Softmaker Freeoffice 2018

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KBD47
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Softmaker Freeoffice 2018

Post by KBD47 » Fri May 25, 2018 4:01 pm

Softmaker's 2018 version of Freeoffice is now available:
http://www.freeoffice.com/en/

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xenopeek
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Re: Softmaker Freeoffice 2018

Post by xenopeek » Sat May 26, 2018 1:31 am

They should have called it GratisOffice. There's nothing Free about it; it's closed source and proprietary and for all we know it's worse than Microsoft's products in what information it steals from your computer and from your use of it.
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Re: Softmaker Freeoffice 2018

Post by Pierre » Sat May 26, 2018 5:48 am

but - - there doesn't seem to be any requirement to pay for it,
- at least what I've seen, so far.
you DO have to register as a user, though . .
:mrgreen:
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Re: Softmaker Freeoffice 2018

Post by karlchen » Sat May 26, 2018 5:52 am

xenopeek wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 1:31 am
for all we know it's worse than Microsoft's products in what information it steals from your computer and from your use of it.
a) any link to an article perhaps which explains in detail perhaps?
b) any info on whether the same applies for the paid editions "Softmaker Office" as well?
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Pierre
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Re: Softmaker Freeoffice 2018

Post by Pierre » Sat May 26, 2018 6:01 am

my viewpoint is that Any Company that supplies an Linux Version of their Product,,
- then I'm prepared to look at their product - - paid OR not paid . .
as they are supplying an alternative to That Other Companies Product(s).
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Re: Softmaker Freeoffice 2018

Post by Pjotr » Sat May 26, 2018 6:06 am

Personally, I'm practical in these matters. As a rule, I prefer open source and what's in the official repo's. But that's just a general rule, for which I make exceptions from time to time.

Does FreeOffice have decisive advantages over LibreOffice for me? If so, I might try it, although it's apparently closed source and not in the Mint/Ubuntu repo's. If not: why should I bother? :mrgreen:

I'm not going to research this any further, because currently LibreOffice is just fine for me. I'm missing nothing.
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Re: Softmaker Freeoffice 2018

Post by xenopeek » Sat May 26, 2018 6:15 am

For MS Office? Sure, here you go: https://twitter.com/frank_rieger/status ... 3917957121. He basically found that if you try to block MS Word from sending "diagnostic" data to MS, it will just stop working. Article about it in German: https://www.golem.de/news/microsoft-mic ... 0-all.html

As for Freeoffice I'm just saying it's proprietary software and in my book that warrants investigating up front: how is the for-profit company behind it making money from the users of their gratis product? I looked and neither their privacy policy nor EULA covers in any way what data Softmaker is, or isn't, collecting on the users of Freeoffice.
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Re: Softmaker Freeoffice 2018

Post by karlchen » Sat May 26, 2018 6:43 am

Hello, xenopeek.

You know pretty well that my question had been aiming at FreeOffice 2018 only. I explicitly quoted your sentence about Free Office 2018, which reads
xenopeek wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 1:31 am
for all we know it's worse than Microsoft's products in what information it steals from your computer and from your use of it.
Your answer suggests that you only suspect that FreeOffice 2018 steals data from user computers.
Maybe it does, maybe it does not. Actually, at this point in time, we do not know for sure. And even if they do we have got no piece of evidence that they collect even more data than Microsoft does.
Assumptions and conclusions are no facts.

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Karl
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Re: Softmaker Freeoffice 2018

Post by xenopeek » Sat May 26, 2018 7:08 am

English lesson of the day? :) "for all we know" is used to emphasize that you don't know something, but that it is still possible.

I referred to the business practice of MS, of mass surveillance of its users, and that with Freeoffice being gratis but not free (as in libre) we don't know that it's not making money the same way. As I said, Softmaker does not disclose one way or another what data it collects (or not) on Freeoffice users. With it not being free software it's much harder for users to discover this on their own.
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Re: Softmaker Freeoffice 2018

Post by karlchen » Sat May 26, 2018 7:27 am

A very brief investigation in the internet suggests that mainstream computer magazines, which report on the most recent cost-free alternatives to Microsoft Office, do not seem to care about the question, whether any of the alternative office products collect user data or not. :(

Seems that more time will be needed to investigate this question more thoroughly ...

