Free Hogg

07.17.06

OpenOffice.org needs themes.

Filed under: Microsoft, Open Source, Software — Hogg @ 2:18 pm

BetaNews is saying that Office 2007 will have themes.

Something like that is exactly what OpenOffice.org and other open source software needs to really take off. Look at Mozilla Firefox for example, it has themes and it’s popular. Now, I’m not saying that Firefox’s popularity is only due to it’s skinability, but it sure doesn’t hurt.

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56 Comments »

  1. Not sure if OOo needs themes. It is a productivity suite after all.

    However, did you know you can still donate a small amount of money to a campaign to promote OpenOffice to more users?
    http://homepage.mac.com/bhorst/
    May be you can help making this a success.

    Comment by Kaj Kandler — 07.18.06 @ 3:16 pm

  2. Needs lots more eyecandy.
    All of the opensource projects need to look cooler than MS software in order to win those users who judge based on appearances alone.

    Comment by terlmann — 07.31.06 @ 10:34 am

  3. I agree, terlmann.

    Comment by Hogg — 07.31.06 @ 5:38 pm

  4. Open Office is bloated enough without needing to add extra, non-functional code.

    And like Kaj Kandler said, “Not sure if OOo needs themes. It is a productivity suite after all.

    Are that many people really using Open Office for Windows? Or Gimp for that matter? People use them on Linux, because most every modern distro has these installed, by default.

    When it comes to a productivity suite, it is best to leave the majority of the memory use of these types of applications, to the actual productivity. The last thing a productive user wants, is for his work to get lost from the “pretty” application crashing.

    I couldn’t care less what an application looks like, if it’s going to let me actually make something cool, or better yet something worth lots of money.

    So I say, OOo should not focus on eye-candy at all, but rather focus on usability in terms of production.

    I can guarantee you that the vast majority of MS Office users, will not care a bit about skins. The vast majority of MS Office users, are working in productive environments, such as offices.

    In essence, who cares what your office suite looks like?

    Open Source software doesn’t lack popularity because of “lack of themes or eye-candy” It lacks marketing. It is created mostly by volunteers and small business. Microsoft is one of the largest corporations in the entire world. That is why everyone uses it. Not because of skins or eye-candy. Um, remember Windows NT/9x and Office 97? Not too pretty, yet we all still used it didn’t we? That is, unless the we I speak of, were still in 5th grade at the time. 😉

    Comment by Brent — 08.18.06 @ 9:44 pm

  5. OOo can definetly do well with more themes

    but what it needs more urgently is a better doc / xls / ppt filter. They are okay for simple documents, but are not upto mark when handling ones with heavy formatting

    memory usage is also a concern. OOo 2.0.3 idles at 75MB! on my Linux box. i.e without even opening any document, not even a blank one!

    by contrast gimp takes up around 28MB for idle and 32 MB with a blank document

    OOo today is much better than the 1.x series, but can still do with a lot of under the hood improvements.

    Comment by Ajay — 09.4.06 @ 6:09 am

  6. if someone makes skins for openoffice, great. people use MS office because it looks cool and smooth. The OOo for linux looks quite ugly. Get some skins for it in future versions, more people will use it because it can be made to look like what people have been grown up using, MS office.

    Comment by Charlie861i — 12.3.06 @ 1:18 pm

  7. Yes yes yes, some skins please – I just typed “skins for openoffice” into google and got this blog. I’m an XP/Microsoft slave who wants to switch, but doesn’t want the rubbish 90s images, graphics and feel that OpenOffice seems to have. Otherwise, why switch from freely available Microsoft?

    Comment by bt — 02.15.07 @ 10:50 am

  8. people use MS office because it looks cool and smooth

    What? Do you really think that this is why people use MS Office? This has absolutely NOTHING to do with why people use it. They use it because it is the best office suite for businesses.

    OOo is not bad for free. But I have never seen any real office using it (yet).

