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Where Do I Go Now That Oracle Owns 510

eldavojohn writes "So I noted that there was better support for my processor in the latest BIOS for my mainboard. After downloading the update, there was a .doc file containing flashing instructions. No matter, I have installed on this machine and just opened it up. And, as should be no surprise, there was an Oracle logo splash screen while 3.2 started up. At my job, I've had a less than favorable history with Oracle that I'm not going to get into — rather let's just say I never want anything to do with them again. Including installing any of their software on my machine. So I'm facing a dilemma. I've looked into the forked LIbreOffice but that's still in beta and I'm a little wary of depending on that. Has anyone used LibreOffice (it's installing as I type this) extensively? Does it handle complex Powerpoint files okay? Is there some alternative out there that I'm completely overlooking for open source? Can anyone convince me that there's no reason to fear the Oracle Will it remain the de facto standard? Will it eventually lock me into a commitment with Oracle? If you get by without one of these heavyweight monster editors, what do you use and how do you handle doc, ppt, (etc.) extensions?"
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Where Do I Go Now That Oracle Owns

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  • by gilesjuk ( 604902 ) <<giles.jones> <at> <>> on Sunday November 14, 2010 @04:49PM (#34224908)

    Ask them to stop using Word documents for instructions.

    Ask them to use PDF or HTML.

    • by neumayr ( 819083 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @05:15PM (#34225168)
      Hehe, yeah.
      Meanwhile, at some water cooler in some province of China:
      Exec1: Some random guy who at some point bought _one_ of our mainboards, making us around 0.1 cents of profit, who may or may not buy more of our products, asks us to change our process.
      Exec2: *rotfl*
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

      If it's a document that will need to be edited by someone else, then I can understand using Word.

      But for a document intended for end-users, it's surprising they didn't use PDF.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 14, 2010 @05:21PM (#34225216)

      And after, that stop acting irrationally. Sure, ignore Oracle products if you wish, if you ask me that's a good thing. However, refusing to use a FLOSS computer program just because it's written by Oracle (btrfs), or just because it has the Oracle name on the splash screen ( is simply stupid. Yes, Oracle are going to fuck up, and yes, we're moving to better alternatives (LibreOffice), but there is no need to rush, unless you want to help with writing bug reports. Unless you plan to do just that, jumping to install LibreOffice before distros switch is irrational and stupid. It's too early to worry about that. is not a product, it's a computer program, that happens to have a Oracle splash screen on it. You aren't buying it, and the code is still virtually unchanged since the acquisition by Sun, so you can't claim that by using it you're supporting Oracle in any way. RELAX.

    • by Spad ( 470073 ) <> on Sunday November 14, 2010 @05:23PM (#34225230) Homepage

      Then get them to email the PDF to you, but make sure they include a message to let you know what it is, something like:

      "Here's the file you were after, hope it helps"

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 14, 2010 @08:05PM (#34226496)

      I feel sorry for those who are more concerned with removing "evil" software than getting any useful work done. To those who refuse to run effective software on the theory that dire consequences will happen in the future I merely note that we're all dead in the future anyway.

    • A lot of mainboards can only have their BIOS updated through a Windows utility, and so far I've never seen one of these utilities that works in WINE. Some mainboards can only be configured with a Windows utility (most Toshiba laptops for instance, but if you bought a Toshiba laptop that's just the beginning of your problems...)

  • Be Patient (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @04:49PM (#34224916)
    Wait for LibreOffice to be released a stable build and then leave OpenOffice behind. Until then you'll just have to use it and keep in mind that the only thing Oracle did for OO was buy Sun, they didn't write any of the code.
    • Re:Be Patient (Score:5, Informative)

      by Alcoholic Synonymous ( 990318 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @05:55PM (#34225518)

      LibreOffice still depends on Java, which is also Oracle branded. OpenJDK doesn't release binaries, and Oracle still controls OpenJDK anyway. So Oracle seems pretty unavoidable right now.

