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Ok, sorry. Did it again. Replied privately, that is. Here's to the list:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Johnny Rosenberg <>
Date: 2013/6/8
Subject: Re: [libreoffice-users] CNET is claiming the best free MSO
alternative is not LO
To: Jay Lozier <>

2013/6/8 Jay Lozier <>:
On Sat, 08 Jun 2013 12:04:20 -0400, Kracked_P_P---webmaster
<> wrote:

On 06/08/2013 11:32 AM, Jay Lozier wrote:

On Sat, 08 Jun 2013 10:16:42 -0400, Tom Davies <>

Hi :)
That point keeps coming up but it best said the other way around
80% of MSO almost never gets used.

Then split the remaining 20% up between different sorts of users.  Most
people only use the Save button, Bold, Centre, Underline, copy&paste errr
that's about it.  Oh, receive email and reply.  More advanced users insert
pictures or graphics or go the other way into using spreadsheets and/or
maybe know how to start a fresh new email.   So even of that 20% there is a
lot of stuff that people don't use or even know about.  It's just that
within that 20% some people use some and others use different bits.  That
still leaves 80% almost untouched by anyone.
The way this is generally talked about is that everyone uses different
things and so if you take enough people you find that there is an even
spread of all parts being used by a roughly equal percentage of people.
However that is NOT what we are seeing.  Think about it this way instead,
how many people do you know of that don't know how to make something bold?
Almost everyone knows that, right?  They might manage to fluff it badly but
at least they can manage that much.  Now, how many can switch from left to
right or fully justified?  Not so many. Quite a lot of people don't even
know what you are talking about or think it looks too strange or 'different'
(or cool).  How many people know how to mail-merge?  Not as many as know how
to use bold!!

Regards from
Tom :)

IMHO the percentage of features used by 95% of users on LO or MSO is
probably about 50 to 60% of those available - no research just navel gazing.
I was talking to a colleague on another list about this point. MS has had a
history of adding "features" to MSO that most users either would never use
it or have no idea the feature is there (and probably would never use it).
Part of the problem, particularly for commercial software, is the true core
features of an office suite have been implemented years ago and only need
refining. Tom's example of mail merge has been around for at least 20 years
- I used it with WordPerfect in the mid 90's and it was not a new feature
then. So to entice buyers/users MS and others must add "features" that sound
nice but very few people will ever use.

The last time I heard of a MSO figure, it was:
95% of the MSO users uses less than 5% of the features.  That was mostly
for Word and Excel users.
I have heard other figures like 90% uses 10%, but the highest figure was
the 15% of the features of Word and Excel combined.

All of the rest are for the "power users" and need a good and detailed
book to teach you - step by step - how to use these "complex power user"
features and options.

For all of the people I have dealt with, none would be called a power user
by any means.

I remember seeing a magazine advertisement for MSO, from several years
ago, that stated that they "added over 1,000 new and improved feature" over
the previous version.  That may have been for the MSO 2003 version.
MSO-2003 was the last one I bought, with the first being MSO-97 I believe.
How many people would want to learn 1,000 features for their office package?
I may use 100 +/- features of LO and that is more than enough to do what I
need to do.

I think there is a basic agreement that at least 25% of the features in MSO
could be eliminated and no one would notice. I would not be surprised if LO
and AOO could eliminate about 20% of the features without anyone noticing. I
am suggesting any features be eliminated just that all office suites could
probably go on a feature diet and actually improve their products. Just that
some need a more rigorous diet than others.

I wanted to create a spreadsheet a while ago, that was a little less
complicated than what I usually do, so I though that I could use
Gnumeric instead of LibreOffice/Apache OpenOffice Calc. It wasn't long
before I ran into the wall. I found its limitations surprisingly fast.
What are you supposed to use that crap for? That definitely beats me.
Maybe it's not the same thing with AbiWord, I don't know, I never use
word processors. Or almost never, anyway. When I write, I usually
write in mailing lists or forums, or in text editors (scripting or
programming – not that I am any good at it, though).

Johnny Rosenberg

I think what happens is someone thinks something would be a nice feature.
They ask a focus group (or survey) about it and the group says it sounds
good. But what is never asked is would you do actually miss the feature or
use the feature if it was present. So the feature gets added.

