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OpenOffice.org Calc adds support for Excel VBA

By on November 17, 2006 (8:00:00 AM)

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As an Excel user, you may have looked at OpenOffice.org and found that it doesn't support Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), the Microsoft Office macro language. If you've spent years building hundreds of Excel macros, the fear of losing them all could keep you locked in to Office. If so, it's time to look again; Novell has taken OpenOffice.org's source code and create a version of its own that supports Excel VBA.

Novell's Noel Power is the developer in charge of introducing Excel VBA interoperability into OpenOffice.org Calc. He says that the interoperability is achieved by:

  • allowing Excel VBA macros to run natively within OpenOffice.org;
  • providing a compatibility object model;
  • continuously improving the compatibility model by identifying and implementing the most useful and widely used APIs;
  • extending the symbols available to ooo-basic to include the compatibility API; and
  • modifying the core ooo-basic runtime to handle Excel VBA syntax.

Noel says, "Novell is pushing this to the wider community. The source code is freely available from the OpenOffice.org Hackers Pages, and instructions on how to build it are on the OpenOffice.org build page. Additionally, we are pleased to say that we are also shipping the VBA interoperability feature with Novell's branded OpenOffice.org versions for Windows.

If you want  to build the new edition of OOo from scratch, the steps are fairly simple:

  1. Download the source code.
  2. Carry out the configuration for your system. This is the most labor-intensive part of the process, but the feedback you get is useful, and so it's just a matter of deciding which additional files your system requires, or which parts of the installation that you want to disable.
  3. Download the actual OOo packages. (Don't worry -- once the configuration is completed you just need to type ./download).
  4. Make the application.

However, you might not have to do all of the work yourself. "As far I can tell," said Noel, "the VBA interoperability feature currently ships with following distro versions of OpenOffice.org":

  • Ark
  • Debian
  • DroplineGNOME
  • Frugalware
  • Gentoo
  • Mandriva
  • QiLinux
  • Red Hat (FC6)
  • Ubuntu
  • SUSE and SUSE SLED

Unfortunately, there's no easy way of identifying whether your distro supports the VBA interoperability apart from trying some VBA code. According to Noel, "You can use the ooo-basic organizer (Tools -> Macros -> Organize Macros -> OpenOffice.org Basic) and navigate to the document. If the document contains macros and they are not commented out, chances are the feature is enabled."

If you've installed a supported distribution, or built Novell's version of OpenOffice.org on your Linux box, or installed Novell's OpenOffice.org for Windows, will any Excel macro work in Calc? "No," Noel said, "support for VBA is not complete, but we think we cover a large portion of the common usage patterns. Those macros that we've come across mostly use a manageable subset of objects in the Excel API (such as the Range, Worksheet, Workbook, etc.). We have concentrated on supporting those objects, and the most commonly used method/properties of those objects."

If you've got your own Excel spreadsheet to try, then open it up and see what happens. The macros should run just as if you'd opened the document in Excel. If you haven't got Excel, Noel passed a good example on to me -- hypocycloid-demo.xls. A hypocycloid (in case you're interested) traces the path of a fixed point on a circle as it rolls around inside a larger circle (anyone remember Spirograph?). The spreadsheet will generate different hypocycloids for you. If you are using OpenOffice.org with VBA support, all of the buttons and sliders should work, changing the image displayed on the screen, despite the fact that all of the code is written using Excel VBA.

How would things differ if you'd loaded hypocycloid-demo.xls into a version of OpenOffice.org without VBA support? OpenOffice.org will open an Excel spreadsheet even if the spreadsheet contains VBA macros, but when you press the buttons nothing will happen -- and most importantly, you won't get any error messages.

Let's look at the code in the OOo Basic Editor. Go to the OpenOffice.org menu and click on Tools -> Macros -> Organize Macros -> OpenOffice.org Basic.

Sub VBA_Library
Rem Sub openWorkbooks (iFiles())
Rem Dim wBook as Workbook
Rem Dim wList as String
Rem Dim iFile as String
Rem
Rem For Each iFile in iFiles
Rem Workbooks.Open iFile
Rem Next iFile
Rem
Rem For Each wBook In Workbooks
Rem wList = wList & wBook.Name & chr(13)
Rem Next wBook
Rem Worksheets("Sheet2").Range("A1") = Now()
Rem msgbox Workbooks.Count & " files open:" & chr(13) & chr(13) & wList
Rem End Sub
End Sub

You'll see that standard OpenOffice.org handles VBA code in a module. The VBA code all gets turned into comments, and then is encapsulated into a new subroutine (which is given the same name as the module).

