Librem 5 concern


Good points. Though you at least recognized C++ as ugly in your post. I was actually replying to @2disbetter, since [preferred pronoun] actually called it beautiful.


On this whole FOSS vs proprietary thing. I know it’s off-topic here but I can’t help myself, have to say something anyway. @2disbetter @Caliga @aaronjmorand @tracy @SteveC

Here is an attempt at saying something which I think everyone (?) could agree on, without strictly defining “better” and without going into the whole copyleft-or-not license discussion.

Having the source code open is good for the quality of that software. In many cases source code is anyway kept closed, but that is for other reasons, most often because companies consider it necessary to have closed source so that they can make money from selling binaries of the software. And in some cases source code is kept close because companies/organizations making it want to do shady things without users knowing about it.

If you are going to develop something with a given amount of resources, and achieving the best possible quality of the software is your main goal, then making it open source is a good choice. For example, when a government funds development of something for the public good, then that project should be open source.

For companies, there are often good reasons for keeping source code closed, but those reasons are not about making it better, the reasons are other things.

I don’t think there is any benefit at all to having closed source code from a quality perspective. Sure, closed software can be good, but making it open can only make it better. (Unless the goal is to somehow deceive the users.)



As someone who in the past did used proprietary software, I despair of the bloat from the large number of features that I will never use - but which increase the time to download and apply updates and which may increase the attack surface and may have other related negatives.

Of course the same can be said of some of the more feature rich open source software. :slight_smile:

The point is that sometimes less is more.


Not to mention the convenient proprietary, standard-breaking CustomUI features that Microsoft has introduced to kill off competition extend functionality.

Maybe like this? :wink:


I don’t consider the ability to select nested tables to be an esoteric function that no average user would ever use. This is something word does that LibreOffice writer cannot at least not for the HTML generated tables I deal with once copied from the report into the document editor. They paste in without issue and you can select the content of a single table at a time but not the content of tables in separate cells of a parent table.

I’m sure with a bit of comparison with my colleagues I could come up with several other workflow issues that are encountered on my Linux laptop with LibreOffice that don’t happen in MS Office. Not to mention the issues that arise when sharing files between the two (and I’ve never seen anything definitive as to which of the software is to blame here just finger pointing and name calling)

There’s also Skype for Business doesn’t exist on Linux and before someone points to Pidgin with the SIPE plugin just know that you don’t get voice communication with the SfB users NOR screen sharing that actually works, NOR several other functions. This is a part of the Office Suite that also isn’t there in LibreOffice at all.

And speaking of not a part of the office suite, no mail client. Evolution with EWS is a fairly nice alternative to MS Outlook though by each of these being independent pieces the whole experience is diminished.

And while this may get into a grey area of freedom respecting, central management of the entire businesses systems is something I haven’t seen much of from anything open source and what I have seen pales when compared to what Microsoft and others have to offer. Now this may be because of the conflict that comes into play when you want freedom to do what you want and the employer wants the freedom to control its equipment.

With all of this said, I do think that FLOSS is the best long term solution from a philosophy standpoint, and I hope that we can get to where it is universally better; but I think right now there are some things where closed source does it better (the MS office suite, especially in a business environment where the business can use group policy and MDM solutions to keep configurations locked down and consistent), some things where Open Source does it better (Apache/nginx are better than IIS in every meaningful way), and likely most where the water is a bit muddy and neither is really better.


IOCCC FTW :slight_smile:


Well, and even though I’m not bringing this discussion back up, part of the frustration is people want to argue that x is better than y, and have not used y, but are convinced it is on par feature wise. Someone saying that LibreOffice has feature parity with MS Office literally has no clue. And me saying that isn’t me bagging on LibreOffice. LibreOffice is a great piece of software that continues to improve.


Ha, but you just did! :slight_smile:

Then I’ll throw in a link, this is something I found interesting:


You’re equating better with feature count, which is why we say you have to be specific about what you mean by “better”.

Back in the days when I switched to OpenOffice (long before there was LibreOffice), it was seen as more stable, using much less resources (install, runtime, doc size) and able to restore huge documents that MSO managed to save in a state it could not recover. It also introduced the possibilty to export to PDF with a single click, which was my personal killer feature and unmatched by MS for many years. People kept relying on shareware PDF printer drivers.

Nobody questions that MSO has more features, the question is who needs them?
Did you know the OOXML standard document is 8 times as big as ODF? It’s almost impossible to implement all those obscurites that have accumulated over the decades. That is NOT a quality measure.

Google: “If ISO were to give OOXML with its 6546 pages the same level of review that other standards have seen, it would take 18 years (6576 days for 6546 pages) to achieve comparable levels of review to the existing ODF standard (871 days for 867 pages) which achieves the same purpose and is thus a good comparison.
Considering that OOXML has only received about 5.5% of the review that comparable standards have undergone, reports about inconsistencies, contradictions and missing information are hardly surprising.”


For sure. The bane of subjectivity right?

However, just because you don’t use the features, or see the utility in them doesn’t mean the features are pointless. I can assure you that MS didn’t implement the majority of those features just to add something.

There is always a reason for something. The reason is only sometimes a lame one.

The people who actually use the feature.

I’ll admit that there is a certain attractiveness to a streamlined and amazingly concise feature set.

Also because you don’t use those features, know about them, or understand what they do, it’s premature to conclude that they are obscurities, and to put them in a negative light because of perceived bloat.

In reality it might be exactly as you say, but I doubt it. Reality tends to be moderate.


