When composing documents, I prefer to let the final production medium to dictate the production process. (If I don't, I tend to run into issues relating to the final product that are costly to overcome late in the process.)
With this mindset, I still haven't found the use case for word processors. If I aim for something to be designed well in print, it makes most sense to use a desktop publishing tool like Scribus. For the web, something like Org or Markdown covers 99% of the use cases. Org or manually writing LaTeX is good for print use when fancy designs are not key.
What do you people use word processors for?
It's probably not the kind of job that a typical programmer would like to have, but there are hundreds of millions of these jobs in governments, schools, and corporate offices all over the world. I bet they make up a much larger market than all the programmers in the world combined. We need to get out of the programmer bubble in order to see why a seemingly obsolete piece of software like LibreOffice is still such a big deal. Just one country deciding on it as the official standard means millions of people will be using FOSS in a critical part of their workflow.
I did my M.A. and Ph.D. in the humanities and wrote both dissertations using Microsoft Word. My professors would have been very confused if I had sent them anything other than .doc(x) for review.
This, in particular, is the most important point. The parent commenter says "I prefer to let the final production medium to dictate the production process". Well, in the vast majority of cases, .docx is the final production medium. Most people use MS Word as both a document editor and a document reader.
I've worked at many companies and very rarely is any of the work product "finalized" into something like a PDF or a magazine. 90%+ of our work is meant to be continuously iterated on and added to over time, meaning it needs to stay in .docx. This applies even in the tech world, where things like design documents, project plans, etc are all used as well.
When STEM people think of a "final production medium", they usually think of articles in journals. But who reads paper journals anymore? Most people who are active in their fields don't even read PDFs of paper journals; they've already seen the preprints on arxiv. We're all just exchanging tarballs of source code, and nobody is compiling anything.
The thing I like the best about Microsoft Word is the review feature. Multiple people can edit, annotate, and comment on specific parts of the same document. You can inspect each diff and either accept or reject it. Everything is color-coded and can be manipulated using a mouse. It's like commenting on a github commit, but much more intuitive for people whose job is to exchange human-readable documents, not source code.
This is an interesting perspective! I author in plain text, and when collaborating, I prefer using what's essentially the Phabricator code review workflow to elicit comments and improvements until the change is fixed.
Working with changes this way is useful in that it atomises and comparmentalises changes, so the history is easier to inspect after the fact. And so far, few people have found it unintuitive -- they don't even know it was designed for source code in the first place, they just like that it's clear what's expected of them at each step in the process.
I think sometimes it's easy to underestimate how good tools for programmers are, but it's easy to see why: in any field, if you want to find good tools, look at what the toolmaker has to use. I think a lot of people would prefer the programmer tools if given sufficient polish and the proper introduction.
It's easy to underestimate how much meaning ordinary people bestow upon layouts, colors, and other stylistic choices that programmers often think is frivolous. I think we should focus more on how we might design tools that allow people to work together effectively on non-plain-text content (rich text, photos, videos, you name it) than how we might convince everyone to adopt our plain-text tools.
Non-technical people can take a document produced by pages, MS Word, and OO Writer, and load them up, make changes and send them back. The cloud has not yet caught up with my part of the industry I work in.
I'd love to be able to work in Markdown (or even groff) and then feed that to something to produce nice looking documents - in the end I use word, because its the easiest way to get passed the post. PDF is my most favored document interchange format, provided that edibility is not a prime desire.
What I'd love is a word processor, that allows me to use PDF as the prime document format for saving, editing, etc.
Come on, Baader-Meinhof! I literally just seconds ago learned the term "faulty diction", and then you throw in my face an editability/edibility mixup.
I think word processors are just entrenched. People expect this degree of control, and don’t know how better things can be in either direction.
Fun fact: the original Google word processor wasn’t really much of a word processor. It was more akin to LyX, where users chose the type of text they were working with, and then IIRC, CSS styling was applied. But then the pressure to be a “real word processor” got the better of them, and it got rewrote as the thing it is today.
Frame Maker... now that was a nice take on document creation.
I'd be interested to know what product you use to compose your documents in.
I personally like Org to compose the copy of a document. It's a plain text format that makes sense to a lot of people, the reference implementation has most of the powerful features I'd miss from word processors, and it's reasonably easy to script missing advanced features.
I also use libreoffice, but mostly only when forced to deal with docs or PowerPoint etc. I think libreoffice does a lot of things right and am glad to have their wysiwyg when I don't feel like thinking.
Also, I think it's shameful so many professors require docx..
Most features of word processors are equally applicable for web-style content, but somehow we ended up having completely separate ecosystem there.
One major issue hampering creation of such tool is the relative lack of standardization on the web. Every content platform has its own format and api etc, so making common tooling is difficult.
See also Windows Live Writer
Dealing with people who use word processors.
(Word processors are hateful and waste large chunks of my time whenever I have to deal with them it seems.)