Of course, the question raises what companies, who give away office suites for free, get back in return and what the business model is behind publishing software, which users do not have to pay for.
Collecting user data should leave behind traces somewhere. And I would be disappointed if no-one should ever have detected such traces without documenting them in any way.

Personally, I am pretty interested in learning what Softmaker does or does not do, because I have been a registered Softmaker Office user for quite a while.
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Re: Softmaker Freeoffice 2018

Post by Pierre » Sat May 26, 2018 7:37 am

take another viewpoint: what if they are collecting some data ?
- are they going to show you some adverts :?: or, if you are running Windows - control your machine.
if, you are like myself, then you have either blocked browser based adverts,
or you will simply ignore any in-program adverts anyway.
8)

you could be like my other friend:
- they did click on some advert
- they then, somehow managed to click on the web site, that was linked to that advert.
( low odds, but just say that they did that )
and somehow, they were enticed into filling out their details into that web site !.
but, they can't buy that product, on that web site - - because that site requires the use of a Credit Card,
or a paypal account - - and they have neither such thing.
:(

so, for my friend, what is the worst thing, that could happen if there is some data generated from their use
- of that Office Program ?.
( yeah - - they Do Use That Other Operating System )
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xenopeek
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Re: Softmaker Freeoffice 2018

Post by xenopeek » Sat May 26, 2018 8:04 am

karlchen wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 7:27 am
Personally, I am pretty interested in learning what Softmaker does or does not do, because I have been a registered Softmaker Office user for quite a while.
Perhaps you could reach out to them and ask why their privacy policy (only available in German: http://www.softmaker.com/en/data-protection) and EULA (link on: http://www.freeoffice.com/en/download) don't cover what their software does or not does do with regards to personal information of the user. The EULA only covers what the user can and can't do with the software, and that Softmaker can't be held liable for anything their software does, and the privacy policy only covers the website and mailinglists and such.
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Re: Softmaker Freeoffice 2018

Post by KBD47 » Sat May 26, 2018 9:39 am

C'mon xenopeek! :) You know one of the biggest gripes about Linux is that it doesn't have MS Office which is the defacto office suite. I love LibreOffice but it doesn't always handle Windows files well. I have had no issues using Softmaker Office over the past year. Docx in particular has not always worked well for me in LibreOffice, leaving artifacts and other formatting issues where Softmaker/Freeoffice works dependably all the time. I've found these guys to be incredibly helpful and support their product. I did beta testing for their Linux version of 2018 Office last year and it works well across Debian, Ubuntu/Mint, and Fedora on my machines. These guys are out of Germany and that may be their biggest audience so not surprising if it is better documented a bit more in that language. Nevertheless, there has never been a question I posted on their forum that they did not reply to so it is well supported by them. Of course it is proprietary and like you I prefer open source. But I'm also practical and I will go with what works best according to my needs. LibreOffice is great, but if you need something that handles MS files as well as MS does it is nice to have an alternative. Their product is free though they want an email so they can offer you the paid version. I don't see that as unreasonable, and I did find enough value in their product that I purchased the full version with no regrets. It's just an option, and I like options :)
Edit: guys here is their Forum:
http://forum.softmaker.com/
I'm sure they will respond to any concerns about their software.

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Re: Softmaker Freeoffice 2018

Post by Pjotr » Sat May 26, 2018 9:55 am

KBD47 wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 9:39 am
I love LibreOffice but it doesn't always handle Windows files well. I have had no issues using Softmaker Office over the past year. Docx in particular has not always worked well for me in LibreOffice, leaving artifacts and other formatting issues where Softmaker/Freeoffice works dependably all the time.
That's important information.... If I should ever encounter a problem with a .docx file, I might give FreeOffice a try. :)
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Re: Softmaker Freeoffice 2018

Post by KBD47 » Sat May 26, 2018 10:02 am

Pjotr wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 9:55 am
That's important information.... If I should ever encounter a problem with a .docx file, I might give FreeOffice a try. :)
I don't use Windows much but I prefer their product on Windows as well. I don't like software as a service and MS is pushing that hard. I prefer free software or if I pay for it I only want to pay once and not be indebted to Microsoft :(
If LibreOffice does everything you need it is worth sticking with. I have been frustrated with it on occasion when opening docx and finding my formatting has been changed or artifacts introduced. But for basic word processing LibreOffice is a good product.

