Saturday, September 29, 2012

Calligra Suite - a different office suite

Calligra Suite is an office suite, part of KDE community software.  It targets mainly Linux and FreeBSD, though some preliminary support for Mac OS X and Windows exists. I have heard about it long time ago and if I recall well, it is supposed to be descendant to the KOffice. I have tested KOffice before and I did'nt like it. Let me see if Calligra is better.

From their site: Calligra Suite  consists of "comprehensive set of 8 applications which satisfies the office, graphics and management needs". This include word processor, spreadsheet, presentation application, graphics applications for raster and vector graphics, project management and a visual database editor.



Installation of newly Calligra 2.5.2 in Ubuntu is quite easy - Calligra is available in Kubuntu backports for 12.04 and in main repos for 12.10. For Ubuntu 12.04 you have to add the repo
ppa:kubuntu-ppa/backports and then install it:

(commands for konsole users)
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kubuntu-ppa/backports
sudo apt-get install calligra

Calligra looks different with their big sidebars (panels). Panels just take too much place for a simple task like editing a letter. But if you take a look carefully, you'll see how much power Caligra has. The panels are full with options, buttons for various tasks etc.  Spreadsheet application has option to show function result over selected area in statusbar, but it has not quick button for summing selected area (row or column). Instead it shows the huge dialog with plenty of functions to select.
On top of that, when I tried Kexi - the database editor - it even showed me the MS Ribbon like interface - very strange.




Caligra is integrated office suite - you can insert spreadsheet in your text document. Or you can insert graphics, previously edited with some of graphics tools like Karbon or Krita, included in the suite. But wait.... when I double click to edit it, nothing happened. It looks like the integration level is too low - only tables are editable, graphics are not. I mean, you cannot open Krita editor in your text document to applly a change to your drawing.



Calligra also support wide range of document document formats. I'm pleased to know it can open Visio and MS Works and MS Office 2007/2010 OOXML documents. Lets hope the support is good enough.

Despite that, I found some annoying things. No, not bugs, but yes, the interface is quite unpolished. I need a zoom like one found in Gimp. But I can't find the zoom tool in many applications (it was in menu, but i can not bring it to toolbars).  In Krita when I scroll with mouse, the document zooms. When I unset that option in configuration screen, it still zoom the document with scroll button. Very odd.  The tool icon attached to the mouse pointer is also very ugly, like ones before 20 years or more.




Will I use Calligra ? Of course yes, from time to time - just to see if something has improved. It is not that familiar to me, nor polished, but yes, Calligra is quite ready for work, and if they'll fix the interface, Calligra might become a serious competitor to the LibreOffice, Gimp, Inkscape.

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