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KOffice 1.5 Released with Native Full OpenDocument Support
Thursday, April 13 2006 @ 11:05 PM EDT

The KOffice development team announced the release of KOffice 1.5 this week, with full native OpenDocument support, and that is wonderful news. They would like some help now. They are looking for bug finders and developers.

KDE's Carlos Leonhard Woelz, who isn't part of the KOffice team, nevertheless wrote to tell me a bit about the KOffice 1.5 release:
The main feature is the native OpenDocument support. It takes a lot of courage to ditch your own file formats and jump into a new file format you don't control. And that's exactly what the KOffice developers did. Their contribution to OpenDocument is invaluable, either by contributing to the format directly, or expanding the standards for applications which do not have a OpenOffice counterpart, such as Krita, (or Gimp), KPlato, etc... The KOffice developers also found several bugs in OpenOffice OpenDocument support, bugs that can only be effectively found if you have other programs generating standards compliant OpenDocument.

In this release, Kexi, the long waited MS Access replacement, and Krita, the painting and image editing application, matured greatly, and are now competing for the best application title, in their respective classes.

Therefore, I believe that the KOffice release is excellent news, and should be celebrated.

Here are some links:

The press release.
The announcement with details on binaries, download options, libraries, etc.
The changelog
And if you look at the announcement, you'll find news on progress so far on disability issues:
Enhanced Accessibility for Users with Disabilities

The decision of the Commonwealth of Massachussetts to base its future document format on open standards started a great debate with many different people and organization taking part. The start of it was Microsoft's assertion that programs using the OpenDocument file format could not be used by handicapped people.

The direct outcome of this debate was that OpenOffice.org, KOffice and vendors of other office software started to work hard on rectifying this situation. This version of KOffice has support for enhanced accessibility through the means of mouseless operation and text-to-speech functionality.

It is therefore our hope that KOffice can in future be used even by handicapped users, and we are very interested in feedback on this.

So, if the project appeals to you, please do try out the new stuff, and provide them feedback, especially if you are disabled. If you are not disabled, here are other areas where you can help with feedback even if you are not a coder but like me, just a happy user:

Great care has been taken to ensure interoperability with other office software that supports OpenDocument, most notably OpenOffice.org. We acknowledge, however, that the ODF support and interoperability is not yet perfect. We hope to be able to quickly identify and fix the incompatibilities that do exist in the upcoming 1.5.1 and 1.5.2 bugfix releases.

The announcement says they've doubled their development base from 15 to 30 since the last release, but the more the merrier. Here's where you find contact information. Finding bugs is part of what makes FOSS development so rapid, and we don't need to be developers to share in that part of things. If by any chance you've never done bug testing, all you do is try out the application and if anything doesn't work just right, let the developers know. In addition to disability issues, here's what they plan to work on next if you are a developer:

Regarding future development, KOffice 2.0 will be released around the turn of the year 2006/2007. It will build on the same platform as KDE 4.0, which means immediate portability to Windows and MacOS X. KOffice 2.0 will also include improved font handling, change management and improved integration.

And here's the download page. There is an alternative:

Innovative Testing Facilities with klik:

KOffice developers want to make testing as easy as possible for our users. Therefore, we offer to you an additional method to testdrive KOffice 1.5.0 which doesn't require the replacement of the last stable release on your system by current beta packages.

We teamed up with the klik developer team, who will provide up to date klik packages for all of KOffice. klik packages may be used without installation (they run, similar to Mac OS X "AppDir" bundles, from a self-contained directory tree -- but klik compresses the tree into one single file for easier handling). klik-bundles work on multiple Linux platforms without disturbing the system's native package manager (see also klik User's FAQ). A Wiki holds details about KOffice klik bundles and supported distros.

The announcement mentioned Kexi. If you're wondering what Kexi is all about, here's some info Groklaw's vruz collected for me:

Kexi is another relatively new and until now little-known application in KOffice, that has been actively developed since 2002. If you build databases for office applications regularly, Kexi is great news for you. Kexi 1.0 is the first fully-featured version of this integrated data management application in KOffice.
It can be used for creating database schemas, inserting data, performing queries, and processing data. Forms can be created to provide a custom interface to your data. All database objects -- tables, queries and forms -- are stored in the database, making it easy to share data and design.

Jaroslaw Staniek is the lead Kexi developer who has been working on Kexi full-time for three years, his work sponsored by the Polish company OpenOffice Polska, which sells a commercial version of Kexi for Windows. Even though the stable core Kexi team is small, the project receives help from a broad test base.

Here are some Kexi features that make it stand out:

  • Multiple database backends: Mysql, PostgreSQL, SQLite supported (so your data is never trapped)
  • RAD-style database applications development
  • Support for Python and Ruby as open source scripting languages
  • MS Access users migration path, MDB database tables import based upon the work of the MDB-Tools project

And it's an all-FOSS solution.

