Tag Archives: openoffice

reduce presentation stress

In giving 2 presentations last week at the UK Hyperion conference, it was great to have Oracle Open Office installed with the Oracle Presenter Console extension.

This allows users to view the current slide, notes, the upcoming slide and timing details:

Using the console made it easy to present and keep on time.

The extension is included in Oracle Open Office 3.2.1 and is also available for download separately for those on OpenOffice.Org and StarOffice versions.

Note: Existing StarOffice customers are entitled to use Oracle Open Office 3 under the same conditions as StarOffice.  Patches can be found at sunsolve.sun.com, a valid online account is required.

Some tips for using:  You need to make sure that the second display is enabled before starting OracleOpenOffice and you will need to change the Presentation Display to be the second screen (from the menu: Slide Show/Slide Show Settings, under the Multiple Screens drop down).  This will only be click-able when second display is enabled – it required me to hit F7 a couple of times on my Macbook Pro 😉

OpenOffice 3.2.1 security and bug fix released

OpenOffice 3.2.1 is released today and contains bug and security updates as well as a brand refresh, which can be seen in the splash screen image.

The fixes list can be found here and the release notes here.

Also just over 29.8 million downloads have occurred since version 3.2 was announced.  What a way to celebrate your 10th birthday!!

(Thanks to Joost Andrae for the tip).

change and excitement

The only thing constant is change1 (and death and taxes) and that quote seems very appropriate lately with Sun becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of Oracle.  But that is only the starter:

  • Oracle announced the Sun Strategy last week in a mammoth 5 hour presentation – of which you can grab highlights here.

I’ve only had a chance to review part of them but the one that most excites me is on Office Productivity centered around OpenOffice and StarOffice. The future OracleOffice suite will also include web and mobile versions, and integrate to EPM and content management, giving an integrated solution on Unix, Mac, Linux and Windows. All while embracing the ODF document standards.

I’m probably luckier than most Sun employees as I’ve seen the changes that occurred with the Hyperion acquistion into Oracle.  As a long time essbase and Hyperion user, I’ve  seen the transition, timetables and outputs that
occurred.  It was very gradual and there was much learning from both sides.

I’ve also seen how Microsoft Office focused the Hyperion product set has been, which hasn’t been easy working at Sun Microsystems and utilising UNIX. 

But one of the great things is that with an open platform such as OpenOffice anyone can develop extensions. Applied OLAP did just that and created an essbase plugin which mirrored the MSOffice equivalent.

Not only does this perform well, it’s actually a lot easier to install than the latest MSOffice version plugin from Oracle, which requires very large downloads and admin rights.  See here and here.

I’ve updated my blog design to reflect the new Oracle colours and will try to blog more about BI and EPM items, but also keeping an Oracle product focus.

As the Sun folks become more integrated with Oracle, there’s bound to be more change and learning along with it. I’m excited by it but also a little bit nervous.  We’ve all got a lot to learn.

1.From Heraclitus, "Nothing endures but change".

OpenOffice 3.2/StarOffice 9.2 around the corner

While it seems that in some respects the world has been standing still with the Oracle acquisition, there is lots of hard work being done by dedicated engineers inside and outside Sun Microsystems.

One more example is the soon to be released OpenOffice 3.2/ StarOffice 9.2 updates, this is both a feature and bug release with some of the key items that I’ve picked out are:

  • faster start up times
  • enhanced ODF 1.2 compliance
  • improved MS Office compatibility and support
  • over 750 bug fixes

For those of you who are really keen you can download the latest OpenOffice versions from OpenOffice.org. Note: OpenOffice Release Candidate 4 is currently being tested and will be available shortly.

One of the regular items I’m asked is what is the difference between OpenOffice and StarOffice?

They both use the same code base (at the binary level) however StarOffice is Sun’s professional distribution of OpenOffice.org (OOo) and has the following added features and benefits:

  • Hot fixes, patches and updates (OOo is full installation).
  • Extensions and mail/calendar functionality comes with StarOffice
    Software, with OpenOffice.org you have to download each extension
  • Sun warranty and indemnification.
  • Committed timelines.
  • 3 free warranty support calls (in retail).
  • Customization, if business opportunity is big enough.

Check out to see if OpenOffice or StarOffice can help you today!

UPDATE: Thursday 5th Feb, RC 5 has just been released. Available from the same link.

UPDATE: Thursday 11th Feb, The final version has been released, with 776 bugs fixed.  You can download it from the main page.

open source software and survival of the fittest

There has been lots of recent discussions about open source and how that either helps or hinders proprietary software, depending on your point of view.

Open Source Software (OSS) is starting to gain more momentum:

  • Firefox has almost 25% market share in December, 440 million downloads of Firefox 3.5
  • OpenOffice has over 100 million downloads since launching version 3.0

Most folks may think they are open source users and contributing, but to download and use is not contributing, you must actively test and supply bug information with repeatable test cases.  I know from experience that trying to narrow down and confirm bugs takes time and effort, especially when you need to remove all plugins and extensions to test the base program then add back on or having to search for the exact nightly build that caused the issue/bug regression.

