cannot even get Calibri to work? Ubuntu Times Roman font is as similar to Window’s Times Roman as an Eskimo is similar to a Bantu. They are both from different worlds and everyone knows it. Just in case you are tempted to install the fonts you should know doing so might break you Chrome and Mozilla Firefox installations in Ubuntu.

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Don’t even get me started on the WINE headaches. I view it like a man wearing stilts and pretending they are taller. The effort is to be applauded but it is hard to imagine someone going through the trouble. An entire page of commands is required just to get the fonts to display right and by the time you get to .Net installation your head is reeling. I could not get Free Download Manager ( an open source app for Windows) to work. The general rule is: If it is not in the WineHq database you are going to struggle to make it work.

Smaller wonder therefore that I rejoiced when I read the news that Microsoft is planning on bringing their Office suite as a native app-or so a rumor circulated at a recent open-source conference alleges. If gossip, born at last week’s Free Open-Source Developers’ European Meeting (FOSDEM), is correct – and it is far from that at present – the increasing ‘commercial viability’ of Linux on the desktop is to be credited with piquing Microsoft’s interest. There is a Linux port supposedly being trialed by Microsoft-a ‘fully native’ version. Recently ZDNet also reported that ‘Office Mobile’ versions are planned for Android and iOS. If you are tempted to doubt the veracity of the source just remember this is how we got news about Steam coming to Linux, BlackBerry Z5 and of course the iPad.

Now as for the scathing attack on LibreOffice: I felt the situation required a Linus Torvalds intervention. I would say for the record that I would love to see a native version of Ms Office on my Ubuntu. “ Ms Office or LibreOffice that is the question friends?” Which would you have?


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59 thoughts on “Microsoft Office Coming to Ubuntu?

  1. I agree with you, OpenOffice sucks!!! I am not a die hard fan of MS, but guess what their products are awesome. I tried Visual Studio 2012 and I was mesmerised to say the least.

    1. There are only 2 IDE’s in the entire universe, Visual Studio and hmmmm eish forgot the other one. stand to be corrected but I dont think I can remember any other IDE.

      1. I’m guessing you are a C# and/or VB.NET developer. Then in your universe that would be very accurate. But .NET is not even the most popular language in the world (insert chuckle here). Try using Java for .NET

        PS. Java is the most popular programming language in the world

      1. not at all bro! We do use Open Source stuff as well, but the truth is Microsoft products WORK. Tell me one IDE that competes with VS2012. Tell me Office Suite that beats Office. Tell me an office friendly, user friendly, productivity oriented OS that beats Win7. And don’t mention Linux cse if you are not trying to prove a point and make yourself feel special, you will be humble enough to swallow your pride and accept that Win7 is years ahead of Linux when it comes to productivity and user friendliness. Just imagine if all the 20,000 desktops and laptops at my work place were all running Linux. imagine the chaos with these old, technologically challenged users. it will be a mess.

        1. office productivity tools are one thing, but unless you have full experience with technical comparisons for IDE tools, your assertion on IDEs hold no water at all. Right tool for right job. For Windows development, MS IDEs are unequalled.

          There are many things about VS IDEs that are certainly brilliant. One of which is the famous and MS-owned Intellisense tech. That certainly improved PROGRAMMER productivity. I felt it coding between VB and C++, pre-.NEt. In terms of source control, VS was still miles behind with the terrible VSSS compared to CVS and SVN. It was only in TFS 2010 that we had team-capable source control, and build automation. But before then Eclipse(and others) were trumping it, in team development. Even a properly setup Linux DEV rig running SVN and build automation tools was way better(in terms of time to deployment) compared to the VS suite.

          For Windows development, if targetting the .NET framework, Windows XP + and Windows Server 2003 +, Visual Studio is the best. But that is where its scope ends.
          Eclipse is another beast altogether. Even a properly setup workflow using Textmate or EMacs can work brilliantly. Just that you cant compare with Visual Studio as its scope ends with Windows. There are hundreds of setups targetting different platforms, that you cannot compare with Visual Studio because it would be beyond its intended purpose.

          Like does VS support GlassFish, Tomcat, PHPUnit, Java, Ruby, Zend, SVN, Git, Mercurial, Java, Python…etc? comparing and saying this one’s best is not something one can do, unless one is specific for a controlled and similar setup targetting the same platform. Like comparing GCC,Cygwin and Mingw-specific IDEs with Visual C++ compilation, targetting Windows, then you’re talking!!! True technical comparison.