    • Re:Be Patient (Score:4, Informative)

      by jopsen ( 885607 ) <> on Sunday November 14, 2010 @07:04PM (#34226090) Homepage
      And if you don't want to wait download go-oo
      All the Go-OO patches should have been merged into LibreOffice and the Go-OO project is discontinued (e.g. developers are now hacking LibreOffice).. But if you insist on having something that is called stable, as opposed to running the LibreOffice beta, go a head a download latest Go-OO release (
      But remember to upgrade when LibreOffice releases a stable!
    • Re:Be Patient (Score:4, Informative)

      by Mr. Underbridge ( 666784 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @07:21PM (#34226202)
      Or just use LibreOffice now. I did it the day they released it, and have noticed no usability or stability problems at all, personally. Or at least no more than usual for OO. It'd be different if we were talking about a server, but this is just office software on a personal machine. Roll the dice!
    • Re:Be Patient (Score:5, Insightful)

      by icebike ( 68054 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @07:41PM (#34226342)

      LibreOffice is stable. It was a fork of a stable OOo, and I've seen no problems at all.

      I cut over to it from OO and everything I need it for (documents and spreadsheets) work just fine. Even those that are sent to me from Word users.

      Why fret about the Beta designation when it is just a stable as the version it was forked from?

  • libre office (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    just go where 90% of developers have allready gone:

  • Should be fine... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rwven ( 663186 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @04:51PM (#34224932)

    Seeing as libreoffice is just a fork of openoffice (they're probably almost identical in code right now), you can probably rely on it just as much as openoffice now, and possibly even more in the future.

    • Re:Should be fine... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by bieber ( 998013 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @05:01PM (#34225040)
      Yep, at the moment using either one should be more or less the same thing. Just because the copyright changed hands doesn't mean the code became magically tainted.
      • Re:Should be fine... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday November 14, 2010 @05:49PM (#34225476) Journal

        But he specifically asked about .doc, .ppt, etc, and I thought LibreOffice was gonna seriously push "free as in freedom" in their fork? Because as we have seen in the past with the way RMS reacts [] to .doc and other MSFT formats if they truly go for the "free as in freedom" manifesto it really wouldn't surprise me to see in the future any attempt to open a .doc met with "This format takes away your freedoms. Please ask the person who gave this to you to respect freedom and send an ODF".

        So while I agree that ATM OO.o and LibreOffice is virtually the same, have they said ANYTHING about MS Office compatibility on their roadmap? How much effort is someone who is pushing ODF gonna invest in supporting a MSFT format? Because like it or not if the office suite can't do MSFT formats for a good 90% of the population who have friends or coworkers using MS Office it'll be useless.

    • Re:Should be fine... (Score:5, Informative)

      by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @05:10PM (#34225126)
      For now. They're in the process of merging in a lot of code from the Go [] folks. Should make for better compatibility with MS Office.
      • Re:Should be fine... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @05:25PM (#34225258) Journal
        Have they gotten close to having an equivalent program for OneNote yet?
  • OO / Libreoffiec (Score:4, Informative)

    by Arimus ( 198136 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @04:51PM (#34224936)

    For now would have thought Libreoffice's support for Powerpoint etc would be on a par with OO as the fork is based on the 0O 3.3 code base...

  • Antiword (Score:3, Informative)

    by Neil Hodges ( 960909 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @04:52PM (#34224938)

    As long as images aren't an issue, you could use Antiword [] to convert it into a (somewhat) styled text file. That's what I did when I ran into the same thing with BIOS updates.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 14, 2010 @04:52PM (#34224940)

    If you don't want to deal with Oracle. Then buy Microsoft Office. You never said you didn't want to deal with Microsoft too.

    • by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @05:21PM (#34225214) Homepage Journal

      And if you don't want to deal with Microsoft either, you can buy a Mac mini and iWork!

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by rwa2 ( 4391 ) *

        Hey! Remember before there was Word and even Linux, we used to use WordPerfect under DOS? They're still around []!

