Commercial office suites for Linux?

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Commercial office suites for Linux?

Roger Luedecke
Frankly, I keep running into too many anomalies in LibreOffice vs. MS
Office. Though I could run Office through Wine, I would rather have a
native solution. I googled it to death, and couldn't seem to find
anything.

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Re: Commercial office suites for Linux?

Thomas Taylor
On Sat, 03 Mar 2012 23:38:40 -0800
Roger Luedecke <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Frankly, I keep running into too many anomalies in LibreOffice vs. MS
> Office. Though I could run Office through Wine, I would rather have a
> native solution. I googled it to death, and couldn't seem to find
> anything.
>

Could you be a bit more specific about the anomalies?  I haven't run into
anything major and the minor things could usually be fixed with changes to
settings or creation of macros.

Tom

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Re: Commercial office suites for Linux?

Roger Luedecke
On Sun, 2012-03-04 at 15:31 -0800, Thomas Taylor wrote:

> > Frankly, I keep running into too many anomalies in LibreOffice vs.
> MS
> > Office. Though I could run Office through Wine, I would rather have
> a
> > native solution. I googled it to death, and couldn't seem to find
> > anything.
> >
>
> Could you be a bit more specific about the anomalies?  I haven't run
> into
> anything major and the minor things could usually be fixed with
> changes to
> settings or creation of macros.
>
>
Certainly minor, but annoying. Worst thing really is inconsistent
behavior. Hard to explain, I should have wrote it down while I was
experiencing it. Trying out Lotus Symphony... and so far I like it.
Still would need LibreOffice for dealing with MS formats, but looks like
Lotus is a strong contender. I think I'll blog about it once I get used
to it more.

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Re: Commercial office suites for Linux?

Doug McGarrett
On 03/05/2012 01:23 AM, Roger Luedecke wrote:

> On Sun, 2012-03-04 at 15:31 -0800, Thomas Taylor wrote:
>>> Frankly, I keep running into too many anomalies in LibreOffice vs.
>> MS
>>> Office. Though I could run Office through Wine, I would rather have
>> a
>>> native solution. I googled it to death, and couldn't seem to find
>>> anything.
>>>
>> Could you be a bit more specific about the anomalies?  I haven't run
>> into
>> anything major and the minor things could usually be fixed with
>> changes to
>> settings or creation of macros.
>>
>>
> Certainly minor, but annoying. Worst thing really is inconsistent
> behavior. Hard to explain, I should have wrote it down while I was
> experiencing it. Trying out Lotus Symphony... and so far I like it.
> Still would need LibreOffice for dealing with MS formats, but looks like
> Lotus is a strong contender. I think I'll blog about it once I get used
> to it more.
>
Surely you know that OO is probably a descendent, or at least
a very close cousin of Symphony.  But Symphony has at least
the nice finishing touches of a commercial product, not something
hacked out in somebody's garage.

--doug
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Re: Commercial office suites for Linux?

Per Jessen-2
Doug wrote:

> On 03/05/2012 01:23 AM, Roger Luedecke wrote:
>> On Sun, 2012-03-04 at 15:31 -0800, Thomas Taylor wrote:
>>>> Frankly, I keep running into too many anomalies in LibreOffice vs.
>>> MS Office. Though I could run Office through Wine, I would rather
>>> have a native solution. I googled it to death, and couldn't seem to
>>> find anything.
>>>>
>>> Could you be a bit more specific about the anomalies?  I haven't run
>>> into
>>> anything major and the minor things could usually be fixed with
>>> changes to
>>> settings or creation of macros.
>>>
>>>
>> Certainly minor, but annoying. Worst thing really is inconsistent
>> behavior. Hard to explain, I should have wrote it down while I was
>> experiencing it. Trying out Lotus Symphony... and so far I like it.
>> Still would need LibreOffice for dealing with MS formats, but looks
>> like Lotus is a strong contender. I think I'll blog about it once I
>> get used to it more.
>>
> Surely you know that OO is probably a descendent, or at least
> a very close cousin of Symphony.

The other way around - OO was originally StarOffice, and Lotus Symphony
is now based on OO.


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Re: Commercial office suites for Linux?