However, if you're using OpenOffice.org with VBA support, you'll see a different picture:

Option VBASupport 1
Sub openWorkbooks (iFiles())
    Dim wBook as Workbook
    Dim wList as String
    Dim iFile as String

    For Each iFile in iFiles
        Workbooks.Open iFile
    Next iFile

    For Each wBook in Workbooks
        wList = wList & wBook.Name & chr( 13 )
    Next wBook
    Worksheets( "Sheet2" ).Range("A1") = Now()
    msgbox Workbooks.Count & " files open:" & chr(13) & chr(13) & wList
End Sub

This version of OpenOffice.org Calc adds an extra line of code to any module that it loads and which contains VBA code:
Option VBASupport 1
This line has no effect on standard OOo Basic code, but it ensures that the VBA interoperability is recognized correctly. If you prefer the VBA statements (or if they're just what you're more used to) then you must remember to add this line manually when you create your own VBA modules for Calc.

While all this works well, it is not yet a mainstream OOo solution. Noel says, "Sun does have a proprietary solution, but it has some drawbacks. This year at OOoCon I had some frank discussions with some of the Sun developers and there at least seems to be some willingness to align their solution and ours. The impression that I got was they felt that our approach was a better one (they do a translation phase, whereas we run the VBA natively). I also got the impression that they deemphasizing support for their solution. We hope to increase the pace of our upstreaming efforts and aim to have the initial effort completed in the next couple of months.

"At the moment the situation is still that the interoperability feature is only available from the popular distros that use ooo-build. However, quite a few steps have been made in getting closer to the goal of integrating all of this work into the main OpenOffice.org source. A fair proportion of the core basic runtime modifications have already been folded into the 'vanilla' OpenOffice.org; the compatibility API and some of the other hooks are not. I am, however, in close contact with the developers at Sun and we are working together to try and get all of the feature in. As this is a complicated feature, and touches many parts of the code, this is not a trivial task, it will take time".

Your can learn more about using Excel VBA with OpenOffice.org Calc in my book Learn OpenOffice.org Spreadsheet Macro Programming: OOoBasic and Calc automation.

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on OpenOffice.org Calc adds support for Excel VBA

Note: Comments are owned by the poster. We are not responsible for their content.

So, does that mean if we use it....

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 18, 2006 07:35 AM
Steve Ballmer and Novell are going to sue us?

#

Been there, done that...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 18, 2006 09:25 AM
Maybe they charge every Linux user some US$ 699 ?

Déjà-vu anyone?

#

wrong priorities?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 18, 2006 12:15 PM
Question is, why work is done on such things rather then on full OpenDocument support (frames), on performance (startup-time), the OpenDocument-testsuite or on better desktop-integration?

#

Here is a different idea...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 18, 2006 09:56 PM
WHy don't we set up a MS Excel conversion tool to OpenOffice? AND if anyone has a MACRO that does not work in OpenOffice that they donate it to a community and the community BUILDS A OPENOFFICE MACRO that does the same thing.

This using VBA and MS patent licenses STINKS and it is not needed.

Really what Novell is afraid of is that they LIKE THE PER SEAT LICENSE model... and everything was FINE as Red Hat pretty much was the same in the commercial space... then, along comes UBUNTU and all it's attention and that changes thing for them into a place that they were not planning on going to. So - they do the patent deal with MS (actually approach MS on it, not the other way around)... in order to say, look at us we will protect you. This whole thing came about at the new CEO had to make a splash that was different. It's all about making a splash and affecting the stock market you know (because the bonuses are based on such things and the CEO needs a new Porche). Simple, the dude is just greedy.

And this Novell CEO, he does not understand why LINUX is his only option (as he comes lately to this and is only looking at the short term business reasons)! I hope that GPLv3 gets approved and everyone gets on board quickly, AND that the SAMBA moves everything to GPLv3, and NOVELL is left holding just their brown stained undergarments.

#

Here is a different idea...Revenge!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 19, 2006 12:59 AM
"WHy don't we set up a MS Excel conversion tool to OpenOffice? AND if anyone has a MACRO that does not work in OpenOffice that they donate it to a community and the community BUILDS A OPENOFFICE MACRO that does the same thing."

You all have had plenty of time to do that, but...

"This using VBA and MS patent licenses STINKS and it is not needed."

It's a solution. Someting none of the complainers have demonstrated in all the years that they've been bitching. Guess Novell got tired of waiting?

"And this Novell CEO, he does not understand why LINUX is his only option (as he comes lately to this and is only looking at the short term business reasons)! I hope that GPLv3 gets approved and everyone gets on board quickly, AND that the SAMBA moves everything to GPLv3, and NOVELL is left holding just their brown stained undergarments."

Nice to know that GPLers aren't above revenge. Guess the other licenses will become more popular as the "brownstainers" and others (Google) realize that the GPL is the "Ford Pinto" of licenses.

