Open Ballot: Time to dump


We all enjoy moaning about how slow is, but is it time we voted with our package managers and ditched OOo in favour of lighter office apps, such as AbiWord and KOffice?

As always, we're looking for a yes or no, backed up with your thoughts/prejudice/fear. What keeps you using OOo? Should distros come with lighter alternatives as standard? Please also provide a name other than "Anonymous Penguin", because we're sick of reading that out. Let us know what you think!

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Your comments

No, a resounding no. I've

No, a resounding no. I've been an OOo user practically since OOo's inception. I know of no other open source, free, or commercial product that comes even close to this excellent office suite.

I've owned a computer since 1990 and have more than enough experience with M$ and a variety of office suites.

Need a presentation? Impress does an excellent job. Maybe just a letter; Writer is wonderful for that job.

OOo is a bit slow, but I consider myself saving time. Why? Well, how much time does one save when one fires up an M$ app only to have it lock up, freeze the computer and not to mention the horrid BSOD. All these cause one to have to stop what they're doing, try to unfreeze the computer or do a ctrl+alt+delete to reboot the computer. Time saved? Hardly.

If one needs a quick letter, open Abiword. I use Abiword also.

And what does one get when paying such exorbitant prices for any M$ product? IMHO, I feel that when I purchase a software, etc., it should work 95% of time straight out of the box, especially if I've paid a goodly price.

Dumping OOo may hinder, not only the Linux world, but people everywhere who depend on Open Office for no other reason than they just cannot afford proprietary software.

Good luck Open Office.

Cloud versus drive

As for the installed versus cloud options, they are quite complementary and will remain so. If only the cloud versions existed, the possibility to use an installed offline version would be a very useful innovation.
Even if I have a mobile broadband connection with fairly good coverage, I find it useful to be able to work offline most of the time.


Amen to Ubuntu Jaunty User ^^


I prefer using abiword and gnumeric because OO is too slow.

People are clearly uninformed...

All the Ooo praisers should try SoftMaker Office 2008 (or 2006), which is FABULOUSLY FAST as compared to EVERYTHING!!!

The caveat? It's EXPENSIVE!

However, it's the best example of how an alternative to MS Office *should* be developed. OOs is as shitty as Java is, it seems that the guys at Sun can't write anything good no matter in what language they write it.

@Sslaxx: Not exactly co-operative

What I meant was Sun had no direct influence over the direction of OOo, and the number of developers who don't get a Sun signed paycheck outweigh the ones that do, by many times.

Mayank Sharma

Yes -- But what about powerpoint presentations?

I dumped OO years ago in favor of Abiword & Gnumeric, but I still need it occationally to view powerpoint files. Until there is a convenient seperate viewer, I'm stuck using OO for that purpose. :(

@gekyBodhi: Clearly that's

@gekyBodhi: Clearly that's not the case otherwise there wouldn't be this hoo-ha over this, would there?

Oo slow?

Okay first, turn off Java next increase the cache within Open Office and the speed problem will be mute, second as long as their are open source developers committed to Open Office, it's not going anywhere - it just maybe spun off to something else, so all this FUD over Sun/Oracle is unfounded. Sheesh

I like OOo

I don't use it too often now that I'm done college, but what I do know is that it is still WAY BETTER than MS Office. Far easier to use, more predictable and intuitive, and F11 solves all formatting problems.

I don't see any reason to

I don't see any reason to stop using any software other than if you don't like or it doesn't do what you want it to do. In my opinion OOo isn't slow, it might be compared to kword or abiword, but then again they are slow compared to kate and gedit which in turn is slow compared to emacs and vim, which are way slower than my electric typewriter, which in turn is slower than my pen and notebook.

I might add that my pen and notebook is way more flexible than any of my computers since I can bring it with me anywhere and it runs until I run out of space, which is easily solved by getting a new notebook, and I can jump around the text way quicker than any of the electronic applications too. Sure it lacks a few features, but it's not slow.

So, no, I wouldn't ditch OOo for speed alone or I could see no other option than reverting to my trusty pen and notebook. It never craches either.

Best so far. . .

I'm one to admit that OOO is big and bloated and slow (to start at least), but the alternatives are Koffice and Wine plus MS Office(can we say: two steps back. . .?). Koffice is the only alternative that I've seen that offers the variety of applications the OOO offers. Koffice has one major (read deal killer) issue: it does MS documents poorly, if at all. OOO manages to display MS docs pretty close to original formatting. Other alternatives involve just docs and spreadsheets or online SAS type applications. Lotus Symphony offers presentations as well, but no dbase, image editing, formula editing, etc. Koffice offers theses, but even 2.0 still bites when it comes to MS docs (love it or not, we still need to read and write 'em).
So I'm a no, at least until the alternative mature a little.


