LinuxWorld.com.au: KOffice 2 on Windows

LinuxWorld.com.au spoke with our very own Sebastian Kügler, and is reporting about the future of porting KDE 4 and its applications to Windows in an article titled KDE's Windows Weapon: KOffice 2.0. "With OpenOffice.org receiving a lion's share of commercial support and market awareness for a free office suite, KOffice 2.0 has the potential to challenge its dominance with innovative features and a leaner code base." The article discusses the pros and cons of porting free software to proprietary platforms noting, "there is a community building around KDE on Windows and KDE e.V. sponsored a meeting to help people get the port to Windows going."


Ditto what fyanardi states above. There is also the argument about putting all of one's eggs in one basket. From what I understand, the OO.org code is so convoluted that not many people really grasp its full complexity. If it no longer suited Sun to sponsor development, the project would be in huge trouble.

I don't mind multiple approaches to the problem of developing an office suite by different teams. Yes, Koffice lacked momentum before but I hope it will gain traction now. My only request is that all different open source office projects should standardise on using ODF as the default format. It is open, accessible and relatively well documented and is not controlled by any one company. By all means, start as many office projects as you like, but please use this to save your document files in.

By The Vicar at Wed, 2007/10/10 - 5:00am

And fourth: Never say never!

By Volker at Wed, 2007/10/10 - 5:00am


By Kane at Thu, 2007/10/11 - 5:00am


By Ivan Čukić at Sat, 2007/10/13 - 5:00am

OOo has performance issues, and includes Java for no good reason. The two major benefits of OOo is multiplatform support, and decent MS Office support.

KOffice is getting multiplatform support, and if improves on MS Office filters, it will surpass OOo in almost all regards.

And if I were a dev, I'd be more interested in working on KOffice because of the way Sun handles OOo development. They're driving away good developers and good contributions.

By T. J. Brumfield at Wed, 2007/10/10 - 5:00am

Fortunately what you do personally does not have any impact on KDE and KOffice. Personally I seldom use any office tools except to write the odd letter to the administration twice a year. That does not prevent me to have a broader vision of office suites. I tried a small laptop designed for emergent countries, the Classmate PC. It runs KDE but as office suite has OOorg. Let me say that starting this beast is very very slow. Schools (teachers and pupils) do not need a full featured suite, they need a lightweight one. Using ODF will anyway allow to share documents between all compatible suites if needed.
Most average users will also need only basic features in an office tool. A light suite with strong base working features has a huge market share waiting for it.
Wait, probably you don't use KDE anyway as it's yet another desktop & window manager in Linux world? ...

By Anne-Marie Mahfouf at Wed, 2007/10/10 - 5:00am

"I will personally never use Koffice, I find OpenOffice to be far better."


You made my day, troll!

I am the first to ackknowledge that everything has drawbacks etc..
but whoever just blindly shouts in favour of OO just gets my laughs


Actually, his post is a good reason FOR doing exactly that.
Gaining a larger userbase will enable to make KDe more important afterall as well

By she at Wed, 2007/10/10 - 5:00am


Guide him to MS Office, no need to do anything for such an attitude.
If such persons prefer the best of all, just tell them to pay for it.

Not even for working for OOo makes sense here as MS Office is better than OOo. And it runs via Wine on Linux as well.

By Philipp at Fri, 2007/10/12 - 5:00am

> I personally consider the porting of Koffice to windows, and even it's development to be a complete waste of time.
> It is something that I consider to be the downfall of the linux community. And that is, instead of working together on one project,
> they have multiple of projects focusing on the same thing. The Koffice team would be better working with OpenOffice,
> or finding another project.

er, sorry you're missing a point from the article here. And I find it rather rude to demand developers to what you propose, and saying it's a downfall. Would it really be a downfall if we have KOffice as alternative (backup), or would it be a downfall if OpenOffice was "the only horse to bet on" and something went wrong? It's code is so complex only few want to volunteer working on it. OpenOffice depends on companies to pay developers working on it. From this perspective, KOffice has much a lot of potential.

