The Importance of KOffice

KOffice is built on KDE. This advantage brings enormous potential in terms of integration, performance, scalability, and with the coming full support for the OASIS Open Document Format, even portability. All these factors are vital for business deployments. The KOffice team is looking for contributors and developers to significantly increase and utilize the potential of KOffice even further.

The functionality KOffice has already reached in its short life is significant. And still, KOffice has good performance and is fully usable on low-end hardware, which makes it suited for organizations and individuals. This could even save costs when upgrading or migrating the office software and old hardware can be reused.

Because KOffice is built directly on KDE, it can offer the best office experience on a KDE desktop. Many excellent technologies already present in the KDE Framework are available for KOffice at almost no cost. Examples are:

  • Automation via DCOP
  • Document location abstraction (remote file editing) via KIO
  • Fully object oriented design through the Qt and KDE Frameworks
  • Application Embedding through KParts

Additionally KOffice extends the application embedding capability (KParts) of KDE to allow highly integrated documents. Such a close KDE integration also results in fast application load time, while still having all these features available.

Even full OASIS Open Document Format support is being worked on which is the same file format as 2 will use. This will make data exchange with seamless while being a fully integrated KDE office suite. Building on an approved and open document standard is a key feature today.

Much work has already been done and central office components like
KWord, KPresenter, Kivio and KSpread are quite stable with only a few glitches here and there.

And KOffice has many more applications to offer that will be included in next major releases:

  • Krita (Pixmap Graphics)
  • Kexi (Database Frontend)
  • KPlato (Project Management)

All these applications are in development and have a huge potential. Additionally some smaller utilities such as KFormula and KOffice Workspace are available.

As you can see, KOffice is close to offer a very complete office environment, completely integrated into your KDE environment and completely free.

The development of so many additional office components has of course raised the number of developers needed. We are looking for additional contributors to offer all KOffice components in a fully stable and feature complete state.

If you are interested in helping to make this happen, feel free to have a look at the webpage and contact the developers mailing list. Both, developers and documentation writers, are very welcome. There are also easy-to-get-started jobs available. And in case you have special interests of any kind feel free to contact us.


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by kb (not verified)

In many applications logic is added to widgets and controls depending on selection. So what language will be used in adding business logic in Kexi?


by Sebastian Sauer (not verified)

Hi kb,

I am working right now on this issue. There exists some code to access the KexiDB-functionality from within Python in koffice/kexi/scripting/python/*. Target will be a cross-scripting interface (named Kross :-) that enables integration of different scripting backends. Please see
If you like to get more infos or even spend some help just /join #kexi in irc.

by ac (not verified)

I hope you'll add KScript support into Kross soon so the difference isn't all too huge.

by Sebastian Sauer (not verified)

Hi ac,

Any idear is welcome. I wrote your suggestion into our Wiki. Thank you.

by undo (not verified)

copying bad concepts sucks. change the way of editing documents. i for myself dont want another word. i dont like the concept of it.

and by the way - the complete koffice is just a complete copy of msoffice and - dor krita adobe...

mod me as troll if you want :(...

by Matthew Robinson (not verified)

koffice is completely optional, its just something familiar for windows users

by Morty (not verified)

>i for myself dont want another word
Since KWord is frame based, the basic concept is very different from programs like MS-Word and the like. Since it sounds like you don't know anything about KWord, it quite possible you are indeed a troll. But please enlighten us all, what is a good way to edit documents? Which concept should koffice copy?

by undo (not verified)

something more the scribus way . more desktop publishing orientated.

by superstoned (not verified)

try Koffice. you can do simple desktop publishing. scribus is more advanced, but it also seems more time has been put into scribus... so if you wanna help developing on Koffice, please, join. maybe you can even port some code from scribus to Koffice, as both are QT based...

by Morty (not verified)

Someting like hmmm... frames?
Have you actually used KWord or just looked at the screenshots?

I don't think going more in the direction of DTP than KWord or FrameMaker alredy does, are such a good idea. Whith DTP applications like Scribus, PageMaker and others the workflow are to much concentrated around making the layout, taking focus away from the writing.

by Robert (not verified)

Exactly the opposite is what should be done if anything.

Ever heard of separation of content and presentation?