#

Re:Here is a different idea...Revenge!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 20, 2006 12:38 PM

Nice to know that GPLers aren't above revenge. Guess the other licenses will become more popular as the "brownstainers" and others (Google) realize that the GPL is the "Ford Pinto" of licenses.


Ford Pinto? You're showing your age. Anywho, the GPL has done its job pretty well for more than a decade keeping greedy little shites from stealing code. I will admit, though, it lacks the byzantine Stalinist charm of Microsoft Vista's EULA.

#

Here's why:

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 19, 2006 01:08 AM
>> why work is done on such things rather then on full OpenDocument support (frames), on performance (startup-time), the OpenDocument-testsuite or on better desktop-integration?

>> WHy don't we set up a MS Excel conversion tool to OpenOffice?

DISCLAMER: IANAL, but this is what I get from the facts. Please enlighten me if I'm wrong.

As per the GPL, if company A develops program Wootp and integrate it in a GPL code, the Wootp source must be distributed. But distribution might be forbidden if it violates corporation Monopolius patent.

Now, if no one creates program Wootp, all is ok in Paradise. But, if company A gets exclusive authorisation from corporation Monopolius, it can distribute freely the source.

And everyone can get the source so the GPL is satisfied. Company A did obey the GPL; on the other hand nobody can redistribute the source code, because such distribution would be illegal, and Monopolius would sue.

So, anyone can make free software and sell and make money -- and, in a way, become owner of the free software (which now cannot be called free). In essence, company A is paying corporation Monopolius to prevent others from using the source code for new commercial use.

Company A has an exclusive product now. It "contributed" back to the community, as per the GPL, but no commercial enterprise will be able to profit. This situation is a kind of communist version of the GPL, because it prevents competition and capitalism.

The GPL spirit is contrary to this and favours competition and small companies, but this arrangement between company A and Monopolius effectively prevents the GPL use.

Mind you, Monopolius can even extend the authorisation to anyone (and collect money for that) and proclaim to be non-discriminatory!

For Monopolius, the main gain is that the freedom to redistribute has been restricted.

Everyone now is not free to redistribute software, but has to ask corporation Monopolius (and pay them).

Is this what the creators of the "patent" idea intended?

Is it ok for a corporation to gather money on tradition rights only?

#

Re:Here's why:

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 19, 2006 06:46 PM
"And everyone can get the source so the GPL is satisfied."

You were okay until this part. Simply giving the source does not satisfy, you must be able to pass on the right to excercise all the rights and privelages specified in the GPL. Including the right to distribute the software. If for any reason you are legally unable to pass on those rights then your own right to distribute the software is lost.

#

Re:Here's why:

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 19, 2006 10:59 PM
I'd like to agree with you and I think this can be solution to this trap.

However, there is reason and there is law and both things not necessarily go together (or so it seems to me, IANAL).

Novell could _legally_ claim they meet all GPL conditions, including passing on the same right they have, namely the right of using the distributed source under a (paid) covenant with Microsoft.

This obviously is not what the GPL intended, but these guys used metaphors like "knifing the baby", they really are not here just to make deals and get new friends.

In the light of the recent events, I think it all could have even started since that infamous "Linux labs" from months ago. Maybe it was not to study Linux, but to create M$-Linux chimeras...

You all please pardon me for being that paranoid, but I'm old and have seen a lot of cool products disappear before my eyes: CP/M, Wordperfect, Netscape, Borland's compilers to name a few. They never had a fair chance...

#

Re:Here's why:

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 20, 2006 12:13 PM
"You all please pardon me for being that paranoid, but I'm old and have seen a lot of cool products disappear before my eyes: CP/M, Wordperfect, Netscape, Borland's compilers to name a few. They never had a fair chance.."

Uh, huh.

CP/M wasn't all that and a bag of chips.

Wordperfect still exists and I and others use it.

Netscape is now Firefox.

Compilers? Jeez! Compilers coming out the wazoo. Free one's especially.

"However, there is reason and there is law and both things not necessarily go together (or so it seems to me, IANAL)."

Welcome to slashdot, er Newsforge.

#

Re:Here's why:

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 20, 2006 11:34 PM
>> CP/M wasn't all that and a bag of chips.

Maybe under a technical view... but CP/M was all DOS was and more. There are programs running on DOS to this date! And DOS copied CP/M, even the copyright strings! (I'm not making up this, read the M$ trials documents)

CP/M was simple, granted, but that's enough for a lot of applications. And it could not coexist with DOS...

>> Wordperfect still exists and I and others use it.

I guess you're a lawyer because that's pretty much the niche it was left to WP. They would love to have 50% of the Office market. Why don't they? M$ Office is better? No way, even MVPs say M$ Office is borken...

>> Netscape is now Firefox.

