ZDNet: Review of KOffice 1.1

ZDNet has published a review of KOfficeTM.
Titled "KOffice falls short of Microsoft Office standard: Updated Linux
alternative to Office not ready for corporate big leagues"
, the lengthy
review takes a close and, perhaps surprisingly, fair look at the strengths
and weaknesses of KOffice. While generally lauding KOffice, its design,
stablity and capabilities, the review identifies four factors which, in
the reviewers' opinion, makes KOffice currently unsuitable for corporate
use: (1) shortcomings of the MS Office® import filters; (2) lack
of MS Office export filters; (3) the lack of some KWord features, such as
a thesaurus, automatic spell-checking and (uggghh) grammar checking;
and (4) some missing features in KSpread, some easy to fix (such as
case sensitivity) and some not so easy to fix (such as the ability to
import VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) scripts). All in all,
surprisingly similar to my own


They don't even mention the lack of hyphenation in KWord, probably because this feature is not that important for English language users. In Germany (as in other countries with similar long words and compounds like Russia) nobody in an office or corporate environment will seriously consider KWord for professional use without a properly working hyphenation.

Maybe this could be borrowed from TeX?



By thd at Sat, 2001/09/15 - 5:00am

Just in case this should not be possible, perhaps the freely available
could be usefull?

By Karl-Heinz Zimmer at Sat, 2001/09/15 - 5:00am

Excuse me...
What is exactly Hyphenation ?
(I'm french and I don't know this word, dictionnary's translation doesn't make sens)

By athom at Sat, 2001/09/15 - 5:00am

It means splitting word into two parts, one part at end of line and other one at beginning of next one.

By proc at Sat, 2001/09/15 - 5:00am

well simply put, its the little dash you put when your words run from a line to another.

In french : césure.

BTW as far as I am concerned, MS Word should not be considered as having that feature : compared to (La)TeX, it is really a sad joke. But generally typesetting in Word just sucks. In fact, the whole WYSIWYG approach of Word is broken. Thankfully, Koffice is frame-based.

I love KDE, I think it is brilliant, but as for KOffice... Well, certainly it'll become the best office suite in the same way KDE is the best desktop (forget mac OS X) But I simply won't use it until the end result is as brilliantly TypeSetted as A latex doc. Even for small dumb thing like short letters.

And yes, I use LyX. (except I reedit the stuff for tables.)

Maybe It is a dumb question, but why can't Tex be used for typesetting by koffice ? Yes, r-time typesetting (for WYSIWYG) would be slow, but that would be a smart use of my extra processor cycles.

By hmmm at Sat, 2001/09/15 - 5:00am

Why should everything have to be compared to Microsoft.
With all the legal problems M$ has on its apps and more, I would think they could point out what koffice has to offer compared to gnome office apps or other third party office apps..
since when is it always compared to a microsoft standard, since when does M$ make the standards...
Not everyone uses just M$ office, lots uses other third party office apps because M$ office is so limited..

By harold at Sat, 2001/09/15 - 5:00am

Um, he's comparing Koffice to TeX (an open source program), and saying that MS-Office's hyphenation is a joke compared to it. Were you meaning to reply to the post above?

By Carbon at Sat, 2001/09/15 - 5:00am

> Maybe It is a dumb question, but why can't Tex be used for typesetting by koffice ? Yes, r-time typesetting (for WYSIWYG) would be slow, but that would be a smart use of my extra processor cycles.

KWord haven't good wysiwyg (at least, don't work for me, when I change font), but it is not problem for me. I don't need wysiwyg. And I like the idea using tex for typesetting in kword, without realtime wysiwyg. Maybe as an optional feature.

By Tomas Blaha at Sat, 2001/09/15 - 5:00am

KWord 1.1 does not have true WYSIWYG, but the CVS KWord does and it is working fine AFAIK. Next release it will be in there.

By not me at Sat, 2001/09/15 - 5:00am

Much better than WYSIWYG is WYIIWYG -- what you *imagine* is like you get. Like TeX. Or like writing HTML instead of using editors like Frontpage. Or like using gri and GMT.

By Roberto Ramos Corona at Sun, 2001/09/16 - 5:00am

This is usually called WYSIWYM: What You See Is What You Mean. It is the rallying cry behind Lyx. If you like this, I recommend you try Lyx, which does this very well.

The KWord developers already know about Lyx. They know what Lyx tries to do and that Lyx does it well. KWord does not work the same way specifically because it fills a different need: the need for a WYSISYG word processor.

