Is LibreOffice *THAT* bad? :(

From: kitepilot@kitepilot.com
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So I talked my brother into ditching Micro$haft and moving to Linux.
Baaaad idea... 

The man uses Excel *HEAVILY*, and LibreOffice just could not keep up.
But it was not lack of features or limitations, it was *STUPID* (but 
dangerous) things like cells not showing the real value and/or recalculating 
wrong. 

I didn't take his word for it, he showed me the (unbelievable) problems (I 
could not believe what I was seeing).
The guy is back to Excel...
What am I missing?
ET

=============================================================== From: Dan Eveland ------------------------------------------------------ I really want LibreOffice to work for me. But it just sucks so bad once you dig into past a little memo or small spreadsheet. I try it out every major update. It has never failed to let me down in some small or large way every time I try to complete a (not-simple) document. Of course, my requirements are my own and your millage may vary.

=============================================================== From: wes ------------------------------------------------------ LibreOffice does things differently. It was not designed to be a direct replacement for MS Office. It was designed from the ground up to be a general-use office productivity suite. There is another open-source product called Gnumeric that was designed to mimic MS Excel in every way possible. Maybe your brother could give that a try? To answer you actual question would require us to see the same proof that you talked about seeing. Can you reproduce any of the problems with generic data? -wes

=============================================================== From: Lynn Dixon ------------------------------------------------------ It's a shame that a company like Microsoft does an Office Suite so well. I really wish MS would release Office on Linux. I don't even care if its close source, binary blobs. However, you could always have him try the Office Web Apps that are free as a part of Skydrive.

=============================================================== From: Benjamin Stewart ------------------------------------------------------ Out of my own ignorance: Does this apply to both forks(Libre/Open)?

=============================================================== From: kitepilot@kitepilot.com ------------------------------------------------------ No, he only tried 'Libre', but after the experience, and given the fundamental nature of the problems, I doubt that he would be willing to try 'Open', and I am borderline sure that the problems will be there. Problems are very hard to replicate, but they are there... ET Benjamin Stewart writes:

=============================================================== From: Dan Lyke ------------------------------------------------------ On Fri, Sep 27, 2013 at 11:16 AM, Benjamin Stewart wrote: My two-years ago gig involved a lot of Microsoft .*x files, and I almost broke down and bought a machine just to run Office. I can't speak to the functionality of the spreadsheet, if I start to get complex stuff I sling code, but I could totally imagine that importing .xls or .xlsx files would lose important bits, and that saving and re-importing those files would end up with spreadsheets that looked nothing like what they started with. Loading, saving, and re-loading with .doc, .docx, .ppt or .pptx files always lead to tears (though the older formats were a hell of a lot less bad than the new formats). After years of thinking that there was a future for "Linux on the desktop", I've come to two conclusions: 1. That works if you're only communicating with other Linux users. If you can use native formats? Great. If you have to communicate with Microsoft Office users? Don't bother. 2. Unless they're computers in your household, who cares? When most consumers buy a computer off-the-shelf, they're paying the Microsoft tax anyway already. Let the people who want to do that use Microsoft and Apple. Linux rocks the living daylights out of the back-end stuff, the embedded stuff, and the phone (Android and whatever else is up-and-coming). Back in the day we used to say that if you have to connect two IBM mainframes together, the easiest way to do that was to put a DEC VAX in between them. Linux fills that same glue function now. Dan

=============================================================== From: Eric Wolf ------------------------------------------------------ Office is Microsoft's cash cow. It funds everything else they do to us. And that won't change for several reasons: 1. Everyone uses it. It's the de facto standard. 2. It does considerably more than what any one user needs. Any two users will need a divergent enough feature set that they can't both start using something like LibreOffice. Any N users (i.e., a corporation) use N+1 feature sets and will never get off Office because there is no replacement. 3. Microsoft hasn't screwed up Office bad enough to give users a real reason to try other things. The UI change to the "ribbon" was pretty drastic but didn't really impact their user base. Unfortunately, Office drives demand for Windows... and that sucks... I'd recommend VirtualBox with Windows and Office installed. -Eric -=--=---=----=----=---=--=-=--=---=----=---=--=-=- Eric B. Wolf 720-334-7734

=============================================================== From: John Aldrich ------------------------------------------------------ Quoting Lynn Dixon : What about Google Docs spreadsheets?