Similarly a lot of the proprietary software world also thinks they are open source friendly but in reality only support Firefox 2.0 and in one bad case I know only on Windows!

Granted a lot of proprietary vendors code only for IE (and old IE at that) and MSOffice, given it’s large business use.  However to ignore or pretend to be OSS friendly is a bad way to do business. Others think so too. At best it’s naive, at worst it’s lazy.  I’ve seen plenty of code that either hard code specific browser rules or manually attribute document states in code.

It might be a quick way to get code out the door, but it’s not future proofing the code longevity.  Although it probably does mean fat upgrade fees and unhappy customers.

The next big wave is making applications and tools available to a
variety of devices, not just computers but PDAs, iPhones, iTablets, eBooks and
anything that can connect via wifi.  So while the luddites are making
code for IE and MS Office they’re missing a big growth sector and
making more work for themselves in the long run.

The best way for software developers (both open and closed source) to make sure their software works with a variety of browsers or other OSS is to download and test development builds.  Most OSS sites have easy to find info on development builds and how to contribute:

It might take some initial effort to get up to speed, but that effort should save time and user frustration if your application suddenly breaks with a new release of software.

I know from several folks at Sun, be they involved in Firefox, Thunderbird, OpenOffice or OpenSolaris that they’re very happy to have help and are usually generous with their time helping answer queries to get you started.  This willingness to help is just one of the reasons I love the Sun community, the other big one is the sharing that goes on – especially on a multitude of topics as you can see by browsing the main blogs.sun.com page.

So lets all help each other to ensure Open Source is the big winner so that technology is the enabler to a sharing future and doesn’t exclude anyone.

Bootnote: Although generally thought of as Darwin’s words, “survival of the fittest” actually comes from Herbert Spencer, who summarized Darwins “natural selection”.

sunny little clouds

A lot has been happening recently with little spare time so here’s some catch up items:

Sun announced last month that it has beta testing (internally) a cloud option within Sun.  So what’s the Cloud appeal?  2 items really:

1. Allowing faster implementation – once cloud infrastructure and applications are in place, connecting or adding new services is much faster.

2. Reduces the infrastructure companies need to have on-site, reducing complexity and costs (hopefully).

So how does this pan out for normal workers?  An example is utilising an extension for StarOffice/OpenOffice. It’s very easy:

1. Install the extension for StarOffice:

2. Log in to the cloud, with ID and password.

3. Save and Open from the menu as you do normally:

It means I now have an online archive where I can access files from anywhere (so long as I setup and remember the cloud details) and no need to email them to myself or anything like that, or making sure I know what the latest version is.

Problems with eating dogfood

No, I’m not getting any crazy cravings, I’m talking about the old adage of a company "eating it’s own dogfood" – in other terms using what it makes.

Working for Sun definitely has it’s privileges, with early access to new software releases although that does have it’s downside too. I discovered one recently when playing around with OpenSolaris 2008.11.

OpenSolaris is built around a packaging system, however for StarOffice 9, it’s not available as a pkg yet, so I need to install via the .sh script. If it was a pkg, it would tell you about dependencies and automatically prompt to install them.

So in my case after a seemingly successful install, staroffice fails to start and crashes almost straight away:

bash-3.2$ cat /etc/release
                        OpenSolaris 2009.06 snv_106 X86
          Copyright 2009 Sun Microsystems, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
                       Use is subject to license terms.
                           Assembled 28 January 2009
bash-3.2$ /opt/staroffice9/program/soffice &
[1] 4454
bash-3.2$ ld.so.1: soffice.bin: fatal: libicuuc.so.3: open failed: No
such file or directory
ld.so.1: soffice.bin: fatal: relocation error:
file /opt/openoffice.org/basis3.1/program/libvclsi.so: symbol
__1cHicu_4_0OLEFontInstanceRgetDynamicClassID6kM_pv_: referenced symbol
not found
ld.so.1: soffice.bin: fatal: relocation error:
file /opt/openoffice.org/basis3.1/program/libtksi.so: symbol
__1cDvclJPDFWriterJAnyWidgetG__vtbl_: referenced symbol not found
ld.so.1: soffice.bin: fatal: relocation error:
file /opt/openoffice.org/basis3.1/program/libsvtsi.so: symbol
__1cRVCLXImageConsumerLsetProperty6MrknDrtlIOUString_rknDcomDsunEstarDunoDAny__v_: referenced symbol not found
ld.so.1: soffice.bin: fatal: relocation error:
file /opt/staroffice9/program/../basis-link/program/libsofficeapp.so:
symbol __1cDsvtNRoadmapWizardGResize6M_v_: referenced symbol not found
ld.so.1: soffice.bin: fatal: relocation error:
file /opt/staroffice9/program/soffice.bin: symbol soffice_main:
referenced symbol not found
/opt/staroffice9/program/soffice[134]: wait: 4461: Killed

[1]+  Done                    /opt/staroffice9/program/soffice

A quick search on libicuuc.so tells me that it’s delivered in pkg SUNWicu, which is International Components for Unicode User Files, so all I need to do is fire up the package manager and install. No more staroffice crashes and I’ve learned something along the way!