A DTP app is a DTP app and a word processor is a word processor. There's a reason for that.

by Miguel Angel Lopez (not verified)

Perhaps something like Calamus would be good? It was a DTP app that did a nice separation (at least for my taste) between content and presentation. It had a little word...mmm...editor (not a wordprocessor I think) good enought to write any text

by Craig Ambrose (not verified)

To some extent, all office suites are copies of MS Office at the moment, because interoperability with windows is still a key issue for other platforms. However, KOffice is better positions than most to come up with radical new ideas. If you've got some of these, why not contribute to KOffice? OpenOffice can follow the path of being the cross platfrom relyable MS Office clone, allowing KOffice to continue the KDE tradition of integrating a variety of unique new features in interesting ways.

You're only a troll if your comments aren't intended to constructive. Why not try describing some aspects of your ideal office suite in more detail.

by James Richard Tyrer (not verified)

Excuse me!

WordPerfect is NOT a copy of M$ Word.

And, I believe that Quattro Pro is a copy of Lotus 123 NOT M$ Excel.


by Turd Ferguson (not verified)

Get your facts straight. Since when does KOffice look and feel like Word? This is why it is so clunky and hard to use.

by Fast_Rizwaan (not verified)

KDE integration of is better...

it would be better to add frame and other koffice features to and merging it with koffice for a better Office suite.

I find with KDE integration more useful than KOffice alone or just

So, Please instead of reinventing the wheel for koffice, add KDE components to and make it useable bothways, as has more developers and userbase.

OpenOffice + Koffice + KDE fancy stuff (DCOP, embedding etc). will be the best thing for KDE and Unix.

by Hannes Hauswedell (not verified)

i totally agree!
openoffice 2 will come with a fully functional qt gui(there already is a qt port ooo v.1.1.3 i think...), so why do i need koffice?

by Jason Keirstead (not verified)

1. KOffice is orders of magnitude faster than OpenOffice, even if you use the Ximian optimized builds. I can't claim to know exactly why this is true, if it is bloat or poor design or what, but it is undeniable.

2. OpenOffice is never going to be as integrated with KDE as KOffice. Even if it does get QT and KIO support, it will never use DCOP, or KScriptInterface, or KPart embedding.

3. Choice. There is nothing wrong with more options. So many people wrongly assume that "you are wasting time working on X when Y is already here, why not improve that", these people do not understand open source. The people working on KOffice would liekly never work on Open Office, for one reason or another. So them working on KOffice is not a "waste" or anything else. They are just providing more options, some people will use it, some won't. At the end of the day, nothing is ever lost from their efforts, and there is in fact a huge gain, because even if no one but the developers use KOffice, there is now a huge new repository of great codebase to draw on for ideas.

by Martin (not verified)

Full ACK to parent.
IMHO it often shows if an app has been developed commercially first
and then released as Open Source later. The strange connection of
OpenOffice (.org - yes I know - grrr) with Java, the complicated building process, etc. are some things which possibly wouldn't be like that
if OpenOffice had been programmed as Open Source from scratch.
The start-up time of Open Office is even with the 2.0 version totally
unacceptable. This might of course be because Open Office cannot
reuse the KDE components already loaded in memory but has to bring
its own for lots of things. This fact does not help the user in any
way though. I'm using OpenOffice for lots of things anyway, mainly
because KOffice's table support is still in its infancy.
Better Microsoft Word import isn't really a reason for me to use
OpenOffice because it's still so bad even in recent 2.0 beta versions
that it's not really an option for me. In this case
I'm using M$ Word via wine which works like a charm. However, YMMV.

I heard Microsoft has something like 10000 employees. Most of them are not developers. Yet Microsoft has something like or more than 90% market share when it comes to word processors, spreadsheets and so on. Their platform is unfree in every sense of the word, yet end-users "love" them. End-users get to do what they want, most of the time.

Now, we want to address the issue of proprietary formats and unfree software. and KOffice are our horses and MS Office way ahead, closing on the finish line. Our horses came late to the race, and it's amazing how much they are gaining. Will it be enough? The race is long, so there are pit-stops, where the horses are fed. Now, do we have enough food aka developers for two horses to sway the race-track audience, or should we ask for more food to one of the two? Not on a permanent basis, but to satisfy end-users? I think it would be a good idea for the project managers of both projects to come together and discuss this.

by Mark Hannessen (not verified)

well, as told before, openoffice is a huge memory monster.
koffice is also more consistent in interface and behavior when using kde.
other last..

people can work on what they want.
koffice surely isn't nothing
I used it some time and found it sooo much nicer then openoffice.
only trouble for me is that it can't read msoffice files the way openoffice can.

but I am sure koffice can have a good future.