To answer your question: I only use Libreoffice to write write the occasional letter to state authorities and to write my invoices (which are few). For serious documents, I exclusively use LaTeX as I love not having to care about layout details (it sometimes takes time to figure new stuff out, like putting graphics into the perfect place, but when a deadline is near, the layouting is nothing I have to care about any more).
But the things you mention are the things I do with Org and Emacs Org mode. Is that something you have tried?
A lot of the alternatives, like LyX, are too opinionated to paste into from the browser.
I think these new icons and menus look wonderful.
It's especially impressive because LibreOffice doesn't really seem to have any big corporate backers like other OSS projects, and yet they seem to be holding on. I don't think I've seen LO installed in any corporate environment, and I'd imagine that MS Office holds like 95% of the market, so I do appreciate this alternative.
If it's specific CSV files that are causing an issue, and you don't mind sharing them, you could attach them to a bug report: https://bugs.documentfoundation.org
Also try resetting your profile in case that's an issue: https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/UserProfile#Resolving_co...
I'll do some more testing and report.
The old icons were far clearer as to their purpose. Save is now a download button in case children don't recognize a floppy...
EDIT: Three steps:
1. Go to Tools > Options in the menu
2. Click View on the left
3. Then choose Icon style on the right
Simple for you doesn't mean simple for other people.
Without writing down the steps on exactly how-to use the older icons, it doesn't equate to simple in my opinion.
IOW, you probably had done yourself a favor to not use the word "simply".
FWIW, I didn't like the word choice on not like an icon set with the word "hate", but well I guess that's what he felt.
Personally I do like the new icons. Keep up the good work!
Only pointing out that "simple" is something in the eye of the beholder. If you know how something works, it is often simple.
FWIW I have been working for over 20 years in OSS ;) and often thought things are simple only to find out that users need a bit more hand holding.
No, that is the Gnome Icon set, the new Windows Icon set is still a floppy.
I agree that at some point we will need to change the floppy disk, but it was just interesting the feeling I had when trying to grok the down arrow as "save".
Guess it is just a matter of getting used to it.
Policy not linked or displayed. After clicking "Privacy Preferences":
No such links anywhere in that thing. But there is one in the page footer:
> Is LibreOffice itself doing something sneaky that I don't know about?
Of course not. We're a volunteer-driven, community open source project. It's all in the open :-) If you really want to change how the website works, we'd appreciate a hand: firstname.lastname@example.org - thanks!
> !!!add opt-out frame on the website at this position!!!
I'd argue you're being unfair with terminology here. People generally talk about tracking when referring to cookies and scripts that monitor what other sites users visit. Monitoring sessions on your own site is ethically distinct enough to warrant its own term: web analytics.
You may think these are bad terms that don't reflect the true nature of the issue, and I'd be inclined to agree with you, but it is not an excuse to willingly conflate the two without qualifying it.
OK, we're using open source tools to try to improve the site. Plenty of other FOSS projects do this... Not sure why we're being singled out :-)
Didn't mean no harm or to single you guys out. You're doing fantastic work. But broken and noncompliant notices do bother me a bit.
Sorry to drag on like this but the privacy statement (thanks for linking) says:
takes place only with the consent of the user
It does not, as there appears to be a second cookie notice underneath the first stating how consent is assumed:
We use only those functional cookies which are absolutely necessary to ensure that we give you the best navigation experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with them.
From my understanding, if you're using only functional cookies and no tracking you don't even need consent (as you have legal basis) and you can drop the notice altogether. But I don't think analytics count as functional cookies.
You'll never be able to please everyone so your ability to study and run experiments is key. If anything, it sounds like you are doing things exactly the right way.
edit: in case it's not clear : i'm all for appropriate tracking (in your context, improving the website), provided that 1/ I know about it 2/ I have a choice (in your case, I'll opt in* if I can)
Someone who cares has noticed, and enough other people care that the thread is getting upvoted enough to hit the front page of HN.
Though still you are not being "singled" out as there are plenty of sites which have had their cookie/privacy/tracking/other behaviours picked apart recently. You are not the first/only and will not be the last!
Everyone who tracks has improvements in mind.
1. The fact that you use OS tools to track users is almost irrelevant. I can still collect and lose data with FOSS tools. A tool is a tool (and tracking is tracking).
2. Sorry, I am not buying the "we need to know how you move on site to improve it". You write a great FOSS office productivity tool set. You should not care how much time users spend on your site, etc. In fact, your web site can be pretty basic for downloading new software. If you really need to figure out how people move within your site this should be easy to recover from IPs and web server logs.
Just my 2c and please keep doing your great work!
> You should not care how much time users spend on your site, etc.
Well, that's your opinion! But many of us in the LibreOffice community see the website as a major part of the product (and project). Do we want to spread the word about FOSS? Compete effectively with MS Office? Build our community and attract new contributors? Encourage donations so that we can support the community? Then we need a well-structured and useful website. Analytics tools help a lot in that.
> In fact, your web site can be pretty basic for downloading new software.