To summarize, this KOffice 1.5 release includes:
  • a frame-based, full-featured word processor (KWord);
  • a spreadsheet application (KSpread);
  • a presentation application (KPresenter);
  • a flowchart application (Kivio);
  • an integrated database application (Kexi);
  • a pixel based image editing and paint application (Krita);
  • a vector-drawing application (Karbon14).
  • a technology preview of a new project management application (KPlato).

Additionally, KOffice includes robust embeddable objects:

  • report generator (Kugar)
    Note: Kugar is deprecated in this release will be replaced with another solution. It's only included since there are users that are already using it.
  • full-featured charting engine (KChart)
  • mathematical formula handling (KFormula)
  • as well as a built-in thesaurus (KThesaurus) and support for many different file formats.


  


KOffice 1.5 Released with Native Full OpenDocument Support | 160 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections Thread...
Authored by: mram on Thursday, April 13 2006 @ 11:10 PM EDT
.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT Here!
Authored by: mram on Thursday, April 13 2006 @ 11:11 PM EDT
.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Excellent Compatibilty testing platform
Authored by: SpaceLifeForm on Thursday, April 13 2006 @ 11:38 PM EDT
This is really good news, in that it provides two
different applications from different codebases
that can interface with each other via the OpenDocument format.

Via KOffice and OpenOffice on the same platform,
bugs will be much more easily found.

It also helps counter FUD.




---

You are being MICROattacked, from various angles, in a SOFT manner.

[ Reply to This | # ]

reporting bugs
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, April 14 2006 @ 02:33 AM EDT
I work for a very large company that you know that has many many millions of
global customers that send us problems that they have with our software.
However, often we don't know what the real issue is or if it's even something
that we did. Here are a few things that are not so obvious to users but mean the
world to developers and help them help you:

When you file a bug, always give as much info about your software environment as
you can... OS, exact version of the software you're using, in the case of linux
maybe even how you installed it (compiled, rpm, etc).

What exactly you were doing when you found the bug. "Writing a letter"
or "clicking a button" make it really hard for us to figure out what
the issue really was. Even "opening a file" could be done a number of
ways (click on File > Open, Ctrl-o, etc).

Please try to make sure that you can reproduce the bug. If it's something that
only happens "once in a while", it may be very hard for us to find it.
There is probably an exact sequnce of events that you can do to reproduce the
bug.

Speaking of an exact sequence of steps, this is enormously helpful when trying
to track down a bug. If you can tell us step by step what you did (think of if
you couldn't operate the PC yourself and had to tell someone else how to operate
it for you), then it's much easier for us to track down how you're coming across
this issue.

Be as precise as you can and it's always better to give more info than less. The
easier it is for us to reproduce it, the faster we can find it and fix it
instead of trying to figure out what the bug report means. We do want to fix the
issue that you're seeing, believe me. :) Sometimes it's just hard to tell what
it is... so as i said before... help us to help you!

[ Reply to This | # ]

Do people still use KOffice?
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, April 14 2006 @ 06:20 AM EDT
Seriously? I used to, back in the day, but it seems to me that OpenOffice now
does more, on more platforms, with more support.

There's an argument that KOffice might drive or indirectly contribute to
OpenOffice developement, but I don't really think that's the case; OpenOffice is
a pretty unabashed Microsoft Office clone. I doubt that the OpenOffice guys
really care much about what KOffice is doing.

It's not even like KOffice is the KDE equivelant of Wordpad (which is actually
good enough for most Jane ThankYouNotes on Windows); it's a full fat suite, but
not as good (sorry, it's not) as OpenOffice. I really just can't see the point
in installing it any more, and I hope that KDE doesn't push it too hard as part
of the default install.

Sure, diversity and choice are good, but maybe having all those clearly very
talented KOffice developers contributing to OpenOffice might be better.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The only thing that bugs me about KOffice (and KDE)
Authored by: Sander Marechal on Friday, April 14 2006 @ 06:41 AM EDT
It's good to hear that KOffice 1.5 has finally arrived, but there's one thing that bugs me to no end about KOffice (and KDE in general): Does every application name really have to start with a K?!

---
Sander Marechal
Geek, Programmer and many more, but not a lawyer

[ Reply to This | # ]

Already Updated
Authored by: WhiteFang on Friday, April 14 2006 @ 07:04 AM EDT
I kicked off the KOffice updates last night on my three primary PCs. Gotta love
that Gentoo 'emerge'.

Yeah, yeah. I already know I'm addicted to emerge.

As for the comment which was made about kde based packages all beginning with
the letter K. Not quite all of them do. There is 'amarok' and several others.
:-D

Personally, I have no problem with the K signifier in the package names. Since
I'm a heavy kde user, it simplifies my life.

