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Microsoft Claims OpenDocument is Too Slow

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the compared-to-the-blazing-speed-of-.doc dept.


SirClicksalot writes "Microsoft claims that the OpenDocument Format (ODF) is too slow for easy use. They cite a study carried out by ZDNet.com that compared OpenOffice.org 2.0 with the XML formats in Microsoft Office 2003. This comes after the international standards body ISO approved ODF earlier this month." From the ZDNet article: "'The use of OpenDocument documents is slower to the point of not really being satisfactory,' Alan Yates, the general manager of Microsoft's information worker strategy, told ZDNet UK on Wednesday. 'The Open XML format is designed for performance. XML is fundamentally slower than binary formats so we have made sure that customers won't notice a big difference in performance.'"

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I don't know about the rest of you... (3, Insightful)

BHearsum (325814) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409001)

But how fast a document opens is one of my last concerns here.

Re:I don't know about the rest of you... (4, Funny)

Monoman (8745) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409044)

It does when you are writing MS Office worms and viruses. :-)

Re:I don't know about the rest of you... (3, Insightful)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409060)

De vulpe et uva.

Re:I don't know about the rest of you... (2, Informative)

'nother poster (700681) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409252)

Ok, maybe I'm missing it. What does the OP comment have to do with the fox and the grapes? He is not lamenting or deriding something he can not have.

Re:I don't know about the rest of you... (2, Informative)

NeoTron (6020) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409073)

I for one care not, especially since the study has been done by none other than the ever so neutral ZDNet. I mean, they're not Microsoft biased one little bit.


Re:I don't know about the rest of you... (5, Insightful)

Shisha (145964) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409245)

This is typical FUD! The article is not comparing the speed of OpenDoc vs Microsoft's Open XML. It's comparing the speed of OpenOffice vs. Microsoft Office. It does not make any sense.

How about if someone with a Windows PC at hand compared the speed of opening and saving OpenDocument vs. the usual .doc to give us some real numbers. (Microsoft's Open XML is not even available to compare speeds!)

I'm sure Microsoft would very much like to shift the debate from OpenDocument vs. Open XML to OpenOffice vs MS Office. Let's not fool ourselves MS Office has many advantages.

Re:I don't know about the rest of you... (5, Insightful)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409085)

It's pretty important to me. The thing is, I highly doubt that ODF is naturally slower than MS's format. They're both XML, right? How can one take that much longer to parse?

In fact, the study cited doesn't even refer to "the speed of ODF". It's about OO.o's speed only.

Re:I don't know about the rest of you... (5, Informative)

albalbo (33890) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409124)

It's actually likely they're slightly faster for spreadsheets. For example:

  * they use single-letter tag names, for the most part, to reduce parsing time
  * they remove all strings and put them in a look-up table

I'm not sure how much difference these things actually make in practice, but there's probably a little speed there.

What's not fair is to compare OOo to Microsoft Office, and determine the speed of OpenDocument versus OXML based on that...

Re:I don't know about the rest of you... (5, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409162)

No MSFT's formt is a Binary XML, with binary data encased by XML tags. Images are stored directly in the file unlike ODF which is a zipfile, with a subdirectory for images.

In other words if you don't have an ODF appilication all you have to do is unzip it( a feature found in most OS's these days) and extract the data by hand.

If you don't have MSFT Word of version x you can never open MSFT's formats. Patents will prevent third parties from implenting it. Defeating the entire point of having a standard.

Re:I don't know about the rest of you... (1)

maggard (5579) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409214)

Both XML, for certian values of XML.

Last I looked MS's "XML" was full of big undocumented binary blobs it liberally shat, I mean salted, the file with. As MS's file formats are often pretty literal representations of their application's internal state it's likely doing a half-structured-XML/half-DOC-blob save is indeed faster then doing a full conversion to more interoperable XML.

Or mebbe they've cleaned up their XML so it's now the beatifully structured text marvel many expected when MS said they were using XML as a peer format in Office 2003.

Re:I don't know about the rest of you... (1)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409226)

I've noticed that Word will stream open a large DOC file, so that you can start to work on it before it's been entirely loaded -- similar to a web page. IIUC, this is because DOC is just a sequence of formatting commands and not really structured information. I'm guessing their XML format takes the same approach.

On the otherhand if ODF is highly structured, this approach might not be possible. They may need to load and parse a big chunk of XML before doing anything with it.

Re:I don't know about the rest of you... (2, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409248)

They're both XML, right? How can one take that much longer to parse?

Well, for one thing, if one stored the formatting and type face information on an as-needed basis, while the other stored it on a per-character basis, which would you expect to be quicker to parse?

(Yes, it's a facetious example, but you get the idea)

Re:I don't know about the rest of you... (2, Interesting)

will_die (586523) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409086)

To thoses that work with ms-0ffice documents a good portion of the day then the time to open a document is a major problem.
However read time is not the major problem, it is how long it takes to save the document. Don't forget you have automatic saves every 10-15 mins and when that takes more then just a second or two it is a really major pain and interruption to the job.

