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OpenOffice Bloated? 941

cygnusx writes "ZDNet's George Ou has been writing a series of posts about Open Office bloat. Includes some interesting system usage comparisons" From the article: "Even when dealing with what is essentially the same data, OpenOffice Calc uses up 211 MBs of private unsharable memory while Excel uses up 34 MBs of private unsharable memory. The fact that Calc takes about 100 times the CPU time explains the kind of drastic results we were getting where Excel could open a file in 2 seconds while Calc would take almost 3 minutes. Most of that massive speed difference is due to XML being very processor intensive, but Microsoft still handles its own XML files about 7 times faster than handles OpenDocument ODS format and uses far less memory than"
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OpenOffice Bloated?

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  • by LeonGeeste ( 917243 ) * on Thursday October 27, 2005 @11:12AM (#13889533) Journal
    I seriously doubt that. I was working with files similar in size to the ones discussed in the article just last night, and I got completely opposite results. took half the time to load that Excel did and took up just over half the space for the files. I really don't know where they get these numbers. Probably a biased test with fundamentally different data. I hate trying new software that does the same thing, and I am by no means tech-savvy, but even I can see that runs laps around any MS product for my uses. I swear, this must be someone shilling for Microsoft.
  • Consider the Source (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mfh ( 56 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @11:13AM (#13889546) Homepage Journal
    Consider that Intel owns a big chunk of CNET and then you see a possible conflict of interest brewing over an article possibly designed to sink Open Office. Now consider the author, George Ou, who has also posted such titles as, Is the Honeymoon with Firefox Over? []

    Seeing a bit of a pattern forming.
  • GUI (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kevin_conaway ( 585204 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @11:15AM (#13889566) Homepage
    Could it be the GUI? Excel uses native widgets and I'm sure is heavily optimized towards MFC (after all, its their API!). I don't think OO has that luxury. I doubt thats the entire issue but it could partially explain it.
  • by BoxRec ( 532280 ) <> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @11:16AM (#13889579) Homepage
    My personal experience is the opposite, Micro$oft Office loads and runs a lot quicker, however it also crashes a lot more often.
  • by yagu ( 721525 ) * <> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @11:18AM (#13889595) Journal

    It's interesting today to see the bloat and memory hog complaints leveled against the non-Microsoft product while showing MS' version as lean and mean.

    I can't defend the numbers, they do look huge, but we're seeing about one or two articles a week in the trade rags about the latest memory, cpu, cache, etc. advances. Technological advances render all but the most dramatic processing demands almost moot.

    In the numbers and benchmarks from this article, unfortunately, this is one of the more dramatic instances. I'm always willing to wait a little more for opening an application, or a file if other factors offset. In this case, free vs. whatever Office goes for now, typically is enough of an offset, but maybe not so for a large company where that extra "time" and computer resources add up big, and the pricing is likely to be more disounted for volume licensing.

    Interesting numbers on the two different speeds on processing XML. Does anyone know or conjecture the difference in the true internal XML data for the comparison? I thought OpenOffice was the more pure in the sense that it is true human readable data in the XML while Microsoft's format is more of an envelope architecture for binary proprietary Office payloads. And, I wonder what the specifics in this test were around that.

    Bottom line for me: I'm still going with OpenOffice, I've been a fan for years.

  • No Office Gripes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by afra242 ( 465406 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @11:20AM (#13889616)
    I don't use Windows and haven't since '98. At one point, I ran Linux, but kept a dual boot system with Windows, just for opening complex Word documents. Then, I started using Crossover and that saved me a lot of time and I eventually wiped Windows off my box for good.

    Now I got into OS X, and I run MS Office on it. I must say though, without bias, that MS Office has to be their greatest product. It just works and I haven't ever had any issues with it at all. It is fast, user friendly, stable and usable. Let's face it: when coders code a word processor they will always look at MS Office for implementation ideas. On the Powerbook, MS Office just flies.

    A few weeks ago, I tried to run Openoffice on my Debian box, and there was a huge performance decrease, when compared to running MS Office. It was certainly noticeable. It took a while for a document to open up.

    Though, Office has been around for a long time and Openoffice hasn't, so I'm sure there will be lots of features and performance gains in the coming years for the latter. I'm definitely going to keep an eye on Openoffice.
  • by BarryNorton ( 778694 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @11:26AM (#13889681)
    Hmm. I've been running MS Office 2003 for over a year and have yet to experience a single crash with Word or Excel. I've had Outlook freeze up numerous times...
    Likewise. What's more I've had (win32) xemacs, yap, (cygwin) xfig and ghostscript crash inumerable times this week, let alone this year...
  • by ghee22 ( 781277 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @11:27AM (#13889682)
    read about it here: [].

    I'm not sure. I know I rarely use anything except writer, so maybe having a writer lite edition as well as the whole suite.