As a writer the only feature I require, after basic word processing, is the one that stops me losing the work I’ve just done because of a technical glitch/ power-down/ accidentally erasing it due to incompetence!
Really hoping for a nexcloud/librem auto save-as-you-type deal in the future…


Who said they were pointless? I just said the majority doesn’t need them or even know about them.
Also, let’s not confuse the complexity of the document format with the feature set.
It’s more than 10 years ago, but I remember reading articles about that standardization. I seem to recall a MS employee explaining one of the odd complexities, something about specifying wildly custom dotted line patterns on request of a customer.
In retrospect, they’d surely like to replace that specification of hundreds of options with a set of commonly used ones plus a generic way to embed a custom pattern (e.g. embed an SVG for begin/end arrows). But due to backwards compatibility, it needs to stay that way.

To be fair, this is not MS specific. the X11 protocol is also bloated because to be compliant, an implementation needs to support lots of things nobody uses anymore, as it has been moved to dedicated libraries. That is one of the reasons why people are looking forward to replace it with Wayland: get rid of a lot of legacy.

The major hindrance in defaulting to LO for many is not the feature set. It’s exchanging documents with people defaulting to MSO. I heard of people who gave up on it, because the formatting of ODF was slightly different when exchanging docs and (I think) MS always defaulted to save as DOC, to make it extra incovenient to stick to ODF and things like that. And somehow it seems it is expected too much for some people to install a free package next to their MSO. Similar to messengers, it’s hard to break existing dominance.

Oh, I found something nice… The Disharmony of OOXML

read and judge for yourself… :slight_smile:


That it is.

I’ve experienced it just trying to convince my extended family to use a chat server I host and run. I’ve told them, if they don’t use it, they wont hear from me. Still like pulling teeth.

I spell out exactly why I’m doing, and the increased privacy it affords, and still there is resistance.

Fired up a Mastodon instance, and told people I’m using that. Same resistance.


Wow all this talk of supposed popularity of Windows and MS Office, and not one mention of Microsoft’s illegal anticompetitive monopoly? No mention of the actual reason why so many people use Windows and MS Office? No mention of the probable reason Linux and Java took off?


Which may also explain some interoperability problems between LibreOffice and Microsoft Office. The real spec is what Microsoft Office actually does.


Sure, that’s also in the above wikipedia article. Not even MS got it right in the beginning:

On March 31, 2010, Dr Alex Brown, who had been the Convener of the February 2008 Ballot Resolution Meeting, posted an entry on his personal blog in which he complained of Microsoft’s lack of progress in adapting current and future versions of Microsoft Office to produce files in the Strict (as opposed to the Transitional) ISO 29500 format:
On this count Microsoft seems set for failure. In its pre-release form Office 2010 supports not the approved Strict variant of OOXML, but the very format the global community rejected in September 2007, and subsequently marked as not for use in new documents — the Transitional variant. Microsoft are behaving as if the JTC 1 standardisation process never happened…


I, for one, see neither much value in the software M$ makes nor in the overtures which it has made to the Free Community and to Linux. If it has made some of its software open to some use in Linux, much of this software strikes me as being of dubious value, while at the same time it is seeking to make its own flavor of Linux, has the Azure web business mostly involved with Linux and has perhaps invaded the business to insert itself into directing the whole towards its own dark world.
I see no particular advantage in using MS Office, though I know many who want to use its database and Access does have some hold on the market.
Certainly, in Web Browsing and in update integrity there are major problems with use of the platform. IE is not tenable, Edge has no clear rationale as a browser to my mind and I would be uncomfortable having automatic platform upgrades where they remain often more problematic than the prior version that they were trying to fix. To pay for the mess, is yet more of a concern.
I will admit that Surface units are nice and seem to function adequately to very well, but the software that one gets to use it is a no starter for me.


Remember the old marketing ploy, “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature!”


I don’t think your example of Photoshop holds water.

I used Photoshop and Illustrator as part of a course. Yes, there are more training resources, more third-party plug-ins, easier peer support. Yes, they have this or that feature that’s become critical to someone’s workflow. No, it doesn’t make sense for lifelong Photoshop users to throw away all their experience and retrain to use The GIMP.

But, for me, coming in cold, I always found the user interfaces of Photoshop and Illlustrator counter-intuitive, clunky and difficult to learn compared to The GIMP and Inkscape, despite the fact that i received several weeks of formal training in Photoshop and Illustrator, but no training at all in The GIMP or Inkscape. Using Illustrator, I found myself wishing I had access to features I knew from Inkscape. The Adobe packages are also more resource hungry, much slower to load and wrapped up in user-unfriendly licensing. For me, the more polished, feature-complete and functional experience was with FLOSS.

However, I will say that Microsoft Excel is miles ahead of LibreOffice Calc if you’re using it intensively on a daily basis. The user interface, while annoying in many unnecessary ways, has quite a few little affordances that are missing in LibreOffice, and it adds up to a much less frustrating experience. (But by god don’t give me Office 2013. SO MUCH BLINDING WHITE AND ALL-CAPS.)

For light use at home, LibreOffice is fine. I use it regularly.

I guess polish, feature-completeness and functionality are in the eye of the beholder.


We’ve gotten WAY off topic here folks and this thread is ginormous. I love arguing between FOSS and proprietary software as much as the next guy (I’m right, you’re all wrong and you’ll never convince me otherwise :stuck_out_tongue:) but lets start a new one for that please.

As for this topic, we’ll leave it open for now. Feel free to start a new Librem 5 concerns thread. A lot has changed between when this started in late June compared to now so a new one is probably warranted.