Firefox is Mozilla and they have won. Netscape and its mother company went the way of the dodo, Netscape even was changed to accomodate the IE engine. Borg is the word that comes to my mind now... and maybe the first example of IP contamination...

>> Compilers? Jeez! Compilers coming out the wazoo. Free one's especially.

Sorry but I beg to disagree. Borland Pascal compilers were a legend in their time. They were faster in an 8-bit machine than modern compilers (free or not) in your fave 64-bit mobo. These guys ruled.

>> "However, there is reason and there is law and both things not necessarily go together (or so it seems to me, IANAL)."
>> Welcome to slashdot, er Newsforge.

I was talking about the world. Life would be nice if BS were kept off courts, but alas it's not so.

#

I thought lack of VBA support was a feature

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 19, 2006 11:44 AM
I mean entirely separate from the legal stuff. Those macro languages are an everyday tool for virus and malware writers - in fact, many corporations refuse to accept Word documents as email attachments, mostly because they're afraid of the macro payload.

VBA was a reasonably good idea when the network traffic that people cared about took place within a corporate intranet (people called it a LAN back then). That day ended when Netscape Navigator 2.0 was released.

#

http://boycottnovell.com

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 19, 2006 02:26 PM
Yet another reason to boycott Novell. You can bet on the fact that this is only the begining. UN-INSTALL ALL NOVELL PRODUCTS NOW! Let your bosses know that Novell is creating A VERY REAL AND DANGEROUS liability for their company! Do you really think M$ is going to do away with their fresh new bi*ch?!? Nope the businesses will end up paying the price. You can refer to how Novell FAQed us over about the IP violation! Then what is M$'s take on the IP violation? If your business uses Novell products you are in a world of trouble make no mistake.

#

Re:I thought lack of VBA support was a feature

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 19, 2006 11:11 PM
I understand the concerns about macro malware, though that could be addressed if macros were implemented in a jail or with a decent permissions policy with fine-enough-grained controls.
However, using a spreadsheet without the ability to easily create macro functions would really restrict its' usefulness for me.
Porting VBA macros to OOo Basic macros is pretty easy, it's just a pain to do manually all the time, and makes it impossible to share documents across platforms.

#

Not so

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 20, 2006 04:27 AM

Porting VBA macros to OOo Basic macros is pretty easy, it's just a pain to do manually all the time, and makes it impossible to share documents across platforms.


Hardly. If you want to share documents across platforms, that's a strong argument for using OpenOffice everywhere, because it runs on pretty much all platforms. If you have Excel macros, you only have to translate them once.

#

Re:Not so

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 20, 2006 04:46 AM
Correct.
But try to get a business client to switch from Excel. Their the client, you have to respect what they want. It wont be easy even if you're their client.
It's sortof a chicken 'n' egg thing. But there may become a tipping point, if there's enough demand.

#

Macro-virus?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 18, 2006 05:42 AM
So now I will vulnerable to all these macro-viruses and stuff?