Clayton-29
On Mon, Mar 5, 2012 at 07:43, Per Jessen <[hidden email]> wrote:

>>>>> Frankly, I keep running into too many anomalies in LibreOffice vs.
>>>> MS Office. Though I could run Office through Wine, I would rather
>>>> have a native solution. I googled it to death, and couldn't seem to
>>>> find anything.
>>>>>
>>>> Could you be a bit more specific about the anomalies?  I haven't run
>>>> into
>>>> anything major and the minor things could usually be fixed with
>>>> changes to
>>>> settings or creation of macros.
>>>>
>>>>
>>> Certainly minor, but annoying. Worst thing really is inconsistent
>>> behavior. Hard to explain, I should have wrote it down while I was
>>> experiencing it. Trying out Lotus Symphony... and so far I like it.
>>> Still would need LibreOffice for dealing with MS formats, but looks
>>> like Lotus is a strong contender. I think I'll blog about it once I
>>> get used to it more.
>>>
>> Surely you know that OO is probably a descendent, or at least
>> a very close cousin of Symphony.
>
> The other way around - OO was originally StarOffice, and Lotus Symphony
> is now based on OO.

Lotus Symphony is essentially an *older* version of OpenOffice.org
with a new Eclipse based frontend, a few customizations... and not a
lot more (although they did some bug fixing that didn't always make
its way back into the OOo trunk).  So, any file format/round-trip
quirks in LS are highly likely to be the same as in the OOo3.0/3.1-ish
timeframe (last time I know of that IBM took a snapshot of OOo for
LS).

On top of that, IBM has announced that they are dropping Lotus
Symphony as it is now, and focusing only on Apache Open Office. See:
http://www.edbrill.com/ebrill/edbrill.nsf/dx/ibm-lotus-symphony-3.0.1-is-now-available
which states that the Eclipse overlay will no longer be a part of LS
and any future releases of LS will essentially be Apache Open Office.

There are no real top tier *commercial* office software packages
available for Linux that are a prefect match for MS Office.  You have
OpenOffice.org (replaced by AOO), Apache Open Office (created out of
the remains of OOo), LibreOffice (forked from OOo), Lotus Symphony
(based on an old release of OOo, and discontinued), KOffice, Caligra
Suite (based on KOffice), and SoftMaker Office, plus a smattering of
others like gnumeric, AbiWord and so on.  Outside of that, you have a
few web based office tools.. Zoho, Google and Microsoft are prob the
top choices (Oracle/Sun made and announced Cloud Office... but it was
never released, and LIbreOffice has made noise about a cloud/web based
office suite, but so far nothing is really available beyond tech demos
from the last LibO Conference).

SoftMaker Office is probably the only non-OOo office suite out
there... and while it's pretty good... to be honest, it lacks a lot of
what LibreOffice already has.  It has odd issues running on 64 bit...
it doesn't have a Presenter Console (last I checked)... and (again,
last time I checked) if you're trying to evaluate it with the free
version, you can't move files from one install of SMO to another...
the files are locked to the install that created the files (buy a
license and the restriction is removed).

If you want MS Office in Linux, then look into Crossover from
Codeweavers.  The new version 11 of Crossover is due out sometime soon
(I don't know a release date, but the Beta/RC cycle for 11.0 should be
finished soon).  They explicitly support MS Office, and each release
really improves on the compatibility.  Yes it's Wine, but they add on
a lot of tweaks and extras on top of Wine to make things like MS
Office install and work a LOT better.  If you hang on just a little
bit and try out Crossover 11.0 once it's released you might be
pleasantly surprised at how well MSO is working.

Bleh... I spent far too much time up to my neck in the world of open
source office software over the past few years :-)  It was fun.. and I
miss working for OpenOffice... good times... oh well.

C.
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Re: Commercial office suites for Linux?

Mark Misulich-3
In reply to this post by Roger Luedecke
On Sat, 2012-03-03 at 23:38 -0800, Roger Luedecke wrote:
> Frankly, I keep running into too many anomalies in LibreOffice vs. MS
> Office. Though I could run Office through Wine, I would rather have a
> native solution. I googled it to death, and couldn't seem to find
> anything.
>
I make up a monthly newsletter for a non-profit group to which I belong.
I have tried for several years to convert to some software which I could
run on linux, in favor of using WinSomething and MSOfficeSuite.  I have
tried to use each of the various Office Suites available for linux, and
they all seem to come up short.  Softmaker Office seems to be the best I
have used, but even it comes up short when I start to make up the cover
page graphics.  I have posted bugs on the LO/OOo problems that still
aren't fixed after a couple of years of waiting.