=============================================================== From: DaWorm ------------------------------------------------------ I use LibreOffice on my linux machines and it's ok for small stuff. But like the OP, I've found it really doesn't cut it when you want to do anything even just fairly complicated, for both Write and Calc. Some things that are relatively easy in Word or Excel just can't be done yet in Write or Calc. It's getting better, and for most personal use is just fine. But many of the moderately complex layouts or data manipulation I've tried it just isn't possible. It's not that the capabilities are hard to find, they just don't exist.

=============================================================== From: Rod ------------------------------------------------------ From what I read it is the spreadsheet that gets people. The Write or comp part is doable. My question is everyone knows that excel users are using it as a mini db, how much of those issues are due to that? In other words is your brother trying to do something that LO/OO thinks should be done in Base? Also as others pointed out there are work flow differences as there are with many commercial office suites. He would have issues if tried to go to wordperfect or Amipro. Didn't mean they didn't have feature set, they just went about it differently. I had that issue when my old job just decided I was going for WP to MS office for no other reason than it was what was installed on the new machine. Screwed my work flow for a while. On the other hand your hermano may be one of those power users who uses the obscure feature set that MS has that no else does. Can't tell until we have an example. Tho spreadsheets wern't my forte. https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Feature

=============================================================== From: Chad Smith ------------------------------------------------------ Everyone who going to bat for LibreOffice - did you miss the part where ET said that the program *DID MATH WRONG*. That's not some "obscure feature set" needed only by "power users" or people who are afraid of change.... That's the one thing that no **computer** program should ever get wrong. COMPUTER... it computes. That is its original intention. It's native language is 1s and 0s. A computer spreadsheet that can't do math correctly is not just useless - it's dangerous and should be avoided like the plague. I like the idea of Libre/Open Office. It is what introduced me to open source as being a thing that exists. But if Calc (the name of the Spreadsheet mode of the program) can't Calculate - it shouldn't be allowed to continue to exist... not until they fix that. omg. *- Chad W. Smith*

=============================================================== From: Dan Lyke ------------------------------------------------------ My interpretation was that it's likely that by "did math wrong" he meant "didn't import the Excel formulas correctly". I'd have to know more before I made a judgement; I've yet to catch Libre/OpenOffice mucking up spreadsheet calculations, but I also have done my spreadsheets solely in those tools. Which goes back to my observation that LibreOffice has been fine for me as long as I never tried to interoperate with Microsoft files. As soon as I did that, I had to be veeeery careful. Dan

=============================================================== From: Justin W Elam ------------------------------------------------------ I first started using Lotus123, and WordPerfect on an IBM /os/2 PC compatible machine in the late 1980's. Unfortunately, some people like to use Excel instead of a DB like mySQL, postgreSQL, noSQL, or SQL lite. They also like to use Excel instead of R, SAS, And SPSS for statistical analysis. Below are some resources showing how bad EXCEL is for statistical analysis. Most the time, a LaTeX, R, SQL lite solution is better than using EXCEL. Your mileage may vary, here are some resources for your perusal https://www.cs.uiowa.edu/~jcryer/JSMTalk2001.pdf http://andrewgelman.com/2013/04/17/excel-bashing/ http://forecastingprinciples.com/files/McCullough.pdf http://biostat.mc.vanderbilt.edu/wiki/pub/Main/TheresaScott/StatsInExcel.TAScott.slides.pdf http://biostat.mc.vanderbilt.edu/wiki/Main/ExcelProblems http://www.csdassn.org/software

