FEB
1
2006

KOffice 1.5 beta 1 Released

The KDE Project today announced the release of KOffice 1.5 beta 1, the first preview release for KOffice 1.5, scheduled for release this March. KOffice is an integrated office suite with more components than any other suite in existence. Never before has a new version of KOffice brought this many exciting new features including Kexi 1.0 and the first release of project management application KPlato. Read the full announcement and the changelog for more details or read on for the full article.

This release specifically introduces the following highlights:

  • OASIS OpenDocument as the Default File Format

    KOffice now uses OASIS OpenDocument as the default file format for the productivity applications KWord, KSpread, and KPresenter. In the final 1.5 release, the charting application KChart will also use OpenDocument as the default format.

  • Enhanced Accessibility for Users with Disabilities

    The decision of the Commonwealth of Massachussetts to base its future document format on open standards started a great debate with many different people and organization taking part. One major aspect is accessibility. KOffice now supports enhanced accessibility through mouseless operation and text-to-speech.

  • Start of a Unified Scripting Approach

    This version of KOffice features a start of a unified scripting solution called Kross. Kross provides cross-language support for scripting (thus its name) and at present supports Python and Ruby.

  • First Major Release of Kexi (1.0)

    KOffice 1.5 contains the much expected final 1.0 version of Kexi, a data
    management application which is the KOffice counterpart to MS Access or
    FileMaker. It is designed from the ground up as a standard KDE database
    application.

  • Project management application KPlato

    KOffice 1.5 is the first official release to include KPlato. KPlato is a project management application that lets the user control project schedules and resource use. It is included in KOffice 1.5 as a technology preview and full functionality is expected for version 2.0.

Of course, it also fixes countless bugs and introduces a lot of smaller new features.

Packages are available for Debian Sarge, Debian Sid, Kubuntu and SuSE.

Throughout the beta period, to make testing easier, the Klik developer team will provide up to date Klik packages for all of KOffice. Klik packages may be used without installation and run on multiple GNU/Linux platforms without disturbing the system's native package manager. See the KOffice Klik wiki page for details of the bundles and supported distributions.

Comments

Man, the dot is going frenzy. Which drugs are those marketing people on to produce four (and counting) news articles in such a short time? Ah well, I enjoy it :)


By Jakob Petsovits at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

Hmm, I actually did this without the help of the MWG. But just you wait until the final release of 1.5. Then I will take help from them, and we will really rock the boat!


By Inge Wallin at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

Will Koffice2 use Qt4?
What are Kexi advantages/disadvantages over MS Access or FileMake?


By patcito at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

Yes, KOffice 2.0 will use Qt 4.


By Robert Knight at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

If you want a full comparison of kexi to other db apps :

http://www.kexi-project.org/wiki/wikiview/index.php?KexiComparisons


By Cyrille Berger at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

Two small comments for that page:

>MS Access is far more mature and feature-rich,
>its development consumed dozens of man-years.
I would think hundreds or thousands of man-years.

>[...]introducing dependency for multimegabyte Java
>package and increasing its startup speed.
"speed" should be "time".


By Niels at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

>>dozens of man-years.
>I would think hundreds or thousands of man-years.
Yeah. But we don't know for sure cause it's closed source :-)
Anyway. I guess dozens is Ok too cause it sounds very neutral (dozens*n).

>>increasing its startup speed.
>"speed" should be "time".
Fixed.

Thanks Niels!


By Sebastian Sauer at Thu, 2006/02/02 - 6:00am

> patent-free software

How can you tell it? Does it mean that no patents are registered for kexi? Ok, this is true.
Or does it mean that it does not infringe some software patents? This is false for sure. in USA there are about 300,000 sw patents, and every program that is not trivial is infringing some hundred (thousands?) of them. Even "hello world" displayed in a ctr screen infringes one, AFAIR.
Europe has not sw patents yet, even if they try again to intruduce them with the "eurpoean patent armonization" directive (Community patent), or something like that, but European Patent Office has already released around 30,000, so...
http://news.zdnet.co.uk/business/0,39020645,39248676,00.htm
keep an eye upon www.ffii.org for forecoming info, and read daily http://wiki.ffii.org/SwpatcninoEn for an updated source of info about sw patents.
Help fight software patents!


By Marco Menardi at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

Thanks for community support. I think the most important issue now would be to try to organise an US movement.