Actually KOffice read (and rendered) a MS Word document waaaay better than OO.o and is from what I've tried, KOffice rendered better MS Word documents. My problem is it doesn't export to .doc files. So who am I to send my documents? Myself. Interoperability with MS Office is the key to the next succesfull office suite (just like interoperability with word perfect was for ms office back then).
The second problem I cam across was cross-document pasting (which openoffice already has): copy table from tabular program, paste into word editor program, then later edit the tab;e just as I would in the tabular program.

Ever tried to send as RTF file?
What do you think MS uses as file format for backward compatibility when you save in old versions (and are lucky if it doesn't crash)?

If you need, then just change the extension to .doc. -> Save and send -> Done

by Derek Kite (not verified)

Who controls the development process for openoffice?

How long would it take to become familiar enough with the codebase to make substantial changes compared to starting with KOffice?

Are you serious when you suggest that there should be a monopoly in free office type software?

There is a good reason why development has continued on Koffice and Abiword and Gnumeric and the other office type apps.


The KOffice developers have already put six or seven years of their lives into getting KOffice up to it's current state, do you really think they'd just throw all of that work away and start hacking on OpenOffice?

by Boudewijn Rempt (not verified)

There's been a fair bit of churn in the developer pool... Reginald Stadlbauer doesn't do any KOffice development anymore, and Krita is on its fourth lease of oxygen, I mean maintainership. And so on and so forth.

by a.c. (not verified)

I have found that koffice is exactly what I need. It is useable and it is quick, light and I find intuitive. OO while more feature rich and MS Office complient, and strkes me as heading towards clunky.

My wife, OTH uses OO and scribus. She likes both depending on what she is trying to do. But she was comfortable with Pagemaker, Quark, FrameMaker, and MS Office, so that is not too surprising.

But do not be in a hurry to kill this. It strikes me the same way that others have pushed to kill konqi for web browsing (and want to push mozilla in).
But you are more than welcome to contribute to KDE/OO integration.

by Raphael Langerhorst (not verified)

FYI, I'm doing a presentation mainly on possibilities of KOffice automation and KDE integration at the (Vienna) on the 17th of Feb.

And if nothing stops me I'll be at FOSDEM and doing a similar talk on KOffice, particularly on automation and integration (DCOP,...), focusing on developing such automation (with Kommander, etc.). This will be held in the KDE Developers Room - see for details.

I feel like this is really a significant potential of KOffice that needs a bit of awareness.


by mikeyd (not verified)

Firstly, koffice's modifications to the way kparts work should be added to the "real" kparts as fast as practical, because they're really useful. It's got to the stage that new applications tend to provide koffice kparts rather than "normal" ones. While this is not really a problem, IMO it shows that koffice kparts are simply what kparts should be.
Secondly, KSpread needs a lot of work. It's so far behind Excel, Gnumeric and OOo Spreadsheet in terms of formula support. Would it be practical to use the engine from one of those? If not, someone code in more functions, please, because at the moment it's really not useable for advanced spreadsheet stuff.
Thirdly, Kexi could really be the 'k'iller app if it stabilises and is reintegrated. There is nothing like it on linux, and the lack of an Access replacement is a real problem for some people who would otherwise be willing to move.
All in all, everyone program more for koffice.

by Morty (not verified)

To me your advanced spreadsheet stuff sounds like some kind of mythical creature, as I have actually never seen any. On the other hand if you describe which functions you need for different tasks to the KSpread developers I am sure developing those functions will get a higher priority. Since real world user cases from real world users always trumps the vague "since other does" statements.

I have nothing against Kexi, it actually looks like it's going to become a great application. The fact is Linux has actually had an Access replacement for years, even cross platform, it's called Rekall. Sadly I don't think an replacement solves that particular problem, it's more like need for a clone to let them keep on running those Access programs.