Re:I don't know about the rest of you... (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409115)

so someday soon the saving gets done by a process that runs on another core of your multi-cored wonder processor than the one you're using to edit

Re:I don't know about the rest of you... (1)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409154)

Don't forget you have automatic saves every 10-15 mins and when that takes more then just a second or two it is a really major pain and interruption to the job.
What do you mean? Do your automatic saves freeze your word processor or something?! That in itself is bad behaviour (bug, even?). You should of course be able to go on with your editing while saving. Then you will perhaps not notice even if it takes a minute.

Re:I don't know about the rest of you... (1)

shades66 (571498) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409094)

i don't know. This morning I opened a 1 page word document (with a single macro that inserts a date) that was created about 6 months ago and for some unknown reason it took around 1 minute to load all the other applicationed stopped responding and strangest of all on my T41 laptop the trackpad stopped responding while the little stick mouse worked fine?

Re:I don't know about the rest of you... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15409149)

Yes, a "T41". Kudos on your high-end mobile supercomputer there, bud.

Perhaps you shouldn't complain about slow load-times when your system is utterly loaded with spyware, malware, gaypornware(!), or whatever ware it is you've beautifully adorned it with, no?

I'll be honest with you. I'm not saying this because I'm employed by Microsoft and have a direct agenda, I'm saying it because it sounds like you're crafting pure lies about a product you'd love to see burn.

Re:I don't know about the rest of you... (1)

MrSquirrel (976630) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409254)

'The use of OpenDocument documents is slower to the point of not really being satisfactory'. Even if people were all nutso about documents opening fast, I still don't see how MS can say that it's "not satisfactory". How much does Office '03 cost? The professional version is around $180. Lets say it provides X satisfaction. Open Office costs $0 dollars. Let's assume (according to MS) it provides X (less than X). Divide the cost by the satisfaction (for this example we'll say OO is half as satisfactory as MS): MS = $180/x. OO = $0/.5x. The result is that (all things else considered equal), it still makes more fiscal sense to go with OO (why buy the cow when you get the milk for free... except the milk [OO] in this case is SOOOOO much better than the cow. The milk is like Bawls and the cow is like a rat [that gives rats bad names]).

INCITS (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409002)

What I didn't see mentioned in this article was the fact that back in March, Microsoft joined a subdivision of INCITS [infoworld.com] (V1 Text Processing: Office and Publishing Systems Interface group within the International Committee for Information Technology Standards). Which is the group that kind of decides whether or not it should be widely adopted. Being ISO certified is one thing but it doesn't mean everyone's going to use it as a standard.

There was much speculation that Microsoft had joined INCITS with the intent to slowdown or stop the spreading use of ODF and insert their own standard. Sounded like another Microsoft power trip to me.

I predict that Microsoft will bitch and bitch about ODF and then release study after study suggesting some other patent laden format (probably Open XML) over ODF. This is just the first complaint against ODF--too slow. Perhaps next they'll complain that it's not documented well enough, some of their apps just can't support it, it gives their developers arthritis, it looks too ugly, etc.

Re:INCITS (2, Funny)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409128)

They'll release a study that shows that ODF causes cancer in lab mice.


truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409250)

Or that mice go through a Microsoft maze faster than an "open" maze.

I hope there's a hunk of cheese at the end of this maze. Mmmm... Microsoft cheese...

Re:INCITS (2, Interesting)

Manitcor (218753) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409146)

where have you been? Almost every single one of those arguments and more were used by MS when the state of MA decided to standardize on ODF.

Re:INCITS (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15409172)

where have you been?
Waiting for OOo to open my ODF files. :-)


JabrTheHut (640719) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409241)

This is the second complaint about ODF. The first was that it wasn't feature-rich enough. I also predict more gripes about ODF coming forward soon, including that it made Steve bald and made Bill obnoxious.

If I was an MS shill. (5, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409003)

If I was an MS shill (like so many in these forums seems to be), I would be deeply, deeply ashamed that the company I pimped myself out for was incapable of distinguishing between a document format and an application.

(read the 'study')

But I am sure the shills will pipe up with "easier to use", "people are used to it", "noone forces people to use MS" and other such irrelevance.

Re:If I was an MS shill. (3, Informative)

ronanbear (924575) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409101)

Article is pure FUD. They run a series of articles attacking OOo OOo is much slower than Office at the moment. It has nothing to do with ODF versus Open XML. In any case the comparisons with Office's current implementation of XML and ODF (under OOo) were much closer.

When I used OOo I didn't think it was fast but it was nowhere near as slow or as much of a memory hog as this test found.

Re:If I was an MS shill. (4, Insightful)

smallpaul (65919) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409114)

Although it is complete true that the distinction between application and document format is key, it is quite possible to design a document format with performance in mind versus merely counting on Moore's law to handle performance issues. My observation is that Microsoft has thought through some performance and reliability details to an impressive degree in OpenXML. The files are sorted in the zip file in the order that they are needed for incremental loading. The zip file is stream decompressed so that a lost bit halfway through the file does not prevent decompression of the beginning. Textual data is earlier in the file than bitmap data both because it is needed sooner and also because a truncated file will still have its text and basic formatting intact.

