In a similar vein, the ability to preview OpenOffice documents in Nautilus is news to me, but at least five months have passed in the Spanish speaking world in which Ubuntu Life blogged about it.
By default Ubuntu does not carry Thumbnail support for OpenOffice documents. Install OOO-thumbnail to preview the document from Nautilus in Gnome. If you use KDE then install KDE OpenOffice Thumbnail Plugin to preview OpenOffice documents from Konqueror and Dolphin.
Nautilus OpenOffice Thumbnail Plugin
$ sudo aptitude install ooo-thumbnailer
After completion, restart nautilus with:
$ sudo killall nautilus
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The thing about wordprocessors is not all wordprocessors are created equal. Some offer just barebones text editing, while others, like the leader MSword, are advanced enough to provide any writer with creature comforts like easy menus, great typography and spell-checkers that actually function on an academic level. Ubuntu Karmic comes with OpenOffice 3 (with docx support) and there is also the linux staple Abiword in the repos.
I was pleasantly surprised to find there are alternatives, like Oxygen Office Professional which is OpenOffice with Debian menus and added features, and NeoWin, which is OpenOffice with OSX menus. Both point towards an evolving ecosystem surrounding the OpenOffice suite which emphasises professional service over nuts and bolts computing. Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy that a free and open-source alternative to MSword exists, but I must admit, a desire to possess the same slick interface that MSword 2007 introduced. (Note: Another option is Siag Office, a free office package available on Unix which can be easily ported to Ubuntu. I also found wordgrinder, a console-based word-processor)
Surely it is time for the Ubuntu Community to come up with Human menus for the world’s number one open source wordprocessor? I don’t mean a new colour scheme. I mean the Human interface, the user aspect of computing which all too often gets lost in the abstractions of computer science and the pretensions of geekdom.
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