  • by plover ( 150551 ) * on Thursday October 27, 2005 @11:27AM (#13889684) Homepage Journal
    Thanks for the clarification. I had always believed it was primarily a Java app (especially considering the strong backing by Sun.)

    I wish I could retract my previous comment.

  • by MrNemesis ( 587188 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @11:27AM (#13889685) Homepage Journal
    I'd chance my arm and say a fair bit.

    I made the mistake of opting for x86-64 Gentoo for one of my desktop boxes ("upgrading" it to 32bit this weekend), meaning I have to use the 32bit precompiled OpenOffice binaries. But these need hooking into a 32bit JRE which x86-64 Gentoo doesn't have, since making 32bit apps available through Portage is seemingly something that Gentoo Won't Do Because You Should Be Happy With 64bit. So whenever you start OOo it spends about a minute looking for a JVM (and failing) before you can do anything. I could have manually installed Sun's 32bit JRE, but I can't be bothered.

    Disable Java in the options and it starts in 1-2 seconds on the same machine.

    By way of comparison, I tried the same trick on my 32bit box (similar spec but with slower HDD's) and OOo was as snappy as hell and opened like the proverbial soil off a shovel.

    If there's any functionality I miss through disabling Java, I haven't encountered any yet. And please note I'm not saying that Java is slow to execute (it isn't), it's just appallingly slow to load.
  • by madman101 ( 571954 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @11:29AM (#13889703)
    With the exception of Outlook, Office 2003 has never crashed on me, even when handling huge files. On the other hand, when we evaluated Open Office, we couldn't get it to stay up for more than 1/2 hour, and when it did work it was unacceptably slow.
  • by clare-ents ( 153285 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @11:31AM (#13889722) Homepage
    Well, according to the Misco catalogue I received this morning MS Office standard costs £300.
    At my local computer shop, RAM costs £75/GB, so I could have 4GB of RAM for my machine.

    On a price performance comparison MS Office uses 7MB and uses -3960MB.

  • by chill ( 34294 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @11:33AM (#13889742) Journal
    I've tried to use Open Office on my machine at home (dual-P3 800 MHz, 1 Gb RAM) and have always gone back to KOffice. OO has always felt "bloated" to me. It takes much too long to start up, and everything seems to slow down a little on my machine.

    On the opposite end of the spectrum, Abiword and Gnumeric load very fast and seem to fly during use. KOffice is a touch slower than Abiword/Gnumeric but still light years ahead of Open Office. It also has a very snappy feel to it. Abiword works on Windows, Mac and Linux. Yes, I know, this doesn't address databases or presentation software.

    IMHO, there should be no question mark, but more of an exclamation point.

  • by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @11:35AM (#13889757) Homepage Journal
    On what platform/hardware/etc., though?

    I've found the OOo runs much quicker on my Linux box than it does on Windows running on the same box. As for how much memory it consumes, well, the thing about that is that while Calc uses much more memory than Excel, when you load 'Calc', despite appearances, you are in fact loading almost the ENTIRE office suite into memory, including the word processor, database front end and presentation graphics application. There is not much different architecurally between OOo and the older StarOffice 5.x -- they've just gotten better at hiding the fact that you need to load the entire office suite to load one application.

    So a truer comparison would involve starting Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access, watching how much this entire toolset takes up in memory, and then load the Excel and Calc files and see the difference.

  • by newSlashUser ( 455811 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @11:35AM (#13889761)
    if i remember correctly, after compiling oo2, it ran very well and fast. the precompiled bins were def slower. my guess is that these tests were run on a windows machine. so just switch to nix and compile, its that easy.
  • by confusion here ( 827020 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @11:36AM (#13889768)
    Strange, I'm running 64-bit Gentoo and I have not experienced any issues with When I first installed I did `emerge openoffice-bin` and it has been working perfectly ever since. Yes, it's 32-bit, but the integration is seamless.
  • Re:GUI (Score:5, Interesting)

    by alienw ( 585907 ) <> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @11:38AM (#13889789)
    This would definitely be a factor if you were running it on, say, a 486. Try out the GIMP for Windows, there is no perceptible difference in GUI responsiveness, even though it uses GTK+ instead of the Windows API. I think the main problem with OpenOffice is that it's an ancient codebase and tries to do too much internally. Someone designing it today would probably use platform-specific features more actively instead of trying to make it look the same on every platform (which was the meaning of "portability" about 15 years ago). Not to mention, StarOffice was always a crappy, bloated product and OpenOffice isn't much better.
  • by Weh ( 219305 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @11:41AM (#13889816)
    I have an old P3-500, on that machine oo's spreadsheet app takes forever to render a simple chart, no such problem with xls. Other than that I use oo often enough (I don't have ms office installed anymore)
  • by mikefe ( 98074 ) <{mfedyk} {at} {}> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @11:41AM (#13889822) Homepage
    1. It is not fair to compare based on file size. Not only are OOo files compressed, but different data that is the same size uncompressed can have drastically different processing times. Think of the difference of one page full of vector graphics, tables and a little text compared with 3 or 4 pages of text.