Penguin Command is not a very good replacement for Quicken. But then again, it was never meant to be one.

By Jerome Loisel at Mon, 2001/09/17 - 5:00am

You are correct. I'm from the United States and have never felt a need to use hyphenation. I only use it when writing notes on paper and run out of room (I have big handwriting. (-: )

I've read threads about "borrowing from TeX" before and it sounded like this would be very complicated.

By Ian at Sun, 2001/09/16 - 5:00am

It shouldn't be too hard to borrow the TeX hyphenation algorithm. (I'd also suggest the TeX line-breaking algorithm, as it's one of the best out there.)

While these algorithms may be more complex than what is currently in use, they are also extremely well-documented.

By Alan Shutko at Mon, 2001/09/17 - 5:00am

There are two types of hyphens. soft hyphen -- end of a line. other ,the hard hyphen which is used to combine two unrelated words put together which make sense together. well-known person, etc.

By Laks at Mon, 2006/06/05 - 5:00am

Some more information: (which I assumed was the same thing, but it isn't)

By Paul Eggleton at Mon, 2006/06/05 - 5:00am

Just found this on freshmeat:

But hyphenation is realy a missing feature for a language like German. I dont like automatics in standard writing, so I deeply miss something like a soft-hyphen (like CTRL+"-"). At this time I use koffice for making a report (~50 pages) and a presentation. Both kpresenter and kword needs better support for displaying vector-drawings, maybe an EPS-displayer based on ghostscript. Currently you can only use a Kontour-KPart in KWord. But also there are scaling/displaying "issues". I did not found a solution for kpresenter and have to use bitmaps for my illustrations. Last missing thing are independent auto-counters for tables, figures, etc.
On the other hand, workung with koffice is intuitive and fun and it is realy stable.

By Thorsten Schnebeck at Sat, 2001/09/15 - 5:00am

Every hyphenation module should include soft hyphens, of course. Ventura Publisher even offers to use soft hyphens exclusively for individual paragraphs or the whole text. You can also set the language for all writing tools on a per paragraph basis, including hyphenation, spell and grammar checker -- way to go for KWord as well I think.


By thd at Sat, 2001/09/15 - 5:00am

"... whereas StarOffice is a Java-based application."

By Someone at Sat, 2001/09/15 - 5:00am

This is true though.

By Jimmy Saville at Sat, 2001/09/15 - 5:00am

Not much of it though. When I last installed Star Office, I didn't have a Java VM and it worked fine. However, it wouldn't run the help program, which was Java based. I really think it's just C++ for the part we actually consider "Star Office".

By David Nusinow at Sat, 2001/09/15 - 5:00am

Shut up you wanker.

By Janne at Sat, 2001/09/15 - 5:00am

That rest of the world must struggle to fit in to MS-world. I'm talking about those MS-office import/export-filters!

I hope that DOJ mandates that MS opens their proprietary file-formats. What we need is a open standard for files, so text written in Word2000 would look and behave the same in KWord, StarOffice, Abiword... And vice versa of course...

By Janne at Sat, 2001/09/15 - 5:00am

Umm .. they are open, and freely available on MSDN.

By Jimmy Saville at Sat, 2001/09/15 - 5:00am

No they are not you liar.

By Janne at Sat, 2001/09/15 - 5:00am

Why don't you go troll someone else's message board?

By Carbon at Sun, 2001/09/16 - 5:00am

People, this is not me. Someone is using my name!

By Carbon at Sun, 2001/09/16 - 5:00am

Someone is using *my* name!!!

Oh, wait... it's me.

Evan ;)

By Evan "JabberWok... at Sun, 2001/09/16 - 5:00am

Actually, it is me. I was attempting to subscribe farther down the list, to the post where the guy actually was trolling.

BTW, could someone please implement accounts on KDE News? Otherwise, people can easily fake stuff like above :-)

By Carbon at Sun, 2001/09/16 - 5:00am

Or like this?

By Carbon at Sun, 2001/09/30 - 5:00am

Yes, even like that!

By Graphite at Mon, 2001/10/01 - 5:00am

OK, someone is using my name here! I did NOT write that message!

By Janne at Sun, 2001/09/16 - 5:00am

Oh look, someone is using your name again!

By Janne at Sun, 2001/09/16 - 5:00am

In fact, you can type in any name you like.

By Saddam Hussain at Sun, 2001/09/16 - 5:00am


By William H Gates III at Sun, 2001/09/16 - 5:00am


By William H Gates III at Sun, 2001/09/16 - 5:00am

What?? That's MY name!