In my opinion database development tools like Access or Kexi does not belong in a office package. I suspect the main reason for Access inclusion in MS-Office was to help create a vendor lock-in for MicroSoft. And I have to admit it was a very successful move.

by mikeyd (not verified)

Well, it looks like Poisson distributions have been added since last time I looked, which is good. But in order to port my Excel spreadsheets I still need table lookups (main problem), and also the SUMIF function (like COUNTIF, but gives a sum of cells rather than just the number of cells matching a criterion). But the fact that another couple of things I would have listed here are actually present in the current version is an encouraging sign.

by TMG (not verified)

I also think KSpread lacks features.

What I really miss is better chart support, like in LabPlot or QtiPlot. Everytime I want to use advanced charts with regression curves or custom error bars, I have to use Excel. Even OpenOffice does not support that.

Otherwise, I like the KOffice suite, especially the speed and KDE integration compared to OpenOffice.

by secretfire (not verified)

//Begin rant

I guess I'm the only poster who actually thinks KOffice is a good thing. I believe KOffice can integrate with KDE better than will ever be able to. KOffice is also a very high-performance suite. is sluggish. Also, have you ever thought that KDE devs might actually LIKE working on KOffice and not! Just because you want them to work on integration doesn't mean THEY want to. If you want to have integration, why don't you code it yourself?

//End rant

by Evan "JabberWok... (not verified)

I think I give the highest compliment to KOffice just about every day:

I use it.

It has worked fine for me for many years, especially KWord.

by gerd (not verified)

OO 2 will rock.

KOffice is an alternative and when OO and Koffice share the same file formats You can use OO filters for import and provide Koffice as an alternative editing program.

by Pedro Fayoll (not verified)

I don't use KOffice much myself, since I'm not really an office software user, still I love KDE and love to see something like this under development. I do have the latest KOffice installed though, and always install new releases and give a try to every package just to see its state. Most apps open in a blink and seem quite stable, at least for the small jobs I've used them for.

I'm really impatient about Krita this time, hope it becomes as good as the GIMP with time. Also, I don't know if Karbon14 is still mantained, but having a full-featured vector graphics app for KDE surely wouldn't hurt.

All in all I think KOffice is already quite good but most importantly it has great potential to become a top office suite. Let's see what it is like by KDE 4 with all that Qt4 has to offer :)

Big thanks to all the great developers!

by Boudewijn (not verified)

There is a binary "release" of Krita you can just download, unpackage and attempt to run -- but it will interfere with your existing KOffice installation.

And I, for one, have a hard time doing without KOffice. There is no free office suite with quite the breadth of KOffice. It has not just a word processor and a presentation app, like Apple's new iWorks, nor does it stop at adding a spreadsheet, vector drawing tool and database app, like OpenOffice, it also throws in a really great diagram editor (I use Kivio a lot, probably more than any other KOffice app), a pixel editor, a report tool and a planner.

I only wish that Quanta and Umbrello would be KOffice parts, too...

On the other hand, KOffice has had a hard time. Moving to an OASIS file format was (and is) difficult, time-consuming and boring. And it takes developer time from making the apps more featureful, more stable and in general more polished. That's why I didn't spend all that much time dreaming up an OASIS spec for layered raster images -- it would have delayed Krita development with another year, and that's a conservative estimate, because I don't know whether I would have continued hacking on Krita in that case. There are also basic limitations in Qt that Scribus only could overcome through the use of an external canvas, and those hurt KWord development.

And there's just not enough people interested in developing office software. OpenOffice is not so much a community project as the old StarOffice office (mostly staffed with new people nowadays, I hear) paid by Sun to work on the incredibly tangled codebase of StarOffice. I'm not sure how many different people have contributed to KOffice in 2004, but I'm fairly sure that I'm not the only who wouldn't mind being paid full-time to work on KOffice. It's a pity that the cooperation with Shawn Gordon from theKompany has petered out...

by Magnus (not verified)

Let me start with saying that KOffice is really great! However, it can always be better.. :)

I think it would be really nice with the same kind of integration between koffice and other application, as apple has between iwork and ilife. Apples solution seemes really nice thanks to the good integration. Watch the keynote speech (from apples webpage) and see for yourselves! :)

# apt-get install iwork
Reading Package Lists... Done
Building Dependency Tree... Done
E: Couldn't find package iwork

it's spelled iWork :)

by Jakob Petsovits (not verified)

As far as I can see, a main reason that people stick with is its superior .doc file support. I wonder if it's a lot of work to port the OpenOffice .doc filter to KOffice (maybe the other ones are as useful too?) in order to enable KOffice users to abandon OOo. If I remember right, there's even a command line tool in OOo, so if this is not too much work to separate it should bring more users (and maybe also developers) to KOffice.