    2. It is a known problem that OOo takes a while to start. Staroffice (at the point when Sun bought it) was made by a German company. Most of the internal functions are named in german, and use abbreviations that are not obvious. The fact is that each version of OOo has been getting smaller and faster. OOo 2.0 is the same. If you run OOo 1.1.4 and OOo 2.0 side by side on windows, the 2.0 version uses about 10MB less memory when both have nothing open.

    3. Since it uses more memory, it has a higher chance of being swapped out when you switch to another program for a while. A good way to see this in a short period of time is to run a torrent in the background (seeding or just downloading). Leave an OOo window open and use another program for 20 or more minutes. When you switch back to OOo it can take 10-40 seconds (depending mostly on the speed of your hard drive and amount of memory available) for the window to redraw.

    If you are using OOo often enough to keep it in memory it is very snappy. But if it gets swapped out, then you will notice a speed degredation.

    4. In my experience with small files (less than 200 records in a spreadsheet and 1 - 4 page documents) OOo takes longer to open and save files. I usually work with .csv, .xls, .doc, and of course .odt and .ods files.
  • Re:My results (Score:3, Interesting)

    by GiMP ( 10923 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @11:41AM (#13889824)
    > Then again, I'm running Excel in Crossover Office; all those Windows libraries
    > aren't "preloaded" for me. Maybe that's why XP and Vista have such large system
    > requirements?

    Windows does do something to this end. I forget what they call it, but the OS will automatically determine which applications are used most frequently and will do some sort of speed optimizations for them. I'm guessing it either prelinks the applications or keeps some dlls in memory.

    On another side of this.. I wonder how many people complaining about the speed of OpenOffice (on Linux) have attempted to prelink it first? Some claim it can increase the speed by 50%.

    It appears that Red Hat Fedora uses prelink by default.
  • Re:No Office Gripes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by leandrod ( 17766 ) <> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @11:42AM (#13889831) Homepage Journal
    MS Office has to be their greatest product. It just works and I haven't ever had any issues with it

    You must be a very basic user. I had plenty of users with MS Word or MS Excel files that couldn't be recovered — only option was opening an old copy, copying contents and pasting into a new document. Unless it's based on a good template, this entails lots of rework and grief. This simply doesn't happen with the worst I've seen is needing change a troublesome font.

  • by arkanes ( 521690 ) <> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @11:44AM (#13889851) Homepage
    One common cause for this discrepency is that Windows does pre-caching and pre-binding for commonly used applications. When you first install Firefox or OO, it will be slower, but if you don't use IE or Office for 6 months, while you use the alternatives regularly, the Microsoft apps will be slower after a while. IE takes *forever* to load on my laptop on the rare (once or twice a year) occasions I fire it up.
  • No kidding? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by misleb ( 129952 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @11:48AM (#13889895)
    Anyone who has run OO on Linux knows very well that it is bloated. Not only is it bloated, but it uses some homegrown toolkit for the GUI. I won't even use OO, personally. Normally I don't have a use for an office suite, but when I do I'd rather us MS Office, which isn't a problem because I now have a Mac sitting next to my Linux box. Of course, I have never paid for MS Office. Maybe if I had to pay for it I wouldn't use it.

    I'm sorry, but OO is one of the worst examples of what open source is capable of.

  • Re:GUI (Score:4, Interesting)

    by silviuc ( 676999 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @11:52AM (#13889936) Homepage
    I really can't say. Thing is, MS Office 2000 is snapier and loads faster (almost instantly) than OO 1.1.3 or OO 2.0 on my P II @ 333Mhz machine with 256 MB of RAM. Oh yeah, I run MS Office with Wine.
  • by booch ( 4157 ) <<moc.kehcubgiarc> <ta> <0102todhsals>> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @11:59AM (#13890003) Homepage
    A few years back, there were some articles showing that Linux was significantly slower than Windows on 4-CPU systems. At first, there was some questioning of the results from the Open Source community. Once the results had been verified, the Linux kernel developers set about to remedy the situation. They were quite successful, and Linux has beaten Windows in every such test since.
  • Re:Bought (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:01PM (#13890021)
    Why did you get modded Insightful? I should just link to [] and make some baseless claim that supports the /. groupthink and get modded insightful too. Apparently no one bothered (including you) to really read the link you provided.

    How is this guy a Microsoft shill? (emphasis mine)

    From your linked article:

    George Ou thinks Massachusetts is in a no-win situation, in requiring government applications to support OpenDoc.

