Softmaker FreeOffice

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webfork
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Re: Softmaker FreeOffice

#76 Post by webfork » Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:52 am

thepiney wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:53 am
An update at the end of the article also shows that SoftMaker is adding support for saving in Microsoft Office file formats (PPT, DOC, XLS) to its free version. If this is the result of working with Manjaro, It gives me a good feeling to see open source and closed source companies working together on what will in the end help all users of both.
I happen to do a lot in this space so here's what I'd probably say to the Manjaro folks ...

---

At least in terms of Office compatibility, the problem isn't that and some kind of idealism preventing the use of better software, the idea is that we need to get away from an artificial dependence on companies to handle basic computer operations. It's a repeat of what the Linux community has been trying to address for almost 30 years.

FreeOffice has some great tools and is a good office program, I don't dispute that. And while it's true that FreeOffice and it's predecessors have had generally better support for the MS Office file format, it is not perfect, nor will it ever be. It's a format that Microsoft broke so only they would have the keys to fix. You can see some of this for yourself if you unzip any one of your DOCX files and look at the XML source -- it's completely unintelligible. And you better believe that Microsoft's tools to export to other formats are garbage. This means you play exclusively on their turf and nowhere else.

More incompatibilities will continue to stack and FreeOffice will continue to be close-but-not-quite. Frustrated users who will be confused by all the minor issues will have to return to spending $100/year on MS Office. For anything but casual users, playing in this format means that all roads lead back to Microsoft.
Last edited by webfork on Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

thepiney
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Re: Softmaker FreeOffice

#77 Post by thepiney » Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:55 am

The odd thing is I used the 2008 version for quite some time and i"m positive I used to save to "MS Word 97/2000" DOC files. I was putting the reports into ACCESS 2003 and would copy and past the report from the DOC file and that worked fine, unless I did something different in formatting and had to tweak it in ACCESS.

With MS Office products often having some features that others do not or possibly programmed differently, some incompatibility should be expected, but conversion software/features should take this into account.

opsimathic
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Re: Softmaker FreeOffice

#78 Post by opsimathic » Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:23 pm

Softmaker FreeOffice (2018) reads and write DOC & DOCX, PPT & PPTX, and XLS & XLSX and it normally does so with no error I can discern. On the very rare occasion that FreeOffice scrambles the format, I go to LibreOffice - also in portable format. Never have I needed to resort to paying for Microsoft software. I use FreeOffice in preference to LibreOffice because it starts very much faster. Am I missing some nuance in the above discussion? Cheers!
Better late than never.

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Re: Softmaker FreeOffice

#79 Post by webfork » Tue Sep 17, 2019 4:31 pm

opsimathic wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:23 pm
I use FreeOffice in preference to LibreOffice because it starts very much faster. Am I missing some nuance in the above discussion?
My point isn't so much advocating for LibreOffice over FreeOffice -- some of my friends really don't like LibreOffice and that's fine. Rather, it's about selecting a program because it works well with Microsoft formats: something that's designed from the beginning to not play nice with others. Again, you might get away with no trouble for 90% of operations, but in testing I've had problems with all of the following:
  • Collaborate with Microsoft Office users, even just two other people emailing edits back and forth.
  • Make edits in the document in different versions of word (Word 2010, 2016, and their web editor) and then open in your editor.
  • View any kind of complex formatting, spacing, or specific numbering/structure, especially around tables. In particular headings that don't use numbers followed by numbered headings never show up right.
  • View a document that's had overlapping Track Changes (multiple edits to one section by multiple people).
  • Work on larger documents (over 100 pages) or even a 20 page document that's been edited frequently over the course of a few months.
Just about everyone will run into one of these issues at some point, and the only way to reliably address/resolve is by switching to MS Office. The best way to avoid these issues is just to avoid the format.

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Re: Softmaker FreeOffice

#80 Post by Midas » Wed Sep 18, 2019 4:20 am

Adding anecdote to webfork's sensible analysis, I can say that the bulk of the problems I have faced as a SM FreeOffice user result mainly from, after good-willed efforts to provide friends and co-workers with a workable freeware solution and because few even grasp such file formats conundrums, I've had to face complaints of "incompatibility" from their part...