So I ask to to consider, is it really a downfall to have an alternative? I agree the community shouldn't have 5 alternatives, but having only 1 option is worse in the long term. You *as user* might find OpenOffice superior, but people *as developers* might think different about this for the above reasons. And without developers we'll be... well you get it. :-)

A similar thing happens with Konqueror (KHTML) vs Firefox (Gecko). Did KDE have to ditch KHTML when Gecko got 10% market share? Because Firefox superior in the eyes of users? Apple evaluated KHTML and Gecko, and choose KHTML as their base for Safari/WebKit. Nokia did the same, and choose Webkit. Trolltech is looking for a HTML engine and chooses WebKit. They see potential in KHTML/WebKit because of the clean code base. In the short term Firefox is superior. In the long term I expect WebKit-based browsers to take over the world, not Gecko ones. Now compare OpenOffice vs KOffice again ;-)

By Diederik van de... at Wed, 2007/10/10 - 5:00am

This also counter productive, and scattering the devs across incompatible platforms:

Well done Koffice team!

By *** at Wed, 2007/10/10 - 5:00am

> This also counter productive, and scattering the devs across incompatible platforms:
> http://blogs.cnet.com/8301-13505_1-9793052-16.html?part=rss&tag=feed&sub...
> Well done Koffice team!

Off course Ballmer doesn't mind Open Source on top of Windows. Especially if the Open Source product supports Windows only. Microsoft is good at building roads that lead to Windows, while making the way out harder or next to impossible. (i.e. a better import then export function).

I wonder if Ballmer will still be saying the same after KDE supports Windows. KDE doesn't offer a lock-in strategy to enter Windows, but makes it easier to opt-out from Windows. It removes more barriers to get off Windows.

KDE, Qt and KOffice do this by offering a cross-platform framework that isn't controlled by a Microsoft lock-in agenda. So other software vendors can join in and build their software with the same frameworks. Which leaves their options open to switch to an other platform (like Linux) later. How bad is that? :-)

By Diederik van de... at Thu, 2007/10/11 - 5:00am

> How bad is that? :-)

Both open-source and commercial software run on top of Windows, while only open-source software run on Linux. For example, the amount of commercial games on Linux is ridiculously low compared to the amount of titles for win32.

As a result, Windows remains the richest platform in terms of commercial and non-commercial offers. Businesses keep on making better software for win32, open-source developers get divided across platforms, and most computer users keep the standard, less risky platform choice.

The best bet is not to divide the efforts in porting, but to bring commercial attention (as in testing, developers, education, advertising, services) to the open platforms.

Unfortunately, the development is ego-driven, and most efforts are being thrown into fancy and unreal goals instead of the realistic and useful ones.

By at Thu, 2007/10/11 - 5:00am

We might not agree, but just something that did occur to me:

> The best bet is not to divide the efforts in porting, but to bring commercial
> attention (as in testing, developers, education, advertising, services)
> to the open platforms.

This sounds like the classic problem of "listen first, speak later". We're standing on a soap box advocating, but not listening. Only speaking how everyone should be doing stuff our way, but not listening to the needs of the people who'd love to join but can't make that switch yet. If we don't reach out, how can they ever reach out to us?

By Diederik van de... at Fri, 2007/10/12 - 5:00am

Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't half of the point of (and work that has been done on) KDE4 to create an API layer which basically creates a platform independent foundation for applications to run on top of, so it will not be development for incompatable platforms (apart, obviously, from the development of the API layer which will have to be platform dependent but provide the same hooks for programs on all platforms to use)

So it follows that if this is the case then when writing code for Koffice on QT4 running on windows you are writing code that will also run for Koffice on QT4 running on Linux.

Now I'm not a programmer so I may have got all of this wrong and if so I apologise but that is my understanding of the goals of KDE4, and of Koffice.

By Pob at Sun, 2007/10/14 - 5:00am

"Now I'm not a programmer so I may have got all of this wrong and if so I apologise but that is my understanding of the goals of KDE4, and of Koffice."

No, you are precisely correct :) In theory, this is how it will work, but in practice, there may be some platform-specific quirks that slip through the net, so there may indeed be some "porting" required, but it should be fairly trivial.