#

this doesn't work....look at this

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 18, 2006 06:46 AM
Rem Attribute VBA_ModuleType=VBAModule
Option VBASupport 1
Sub Module1
Rem Option Explicit
Rem
Rem ' Developed by John Walkenbach
Rem ' of JWalk and Associates
Rem ' <a href="http://www.j-walk.com/ss/" title="j-walk.com">http://www.j-walk.com/ss/</a j-walk.com>
Rem ' Thanks to GeeDee for suggesting the animation and colors.
Rem
Rem Dim r As Long
Rem
Rem
Rem
Rem
Rem Sub Scroller_Click()
Rem Range("FavoriteNum").Value = " "
Rem End Sub
Rem Sub RandomButton_Click()
Rem Application.ScreenUpdating = False
Rem Range("a_inc").Value = Rnd() * 1000
Rem Range("b_inc").Value = Rnd() * 1000
Rem Range("t_inc").Value = Rnd() * 1000
Rem Range("FavoriteNum").Value = ""
Rem Application.ScreenUpdating = True
Rem End Sub
Rem
Rem Sub NextFavoriteButton_Click()
Rem Application.ScreenUpdating = False
Rem r = Range("FavoriteNum").Value + 1
Rem If r > Application.CountA(Range("Favorites").EntireColum<nobr>n<wbr></nobr> ) Then r = 1
Rem Range("a_inc").Value = Range("Favorites").Offset(r - 1, 0).Value
Rem Range("b_inc").Value = Range("Favorites").Offset(r - 1, 1).Value
Rem Range("t_inc").Value = Range("Favorites").Offset(r - 1, 2).Value
Rem Range("FavoriteNum").Value = r
Rem Application.ScreenUpdating = True
Rem End Sub
Rem
Rem Sub PreviousFavoriteButton_Click()
Rem Application.ScreenUpdating = False
Rem r = Range("FavoriteNum").Value - 1
Rem If r = 0 Then r = Application.CountA(Range("Favorites").EntireColum<nobr>n<wbr></nobr> )
Rem Range("a_inc").Value = Range("Favorites").Offset(r - 1, 0).Value
Rem Range("b_inc").Value = Range("Favorites").Offset(r - 1, 1).Value
Rem Range("t_inc").Value = Range("Favorites").Offset(r - 1, 2).Value
Rem Range("FavoriteNum").Value = r
Rem Application.ScreenUpdating = True
Rem End Sub
Rem
Rem Sub AddToFavoritesButton_Cklick()
Rem Dim EmptyStr As String
Rem EmptyStr = ""
Rem
Rem If Range("FavoriteNum").Value = EmptyStr Then
Rem Application.ScreenUpdating = False
Rem Application.Calculation = xlCalculationManual
Rem r = Application.CountA(Range("Favorites").EntireColum<nobr>n<wbr></nobr> ) + 1
Rem Range("FavoriteNum").Value = r
Rem Cells(r, Range("Favorites").Column) = Range("a_inc").Value
Rem Cells(r, Range("Favorites").Column + 1) = Range("b_inc").Value
Rem Cells(r, Range("Favorites").Column + 2) = Range("t_inc").Value
Rem Application.Calculation = xlCalculationAutomatic
Rem Application.ScreenUpdating = True
Rem End If
Rem End Sub
Rem
Rem
Rem
Rem
Rem
Rem Sub InfoButton_Click()
Rem ChartIsAnimated = False
Rem Sheets("Info").Activate
Rem Range("A2").Select
Rem End Sub
Rem
Rem Sub ReturnButton_Click()
Rem Sheets("Chart").Activate
Rem Range("E4").Select
Rem End Sub
Rem
End Sub

#

Re:this doesn't work....look at this

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on January 26, 2007 12:13 PM
I wonder, does the fact that most of those lines are comments ("rem"arks) have anything to do with it?

#

creepy

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 18, 2006 06:53 AM
I'd like to believe this is all done in good faith, but knowing that Novell's new business partner claims that all Linux users are infringing on Microsoft IP, I'm a little skeptical.

Days after you sign your big deal, Ballmer not so subtley threatens to sue us all for infringing on unspecified IP. And here's Novell flaunting new MS interoperability tools?

Thanks, but no thanks.

It's a pretty good argument for switching to Gnumeric.

Or anything else, so long as it doesn't have Novell's fingerprints all over it.

#

Re:creepy

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 18, 2006 08:02 AM
Thank you for your comment.

Now, please tell us who you work for -- Oracle, Sun, or Microsoft?

#

Re:creepy

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 19, 2006 02:21 PM
Yes.<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:-)

Oh, and in addition to the above, I'm also a Red Hat employee, too, on loan to Apple Computer in San Jose to help out with Mac OS X binary compatibility with OS/2 (you know, that "Pink" project that we never really let go of--it's a patented trade secret--can't tell you more, sorry).

#

Re:creepy

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 19, 2006 02:30 AM
Hmmm...So you're suggesting that anything Novell touches, will be attempts to taint as much open-source projects as possible? So when the time is right, 5yrs later, MS can kill everyone in one go? Novell is the infector?

Gnumeric you say? Hmmm...I'm gonna try that.<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:)

#

Re:creepy

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 19, 2006 05:46 AM
Is this the new M$ slogan? Or will it be in a few years?

Microsoft bloating linux applications since 2006.

#

Not Creepy ...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 21, 2006 05:51 PM
So - this is all done in good faith; we are not aware of any IPR that this infringes, I refer you to our public policy on the issue to *not* include any infringing things into open source projects, and to remove / work around them as/when we become aware of any problems. Furthermore, this feature is implemented in response to substantial customer demand - and removes a large obstacle to OO.o adoption in enterprises.

      -- Michael Meeks.

#

Re:Not Creepy ...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 23, 2006 11:54 PM
Doesn't your faith mean you can't work with those who deal with Microsoft...?

#

I agree with anonymous (Re: creepy)

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 18, 2006 08:45 AM
You're walking with Novell, everything is ok.

Linux is not tainted by M$ IP.

Now Novell comes up with some good-looking food and says "Wanna try?", after taking a bite itself.

"Hmm, ok", you say. After just one piece, you realize it's poison, but Novell was immune because of the deal.

But you, being Red Hat, or Xandros, or Linspire or any other commercial Linux cannot any longer go where Novell goes. They can now breath underwater, but you must remain at the beach.

Novell gets differentiated, walks freely in M$ environments, and M$ has just made one single company more powerful. A single company which will be friends with M$...