See also this consultation
http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/sol/notices/70fr75451.pdf


By aranea at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

> What are Kexi advantages/disadvantages over MS Access or FileMake

besides all the feature check lists, here are the ones that matter to me: it runs on Free Software operating systems so i'm not locked into to either Windows or MacOS (depending on which poison pill i choose to choke down). secondly, it *is* Free Software itself which is a much stronger guarantee for me to my data. and finally, it's a KDE app, which means it works, looks and integrates like i expect my apps to do on KDE. there's also a windows port of it out there =)


By Aaron J. Seigo at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

KDE/Koffice-Native DB frontend was long overdue. I am eternally greatful to the devs for going this direction. Especially, for making SQLite accessible to My/PostgreSQL-dim-wits like me.


By Daniel "Suslik" D. at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

I just finished reading an article where Kword was rated only 3/10.
John


By John Fabiani at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

Do you have the URL of that article? Feedback from reviews can be very helpful for the developers*


By Robert Knight at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

Not sure that this is the one that was referred to but there was an article in the UK magazine Linux Format which comaprd office suites (spreadsheets in particular) and kspread came out as the worst one. I'm not a big spreadhseet user so I couldn't really comment.


By Jon Scobie at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

Yeah, we read that review... The reviewer sure had fun. Pity there were a couple of factual inaccuracies, and an even bigger pity that apparently kspread-kchart integration was broken on SuSE.


By Boudewijn Rempt at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

yeah, someone mentioned the article as well. wow, they where negative about Koffice... imho not really a fair comparison. kspread might not be better than OO.o calc, but its not like 2/10 vs 8/10 (more like 5/10 7/10). imho.


By superstoned at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

KWord has improved a lot: there have been many stability fixes, usability fixes, lots of bugs closed, not to mention OpenDocument made the default native file format and the accessability improvements: http://www.koffice.org/announcements/changelog-1.5beta1.php#kword. I doubt whether it would be enough for the reviewer, but we are very happy that KWord is actively maintained again. And my daughters are very happy because now they've got a word processor that runs on their laptops and lets them create their schoolpapers easily.


By Boudewijn Rempt at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

When I try to install the klik client using

wget klik.atekon.de/client/install -O -|sh

it asks me for the root password. Why is that?


By ac at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

"Why does the klik client install process ask for the root password?"
-----

Because the klik client needs to add entries into your /etc/fstab which will allow loopmounting of the klik *.cmg files (which are similar to compressed ISO image file systems, and need mounting to be accessed) with non-root privileges. It is a safe thing to allow.

If you have more questions about klik, here is a pretty good FAQ collection:

--> http://klik.atekon.de/wiki/index.php/User's_FAQ <--


By klik-er at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

Thanks for the link, this FAQ is very useful. What I'm still confused by is that when I typed that command, I think there was some text on the screen about "respecting other people's privacy" or something like that... where did this come from? I don't see it in the install script...


By ac at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

The install script uses "sudo". And sudo produces this message. You can probably try to reproduce it on the commandline, by typing "sudo ls -l" in a konsole window....


By klik-er at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

I see... well, that's one (not so useful) fact I learned today. Thanks!


By ac at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

Start KWord or KSpread or Kpresenter (any koffice app), The "Recent Document" and "Create New Document" interface is *very confusing*.

I feel that KOffice applications should start with a default BLANK document (kword = blank document, kspread = blank sheet etc.) which could make things faster.

The "Open/Recent document/creat new" integrated interface is very confusing. Icons look terrible.

it is the start (first appearance) of koffice applications which are not user-friendly and aesthetically good. I'm perplexed with where to click? There are no guiding factor.

Sorry to complain but please take users' survey in the "New document" interface, which I believe could be improved with Some Nice icons and colors, and RichText (bold, italic, underline).

Apart from that KOffice have matured quite a bit. Opendocuments work like charm :)


By Asif Ali Rizwaan at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

have a look


By Asif Ali Rizwaan at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

Hmm, I like it!

Also there is the checkbox "Always use this template". When you check it, don't you get then what you proposed - always opening directly as a blank doc?


By matt at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

yeah those icons suck BIG time *G
whatsoever, appreciation for the efforts, 1.5 gold will rock. nice to see I can use OO and KOffice as available and open the stuff.
And please for 2.0, someone should pcik some ideas from Lee's post
http://dot.kde.org/1135283071/1135335762/
I love OpenSource. It's the superior way of getting things done with a number of intelligent beings.


By zero08 at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

OMG, those icons are... are... horrible :|


By ac at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

PLEASE submit better ones... (and if any artist is reading this: you're free to go ahead, please!)


By superstoned at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

If the "always use this template" checkbox does what I think it does, it should be labeled "always use this template on startup" or so.


By Roland at Thu, 2006/02/02 - 6:00am

On the menu on the left, there is:

Recent Documents
Blank Document
Cards and Labels
Envelopes
Custom Document

If by "Blank Documents" it's meant to create a new document with no template, why is there a Memorandum template inside it?