    Why do people want to skin everything? It only takes away resources that could be used for productivity –you know what office suites are developed to do?

    This is ridiculous, but go ahead and “skin” your app, to make it look “pretty”. How about improving OOo by making it more productive?

    What successful business is concerned with making the productivity applications that they use in order to make a profit, look “pretty”? Not one.

    Who cares about this, other than fanboys?

    Again office productivity suites are developed for businesses.

    Comment by Brent — 02.15.07 @ 1:57 pm

    • Brent you are SO wrong. It aint just about the office. Sheesh. People work from home too, or bring stuff back. So stop being so beligerent.

      Comment by yf — 08.5.10 @ 9:07 pm

  9. Ever here “perception is reality”. If you want to know what people think about eye-candy, just consider the reviews of MS Vista. A whole-lot of eye candy, a significant decrease in performance, and no really new features…yet it gets a “thumbs up” from reviewers. Most people don’t use any more features in Office 2003 than they used in Office 95, but the eye-candy is so much better…which is why they fork out the cash for the upgrade. All MS Marketing does is market the “improved interface”. Botom line, make it look pretty and more people will use it.

    Comment by Gordon — 02.18.07 @ 10:00 pm

  10. Gordon, are you aware of the formatting differences between documents in Office 2007 and Office 95? Obviously not. I am.

    Vista is alright, I guess. I have only had as few hours to mess with it so far. Much of the eye candy is only available to work with the proper hardware anyway.

    But this post is about an office suite, not an entire operating system. Besides, you can turn off the eye candy in Vista.

    The same is the case with XP. When you turn off this eye candy, the eye candy in office and every other application is also turned off.

    Think (or research) before writing please.

    Comment by Brent — 02.19.07 @ 11:44 am

  11. Well i think that some skinns will fit good here, and i explain why: ok so OpenOffice looks ugly on your sistem, skin it, you are a newby and want more MS-Ofice-like apearance?, skin it, you are amoung those few who think that the ribbon is cool?, skin it, customization is good for everyone and it wouldnt take much resources. It shouldn’t be a main concern i totally agree, but a secundary one.

    Comment by Carlos Licea — 02.26.07 @ 12:01 am

  12. Gordon.. very well put. I couldn’t agree more. I for one will not being paying for something that’s nothing more than before.

    Comment by Paul — 02.26.07 @ 6:24 am

  13. Hey! I think that OpenOffice.org is a great office suite as an MS Office alternative. I think that giving it the looks of the MS product would look pretty cool but then again, productivity is also important.

    Comment by Timothy Conrad — 03.8.07 @ 11:31 pm

  14. I would say the capability to theme OOo would help a lot. I think you actually can theme it, but don’t know how (i.e. using alternative icon sets). Maybe this is different that full on skinning. A nice set of icons that is visually appealing to a given user make working within that environment a more pleasing experience to that end user. And henceforth can lead to greater productivity because of this. In can argue against this, but I would have to say there is a little truth to the matter, if not a lot. Maybe full on skinning takes a lot of resources, but using an alternative icon set should not I would assume.

    Comment by Eric Hansin — 04.7.07 @ 4:27 pm

  15. In what way would icons lead to better or more effective activity?

    I will assume that not a single one of you work in an office or in a real production environment.

    Trust me, as someone who DOES work in an office, pretty little icons is the last thing on my mind. The first thing on my mind, is getting my work done on time, and not looking at how pretty the application that I use is. If I did, I would be missing deadlines.

    Time to grow up little children. Welcome to the real world.

    Grown ups use the software that the boss, sponsor, or the customer pays them to use –which in this case would probably be made by Microsoft, because alternatives have inferior capability.

    Offices do not use MS Office because it looks “pretty”. We use it because it does the job more efficiently than anything else.

    If I can say that there is an element of Office that is pretty, and surpasses OOo by leaps and bounds, it would be PowerPoint.

    If I am presenting a proposal in something other than PowerPoint, it will be forgotten almost immediately.