One cannot help but wonder whether this is analogous to the technique used in Africa (IIRC, about hutu and tutsi): favouring one ethnic group while persecuting another, until there is hate between them.

Hate and segregation lead to secession. In a time when Gnome and KDE are finally stablishing common rules in freedesktop, M$ tries their final move to divide the free software movement, because divided we are weak.

Alas, as other M$ past initiatives -- Linux as a joke, cancer, viral, not ready -- this will also backfire.

#

Re:I agree with anonymous (Re: creepy)

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 18, 2006 10:43 AM
Amen. Hopefully the binary package from www.openoffice.org doesn't have this compiled in. It'd be interesting to see Microsoft try to sue Sun, since Sun not only is a joint copyright holder in any code that gets accepted into OpenOffice.org, but also sells StarOffice.

#

Re:I agree with anonymous (Re: creepy)

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 19, 2006 01:36 AM
>> It'd be interesting to see Microsoft try to sue Sun, since Sun not only is a joint copyright holder in any code that gets accepted into OpenOffice.org, but also sells StarOffice.

This has already been dealt with...

See: <a href="http://www.infoworld.com/article/04/09/16/HNopenoffice_1.html" title="infoworld.com">http://www.infoworld.com/article/04/09/16/HNopeno<nobr>f<wbr></nobr> fice_1.html</a infoworld.com>

Apparently, M$ made friends with Sun before Novell.

M$ may think they are weak to fight the GPL alone or against many important corporations in association, I don't know.

What if they want to isolate IBM?

They also want their format OpenXML (riddled with their IP) to win over ODF. What if they want to contaminate ODF with their IP, too, thereby equalising things?

#

Re:I agree with anonymous (Re: creepy)

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 19, 2006 02:27 PM
Oh, I know about the Sun/MS deal. That was back when Scott McNealy was at the helm. But, do you really think that the minor restriction of the LAW would stop Microsoft? They've broken quite a few contracts over the years, not to mention stolen other people's copyrights and software patents. They just buy their way out of it in an out-of-court settlement, and even the cases that they've lost, they have so much money that the financial costs don't really serve to stop them.

Of course they want to kill ODF. That's obvious. It looks like they may have managed to accomplish that in Massachusetts. The proverbial fat lady hasn't yet sung, but it looks like she's on the stage about to belt out them thar notes (see <a href="http://www.consortiuminfo.org./" title="www.consortiuminfo.org">http://www.consortiuminfo.org./</a www.consortiuminfo.org>

#

Re:I agree with anonymous (Re: creepy)

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 20, 2006 02:14 AM
I'm not all that worried about Sun.

Nor are M$, I suspect. Sun does not sell desktops and even in servers there's this kind of illusion that Solaris will return and prevail over Linux, sword in anvil and all.

M$ is after, IMHO, Openoffice.org. If Sun is assured they won't be threatened, Oo.o users more or less might be left unattended and defenseless...

It's almost impossible to find a Mac in retail in my country. Apple simply has no presence here. If we talk about desktops, the sole competitor to Windows is Linux. Openoffice.org (and soon Koffice, I hope) is key to this... without Oo.o, now, Linux is not viable as a home or corporate desktop.

We're not just talking about income from Office sales, we're talking about a supermarket with up to 40% of the desktops on sale without any M$ software.

I just _saw_ this today, this is reality, I'm not speaking about some future scenario.

Don't ever for a minute think that M$ gets conforted that many which try Linux might be disappointed and return to Windows. What's important is the moment of sale, and there are others eating from their plate.

#

Re:I agree with anonymous (Re: creepy)

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 19, 2006 02:34 AM
What did Russell Crowe say in Gladiator?

Whatever comes out of these gates, we've got a better chance of survival if we work together. Do you understand? If we stay together, we survive.

#

We doesn't need this support

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 18, 2006 03:56 PM
The Community doesn't need this features in OOo.

Thanks, Novell/Gollum/Smeagol for this attack to the community.

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Re:We doesn't need this support

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 19, 2006 12:54 AM
If you think a community doesn't need this support, go ahead and keep OOo only in your community. DO NOT EXPOSE IT OUTSIDE YOUR COMMUNITY.

OTHER PEOPLE NEED IT.

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Re:We doesn't need this support

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 19, 2006 02:26 AM
Don't you get it?

They're putting all this in, get people hooked, and when the time is right, they can pull the rug right under you!

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Re:We doesn't need this support

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 19, 2006 02:43 AM
You're an idiot... You do understand that once it is opensourced in some form the horse has already left the barn?
If that wasnt the case all the embedded linux developers with their proprietary modules would have closed of linux. But its still available. Same will be true of this and OpenOffice.
And you can explain to your boss why you cant get the vba script to run when you decide to not use the vba module in a corporate enviroment that has standardized on MS office and you want to run your openoffice,,, cause you are such a rebel.

