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A First Look at OpenOffice.org 1.0 - page 2

Evaluating the OpenOffice.org 1.0 Production Release

  • May 8, 2002
  • By Rob Reilly

I'm still using the same 3 year-old PII 300 MHz clone laptop workhorse that I've had for my other product reviews. The machine has 128 Mb of memory, a 4 Gb drive, CD and 14.1 inch XGA screen. The ESS 1968 audio chip handles the sounds and Trident 9397 video chip with 4 Mb video memory handles the graphics. The laptop has a 3Com 3CXFE575B PCMCIA 10/100 ethernet card. Downloading of the OpenOffice.org 1.0 tar/gz file was over Roadrunner residential cable service. Could be a good excuse to upgrade to broadband since the file is 68 Mb in size.

The laptop had SuSE Linux 7.3 Professional (2.4.10 Kernel) running in a 2.1 Gb partition. I had about 100 Mb of swap and two other partitions of 1.2 GB and 600 Mb. This combination requires fairly lightweight applications, so for window managers, I typically run FVWM or ICEWM. FVWM loaded as the default window manager (since I didn't choose KDE or GNOME) under SuSE Linux.

OpenOffice.org version 1.0 was downloaded from the OpenOffice.org web page at www.openoffice.org. It was in tar/gz format and since I downloaded the file on May 1st. (the release date for version 1.0) the mirror sites were very slow, as would be expected around such a major release. By now, the sites' traffic is at a more normal pace, so downloading should not be a major headache.

After the initial loading of the program (see Figure 1), you can switch between various types of documents quickly and efficiently. Just open the file and you are editing in the right program. The menus configure themselves, depending on the type of file. Its very fast.

Some people on the newsgroups have complained about printing with OpenOffice.org, at least the beta versions. I printed different types of text documents and they all seemed to come out just fine on my HP 6P. The printing seemed to be a little faster than StarOffice. No crashes and the page looked just like the preview on screen.

Starting OpenOffice.org is as easy as typing soffice. If you are a fan of StarOffice, you'll notice that the old StarOffice desktop window is gone. Click on File, Open and choose the file that you want to work on. If it's a text document, the text will appear on the screen ready for editing. Want to work on a spreadsheet? Open it and spreadsheet cells will appear. You edit a presentation the same way. OpenOffice.org knows what type of file it is then starts up the right menus and tool bars according to the job that needs to be done. Very clean and intuitive.

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