Open Office – Update

Having, in a previous article, mentioned the problems that I have encountered when I upgraded from my previous and well working version of Open Office, that is to say Version 2.0.0 (not 2.0.2 as I previously thought I had been using prior to said upgrade), I have to now also report that even version 2.0.2, which I installed after the debacle with 2.0.4, suffers from the selfsame problems, at least in my computing environment.

You may recall me mentioning that I found that version, e.g. 2.0.2, on an older version of Open CD and that I installed that on in place of Open Office 2.0.4 I was having issues with. However, during use, especially with the Firefox browser in use and online the Writer of Open Office 2.0.2 slowed down in the same way as with version 2.0.4. and it also halted.

Everyone can, I am sure, understand my frustration with this and that this did not make me, as we say, a “happy bunny”. Luckily, however, I found in my collection of downloaded Software burned onto CD a copy of a rather old version of Open CD, namely Open CD 3.1 and, thankfully, that contains the old version of Open Office that I used previously and which I loved, e.g. Open Office 2.0.0, and had on my PC before.

So, back to the drawing board, I thought. I uninstalled Open Office 2.0.2 an reinstalled the much older version and, voila, all is well. It runs faster as word processor and more efficient, in my tests, than my version of MS WORD 2000 and yes, I am happy again.

Why, you may ask, do I run Open Office and MS WORD. Firstly it is only MS WORD, which was an OEM piece of software that came with one of my old PCs, and not the complete MS Office and for my money, or better the lack thereof, I have installed Open Office to be able to read MS Office files, such as Power Point, and such.

Why do I still have MS WORD installed when Open Office can do the same stuff?

Well, some people, unfortunately, still make “plug in” programs, such as those from Avery, that only plug in to and work with MS Office, such as WORD, and such plug-ins do not work with Open Source Software, whether Open Office, Star Office (which is based on Open Office), Abi Writer, or others.

Having, as said, reinstalled Open Office 2.0.0, I am now, once again, a very happy user of Open Office, though I must say that it is the program's word processor. e.g Open Office Writer, that I use most, over all other applications of Open Office.

In use I have now also discovered that on Windows machines Open Office 2.0.0 Writer uses less in kilobytes when saving as a .doc file than does MS WORD. While this may only be minute it still is something to be happy about. It would appear that MS WORD's minimum for any document saves if 21 kilobytes, even if the file just contains a word or two, while Open Office Writer is happy to save that with 6 to 7 kilobytes less. So, methinks, a great thumbs up for Open Office.

Another great feature of Open Office is the instant one-click facility to save files directly to PDF.

My experience with Open Office proves, yet again, the old adage – no, not the one that “you get one you pay for” - nothing in the case of Open office – of “if it ain't broke don't fix it” and “if things work leave well alone.”

The same holds true also for the Linux Box, that is to say, any PC which has Linux installs and works away happily. By all means take patches but DO NOT upgrade to another version. But then that is just my opinion. The same, in my view, holds true also for hardware. More about that in another article to come.

Too many people think that they MUST have the latest fastest processor, etc. and that their PC that are twelve to eighteen months old are obsolete. But, if your computer can do, without problems, what you want it to do, I would advise against getting a new one.

© Michael Smith (Veshengro), December 2007