          Right tool for right job. Otherwise, you certainly expose yourselves by some of your assertions as @Infinisystech:disqus said. If you rigidly worship one technology or bash another, the true loser is you or those that follow take in your sentiments

          1. Well, said man. I like debates with proper facts and examples (as opposed to emotional ones).

            VS rules in Windows apps but my point was of all the dozens IDEs we have, which one does as good a job as VS for its particualr job. We have IDEs for PhP, Java (and Android) , HTML+Ajax+CSS, good old COBOL, Ruby, Python , etc but we all know how every developer wishes the IDEs were as good and productive oriented as VS.

            The first time I tried Android development I was disappointed by the endless list of things i had to do to setup the IDE and run a simple hello world!

            1. The first time I tried Android development I was disappointed by the
              endless list of things i had to do to setup the IDE and run a simple
              hello world!

              Eclipse is a generic IDE with hundreds of uses, Android being one of them. The strength of it being a multi-language, multi-platform tool comes at a cost. To setup, your custom environment, you have to build it. If you follow instructions and get onto the dev forums, you will resolve the issues. And patience is one of the key attributes of a developer.

              1. That’s what I am talking about!!! Why do I have to go to a forum to make something work? Would you want to RTFM before you drive off your new Ford Ranger? I guess not!!

                And that’s where I said MS wins!! Easy to use and hence helps you meet deadlines!

              2. Lol! And bury your head in the sand, while we waddle in the pleasures of coding and true-hacking and getting things working. There’s no better thrill! Especially when that AVD kicks up your emulator and you see “Hello World”… it’s like I’m Wolverine moment, walking away from tha faya, claws out! Like Kal El smiling at machine guns! Like HULK! The Flash….moving on!…

                If you get all knotty over such a small thing, one wonders how you’d handle the bug from hell, that can take you a week to figure and messes up your timeline, but is perfectly normal in EVERY programmers life. Deadline have nothing to do with IDEs. They can make your workflow easier & faster, but they count to nothing when compared to real-world debugging.

                Its not your thing buddy! Get someone else to do it. Visual Studio wont do you android, even an iOs app. If you are happy with that, good for you.

              3. Its not your thing buddy! Get someone else to do it. Visual Studio wont do you android, even an iOs app. If you are happy with that, good for you.

                Before u make incorrect conclusions, let me inform you that my day to day job involves Unix AIX based development and i use VS once in 3 months or so. And contrary to what you might be tempted to think I do use Eclipse very much, more than i use VS. And I have developed 3 Android apps in my life.

                Hope that clears the air!

              4. …one wonders how you’d handle the bug from hell, that can take you a week to figure and messes up your timeline, but is perfectly normal in EVERY programmers life.

                In my world, a “bug from hell” is defined by the impact to the system as opposed to how long it takes to fix! My clients don’t care how long it takes to fix, they care about the impact!!

            2. out-of-the-box visual studio may be the best IDE for it’s target environment But I can tell you that there are IDEs out there that can do the job(my personal favourite being Jetbrain’s IntelliJ IDEA).

              But I can tell you that Eclipse with the right plug-ins for the job is unparalleled. I use Eclipse for PHP, Java, SQL development. the cherry on top being EGit. I cannot say much about VS2012 because I haven’t used it but if you were to factor in price, Eclipse would be a no-brainer.

              I’m no longer a .NET developer but I know there is nothing better for .NET developmet than the Microsoft development suite. But I think what @tinmann:disqus said ” Right tool for right job” is very accurate. It’s not the IDE that makes the programmer, just as its not kicking boots that make a footballer.

        2. Yet again, you seem to think ‘productivity’ means the same thing to all people. Office doesn’t have a bearing on my productivity

          And don’t mention Linux cse if you are not trying to prove a point and make yourself feel special, you will be humble enough to swallow your pride and accept that Win7 is years ahead of Linux when it comes to productivity and user friendliness

          I’m a developer who works in non-.Net tech: I am, by far, more productive on Linux than I would be on Windows. If you don’t work on .Net, your deployment environment is likely to be Unix-like (Linux/BSD) or JEE, and I think it’s self-evident Linux would be better. In fact, Windows is trailing in one aspect: the Windows app store is trying to be what apt-get (or yum) has been for so many years… and Windows 7 doesn’t even have that.

