First impression of SoftMaker Office 2010 beta for Linux
Recently, a letter came from the SoftMaker company (Germany) to the mailbox , in which the good news was reported: a free beta version of the office suite SoftMaker Office 2010 for Linux is available .
About half a year ago, I tried the previous version of this package (Office 2008), which by the way was recently distributed free of charge (thanks al1k for the help), and decided to find out what has changed since then.
I will compare programs from the SoftMaker Office 2010 suite with the most common office suite for Linux - OpenOffice.org.
Under the cut, a large number of screenshots and personal impressions.
SoftMaker Office 2010 includes a text editor, TextMaker, a spreadsheet editor, PlanMaker, and a presentation program, Presentations.
After launching, a non-native appearance immediately catches your eye. The program looks like something foreign. Apparently, Wine is compiled into the Linux version, which determines the characteristic appearance of fonts, menus, and dialog boxes.
In the settings, you can change the design to Windows 95, Windows XP, Windows 7, and even Windows Mobile (I do not use Wine, it is possible to configure any program in it this way).
Fonts in the menu are not smoothed, very similar to Windows fonts. Fonts in documents are smoothed, but not good enough. The program does not use subpixel anti-aliasing, due to which the text seems vague. In OpenOffice, fonts are smoothed by the system, which makes them look much better.
All program dialogs and message boxes resemble standard Windows dialogs (which is not Vista). The interface of all programs in the package largely repeats the similar one from Microsoft Office XP / 2003. The icons are simple and clear in the style of MS Office 97/2000. The icons do not use pseudo-3D effects, which I personally like. Work with several documents is organized as a strange combination of tabs and a multi-window interface. I have never had to deal with this type of interface before.
The package programs start in 2-3 seconds, about the same amount of time on my machine for the first time OpenOffice is launched. Re-launching programs takes the same amount of time (there is no quick start function).
When opening large documents, TextMaker consumes about 200 MB, OpenOffice consumes about the same. It should be noted that programs from the SoftMaker Office package run in separate processes (meaning TextMaker, PlanMaker, and Presentations), and OpenOffice uses one process with shared memory for all programs, so when working with a large number of different documents, the total memory consumption of OpenOffice will be lower (maybe here I am confusing something, correct me if I'm wrong).
The organization of menu items and icons are similar to those in Microsoft Word 97-2003. I did not notice any special differences in the set of functions compared to other office suites. To emphasize words with errors, it is necessary to include the corresponding item in the settings. The spelling checker does not know about the letter ((it emphasizes all words with "ё" as errors), according to my observations, the set of words in the dictionary is not very rich - when scrolling through large documents, the number of underlined words is clearly more than in OpenOffice (in particular, there aren’t many prepositions).
Opening MS Office Documents
Perhaps the most important indicator of the quality of office suites for Linux is usually considered the quality of opening and displaying Microsoft Office documents. I have opened various files containing drawings, formulas and OLE objects. The speed of opening complex documents in TextMaker is approximately the same as the speed of OpenOffice. TextMaker does not display OLE objects well and does not allow editing them (even Excel graphs and Word drawings inserted as an object). Many rectangles appear in place of many drawings. On the other hand, with the help of TextMaker I was able to open the .docx file, which was completely hung by OpenOffice. But in general, we can conclude that support for Microsoft formats is implemented in TextMaker worse than in OpenOffice.
A separate unpleasant moment was the lack of a formula editor in the Linux version. Here is a quote from the official manual (there is no Russian-language documentation for the program):
Note: The SoftMaker Equation Editor is available only for Windows and is not
included in all versions of TextMaker.
Work with styles
Compared to the convenient and well-thought-out style system in OpenOffice.org Writer, only a few heading styles are available by default in TextMaker. The automatic creation of a table of contents is in its infancy.
The set of functions is standard for programs of this type. Compared to OpenOffice Calc, I noticed several shortcomings, among which the lack of a solution search function and the
translation of function names into Russian (it always annoyed me in Excel).
The program noticeably slows down when working with large, multi-page tables, although this may be fixed in the final release.
The developers' site has a comparison of the compatibility quality of PlanMaker and OpenOffice with the Microsoft format, which shows the advantages of PlanMaker when working with diagrams.
There is nothing much to say about this program. The set of functions is standard, I did not notice any special errors. The quality of opening documents is about the same as in TextMaker.
+ The location of the menu items is similar to that in Microsoft Office (almost no need to relearn);
+ may open an MS Office document that is not amenable to OpenOffice;
+ better support for diagrams in MS Office format.
- price: $ 79;
- Native appearance and non-standard dialog boxes;
- there is no formula editor (in the version for Linux);
- poor support for OLE objects in documents;
- documentation in English;
SoftMaker Office 2010 currently does not have significant advantages over OpenOffice.org, although it can be useful for opening Word documents that do not open in Writer. It is possible that some bugs will be fixed by the release, but in general a noticeable breakthrough is not expected.
The closest competitor is the Microsoft Office home and study suite, launched under Wine, which is cheaper, faster, and perfectly perceives the most popular office document format.
UPD: Thanks for the karma, ported to Linux for Everyone.
UPD2: I reloaded pictures.