Obviously this Microsoft dude is not making any kind of fine distinctions. But I would love to see a careful analysis of the performance and reliability choices made in OpenDocument versus OpenXML if only so that OpenDocument can copy the best (unpatented) ideas from OpenXML. Microsoft has a lot of experience optimizing the performance of office suites and their file formats. I know from experience that those considerations tend to get lost in the standardization process.

Re:If I was an MS shill. (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409133)

. . .incapable of distinguishing between a document format and an application.

If you can get all the ducks in a row why not try to kill two of them with one stone?


Re:If I was an MS shill. (4, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409213)

Honest question - why do you, like so many others, assume that anyone who defends MS (or $otherHatedCompany) is a shill? Is it so hard to accept that other people have different opinions, and see things differently to the majority here?

I'm not condoning or defending this particular study (although I have to admit, to me it smacks of "Company rubbishes competitor, talks up own product - film at 11"), I'm just getting a little weary of seeing all the calls of troll, shill and astroturfer levelled at anyone with an opinion that differs from that of the collective.

(And before anyone says it, yes, that goes for both sides, Linux zealots and MS weenies alike)

Re:If I was an MS shill. (4, Insightful)

Amouth (879122) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409236)

If you are refering to the refrence of a file format being slow.. then yes there is a diffrence between apps and formats but formats can be slow.

a prim example is look at compressed archives.. say RAR.. if you look at the diffrence between a normal RAR archive and a Solid RAR Archive. the Solid archive takes all the files and treats them like a TAR ball so that you can compare like data and get better compression.. It doesn't take much longer to create the orginal file than a normal RAR archive which treats each file on it's own basis but when extracting or updateing you have to read through every file before the one you want in the archve when reading. and when writing you have to read all the ones before to evaluate the one you have and change it and then progress and extract and recompress every other file after it instead of just skooting them over when updateing a normal archive.

both methods use the same compression methods and are of the same type and data types.. one gives you better compression but is and is faster to extract but is horid at random openings and updates where as a normal archive doesn't have the horid side affects but doesn't give you the higher compression or the speed in extracting.

One thing MS has always been very good at is making MS Word fast. the load times are impressive and the save times like wise. forget about the stability for the moment and give them credit for being fast.. now i know TFA is fud and stupid but there might be a legit argument. MS knows how to make doc files fast, they designed them to be - if ODF wasn't as thought out for speed i could see it being an issue for anyone trying to implement it, and with some implementations there really is no way to make it faster.

It is just something to think about. While the artical is dumb the argument could very well be legit. people should bash it just because it has MS writen all over it.

Re:If I was an MS shill. (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409244)

mutter mutter... "easier to use" ... mutter mutter ... "people are used to it" ... mutter mutter... "noone forces people to use MS"

What am I saying... I actually prefer Oo -- MS is brainwashing me again!

Microsoft claiming ANYTHING is "too slow" ? (1)

pabster (875594) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409009)

Come on. Microsoft claiming ANYTHING is "too slow" is like the pot calling the kettle black. Take a good, hard look in the mirror Bill.

As a developer I think they're right. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15409011)

Linux needs to get its act together

Linux is *not* user friendly, and until it is linux will stay with >1% marketshare.

Take installation. Linux zealots are now saying "oh installing is so easy, just do apt-get install package or emerge package": Yes, because typing in "apt-get" or "emerge" makes so much more sense to new users than double-clicking an icon that says "setup".

Linux zealots are far too forgiving when judging the difficultly of Linux configuration issues and far too harsh when judging the difficulty of Windows configuration issues. Example comments:

User: "How do I get Quake 3 to run in Linux?"
Zealot: "Oh that's easy! If you have Redhat, you have to download quake_3_rh_8_i686_010203_glibc.bin, then do chmod +x on the file. Then you have to su to root, make sure you type export LD_ASSUME_KERNEL=2.2.5 but ONLY if you have that latest libc6 installed. If you don't, don't set that environment variable or the installer will dump core. Before you run the installer, make sure you have the GL drivers for X installed. Get them at [some obscure web address], chmod +x the binary, then run it, but make sure you have at least 10MB free in /tmp or the installer will dump core. After the installer is done, edit /etc/X11/XF86Config and add a section called "GL" and put "driver nv" in it. Make sure you have the latest version of X and Linux kernel 2.6 or else X will segfault when you start. OK, run the Quake 3 installer and make sure you set the proper group and setuid permissions on quake3.bin. If you want sound, look here [link to another obscure web site], which is a short HOWTO on how to get sound in Quake 3. That's all there is to it!"

User: "How do I get Quake 3 to run in Windows?"
Zealot: "Oh God, I had to install Quake 3 in Windoze for some lamer friend of mine! God, what a fucking mess! I put in the CD and it took about 3 minutes to copy everything, and then I had to reboot the fucking computer! Jesus Christ! What a retarded operating system!"

So, I guess the point I'm trying to make is that what seems easy and natural to Linux geeks is definitely not what regular people consider easy and natural. Hence, the preference towards Windows.

It's a fucking WORD PROCESSOR (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15409025)

It's not a game loading complex 3D worlds and sound effects, it's a load of text being displayed on screen. What difference does a few milliseconds here or there make? OpenDocument could be ten times slower and the benefits of an open document format would still vastly outweigh the effects of loading time.

