NOV
4
2005

KOffice Meets the Users

Are you using KOffice? What are you using KOffice for? Why did you decide to use KOffice? What are your main problems? We want to know who uses KOffice and we are especially interested in companies and people using KOffice applications in the course of their business. We have done usability testing with OpenUsability on some of the KOffice programs and will be working more with them. Now we want to reach our users directly and ask them what they think.

The KOffice hackers have been working on KOffice for quite a few years now and we've received quite a lot of great and useful feedback from users. KOffice is picking up a lot of momentum now and in the run-on towards the 1.5 release we would like to get to know our users a lot better.

So... Are you using KOffice? What are you using KOffice for? Why did you decide to use KOffice? What are your main problems? Please not too many comments about reading MS Office files and the difficulties of loading large files, we are continuing to work hard on these areas.

As we wrote above, we want to know who uses KOffice right now. We are especially interested in companies and people using KOffice applications in the course of their business. If you are using KOffice and want to help us, please leave a comment below or contact our marketing guy Inge Wallin (inge@lysator.liu.se) and give him your story.

Thanks!

Comments

is that KOffice is still alpha quality software. Even the most stable of its programs, KWord, sometimes corrupts files unrecoverably. Specifically I've seen paste and undo do that. Happens to unreproducible, too, so no, I did not file bug reports. And then you go looking for your backup copy and discover that the autosave feature you set to autosave every five minutes saved exactly nothing. Still I'm sticking with KOffice, don't want anything with Java dependencies on my system.


By KOffice user at Fri, 2005/11/04 - 6:00am

If you're using Debian Sid or fedora (and I guess probably other distroz), you can safely use openoffice.org2 because they managed to compile it with GCJ and classpath. So yes it does use code written in Java but it doesn't run using any proprietary code from Sun or anything else.
That being said, I never use it because the only time I need an Office suite is to read .doc files that people send me and Kword embedded in Konqueror is so fast and just ROCKS!


By patcito at Fri, 2005/11/04 - 6:00am

OOo2.0 doesn't actually need Java for the basics. I installed Writer, Calc and Impress, and I am not hearing any complaints about that.


By Morten Juhl Johansen at Sat, 2005/11/05 - 6:00am

Obviously bugs are easiest to fix when they are reproduceable, but if you cannot reproduce them, it is still worth posting bug reports with the backtraces (assuming you have them).


By Robert Knight at Fri, 2005/11/04 - 6:00am

backtraces are only for crashes...

I basically agree with grandparent. Krita looks like its going to be great stuff, but I always run into little problems. I loath Gimp and Krita seems to have quite active development so I'm defintedly going to be following it.

A couple of years ago, I was working on a KOffice presentation and it became totally messed up in regards to its fonts I couldn't figure out how to fix it. That was enough to make me never want to use it again.


By Ian Monroe at Fri, 2005/11/04 - 6:00am

Please, if you run into those little problems again, either file a bug report (if it's reproducable) or contact me, either on #koffice, or by mail (which I prefer). I can only fix stuff if I know it's broken, and actually, hacking on Krita takes so much time that I hardly have a chance to actually use my application :-). It helps if you can compile & install the svn trunk version, though.


By Boudewijn Rempt at Sat, 2005/11/05 - 6:00am

Actually, I feel that KWord has become much more stable recently - I have not had any crashes this time around.
I do not use KDE, but I do use KOffice - as it is light compared to its features.


By Morten Juhl Johansen at Sat, 2005/11/05 - 6:00am

Last time I checked the autosave path wasn't set by default, the path field was emphty. This means that the autosaving wasn't done (AFAIK), I don't know if this is fixed already because I set it manually and updated after that.

Also I think kword is a bit unstable. This can be very annoying if you are typing a big document without saving sometimes. :)

For the rest I really like koffice! thanks!