I do have Office 2000 installed with Wine, but it is a little flaky and
just isn't reliable enough for me.  I have tried crossover office in the
past and it wasn't much better than Wine.  Maybe it has improved by now.
Adobe Acrobat 6 installed in Wine in the past, but it won't install now
with the present Wine. So I can't use the Wine installed programs to
make up the newsletter in MSOffice then convert it to pdf for emailing.

My best solution so far has been to install WinXx in VirtualBox, with
guest extensions so that I can use it full-screen.  I use Office2000 and
Adobe 6 in that virtual machine without a hitch.  Not exactly Linux, but
at least I am not selecting Windxxx in the Grub list of operating
systems.  The WinXx disc I have wouldn't install in my computer after I
have upgraded the motherboard and cpu for the second or third time
anyways even after slipstreaming new drivers.  Besides, WinXx and the
Office2000/Acrobat 6 is getting to be pretty old software.  They do
install in VirtualBox without a hitch, and run fine.

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Re: Commercial office suites for Linux?

Clayton-29
On Mon, Mar 5, 2012 at 14:05, Mark Misulich <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I do have Office 2000 installed with Wine, but it is a little flaky and
> just isn't reliable enough for me.  I have tried crossover office in the
> past and it wasn't much better than Wine.  Maybe it has improved by now.

Just popping back in to say... it has improved a lot.  I haven't
tested Acrobat 6 (I don't own licenses for any Adobe products so can't
test them) but MSO is working very nicely (a few bugs still but they
are being worked out).  Check out the upcoming Crossover 11.0
release.. won't cost anything other than a little time and any
feedback they get on usability with things like Acrobat will help.


> My best solution so far has been to install WinXx in VirtualBox,

This is my preferred solution - it's only practical though if you've
got enough RAM.  If you want to to run without draining your system
resources, you really need a minimum of 4GB RAM on the host... 8GB or
more is better.

> guest extensions so that I can use it full-screen.

Or run it in seamless mode.  Your MS Office install looks like it's
managed by your Linux window manager.  Can be a bit heavy, but of
you've got enough computer behind it, it's fine.


C.
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Re: Commercial office suites for Linux?

Karl Sinn
In reply to this post by Mark Misulich-3
Am 05.03.2012 14:05, schrieb Mark Misulich:

> On Sat, 2012-03-03 at 23:38 -0800, Roger Luedecke wrote:
>> Frankly, I keep running into too many anomalies in LibreOffice vs. MS
>> Office. Though I could run Office through Wine, I would rather have a
>> native solution. I googled it to death, and couldn't seem to find
>> anything.
>>
> I make up a monthly newsletter for a non-profit group to which I belong.
> I have tried for several years to convert to some software which I could
> run on linux, in favor of using WinSomething and MSOfficeSuite.  I have
> tried to use each of the various Office Suites available for linux, and
> they all seem to come up short.  Softmaker Office seems to be the best I
> have used, but even it comes up short when I start to make up the cover
> page graphics.  I have posted bugs on the LO/OOo problems that still
> aren't fixed after a couple of years of waiting.
>
> I do have Office 2000 installed with Wine, but it is a little flaky and
> just isn't reliable enough for me.  I have tried crossover office in the
> past and it wasn't much better than Wine.  Maybe it has improved by now.
> Adobe Acrobat 6 installed in Wine in the past, but it won't install now
> with the present Wine. So I can't use the Wine installed programs to
> make up the newsletter in MSOffice then convert it to pdf for emailing.
>
> My best solution so far has been to install WinXx in VirtualBox, with
> guest extensions so that I can use it full-screen.  I use Office2000 and
> Adobe 6 in that virtual machine without a hitch.  Not exactly Linux, but
> at least I am not selecting Windxxx in the Grub list of operating
> systems.  The WinXx disc I have wouldn't install in my computer after I
> have upgraded the motherboard and cpu for the second or third time
> anyways even after slipstreaming new drivers.  Besides, WinXx and the
> Office2000/Acrobat 6 is getting to be pretty old software.  They do
> install in VirtualBox without a hitch, and run fine.
>
Hi,

did you try Scribus?