Re:It's a fucking WORD PROCESSOR (1)

dirtyhippie (259852) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409097)

Seriously... So it takes twice as long when I save or open my document? Who cares? Saving is done seldom and/or in the background, and open time is dominated by the monstrous word processing app in question loading.

MS makes it sound like the whole app will be somehow bloated and slowed down because of this, which is a clear deception.

Re:It's a fucking WORD PROCESSOR (4, Insightful)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409116)

No, it matters! There's no way anybody could design a markup language that doesn't take any shortcuts in separating content from logic and still be worth it.

Oh wait...it has been done. By Microsoft too, in fact. IE, Mozilla, and Opera are all capable of much more than ODF and at ridiculously high speeds.

If you add to that the fact that the MS version actually has more useless features in it (which add to the parse time), I guess this is entirely a lie.

Re:It's a fucking WORD PROCESSOR (2, Insightful)

mikeisme77 (938209) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409183)

It's actually not a word processor (as your sibling correctly points out). ODF is simply a format and as such can't exactly be speed benchmarked. The study that this summary points to is about OpenOffice, which utilizes ODF but is not ODF in and of itself. All it takes is some way to more efficiently utilize/load the data. It's in the algorithms, not the format (unless it's a bloated format--which it doesn't appear to be from what I've seen of it).

Re:It's a fucking WORD PROCESSOR (2, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409230)

unless it's a bloated format--which it doesn't appear to be from what I've seen of it

It's XML. So how can it be a non-bloated format? <gd&r>

Re:It's a fucking WORD PROCESSOR (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409256)

"ODF is simply a format and as such can't exactly be speed benchmarked"

you have to remember that a file format is only as fast as the best algorithm designed to read it.

Wonderful (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409038)

Yet again, MS is blaming the format for OO.o's failings. Hell, I don't like OO.o much myself. I like ODF though.

Re:Wonderful (1)

mkw87 (860289) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409075)

Yet again, MS is blaming the format for OO.o's failings. Hell, I don't like OO.o much myself. I like ODF though.

I am in the same boat, only since I use office so much at work now doing composition of manuals (tech writing), I decided to give OOo another shot, and I have really enjoyed using.....enough that I installed it on my computer at home again.

The ODF format, I find, is much better than MS's and I like the features OOo has when using it....not that they couldn't be put into MS Word, but microsoft hasnt done so.

Re:Wonderful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15409155)

Personally, I've found OpenOffice to be extremely annoying. After installing it (which wasn't a problem), typing a document and hoping for it to spell check, was futile. Even after using OO's spell checker, somehow, all the words that WERE mistyped... STILL were mistyped. God forbid trying to make a brochure. That was the most excruciating task I've ever done. Every time I typed one letter, the entire paper would shift in the oddest of ways. Not even in a logical way, either. Stuff that was on the far left (that if I typed anything, should have moved down) ended up ABOVE the text I was typing. 4 hours to make a simple lame brochure is horrendous. Not only that but OO isn't unique by any means. All OO does is take a quarter of the features of Microsoft Word, put them together in a hodge-podge spatter and give it away free. Sounds like good programming to me! ...

I don't use Microsoft products for everything I do. Firefox, Google, even OpenOffice. However, when Vista comes out, I'll be glad to toss OO for the next version of Microsoft Office. That's one of Microsofts products I actually like.

I'm still not understanding how it's legal to force competition into ones own products. Has anyone ever been on a plane, and seen logo's and advertisements from competing airlines? No (Only the airlines partners are advertised in the airlines planes). Has anyone ever watched a Marvel Comics movie and seen advertisements for Vertigo Comics movies? Not really. How about purchasing a Telephone, do they have a pamphlet showing you all of their competition's products and so forth (unless used to market a "superior product" "We're better than THIS hunk of junk!").

It all comes down to one thing: Poor losers. Yes Microsoft can't do half the job that other people can do, and that's when the competition wins. I dropped Hotmail in a heartbeat to go to Gmail (And then I dropped THAT in a heartbeat after learning they will save all your files and documents in Gmail indefinitely... Creepy). I dropped IE for Firefox in a heartbeat when I found out the features it had. Is Apple shipping it's OSX Tiger with Microsoft's Mac products as default? Of coures not, but Microsoft is so big, so we HAVE to give competition unfair advantages. When Vista ships, I'll be more than happy to use Microsoft products again for a lot of the things I do. They're simple, not bland, and they get the job done that I need done. OO likes to waste countless hours of my time on trying to fix what it breaks...

Never get me started on RealPlayer... If you think Microsoft products are bad, Real is the most intrusive pain in the ass product invented only behind spyware and virii.

Haven't they defended that one themselves? (3, Insightful)

mustafap (452510) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409051)

"Any performance limitations now will be resolved as Moores Law continues"

Not that I like the argument.

Good study! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15409064)

You know, MS Office formats are:

- Easier to use
- People are used to them
- They don't make you stinky like those hippie formats do. You wouldn't want to smell would you?
- Osama Bin Laden uses ODF. He also stinks. Coincidence?

