Friday, January 18, 2008

OpenOffice.org on the Mac is shit

  1. OpenOffice.org X11 version:
    1. Requires X11
    2. Actually launches an xterm with a shell session when it runs
    3. Makes you wait a minute before doing anything, then displays a useless "Command timed out" error message
    4. Then runs some Java stuff before finally starting up
    5. Doesn't take X11 with it when you shut it down
    6. Draws menus as window decorations instead of at the top of the Desktop where it belongs in OS X (well, that's an X11 app for you)
  2. NeoOffice:
    1. Utterly broken in Spaces. Won't let you assign it to a particular Space, it just launches wherever you are. Then, sometimes it won't even let you switch away from it, following you around like one of those web popups that just reopens every time it closes.
    2. Doesn't adopt OS X keyboard shortcuts (e.g. Alt+Backspace doesn't erase a word)
    3. Useless Aqua menu: just the NeoOffice menu item itself, not even so much as a "New > Spreadsheet" menu.
  3. OpenOffice.org Aqua version:
    1. All the icons are upside-down and pink
    2. The clipboard doesn't work, even though the last update said the clipboard was finally fixed
    3. By the way, the last update was July 2007.
Then, just to kick you in the teeth a little, all three of these use different directory structures under ~/Library for storing your settings, so if you're persistent enough, like me, to try all three for due diligence, you have to reinstall your settings each time.

And all three are slow.

I don't get it. OO.org is AWESOME on Windows. It blazes in Ubuntu. Why, despite THREE attempts, is it a steaming pile of shit on a Mac?

10 comments:

Shaun McDonald said...

Try the version available from http://download.openoffice.org/680/index.html This is the latest cutting edge Aqua port. You should find that many of the problems that you have experienced have been fixed.

Many of the problems that you have found with the X11 version, is due to Apple's implementation of X11. The command timed out, is a Leopard problem, which probably won't be fixed due to the OOO road map.

Cory said...

I'm ever the optimist. I'm downloading it now; I'll post my results.

zan said...

and the results are??? am currently using the X11 port... thanks

Cory said...

zan, the cutting edge aqua port is a definite improvement, once you learn your way around a few kinks like disabling the native aqua dialogs and using openoffice's dialogs.

However, it still wasn't good. Main issue was speed.

I installed Ubuntu on my MBP and am using that now for anything other than omnigraffle. I'll be posting my gripes with os x soon.

zan said...

thanks for the update. I have been using the X11 version with 10.5.1 and have been able to work around most of the problems. It is proving more stable than MS Office after the last update I installed for it.

Shaun McDonald said...

There is a new aqua build now available that fixes things like the open/save dialog issue.

http://porting.openoffice.org/mac/download/aqua.html

Cory said...

Hi Shaun,

Thanks. I have successfully installed the new build and confirmed that, yes, the dialogs issue is fixed. Speedwise it feels perhaps a bit faster, but I haven't tried to hit it with anything complex like one of my presentations yet. Definitely moving in the right direction, and I'm very happy about that.. getting OpenOffice working would go a long way toward dragging me back to using OS X as a daily OS.

Cory said...

I've recently had the opportunity to play with this a little more on OS X. This build has some definite warts, it is not ready for prime time at all.

At times the scrollbar becomes your enemy; just scrolling the document (using either the scrollwheel effect of the mouse or the scroll bar) will scroll the document a little bit and then switch to another workspace in Spaces!

It likes to hang at times, such that you apparently can't even quit. On two separate occasions in an hour-long editing session I tried to save, had nothing happen, then hit save a bunch of times and started trying other menu items. You'll get the feedback animation from clicking the toolbar button, but nothing will happen. In frustration I tried to Quit from the menu, which finally caused all those dialogs I was bringing up to be shown, so I had to clear a save dialog about 30 times.

Various keyboard keys just stop working at times.

Michael Moore said...

I created some launchers so you can start a specific part of OO.o without the startup screen.

There are also command line launchers for CLI addicts (oocalc, oowrite, etc.).

http://stuporglue.org/openoffice.org-aqua-launchers.php

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