        Anyone actually use it and have crap to say about it? ^_^

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by vhfer ( 643140 )
          Ya. WordPerfect Office 12 is the standard around here for our roughly 200 employees that use PCs. The other 1000 are on vehicles most of the time and don't use any software.

          Then we have a few people that interact a great deal more with other companies, local government and etc. For them we have to buy license of Microsoft Word, because abovementioned external parties continue to mindlessly send us stuff in Word format, often @#%$@#%&^%$#*& .DOCX format, and the users aren't happy with Word Viewer

    • Re:Microsoft Office (Score:4, Informative)

      by CajunArson ( 465943 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @05:34PM (#34225354) Journal

      Obviously this is a joke but... I just got done editing a file using Office 2007 SP2.... on my Arch Linux box using Crossover. Office 2010 isn't supported yet, but I have a feeling it will be in the first half of next year. I also use Openoffice on a daily basis for making drawings with OODraw. I did a master's thesis and all my law-review related work in OOWriter. Unfortunately, right now I need MS Office for compatibility since my daily use involves ping-ponging documents back & forth with other people using track changes.. an area where OO still sorely lags even using the ODF document formats.

  • Try Google Docs (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 14, 2010 @04:53PM (#34224950)

    Try Google Docs or Zoho. Google 'em.

  • Does it handle complex Powerpoint files okay?

    Heh. How different would LibreOffice have managed to become in like the month and a half it's been split from

    About stability, I think most of the changes that have been integrated so far has already been somewhat tested by being included in distribution patches or similar, but I admit that I probably don't really know enough to make much of a statement.

    • by Lennie ( 16154 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @05:31PM (#34225332)

      The first thing they did is add all the patches that where already in used by the folks from [] . These are all the patches that the Linux-maintainers has created/collected but where never accepted by the OpenOffice maintainers, which is actually quiet a lot. Because the acceptance process is so slow.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by HiThere ( 15173 )

      Well, given licensing, etc., there *could* be an immense change. I don't think there has been, but that's not a given. Particularly with Oracle talking about putting out a non-free version of the JVM. (That's one thing I thought was totally standardized.)

      Given the recent news, I can understand being hesitant to trust anything with Oracle's name on it, or around it. This despite my being quite willing to trust similar products with Sun's name on them.

      OTOH, I don't feel any pressing need to switch from Op

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 14, 2010 @04:54PM (#34224962)

    LibreOffice has the spanish word "libre" in it. I can't use that either because I strongly condemn the actions during the Spanish Inquisition.

    Java, OpenOffice, MySQL are all GPL or better and no one can change that.

  • Larry pisses his logo on everything first.

    Then later he'll set fire to it, cut it into pieces, and throw it in a barrel of quicklime. He's the serial killer of good technology.

  • by Lord Byron II ( 671689 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @04:56PM (#34224986)

    ...that you can use whatever software you like. If you were happy with the last Sun release of OpenOffice, then download and use that instead. It should be fine for a couple of years* and by then it should be clear which OSS office software is appropriate for you.

    *It's not uncommon for Microsoft to go several years between releases of MS Office, so two years with Sun's last OpenOffice release isn't unreasonable.

  • by countertrolling ( 1585477 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @04:56PM (#34224992) Journal

    and as such it remains vulnerable to potential legal attacks from Oracle which now owns the Java technology []...

    Disaster awaits if something isn't done about this...

  • Lotus Symphony (Score:3, Informative)

    by garglebutt ( 766885 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @04:56PM (#34224994)
    Latest version of Lotus Symphony is yet another fork and it has the best Excel compatibility of all the ooo variants. It is free but not open source however (look at SISSL license conditions).
  • The problem will come if OpenOffice starts to demand Oracle's proprietary version of Java, and then Oracle starts to tighten the screws on Java.

    I'm much more worried about MySQL under Oracle's control. Oracle has every reason to make MySQL worse, especially the versions that scale up.