Again, that's the way you see it, fair enough. But actually the site needs to do a lot more than that. It needs to encourage people to try the software (screenshots, videos etc.) It needs to provide help, and support options, and front-ends to mailing lists. It needs to provide infrastructure for the project and community as a whole. The more we can optimise that - with the help of some analytics tools - the stronger we can make LibreOffice and the community. That's very important to us; if you disagree, join the LibreOffice project website list and put forward your case :-)
Point taken. I do not post-edit my posts for content, but I completely agree that LO's tracking is almost certainly at the benign end of the scale. It was a bad formulation on my part
On the other two points, though, your post reaffirmed my position. The way I understood it is you want to track (benignly, within the site only) users to generate funding, advocacy, onboarding, etc. This collecting user data to influence their behavior is, to me, starting down a slippery slope. That slippery slope has Facebook-like mind manipulation at the end of it; it is very far, but once you start in that direction it is very hard to stop.
Well structured and useful website indeed helps greatly. But one should be able to get there, or 90% there, using only anonymous information. This is just my opinion (I do take a harder line on privacy than most users). Cheers!
> This collecting user data to influence their behavior...
I think that's a really negative and cynical way to look at what we and other FOSS projects are doing. Here's an example of what we can do with some basic website analytics data: we can put a banner on the download page saying "Made by the community - you can be a part too!". The banner links to a "Get involved" page, encouraging people to join the project.
Then, with analytics tools, we can see how well that works. We can do A/B testing by having some download pages with the banner, some without, and see which ones help bring new people into our FOSS community. This is really useful and good for us all!
Now you could say this is about "influencing behavior", and in a super pedantic sense it is. But again, when people talk about websites "influencing behavior" the big topics at the moment are Russian troll farms, Cambridge Analytica etc. I don't think it's fair to use terms like that when we're not trying to play mind games with anyone!
> That slippery slope has Facebook-like mind manipulation at the end of it
Ah please, we're just a small non-profit entity organising a FOSS project and trying to make a website that encourages people to get involved. The "slipperly slope" argument doesn't work well. One thing doesn't inherently lead to another. With that argument, drinking beer leads to other substances which leads to X Y Z... Nah, I've been drinking beer for years and haven't touched anything else. Beer is great enough :-)
Really, if you have a genuine fear that some LibreOffice community members using Piwik to improve the site could lead to "Facebook-like mind manipulation at the end", please do join the website list, put forward your points and let's deal with it! But having been involved in FOSS projects for over 20 years, I don't think that's a concern. People are just trying to do the right thing :-)
First, I have no fear that LO will be used for nefarious purposes. And even in the worst, unlikely case of all collected data leaking or getting sold to FB, NSA or your-favorite-villain, the harm done will be several orders of magnitude less than the provided benefit of building a FOSS office suite. Viva LO, cheers to its developers.
But we have an overall erosion of trust. We do not trust remote systems or software any more. In the age of shareware (mid-late 90s) software downloaded from unknown sources was in general assumed benign. Possibly stupid, but rarely actively harmful. Today, even with apps from Play/App-store, the default assumption is that they are trying to do something against the user. To install or not install question depends on whether the benefit they provide is greater than that harm.
"Something against the user" is now monitoring and tracking (access to contacts, photos, camera, mic, WiFi info) and it is always explained as improving user experience. Sure. Seeing such logic instantly raises a red flag for me and, sadly, catches your use case as well. While I have no doubt that LO is doing none of this my thought (based on learned priors) is "Et tu, Brute".
Just a guess, but in today's environment you may get better ROI (funding, advocacy, whatever) by not tracking users at all and prominently boasting of this. As I mentioned in the thread above, you probably can get most of the information you need to tune the site from web server logs anyway. Again, just a single user opinion / data point.
* If we had a bad website, people would complain that it's ineffective, and not helping drive people towards FOSS
* If we then add open source analytics tools to try to improve the site, people ask why we are "tracking" them
* If we then add a banner, people complain that we're training people to ignore banners
...so it's hard to get anything right, it seems! We could remove Piwik completely (although it's not my call - I'm just one person in the project). But then it'd be much harder to improve our website. Piwik is really useful and if we want FOSS to be more widespread and adopted, we shouldn't shy away from such tools, IMO.
> We could remove Piwik completely
Yes, please do that.
> But then it'd be much harder to improve our website.
But that's not what I said at all. Please don't just thrown in things like that. I said that analytics tools can be really useful in many ways to help to improve a website (especially a bad one).
You ask "why", well look here at the features that the open source tool we use provides: https://matomo.org/features/
> You ask "why", well look here at the features the open source tool we use provides: https://matomo.org/features/
That's more about about why one should use Piwik instead of a different tracking tool.
> shouldn't we try to make the best website we can?
Sure. And IMHO the benefit of not having a banner / tracking outweigh the cons.
I know you didn't intend it this way but your response smacks of complete ignorance.
to be clear i didn't mean for my comment above to sound sarcastic -- i know how much effort goes into a project like this and its appreciated by linux users the world over