    Time to grow up, and understand how the REAL world works.

    By the way, OOo does not even have an alternative to the most important aspect of Office –Outlook. They ought to talk to the people at Novell to try to at least get Evolution included in the OOo package, if they want to be considered a legitimate alternative to MS Office (it won’t happen anyway, especially here in the States, except perhaps for government offices, but not at all for profitable companies.)

    Comment by Brent — 04.8.07 @ 9:53 pm

  16. I think that skins or themes would help OpenOffice.org heaps.

    Sure, it doesn’t improve productivity, but it does improve what you have to look at day after day.

    Personally, I’d rather look at a program which is visually appealing every day than look at a dull and old looking program. I’m sure that a lot of people around the world would agree with me.

    The whole point of Office 2007 was the huge update in the navigation and the themes. I think the ribbon is a great idea (I wonder if OpenOffice.org could do something like this). But the themes are another big part. I had the BETA version of the new Office and using it was a lot more enjoyable because it looked better. Sure, the new themes didn’t make me work faster, but they made me enjoy the time that I was working just that little bit more.

    So, I really think OpenOffice needs to get either themes/skins or just overall improve the aesthetics of the program to a more modern look (the program really does look quite dull and old).

    Other than it’s looks, I love OpenOffice.org, I think it’s great for a free program.

    Comment by Patrick89 — 04.15.07 @ 10:34 pm

  17. Brent, while I agree in the office area the aesthetics of a program are not that important, but as you also said, I do not see many offices with OOo. I see people outside of the office with it. Sure it does not help productivity, but who does not like something a little better looking? I do not know about you, but I threw down extra cash just to get a case that looked badass. I know, shallow, but that is the way the world is. It also gives you the chance to customize, and that my friend, is probably where the real possibilities would come from. People enjoy customizations, look at the Wii with Miis, or the popularity of MMOs and their customizable characters. People like to mess with the looks of stuff. Sure, it really does not help, but it is fun. Also, why would they need an Outlook copy? They know people out there who use freeware like OOo are probably already using some other free application-exempli gratia, Thunderbird, or Evolution,as you said. Why should they bother when that space has already been filled? Talk about a waste of time…

    Comment by Personman — 04.17.07 @ 10:31 pm

  18. My, my what interesting responses. Yes, indeed – skin it – if you’re a newby – skin it! Doesn’t matter that you probably don’t know how – skin it! Doesn’t matter that the term “newby” is deliberately offensive – skin it! Doesn’t matter that the respondent has no more idea how to skin OO than you do (any more than he has any idea how to type) -skin it! What’s important is that you get to suggest something and the detractors get to see their little ranting opinions in nice little letters on a screen.
    And yes, people don’t use Microsoft for the eye-candy – they use it because it’s soo good. Not at all because advertising works – not at all because the bosses have expensive lunches with Microsoft representatives and are happy to make money for their new best friends without caring whether or not their underlings have the best software they could have. Yes Microsoft Office rules.
    And, of course – you should be ashamed for daring to suggest that some simple skinning option be included in OO so you could feel a little happier when you use it. None of the negative-nancies has the option to skin their word processors and it hasn’t done them any harm – just look at how happy they all are.
    How ridiculous to suggest that prettying up the interface a little or allowing for a smidgen of customization should be considered when there are far more important concerns like productivity! I’m sure your detractors all live in small functional boxes with no ornaments or photos or art in their houses – it would not be efficient. I’m sure they wouldn’t even bother to wear coloured clothing – it’s not as productive as a grey suit – grey is productive – grey suits and no eye-candy makes them all happy, happy boys – look how productive they are – hard at work – logging on here to find someone to attack.
    And who ever heard of a top-notch programme also allowing customization (unless you’re so unproductive you use Firefox or Thunderbird or VLC Player or QCD Player or Winamp or Windows Media Player or even Windows itself for that matter- you know – those little-known and unused applications) – no such thing.
    Take a look around this page for example – it’s all very productive and no one would dare waste time trying to make it look attractive – would they?
    Why – that would be like going out with a woman who wears make-up – well, she wouldn’t be efficient would she? She simply couldn’t be could she?
    So don’t you worry your little head about making things pretty – you just get used to the grey – then you’ll be as happy as these chaps.