By David at Fri, 2005/11/04 - 6:00am

I use KOffice at home. Given the choice between OpenOffice, MS Office via Wine, and KOffice, I chose KOffice for the following reasons:

- KOffice integrates best with my desktop (visual fit, file management, printing). This is important to me, so I give it a lot of weight
- KOffice is the most responsive suite on slower systems
- I have confidence that the KOffice team will fix any shortcomings I find

Shortcomings I've found (that haven't been fixed) are:
- Font display and printing (kerning issues) can be pretty bad. This has sent me to MS Office via Wine a few times! I understand that this is a Qt issue and look forward to a Qt4-based KOffice. But please hurry! ;)
- Table support in KWord is pretty bad. I'd like easier control over placement & size of table elements, in particular
- The rapid improvement of KSpread over the years has been wonderful, but the one feature I miss is cell labelling. To my knowledge the blank textbox left of the function textbox accepts input, but serves no useful purpose. I'd like to label cells and use those labels in my formulas

Hope that helps. I also don't like the K-naming thing, but that's another issue ;)


By ac at Fri, 2005/11/04 - 6:00am

"KOffice is the most responsive suite on slower systems". Thats the great advantage of KOffice. For the next MS Office/Windows yu´ll need a DirextX9 graphic card - who wants such a heavy graphic card to make office work?

And people who want a big system can run OpenOffice. For Home Use and small buissiness issues we don´t need a bloated system. Espacially at KOffice, ´cause there a just to few developers to fix all the bugs. I want for me a KOffice that don´t come with more and more features till it´s so big as OpenOffice, i want a stable program suite with that a can do my daily issues. All that KOffice needs for it, is to be with less bugs. And so long one feature after the other get added to KOffice there is no change to get rid of the bugs.


By Nattydraddy at Sun, 2005/11/06 - 6:00am

The default look of the interface is horrible in my view. With KDE, much can be done to kKOffice to look beautiful.

The typing area does not cover the entire window and the color used for the un editable area is so dull! This diverges from the "normal" applications MS-Wors StarOffice and WordPerfect! So, to users KDE looks strange. This does not help at all.

Then we have the toolbars. Why won't the developeres merge those toolbars. Any attempt by a user to customize them might lead to a crash. In the end, may of those short tool bars waste screen real estate.

My 2 cents.


By charles at Fri, 2005/11/04 - 6:00am

i only use kword (and, now and then, karbon).

I like the fact its small and fast, and works good with kde.
its also easy to use.

but the table support sucks, and fonts (esp kerning sucks) are hard to get looking well. looks great under suse 10.0, tough.

well, and for my girlfriend, .doc support is the most important point...

anyway, for me, if you guys can fix table support in kword (even if it takes until KDE 4 :D) i'll be a happy user. i'll use it anyway, by the way. i don't make tables very often :D


By superstoned at Fri, 2005/11/04 - 6:00am

> well, and for my girlfriend, .doc support is the most important point...

Hmmm, never tried that with the wife... ;-)

Seriously, now, I work in a Windows environment. .doc support is paramount.

I had some trouble to install Koffice on Mandriva 10.1 community version, but didn't get much time to work with it, as all my documents are sent to Windows-only users. Oo.o is a nobrainer, therefore.

But I will install Koffice at home, since it's oh so less bloated than Oo.o...

Now, tables are extremely important. Even my resumé is in table form. Many, many, many forms rely on correct table manipulation...


By Gr8teful at Sat, 2005/11/05 - 6:00am

While I agree that KOffice does not yet warrent a version number >= 1.0, the most serious problem remains the fact that KWord will not print proportional spaced fonts correctly. Printing in other apps has the same problem but it is not as serious there.

I do use KWord and Karbon for specific functionality that other apps don't have. KWord will open PDF files and Karbon will open SVG files that other OS apps won't open or won't display correctly as well as convert EPS to SVG.

I also do not like the startup dialog that demands that I choose a document format and has a bunch of irrelevant choices. If implemented better, this might be OK, but I just turn it off. I don't agree with the idea that an application must always have a document open. It can cause problems if you have a document open and you have not given it a name yet.


