OpenOffice.org is working to iron out several performance bottlenecks following complaints that the application takes relatively long to start up, especially on Linux systems.
Because the problems are largely caused by Linux, the project plans to solve the issues by allowing the application to pre-load on systems.
While this might take up computing resources, it promises to improve performance, Michael Meeks, a full-time OpenOffice developer employed by Novell, said during a presentation at LinuxWorld in Boston.
OpenOffice is a suite of productivity tools for text editing, spreadsheets and drawing. Sun Microsystems acquired the product in 1999 and released the source code in 2000 under an open source licence.
OpenOffice has recently changed its development model. Where the suite was previously on an 18-month release cycle, updates with feature enhancements and bug fixes are now released every three months. This will benefit the application's performance in the short term.
"You can expect OpenOffice every three months to be that much faster," said Meeks. He added that the project also needs to drastically improve the performance of Calc, an application similar to Microsoft's Excel.
"Excel has a huge team on it and it's a beautiful piece of software. We're really trailing here and there is not a huge investment going on. Calc is the next big area where we need to improve," he said.
Meeks cited one example where a company decided to move a large Excel spreadsheet to OpenOffice. The file would perform its calculations in Excel in 30 seconds, but it took three hours in Calc.
The project got that down to about one hour, but Meeks said that there is still much work that needs to be done.
OpenOffice also plans to further enhance support for macro imports, and is working on a 64-bit version of the suite.
Meeks did not provide dates on when the features would become available because the project has a philosophy of releasing features as they are ready rather than by a pre-set schedule.
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