    Mandating the adoption of the Oasis Open Document format is kind of like mandating the conversion of all public documents from English to Esperanto. Even though English was a second language for me, I'm perfectly happy with it being the de facto standard and I suspect that most people are in no mood to learn another language because some State bureaucrat mandates it.

    On the other hand, he points out:

    Since Microsoft is already opening up its Office 12 XML formats (with some restrictions) and the existing Microsoft formats are already semi-open, why not officially open up their existing file formats and be a hero. Most people don't stick with Microsoft Office because they're locked in to the file format, they use it because that is the tool they learned and it works well. There is nothing to be gained by anyone from a file format war.

    So while you may not agree with his conclusions, he hardly sounds like a paid shill to me.
  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:03PM (#13890036)
    OO is only better than MS because you don't have to pay for a bloated mess. The best office package I've used is Lotus Smart Suite. I'd be glad to pay a three digit sum for a cross-plattform version (Linux/OS X/Win) of that office package.
  • OO memory usage (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bperkins ( 12056 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:04PM (#13890048) Homepage Journal
    OO is pretty usuable, as long as you have a very large amount of RAM. I upgraded my thinkpad from 256M to 1G and openoffice load times went way down ( probably ~5x under some circumstances).

    I'm not at all familiar with the architecture of OO or what the developers priorities are, but it'd be nice if a bit more time was spent on performance. Firefox could also use work here also.

    I'm sure that OO wants to concentrate on features and compatability. That's certainly a worthwhile goal, but perfect compatibility seems pretty much hopeless, and you can always think of more features to add.

  • Re:GUI (Score:1, Interesting)

    by interiot ( 50685 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:05PM (#13890058) Homepage
    Windows Vista also reserves a chunk of RAM and disk space so that Excel can have its own memory manager and swap file. It's thought this C++ (complexity++) will make it more difficult or impossible for MSOffice to run on emulators such as Wine.
  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:19PM (#13890209)
    I don't like Microsoft. I don't like Windows. I do, however, like Office. It's been a good office suite for a very long time. It's been very easy to use since I first started playing with Office 4.2. If Microsoft would actually release a version of MS-Office for Linux then I would probably purchase it.

    Before everyone starts ranting about how this isn't good for GPL, or how I'm being bad by saying this, remember, the point of the GNU OS is for application developers to have a level playing field. Microsoft, like any other consumer software maker would be just as correct to participte in that kind of market as anyone else.

    I use Open Office, but I don't agree that it's the best productivity suite. It is the best free productivity suite for Linux at the moment. Since Microsoft's product will always cost money, Open Office undoubtedly will remain the best free productivity suite; it will serve as a baseline. If vendors wish to make a commercial product that is better than Open Office and charge for that product it's their right to do so.
  • by tomcres ( 925786 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:23PM (#13890245)
    The Mac version of Office is IMHO quite superior to the Windows version. It just works and it is much more unobtrusive. My main gripes with the Windows version have been it offering a little too much help when I just want to get some work done and the sometimes seemingly random manner that it shows special toolbars. Never had any of these problems in the Mac version. I hope someday they port it to Windows, even! ;)
  • by Martin Blank ( 154261 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:28PM (#13890274) Homepage Journal
    Benchmarks for me, performed on:

    Dell Latitude C840
    1.4GHz CPU (plugged in, so full speed)
    1GB RAM
    5400 RPM 60GB hard drive
    Windows XP SP2


    Microsoft Excel
    Application opening time: ~3 seconds (no preloader used)
    Application opening RAM: 11MB
    File opening time: 80 seconds
    RAM usage with file open: 45MB 2.0 Calc
    Application opening time: ~4 seconds (no preloader used)
    Application opening RAM: 35MB
    File opening time: 379 seconds
    RAM usage with file open: 240MB

    Application opening time: Effectively a tie
    Application opening RAM: Calc uses about 3x more
    File opening time: Calc takes about 4.75x as long
    RAM usage with file open: Calc uses about 5.33x more RAM

    Of course, this probably won't affect that many people. I'm a bit of a spreadsheet fiend, and even my largest work is rarely more than a few hundred KB. I did find it interesting that when trying to open the Excel XML file, Calc could not complete the opening, showing a General I/O failure.
  • by D3m3rz3l ( 914486 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:34PM (#13890333)
    I'm not sure how feasible it is to profile such a large program, but I'm sure Microsoft profiles the daylights out of their stuff. Do OOo developers profile things like the start-up time? After all, you can't start optimizing things unless you figure out exactly what is slowing it down. Is it the Java run-time engine? Is it because it needs to load a lot of libraries that MS Office does not need to (because of dynamic linking to Microsoft DLLs). Maybe when loading certain data sets, the program goes into a pathalogical state, creating hundreds of thousands of small objects? I don't know.