Openoffice-writer on its own is great (after getting rid of the OOo suite) and when its not I use AbiWord.
When I used windows I used Abiword, its great on everything.

As a default for most linux distro's I think Abiword would be much better.
It handles [.doc] files much better than openoffice-writer and its lighter.
You don't get all this extra shit with a default Windows install so why should it be included in a standard Linux distro? Is it really helpful as a selling point to have all this extra stuff installed? Shouldn't things like OOo be add-on's?

As a footnote my Mom recently had a new Laptop after the trial of Microsoft office ended she was stuck without a document editor. I installed Abiword for her, I've not had any complaints since, she seems quite content with it.

OpenOffice Writer opens for

OpenOffice Writer opens for me in 10 seconds (under Ubuntu 9.04, 2 Giga Ram, AMD Dual Core TL-62). Maybe it is a bit slower, but no other alternative has its features.
I don't care too much because I am used to write my texts in gedit. And as backup/storing I prefer the PDF extension.
Sure I'd like an office suite faster and with more features. But I don't think if it's time to "dump" OpenOffice.
I'd be more happy if Microsoft Office will stop to exist. With all its proprietary formats and forms and formating. I'd be more happy if we'll return to simplicity. Like the one from gedit or typewriters.


Yes, it's slow (though not *very* slow), but it's the best tool to motivate people to move from Windows to Linux. It's available on Windows, so it acts as a bridge, and when people ask "what about my MS Office documents" when they're considering switching, "OpenOffice will be fine" is a far easier answer than suggesting word processor A, spreadsheet B, database C etc.

Once people have got Linux installed, if they start to complain about speed issues then you can mention other lighter alternatives, but right now there's nothing else that even comes close as a one-stop solution for MS Office users.

No functionally competent alternative to Open Office

I use Open Office both in windows and linux and also use Microsoft Office in some of my other systems. I can safely say, Open Office is functionally competent to excel and word, at the least till middle level complex applications.

Abiword, KOffice and GNumeric does not provide equal functionalities to that of MSOffice.

So for me OpenOffice is a really nice alternative to Ms Office inspite of its bloatedness.

With the latest hardware, its really not that big a deal with open office.

I am also against google docs as it is no way comparable in functionalities to either MS office or Open Office. Also it has its own messed up privacy policy issues with evil google's policies. Google docs is no way a FOSS alternative.

Untill there is a viable FOSS alternative to MS Office, Open Office will never be left hanging as lots of businesses use it for their day to day needs without any problems. Which i think will be quite some time unfortunately.

Alternative for me or the masses?

I love Abi Word and it would be enough for me personally. Would it be enough for me professionally? No I would need an office suite like OOo for that. Would KOffice be an alternative? Not for me since I try to stay away from KDE.

Do Not Abandon Open Office

I think Open Office should be supported, but maybe you should give users the choice of which applications they wish to install rather than install the whole suite if they do not wish to. This way more apps such as Open Project, of more functionality could be built in for users who want them, without alienating users who only want a minimal suite on their computer

I'm satisfied

Time isn't an issue for me, ability and performance is.
I'll stick with it.
KDE is too alien for me, Go GO Gnome!


I say no -- I like OOo and will continue to use it for all my business and office might be a tad sluggish but it does what I need and does it well


Buy another gerbil to power your ancient computers and you should be able to run it just fine. I've never felt OOo to be slow or bloated. I think it's a great suite of software.

ooo needs to (at last) grow up...

i don't mind the initial loading time in ooo; i do mind that:
1) it is sluggish while typing
2) it imposes stupid defaults, clutters the style menu with too many obscure default styles
3) forces several behaviours on the users, as if everyone cares about knowing the details
4) when i do need to fiddle with the details (smart eq. numbers, table formatting/ borders, eq. alignments etc) it doesn't let me/ makes me go through hell
5) ui requires too much hide/seek (no, besting the lame MS 2007 menus is not enough!)
6) despite good features, still feels rough and unprofessional
7) embedded picture manipulation needs to grow up
8) and i haven't yet touched the spreadsheet and presentation apps!
off-topic: who had the quaint idea to name a programme like a site (complete with extension?)

by the way, i fully support ooo, mostly because of its open standards adherence (i'd readily support any suite that supports said standards, in fact). i use ooo for serious weight-lifting: large scientific documents+ spreadsheets +presentations. i even encourage my students to use it. but it has to grow up! sometime soon, hopefully.
and making a lean codebase out of the patchwork monstrosity that i'm guessing belies its current state is probably a good start.


