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Testing NeoOffice again

August 1, 2007

I have been giving the Mac OSX versions of the Open Office office suit NeoOffice and the X11 port occasional test runs over the last three or four years. Earlier tests have not been satisfying. Slow unstable and with the X11 interface feeling clunky. On the FLOSS ideology vs. pragmatic axis I have a bend towards being pragmatic so it has been left on it’s own in the past.

This week I have been giving the NeoOffice word processor another shot and the experience has improved a lot. Maybe it’s a mix of a faster computer (Intel-based MacBookPro) and resent optimalizations in the NeoOffice code but I now have the impression that slowness is mainly due to me having to get accustomed to the work flow in NeoOffice. I also noted a few handy features that are not part of the slightly old-fashioned MS Word version I have access to improved spell checking and hyphenation (due to Norwegian dictionaries although the initial installation process is a bit convoluted) an outline-like tool bar for rearranging bulleted and numbered lists CMD + arrows up and down could be used for rearranging paragraphs and the “Export to DDF” feature creating PDF documents with outline based on headings.

I had one crash using it extensively for two days. From the old days of using MS-DOS saving every 5 minutes is more or less a subconscious reflex so I can live with this. NeoOffice also seems to autosave every 5 to 10 minutes. I might actually make the move this time using it for word processing and simple spreadsheets first. The budget system used at BEK is fairly complex and will be the last to get tested in NeoOffice.