I don't know why you guys are so against MS products. I mean no one forces people to use MS, it's just that we want a superior product that attracts women and fights terrorism.

Marketing (1)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409065)

Perhaps it isn't relevant, but I take anyone who attacks a competitor with a grain of salt-
A better practice would be to praise your own product, and politely tell why it is better than the others. That is, if you believe in your product.
Of course MS is going to go after OpenOffice- it means lost $$$$$ to them....

Right.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15409072)

And have any of your ever tried to open an MS Word document over an CIFS/SMB WAN connection that has multiple hops? Two minutes to open the file, 30 seconds per page because it doesn't read the ENTIRE file into RAM, 5 minutes to save a single character..

I don't know about all of you .. but I find 'The use of the entire Microsoft Office Suite slower to the point of not really being satisfactory.'

Unfortunately, that seems to be what the majority of our customers use.

If their programmers were any good... (1)

wallyhall (665610) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409078)

Really? It handles *that much slower*? Excuse me for thinking maybe they're just not spent so much time making their XML libs as efficient as they have their own propriety stuff... And besides, XML has major advantages, like there's already *loads* of libaries for it, and to an extent it's even human readable... Unlike a binary file

Re:If their programmers were any good... (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409170)

. . .to an extent it's even human readable... Unlike a binary file

Ya ever try reading an XML file by holding it up to the light?


Not on Vista-ready PCs ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15409079)

They should have tested it on vista-ready or Vista-really-ready PCs ...

Nothing is too slow there ...

On the other hand, I should not underestimate MS coding skills ... and thei can-do
attitude ...

Thats the worst they could come up with? (1)

Silmeria (972282) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409080)

If it is they wil have to try harder because the speed of a document format is one of my last concerns. At least when I save a file in openoffice it will open up the same in a older version of it.

Dude... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15409210)

You need to create a new account. You're posting at -1...You'll never get that back to positive territory...even if you Karma Whore until your fingers bleed!

Unless, you just don't give a shit...

Something important to remember (4, Insightful)

oldosadmin (759103) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409089)

Anytime Microsoft complains about OpenDocument, I just remember back to when they were on the Technical Committee at OASIS forming the standard. They then left that committee. If they truly cared about OpenDocument, they would have stayed on the TC and made changes to it.

I see this as an attempt by Microsoft to slander this format and try to further their own semi-OpenXML format.

Jason Faulkner
Eastern US Press Contact
OpenDocument Fellowship

Marketing Poor Leadership (0)

blcamp (211756) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409096)

Rather than allege how "bad" a competitor's product is, MS should simply come out with a better product themselves.

What's the point of saying "OO.o sucks"? They don't have a lot of control over that, now do they? They need to show some leadership here.

Hey, Ballmer: "Quality! Quality! Quality! Quality! Quality! Quality!"

the new MS tag line... (5, Funny)

revery (456516) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409102)

I can just see Microsoft's new slogan for Office 12:

"Microsoft, saving your life, one microsecond at a time..."

Format Slow? (4, Insightful)

jimktrains (838227) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409103)

Since when is a format slow? I could write an interperter for the MS format that is 3x as slow as the ODF. What are they defining as unsatisfactory and on what kind of documents?

False dichotomies (1, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409106)

XML is fundamentally slower than binary formats...
I hear this kind of speach a lot and it concerns me. It seems to me that basically all data files (or network packets, etc.) are binary formats. What's really in question is what kind of higher-level data structures are imposed on those binary formats.

ODT XML files are binary files. So are old Word 2003 .doc files. So are Microsoft's new XML files. So it's pointless to claim that a "binary" file format is faster than an XML file format. Perhaps that MS guy meant to say, "XML-based file formats are slower than non-XML-based file formats." At least this is a coherent claim, even if it's not necessarily correct.

The other big mistake: file formats aren't fast or slow. The algorithms for reading and writing them are (or aren't) slow. Marino Marcich of the ODF Alliance implicitely made this point when he said that different ODF-capable applications have different performances. Perhaps you could, in a fit of brilliant computer science analysis, prove that no reader for a particular file format could parse it as fast as Word 2000 can parse a .doc file, but no one has made that claim.

Re:False dichotomies (4, Informative)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409235)

Actually the problem is not binary versus none binary, its fixed length versus variable length fields and records.
With old style formats, you knew that the header was 512bytes followed by 600 bytes of meta data, followed by the document sections which all indicate their size (or have some way of calculating it based upon the block type)

With XML, you get a tag opening and have to parse until the closure, this adds a lot to the complexity of reading.

Writing is slightly different, and should infact be simpler with XML even though it may be more verbose, you don't need to buffer the entire block or rewrite the section header to indicate the length, you just happily do a sequential write.

Re:False dichotomies (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409251)

The original comment was poorly stated. XML is not fundamentally slower, it's a format, it's not doing anything. But it is generally significantly more bloated. And with the bloat comes an interpretation performance hit. True, someone could make a non-human readable document format that had more meta-data per element, but by and large, proprietary closed source solutions will be more streamlined.