I only use OOo Writer, and only for things where I need a lot of control over page layout and the like (for things like school papers). For things where the layout isn't important, or I'm using a lot of LaTeX, I use LyX. For a spreadsheet, I prefer Gnumeric, which is particularly blasphemous considering I use KDE. As a word processor, OOo Writer gives perhaps more control than any other free and opensource alternative, but the rest of the OOo suite really only cuts it if you're not managing spreadsheets or presentations very often.

OOo needs streamlining

I use OOo on all 3 formats Linux, Mac and Windows. no prizes for guessing which I prefer, Installing Open Office on Windows XP is what first got me interested in Linux in the first place and I am sure I am not the only one.
While I think OOo needs a lot of streamlining as achieving even quite simple things can be complicated. All the needed functionality is there but finding it is time consuming for those who do not use it every day. I still think it is a good application and getting better all the time. As for what effect Oracle might have on the situation lets wait and see.
As for Cloud computing / Google docs etc, Am I the only person in the world who finds the idea of having my data and the applications I use hosted on some huge corporations server among thousands of other's in a great converted aircraft hanger somewhere in East Anglia, considering that service could be withdrawn at any time, the host company might go bust or be taken over and have its operation's "Rationalized" deeply unattractive.
Regards to all, George.

No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No

Open office is great.
It was "The only" office suite i could use that was easy to use and had all the functionality i needed for my ICT coursework.

A little thing,
I'n you'r review of ooo3 ou said that load times had improved by 20s.

ooo2.4 takes less than 20s to load on my pc.

1g ram,1.86GHZ cpu


The reason I fully purged my Windows partition was due to installing OOo. For the past 2-4 years Linux has seen a massive increase in popularity with Ubuntu at the forefront. People that are in the situation I was in need to be able to find the alternatives to the MS based applications that they are fond of in order to make the switch/jump. For me, OOo was central to me doing that.

Of course, it is too simplistic for me to say that OOo is the sole reason I switched to Linux -it wasn't- but perhaps one of OOo's purposes is being a catalyst for MS users to make those changes in how they use OS software.

For me it was anyway.

Don't Ditch OO

Abiword and KOffice are not viable alternatives. Abiword has a painfully slow development cycle, and has never gained enough momentum (and sophistication with formats and functions) to gain real traction; KWord doesn't do conversions very well. TextMaker still hasn't released a Linux version that can covert docx files. OpenOffice can convert almost anything, and has had a much better release cycle than these rivals. I use OpenOffice, and happily so, especially since 3.x series emerged.

I'm running a 2005 D410 Latitude with 2GB of memory. I just don't see the performance problems, not on this machine.

What does Open Office offer over other software?

I just haven't had a need or desire to run OpenOffice, it seemed a bit slow and buggy the last time I used it. TeXLive (with XeTeX and fontspec), Gimp, Scribus, Inkscape with my text editor of choice seem to do everything I need, from presentations to professionally typeset documents. For viewing of M$Office docs I usually use google docs. Gnumeric a few times for spreadsheets. I don't think OpenOffice was very compatible the last time I tried with an Access database.

The only things I really see OpenOffice offering is a large support community with templates and a generic all-in-one solution. But as for any given specific task, I can't think of a specific task where it would be my preferred app of choice . . . maybe to edit specific odt / odf / etc files?

Open Office IS NEEDED!!!

Like it or not the business world uses M$Office. Sad to say we need an office suite that can open and save files in these formats. Open Office is this suite! Without Ooo, we would be forced into using Micro$oft products just to interact with other companies! Because of this, Open Office IS NEEDED!!!

Keep on using Softmaker Office

It was in the time, when I used an old WIN98 machine, that I dropped OpenOff for Softmaker Office. It was all about performance, as Softmaker was a very light, easy to understand, very compatible Office suit with some very decent DTP capablilities. I've stayed with it until I changed from Windows to Ubuntu, and I still keep on using Softmaker, although it has some drawbacks here. But might I say, one of the main reasons is, that it feels, I've finished working with it, while OO ist still loading.It gives me the freedom to create appealing layouts and comes with a very snappy behaviour.

From a user's experience I would always prefer Softmaker over OpenOffice on both, Windows and Linux. When you're not in an OpenSource rally, but just looking for competitive alternatives, it's just for you.

I don't understand why

I don't understand why OpenOffice Writer cannot open .ODT files made in Abiword. Try to make a test document in Abiword. Save it in .ODT format. Then open that file in OpenOffice Writer....ridiculous, forces you to use Microsoft Format (ugh).

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