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Re:We doesn't need this support

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 19, 2006 03:46 AM
Do you think that this is opensource? I think that this is a code that I can read but I cannot write. So it's close source. If I should write a part of this code I could be persecuted for Pantents Violation.

This code Doesn't exist for Opensource community.
That's all.

(Novell is Truely like Gollum/Smeagol blinded by his treasure).

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Re:We doesn't need this support

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 19, 2006 02:37 PM
You call people an idiot, and that makes *you* one. Stick with the topic, please.

Most users in fact don't need VBA. If your corporation does, then I pity you. Remember that Microsoft is scared silly of OpenOffice.org and has been for a while. They are also absolutely frightened of OpenDocument. If they can somehow claim that "OpenOffice.org violates our patents" someday, then, GPL or no GPL, there's a costly lawsuit coming.

Of course, the offending code--if it's truly found to be offending by a court--would simply be ripped out. However, M$ wouldn't stop there. They'd then trumpet, "See, *OpenDocument* violates our 'intellectual property', just look at OpenOffice.org!" It'd be a totally false comparison, but they'd still do it in a heartbeat.

I say, just leave VBA out of OO.o and have Web applications (PHP or Java based, as just two cross-platform examples) to do those functions that are sometimes done with VBA in MS Office. In the long run, corporations will save a bundle--specifically, when the next version of MS Office comes out, and yes, I'm accounting for MS's volume licensing. Actual retail price would mean even more savings.

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My company needs this support ...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 21, 2006 05:57 PM
Wrt. injecting infringing code into OO.o, go read:

<a href="http://www.novell.com/linux/microsoft/faq_opensource.html" title="novell.com">http://www.novell.com/linux/microsoft/faq_opensou<nobr>r<wbr></nobr> ce.html</a novell.com>

Q4.

The VBA compatibility feature is really useful, although as you rightly say, VBA as it is implemented & deployed sucks rocks<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:-)

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Whiners == Wankers

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 19, 2006 04:31 AM
'Oh noes. It is teh evil. I'll get viruses. Oh noes!!!'

Are you all kidding me? This is a major and fantastic advancement for OOo! Thanks to this new addition, Excel spreadsheets that were being used for business and could not function in OOo will now work. This eliminates yet another argument against OOo. One less excuse not to use it.

OOo Basic wasn't plausible because no one was willing to learn and port to yet another scripting and macro language. Why should they? They already know VBA and it works fine for them in Excel. Now that OOo supports VBA the learning curve is further reduced and documents/user can switch back and forth form Excel to Calc.

VBA support in OOo is great news! As for viruses, I never found them to be a problem with Excel so, I see no reason for them to be a problem with OOo.

You wankers just like to see your own whiny posts!

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Re:Whiners == Wankers

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 19, 2006 05:09 AM
This has nothing to do with viruses, it's about Novell submitting upstream patches that infringe on Microsoft IP.

Ballmer has just recently said that Linux infringes on MS IP, yet just as with the SCO case no solid examples are given. Novell have effectively given some credence to Microsoft's claims by selling their soul in exchange for immunity from future IP lawsuits.

Due to Microsoft's dodgy history with misappropriating other peoples code, they're unlikely to ever actually start throwing patent lawsuits around. However they can use this Novell deal to scare businesses into thinking that other server distributions are open to future lawsuits.

So you'll have to forgive us for being paranoid about Novell's future community contributions.

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The true question is...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 19, 2006 04:52 AM
When Novell starts this collaboration with Microsoft?
When Novell start to Inject Microsoft applications "compatibility" code?

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Using code from Novell akin to eating "The Apple"?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 19, 2006 07:19 AM
It seems to me, that with all of the FUD being sewn by the Novell/Microsoft 'collaboration', that at this point, most Open Source projects might want to ask themselves if they even want to be accepting code from Novell right now, especially code that provides compatibility with proprietary MS formats. Until we see where Ballmer might be going with Thursday's (11-16-06) comments, it certainly seems wise to view any of Novell's action with caution, at the very least.

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Re:Using code from Novell akin to eating "The Appl

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 19, 2006 07:47 AM
This is an hamletic problem...

Free Software is against Patents it must accept the code because it don't accept the idea of "Software Patenting" but this really expose all developers to the risk of legal repercussions.

I think that the best choice is to don't accept nothing from Novell's developers until the exit of GPL3 or until a Novell drastic change of politics.

Novell have done a very big mistake that can stop all Open Source Projects.

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Re:Using code from Novell akin to eating "The Appl

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 19, 2006 09:05 PM
Agreed.