One way of solving it, would be to have something like this:
Recent Documents
Blank Document
Office Documents *
Cards and Labels
Envelopes
Custom Document

This way, Blank Document allways gives a blank 1-page file. Office Documents would have the templates for memorandums, business letters, etc.

Non-business templates could be also categorized in new categories: like Home Documents, etc..

On the right, after Blank Document is chosen, an icon for it is shown with some text and a button, like:

[ICON]
Blank Page
[BUTTON]Use this Template

Wouldn't it be easier to grasp if it was like:

[ICON]
Blank Page
[BUTTON]Create new Document

but this would give problems when creating new envelopes, and the button talking about Documents. But it could look like this:

[ICON]
Blank Page
[BUTTON]Create new Blank Page Document

but this could make a giant button... What about just "Create New"?

In fact, the fact that this screen's purpose is to create a new document is not very apparent, and only is told as such in the description for the chosen template, like:
"Create a blank US Letter document"


By jukabazooka at Thu, 2006/02/02 - 6:00am

Actually, we have taken a users' survey for this. That is, there has been a professionally done usability study with real people and a real usability experts especially on this area. It turns out that the old template/open/recent dialog was confusing; that the new one was better but needed improvements -- and Thomas Zander and Peter Simonssen made those improvements.

But, as other people have said, you need only one mouse-click to get the blank document of your choice: check Always Use this Template.

Not that I don't expect this feature to lead to much more discussion. It's bound to haunt us forever, even though it is an objective improvement.


By Boudewijn Rempt at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

i don't understand the fuzz, at first sight i already thought it was much better than the previous dialogue. and as ppl (and i'm human too :D) mostly don't like new things, i think that's a strong hint at the great usabillity of this embedded startpage.


By superstoned at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

I also like this all in one approach, but we need to Label it like "Choose a Document/spreadsheet/Presentation Type to Create".

And we need Evarlodo for the icons, they look *just scaled* could be svg icons used there would look better.

and "use this template" confuses me... It would be better to have simple english (as average joe user can't understand english vocabular above 6th grade ;)

instead of "Template" which is geeky, consider "Document Type" or "Spreadsheet type" or "Presentation Type".

"Always use this Document Type" -> Blank Document... Colorful document... etc.,

The Recent Documents should *not* be part of the "Create Document" List.

The most missing feature in the page is "OK" "Cancel" "Create" buttons. "use this template" doesn't make any sense at least to me.


By Asif Ali Rizwaan at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

I actually think I like it. It's an improvement over the dialogue in any case, and if a good selection of templates will be provided, it should be a better interface than most.


By Luciano at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

At first I expected a 'blank document' to be only white page, not to include also templates. The window use both 'blank document' and template to refer to the same thing: this is a bad IMHO, choose one term and use it.
But of course the hard part is selecting the "right" word, I'd say 'Document Type' , Template would be better of course, but not everyone know what a template is..

Another thing which I dislike is that the first column mix opening an existing document and creating a new one. I would split the first column in two parts: a title 'Open existing document' which would contain: 'Recent document' and 'Browse existing document', the second part would have the title 'Create new document with' and contain: 'Document Types' 'Card and label Types' 'Envelope types' 'Custom Types'.

As for the "ugly" scaled icon, I couldn't care less myself..


By renox at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

As someone who uses KWord several times a day in my normal business flow, I really like the dialog. It allows me to pick the type of document or an older document as soon as I open KWord.

It's different, and people don't like that, but people who really *use* KWord seem to agree it's nice. And if you only fire it up occasionally, it's not a difficult to understand concept, it's just not like the word processor they are used to using.

Keep it! I invoice, send memos, type up letters and print HPA cards every day through the dialog. It is genuinely useful.


By Evan "JabberWok... at Thu, 2006/02/02 - 6:00am

I also don't like this kind of interface. In particular I don't like the "Use This Template" button: not only is it hard to find on the page (usually thing like "OK/Accept" and "Cancel" are near the bottom of the window), but the wording completely confused me. Is a blank page a template? I guess from a programmers' point of view it is, but I don't think grandma will want to use any template just to write a short letter...


By ac at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

I'd say, use it for a while. Don't check Always use this template too soon. Don't forget it isn't just about templates; it's also a much nicer way of getting at your recently used documents. And check the custom document option, that one is very nice, too.

And, of course, we need much more and much better templates. If there's a template for "Birthday Card with Image of your choice" or "Cat Fancier's Newsletter" or "Seasonal Letter with Choice of Decorations", starting with templates will be much nicer.

And -- it's not just about KWord. With an application like KPresenter, the templates are already much more useful. Personally, I've set KSpread to use a blank spreadsheet, but then, I'm not doing spreadsheets for a job, and I can imagine that anyone who needs to monthly create a set of spreadsheets with reports would like to have those as templates on startup.


