I feel that the current text has a discouraging, pessimistic tone in the first four questions.
Patrick stresses that the FAQ must explain NeoOffice's shortcomings and flaws so that people will not be disappointed if it does not perform as they expect. He wants to explain any misconceptions. This is certainly important.
I do not want to remove any information, but I want to present the information in a more positive light so that it may be more encouraging to potential new users.
Please debate these points. I know that any changes must be done carefully and deliberately due to the need for translations into other languages (We speak some English, Spanish, French and German in our house).
First, please read the FAQ as it now stands at the URL above, and then compare its text with my suggestions below:
What is NeoOffice?
NeoOffice is a customized version of the OpenOffice.org office suite (popular on Windows and Linux) that has been engineered to run natively on Mac OS X and to take advantage of many features unique to the Mac platform.
What can NeoOffice do?
You can use NeoOffice to create professional and industry-compatible word processing documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more.
NeoOffice can also open, edit, print, and save all OpenOffice.org and most Microsoft Office documents.
(Non-essential paragraph IMHO)
If your colleague sends you a Word, Excel or PowerPoint document created on most versions of Microsoft Office on Windows or Mac, you can most likely open and edit the document in NeoOffice and then send the document right back to your colleague. If you create a new document in NeoOffice and choose to save it in a Microsoft Office-compatible format, you can send it to users of Microsoft Office and they can work with your documents too.
(End non-essential paragraph)
If you implement NeoOffice and OpenOffice.org throughout your organization, many of your users may be able to live without Microsoft Office and its expensive license fees.
Who should use NeoOffice?
Any home or office Mac user who needs an integrated office suite with a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation program and other features will enjoy working with NeoOffice.
Please download NeoOffice and give it a try. It's free. If it meets your needs, please make a monetary donation to the development team. If it does not meet your needs, we recommend that you use a commercially-supported product like Microsoft Office or Apple iWork.
NeoOffice is generally quite stable, but not perfect. Although we work continuously to refine NeoOffice and make it free of bugs and crashes, our users still find bugs.
Will NeoOffice be updated in the future?
NeoOffice 1.1 was released in 2003. Since then we have continuously updated and refined the program, incorporating new development from OpenOffice.org and more closely integrating with the Mac OS X platform through our considerable efforts in writing original, optimized code. Next up is the beta version of NeoOffice 3, which will be released in early 2009.
Since this project is staffed entirely by volunteers and is funded entirely by donations, continued development and updates depend upon volunteers who donate their time, and loyal users who donate funds.
If you would like to volunteer time or donate funds to NeoOffice, please read our Donations page.
_________________ Wheat Williams
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Thank you for your interest in the updating the FAQs, but I feel that your proposed rewrite seems out of sync with the tone Patrick and Ed have arrived at after years of working on NeoOffice every day. I think the purpose of the FAQ is to answer questions, rather than be a marketing vehicle, and to me your proposed text almost sounds almost like an advertisement rather than an unbiased FAQ.
Every week (or more often) a bug, support or feature request is submitted asking for NeoOffice to be more like Microsoft Office and we have to explain that NeoOffice is not Microsoft Office and it never will be. Microsoft Office has many features that make it worth while for lots of businesses and individuals to purchase it.
I ran across Bug 3245 and a comment from Patrick there sums up his feelings pretty well:
we are not anti-Microsoft activists. Microsoft Office's home and student price is $150 in the U.S. so, depending on your needs, it may be a good value. We know that NeoOffice is imperfect and will likely never duplicate the entire feature set which is why we support our operations entirely on donations. Donations is enough to provide a stable product that has the most common subset of features that Microsoft Office is and Microsoft Office is still there as an option for those who need features that we cannot raise enough funds to implement.
While your experience may differ, our forum posts say that many people initially try NeoOffice primarily to save the cost of Microsoft Office license. However, in many cases we have found that neither NeoOffice nor OpenOffice.org has the Microsoft Office features that their business or organization is dependent on.
Maybe Patrick and Ed will feel differently, but I cannot help but think that "selling" NeoOffice will only create disappointment among users and, at the same time, add to our support load. In other words, where is the gain for Patrick and Ed?
Fran, I am glad you posted this. I was hesitant to respond when I first read the original post yesterday. I did not want to come off confrontational. I think you stated the case very eloquently. I support that!
(just a note - my daughter was in 5th grade last year and the they use macs. I bought her a macbook. The 1 teacher demanded powerpoint presentations for that year. Never before and so far not since. I was against it. She had keynote, I guess it is called, and NeoOffice. But the teahcer wanted MS Powerpoint. My wife went out and bought her the office suite - not the high end, but it did cost her money! I was ticked. Since then, she has never used it. At the time she was starting to use Neo and then went into word etc. since the end of the 5th grade and thezero use/need of powerpoint, she now uses Neo exclusively for her wprd/text stuff. So - the MS Paid for/boughten Application sits idly on the dock. She loves Neo; but the stupid teacher conned my wife and other parents to buying a product for maybe 3-4 presentation in 9 month or less period, and that is it. What a waste!)
Sure she could be using MS Office stuff, but she prefers and likes Neo. I am happy to say that this (Neo) is her application of choice.
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