=============================================================== From: Tom Wilson ------------------------------------------------------ It really does boil down to your usage and expectations. My wife has written 19 books using Open/LibreOffice and the only complaint is mine as it exports the ugliest HTML I have ever seen. Makes conversion to *proper* EPUB & MOBI an annoyance. VIM and some custom plugins ease the pain somewhat. Fortunately, submissions for print-on-demand are PDF so there's no trouble there. Personally, I used to swear by Office until the day it decided I had to buy a new license before I re-installed it. (Hard drive failure and subsequent replacing and repaving) I can very easily afford it and, yes, I know a call to Microsoft would likely be all that is required anyway. Not interested in calling some peon in Bangladesh (or anywhere else for that matter) to ask if I may please use my software again pretty please. It's not going to happen - ever. As far as the spreadsheet inadequacies are concerned, I don't think anyone who uses spreadsheets in a serious capacity would claim Libre/OpenOffice calc has anything approaching parity let alone superiority to Excel. The only complicated spreadsheet I ever used was mangled by calc. Fortunately, it was for Eve Online...so.....it wasn't what you would call a deal-breaker. I just re-did it so it worked again (Then promptly stopped playing Eve Online because I no longer have the time for that sort of thing) I'd liken serious mathematical modeling in calc to implementing an interstate overpass with Legos. (Apple Numbers? - TinkerToys) - Finding an alternative route would be my first order of business.

=============================================================== From: Rod ------------------------------------------------------

=============================================================== From: kitepilot@kitepilot.com ------------------------------------------------------ Just to clarify: means just that. No excel import, no weird things here. This was freshly created (albeit complex) spreadsheet. Cells would display wrong numbers or not at all. I could position the cursor in a cell and see a simple formula yielding a bad result. This were problems that you'd figure basic testing would catch. It was, in short, completely unreliable... :( ET Chad Smith writes:

=============================================================== From: wes ------------------------------------------------------ if it was just a simple formula, you should be able to give us the formula. -wes

=============================================================== From: Chad Smith ------------------------------------------------------ Yeah, because everyone remembers every math problem they ever did. *- Chad W. Smith*

=============================================================== From: William Roush ------------------------------------------------------ WW91IHdhbnQgZXZpZGVuY2UgdG8gaHVnZSBjbGFpbXM/IFRoYXQncyBhYnN1cmQhIEkgY2FuJ3Qg YmUgYm90aGVyZWQgdG8gYmFjayB0aGVtIHVwLgoKQWxzbyBob3cgYWJvdXQgYSBidWcgbnVtYmVy IGluc3RlYWQuLi4gWW91IGtub3cgZG9pbmcgdGhlIHJpZ2h0IHRoaW5nIGZvciBvcGVuIHNvdXJj ZSBzb2Z0d2FyZSB5b3UgZ2V0IGZvciBmcmVlIGFuZCByZXBvcnRpbmcgaXNzdWVzLgoKQ2hhZCBT bWl0aCA8Y2hhZDc4QGdtYWlsLmNvbT4gd3JvdGU6Cgo+X19fX19fX19fX19fX19fX19fX19fX19f X19fX19fX19fX19fX19fX19fX19fX18KPkNodWdhbHVnIG1haWxpbmcgbGlzdAo+Q2h1Z2FsdWdA Y2h1Z2FsdWcub3JnCj5odHRwOi8vY2h1Z2FsdWcub3JnL2NnaS1iaW4vbWFpbG1hbi9saXN0aW5m by9jaHVnYWx1Zwo=

=============================================================== From: Chad Smith ------------------------------------------------------ This isn't some Microsoft shill. ET has been on this list for a long time. Why would he lie? *- Chad W. Smith*