  • You can always leave later. Your data won't always be perfectly portable, but you can keep old versions of Staroffice around and export to various formats.

  • You could try this: []

    Although, if you've had bad experience with Oracle, maybe you've had bad experience with IBM, as well.

  • Ratonale? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Stan Vassilev ( 939229 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @05:06PM (#34225092)

    At my job, I've had a less than favorable history with Oracle that I'm not going to get into — rather let's just say I never want anything to do with them again.

    I'd like to think people who deal with technology are rational, so if in your dealings with Oracle you have learned of some objective reason why people should avoid now, I believe you should share it, if your contract allows.

    If there's no objective reason, then quite simply keep using and keep an eye on the situation between Oracle and

    In our daily lives we use the services of companies that have wronged us by means of poor policy, or unprofessional employees, but if we took a hard stance every single time and dropped everything, even at no clear alternative, society would not last for long.

    If you live in US, did you stop using oil fuel and oil based products (i.e. basically almost everything around you) when the BP oil spill happened? I guess not.

  • by denisbergeron ( 197036 ) <> on Sunday November 14, 2010 @05:20PM (#34225204)

    Your problem is the Oracle Logo... go to and find a new splash screen that suit you.

  • by harlows_monkeys ( 106428 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @05:27PM (#34225278) Homepage

    If you weren't a Slashdot celebrity, that ridiculous submission would have been rejected as whining over a complete non-issue. Grab the OOo source, and build your own copy that doesn't display the Oracle logo. Problem solved. (Or just look away when the splash screen appears).

  • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @05:34PM (#34225360) Homepage

    All Oracle did was buy Sun. There isn't some sort of magical evil contagion that instantly infected; the software is no different than it was before the sale.

    Now, Oracle could potentially direct development to go down the path of evil. They could change the license under which OO.o is distributed to an unacceptable one. They could do all sorts of things! But they haven't had time to do it yet, and by the time they get their evil ducks in a row, LibreOffice will be up and running.

    Little-known fact: many (most?) Linux distros are already shipping a non-pure OO.o. There is a collection of patches that were never part of the official OO.o, called Go-oo [], and distros have been shipping Go-oo instead of the pure Oo.o.

    I fully expect LibreOffice to merge all the Go-oo patches, leaving us with two office suites: Oracle OO.o, and LibreOffice. And I think it is very possible that the community will line up behind LibreOffice and leave Oracle OO.o completely irrelevant and unloved. (Consider the situation with Xfree86 and In that case, the switchover happened in a stunningly short period of time.)

    The worst-case scenario is that Oracle adopts some license that keeps LibreOffice from merging Oracle patches, and then Oracle funds a development team to make giant improvements to Oracle OO.o; then the community might have to choose between the free LibreOffice and the Oracle offering. But even there, I am not actually worried. The current state of OpenOffice is usable. Even if Oracle poured huge resources into OO.o development, what could they really offer to tempt us away from LibreOffice? A toolbar with giant icons? A dancing paperclip? Meanwhile, if all that LibreOffice does is simply to fix bugs, improve speed, and rewrite to end Java dependencies, I for one would be completely happy.

    If you use OO.o on Windows, just don't take any updates until LibreOffice is ready, and you will be fine. Or better yet, simply start getting your installers from the Go-oo web site. If you use Linux, you almost certainly can simply trust your distro to do a good job of keeping your office suite relatively evil-free.

    Oracle may be evil, but they aren't magically evil. Don't worry about this.

    P.S. After writing this post, my 'o' key on my keyboard is overheating. I'd better not use it for a while or it might stp wrking.


  • No Oracle at all? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @06:25PM (#34225740) Homepage Journal

    I guess that means no java for you either :)

  • by stickystyle ( 799509 ) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @06:50PM (#34225946) Homepage

    I'm not usually the one to post these types of 'fix it yourself' OSS comments...

    Download the source
    replace oracle logos with something else
    problem solved (profit?)..

Air is water with holes in it.