Of course, it would be better if the developers would split their file support into a separate library which would enable other Open Source office suites to keep the same high standard for importing files and work together on file support. Well, I don't want to know how long I have to wait for that.

But even without library, there's still the same destination format (OASIS) that both can use, so it can't be that difficult to import some "foreign code", or is it?

by Anders (not verified)

I think I once read that the filter code is really hard to comprehend (- and has most of its comments in german?!??)

But still, there are lots of competent german maybe someone will do it.

I guess that the original post was sort of a call for participation.

by SegFault II. (not verified)

Well... was once a german product, you know?

by Daniel Carrera (not verified)

It still is.

Most OOo developers are in Germany and secondly Ireland. And most users are probably in Europe.

by Nicolas Goutte (not verified)

As this is a FAQ, I am pointing to one of my old answers about the problem:

I would not mind if someobody would prove that I am wrong but I doubt that it will happen so soon, especially as this OOo filter discussion is now years old.

Have a nice day!

by Tom (not verified)

Perception is reality.

Currently KDE is not marketing itself well and it is not creating the momentum such an excellent piece of software should have.

The website does not look attractive enough, there is not enough press and the fund raising efforts are pathetic. Take a page from GNOME on this, they are getting the corporate support and $$$ at a greater rate than KDE. Or are they? It doesn't really matter because that is the perception and business executives will make decisions baesd on these perceptions.

1. The website is easy to use, clean and with a graphically intensive layout. KDE looks like any other lame and arid website. It doesn't please the senses and it doesn't entice new users. The fact that most KDE websites such as for Konqueror and Kmail are either out of date or terrible unappealing does not help either.

2. KDE needs to better show off its corporate support and features as GNOME has. It needs to be obvious without searching past the front page.

3. Fundraising sucks to. There was actually a wish on this which got lots of votes. It proposed a way to make KDE more attractive to donate to. However, the developers kust didn't care about this issue.

To quote Stephan Binner:

"Nobody on kde-www sees a reason why this should stay open."

And then it was marked as fixed, all the while, nothing changed.

Meanwhile, GNOME has 1/3 of their front page dedicated to the GNOME Foundation and approximately half of the page is comprised of a graphic asking people to help out and support the project. They also have distinguishing names based on the amount you donate and also gifts. They make sure donors feel happy and people have an incentive to donate.

SpreadFirefox also has very solid marketing efforts and as 20 million people will tell you, it's working.

KDE needs to understand that half of what makes a successful product is marketing. (which creates momentum and acceptance) Please don't let KDE become the next great technology that never really saw the light.

BTW: Please don't ask me to do my part and help. I have. Saying taht "shut the hell up and do something" type of remark won't solve the problem.

by brockers (not verified)

Why doesn't KDE have an easily accessable donations page? I mean it cannot be alot of work and it it brings in enough money to pay for some development costs its gotta be worth it. I would like to see a commercial support page too. I know I would donate money. Heck you could put a "donate to kde" option on the darn help menu (something stupidly simple to do.)


by ac (not verified)

As to the original poster, I think the GNOME homepage is a complete joke in terms of a website for a Free Software project.

by Tom (not verified)

I newer said they didn't exist. I said they weren't prominent enough and are not implemented well. There is never a sense of immediecy like there is on When I look at GNOME's website I feel that they need me to donate, when I look at KDE's support page it only seems like it would be nice. That's one stark difference and it's stopping KDE from getting more $$$. (flashy graphics also help)

Anyway, what is so wrong with It brought in more donations than KDE did and a lot of corporate sponsors too. (ie: Sun, Novell, and Redhat)


by Anonymous (not verified)

> what is so wrong with It brought in more donations than KDE did and a lot of corporate sponsors

Corporate sponsors because of homepage? Get serious.