Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Fedora: I love you but...

I have always been a big fan of RedHat. In fact, it is the only GNU-Linux distribution that I have consistantly used, beginning with RH5.0 up to the present, which is Fedora: Fedora Core 4. So great is my nostalgia for RedHat that I still have all the CDs from the earlier versions of the OSes; and apart from a slight dabble with Mandrake and SuSE, I have been faithful to the company from North Carolina.

I have always used the GNOME desktop also. I do not know anything about KDE, except that it was billed as a full-fledge suite as apposed to GNOME, which in my opinion is nothing but an interface for the applications that run underneath it: call it eye candy, if you wish. However, there is nothing wrong with either philosophy, and as such I have always stuck with GNOME.

RedHat and used GNOME: these have been my mainstays for a long time but there has been a troubling aspect of the CORE with the recent release of FC4 and I though have tried to bring attention of this little annoyance to the parties involved, I must relate there has been no NO effort to fix this problem.

I use OpenOffice for writing: I don't have much time for anything else; none to tweak or fine tune my system. Yes, I do realize that there are provisions for that but all I want to do is simply load programs and go.

AS AN ASIDE - This is going to be an increasing requirement of USERS whenever GNU-Linux becomes mainstream. USERS will simply want to load programs and go; not get into the nitty gritty of doing stuff. I wonder if the community is prepared for this daliance but...

Back to my story

There is a quirk with Fedora's OpenOffice!

This quirk is that the autocorrect function doesn't work properly. I have cross-checked this functionality with other distributions: Ubuntu, SimplyMEPIS, OpenSuSE, PCLinuxOS; mainly live CDs and this function is in all of them BUT not in Fedora.

I have reported this to the OpenOffice.org team and though they have repsonded, very kind of them, it is not their problem. However, the folks at Fedora and let's face it, this is mainly RedHat have not so much as send an acknowledgement.

One would think, there would be an automatic response to all email, even if a body would take a while to actually read the emails but alas, there is no such thing; at least in my case.

The problem in Fedora Core's version of OpenOffice is the Replace tab in the AutoCorrect function simply isn't there.

It doesn't exist!

Whether this has something to do with their implementation of OpenJAVA or not, I do not know. What I do know however, is this feature disappeared after OpenOffice went to the official 2.0 designation; it was there in the 1.9x.xx releases but NOT the 2.0 and later releases.

This has caused considerable stress for me as my entire reportoire of quick-spell-replace word have vanished from my computer; all with the click of the upgrade-mouse.

Fedora has done several updates to OpenOffice since then but the funtion has NOT returned. I have uninstalled the software and reinstalled it twice but this not helped either. I have checked three forums; fedoraforums.org, linuxquestions.org and openofficeforums.org and there has not been any help with the resolution of this matter.

Incidentally, I have recompiled OpenOffice from source and install the official release but this has not helped; the replace feature is just not there.

For the sake of conversation, I will leave out making comparisons to either MSWord or Abiword: that is not my intention. Suffice to say that I have used MSWord numerous times in the past and have had my share of Redmond headaches and Abiword, well let's say that is coming along quite well, maybe someday I will switch all my work to that.

So, it is with great sadness that I am preparing to switch my computers from Fedora to another GNU-Linux distribution. I have tried Ubuntu on my laptop but I am not quite comfortable with it as a replacement for my workstation. Ironically, the phenomemon of sticking with something with the known as opposed to trying the unknown is weighing heavily on me right now.

This is also the problem the FOSS community faces as it try getting Linux mainstream. However, the biggest difference here is that I am reluctant to give up one brand of Linux for another BUT I will; am already looking at Debian becasue I cannot do without that replace feature in OpenOffice.org


Plus, Debian comes with a network install...

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