          Add the fact that a huge number of people are beginning to rely on internet based productivity suites, perhaps Marc Andreesen’s dream would be finally fulfilled, that of reducing the OS to ‘a pile of poorly-coded drivers’ (paraphrased)

          1. The article is talking about Microsoft office. Logically a comment is written in response to the context of what you have read. Sure I wasnt talking about productivity in a Gym or something, thought that was a given

            1. Touché. Nevertheless, the internet has replaced a lot of the functionality provided by desktop OS. So my bit about webapps (Google Docs) is very much relevant.

              After looking it up, Marc’s actual quote was quite windows-specific, “[Netscape would reduce Windows to ] a poorly debugged set of device drivers.” Which has come to pass: no-one* really cares what your underlying OS is, as long as you’re running a decent browser ontop of it. Server OS? Microsoft is being beaten handily by Linux/Apache.

              *No one who makes web applications

        3. The City of Munich runs all the desktops on Linux, and uses LibreOffice. I guess if they can, so can other government bureaucracies.

  2. . LibreOffice(OpenOffice.org if you want to play that game)

    You may call it ‘playing that game’, but the fact is LibreOffice is a fork of OpenOffice.org. This happened when Oracle screwed around with OpenOffice and frustrated the community, leading to the formation of the Open Document Foundation that backs LibreOffice. That means they have a now divergent codebase with LibreOffice having more fixes/features than OpenOffice.org, and different backing organisations – Oracle ended up surrendering OpenOffice.org to Apache. Even if you don’t care about the politics of FLOSS, you should care about LibreOffice becaue I don’t think OpenOffice will make it.

    Onto the main topic: how many Linux users think the difference in features/quality is worth the $150 MS Office license (or $100/year subscription)?

    1. Linux users have always been cheap to me, not many will find it useful you are right. Linux users arent productive anywere :-p or rather see the need

      1. Linux users have always been cheap to me, not many will find it useful
        you are right. Linux users arent productive anywere :-p or rather see
        the need

        Flame bait. Though a very, very ambiguous statement reeking of rigid fanboyism.

        1. Context lost you or you ran away from it. We are talking about OFFICE sir. Ouh bouy Im so in loooove with Microsoft anywere. Top fan I am, it pays my bills so why not?

          Set me up a linux server (y) no problem. Want me to work on a nx , nope nope nope

      2. You’re right, if by ‘productivity’ you mean churning out reams of Word/Excel documents. Fortunately for me, I’m not caught up in the ‘corporate world’

        I’d like to think I’m quite productive, and the last time I had to open a (traditional) word processor was 2 weeks back (LibreOffice!). If you include online contenders, then it was this morning, on Google Drive (nee Gooogle Docs).

        I can’t even remember the last time I launched word, granted, I don’t exchange editable documents much, when I do send clients documents, it’s in PDF form.

      1. LibreOffice and OpenOffice do share a lot of base code

        Yeah, that’s what ‘fork’ implies; a branching of the code-base. As for the ‘crappyness’, maybe they don’t measure up to your discerning taste, and you really don’t have to use either of them. LO is good enough for me.

  3. Beg to differ. Have been using first Open and now Libreoffice since 2007 or so and have very few problems. How would the fonts break your Firefox???? Seriously I don’t get it at all. Many users find the whole “ribbon” interface more confusing than anything else and would prefer Office2003 that is quite similar to Open/Libreoffice interface

    1. The resemblance between LibreOffice and Office 2003 ends when you get to the font collection.

  4. i dont think linux will see a full desktop version port of MS Office any time soon in my opinion…and i think its just a rumour. from what i’ve read online…MS are developing an office app that will run on IOS and Android.. which will allow you to view/edit documents if you have an Office 365 subscription. the rumour about a MS office suite coming to the linux desktop revolved around MS doing most of the work to get an android (linux) app running.. so porting to a linux desktop wouldnt take much more effort. but i dont see it happening… the linux desktop market share is still too small to make it a viable business. viva libreoffice!

  5. I think WWF and WPF rocks. Are there equivalent Open Source IDEs that tightly support such great tools and together (not workflow only or presentation only)? Just list them, I do not know of any so I can not imply that they are less powerful that MS ones.

  6. It would be great to have MS Office on Linux. I’d be happy to pay for it. LibreOffice is actually not bad. As for fonts, if you stick with the MS fonts, you’re usually OK. You don’t need Wine to use the Core fonts developed by MS.

    1. You need Wine to use MS Office on Linux and the procedure is not to install Wine and then Ms Office as you would imagine. No. First install wine and fiddle with the winefonts otherwise you will not be able to see the install Office button. Then install dotnetfix after this install dotnet. Finally restart Wine and try to install Office. If something breaks, as they always do since Wine is just make believe software, consult wineHq where you will be told to RTFM. Go to some hidden page on winehq and learn again. Several years later you have Office working and Wine programs messing with your update alternatives configuration curse and remove them….