I think its wiser in the long term to leave the "Novell contributions" out of open-source projects.

So what's the current status of GPL v3?

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Using code from Novell akin to eating "The Apple"

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 20, 2006 04:58 AM
Agreed. Even if we stop accepting code from Novell, that is already a victory for M$. Whatever the outcome, this seems a win situation for them.

But the problem is not so much M$ or Novell: the real problem is software patents. This monstrosity should have never come into existence. Since I'm not from the U.S. I can only thank we have not this problem here; btw, is there any other country which recognizes "software patents"?

If there is any doubt about how these non-sensical patents affect innovation, this case illustrates how harmful they are.

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you're too paranoid

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 20, 2006 07:45 PM
the day MS sues anyone - either Novell will cover you, or Novell will lose their rights to distribute this code under GPLv2 clause 7.

Which probably means - either Novell covers everyone , or they will terminate their contract with Microsoft on that day,
and in consequence probably Novell patents will be used against MS.

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Re:you're too paranoid

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 20, 2006 09:56 PM
Could be... But seems that they are moving in this way...

But novell must pay for this unnecessary attack to the community.

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How to use C#+Mono with OOo?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 21, 2006 03:12 AM
I was used to write VBA code for Excel, now I want to switch to a more powerful office suite and a better language: can I use Mono(C#) with OOo in the same way I used VBA for Excel?

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Re:How to use C#+Mono with OOo?

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 21, 2006 05:53 PM
You can script OO.o with Mono externally if you use a distribution that supports it, and Novell are doing work to get the initial Mono bindings polished up so they can go up-stream. Interestingly - Sun wrote the initial<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.Net bindings, upon which the Mono bindings are based, one of those ironies of life.

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VBA Macros in OO.o

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on December 19, 2006 07:46 PM
This is great. At last.

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OpenOffice.org Calc adds support for Excel VBA

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 205.228.12.236] on August 03, 2007 06:05 PM
Hi,

Any body knows how to get this feature (Excel VBA) in a version something like 2.2.1 . We really do not want to do any configure, build . Instead we would like to just download the Linux version and extract it.

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Excel VBA support in a stable version

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 205.228.12.236] on August 03, 2007 06:06 PM
Hi, Any body knows how to get this feature (Excel VBA) in a version something like 2.2.1 . We really do not want to do any configure, build . Instead we would like to just download the Linux version and extract it.

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OpenOffice.org Calc adds support for Excel VBA

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 72.29.250.1] on September 20, 2007 08:13 PM
I'm late to the party but it is encouraging to know that someone is working on getting Excel VBA working in Calc. I like using OpenOffice but almost every spreadsheet has some form on VBA so I am always stuck. I think this should be one of the highest priorities for Calc!

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OpenOffice.org Calc adds support for Excel VBA

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.72.96.25] on October 19, 2007 10:49 PM
I just installed OpenOffice.org. I am extremely disappointed and saddened that it is of so little use to me. I was REALLY hoping this was the path to escape from the prison of Microsoft. I loaded one of my latest and most useful Excel files to test the compatibility. Calc is slooooow. It does not emulate or simulate Excel except in the most basic functions. Specific lack? No surface plots.
Bottom line: I got what I paid for.
I have no ax to grind and seek no recompense, as I paid essentially nothing for the software except my time; valuable though that is, it was my choice.
Others be aware before you try it. Maybe someday someone will add the features I seek. I have neither the training nor the time to contribute what is needed.

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OpenOffice.org Calc adds support for Excel VBA

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 127.0.0.1] on December 26, 2007 07:56 AM
Its great that they are adding VBA support, but the way formulas are inputed is already different (Excel uses commas and Calc uses semi-colon) they aren't interoperable anyway...

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Running VBA Macro in without open an excel file

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 203.123.149.132] on January 02, 2008 06:00 AM
Hi,
I am Sampath,
I have a problem in formating an excel file. I have devoleped a VBA macro for formating Excel file. after open the excel file when i have applied the VBA Macro it is working fne.

May main problem is without openning excel file, i should apply the above VBA macro in that excel file.

Could you suggest a method for resolving above issue.

Thanks
sampath

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OpenOffice.org Calc adds support for Excel VBA

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 69.72.96.185] on January 18, 2008 07:48 AM
Hey! I thought this was supposed to be a place to help or complain about OpenOffice.org! We certainly don't need this site being garbaged up with the likes of the Jan 12 '08 submission!
I am not in a position to offer technical help for the project, but I do hope that a better product will result from the thought provoking comments, positive and negative, of civilized people!
Anyone who wants to send garbage go elsewhere! There are many many (too many) other places for such foulness.
PS: I am NOT an employee of Novel or any other Linux related business. I just want surface plots in Calc, and I AM for a cleaner Web!

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