    But things like analyzing profiling data and then optimizing are not fun to most people. Even more so if it means that an algorithm needs to be re-written. After all, if the "open file" operation needs a complete re-think + re-write, who's going to do it? It's not "fun". After all, the "open file" operation already exists. Generally, I think programmers like to build *new* things as opposed to fixing old things. And in this case, it's not even a matter of "fixing". It's a matter of rewriting. I presume that at Microsoft, if Word's "open file" operation (run with me on this for a minute) is uber-slow, then somebody is going to *have* to fix it, or not get a good performance review/etc. However, in the case of OOo if no one makes it faster, well, it does not negatively affect the person who wrote the slow version in the first place (not to discredit OOo authors or anything. They've done a phenomenal job given that they do this for fun and not profit).

    Of course, there are an equal number of programmers who like to fix security holes and so forth, but patching a security hole is one thing, while re-writing major algorithms in a large program is another. There are of course some programmers who love optimizing code (Michael Abrash?). But I think they are far and few between. Very often, once something works, an attitude sets in that "It's working. Now don't break it". And optimization in it's early stages will often break things.

  • by shotfeel ( 235240 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:35PM (#13890341)
    I was wondering how much of the RAM footprint difference was due to Office relying on Windows code. So just for the fun of it I fired up Excel on my Mac. 22.94 MB of real memory being used for Excel, 34.14 for Word. Compare that with 7.10 and 9.81 for Excel and Word on Windows and 37.54 and 37.66 for Calc and Write on Windows. Anyone running OpenOffice on a Mac want to add another data point where MS doesn't have code "hidden" in the OS?
  • No problem (Score:3, Interesting)

    by smchris ( 464899 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:37PM (#13890362)

    "Wife! I NEED a new dual-processor multi-gigabyte machine. No, OF COURSE, it isn't just for games. How could you think even think that."

    Nonetheless, I'm finding that I'm opening Abiword about 1/2 the time these days. I was a WordPerfect fanatic in the day but since Word set the standard for lowest common denominator for slapping simple text on the screen, I'm finding that Abiword fills those needs nicely a great deal of the time.

  • Re:GUI (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tim Browse ( 9263 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:39PM (#13890380)
    The only 'trick' I see here incompetence -- on the part of whining developers who write cross-platform code and then complain that Microsoft's platform-optimized code runs faster than theirs.

    Even more so, when you consider this. []

  • by level_headed_midwest ( 888889 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:43PM (#13890419)
    Here's why more people don't use OpenOffice: 1. THEY'VE NEVER HEARD OF IT. Most people don't know jack squat about computers or programs. They use what everyone else does or what they've seen elsewhere. That would be MS Office because that's what they have at school or work. They don't know that there are any other office suites even out there. 2. If they do know about OpenOffice, they don't like it because if they had ever used it before, the commands are in slightly different places on the menus than in the version of Office they use at work. This made it "too hard to use" because they have to re-learn a few locations of functions. (Interestingly enough, most people I know HATED Office 2003 when it first came out because the commands and menus were a little different than in Office 2000. They said it was impossible to use! Same thing for Windows 98 users than went to XP.) 3. They opened up the most heavily-formatted Office 2003 document they could find- lots of macros and such. It didn't open up quite right in OpenOffice, so they concluded that it was junk, never minding that Office 2000 or XP would have barfed on it worse. I used my Linux-running computer to display a read-only PPT 2003 presentation off of a USB stick after the presenter's computer crashed. He was SO pissed that one hyperlink didn't work right (linked to a non-existant file on the "E:/" drive, but the rest of the presentation was *perfect.*). So he used somebody else's computer with Office 2000. The text boxes were all over the place and his background was gone when they displayed it... 4. You can get MS Office for free from peer-to-peer or by sharing an original disc.
  • My Test (Score:2, Interesting)

    by b3d ( 525790 ) <> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:44PM (#13890420) Homepage
    I'm using Office 97 and OOo 2.0 on Win 2K. I'm using the OOo Quick starter, which means that soffice.bin is resident and taking about 15M. I'm also using MS Office Startup, which is soffice.exe taking about 1.1M. When I start Winword.exe it takes an additional 7.5M, and open a simple document that merely has the text "This is a test" it take another Meg or two, and only takes a second or two. Now when I open an OOo document (.odt), there is no other process that starts, but soffice.bin shoots up to 42M! However, it opens in two seconds.

    So, while I do see more memory usage, a real speed test is not really very different. I suspect in the article, he is not using the OOo quick start, whereas he is using the Office Startup. And how much Office stuff is being hidden by it's hooks deep into the OS, and thus it's startup time is part of the OS startup.

    This is not to say that OOo couldn't be improved. I'm sure it will be. But OOo 2.0 is an excellent tool to have in anyone's toolbox.