Karl
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Re: Commercial office suites for Linux?

Adam Tauno Williams
In reply to this post by Clayton-29
On Mon, 2012-03-05 at 09:00 +0100, C wrote:

> On Mon, Mar 5, 2012 at 07:43, Per Jessen <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >> Surely you know that OO is probably a descendent, or at least
> >> a very close cousin of Symphony.
> > The other way around - OO was originally StarOffice, and Lotus Symphony
> > is now based on OO.
> Lotus Symphony is essentially an *older* version of OpenOffice.org
> with a new Eclipse based frontend, a few customizations... and not a
> lot more (although they did some bug fixing that didn't always make
> its way back into the OOo trunk).  So, any file format/round-trip
> quirks in LS are highly likely to be the same as in the OOo3.0/3.1-ish
> timeframe (last time I know of that IBM took a snapshot of OOo for
> LS).

Emphasis on old;  LibreOffice is going to be far ahead of LS in terms of
document compatibility.  LO seems at this point to already be far ahead
of OO.


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Re: Commercial office suites for Linux?

Mark Misulich-3
In reply to this post by Karl Sinn

> >
> Hi,
>
> did you try Scribus?
>
> Karl
Hi,
yes I did.  I think it is supposed to be similar to MSPublisher.  I am
very limited on how large the file size can be since I send the
newsletter to members on dial-up isp's.  I found that both Scribus and
MSPublisher made a larger file size than what I was able to produce in
Word.  Scribus and MSPublisher are both great products, but for my
particular circumstances Word worked best in comparison.

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Re: Commercial office suites for Linux?

Anton Aylward-2
In reply to this post by Karl Sinn
Karl Sinn said the following on 03/05/2012 08:32 AM:
> did you try Scribus?

Good point.
Sometimes we get too focused on the mechanisms and forget the objectives.

Perhaps the objective isn't MS-Office/Word compatibility, not least of
all since different versions of MS-Word show incompatibilities (??bug
fixes??) with themselves.  I've seen/heard many complaints that
documents produced in one version don't print out exactly the same using
another ... different page breaks, automatic spacing and things like that.

Perhaps the problem is that MS-Word tries to be all things; not just a
'front office typists word processor' but a desktop publishing system.
I've seen people use Word and Powerpoint to do graphics design when they
should have been using a graphics tool instead.  Why?  Because they were
familiar with it, I suppose.

There are tools and templates from Avery that let you make up things
like business cards using MS-Word.  That's OK if you just want something
very simple and basic.  But when I tried to do something more
sophisticated - but still "just text" - word-as-desktop-publishing (and
OOo) couldn't cut it.   I used scribus instead.  In due course I used
the results of scribus to order cards from Staples - they had a special
on and it worked out cheaper than buying Avery stock and inkjet ink.

Was the quality better?  I'm not enough of an artist to tell.  But after
a couple of hours learning curve with scibus I felt it was easier to put
things exactly where I wanted them and make things look like I wanted.

Scribus has templates for newsletters and stuff and stuff.  But lets
face it, there's also HTML and PDF.  How do you want to present things?
Yes, I expect business cards to be printed out, but precious little
else.  Most of the physical mail I get is flyers and adverts.  I read
the news on the 'Net.  I pay bills on the net.

Do you expect people to print out the newsletters you send them?
Did you print out the Suse newsletters that Sascha Manns sent each
month? They were PDF and HTML, I don't recall what tool he used to
produce them.

The bottom line is this: There are better 'desktop publishing' tools
available than MS-Word.  For most values of "better".



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Re: Commercial office suites for Linux?

Clayton-29
On Mon, Mar 5, 2012 at 15:13, Anton Aylward <[hidden email]> wrote:
> fixes??) with themselves.  I've seen/heard many complaints that
> documents produced in one version don't print out exactly the same using
> another ... different page breaks, automatic spacing and things like that.