By Janne at Sun, 2001/09/16 - 5:00am

Are you the real Jimmy Saville?

By Carbon at Sun, 2001/09/16 - 5:00am

No, I'm the real Jimmy Saville!

By Janne at Sun, 2001/09/16 - 5:00am


By Janne at Sun, 2001/09/16 - 5:00am

Each and every one of you!

By Janne at Sun, 2001/09/16 - 5:00am

KOffice developers, please don't _ever_ inflict VBA on your users ;-)

By Mark Roberts at Sat, 2001/09/15 - 5:00am

Before flaming me - please read below..

Yes, VBA is one of the major reasons that there are those viruses found on Windows world with office. Write few lines - and you got yourself a virus.

But look on the other side - it allows to people who don't know almost anything about programming write a small "applications" which makes MS Office quite usable for secretaries (think about "smart documents" which lets you have forms to fill info and be processed with MS Access)...

A smart scripting language could make Koffice very usable for secretaries and staff who need to fill forms, and process documents (multiple recepients documentation for example comes to mind). KDE Developers know very well about security so security implementations could be added here.


By Hetz at Sat, 2001/09/15 - 5:00am

DCOP anyone? With the proper DCOP calls built into koffice applications, couldn't you write simple scripts anyways? I.e:

dcop kspread opendoc $1
dcop kspread setCurrentCell ($2, $3)
dcop kspread writeCell ($4)
dcop kspread closedoc $1

I'm not at all familair with the syntax of this sort of thing, but how feasible is it to use shell-scripts/dcop? Also, of course, you could do the same thing in any language with kde bindings, or even any language with shell-out capabilites (which is pretty much all of them)

By Carbon at Sat, 2001/09/15 - 5:00am

I have heard something called KOScript mentioned before, sounds like it would fit the bill. Maybe a KOffice developer could clue us in on this? What is KOScript and how can you use it?

By not me at Sat, 2001/09/15 - 5:00am

why not use python?

By Rick Kreikebaum at Sun, 2001/09/16 - 5:00am

why not Perl? :-)

By milan svoboda at Mon, 2001/09/17 - 5:00am

Well... either you forgot we're talking about getting secretaries to use it, or you have a sadistic twist. Why not assembly, while we're at it? :-)

By Jerome Loisel at Mon, 2001/09/17 - 5:00am

Two problems with what you are replying there.

1st - It isn't secretaries that write VBScipt, it is useless idiots that can't program, but feel forever indebted to Microsoft for their break into IT/IS. They are men (where most secretaries are female, and actually work hard for a living) who wear corduroy trousers and call themselves 'IT Technicians'. They will code everything, forever, to only run on Microsoft products, and think that everyone who doesn't think that Bill Gates is the pinacle of human evolution should FOAD if they don't also write code exclusively for MS products. These people should have their comfort blanket taken away and their belief in BillG should be shattered, to destroy the economic advantages they have, and hence cancel any temporary and accidental advantages they may have had in the breeding game that humans play!!! I am talking about that large group whose only lucky break that allowed them to get on the IT wage escalator and lift themselves out of obscurity, was that their boss asked them to learn VBA. They didn't bother to learn the principles of useful programming languages like C, C++, Pascal, Modula2/3/Object Pascal, whatever, they just bought "The complete moron's 24 hour guide to learning VBA and then harping on about it forever".

2nd - If there has to be a scripting language incorporated into KOffice, please let it be Python, which without undue antagonism, requires at least a tiny bit of good programming practise to be understood and respected in order to get a program to run.

Best regards,

PS I thought for a while that DCOP was a scripting language for KOffice, but after a long search for documentation on it, I have given up, concluding that the only docs on it are intended for developers who might choose to develop for DCOP interfaces, rather than anyone who might find the interface useful as a development platform. Would anyone care to highlight some good resouces for people who would like to use DCOP interfaces rather than those who (pointlessly) create them? Very much looking forward to any responses.

By Mark Roberts at Sun, 2001/09/16 - 5:00am

You already have, what you your are asking for :)
There are Python bindings for DCOP in kdebindings module IIRC, so you an use Python to script any KDE app with a DCOP interface, especially apps with such complete interfaces as KOffice apps.

David Faure wrote a reply about this to an email on koffice mailing list.
Subject is Automation of Koffice.
Check the archives to find out more.


By Kevin Krammer at Thu, 2001/09/20 - 5:00am