By James Richard Tyrer at Fri, 2005/11/04 - 6:00am

I agree with your sentiment on the startup dialog. What I like about koffice is that it is lightweight and fast, but the startup dialog gets in the way if you just want to open a document quickly. Why not open a plain document with reasonable default settings if no document to open is given?


By ac at Fri, 2005/11/04 - 6:00am

I also think that the startup dialog only gets in the way. At least in my admittedly outdated KWord 1.2 the default action is "cancel", so just pressing return after the startup dialog appears simply quits KWord again.


By ac at Fri, 2005/11/04 - 6:00am

So, select a blank A4 documet and check 'allways use this template' (that may not be the exact text), and you have what you ask for ;)


By Anders at Fri, 2005/11/04 - 6:00am

Yes, that is what I meant by turning it off.


By James Richard Tyrer at Sun, 2005/11/06 - 6:00am

I agree on the printing problem - it makes KWord unusable for me.


By thomas at Sat, 2005/11/05 - 6:00am

I totally agree. I would *love* to be able to use KOffice, but the character-spacing problem makes any document look like shit.

I always have my Gentoo system up-to-date, and every time a new KOffice version is released, I emerge it immediately, hoping that the problem has been fixed. Unfortunately, it is still there...


By Meneer Dik at Sun, 2005/11/06 - 6:00am

Kpresenter and Kword are my most used applications. Kpresenter is a nice, lightweight and useful presentation application. It exports to html extremely well and can accept many different image types. It scales images quickly and effectively. I do wish it would default to lock the aspect ratio when dragging the corner of an image to change the scale. It would also be great if Kpresenter understood image transparency.
I find the interface to be useful and fairly intuitive. Insert slide should be a default button on a toolbar.
Many times changing an option doesn't actually work. I have to change something, hit apply, then change another property in order to have the first change appear.
I do definitely prefer Kpresenter to the OOo alternative.

I also use Kword exclusively for my word processing application. It does exactly what I need quickly and well. Printing is sometimes an issue. I have no idea if it's the printer or the application. I usually print to PDF first, then send that document to the printer. Always looks great this way.

So, I don't have many complaints with the application's usability or performance. Just a "great work so far!"


By Stuart at Fri, 2005/11/04 - 6:00am

What I like about KOffice is Kpart. This technoloy has the potential to do similar thing that Apple's OpenDoc technology did. (I believe this was eventualy made open source when IBM and Novell joined in). If this happens with KDE/KOffice then working would more intuitive and natural - a bit like pen and paper. This would definately be the case with tablet/handheld computer. Incidently artificial intelligents (agent software) would take KDE applications closer to this goal. This would mean applications like KWord would need to support irregular frame. Have a look at the Newton OS to see what I mean.

That how became I interested in the KDE GUI and KOffice. My favoueite KOffice component at the moment is Krita.

Rock on.


By Michael Wright at Fri, 2005/11/04 - 6:00am

KPart itself is part of KDE. (Konqueror is *the* tool for KParts.)

However KOffice improves KPart for its needs. (That is why you cannot use a non-KOffice KPart in KOffice.)

Have a nice day!


By Nicolas Goutte at Fri, 2005/11/04 - 6:00am

any change this can be fixed for KDE 4? (eg add the changes to KDElibs for 4)


By superstoned at Fri, 2005/11/04 - 6:00am

I do not know the plan of KOffice for KDE4.

However I am not sure if adding the features to kdelibs would solve everything. Probably each KPart will more or less always need to be adapted for KOffice. (But perhaps it could be made easier and could therefore interest parts of KDE that are normally not interested in having a dependency to KOffice.)

Have a nice day!


By Nicolas Goutte at Fri, 2005/11/04 - 6:00am

Koffice should be able to embed any kpart
http://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=55092


By Anonymous at Sat, 2005/11/05 - 6:00am

The improvment KOffice makes to KPart should move into the main KDE environment. That should over come any problem of not being able to use non-KOffice KPart in KOffice. Other applications that may benefit such improvement are Kontact, TaskJuggler and KDissert. There bound to be other applications too.


