Giving up on Open Office (Impress/Draw)

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Giving up on Open Office (Impress/Draw)

Postby WCCC » Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:01 am

I hate to be one of the guys who falls victim to what I'd call the "yelp effect" (staying silent when things go right, writing negative feedback when something goes wrong), but I'm officially giving up on OpenOffice Impress and Draw. I've never been a frequent poster, as I tend not to be on forums, but I'll try to be constructive where I can, as destructive criticism never helped anyone improve.

Note: This is not a technical support thread in nature. I'm largely convinced the only thing I can do is give some user feedback, and move on to other, better software. This is largely a history of my user experience with OO.

I've often preferred Impress and Draw for rough drafting for various projects and hobbies. Further, I have a habit of always wait until my User Profile corrupts itself to get around to updating OO, because I've frequently been convinced that every next update has somehow let further bugs and inefficiencies leak into the framework of the program. Once the user profile corrupts, I'll have to do a bunch of setup again anyways, so an update is hardly a bother, and that way I can try out a new version with a clean slate. I have, however, failed to reset my profile a couple times after updates, and in the past have made at least one post blaming user profile corruption on a new update, when it was not accurate. Having installed the new OO 4.1.5, then resetting my profile, I'm fairly confident that now it's just the software itself not meeting my expectations.

Historically, I've often seen variability in memory usage from version to version, and then new bugs creeping its way into Impress in particular. I've tried using draw as a backup to test for issues in the functional differences between Impress and Draw, but I've often found that Impress remains the preferred method by far. And within the realm of Impress, I'm increasingly dissatisfied.

First it was weird bugs with edit points unpredictably nulling out keyboard controls, until you turn edit points off, exit group, then enter group again. After that, it was changing the fill of 2 or more objects of different fill colors setting all the objects to black, instead of changing them all to the selected color. Since they were all black thereafter, simply picking the color twice would fix this easily enough. Then came the issues with 2d operations (merge, subtract, intersect) and weird crashes when editing 2d points. And of course, user profile corruption has been an ever-persistent mystery in the realm of OO, and requires deleting settings and personal data (colors, bitmaps, gradient presets) that took time to finetune and build up.

By the time I was done using 4.1.2, I knew every trick in the book. Always be ready to set fill colors twice, always save before any merge/subtract/intersect operation, never delete multiple points in one operation when eliminating different sections of objects (such as gaps or outer rings, wherein you leave only another, unconnected set of points remaining), and all sorts of bizarre tricks for fixing improper operations with subtract/merge/intersect. These ranged from changing object order, moving the objects several units, making copies of the objects, un-mirroring any object that'd been mirrored since its creation, or assigning points that were without handles to have handles, and making sure no points had handles identical to their point location.

Now, as of updating to 4.1.5 and resetting my profile again, the program is officially just impractical. I've tested documents made in previous versions, documents made in new versions with adapted objects, and even all the same in Draw, just to make sure it wasn't an Impress Issue. I've even extended memory allocation considerably, all without fixing the new batch of issues.

To get specific, my current problem is that pages that would previously takes a fraction of a second to load/render now take 3-5 seconds. Slides that would render in 3-5 seconds now take 4+ minutes. There is no apparent difference between draw and impress, and in fact their load times seem to be completely identical as far as I can tell. Even worse, after loading a single slide that took about 5 seconds, a single slide that took 4 minutes,then bouncing back to the first slide again, the program had committed memory suicide trying to keep pace, and the mythical army of "black squares" showed up, with a program crash following seconds after.

If there's something I'm missing or if this is some extremely bizarre, known issue, I'm all ears, but between joking that "every version just gets worse" in respect to the program, before finding that every version has actually become substantially worse, I'm just done at this point. I have no reason not to use writer or the excel programs, as those have extremely predictable and simple usage, but I don't even feel comfortable using the simplest of drafting methods in Impress/Draw anymore. I understand the software is largely community maintained, but I'm simply just out of patience when it comes to putting up with increasing jank, sluggish performance, and occasionally having my palettes, settings, and presets struck by lightning and eviscerated before my eyes.

I hope some of this is helpful in some way, but in terms of user experience, I can't tolerate the issues plaguing Impress and Draw any further. Hope I haven't been too much of a downer. Have a nice day, one and all.
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Re: Giving up on Open Office (Impress/Draw)

Postby Zizi64 » Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:14 am

Now, as of updating to 4.1.5 and resetting my profile again,

My first tip:
Never upgrade the software between "far version numbers" (for example from 4.0.1 to 4.1.5) but make a clear install of the new version in this cases.

My second tip:
Try the LibreOffice. (Different development team - different bugs :) )
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Re: Giving up on Open Office (Impress/Draw)

Postby erbsenzahl » Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:48 pm


If I were you I would think about an installation in parallels. Parallel versions are easy to handle and you could use the preferred one for productive work. So the problems only appear if posting files to other users... :oops:

For installation in parallels see here: ... n_parallel (follow the links; the proceeding is very similar to OpenOffice).
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Re: Giving up on Open Office (Impress/Draw)

Postby John_Ha » Sat Jul 28, 2018 6:29 pm

WCCC wrote:To get specific, my current problem is that pages that would previously takes a fraction of a second to load/render now take 3-5 seconds. Slides that would render in 3-5 seconds now take 4+ minutes.

I do not think this is an AOO software problem.

I think it is much more likely to be a layout problem caused by how the slide/drawing has been constructed, where you are (unwittingly!) asking AOO to do something which is not possible, and AOO gets into a loop trying to do it. For example, layout problems can happen in Writer as below:

What seems to happen is that Writer tries to position an image on, say, page 4. There is not enough space for the image so Writer spills some text to make room for the image > the spilled text takes the image anchor with it > which pulls the image down to page 5 > which leaves a gap on page 4 > so Writer pulls up some text to fill the gap > which pulls up the image anchor > which pulls up the image > but there is not enough space for the image > so Writer spills some text > which takes down the anchor ... and so on.

Writer eventually drops out of this loop with the image located where it was positioned when Writer pulled out and often a white space gap is left in the text. This is particularly noticeable when using Master Documents where the entire document is laid out each time the document is opened or updated.

This "layout problem" can also happen with footnotes for the same reason - see [Solved] AOO stops responding when opening this one document.

How do you stop it happening? You need help Writer to layout the pages. Try manually controlling where the image goes relative top the text. Try adding an extra, redundant paragraph break (or breaks) or redundant page break(s) so as to stop the spilling, or to force the spilling. But don't forget that, if you add or delete text before where the problem is, you might cause it to happen again.

So, please upload an example Impress file, and an example Draw file, showing the problem so the files can be analysed. Use the Upload attachment tab below where you type (128 kB max) or use a file share site for a larger file.
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