Descending into the Mine and Emerging Unscathed


Novell Connection Magazine: Tech Talk #8 – I Tawt I Taw A Puddy Tat
The Canary Report: Descending into the Mine and Emerging Unscathed

by Kendra Dalin
Novell Connection Magazine – Q4 2006

Here’s an excerpt:

Touted as a compelling and arguably superior alternative to Microsoft Office, begs the question: is it as good as it’s cracked up to be? I am heading canary-like to mine the depths of this free suite alternative, testing its limits by using it to complete common and advanced business tasks. If I report back to you in short, desperate breaths that the suite is impossibly difficult to use, you will know better than to send in more miners. But if I come out of this experiment alive and well, you may just have to ask yourself, as I asked myself, “Why not give it a try?” (See Trouble Me.)

If you have not taken so much as a glance at nor read the first two articles in this series, you might want to back up for
a moment to establish your context here. Download and take a quick look at this open source software ( or, in the interest of time, read One Suite Alternative and First Look at Writer. (See and, respectively.) The first article will fill you in on why you should care and continue to read about, and the second article will introduce its word processing component, Writer (OO Writer).

For this article, the third in this series, I put OO Writer to the test, executing the first of several planned tasks. This first task required that I format, export as .pdf, and create a template for my community newsletter. If you are not much of a detail person and are willing to take my word for it, all you need to know is that this experiment went well: I found that OO Writer had all of the capabilities I needed to create the two-page, full-color newsletter with only one visit to the suite’s Help. To protect the innocent, the homeowners’ association, resident, street and community names have been changed. For the sake of this discussion, I’ll call the newsletter The ABC View.)

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