The sense I get from the list is that feature set of MSO 2000 or XP hits the
sweet spot for almost all users. The later MSO versions do not really add
features the vast majority of users need, care about, or truly want. Or the
feature can easily be implemented by other methods external to the suite.
For example file sharing and collaboration with remote users can be done
using a variety tools external to MSO or LO. I suspect that most if asked
would say it is a good feature to include. But if you ask would they ever
use it, the answer is no. In fact it can be fairly easily use external

A related problem is that most users are users. They want to get
something do but do not want to spend a lot of time learning the software
beyond a minimum to do their jobs. So if you asked them to do a mail-merge
with LO, AOO, MSO, etc. you would get a blank stare. They do not know it can
be do and are amazed you can do it.

I use to deal with mail-merging lists with a form document, but I have not
done that for a long time.

From: Virgil Arrington <>
To: Doug <>;
Sent: Saturday, 8 June 2013, 13:44
Subject: Re: [libreoffice-users] CNET is claiming the best free MSO
alternative is not LO

Jay provided a great response to this thread, but it appears as if he
into the trap of hitting "reply" instead of "reply all," so only I got
benefit of his response. I'm copying it below.

Jay wrote:

My understanding of the original XEROX research is that is for desktop
there is a narrow range of options and criteria to implement a good
interface. What I always understood is that because the why humans
interact with the surroundings and basic physiology of arms, shoulders,
hands, etc. the WIMP based GUIs with menus, icons, windows, and a mouse
are the most practical interfaces. The XEROX conclusions, IMHO, are
valid today. So the GUI (app or OS) should be very similar. Learning
"XEROX" style GUI is fairly easy for most users because it feels right.

MS seemed to ignore the XEROX research with the Ribbon and the
of W8 indicates they ignored the research again. I read MS was
with the complexity of the menus in MSO and the fact that most users
used a fraction of the available commands. Two logic flaws: complex
software will cause complex menus and most users probably only need to
a fraction of commands. However different users will use a different
combination of commands.
-- Jay Lozier

As I think about software evolution, there was little consistency back
the DOS days. For example, Wordstar had its Ctrl-key combinations that
hard to learn but, once learned, made touch typists *very* proficient.
WordPerfect preferred the Function key commands.

When Windows came out, it was not immediately embraced. DOS was fast,
and light. I recall working very efficiently on a computer with a 10
hard drive with plenty of room to spare.

One of the Windows selling points was that all of the programs could
have a
consistent UI. All programs followed the same basic menu structure
Edit, Format, Tools, etc.). While each program had its own quirks (page
layout under "File"?), the general consistency of menus made programs
relatively easy to figure out.

Users knew that everything could be found *somewhere* in the menu. Yes,
complex commands may be deeply buried, but that was the nature of the
More often-used commands could be attached to icons streamlining the
process. But, the icon toolbars, while quick and easy, were never
to *replace* the menu structure, just supplement it. Toolbars are, by
nature, very much subject to user preferences. When installing LO, I
immediately customize the toolbars to eliminate icons I never use.
okay, because I know *everything* is in the menu structure.

It appears that, with the ribbon, MS has tried to combine the menus and
icons into one structure. But, for me at least, MS has abandoned the
logical and consistent menu structure that gave Windows its advantage
the inconsistent UIs of DOS.

(And, Doug, I have tried to load PC-Write onto my computer, but it
won't run
on a 64-bit computer. *sigh*)


-----Original Message-----
From: Doug
Sent: Friday, June 07, 2013 8:39 PM
Subject: Re: [libreoffice-users] CNET is claiming the best free MSO
alternative is not LO

On 06/07/2013 08:10 PM, Virgil Arrington wrote:

This has been fascinating reading all of the opinions about user
interfaces and the dreaded ribbon.


I've been playing recently with WriteMonkey, a markdown text editor,
I must confess, I like the UI with absolutely no toolbars or ribbons;
just keystroke combinations and some basic menus. Works for me.


Sounds like you should find a copy of WordStar!


-- Blessed are the peacemakers..for they shall be shot at from both

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Jay Lozier

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