  • Re:No Office Gripes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by xtracto ( 837672 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:49PM (#13890469) Journal
    I think what you want to say is that Office Suites suck [] overall.

    I agree with that, I use Latex (Tecnixcenter) to typeset documents, I use gnuplot or Graphcalc to create graphics and mysql with java for databases (I dont know any scripting language like python or tcl/tk... I will learn them one day...).

    Basically, what does an Office suites provides:
    - Writing (Tex... or Abiword if you like WYSIWYG)
    - Statistical oriented Data management (you could use R)
    - Database oriented data management (Use mysql, or any other DB management, even Access!!)
    - Mail (I use only webmail [gmail] but feel free to use anything)

    The fact that with the Writing subapp of these office suites you can do all 4 is incredibly bad.

    I remember that, once, there was an opertaing system and a community whoes trend on applications was to write simple [], stand alone [], task oriented [] applications whose results could be combined to make something big.

    I am sure that is possible to do making use of Graphical User Interfaces!
    And, I am also sure that if the approach to program was that, applications will tend to be a hell of more stable.

    The only downside I see on that is that there should be a need of a lot of standarization in the different output/input formats. But I think this is not difficult now with XML.

  • by MrNemesis ( 587188 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:51PM (#13890484) Homepage Journal
    I was wary of that too. The times I reported were done after just logging in after a reboot, so there shouldn't be anything cached. To make doubly sure, I turned off swap and still saw a colossal speed increase. This was on Linux and I don't have the quiskstarter installed.

    It seems a significant portion of OOo's startup time was waiting for the JVM to load (since I don't have any other Java apps and rarely see/use it on web pages), and at the moment disabling it doesn't seem to give any less functionality. I imagine there may be problems with the new database stuff, but I use UNIX ODBC for my DB connection which bypasses Java.
  • by Kynde ( 324134 ) <kynde&iki,fi> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @12:52PM (#13890499)
    Just go ahead and admit it, they both suck for different reasons. We need a third player.

    Patience young padawan. So far the biggest problems with OO have been the lacking features compared to the M$ Office aswell as interoperability with the M$ Office. We're obviously getting somewhere now that people start benchmarking and complaining about memory usage. Seriously, five years ago no one would've even bothered to check memory usage when comparing those products, there wasn't much to compare.

    For the record, I'm not saying OO ain't bloated, so it seems, and perhaps there's been too much pressure to reach interoperability and feature richness, but it's too early to condem it. Time will tell wether their internal design is good or not. Can it be made faster/leaner/meaner without too much sweat and tears...
  • Re:So true (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Yobgod Ababua ( 68687 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @01:00PM (#13890563)
    My curiosity was piqued by this, so I went to try it.
    Indeed, Excel can plot and manipulate 10,000 point graphs with relative ease, while OOo had to do some chugging (about 2 minutes for me rather than the OPs 30).

    I wonder a little at why anyone would ever plot a 10,000 point graph in either program... all the applications I can think of are better served by graphing or scientific programs rather than a spreadsheet.

    Useful tip for the OP: If you've specified your labels correctly (in an initial column for example) OOo will use those to label the X axis instead of the default "Row 1, Row 2, ...". By simply specifying a blank column you can get a nice blank X axis if that suits your data better. You can also change the font to something more appealing, if the default appears "ugly" to you.
  • by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <jmorris@ b e a u .org> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @01:28PM (#13890798)
    > It doesn't matter how reputable the source is. You should always check their research
    > before you accept their claims as conclusive.

    Not in the real world. In the real world there are various constraints, mainly time. There simply isn't enough time to track down and verify every statement everyone makes. Therefore it is very helpful to be able to cull out the known cranks, crackpots and axe grinders.

    That said, Captain Obvious over at ZDNet isn't exactly leaking classified information when he says OO.o is a bloated C++ (and since C++ isn't bad enough, Sun is adding extra Java suckiness!) horror and slow as molasses in January. Being pro Open Source doesn't mean we have to pretend OO.o doesn't need some serious performance tuning. The miracle is they shipped the feature set in 2.0 at all, now they need to stop adding features for awhile and make them work right.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 27, 2005 @01:34PM (#13890860)
    I have taken great pride in turning matlab algorithms written by professors that take hours to run into mostly efficient (and sometimes clearer) algorithms that take minutes or seconds to run.

    although scientific programming is not the same as application programming (I only have to worry about a few hundred lines of high level code) I imagine that the "accomplishment high" would be just as great from fine tuning an application as a numerical model.
  • by dnoyeb ( 547705 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @01:41PM (#13890945) Homepage Journal
    Office has been a great product. But after office 97 its been down hill ever since. Essentially Office is suffering from the same problem that doomed WordPerfect. Windows.

    WordPerfect fell when it started, naturally, to use windows components for things the WP engineers had done a much better job at. WYSIWYG, windowing system, fonts, etc.

