Robert vs. OpenOffice 2.0

December 11, 2005, 11:49 am

As readers from brightMystery know, I am currently desperately trying to finish before next Friday wrapping up work on a test bank ancillary for a forthcoming math textbook. I spent most of the day yesterday writing the tests for the chapter on scheduling algorithms, which involves a lot of writing and a considerable amount of graphics-making (yes, I have to do my own digraphs and Gantt charts).

I am doing all the writing, and some of the graphics, using OpenOffice 2.0. I like OO just fine — I’ve used it in its 1.x form ever since I first started using Linux back about three years ago and we run NeoOffice on our Mac at home. I never had many problems, either with the program itself or with its compatibility with Microsoft Office.

But ever since I “upgraded” to 2.0, my install has been plagued with stability problems. This post from brightMystery was written after a day of test-writing in which I had to redo a lot of work due to repeated program crashes. Yesterday was no different: I had four program crashes through about five hours of work, two of which happened within 2 minutes of each other, and the crashing and subsequent data loss added probably about an hour onto my work time yesterday — not good when you’re trying to work at home and your 2-year-old is wondering why you’re not playing with her.

I don’t know what happened between OO 1.x and OO 2.0, but I’m almost willing to downgrade my version if I can just work without having to save the document every 30 seconds. It’s almost making me wonder if I shouldn’t switch to some other office software, to sacrifice some bells and whistles and compatibility in order to have greater stability. But hopefully the OO people will make it so that it won’t be an either-or situation.

(Frankly, this is only one instance where I’ve been more working against my software than with it, which makes me think all the more about selling some body parts for a good cause.)

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