=============================================================== From: wes ------------------------------------------------------ I don't think he's lying at all! I am simply curious about the failure. His claim flies in the face of my (and others') experience with Calc. So in my perspective, I have to choose which seems more likely to me: that Calc failed in some basic fundamental way, or that ET might have made mistakes in his input. -wes

=============================================================== From: wes ------------------------------------------------------ That's right, when trying to convince someone to use open source software, we should proclaim it a failure and do nothing to help the situation. Troll. -wes

=============================================================== From: Chad Smith ------------------------------------------------------ Also, when you are trying to convince someone to switch to open source software, the last thing you should have to do is stop in the middle of it and file a bug report. *- Chad W. Smith*

=============================================================== From: Chad Smith ------------------------------------------------------ It shouldn't *BE* broken. *- Chad W. Smith*

=============================================================== From: Stephen Kraus ------------------------------------------------------ OpenOffice works awesome for me in my Physics and Math classes, because it comes with a formula writer and layout program, makes it so much easier than having to try writing up a couple pages worth of formulas. Its done well for me in every other category too.

=============================================================== From: Jason Brown ------------------------------------------------------ Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence (or proof depending on who you quote). I use Libre Office on Ubuntu daily for manipulating and fixing all kinds of data. I have never had it, "do math wrong". I have however had it completely fail to import Microsoft Excel files with complex formatting. The fundamental way that spreadsheets handle math could easily be the issue, for example most spreadsheets interpret a string as a literal zero, if a column is incorrectly formatted this could produce an incorrect result. Range errors , auto range extension, filters, and formula processing order can also skew the results. If the spreadsheet is so complicated, it probably shouldn't be a spreadsheet in the first place. Some of the links posted by Justin have quite strong arguments in that regard. I would be willing to bet lunch for one (loser buys) that the issue is not a math bug in Calc, but some other issue inherent to spreadsheets or import / user error. --Jason

=============================================================== From: William Roush ------------------------------------------------------ Could be a mistake on his/his friend's part, should be reported, the details would be interesting (considering lots of us use it and haven't run into this). As an open source developer, it kind of irks me to spread FUD, especially with no details on how to reproduce. William Roush

=============================================================== From: William Roush ------------------------------------------------------ But as a user of that open source software, you should give back to the community that is providing their skills for free by at least filing the bug with reproduction steps. William Roush

=============================================================== From: Justin W Elam ------------------------------------------------------ =-5^2+5^2 should equal 0 In a version of Excel you get 50. Here are some Horror Stories http://www.eusprig.org/horror-stories.htm Of things you should watch out for. -- ----------------------------- Justin W Elam E-mail ::: justin.w.elam@gmail.com ###

=============================================================== From: Stephen Kraus ------------------------------------------------------ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel#Pentium

=============================================================== From: Eric Wolf ------------------------------------------------------ Justin, That's a pretty questionable formula. The 'sign' of the first integer is the 'negative symbol' and is considered part of the value 'negative five'. I would calculate '-5^2+5^2' to equal 50. -Eric -=--=---=----=----=---=--=-=--=---=----=---=--=-=- Eric B. Wolf 720-334-7734

=============================================================== From: Eric Wolf ------------------------------------------------------ Hmmm... learn something new every day: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order

=============================================================== From: James Nylen ------------------------------------------------------ This is an excellent thread. I hope to be able to read some of the links one day. I use Excel for my day job, and it is killing our ability to innovate.

=============================================================== From: William Roush ------------------------------------------------------ I added excel to the banned applications list a few jobs ago for Sales... they'd routinely copy customers (and sensitive information) OUT of our CRM and into their excel spreadsheets. God that is a security nightmare, and makes it impossible to sync/reassign/notify of appointments/etc. William Roush

=============================================================== From: James Nylen ------------------------------------------------------ I'm not even talking about BAD spreadsheets (I can feel my blood pressure rising). We have a document at work that warns against most of that stuff, but when the recommended best practice is to put totals at the top so that you don't accidentally fill a formula over them, it's a sign that your tools suck.