I use OpenOffice exclusively. It’s not because I don’t have access to MS Office. I simply like it better. Much better. An odf file is a fraction the size of an rtf or even DOCx with ALL the same formatting and advanced layout.

In fact I only use MS Office to convert files to rtf, something which OpenOffice has chosen not to do well (for political reasons it seems). I was a bit concerned when Ooo became a property of Oracle, not because they don’t have good products, but because they tend to enjoy unnecessarily obscure interfaces and documentation.

Then I look one day and Ooo has become an Apache property. If anything that seemed a lateral promotion, and I had been counting on Oracle to finally make Base a viable DB design and coding platform a’ la Access™.

But tentatively I installed it and crossed my fingers. Voila! Suddenly Ooo opened as quickly as regular software. Where was the extensive, struggle with clunky ECMA interpreters and GDI. Surely, without a quickstarter and half a dozen COM/CORBA services you couldn’t have a REAL office software suite! But it seemed I did. (I disabled the quickstarter).

Then that fateful day came when I needed a thesaurus. Trying to provide the Teirans with a religious system that made sense I needed to borrow a term that I could substitute for the common one. So I hilighted a word, clicked Tools\Language\The– But it was disabled. I had no Thesaurus!

After poking through options\languages twice, attempting to press and rebooting I still had no thesaurus. I work where I have no wifi available so what was I to do?

Frustrated I searched for add-ons and no joy. I searched Yahoo, and found a reference to a similar problem but it was on Mac (OP) and none of it was helpful.

Then I found where a PC user had hijacked the thread, bless him. In remonstrating him for his terrible etiquette, the moderator actually let escape a bit of helpful information in the form of another thread.

This thread took me through the ninety percentile solutions that we all know to perform without prompting. But near the end of the list was an entry that was troubling. “Have you stopped and restarted Ooo and the quickstarter? If so and the thesaurus remains disabled, you have a serious problem with a corrupt dictionary and should start a new thread.”

A new thread? It was that bad that the pedant couldn’t even suggest something to try? Rather than sign up for yet another unwanted membership in an online Phishing trap, I decided to poke around the folders where Ooo 3 was installed. Finally, I discovered the location of the oxt scripts that install Ooo dictionaries (C:\Program Files\OpenOffice.org 3\share\extensions\install). On a whim I reran the en_US and dict-en oxt’s. Voila I now have Thesaurus for Typosaurus and can play to my Saurian delight. With the thesaurus working, I have to say that 3.4 is the best version of Ooo to date and I am very happy with it. I hope it will set the tone for Apache’s custody of Ooo.

Geronimo!

PS Closing Quickstarter, killed the thesaurus again. With Quickstarter Ooo opens on its own every time you reboot.

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