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Re: [ossig] OpenOffice.org vs. M$ Office - migrationgotchas/issues?

On Wed, 2004-06-30 at 14:06, Christopher DeMarco wrote:
> I'm beginning to  to evaluate  whether and  how to replace  M$  Office
> (hereinafter "M$")  with OOo at  my father's small  law firm.  Project
> planning and needs-assessements aside,    I have some   very practical

What is he currently using? Is it WordPerfect? Lawyers tend to miss the
"reveal codes" features (or so I've seen complaints of...)

>   What significant white spaces  exist in feature-mappings between OOo
>   and M$?   For example, XEmacs can't use  XFT fonts and would require
>   significant hacking to implement them,  whereas Kate does so nicely.
>   Broadly, in  strict terms of functionality, what  can M$ do that OOo
>   can't?  What M$ functionality does OOo implement, but so badly as to
>   impact usability?

Grammar checker is lacking, and it sticks out like a sore thumb for
many. Calc currently misses out on lots of useful statistical functions
that Excel has (Gnumeric covers it too, incidentally). 3D charting in
Calc is handled quite badly... as are 3D graphics in Impress, especially
when you open them from existing PowerPoint presentations

If you can rid yourself of the minor nuances, like bullets running (or
looking odd mainly, since they are fields, and field shadings tend to be
turned on by default!), notes might disappear from Word<->Writer, change
tracking might be horrendous, and things like watermark support is
rather limited in comparison to MS Office

Also beware of fonts. Applying Font Replacement tables are mighty handy - this mainly due to issues with Linux<->Windows integration problems.

>   What  significant  incompatibilities  exist   between  OOo and   M$?
>   Disregarding scripting  issues  and the potential  for  change in M$
>   file  formats, are there any important   document features which are
>   either impossible to import to OOo or which import wrongly?

Scripting issue support, as ugly as it sounds, is going to disappear -
Novell hackers are madly working at getting MSOffice macors to run in
OOo. How this impacts security is a definitely good question

I notice in another response the outline numberings might be an issue?
This is mainly because the Styles aren't used to its utmost - the
Stylist is very important, so it's going to take a bit of a "thinking
shift" to start using OOo effectively

Like having Page 1 portrait styled, page 2 landscape styled, page 3 and
4 portrait styled, and page 5 landscaped style is a lot more easier to
grasp in Word than it is in Writer. Thats because of the Stylist. Ditto
with getting outline numberings like 1, 1.1, 1.1.1 and so on

> Since  OOo  obviously can't implement VB    or any other  M$ scripting
> technology (since it's a  cross-platform app), document scripting is a
> big  compatibility hurdle.  Are there any  conversion  tools which can
> port M$ scripts of varying triviality to the  OOo (|| Python || Pascal
> etc.) language?

No, there is currently a conversion document available, to help those
moving from MSOffice VBScript --> StarBasic macros. But I'm sure a nice
Python script would rock, as the pyuno bindings can be used to make
things "just work". Patches welcome :)

> Another great concern is   training - the  user base  will have to  be
> quickly brought to a  level of productivity/comfort roughly equivalent
> to what they  had with M$.  What  are the best  existing resources for
> training users  to migrate M$ -> OOo?   Imran's Mimos  docs are great,
> what else out there is Ready For Primetime?

Quick start guide at http://training.bytebot.net/ might be useful for
you. That lasts for a 2-3 day training course btw. Its free, and will
save you money, if used alongside say, with the MIMOS guide

If your main concern is Writer, get the shareware book, "Taming
OpenOffice.org Writer", and read that. Many can learn, though I'd
encourage at least "one license" purchased - the author went out on a
limb, and will not continue writing useful Calc/Impress guides unless
she gets enough moolah

If you hop on to Kinokuniya or Times in KLCC, there's a Pocket Book on
OpenOffice.org - quite good, a bit pricey, but only about 100 pages, on
the entire package

There are a few other books, none of which hit the local bookstores, and
even if they did (ok, one did!), they're out-dated - based on OOo 1.0 -
sadly lots of material out there are based on 1.0 :(

Err, styles. There's a good introduction to styles at
http://documentation.openoffice.org/ but a whole book can be written on
it sometimes :) Its very advanced, very powerful, and definitely
something you have to get around to using. Because of lot of missing
features are fixed via Styles (and its not very apparent, unfortunately)

Oh, and the Help files are pretty good, but not training material,

Hope this helps
Colin Charles, byte@aeon.com.my
"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, 
then you win." -- Mohandas Gandhi

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