    Comment by Xaviar — 06.24.07 @ 3:17 am

  19. Xavier, you are right!
    I am also considering to switch to open source softwares, just because… (I am not too rich, but I do not want to use illegal things, OOo is OK, etc), but I also have esthetic sense. A more attractive interface is better to use for most of us, that is all. (Ms Office 2007 is a dream, stylish, but after the tryout period I will go back to the corporate licensed XP for a while, then somehow switch to OOo.)

    I think, if other “productivity-focused” softwares, like Firefox, Thunderbird can use skins, OOo also should allow it.

    Comment by dekoninck — 08.27.07 @ 4:40 am

  20. You are all saying appearance doesn’t matter, I’m an open office user on Windows, but I have had the opportunity to use Office 2007 and after getting around the the initial shock of the theme and appearance of it, they way in which it is themed and laid out does absolutely make you much more productive. I thought it was stupid at first and very unproductive because I didn’t know where everything was, but after a little – I would half hour or so, you think why didn’t someone think of this kind of interface sooner!

    Comment by Martin — 09.12.07 @ 2:54 am

  21. Hi Guys,

    Just an FYI, openoffice 2.3 was just released.

    To spruce up the openoffice toolbar look, go to:

    tools>options>view>option size and style>

    then try Industrial (Gnome look),Tango or Crystal toolbar themes.

    The Tango theme looks very nice, without being too detracting.

    If you’re looking for an openoffice derivative, try Lotus Symphony Beta (it’s free):

    http://symphony.lotus.com/software/lotus/symphony/home.jspa

    I believe it’s some derivative of openoffice using eclipse development platform. In any case, the UI looks pretty nice and so do the default file association icons. Be sure to go to lotus symphony options>file associations, and choose if you want it to associate to .xls/,doc/.ppt, etc.

    cheers,

    Aldrin

    Comment by Aldrin — 09.19.07 @ 7:53 am

  22. Some of you just don’t get it. In this day and age of downsizing in the office, also goes along with the IT budget. I cannot convince the company to switch to a product unless it acts the same as MS Office no matter how free it is.

    The question should not be why would you want the look to change, it should be here is how you change it. It’s human nature to have change and diversity. People get used to the way a product works and when they are faced with something new, spend more time complaining than trying to use it.

    A couple of problems are looks and cross file associations as stated earlier. Until then you cannot sell it to the boss by saying, it’s almost like MS Office.

    IT Director – City of Creve Coeur

    Comment by DFGoodwin — 02.11.08 @ 7:58 am

  23. Just came across this page searching for OOo skins, and would like to say first that i am in favor of such customizing by principal. As a Christian i appreciate that God enables us to see in color, and made different personalties, and intelligence to improve our lot, and enabled a whole lot of variety. We are not to be clones, and it is a good thing for a person to be able to express things with a certain degree of uniqueness, not only in writing but in the appearance of the program. I am one that is a tweaker at heart, and i really like the extensive customization that Firefox allows.

    This is by no means criticizes the hard working Open Office people, and the MAIN thing is it’s functionality, and OOo is also quite customizable but as one that uses and recommends OOo, i think it would be more attractive and inspiring if it included themes like Firefox, etc.

    Lastly, i like the looks of this page itself (easier on the eyes too). Thanks.

    Comment by daniel hamilton — 02.15.08 @ 1:16 pm

  24. It must have skins. “if it ain’t pretty, windows addicts won’t useit” convince the end user, and the rest will follow.