For example, I have a program that works like a TV guide and remote for my PDA. It connects to a Windows:MCE box in my house. The MCE box connects to Zap-2-It labs for the TV Listings. It downloads a 5 meg XML file that contains the TV listings for the next 2 days. Processing 5 megs of XML on a 400mhz ARM processor would be slow as tar, so I take that 5 megs and strip it down to just the data in a proprietary format, filter it down to just the specific data I need, and send if over the net to my PDA at a whopping 450k text file. It's still human readable, it just doesn't have the self describing meta-data. And I can pull up 450k of text for processing significantly faster than I can pull up 5 megs of XML.


OpenOffice, not ODF (1)

WhodoVoodoo (319477) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409112)

I'd like to note (from tfa) that the study cited compares OpenOffice opening ODF vs MS Office opening Excel. The study says:

"Even when dealing with what is essentially the same data, OpenOffice Calc uses up 211 MBs of private unsharable memory while Excel uses up 34 MBs of private unsharable memory. The fact that OpenOffice.org Calc takes about 100 times the CPU time [...] Most of that massive speed difference is due to XML being very processor intensive, but Microsoft still handles its own XML files about 7 times faster than OpenOffice.org handles OpenDocument ODS format and uses far less memory than OpenOffice.org."

So yeah, OpenOffice is slow and memory hungry. This is fud, and has not so much to do with ODF as OpenOffice. Nothing to see here.

in RAM? (2, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409122)

You only need to write it to disk when you hit "save." When the document is open, and living in RAM, it doesn't even have to be kept in ODF!

Word is always accessing the Disc-performance bad (1)

acomj (20611) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409193)

This may seem odd but I've had to use word this week. I'm running on "windows server" attached to a nfs server. Man is it slow. Its a large document and it seems like word is accessing the disc all the time (which being a network drive is on the slower side).

I'm not impressed with Word at all.

Can I believe what i am reading here? (1)

racebit (959234) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409123)

Too slow you say? Oh the IRONY! Until you can get your word processor to launch quicker than it takes me to make a sandwich, kindly STFU. Until then, I'm fine with my Oo.O 2.0

Thats neat... (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409127)

ZDNet say : OpenOffice is slow (will anyone refute this)
MS say: OpenDocument is slow.

Folks, watch for the bait and switch. Those two statements don't mean the same thing.
If you think OpenOffice is slow on ODF, you should see it open Word documents. :)

Light Speed Too Slow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15409130)

We'll have to go right to ludicrous speed!

10M Word File? (1)

martonlorand (938109) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409132)

How large is a document? If you include pictures (a lot) it can get really large, but if you dont, even a whole book should not be more than a couple of megs... It would have been a problem in the era of 386 but these days?

The HDD is too slow to push it to the system, the memory is not large enough to hold it, or the CPU has problems doing conversations?

I think other than big chunk of fog/triangle and such GPU stuff, nothing is too slow anymore for the system. Of course rendering and calculations, finite element compulations take time, but thats a different story and certainly not the format of storing it is important.

Or maybe the document will be opened 1000 times in sec for a large office :))) - In this case think about a Database engine

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15409136)

In other news, Microsoft Windows is too slow compared to *nix...

OS vs Application (0, Troll)

stuckinarut (891702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409137)

Congratulations MS your OS is slow but you've made a document application faster! Hmmm which is better, slow OS and faster app or fast OS and slower app? I'd be interested in seeing some overall performance figures. I guess if you love MS you'll put up with a slow clunky OS and 'love' the faster app or if you're anti-MS you'll 'love' your faster OS and put up with a slower app. Whatever comes out on top I don't care as long as I don't get locked in to either ...

Speed (1)

supernerd007 (676733) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409139)

Am I the only one who noticed contrary performance to these claims. OO.o has always seemed to save faster than MSo. Especially when working with larger files. I have been impressed with OO.o's saving time and for me that is the only speed that matters since I do it often.

OO.o uses a type of incremental save where MS Word does a full save each time so OO.o is faster even with their "slow" ODF.

And in earlier news, unbundling IE from Windows... (3, Funny)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409140)

...is impossible, due to the therblig frammisating thingumbob.

Well, actually, now that you mention it, a professor and his student did remove it, but you can't call it successful, because um, performance, sure, that's right, in our labs our very own scientific technical unbiased tests showed that because of ferthbernder sprocket-flange snap-toggle linkage, when you removed IE using the professor's techniques, it reduced Windows performance by a lot of percent. No user would accept this, any more than they would accept the reduced performance of WIndows on a year-old PC.

We will now show you just how severe this performance problem is.

Right here. In this very courtroom.

With a faked demo^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h a dramatic, animated illustration presented right on the screen of an actual PC.

slower indeed (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409143)

whilst I know that in Oo it takes longer to save than in word (using the respective file formats) I don't care. If we say MS Word takes 1 sec. and Oo takes 5, then word is 5 times faster, but when it comes down to it - it's only 4 seconds once an hour... no consider how long it will take someone to rewrite all the documents when the format they've saved it in ceases to be and because it's closed they're stuck... that'll be a fair few hours... so really, Oo is about 8 million times faster because the ODF format won't ever just be "stopped" without giving people the option to keep it on (because it's open source!)