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Re: Softmaker Freeoffice 2018

Post by Pjotr » Sat May 26, 2018 10:13 am

KBD47 wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 10:02 am
for basic word processing LibreOffice is a good product.
Also for advanced word processing, provided that you stick to its native .odt file format. :mrgreen:
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Re: Softmaker Freeoffice 2018

Post by KBD47 » Sat May 26, 2018 10:22 am

Pjotr wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 10:13 am
Also for advanced word processing, provided that you stick to its native .odt file format. :mrgreen:
True. And I wish odt was the default format for everything. Actually you are better off using LibreOffice for odt as it is not as well supported by Softmaker. Softmaker/Freeoffice is best when you use, or are forced to deal primarily with MS formats.

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Re: Softmaker Freeoffice 2018

Post by BenTrabetere » Sat May 26, 2018 10:36 am

I installed FreeOffice 2018 and took it for a quick test drive. Other than a cleaner file manager I did not notice any useful difference between it an FreeOffice 2016. The key word being useful. I spent about 30-minutes with TextMaker and PlanMaker; enough to kill any interest I have in the package, but not enough time for a thorough workout.

Conclusion: FreeOffice (pick your version) is an proprietary alternative to MS-Office, but one that is best suited for the Windows and mac world. Linux users are better off sticking with LibreOffice or switching to Calligra Suite.

FO-2018 has a Ribbon. It also retains the "classic" menu and toolbar, and you can switch between the two ... if you don't mind the 'Some changes will not be applied until you restart' requirement.

The biggest change I found is a definite non-starter for me - OpenDocument support was pretty weak for FO-2016 - only TextMaker offered OpenDoc support, but it could Read/Write the files.

That support is even weaker with FO-2018. TextMaker-2018 can open .ODT files, but it cannot save to that format. It also introduces a new TextMaker file format.

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Re: Softmaker Freeoffice 2018

Post by KBD47 » Sat May 26, 2018 10:43 am

2018 vs 2016 versions the biggest advantage of 2018 Freeoffice is that it can save to docx format instead of just doc for Textmaker. And .xlsx instead of just .xls for Planmaker. Also nice themes for 2018. The big advantage for the paid version is a dark theme and more file formats.
I keep Softmaker and LibreOffice on my computers, using the best tool for the job. LibreOffice is definitely best for using its open file formats.

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Re: Softmaker Freeoffice 2018

Post by VtPoet » Sat May 26, 2018 10:53 am

Have been increasingly using Textmaker since 2016. The reason is that I've been dabbling with Ebooks. LibreOffice's devs, unfortunately, don't attach much importance to EBook authoring and were actually out and out hostile to e-book related feature requests that veered from what they consider their vanilla user, named "Bob". The upshot is several fold. One of which was that, until recently, saving to epub format was a third rate affair that didn't even work for a period (when they broke all their extensions).

Far more importantly, LO is a decade behind when it comes to Style management (soft formatting) rather than hard formatting. Once can't, for instance, search and replace hard formatting with styles (as with every other modern word processor: Softmaker Office, Word, WordPerfect, and even KingSoft office I think). Further, applying styles continues to be a hassle in LO. Once can actually use the toolbar in Word and assign keystrokes in Softmaker. From an ebook publisher's standpoint, or even from an author's perspective, LO is still in the 1990's — and it's slow. LO's devs appear to have little to no interest in updating LO's style management.

The other advantage to SO, tabbed document windows. Why is this feature still not in LO?!? :roll:

Oh, and one more thing, I use Android. Softmaker makes a fully featured version of Textmaker for Android. Means I can work on my documents when I'm out and about with an android tablet (& a bluetooth keyboard). The only thing you get with LibreOffice and Android is a "viewer".
Last edited by VtPoet on Sat May 26, 2018 11:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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