By anon at Sun, 2007/10/14 - 5:00am

Sun also require's most all contributors to OpenOffice to transfer the copyright to Sun, so that they can release StarOffice as closed source. Theres been some controversy over that recently as well, with Sun wanting to rewrite some code someone else wrote (under the same license that OO.org is released under) because Sun wanted to be able to relicense it and the person didn't want to let them.

By Sutoka at Wed, 2007/10/10 - 5:00am

yep, worth a read about this issue

By Dolphin-fanatic :) at Fri, 2007/10/12 - 5:00am

Youre absolutely right. The only app thats worth something is Kword.. the others are and have allways been in an embarassing state. Koshell has been ridiculous for years.. its it still in 2,0?

By Jandersen at Thu, 2007/10/11 - 5:00am

"I will personally never use Koffice, I find OpenOffice to be far better."

When KOffice gets better than the competition, I doubt that you can still keep your words!

By jasper at Thu, 2007/10/11 - 5:00am

Open Source is all about choice !! That's why you'll always find many different programs performing the same tasks

By George at Fri, 2007/10/12 - 5:00am

I wonder - does the DOT finally got its own troll?
I think there have been similar posts recently in such stupid directions.

Wow, that would again mean that the DOT has become quite important (because otherwise the Troll wouldn't bother). Nice :D

By Hm.... at Fri, 2007/10/12 - 5:00am

An article at idg.se, http://www.idg.se/2.1085/1.124616 , refers to the australian article, so now we see a little bit of coverage for Koffice in Sweden as well=)

By Peppe Bergqvist at Wed, 2007/10/10 - 5:00am

There is a story on Slashdot as well right now, linking to a Computerworld article. So there is plenty of exposure today.

Oddly, none of the articles prominently pimp flake support, the new music notation, etc.

By T. J. Brumfield at Wed, 2007/10/10 - 5:00am

I read all the comments to that article, and I must say that I'm a bit surprised. It seems that the knowledge about KOffice is much bigger than I thought. None of the comments asked what KOffice was, and nobody dismissed it out of hand.

By Inge Wallin at Wed, 2007/10/10 - 5:00am

aaah, yes, but KOffice is rather old. And I think it used to have more users and mindshare, before OO.o became FOSS.

By Jos Poortvliet at Wed, 2007/10/10 - 5:00am

At the time I knew what was going on KO 2.0 during "the road to KDE 4", I saw some exciting features in KO. By then I was deciding to try 2.0 once it is release. Good job! KDE developers!!

By rockmen1 at Wed, 2007/10/10 - 5:00am

I hope that KOffice 2.0 somehow integrates the MS Office 2007 converters from http://odf-converter.sf.net.
They already run on Linux and other platforms as stand-alone apps.

In the beginning of the KOffice 2 lifecycle shipping these Mono-dependant apps might be better than nothing. For later releases KOffice should use the converter Sun is currently developing in C++.

By yxxcvsdfbnfgnds at Wed, 2007/10/10 - 5:00am

Actually very early in the KOffice 2.0 development cycle Sebastian Sauer made an import script that would use OpenOffice to convert any fileformat to ODF and then load that into KOffice. It's slow, of course, but also convenient. And we don't have to waste time anymore developing support for Microsoft OfficeOpen XML. (Which could easily occupy all our development effort, of course).

By Boudewijn Rempt at Wed, 2007/10/10 - 5:00am

It's just that the Mono-based converters have no or very little dependencies (except Mono, of course). KOffice only has to add the code to run the odf-converter as external application and then load the converted ODF file. I don't think that's lots of work for somebody who knows how to launch an external app via C++.

By yxxcvsdfbnfgnds at Thu, 2007/10/11 - 5:00am

Do not compromise KDE in any way with disease called MONO!
The reason why I am not using GNOME anymore is cos' MONO is integrated in so many applications that it is almost impossible to avoid in GNOME and future looks even worse ...

Leave MONO disease out of KDE realm. Linux community needs one strong desktop cos' GNOME will fail sooner or later under M$crosh$t sword.

