OpenOffice.org 2.0.4 - Don't Blink

Posted by dcparris on Oct 6, 2006 4:31 PM EDT
LXer Newswire; By D.C. Parris
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LXer Feature: 06-Oct-2006

On the word of an LXer reader, I downloaded OpenOffice.org 2.0.4 Release Candidate 3 to test it's load speed. I also tested copying data from Calc to Base, something that had caused repeated crashing under 2.0.3. Here's what happened.

Hot Tip From a Reader

The biggest complaint I, and I think most people, hear is that OpenOffice.org is just plain slow. I would never expect OpenOffice.org - or any office suite, for that matter - to load as fast as Microsoft Office on Windows. And even though I have never been worried about an app taking 30 seconds to load, lots of people seem to gripe if the app doesn't show up almost before they click the icon that launches it. I was recently informed that I should give 2.0.4RC3 a spin to try out its load speed. So I did.



An LXer reader who upgraded OpenOffice.org on his Debian GNU/Linux box reported that it was now as fast as any application on his system. At the time, I was using a Windows box I have access to, and grabbed OpenOffice.org's current release candidate. I ran the installation routine and launched the app. As always, the initial load time runs longer than subsequent loads, as you have to initialize templates and so on. Still, it was lightning fast.



Just How Fast?

By default, the installer sets up OpenOffice.org to run the Quickstarter when you boot into Windows. That slows down the Windows load time somewhat, but speeds up OpenOffice.org noticeably. I generally get by without the preloader, since I prefer seeing Windows go on and load up. Again, I can't type fast enough for 30 seconds to make a difference, so I've never cared whether OpenOffice.org loaded instantaneously or not. Well, it really doesn't matter all that much now.



Enough blathering, Don. Just tell us how fast it loads already! Well, all I can say is, don't blink. That's right. If you're of the opinion that OpenOffice.org is slow-as-molasses bloatware, let me just say it's about the fastest molasses I've ever seen. Point. Click. Boom! Even without the preloader, it's still pretty darned fast. It seems to load in less than 2 seconds on a WinXP box with a 3Ghz Pentium chip and 512MB RAM.



If OpenOffice.org is any slower than Microsoft Office, it's only by half a blip. In fact, I loaded both at once, first clicking on MS Word, then on OOWriter, in my task tray. OOWriter came up first. Trying it the other way, Word still loses out to Writer. I suspect your mileage will vary some, but OpenOffice.org is still quick as a whip.



Bug Eliminated

With the current version of OpenOffice.org (2.0.3), I have experienced some pretty annoying crashes, mainly when going between Calc and Base. Indeed, one of the members of the OpenOffice.org DBA mailing list reported seeing my crash reports, and that they helped solve at least one or two bugs almost immediately. So I attempted the copy and paste routine that caused the big hassle before, and it worked.



I had suspected there was a problem with my attempt to paste over 600 rows of Calc data into a new table in Base. After reducing the number of rows selected by an order of magnitude, I found I was still experiencing issues. Also, it didn't matter whether I was using Ubuntu or Windows XP, it just crashed. Whatever the problem, the OpenOffice.org team seems to have corrected it in the 2.0.4 release.



Between the speed boost and eliminating a serious hassle, it looks like the OpenOffice.org folks have really put some effort into grinding away at the stranglehold their biggest competitor seems to have. I'm sure they have resolved a number of other issues, but I haven't experienced too many problems with OpenOffice.org myself. What I do know is that, by the time you finish loading MS Word, which only runs on two operating systems, I'll already be done with my first paragraph - and I type slow.



Footnotes, Links, etc.

Thanks to LXer regular, jimf, for the tip!

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