    Comment by Dara k — 02.24.08 @ 11:49 am

  25. I think skinning is a great idea, I was looking for a great skin and so I ended up on this site.
    I liked open office a lot, but now office 2007 is out I think open office is out of the picture for me. Open office looks so much better since office 2000. Well I don’t think the buttons was a bad choice, the special effect behind de paper is awesome. Typing stuff is boring, and looking at a great nice screen just make you feel better. Also I would like to add that in the history of management development they have discover that light, colors and a happy looking surrounding just make you work better. Wich = productive.
    Further I would like to tell you that in the Netherlands (can’t tell or this is true for the whole world) office first made a hit my students because it was free given on school, because people used a lot at home it also went to the office. So, make a program popular under the public (with ofcours quality spellingscontrolle and so on) and the company will follow.
    Now imagine this, I have to type a long story, I open my flashing new design notebook, flashing backscreenpicture, all modern and good looking. Will I go to office 2007, flashing design and so on, or an old boring screen gray screen (open office).

    Comment by Edward — 02.29.08 @ 6:16 am

  26. Anyone who disagrees with the option of having themes is a moron. Sorry, but you are. Every application needs themes and skinnability – it allows a user to customize the feel of the application to their liking.

    As to what should come pre-installed, the current theme is fine. Modular coding design would allow one to swap out themes with barely any overhead. Themes could be even more minimal than what is currently provided, or more fancy for those who want eye candy.

    I am not advocating these themes be built into open office, just the framework to use the themes, and the flexibility for a user to choose what he feels suits him best. Themes should be available for download but not bundled with the install kit.

    *That* methodology is what sells software.

    Comment by Jon — 03.28.08 @ 10:33 am

    • THANK YOU!
      I don’t understand how all of these Philistines are implying that it’s either function OR form. It just doesn’t work that way.
      I think that the pixel art icons of previous versions of OpenOffice should be the default, as that would make it faster for those with limited hardware. Perhaps I’m a bit biased toward pixel art, but the most important thing is as you said: that there is a framework to use themes and the flexibility to use whichever one suits the user best whether it be dictated by their hardware capabilities, or their personal taste. http://theomandel.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Mandel-GoldenRules.pdf See principle number one: Put Users In Control.

      Comment by Thomas — 02.16.14 @ 1:09 pm

  27. Anyone who says looks doesn’t count is kidding themselves. Why else would companies like Microsoft and Apple spend so much to update the “look” of their operating systems year after year. If it was all about productivity, we’d still be sporting the “classic” Windows look!

    And the reason more people use MS Office over OpenOffice.org—simple—MS has a gazillion dollar ad budget that OpenOffice.org can’t match. They can afford to brand the image of a more superior product in the minds of users—and top company execs. Give the folks over at OpenOffice.org that kind of ad budget and see how popular OOo would be in a few years.

    Comment by Mike — 04.10.08 @ 7:51 pm

  28. I completely agree that OpenOffice needs themes. If you are staring at it whilst working, why not at least give people the option to create their own “nicer” themes. I’m sure loads of people in the community could design some great themes that are so much nicer to look at than the horrible defaults!

    Comment by aj — 05.3.08 @ 3:28 pm

  29. Mike is right. Sorry. A remarkably concise and fundamentally accurate summary. Hats off 🙂

    Comment by sirox — 05.10.08 @ 2:13 am

  30. The brain can recognized color coated symbols(icons) faster than comprehending words. Place a number of note cards on a desk with words of objects and also place pictures of objects, what are you going to find first(common sense). So is a flashier more colorful environment really less productive or are we just closed minded. If you can pass the learning curve of MS 2007 its actually easier to use. Same thing with not remembering peoples names but remember peoples faces. But their is the fact that everyone’s mind works differently, so i can’t speak for everyone but if people want change and the old users have the ability to stay with the default theme why would it hurt. With today’s hardware an interface or theme change won’t matter much unless you are still running 128-256mb of memory which is highly unlikely in today’s offices especially if you are running only one or two applications. But even then. Offices I’ve been to have a minimum of 512mb of RAM, again can’t speak for every office. Yes functionality is number one priority, but what about usability? Is the current UI really the most productive OOo we don’t know because its hasn’t changed a whole lot. Themes yeah give it a shot if it sucks make an update to remove it hahah.