  7. We are using libreoffice in our office( for generating DC, Invoice, reports etc..). We are not facing any problem. we have made formula in word files too just like in many proprietary word processing packages. We have been sending quotations and other documents(including my resume in the beginning ) in pdf formats.We are using ubuntu and we are getting a personalized ERP. We are not feeling any disadvantage. Only thing we don’t need is IT maintenance overheads. Because we are using open source softwares, We are delivering our service in time and cheaply too.
    Supreme court of India is using ubuntu( very big organization). LIC India is using RHEL from more than 10 years and it has minimized its IT budget greatly.

    Linux or GNU tools users are not technologically challenged. Windows Office package comes with 1 GB and its pre requisites are rather very high compared to Libre/Open office which comes with in 200 MB and its pre-requisites are relatively low. It is a great piece of technology. As a result it is spreading, even though slowly, without marketing muscle and controversial business practices.

    Please read these news articles and then decide who is technologically challenged?
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7784908.stm

    http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9135370/Microsoft_admits_it_knew_of_critical_IE_bug_in_early_08

    1. It is nice whenever an organisation uses FOSS. I asked pple wat they wld prefer and you certainly prefer LibreOffice. My assessment was: LibreOffice can do with improvements.

  8. You are certainly provide a venomous reaction to the LibreOffice product that I use as an alternative to my office 2007 Excel, PowerPoint, and Word software. LibreOffice formats according to Open source rules. I can’t say the same for MS Word.

    MS Word is a lock-in product. Your always going to spend and spend and spend hard earned cash to stay current. For a corp with 5000 employees or 50,000 employees, a $25/employee for an upgrade (Retail is $100/upgrade) is still a very big chunk of money.

    I do my documents in LibreOffice and save them in Word Format for the Windows Guys. There is no problem.

    Regarding OpenOffice, I have no opinion because I do not use it, but I do use LibreOffice very successfully.

    Note well. LibreOffice is not an emulation of MSOffice, it is an Open Source, Open Standard Office Product. It is MS Office that is closed source and which you have used so much in the past, that you cannot adjust to alternate products.

    1. Here LibreOffice was compared to the deemed standard (MsOffice.) I understand the reason why you feel it is MS’s fault but the true hallmark of a good office product is portability. I gather you have only shared simple documents with Office users. Why do i have to read the damn manual so that I can use conditional formatting in calc? Just share your company’s financial report from LibreOffice with your CEO and you will likely get fired.

    2. Really man LibreOffice is crap only u and stallman thinks it rocks. As for OpenOffice it has gone the way of dinosaurs.

  9. As a staunched Ubuntu user, I was a bit skeptical when you said ” is the single greatest let down of the Linux desktop” and almost stopped reading right there. But after labouring on up until the end I’d have to say I agree with you. I am embarrassed to say I frequently venture back to the world of Windows in pursuit of mainly two things, games and Microsoft Office. Linux gaming was always dead on arrival so I will not dwell there.

    Back to Office. All I can say your article is surprisingly profound and I for one hope this materializes, but let’s be honest, it’s not going to happen. MS Office is proprietary the opposite of FOSS, they are not going to give it away. I’ll say it again, a profound insight on Libre Office

    1. Linux gaming was always dead on arrival so I will not dwell there

      I beg to differ. The Humble Indie Bundle was a shot across the bow; and with Steam, gaming on Linux has arrived. I don’t have to boot windows to play Team Fortress 2 anymore! Unfortunately, a few months back I gave more space on the Win partition (‘For games’, I thought) and now the 12GB of TF2 data has wiped the remaining space on my home partition. Totally worth it.

    1. Nothing!! Imagine that, I churn out all this FUD 4 free and get nothing in return. The least Steve Ballmer could have done was to give me a call. It was tough love man. Tough love for my LibreOffice that made me to try and stage an intervention.

  10. Techzim forum mazuvano yakapenga. Its all semantics to some of us the non-techies. kikikiki, okey I read it anyway, in case i find something I can share with my peeps, isu tinongoperera kumareviews and announcements, should this spur me to do something about it, only time will tell. LMAO

  11. Create professional documents, spreadsheets and presentations on Ubuntu with LibreOffice, the open source office suite that s compatible with Microsoft Office.

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