I read an article on the Web somewhere that there was a new LibreOffice version. It's been several years since I gave OpenOffice a try and I've been interested to see what OpenOffice had evolved into, so I thought, "Hey, maybe they've improved some. I'll install it and see." Here is what happened.
I visited LibreOffice.org and, nice! -- a big green download button.
The big green download button has been well tested and is widely recognized so we're off to a good start.
I clicked the big green button expecting a download to start. I was disappointed. Instead of triggering a download, I'm dumped on one of the worst download pages I've ever encountered, a page titled LibreOffice Productivity Suite Download » LibreOffice which looks like this.
After clicking the thing that looked like a link right under the big Download label about three times,
I realized that was not a link at all, just cleverly designed to impersonate a link and piss me off. I scanned down the page looking for another big green download button. No such luck. Scanning further down the page I see some additional potentially fake links but these ones have some file size information attached so maybe they're what I'm looking for.
But WTF, there are 4 of them. Which one do I want and what's the difference between the "I" version and the "checkmark" version. Maybe the first one is documentation -- an "I" for information? The second one has a green checkmark and that's sort of like a green download button. Let me mouse over it and see if it gives me more information in a tooltip or something. Nope, nothing. OK, I'll click it and see what happens. Nothing.
So now I'm annoyed and I go back up to the top of the page and start reading the actual content. I just wanted to download LibreOffice, but if I must read a page of documentation before I'm allowed to do that, so be it. OK. Now I see, the "I" icon is just stupid, and meaningless. Actually, it's worse than that, it's misleading. It is supposed to signal that this is the newest version of LibreOffice while the "checkmark" icon is the previous version of LibreOffice. What the icons are supposed to add to the experience, I have no idea, but having read the text, I now understand that I want to go back down the page and find the "I" icon version of the download.
No problem. Or, so I thought. WTH! Which of the two links do I want?
I've been around software for a while, so even though the amazing people at LibreOffice didn't bother to label these downloads in any meaningful way, I think if I read their crazy filenames I might decipher what I need to know here here. The first one says LibO 3.5.0 Win x86 install multi.msi. "LibO". OK, that's problem some project shorthand for LibreOffice. "3.5.0". That sounds like the version I remember reading about in the article that kicked this whole thing off. "Win". I'm on Windows, that's probably a good sign. "x86". I guess so. "install" hey, now we're getting somewhere. "multi.msi". Hrm. What does multi mean. Is this one part of several? Could that be what the second link is about? Or is that because it's going to install multiple programs? OpenOffice was certainly a group of separate programs. And then the "msi" bit. I know that's for corporate deployments or something so I hope I don't need some kind of enterprise software manager to make it go. I'm gonna just go ahead and assume that's like an .exe and it'll just work.
But what's this other file. "LibO 3.5.0 Win x86 helppack en-US.msi". Do I need "helppack"? Is that just help documentation? Is it a "helper" pack with additional features? Why is it a separate download instead of an option in the primary download. Well, I'll go ahead and download it and if I need it later I'll have it on disk ready to install.
So, downloading .... downloading .... Is 200MB really necessary? I suppose there's a lot in there. I really only want the Word and Excel equivalents. Maybe they could have offered a small download that let me pick components and then only fetch the ones I need? OK. Download complete. Let's see what the installer looks like. (Nice, it tells me in at least three places that what I'm seeing is the Installation Wizard -- just in case that wasn't obvious.)
Interesting. So I'm installing something called "The Document Foundation"? What is "The Document Foundation"? Oh, I see. A quick look back at the website makes things clear. The company name is "LibreOffice" and the product name is "The Document Foundation".
OK. "Next". "Next". "Next" and I'm installing! But now I realize that I am indeed installing LibreOffice 3.5, not The Document Foundation. I know this because the installer panel is helpfully telling me in at least 4 different places.
Installed! I finished the installer.... Hmmm .... Nothing's happening. Did it fail? Do I have to launch it? I'll try that. I'll just go to the Start Menu...
Uhh. What's "Base"? Is that the shared shell thing that Office has where you can pick which kind of document you want to create? Or is that some kind of shared library? What I'm really looking for are the Word or Excel equivalents. Lemme check "All Programs" in the Start menu and see what's there. Ahh, there's the program group. Great.
There's that "Base" again. Ahh. Yes. The last two look promising. Writer is probably the Word equivalent. What's the generic "LibreOffice" item at the end there. Could that be the... Nevermind. I'll play it safe and start up Writer.
No. I won't. Eff you, LibreOffice. Seriously. After all this, you're going to tell me I need to locate and install (on my own) some other piece of Java software because you couldn't bother make it a part of your already awful download and install process. Are you kidding me?
Maybe I'll wait a few years more and try again. Probably not.