Even though I always tried to setup MS formats as the defaults, whenever that didn't happen and, for instance, SoftMaker's own ones were used instead, most of them were completely unable to work around the issue (and note that all it would take was re-opening the file in FreeOffice and use "Save as..." to get a new file in the required format). :|

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Re: Softmaker FreeOffice

#81 Post by vevy » Wed Sep 18, 2019 10:07 am

Midas wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 4:20 am
Even though I always tried to setup MS formats as the defaults, whenever that didn't happen and, for instance, SoftMaker's own ones were used instead
The ShellNew key in the registry points to SoftMaker's templates for their own formats, if that's the problem.
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thepiney
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Re: Softmaker FreeOffice

#82 Post by thepiney » Wed Sep 18, 2019 12:57 pm

@ Midas

So many times I've had the same or similar experiences. Spend numerous hours researching and testing various programs to see if it will do what they need "for Free" and just because some small amount of tweaking needs to be done they complain. Then they up the ante and say something like "Just install a copy of that $300 MS Office you paid for"... And I"m the D..K when I don't.

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Re: Softmaker FreeOffice

#83 Post by thepiney » Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:03 pm

webfork wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 4:31 pm

[*] View any kind of complex formatting, spacing, or specific numbering/structure, especially around tables. In particular headings that don't use numbers followed by numbered headings never show up right.

Just about everyone will run into one of these issues at some point, and the only way to reliably address/resolve is by switching to MS Office. The best way to avoid these issues is just to avoid the format.
I got a chuckle out of this because bullet points and especially the numbering/lettering of headings/sub-headings and such were where I had the most issue that I can recall, been a few years now.

Sometimes the cost of saving money is more time/effort but if you balance it out... I had a copy of MS Office (various versions) on my work systems and OpenOffice, LibreOffice, FreeOffice, AbiWord and others on my laptops which saved quite a bit of money. When it was actually work/business related I tried to stick with the Open Source products, depending on licensing.

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Re: Softmaker FreeOffice

#84 Post by vevy » Sat Sep 28, 2019 6:22 am

It started asking for a "free product key". Wants email.

"Trial" can be reset by deleting
\SoftMaker\Settings\ofwfo18config.ini
although you'd have to redo a couple of settings (or copy FirstDayTime and FirstDayHash from the newly generated file into your old one and overwrite the new file).
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Re: Softmaker FreeOffice

#85 Post by Midas » Mon Sep 30, 2019 3:15 am

vevy wrote: It started asking for a "free product key". Wants email.

From past experience, let me tell you that disposable addresses work alright. 8)

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Re: Softmaker FreeOffice

#86 Post by vevy » Mon Sep 30, 2019 7:27 am

Midas wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 3:15 am
vevy wrote: It started asking for a "free product key". Wants email.

From past experience, let me tell you that disposable addresses work alright. 8)
I don't want to let it connect in the first place. :?
"Is there a Windows-included tool for this task?"
"I only want open-source tools"
"I want a tool that is still actively developed"
"So many to choose from!"
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Re: Softmaker FreeOffice

#87 Post by webfork » Fri Oct 16, 2020 6:40 pm

An update back in September had me take another look at this program. I think I found a way to make it work without registration and without a separate USB device:

Steps:

1. Download and install (use the Softpedia link, you seem to be able to get around registration): https://www.softpedia.com/get/Office-to ... fice.shtml

2. Copy the folder C:\Program Files (x86)\Softmaker Office 2018\ to a destination of your choice

3. Uninstall the program

4. In the destination folder, delete inst folder and the files SoftMakerUpdaterTool.exe and usbstick.exe

5. Create two empty text files:

portable.txt
updater.ini

Status: Unclear. The program does appear to be portable, but I had a lot of back and forth putting together the process above, so I may have missed something. Anyone that can confirm or dispute the above process is appreciated.

Resource Usage

RAM (megs): PlanMaker: 10, Presentations: 12, TextMaker: 12.

Download (megs): 111, Install: 124

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Midas
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Re: Softmaker FreeOffice

#88 Post by Midas » Sat Oct 17, 2020 6:11 am

I've been a user (and a fan, you may say) of SoftMaker Offices for years -- even bought a multi-platform license for my child -- so I'll be sure to test your instructions ASAP. In the meantime, thanks. :slight_smile:

Quick note to point out that Hunspell dictionaries for SM Office can be downloaded from the following address -- not sure if their installers work with FreeOffice though:

https://www.softmaker.com/en/dictionaries

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Re: Softmaker FreeOffice

#89 Post by webfork » Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:01 pm

Midas wrote:
Sat Oct 17, 2020 6:11 am
I've been a user (and a fan, you may say) of SoftMaker Offices for years
Great news -- I was a bit worried I'd be working on something that wouldn't resonate with anyone. I'll definitely get it added to the DB once we get a good test.

billon
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Re: Softmaker FreeOffice

#90 Post by billon » Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:44 pm

webfork wrote:
Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:01 pm
I'll definitely get it added to the DB once we get a good test.
:?:
https://www.portablefreeware.com/index.php?id=1463

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