I have installed the new OpenOffice.org 2.0 on Windows 2000, Windows XP Home, and Fedora Core 3.
I had no problems with the Windows installations. There is now an executable. Double-click and follow the instructions.
I had minor problem with the Linux installation, after it was installed. The install is now RPM based, but one has to remove the distribution specific RPM files after unzipping the download. One then has to use the command line to perform the install. It is not hard for those used to the Linux command line, but this will make enough of a learning curve for users new to Unix/Linux, many will not bother. However, once installed, the learning curve is now very flat compared to MS-Office.
For all three instances, I uninstalled the Previous Version of Open Office (1.4 on Windows and 1.3 on FC3).
On all “three” systems (the WinXP and FC3 is a dual-boot PC) I was impressed with the speed at which Open Office now starts. The only delay is with the first application that is opened, it asks if you agree to the license, then if you want to import your old settings, then has a place to type in your name.
On both Windows 2000 and XP there was no problem at this step.
On FC3, I got an error when I told it to import the old settings. The error was something like this (/usr/lib/ooo-1.1/share/basic/webwizard):
There were different files (*.xlb), depending on what I tried to do. I opened a spreadsheet I use on a daily basis, and I got this error. I then tried to save the spreadsheet and I got this error. If I saved the spreadsheet again, before closing Calc, I did not get an error. However, when I opened the spreadsheet, this error and again when saving.
After trying to change settings and getting no resolution, I renamed the user configuration directory and started Writer. This tricked Open Office into thinking it was a new install and asked for my name, etc. However, this time I told it NOT to import from the old version. This time no error, and no problem.
This is not an issue with Open Office 2.0 itself, but with Open Office 1.3 on FC3 not uninstalling completely. I used Synaptic to uninstall Open Office 1.3. It left behind the empty directory: /usr/lib/ooo-1.1/program/.
Linux users that do not have a previous install of Open Office will have no problems getting started.
I did notice that Calc still seems to be slow to save a spreadsheet. It does seem faster than 1.3, but is not as fast as Excel on Windows. I did not try Calc on Windows.
I had a real-world test of Writer’s capabilities. Writer 1.3 on Linux and 1.4 on Windows did not recognize all of a MS-Word document that I needed to convert to PDF. I immediately tried this document with Open Office 2.0 and it displayed the lines at the beginning of the document that were otherwise “layered”. I converted to PDF and the only issue on Windows is that it inserted an extra blank page before the last page.
For some reason, the layout between Windows and Linux is totally different. I had to spend time fiddling with the margins. Also, graphics that are anchored in frames have text under them on Linux, that is fine on Windows. I think this is only an issue trying to keep the MS-Word format on Linux. When I converted it to the open document format, I had to undo a lot of edits to get it right. Another drawback is that the PDF created on Linux by Open Office is nearly double the size of the same one created on Windows. The trick to smaller PDFs is to print to file, on Linux, this automatically creates a PostScript file. This can then be converted to PDF using “ps2pdf filenams.ps filename.pdf”. This produces a PDF about half the size as the one produced by Open Office on Windows. What is needed is an explanation of what to do to get documents to look the same from one platform to another without lots of time fiddling with margins. If one creates a document from scratch, there should be no issues with getting it to look the same.
I did a quick test of Base, the new database/frontend in Open Office on Windows. I was able to connect to an MS-SQL database and view he tables. It has a feel somewhat like MS-Access, but cleaner. I will know more when I have time to build a database from scratch. Hopefully, it will allow building a database on one PC and easily transferring to another. I am done with MS-Access. I spent weeks building a nice Access97 database, and it would not work in Access 2000 because Microsoft totally re-did so many things, that I would have to re-write it from scratch. This is one tool I am hoping to scratch a big itch – easy to use, and not broken by the next version.
Overall, I am pleased with Open Office. It has power and flexibility, and all of the basics and more, that come with the full version of MS-Office. Best of all it is free, and works on a variety of operating systems!