By Michael Wright at Sat, 2005/11/05 - 6:00am

I think KWord is really stable. The only trouble I seem to have is importing Microsoft Word files. OpenOffice.org does it flawlessly, so I don't understand why there isn't a decent MS Word import filter. Other than that, I'm very happy with the whole suite. It's fast, light-weight, and perfectly integrated with KDE. So keep up the great work!


By Chris Evans at Fri, 2005/11/04 - 6:00am

- because OOo has used a lot of work to create and maintain the MS Office import (and export) filters
- because KOffice cannot use OOo's filters, as they are not meant to be portable.

Have a nice day!


By Nicolas Goutte at Fri, 2005/11/04 - 6:00am

But once we all use Opendocument the method would be

- convert doc to Opendocument using a OO based conversion tool

- open the converted Opendocuemtn file with Kword


By Gerd at Fri, 2005/11/04 - 6:00am

The only Koffice application I use regularly is KWord.

My experiences so far with KWord have been positive, but here are some things I would really appreciate:

Better handling of font spacing
Improved support for MS Word docs
A grammar checker
More grammatical tools in general (such as various document analysis tools that rate the reading level and such)
A built-in KDict-like function with a thesaurus. I'd love to be able to right-click on a word and select a synonym from a list.


By Riskable at Fri, 2005/11/04 - 6:00am

I try to use Kword for grad school. I like the application's interface and speed. But, the kerning issues sometimes force me to cut and paste into OpenOffice and finish up there. If I could make the print-out look more professional, it would be my #1 choice. But, in the mean time I don' it when my professors say my term papers look weird.

--andy


By Andy at Fri, 2005/11/04 - 6:00am

I wish I could use KOffice more, it is fast, functional and integrates well with my favorite desktop, KDE. I use KDE at work and home, as do a number of my co-workers. I tend to do most of my writing using Latex, so Kile is what I use the most, and it is great.

From KOffice, Kivio and KSpread are my most frequently used applications. KSpread works just great, though I wish Kivio was better. The stencils in Kivio often do not look as good as the icons representing them. The icons should default to using colour and there should be more icons. The Cisco networking icons should be blue and not black. And the printouts don't look quite right. I would like to use it more, but often avoid using diagrams just because I know the result will not represent the effort I expended creating the diagram.

Please don't see my comments as overly negative, I believe it is the best there currently is for KDE.


By Fizz at Fri, 2005/11/04 - 6:00am

I haven't found any way to enter equations system ( "{" sign cant be stretched on multiple lines ) either intuitively nor in documentation


By nick at Fri, 2005/11/04 - 6:00am

Have you tried by putting a column vector after the {, it worked for me. By column vector I refer to that icon composed of several little squares one over another.


By marce at Mon, 2005/11/07 - 6:00am

I use KWord sometimes to read .doc documents (well, I usually write in latex, so I do not write in it). And I would like to use kspread, however, I have one problem - I can not make it show date os only the day of week. I did not manage to specify custom format as well.

Another thing I would use is karbon, however, it crashes all around the place, so it seems as lost time for me and I found myself program called vrr.

But I must say, koffice is the fastest office suite that ever runed on my computer, counting even MS office 2000 on windows.


By Michal Vaner at Fri, 2005/11/04 - 6:00am

Like most people here I really appreciate the speed at which KOffice runs on my computer, especially compared with OpenOffice. The only reason I usually end up using Impress for my presentations its ability to easily include LaTeX equations using the OOoLatex macro (http://ooolatex.sourceforge.net). The key feature is that the LaTeX code is embedded in the formula object, so it can be easily edited at any time (in contrast to simple LaTeX -> Image converters like tex2im (http://www.nought.de/tex2im.html)).

Can this be done also in KPresenter or in other KOffice applications? One could also imagine a whole range of embedded objects where this would be useful, for example a graph created by a gnuplot script, which can be edited from within the office applications....


