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Giving up on Open Office ... again 
10th-Jul-2008 04:39 pm
A few years ago I looked at Open Office ... both the "word clone" and the "excel clone" and it was completely unusable.

More recently I decided that if I BELIEVE in using non MS products, and/or I wanted to run legal copies of software on all of my computers without spending a mint, I should give it a go again -- and people told me it was a LOT better.

I had a new application for an excel-like product, and resolved to use OO.

They were right. It is much better than it was the first time I used it. It's up to ... almost Excel 2 from about 1998 now. (Faint praise. Excel 2 is the product about which I said, "There are things that VISICALC does that I have to jump through hoops to do in this.")

I'll grant you I have an "older" computer now... I think it's about 5 years old, only has a gig of RAM... something like that. When I got it it was the fastest puter in the house.

When it took about 2 minutes to open the document I gritted my teeth and persevered.

When it randomly would do what I'm assuming is "autosave" which would give me the hourglass for at least 2 minutes, and then give me another 90 seconds of being completely unresponsive I found other things to do in other products on the computer -- which didn't involve doing anything other than looking at the picture on the screen, because it took the whole computer down when it was doing this. I could usually get it to maximize something else within about 30 seconds.

I finally killed Boinc, and things got better. But better meant 2 minutes of saving and 45 seconds of being unresponsive.

When I actually saved the document, same thing -- I'd be pretty much out of the water for several minutes. I hate to say it, but I've NEVER had this much grief with Excel.

One of the dozen sheets in this workbook is quite large, but still.

When I started saying "I'd rather pay $250 for a new version of Excel than continue to use this" I realized that my experiment was drawing to a close. And I'd failed again. I had a legal version of Excel (v. 97 I think) on that machine, so I tried to use the ability within OO of saving as an Excel document. Perhaps I should say the alleged ability, because while I tried twice, once walking away for 1/2 hour (this time I got 3 boxes on the progress bar) and once about an hour (this time I got only one box) nothing ever came of these attempts.

So I used my friend cut-and-paste. Which lost all the formatting. But there was only one sheet where that mattered, and it had fewer than 300 lines. The huge sheet took a few hours to copy/paste the whole thing; it really was big, and I felt the need to cut it up into smaller pieces so that I could see results within 5 minutes. Many many many smaller pieces.

I'm quite disappointed, but, you know, time is precious. And while this document takes a HUGELY long time to save within Excel as well, I guess I'll sell my soul to get some extra time. How much time does Excel take? About 7 seconds.
11th-Jul-2008 02:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks! When next I need a new computer I may take you up on that.

I'm currently happy with my Office '97, and the thing with my laptop is it's dual-boot and I have a Linux partition -- and somehow I don't expect I'll be able to get an MS Office to work on that. ;-)
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