---
DRM - Degrading, Repulsive, Meanspirited
'Nuff Said

[ Reply to This | # ]

KOffice 1.5 Released with Native Full OpenDocument Support
Authored by: rjh on Friday, April 14 2006 @ 11:29 AM EDT
OpenOffice does paragraph styles very well indeed. To use a style you have
already created, you simply import styles from one document to the next. Nothing
broken here, just learning curve.

---
Stop the car! My head just blew out the window!

[ Reply to This | # ]

KOffice 1.5 Accessibility
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, April 14 2006 @ 11:47 AM EDT

Please be careful not to overhype the accessibility enhancements in KOffice 1.5. We must not give the impression that KOffice is now fully accessible. It isn't, particularly for the blind. KOffice won't be accessible for the blind until we get the full AT-SPI infrastructure working in KDE 4.

KOffice 1.5 does include a new text-to-speech capability that is targeted toward users with visual impairments. The implementation is not perfect. I'm the developer who worked on this. I myself do not have visual impairments (other than advancing age), so I frankly do not know how useful this new feature will be. I'm hoping that users will provide some feedback and guidance we can apply to future versions. BTW, to get the new TTS feature working, you must install the kdeaccessibility module, which includes KTTS.

We also endeavored to provide mouseless keyboard operation for all primary functionality in KWord, KPresenter, and KSpread. This too is not perfect because it was "bolted on" rather than built into the underlying infrastructure. Once again, we hope to have a much better implementation in KDE 4.

Users who want to investigate the new accessibility features in KOffice should read the sections entitled "For Users with Disabilities" in the KWord, KPresenter, and KSpread manuals.

Feedback can be given several ways. See http://koffice.org/contact/.

- Gary Cramblitt

[ Reply to This | # ]

KOffice 1.5 Release fails to work on Suse 10.0
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, April 14 2006 @ 02:51 PM EDT
I have tried to install KOffice 1.5 on a Suse 10.0 installation using YAST. It
has not worked due to broken dependancies, specifically a requirement to have
libgsf-1.so.113 and libwpd-0.8, neither of which links Yast was able to effect.
So much for a useful system. Many comments suggest that it is a good system but
I've given up for the moment and don't know if I'll try again. OOo works just
fine for me and I was simply interested in trying an alternative.

I am technically literate but I don't have time to solve other peoples problems.
For the untrained user, this kind of difficulty leads to them never trying
again, meaning that MS has a good pert of their strategy met.

Regards
Paul Thomas

[ Reply to This | # ]

More about KOffice 1.5 Release fails to work on Suse 10.0
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, April 14 2006 @ 04:26 PM EDT
Apparantly I annoyed some people. This is not a KO problem at all, it is a
distribution problem according to some. I was pointing the finger in the wrong
direction.

I replied to one as follows:

***************************
Perhaps you are right. My point here is that if KO wants to develop a following
it should provide ways for potential users to easily solve difficulties. It is
not that I don't know who to complain to.

The installation instructions are about as deep as "Here's your package,
hope it works out" Then the help pages are written in geekese. English
would be better. As an engineer with 40 years experience, I've always found
that when someone can explain things in english they actually understand them.
As a business person I have found that customer loyalty comes from helping
customers solve problems, not telling them to point the finger at the other
guy.

I spent a lot of time searching for the missing links on SuSE, Sourceforge,
Freshmeat and the search engines. I found lots of stuff on the dependancy
links. downloaded the tar files for them, unzipped, comiled, linked, instlled,
fussed with other missing items that were needed to make them install properly.
Then I again tried to install the rpm files for KO. Nothing untoward showed up
the second time but KOffice application do not run. No error message, no hints,
no screen activity -- just dead air.

Be annoyed at me if you will for daring to suggest that there is a problem here.
If the FOSS community is looking to provide viable alternatives to MS then it
had better learn to make things work out of the box in the environments that
users work in. That means that SuSE, a widely used distribution, should work
right away as should RedHat, Debian and any one of many other common
distributions. If we cannot do that as a community then MS will remain a
monopoly by default. Teams that don't show up on game day generally forfeit.
******************
It is to everyones detriment that this conversation should even be necessary.

Regards
Paul Thomas

[ Reply to This | # ]

would love to use it on OSX
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 15 2006 @ 12:24 PM EDT
Have an OSX system and would love to use KOffice (in X11) but kde is extremely
poorly maintained on OSX.

[ Reply to This | # ]

More still on KOffice 1.5 fails on SuSE 10.0 system
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, April 15 2006 @ 11:09 PM EDT
I've had several comunications with KOffice people. Although I followed all the
instruction given on the sites before expanding my search for solutions, it
still did not work and does not now.

As will happen with any person in the public, I give up. The people who have
communicated with me have dilligently tried to make it my fault but have equally
dilligently not done anything to move toward a solution. So I can not suggest
to friends that KOffice is any good because I don't know. With my tech
background, my friends are going to end up thinking that Linux is the problem
(wrong, i use it exclusively with great success) but it will make the barrier to
entry high for them.

Regards
Paul Thomas

[ Reply to This | # ]

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