By Boudewijn Rempt at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

Agreed, I really don't like the new dialog. Opened up kword and had a big wth moment. I had to sit and stare for a moment before I knew what to do, and that's even after looking at the image posted earlier.

I didn't find it too bad once one knows where things are, but it gives a terrible first impression.

It's still messed up though. If I press file->new, why on earth would I want to open an existing document? That is what file->open or file->open recent is for. Yet, if I opened kword and selected an existing document from the initial dialog, once I press file->new it gives me a list of recent document. hurr? um.. *new*?

My preference: the new dialog should not have a recent files category. The opening dialog should have a choice to open an existing file or create a new. Choosing 'new' brings up the new dialog (without recent files of course) and choosing 'open existing' brings up a dialog with recent files and a way to browse to other ones.

Having the file->new dialog and the opening dialog be the same is rather ugly.

Once again I find a reason to detest "usability" studies. This new dialog seems to me the same as Gnome's reversed dialog button order. Some study said it was for the best, so something different than what everyone is used to is implemented. Studies be damned, the most usable thing is what people are used to.

This dialog, by being different, has already shot itself in the foot. Joe user isn't going to want to hear how he will get used to it and it will be marginally better when he does. Heck, *I* don't.

/downgrades


By jason at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

Yeah and we listen to what the users are saying. That was why it was changed in the first place and I guess it will change sooner or later again (just cause Software is a moving target and never is perfect :-)


By Sebastian Sauer at Thu, 2006/02/02 - 6:00am

> Studies be damned, the most usable thing is what people are used to.

Sadly progress will never be made if nobody attempts to break the mould occassionally. Microsoft obviously agree with this, hence the new Office 12 UI. The new startup dialog is not perfect or final, and I agree that we should make life easier for those who prefer not to use it.

>Joe user isn't going to want to hear how he will get used to it and it will be marginally better when he does.

You are not "Joe user", so I don't know how you can claim to represent their needs. I agree that the new dialog is not aesthetically pleasing at the moment (hopefully we can fix that for the final release).

> My preference: the new dialog should not have a recent files category.

The Recent Files section is actually very useful in practice, and is probably the most fundamental aspect of the new startup dialog.


By Robert Knight at Thu, 2006/02/02 - 6:00am

I agree completely !

Blank documents are so much better for everyone as a start point.

Those dialogs are so annoying and useless.


By Dom at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

I third this. KWord should be good enough to create suggestion from what the user wants based on contextual clue when the user type in the document.

For example, when the user type:

Feburary 2, 2006

Dear ...

Immediately, KOffice will on the bottom to show the possible templates the user can choose from. The first suggestion is a letter. Never force the focus out of the document canvas like clippy. Let the template appear naturally in on the bottom while the user type away.


By Zero at Thu, 2006/02/02 - 6:00am

and cause we are listen to what our users are saying;
http://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=121233


By Sebastian Sauer at Thu, 2006/02/02 - 6:00am

KOffice rocks! The koffice-guys did a great job. KOffice is gaining momentum at an incredible pace. Since 1.2 it's my office-package of choice. And it's getting better and better with every release. Keep on focusing on your benefits - fast, easy to use
Having "full" OpenDocument support will be so cool to use. KPlato may be the first usable free project-planing tool for Unix. Krita is currently replacing gimp more and more (for me).
I can't wait to try the new version...
Thanks a lot for your hard work!


By birdy at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

One way to get a feeling how fast the development is really racing ahead is to compare the changelog from KDE 3.5.1 (>100 developers) with the one for KOffice 1.5 beta1 (~15 developers). I haven't actually done a real line count, but my feeling is that the one for KOffice is actually bigger.


By Inge Wallin at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

I'm quite sure that we have around 30 KOffice devs at the moment, which is about twice as much as we had a year ago ( http://dot.kde.org/1107478403/ ). Yes, the developer base is growing at a rapid pace. It's exciting.

But the comparison still holds true: there are less KOffice developers than KDE developers and we have more changes. (although KDE has a minor release and we have a major release)


By Raphael at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

bugfix release != feature release


By Christian Loose at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

i can't help but wonder why kplato was created? i guess taskjuggler would be an excelent complement to Koffice - it is already very mature, and i can't find anything but highly positive revieuws... did the Koffice guys have a talk with the taskjuggler guys, or considder forking?


By superstoned at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

Taskjuggler is an engine without a GUI. KPlato is a GUI with an (at this point) limited engine. You connect the dots... :-)

(There is a TODO item to merge them.)


By Inge Wallin at Wed, 2006/02/01 - 6:00am

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