    Comment by Hiro — 08.20.08 @ 3:31 pm

  31. My company just switched to OOo. Several of us had been using it in protest of Office 2007, and when it came to trim the budget, OOo was the preferred alternative to thousands of dollars in MS Office. OOo does it better. We send beautifully formatted pdfs to our clients, which made us look far more professional than a .doc, or worse: a .docx they can’t open!

    That said, I obviously found this page looking for OOo themes… My oqo pocket computer has a default screen resolution of 800×480. XP I can customize to look great, and Firefox 3 + Smallfox + No Squint looks fantastic on this thing. Those strips of buttons in OOo have tons of wasted space, gimme customization!

    Comment by Gunzorz — 09.14.08 @ 6:26 pm

  32. OpenOffice.org absolutely needs an UI revamp or at least a bit more eyecandy. Yes, it’s a productive suite, but it doesn’t mean it has to be ugly. Beauty is a feature, and a firefox-like system for themes could be IMHO the right solution.

    Comment by Neff — 09.25.08 @ 6:47 am

  33. The saying “A penny saved is a penny earned” still applies to computing resources. Having an abunance of harddrive space and processing power doesn’t mean I want it consumed by operating system and productivity suite. I like OpenOffice & GIMP because they are significantly smaller than their MicroSoft counter parts. They are simple yet effective, adding themes and eye candy isn’t going to corner the market and give open source a competitive edge. The competitive edge comes from makeing a quailty application that appeals to the segment of the market that would perfer to pay what they feel its worth rather than the inflated commercial equivalent.

    Comment by Tony — 10.10.08 @ 9:33 pm

  34. Hello,
    I’ve just read the first two-three comments, and decided to add a point. I tried out suse and ubuntu too, but I use windows xp in the company, and still use vista (I’ve not yet downgraded to xp) on my laptop. I didn’t want to buy ms office, so downloaded ooo to try it out in daily usage. That would be really helpful for me if I could change the icons to office 2003 ones.
    I found this post by typing “openoffice.org office 2003 theme” into google.
    At least I know, that I won’t find easy solution for changing the icons.
    Greets,
    Nemeza

    Comment by nemeza — 11.11.08 @ 5:45 am

  35. I really don’t thing that the only productivity measure should be the resource matter. What about how productive is a “office worker” when he is comfortable with the tool he uses? Think about it, people use m$ products although they crash, they know they crash, still, they are comfortable with them… I believe that, although it shouldn’t be a priority, the linux community shouldn’t get angry so easily when someone suggests some cosmetic changes. Aren’t you the ones that constantly ask “why do you still use m$ windows?”? Both, linux and the linux community should get more “user friendly”… more “‘former windows user’ friendly”

    Comment by marton — 12.16.08 @ 12:28 pm

  36. Chill out… not everyone that uses office products has a shouting boss on his back… Is that what’s really important to you? Then don’t be a hypocrite and remove compiz from your system!… Let’s face it, more people use linux nowadays because they feel comfortable with eyecandy interfaces. Is that wrong? Stop being purists and free your mind of the “make it ugly so it runs faster” concept. I bet none of those who complain uses vim to make their office reports. “what?… vim is not efficient enought to make your work on time?”

    Comment by marton — 12.16.08 @ 12:57 pm

  37. I jsut wanna give a shout out to Aldrin @ comment 21 who allowed me to turn my texty toolbar into icons. You don’t know how much it was pissing me off. To all those nay-sayers about theming: Study user interfaces! What has been said by some ie. “colorful pictures are better representations than texty menu’s” actually does have some credit. And if you can modify options to better represent their function, then you can increase productivity enormously. Damn, I’d go as far as saying OOo actually looks pretty now.. (as opposed to what I had before.) Thanks!