It seems you're trying to load an XML document... (4, Insightful)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409148)

If Microsoft are saying that they can't read XML documents efficiently then I guess we have to believe them, but if that's really true it says more about their lack of programming skill than the the difference between reading a binary vs text (or XML flavor #1 vs flavor #2) document on a modern processor.

If a Windows-capable PC has enough oomph to render clippy in 3-D translucent splendor for Vista, then it's certainly fast enough to load an XML document.

The rest of the quote (4, Funny)

maggard (5579) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409152)

Yates went on to say that using MS formats left a fresh, minty feeing in user's mouths while every time an open one is used a kitten dies.

Translation (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15409156)

The Open XML format is designed for performance. XML is fundamentally slower than binary formats so we have made sure that customers won't notice a big difference in performance.
Translation: Open XML is not a document format as such, it is an XML representation of how office sees the document, this makes it fast for Office, slow for anything else and unreadable for humans. We at Microsoft are really exited about Open XML...

Study = 1 Blogger running one test (2, Insightful)

Tsu Dho Nimh (663417) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409164)

One blogger, with one test protocol. Read George Ou's blog on it.

He had a humongous spreadsheet (a couple hundred megabytes) and was tracking the load time.

He whined about the memory OO takes, and didn't mention that MSOffice pre-loads its stuff on startup, so you are loafing MSOffice stuff whether you need it or not.

Uhmm... (5, Insightful)

Egonis (155154) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409167)

You mean to tell me that parsing a file at an average of 200k of data is too slow on 1.0+GHz processors?


I know that there are many variables here, but seriously... how slow can it be? I use OpenOffice 2.0 on an Athlon64 3200+ and I have no issues, in fact, I find it much quicker than M$ Office

The Cancer is Spreading!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15409169)

Vista is late and looks to be later.
Google teams with Dell.
New Jpeg format getting lukewarm responses?
All the boardroom chairs are broken?
Europe playing with software patents.
Wii looks amazing even without fizzle for your shnizzle graphics (compared to Xbox2 and PS3)
Asia loving OSS. Especially China. India probably too.

The Cancer is Spreading!!!!
Quick, get some more FUD to kill it!!!
It puts the FUD in the MFing Basket!!!!!

Sure maybe not all I said is true, but much of it is perceived to be true or borders on the truth.
And that has to suck for a company who develops mostly uninnovative crap. Crap that works but crap nonetheless.

For those two people not in the know... (3, Informative)

ceeam (39911) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409174)

ODT format is basically a set of XML files packed into a ZIP archive. One of them is "the biggie" (content.xml) and others are for supporting it. Images etc are saved/packed in subdirs. Now - to open it, OOo apps should unpack the whole package and parse XML keeping all its contents in memory (presumably, but highly likely). Maybe not a big deal if all you handle is two page memo but keep in mind that OOo's spreadsheet and database(!) programs work the same way. And for something like 20-30 page specs sheet on a sub-1GHz machine OOo works noticeably faster when handling DOC format documents than handling its "native" ODT documents. Saving/autosaving can be a pain too (as you should dump all you document to XML and pack it. Unlike MSOffice where storage formats work as database).

All in all - OOo's file formats are a nice and simple solution for exchanging reasonably sized documents (if you don't mind usual XML-namespace-hell structure) but for editing/working on larger documents/spreadsheets you may find yourself using MSOffice document formats (from within OOo). Pity they don't provide their own "scratch-pad/database-in-a-file" formats.

So - for once, Microsoft is kinda right here.

Re:For those two people not in the know... (2, Insightful)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409229)

If that is the case, it's an implementation issue, not a file format one. There's no reason to keep the XML tree in RAM, or to rewrite the whole thing on save.

RTFA. (2, Interesting)

popeyethesailor (325796) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409181)

I guess the loyal crowd has already reeled in +5 Insightful mods by railing against MS, but it might not be a bad idea to actually read the article.

Mr.Yates says OpenXML has been designed with performance in mind, whereas ODF is not. A binary format such as .doc definitely has a few speed advantages over a XML format, hence it'd be good to have the replacement XML schema designed for performance.

I wouldnt know if this was actually the case; however, it would be good to investigate if the claims were true. OpenOffice could very well do with a major performance boost. A lean,well-designed XML schema cannot hurt.

Does this really surprise anyone? (3, Funny)

multiOSfreak (551711) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409184)

I mean, really. Is it such a shock that MS is trying to damage the reputation of a rival format? Actually, they're talking more about OpenOffice as an application rather than the ODF format, which is a very dishonest bit of FUD. I'm sure there will be more propaganda against ODF from the company we love to hate in the near future.

Perhaps next they'll claim that ODF is so slow that it's causing Vista to be late to market.

ah... (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409189)

so they've got their hands on the odt import filter for word then???

cos this is the only way to do a format parsing test... and microsoft's xml format is purely a dump of their internal binary format and wrapping the info with xml tags... microsoft's format is mind bogglingly bloated by comparison with odt...

odt concentrates on tagging up the structured information in sensible form, while microsoft's merely dumps the memory and horribly bloats out as a result... just like word does when saving to html...