    Office has become increasingly componentized. And even drag and drop was better in office 97. I can't even paste from one office product to another without using 'paste special' else it looks whack.

    This is also the reason why office looks like its small on memory use. Because its componentized. Heck the JET database engine Access uses is part of windows even if you don't have office. So many other parts are like that. Thats also part of why it starts so fast.
  • by plover ( 150551 ) * on Thursday October 27, 2005 @01:51PM (#13891041) Homepage Journal
    heh. modlove.
    10% Troll
    30% Overrated
    20% Flamebait
    Oh well, what's karma good for if not to get a bit of forgiveness for when you make a big, ugly mistake?
  • by arivanov ( 12034 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:22PM (#13891365) Homepage
    Close, but no cigar. OpenOffice worse component is the bloody Calc. It uses 4 times or so more memory then gnumeric for the same spreadsheets and eats considerably more resources. It is in fact the worst component in OpenOffice. This along with lack of decent chart/vector/diagram integration into both writer and impress are the main factors that hinder the adoption of openoffice in business. Writer is clearly better then MSWord and is getting better with every release. Calc has been going down since StarOffice 3.3. I have not really played with 4, but 5 was clearly worse then 3.3 and it has not improved since.
  • by demachina ( 71715 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @02:51PM (#13891645)
    It would be interesting to know if someone has investigated using the symbol hiding capabilities in the newer versions of gcc to eliminate some of the shared object related bloat that most probably afflicts OpenOffice. When you use shared objects for everything every function name gets put in the dynamic symbol table by default. The only ones that actually need to be there are the ones called from the main program and other shared objects. All of the functions and global data that are only referenced by other code in the same shared object don't need to be in the dynamic symbol table or linked at run-time. Windows has used explicit exporting of symbols from the dawn of time, you can explicitly hide or export symbols in newer version of gcc, 3.4 in particular. I think KDE takes advantage of it on gcc 3.4 compiles.

    You can look at the dynamic symbols that ARE loaded when the shared object loads with something like:

    objdump -T /opt/*.so

    The bloat is especially accute in C++ code because the mangled function names can be quite long.

    All those symbol names are loaded and scanned to do run-time link the shared objects, it causes slowness at startup which OpenOffice certainly has and you take a big memory hit for stuff that is not useful code.

    Manually keeping track of which symbols need to be exported and which are not is a pain, and is a pain in Windows DLL's. You would almost be better off on something as big as OpenOffice to write scripts to process objdump output and figure out which symbols are actually be called outside the shared object and need to be in the dynamic symbol table.

    On the other hand its kind of good discipline to create an a clean and disciplined API for each shared object which defines the public interface to the shared object. It helps improve modularity, reusability, testability and discipline in general and eliminate bloat when you realize that in fact nothing is actually calling dead code.
  • by amliebsch ( 724858 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:02PM (#13891742) Journal
    I think he's referring more to Windows' trait of moving the data for the most commonly used programs to defragmented sectors on the outer edge of the hard disk platter. The quickstarter may pre-load parts into memory, but it doesn't improve disk performance.
  • by ciw42 ( 820892 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:28PM (#13891979)
    Nope, the previous poster is right.

    The reason MS Office performs well, seems to load quickly and use less memory is the fact that it uses mostly libraries that are loaded and used by Windows from startup.

    A true cross-platform application like OOo won't make use of such platform specific features for the sake of portability, and pretty much all of the bloat you are refering can be attributed to this. Yeah, there's going to be some legacy code knocking around, but that's also true of MS Office.

    However, once you're run *any* of the OOo apps for the first time after a reboot, subsequent startup/reload time is actually around the same as MS Office.

    If you'd rather spend £250+ on software (or run illegal copies) just to save a few seconds when you open your first document of the day, then go ahead. I don't hate or have a problem with MS Office, but I genuinely prefer OOo for day to day use. To my mind and way of working (and the many others I've introduced to OOo), it's UI is more streamlined and better organised, so even if the MS apps were free, I'd still go with OO.
  • by Ptur ( 866963 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:31PM (#13892000)
    Using the WinAPI means dynamically linking something like NTDLL.DLL... In the end every program does this because that's how one interfaces with the OS. And is resides in the App's memory space. Or do you know another way to run code on Windows? No. So what's the difference between OO and MSO running on Windows? None. The only difference is that portable apps use some kind of windowing library. And that one than calls WinAPI. Now, can you prove that MS actually included Office code in the OS for the sake of a smaller footprint? Because that is the only thing you can claim when you talk about using a part of the OS that OO doesn't. Quite unlikely, no? Peter
  • Re:So true (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Arthur B. ( 806360 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @04:29PM (#13892549)
    This was my guess too, but I think it explains only part of the truth... for example when displaying xy scatters where each point are clearly visible, excel still does it instantly while OOo takes an eternity.. I think it has to do whith the way it handles graphic display, cause other calculations are not that slower...
  • Oh really? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jotaeleemeese ( 303437 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @05:19PM (#13892926) Homepage Journal
    Me here using for the best part of 3 years for my Open University assignments and have not noticed.