By ac at Fri, 2005/11/04 - 6:00am

.Bib files import. This is a useful contribution for all scientific writers.


By Gerd at Fri, 2005/11/04 - 6:00am

Personally I really love KOffice. A round complete nice set of Office tools to get work done. Once when I was at university I had to draw a lot of computer science diagramms and as most others I was using DIA to try getting this kind of tasks done. But I quickly figured out how immature DIA was, how broken, instable, not reliable. Also the results wasn't really satisfying. Once I saved some stuff and then went over for dinner and after I came back I wanted to load the stuff and DIA has shown that it saved broken information. So I ditched it in favor to Kivio and the stuff worked out of the box with the provided stencils. Kivio was stable, reminded me of Visio, looked, felt and worked the same way like Visio and the results was quite impressive also. I have one big wish, I would really like to see TaskJuggler inside KOffice and have the default one removed in favor to TaskJuggler. Also again when I first hit a projects management software I came across Mr.Project (later renamed to Planner) but it was a toy more or less, didn't offered a quarter of the features that MS.Project offered. But then I was shown TaskJuggler and felt in love it was the most impressive implementation of a great projects management software seen for open source. I think that Koffice does it right, the entire KDE desktop plattform does it right and thats why I love it.

Thanks to all developers who made Koffice and KDE possible. A great desktop, easy, simple and consistent. A desktop to get serious business work done.


By A.A. at Fri, 2005/11/04 - 6:00am

Kivio is great, but it does need some polish. Printing and stencils are two key areas.

There is already a project management system being developed as part of KOffice. It is called KPlato. It is not currently usable which is why it hasn't been included in KOffice and its development appears to be relatively stagnent.


By Fizz at Sat, 2005/11/05 - 6:00am

Is there a good tutorial how to use scripting in KOffice, preferably in Python?


By ac at Fri, 2005/11/04 - 6:00am

It makes months ago that I have not answered to this question. ;-)

If nothing has changed, the answer is: no, unfortunately.

For DCOP in KOffice, there seems to be only:
http://www.koffice.org/developer/dcop/
(which is very limited).

Have a nice day!


By Nicolas Goutte at Fri, 2005/11/04 - 6:00am

Ouch. That's not too exhaustive. Is there a way to run scripts or macros from within, say, KWord? Do you have to use KJSEmbed for that, or ist it possible to use other languages?


By ac at Sat, 2005/11/05 - 6:00am

Well, there's http://kde-apps.org/content/show.php?content=18638 which I created for precisely this reason. Provides a slightly more Pythonic abstraction around the DCOP interface so you can do some pretty decent scripty things, especially with KSpread.


By Cerulean at Sat, 2005/11/05 - 6:00am

Thanks for the information, this looks really promising. Is the development still going on? It seems like the last changes were quite a while ago.


By ac at Sat, 2005/11/05 - 6:00am

It covered most of the useful things present in the DCOP interface at the time - then there wasn't much to do but wait for more features. I may have a look at the applications and see if there is anything new available soon.


By Cerulean at Sat, 2005/11/05 - 6:00am

This sounds so promising, it really deserves more publicity. Is there any chance that it will be included in the regular KOffice release?


By ac at Sat, 2005/11/05 - 6:00am

Did you contact us -- that is, the KOffice developers? I know I could use some help with creating DCOP interfaces! And I think this is very useful stuff. You obviously know more than I do about dcop.


By Boudewijn Rempt at Sun, 2005/11/06 - 6:00am

I asked for a couple of features and bugfixes in #koffice @ irc.kde.org and they were promptly added/fixed. Haven't really discussed taking it further - didn't seem like there were many people using it :P


By Cerulean at Mon, 2005/11/07 - 6:00am

Perhaps more people would use it if we were to package it with KOffice? If you can help me extend Krita's dcop interfaces and provide such a nice python lib for Krita, I'd certainly want to include it in the release.


By Boudewijn Rempt at Mon, 2005/11/07 - 6:00am

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