    (FYI: I also searched for skin openoffice in google and landed here)

    Comment by Jason — 12.21.08 @ 8:32 pm

  38. Skins wouldn’t be bad (WHEN they won’t make OO fat-assed). Better support of M$-formats is much more important.

    Comment by borisbaran — 01.1.09 @ 4:15 pm

  39. I also agree that OOo should have skins. I agree that productivity is the main thing for this software, but when I buy a car, then I select the car for having a good engine, safety AND looks. This is also how I select my software…..

    Comment by willen de zwijger — 01.25.09 @ 1:14 pm

  40. Skinning OOo would be great, but for me.. it doesn’t matter
    Just Don’t forget its purpose.. what you have does not really matter whether office 95, 2000, 2003, 2007 etc etc. Open Office, Nano, Vi, Star Office, Notepad, Word Pad..

    what matter most is the result of what you have.

    Comment by kontra — 02.15.09 @ 12:27 am

  41. skin it! gaaa this ugly software needs some…

    Comment by Awon — 03.7.09 @ 2:27 am

  42. just because some people say “functionality goes first”, this software lacks some nice touch. did yall know, that this century needs software with good looks rather than technical abilities? just imagine – make some theme engine and continue making functionality, then, designers see this 90-ties looking software and decide to give it a hand and develop some good looking themes. they contribute, while developers do their job. everyone`s happy and openoffice attracts more people. voila!

    Comment by Jancis — 04.6.09 @ 1:07 am

  43. Open office is productive enough right now – make it look good! I’d rather use MS Word than OpenOffice right now because it looks about five times as good, even though Word isn’t as useful. OpenOffice looks like a horrid grey mess. Sort it out.

    Comment by Toneo — 04.6.09 @ 9:26 am

  44. You don’t have to use skins if you don’t want to, but some people do, so skins would be great, or failing that, at least the ability to change the toolbar color. the button skins are nice, but it needs more.

    Despite this, I don’t think the MS word argument is very good, sure eye-candy is a selling-point, but unlike Open office, MS word actually advertises, and if you are not serious about computers, it might seem like the only option.

    Comment by badwolf14 — 04.25.09 @ 9:45 am

  45. I use OpenOffice Calc and Writer for productivity. However, I use it on Mac OS X and Linux, and it is much nicer working on the Mac version. The interface is less distracting. I’m using OpenOffice 3 on Ubuntu, and the interface looks like it was made on GTK v1, while FireFox, the file manager, Gimp, K3B etc. all have the same “slick” look. OpenOffice on Linux is just ugly to the point of distracting for me. I’d like to see skins just so I can change that.

    Also, to point out to those saying that we don’t need skins because it is non-functional: the interface can have a huge impact on functionality. A skin could actually change the position of items – think what CSS does in a webpage. CSS effectively “skins” a web page, but it’s not just colors, it’s screen geography and layout as well.

    Comment by James Pearce — 06.3.09 @ 9:52 pm

  46. People have used MSoffice for years are more likely to purchase MS office simply because they are familiar with it. If more schools and universities used Openoffice as the official tool for school work then the sales for MS office would decline. It’s all about getting them young and keeping them addicted. It could be as simple as mass producing openoffice cd’s and making them available in the bookstores for $5.00.

    Comment by Chris Cline — 08.1.09 @ 11:19 pm

  47. open office is quite good and it do its work perfactly.bt i also think themes are really some themes.
    eg. even with several gtk themes,espiclly with dark themes it becomes teribble to look at…too p[ainful to look at dat site.ya i admit its a productivaity suite but is dare any pain in as* if we provide dat funtionality?

    dares a lots of giood games wich has terrific story line up but poor graphics any1 wod like dat?nvr na(eg wideland)but every1 will try to play a gane with terrific graphics even though poor story.

    d 1st impression raelly matters a lot.linux is more essentially made to be more productive but still it have got compiz to aw windows user simmilarly ooo needs some eye candy

    Comment by Sahil — 06.20.10 @ 8:58 am

  48. I don’t think I’ve ever read such nonsense as I have on this page. (You know who you are).

    If you can compare OpenOffice to anything, it’s the Office suite by Microsoft. And Office looks better, a lot better. It’s that simple. Those of you who imagine that all users favour productivity over aesthetics are simply wrong, and even if they did they’d still choose Office.

