Discussion: Default office applications

Pasi Lallinaho pasi at shimmerproject.org
Wed Jan 28 21:42:14 UTC 2015

On 2015-01-28 23:32, Peter Rauhut wrote:
> Is it crucial to have a default office application at all? I would 
> imagine anybody who is new to Linux would be happy just having access 
> to Mousepad as a GUI text editor in the menu

Mousepad is the equivalent of Notepad in Windows. People can probably 
get on with WordPad (if that still exists), but I haven't seen many 
non-tech-savvy people use Notepad. Many of them don't even know what it 
is used for (even if it's obvious when you think about it).

> and having the option during install to download LO or other similar 
> packages. An office suite seems like a pretty big space use for 
> installation media to have. For LO's download files , just Writer 
> (77.6 MB to download) and Calc (83.6 MB to download) is a pretty big 
> jump in size compared to Abiword (4.4MB on disk) and Gnumeric (6.6MB) 
> on disk.

You have to remember that the "installed" size is different than the 
download size, and that the download includes libraries too. Getting the 
installed size for just the main package doesn't count those.

Furthermore, if you are evaluating LO Writer and Calc separately, you 
will count their common libraries twice.

> If having them is crucial, I'd like to see Abiword and Gnumeric stick 
> around.
> Honestly, though, I can't imagine why they are needed. I can't see any 
> use cases where a person who needs them won't either know how to 
> install them or already have it installed by the people who set up the 
> computer for them. Almost nobody needs to start editing spreadsheets 
> as soon as their computer starts up for the first time.

Anybody who studies or works in an office will most likely need a word 
processor. Anybody doing any kind of (including personal) accounting 
will need a spreadsheet editor.

Many people coming from Windows have a hard time grasping the concept of 
centralized repositories. Making them install an essential (see above) 
application would open the possibility that they will install a 
non-supported version from somewhere around the Internet.

That being said, there is clear argumentation on why these are being 
shipped, and I wouldn't want to go deeper into the argumentation whether 
we should ship such applications or not. Instead, let's focus on picking 
the right one for Xubuntu.

> On 1/28/2015 3:01 PM, Eero Tamminen wrote:
>> Hi,
>> On keskiviikko 28 tammikuu 2015, Elizabeth K. Joseph wrote:
>>> We've had this discussion a few times in past cycles, but as we
>>> continue to bump into bugs in Abiword[0], the topic has come up again.
>>> How are we feeling about our default choice of Abiword and Gnumeric as
>>> the office applications for Xubuntu? Is it time to consider switching
>>> to LibreOffice?
>> I think both are fine as standalone applications.  Main problem comes 
>> from
>> file exchange with Windows users, which is fairly frequent use-case.
>> * Gnumeric has worked fine for me with Excel documents.
>> * Abiword cannot be used even to properly view more complicated Word
>> documents.
>> * When it comes to presentations, while LO-impress can be used to 
>> view them,
>> modifying the, with LO normally breaks them (fonts/kerning etc).
>> So, I think the questions are:
>> * How well LO fits onto installation media, it and its dependencies 
>> are much
>> larger than the games that are being talked about...
>> * How important file exchange with Windows users is?
>> Solution for latter can also be e.g. "Install full (Windows compatible)
>> office suite" link on desktop...
>>     - Eero
>>> I'll note that in the past the pro-LibreOffice users tended to
>>> dominate these discussions. Feel free to speak up, but we're actively
>>> encouraging the folks who use and prefer Abiword and Gnumeric to speak
>>> up too. How would changing the default impact you? Do you feel
>>> strongly about not switching to LibreOffice?
>>> Thanks everyone.
>>> [0] One of the latest that came up during testing:
>>> https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/abiword/+bug/1395323

Pasi Lallinaho (knome)                » http://open.knome.fi/
Leader of Shimmer Project             » http://shimmerproject.org/
Ubuntu member, Xubuntu Website Lead   » http://xubuntu.org/

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