That can even come down to printer drivers.  You can open up a new
document on Office 2007... create/edit/layout the contents.  Move that
document to another computer running Office 2007 but with a different
printer driver as default and the layout will change (I used Office
2007 as an arbitrary example here... could be any equivalent
versions).  Then add to the mess by changing Office version and you
have yet again a whole new layer of incompatibility or changes.  Try
creating a presentation in PowerPoint2010 with nice transitions etc..
then open that same document (if you can) in Office 2003... you won't
have the exact same presentation anymore.

People are using any number of combinations of MS Office and printer
drivers.  Anything you create in MSO has a good chance of being borked
in any other random version of MSO.  You will find the same level of
oops in LibreOffice.

The latest LibreOffice is much improved over previous version - it
even can open Visio files now.  You should find less incompatibility
between LO and MSO... although.. Office Open XML (docx, xlsx etc) and
MS Office still has interesting hidden layers of WTF built into it
that will periodically reach out and smack you when you're trying to
round trip a document.... my pet peeve is... set up a spreadsheet in
LibreOffice, export to xls or xlsx... open in MS Office 2010, make an
edit, save... now open that document in LibreOffice again and all your
formulas will have been stripped out by MS Office when it saved.  Not
LibreOffice's fault.. it's MSO being annoying.


C.
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Re: Commercial office suites for Linux?

Jim Flanagan
In reply to this post by Roger Luedecke
On 3/4/12 1:38 AM, Roger Luedecke wrote:
> Frankly, I keep running into too many anomalies in LibreOffice vs. MS
> Office. Though I could run Office through Wine, I would rather have a
> native solution. I googled it to death, and couldn't seem to find
> anything.
>

Just a couple of wild cards to throw into the mix.

I wonder if MS Office 365 will work on Linux. (No I'm not joking, it
could solve the problem). Its web based, and you likely won't be doing
any active directory stuff so it might. Was $6USD per mo last I checked.

Also, has anyone gotten Apple's Pages to run on Linux? They probably
have the binary locked down tight, but it could run?

Just a couple of out of the box thoughts.

Jim F
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Re: Commercial office suites for Linux?

Clayton-29
On Mon, Mar 5, 2012 at 15:35, Jim Flanagan <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Just a couple of wild cards to throw into the mix.
>
> I wonder if MS Office 365 will work on Linux. (No I'm not joking, it could
> solve the problem). Its web based, and you likely won't be doing any active
> directory stuff so it might. Was $6USD per mo last I checked.

According to this:
http://www.v3.co.uk/v3-uk/v3-co-uk-labs-blog/2086291/office-365-mac-linux
yes as long as you don't need Office Communicator.

C.
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Re: Commercial office suites for Linux?

Anton Aylward-2
In reply to this post by Clayton-29
C said the following on 03/05/2012 09:29 AM:

> On Mon, Mar 5, 2012 at 15:13, Anton Aylward <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> fixes??) with themselves.  I've seen/heard many complaints that
>> documents produced in one version don't print out exactly the same using
>> another ... different page breaks, automatic spacing and things like that.
>
> That can even come down to printer drivers.  You can open up a new
> document on Office 2007... create/edit/layout the contents.  Move that
> document to another computer running Office 2007 but with a different
> printer driver as default and the layout will change (I used Office
> 2007 as an arbitrary example here... could be any equivalent
> versions).  Then add to the mess by changing Office version and you
> have yet again a whole new layer of incompatibility or changes.  Try
> creating a presentation in PowerPoint2010 with nice transitions etc..
> then open that same document (if you can) in Office 2003... you won't
> have the exact same presentation anymore.
>
> People are using any number of combinations of MS Office and printer
> drivers.  Anything you create in MSO has a good chance of being borked
> in any other random version of MSO.  You will find the same level of
> oops in LibreOffice.

Which is why, if I want to have control over the presentation of
anything I send out, I use PDF.

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Re: Commercial office suites for Linux?

Clayton-29
On Mon, Mar 5, 2012 at 15:58, Anton Aylward <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> People are using any number of combinations of MS Office and printer
>> drivers.  Anything you create in MSO has a good chance of being borked
>> in any other random version of MSO.  You will find the same level of
>> oops in LibreOffice.
>
> Which is why, if I want to have control over the presentation of
> anything I send out, I use PDF.