    As one user posted above, the only reason people use OpenOffice rather than Microsoft Office is because it either came with their Linux distribution or they can’t afford the best. I think the OpenOffice team need to take a leaf out of Ubuntu’s book.

    Ubuntu is about the most popular Linux distribution at the moment, and for good reason. It’s easy to use and it looks great. I mean really nice. That latter factor should not be undervalued. If Office can look great, and Ubuntu can look great … Firefox has themes and so does just about every good piece of open source software … I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to make OpenOffice look better, allow users to change the colour schemes, etc. If that can’t be programmed without hurting performance … well they should quit to be honest.

    To say that the aesthetic doesn’t matter is nonsense. If you want to write something down and you are given a scrap of toilet paper and a biro you’re not going to have a good time. If you’re given a clean pad of cartridge paper and a Waterman Expert, on the other hand, it’s going to be lovely no matter what you’re writing. Think about it.

    OpenOffice’s dated look needs to improve, end of story.

    Comment by Cinder — 09.4.10 @ 9:59 pm

  49. Hmm… Not to beat a dead horse here… or open old outdated posts or anything, ;p

    The reason for skins, customization, if for PRODUCTIVITY. Yes this is aimed at the “grey suits” who probably haven’t looked here in years. But lets assume for a minute that an average person is sitting in their average cubicle on their average chair at their average job with their average computer and want to do an excellent job. Now you will say that the appearance of the software has nothing to do with that, but your wrong. People who set their environment up the way that they feel comfortable do better work, period. If that means being able to move toolbars around and change the look on them so that they can identify the critical commands easier, or if it just means putting pink freaking bows on the corner of their monitor, they will work better in an environment where they feel in control and comfortable. So customization does affect productivity, and I pray to God that I never work for some of the people who have posted here that don’t grasp that concept.

    Comment by Sam — 09.27.10 @ 3:09 pm

    • THANK YOU!
      You are so right.
      The dictatorship of companies like Apple, while quite good at making beautiful-looking stuff lacks one very important feature: customizability. Everyone is different, with different tastes, uses, and styles, and user interfaces are not just for “looking pretty”, but enhancing productivity!

      Comment by Thomas — 02.16.14 @ 1:14 pm

  50. Urm .. because Microsoft is not, and unlikely will be “Freely Available!” – Its proprietary , closed source and expensive. In no way could it be described as “Freely Available”. Either in monetary terms or ethical terms.

    Comment by nicholas fellows — 10.3.10 @ 7:53 am

  51. As a student and a writer who spends long hours in front of my computer I have to say that open office needs to improve the visuals. Functionally OOO is great. It basically does everything it should… and more. That said, MS Word has OOO beat hands down when it comes to marathon writing/editing stints. There’s something about OOO’s harsh lines and rough color contrasts (no matter how much monkeying around in options I can’t seem to get this exactly right) that makes it impossible (for me) to work more than 4 or 5 hours. I am far from being a fan of Microsoft, but I have to admit that MS Word is more productive for me because it’s easy on the eyes. I can put in an additional 3 – 4 hours on Word before my eyes are done with my cpu screen. Incidentally, this is the only reason why I bother to continue to run a dual boot machine.

    Comment by gnam1 — 11.22.10 @ 12:00 pm

  52. Hello, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and
    i was just curious if you get a lot of spam remarks?
    If so how do you protect against it, any plugin or anything
    you can advise? I get so much lately it’s driving me mad
    so any help is very much appreciated.

    Comment by Samira — 04.22.14 @ 11:26 pm

  53. wow! super!

    Comment by unnamed — 11.5.14 @ 7:49 am


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