MS App Tweaks (5, Interesting)

Gallenod (84385) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409192)

This brings to mind something that Microsoft did in the mid 1990's. When MS Word was trying to wrest market share from Wordperfect, Microsoft apparently coded speed bumps into Windows that only their programmers knew how to avoid. Microsoft then claimed that MS applications were "better" becuase they were faster, though we didn't understand that it was because of intentional handicapping of their rivals' software until they'd pretty much crushed WordPerfect in the market.

It kind of makes me wonder if they'll try the same approach to make ODF look "slower," by optimizing MS apps to work with Open XML and fumble around with ODF files.

Of course OpenDocument is slower (0, Troll)

sjonke (457707) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409204)

Your Vista system will bluescreen every time you try to launch an application that supports OpenDocument, and all that rebooting is a real time killer. Better to stick with the only four programs Microsoft testers tested on Vista: Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint and Resume Builder [sarmsoft.com]

Oh noes! (2, Insightful)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409208)

Oh noes! That document took 5.3 seconds to load and 10.2 seconds to save! Sure, I've been working on this document for 20 hours straight, but that's a LONG time to wait!!!

George Ou made the study (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15409209)

he's just about the most biased person I've ever had the displeasure of reading. You only notice that stuff when you're saving or opening. Working with OO.o and ODF on my linux box is a pleasure. To put it in perspective, Ou loves using the new UAP (or is it UAC now?). But he is inconvenienced when saving or opening an ODF file?! If I have to approve every little bit of activity on my computer, you can bet that waiting an extra second to save or open a document is the least of my problems. Yet his blind bias does not lead him to that conclusion.

Slow, what do they mean by slow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15409212)

How can a file format be slow? The way of opening/saving may be! Come on, since when M$ became so illiterate!

Wow (0, Troll)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409221)

So according to MS, the key goal of an Open XML Document Standard is...performance? Specifically, speed of opening in a particular APPLICATION?

Holy Shit. It should be illegal to spew forth utter bullshit twisted crap such as this. It's disgusting. What's worse, people swallow the shit.

Not surprised, since the goal is actually to produce a standard document format that Works Consistently Always, rather than Loads Immediately But Isn't Useful Or What You Needed Or Wanted Or Saved In The First Place piece of crap.

Man I wish people were universally equipped with natural BS detectors, the world would be a much better place.

Easy fix... (1)

What the Frag (951841) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409227)

Look at the secret source code:

// BUGBUG: 640KB are not sufficient for more than 40 pages.
if (pagelength > 40){
   // We don't want to open a memory hole here.
   if (winVer < 2000)
      showBluescreen("of Death");
      crashWord(showRandomError(setReason("between monitor and chair")));
// FIX: Billy don't want users to choose .odf  here, so let's make it slower.
if (fileFormat == "odf"){

ODF is faster because... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15409228)

The document you can open will always open faster than the one you cannot.

So regardless of the speed of any particular implementation the freedom ODF gives us ensures it always will be able to be opened.

The bottom line for most users.. (1)

bealzabobs_youruncle (971430) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409234)

is that OOo is really slow, slow to open and slow to respond. OOo feels faster on my Fedora Core laptop (Pentium M 1.73) but really chugs on my XP Pro box (Pentium D 930). It is even slower on my Ubuntu Dapper test box (Athlon 64 3700+), almost ubearable to use. This makes no sense, but my off the cuff guess is that the Fedora packages have been optimzied better than the Ubuntu packages and the Windows version (by a wide margin). But what it comes down to for me is what feels faster when I have to make a slide show for the PHBs, and for now Office 2003 feels far speedier and responsive than OOo does (on any platform).

Oh Right... (5, Insightful)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409255)

Like performance has ever been a cocnern of Microsoft's. If that were the case, window frames would be handled outside the application so that you could still operate on the window if the application freezes up. If that were the case, Outlook would gather mail in a separate thread so that when the exchange server stops responding I'd still be able to read and compose local email. Or minimize its fucking window. If that were the case, no application could sieze control of eveything else going on at the moment to tell me it's done searching and that I should now click OK.

In fact, until this very day I didn't even realize that performance was even in Microsoft's dictionary, and like so many other words Microsoft uses I don't think it means entirely what they think it means. Newsflash, Microsoft, "innovation" does not mean "steal other people's ideas." "Security" does not mean "It'll be taken over before you can download the first update for it." And "performance" doesn't mean "the entire fucking system stops for 30 seconds when some application decides to stop handling its windows controls." Now STFU [stfu.se] and go back to pushing your poison kool-aid on unsuspecting consumers before Apple eats your lunch.

OpenOffice not the only option (2, Interesting)

CPIMatt (206195) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409259)

The OpenOffice implementation might be a little slow. I my opinion this is probably due to the cross platform nature of OpenOffice itself, or it might be just slow.

The ZDNet article wasn't comparing formats, it was comparing OO.o to MS Office 2003. If they really wanted to do it right, they would add Abiword and K Office.

In my limited, subjective testing the new version K Office is much faster than either OO.o or MS Office in reading in documents.

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