Use HybridPDF and you win :-)

Just FYI to anyone unaware of HybridPDFs... this embeds an ODF file in
the PDF.  It looks like a regular PDF to anyone who opens it with
Acrobat Reader/Ocular etc, but if you open it with OOo/LibreOffice or
other HybridPDF capable office application, you get the original
embedded ODF file... which you can then edit/save/export as a new
HybridPDF.

This is a fully documented part of the PDF ISO standard.. not some wild extra.

C.
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Re: Commercial office suites for Linux?

gregfreemyer
In reply to this post by Roger Luedecke
On Sun, Mar 4, 2012 at 2:38 AM, Roger Luedecke <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Frankly, I keep running into too many anomalies in LibreOffice vs. MS
> Office. Though I could run Office through Wine, I would rather have a
> native solution. I googled it to death, and couldn't seem to find
> anything.

Roger,

 My solution in my office is to remote desktop into a corp. terminal server
 and run office there.  I know that is not a great "linux" solution, but it
 works for me.

 fyi:  I also have issues the other way around.  I have one app I run that
 has a WebUI interface.

 It produces a nice little html table of results that I need to send to my
 clients.  I can copy/paste that from firefox to oocalc with no issue, and
 the table layout is very nicely maintained with rows and columns.

 Not true with Excel.

 Another example, with gmail and html based emails, I can copy / paste a
 simple table from oocalc to firefox and have a nice looking email with a
 table in it.

Again, not true with Excel.

So I find I need oocalc routinely as well as MSO.

Greg
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Re: Commercial office suites for Linux?

Anton Aylward-2
In reply to this post by Mark Misulich-3
Mark Misulich said the following on 03/05/2012 08:50 AM:

>
>>>
>> Hi,
>>
>> did you try Scribus?
>>
>> Karl
> Hi,
> yes I did.  I think it is supposed to be similar to MSPublisher.  I am
> very limited on how large the file size can be since I send the
> newsletter to members on dial-up isp's.  I found that both Scribus and
> MSPublisher made a larger file size than what I was able to produce in
> Word.  Scribus and MSPublisher are both great products, but for my
> particular circumstances Word worked best in comparison.
>

What is it you send out?
The MS-word .doc file?  The Scribus sla file?

As I've said, as many people have pointed out, different versions of
MS-Word format differently.

I hope you send out a system independent format such as a PDF.
The thing I like about PDF is that it looks *exactly* like you want it
to look on any destination machine.  Its why so many people use it for
publishing.

That's not to say some PDF generators are awful.  But that's not the
problem; there are plenty of tools to do cleanup.  Just as you can use
'tidy' to clean up the abysmal HTML that MS-Word produces ...

--
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.
 Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
    -- Benjamin Franklin, 1759
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Re: Commercial office suites for Linux?

Mark Misulich-3
On Mon, 2012-03-05 at 10:17 -0500, Anton Aylward wrote:

> Mark Misulich said the following on 03/05/2012 08:50 AM:
> >
> >>>
> >> Hi,
> >>
> >> did you try Scribus?
> >>
> >> Karl
> > Hi,
> > yes I did.  I think it is supposed to be similar to MSPublisher.  I am
> > very limited on how large the file size can be since I send the
> > newsletter to members on dial-up isp's.  I found that both Scribus and
> > MSPublisher made a larger file size than what I was able to produce in
> > Word.  Scribus and MSPublisher are both great products, but for my
> > particular circumstances Word worked best in comparison.
> >
>
> What is it you send out?
> The MS-word .doc file?  The Scribus sla file?
>
> As I've said, as many people have pointed out, different versions of
> MS-Word format differently.
>
> I hope you send out a system independent format such as a PDF.
> The thing I like about PDF is that it looks *exactly* like you want it
> to look on any destination machine.  Its why so many people use it for
> publishing.
>
> That's not to say some PDF generators are awful.  But that's not the
> problem; there are plenty of tools to do cleanup.  Just as you can use
> 'tidy' to clean up the abysmal HTML that MS-Word produces ...

I use Word 2000 to produce my document, then I convert it to PDF with
Acrobat 6.  

I have tried every combination of file from Word,OOo and LOo, Scribus,
MSPublisher, then convert it to PDF in several ways.  It always comes
out as a smaller file if I use Word then Acrobat, than any other
combination to produce it.


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