By Damijan at Thu, 2007/10/11 - 5:00am

The Mono should be avoided all costs. If MS is serious about their "Standard", they should release a non Mono version. Using Mono or requiring Mono may have very serious consequences on all platforms.

By Ilgaz at Sun, 2007/10/14 - 5:00am

Yes, not having dependancy on Mono is a major feat of KDE.

By Mark at Sun, 2007/10/14 - 5:00am

I was just talking about an *optional* Mono-based component. Nobody should be forced to use it. It's just that many people need to open and save MS Office files.
Once OpenOffice's C++-based converter is ready (OO 3.0), the Mono-based one could be replaced.

By yxxcvsdfbnfgnds at Sun, 2007/10/14 - 5:00am

> I was just talking about an *optional* Mono-based component.

Yep, keep talking. We're not listening.

By Tuju at Sun, 2007/10/21 - 5:00am

It is crqp; does not work; a technology preview, a proof of concept

By Andy at Mon, 2007/10/15 - 5:00am

OOO can only do pivot tables, known as "data pilot". Will these features be supported in Kspread 2?

By Darryl Whheatley at Wed, 2007/10/10 - 5:00am

I dare to say yes, but I'm also certain it's not going to happen in 2.0.

By Inge Wallin at Thu, 2007/10/11 - 5:00am

Just wondering, do Koffice and Abiword/Gnumeric devs work together on a common backend or must features be implemented independently? e.g. using same architecture for spreadsheet formulae, etc.

Also, what happened to KGraph, which when looking at an ancient review I saw mentioned? Was it merged into KChart?

By Parminder Ramesh at Thu, 2007/10/11 - 5:00am

You have used 'backend' term but it is not a silver bullet, I am afraid. There is no clear separation between internal structures and application/gui framework. Amount of work to set standards related to backend-frontend communication would be so huge...

By Jaroslaw Staniek at Thu, 2007/10/11 - 5:00am

Oh, it's a shame that it couldn't be easier to have a common backend:(
Still, I guess both camps are doing a good job independently and hopefully there are enough developers to go round for all projects. I already think Koffice is a joy to use for many tasks, especially the zippy speed - excellent!

By Parminder Ramesh at Thu, 2007/10/11 - 5:00am

I use KOffice a lot, KWORd mainly (more than I use OOo), and I am satisfied with it because it does what it's purpose is. It is simple (ok, more or less ;-)) and functional.
Thank you four work.

By Me at Fri, 2007/10/12 - 5:00am

Seconded. It's true that freedomware developers only get about 0.03% of the praise they deserve. Keep up the great work everyone!

By Alan Denton at Fri, 2007/10/12 - 5:00am

Does KSpread have a tool similar to the "Solver" in MS Excel?

By Axl at Fri, 2007/10/12 - 5:00am

There seems to be some code in http://websvn.kde.org/trunk/koffice/kspread/plugins/solver/

But I don't know of the state of it + I guess a full solver would need quit a lot of code and therefore time which is very limited :-(

By Sebastian Sauer at Sat, 2007/10/13 - 5:00am

If you want an equation solver, look at Qalculate. It's really amazing!

By . at Mon, 2007/10/15 - 5:00am

Makieng kspread do what you want is next to impossible. I mean, koffice is great and all, but does anybody REALLY use it for serious jobs? I once tried, and I have to say that it was impossible - OO was barely usable, and MS Office, as an only sensible MS app, was perfect.

By szlam at Tue, 2007/10/16 - 5:00am

Yes, they do. We did a survey two years ago and we found hundreds of small-to-medium size companies using KOffice to handle all their needs, from writing catalogs and tenders to producing invoices. We found even more individuals using KOffice to produce their school or university papers, their home budgets, their presentations -- everything.

Myself, and I have to admit I'm biased, because I'm a KOffice developer, did depend heavily on Kivio and KPresenter in my previous job. I used KSpread for planning my home renovation. I've written theology papers using KWord and I'm having fun sketching and painting with Krita.

So, yes. People are really using KOffice for real jobs, inconceivable as it may be to you.

By Boudewijn Rempt at Tue, 2007/10/16 - 5:00am