    This is a non issue for anybody that looks at the cost of the alternative, not only in monetary terms, but also in terms to access to your own data.

    I don't care if it takes a bit longer fo to do this or that task, at the end I have a document that I am pretty certain I will be able to open and manipulate in a few years time, and I will not have to pay anybody for such privilege if I don;t want to.

    Keep putting your data in the hands of the beast, eventually you are going to be deprived of it and will be charged to access it when you more need it.
  • by Geheimagent ( 679949 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @05:53PM (#13893135)
    On the opposite end of the spectrum, Abiword and Gnumeric load very fast and seem to fly during use. KOffice is a touch slower than Abiword/Gnumeric but still light years ahead of Open Office.

    Did you try to load the example spreadsheet from the article with gnumeric? It uses more memory than and it's slower. Saving the data and reopen it used more than 1.5GByte of memory before I killed the process.
  • its the java dumbass (Score:1, Interesting)

    by sl4shd0rk ( 755837 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @06:04PM (#13893196)
    Everyone knows java is a friggin resource PIG. Add a bunch of threads and watch the memory fly! I happen to like java very much, and use it wherever I want cross platform portability. That in itself can be enough of an advantage if that is what you need. Not the perfect solution for everything, but it has very good advantages depending on the situation. I'll gladly add another gig of welfare grade ram to a machine if I need the portability. If your're running windows and openoffice, you have simply shot yourself in the foot twice. Microsoft never wanted java, never wanted to play nice with java, and as far as I'm concerned, still doesn't. Buy some crutches and accept your inevitability.
  • Size Matters (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nagalman ( 465403 ) <> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @06:10PM (#13893234) Homepage
    I saved this file in .ods and .xls format in OpenOffice 2.0. I opened up the .xls file in Excel (and it does load MUCH faster) and saved it again (again MUCH faster than OO 2.0). File size results: .xls = 52,239,872 (49.8MB) .ods = 4,045,860 (3.85MB)

    Sometimes size does matter :)
  • by advb89 ( 841436 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @06:52PM (#13893489)
    Oh... that's because you forgot to hit the button labeled "ON" located on your Windows box. But seriously, i use both word and excel all the time on my high school student pc that our school provides, and have had it crash too many times to count. Does that mean i think it is bad software?? No, but with as many restrictions as the county has on my laptop, i don't blame it for freezing... (i can't even open Task Manager...)
  • by zzyp ( 659456 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @06:55PM (#13893518)
    I disagree about the "programmers who love optimizing code are few and far between".

    OpenBSD folks are fanatical about security AND optimizing. I know NetBSD also tries to reduce code bloat, I remember reading a comment where they proclaimed that they had added new features while cutting overall lines of code.
  • by Kelson ( 129150 ) * on Thursday October 27, 2005 @07:39PM (#13893774) Homepage Journal
    Not sure if it's relevant, but as I recall Excel was developed outside MS and purchased to become a companion to Word. (This would explain why it's not called Microsoft Spread, as most apps that originated within Microsoft tend to use purely descriptive names like Windows, Word, Internet Explorer, Flight Simulator, etc. I never did figure out Bob, though.)

    If correct, this could provide a degree of comfort to those who wish to preserve their MS-hating credentials and still admit that Excel is a damn good office app.
  • by Curl E ( 226133 ) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @08:25PM (#13893992)

    Sloccount says:

    Totals grouped by language (dominant language first):
    4525856 89.71
    343291 6.80
    96307 1.91
    48153 0.95
    10484 0.21
    6785 0.13
    5114 0.10
    2458 0.05
    2354 0.05
    2045 0.04
    885 0.02
    702 0.01
    397 0.01
    272 0.01
    104 0.00
    3 0.00

    The first figure is the number of lines, the second is the percentage of the total lines. Sloccount also says Total Estimated Cost to Develop is $ 208,768,434. The output form the program is much more pretty than that above, but the lameness filter is preventing it's display. Is that filter preventing lameness of enforcing it?

  • cross-over office (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 27, 2005 @08:32PM (#13894021)
    To add insult to injury... Cross Over Office Wine runs MS Office under linux faster than OOo runs under linux natively! It is insaine! That is why I have quit using OOo and I now run MS Office via wine.

    There is no reason to run OOo except for the fact that you either:
    Don't want to pay for the MS Office + CWO Wine
    You don't want to pirate MS Office + CWO Wine

The truth of a proposition has nothing to do with its credibility. And vice versa.