I wish I spoke Finnish

At least sometimes I do. I found from the referrer logs a page full of people arguing in Finnish about my rant against OOo. I doubt I am missing much. The arguments are almost certainly the same in any language, up to and including Klingon — I bet that “MS:llä on bugeja ja muillakin saa silloin olla? Erikoinen ajattelutapa vai onko Open Source liike niin MS:n perään, että bugitkin pitää kopioida :)” means there are lots of bugs in MS products, and they don’t get fixed either.

But there are in fact damn few bugs in Word, and they do tend to get fixed. The very least you can ask of a software upgrade is that it continues to do the things that the old version could manage. Then you can ask it to do more. Lots more, perhaps: there are about 5,500 requests for enhancement in the OOo bug database, as well as the 5,700 defects reported. But OOo 2.0 has at least three regressions (defects that were not there in 1.1) which make it harder for me to work.

  • outline numbering is completely screwed up — 26 reported defects in the last year.
  • moving through the text, or deleting it, a sentence at a time is broken, especially when you do it backwards. I don’t know how many times a day I get half way through a sentence and then delete back to the beginning, but it is certainly one of the most common editing operations in my life.
  • there is a bad screen flicker when using the outlining and navigation window.

Going by past experience, it will be at least six months before any of these are fixed. That’s not surprising, when there are roughly 1,000 bugs outstanding for every developer. But it’s not much a of a value proposition, even when the software costs nothing to download. Yes, the MS paperclip was irritating. But I can turn it off. There’s no switch to turn on the missing functionality in OOo.

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5 Responses to I wish I spoke Finnish

  1. Rupert says:

    This is odd. I’ve used 2.0 and its betas pretty much since they first broke the surface, with lots of articles (and getting on for 50,000 words in one particular project) without problems in moving around the text, deleting stuff, reordering large chunks and so on. It wasn’t the most stable of animals in the beginning, but I never lost anything. Of late, it seems fine.

    I don’t use outlining, as may be obvious.

    What are you running it on? XP?

    R

    Disclosure: I’ve been asked to write a review of OOo (that mere man could be so blessed) so don’t tell me anything you want to keep secret.

  2. acb says:

    I’m running it on Windows 2000, service pack four. I have never lost text, either.

    Two things that should drive you mad.

    1. press F5 to make the navigator visible. Leave it there while you type a few paragraphs in the default style.
    2. (maybe I am the only person to do this?) Bind control up to “to previous sentence”. Move backwards through the text. Watch it skip two sentences when done at the end of a paragraph. Watch it fail altogether when there are two carriage returns in a row. Now bind ctrl-shift-backspace to “delete to beginning of sentence”. Watch this delete two sentences at the end of paragraphs. If the paragraph is preceded by two cariage returns, and you try this inthe first sentence, watch it delete to the end of that sentence instead.
    3. Try making any sort of numbered list with subheadings and moving things around within it.
  3. Hanan Cohen says:

    How is your Hebrew?

  4. acb says:

    Non-existent. I have a phrasebook somewhere.

  5. Hanan Cohen says:

    Can you tell us later how many entries did you get from here?

    http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3160083,00.html

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