Portable version of OpenOffice.org unveiled

Portable version of OpenOffice.org unveiled

Summary: OpenOffice 2.0.1 now comes on a flash drive, but an analyst claims that at 144MB it's too bloated to be truly portable


The latest version of Portable OpenOffice.org, an edition of the open source office suite that fits on a USB stick, includes a number of updates such as full support for Windows 2000 and launchers for each OpenOffice.org application.

Portable OpenOffice.org 2.0.1 includes all the applications included in OpenOffice.org 2.0.1 and takes up only 144MB of storage space, compared to the 300MB of disk space required by the full version of the office suite.

Portable OpenOffice.org can be used to replace a laptop when travelling or as a back-up to applications on a PC, according to John Haller, who developed the application.

But 144MB is still too big, considering that many USB sticks only store 256MB, according to Gary Barnett, a research director at analyst firm Ovum.

"In my view it's too bloated to be genuinely portable," said Barnett. "I think there is definitely scope for a maximum 40MB packaging of OpenOffice, but it doesn't need to provide all of the features. It only needs to provide basic editing and viewing features to create documents and view other people's documents."

Barnett said that he would prefer a version of OpenOffice.org that could be accessed online, similar to the Web word processor Writely, rather than relying on a USB stick that can easily be lost.

"Wherever I am in the world I can spend a portion of my day connected to the Internet so I would like to be able to access an online OpenOffice document store and an online OpenOffice application," said Barnett.

Portable OpenOffice.org 2.0.1 can be downloaded from the project Web site.

Topic: Apps

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  • I would like to see a web version also, but availability needs to be addressed.

    I am encouraged by the current wireless systems just coming on to the market (I think Cingular is the only vendor right now, and in limited areas) that offer DSL speeds from a wireless modem connection.

    If that moves to general use by most wireless carriers, wherever they reach, at a reasonable cost, it could make hotspots unnecessary and give true portability to the internet. That's when all these applications will become practical.
  • Aside from the fact that a Web based version would be nice, here in the UK, not many people are using WiFi connections due to the cost and a 512M USB stick would cost about the same as 20 hours WiFi useage. So The notion that it's needs too much space doesn't wash, also the point that it may easily get lost is laughable, more probably the laptop and eveerything with it could be stolen, a colleague once had his snatched as he walked along the street.
  • This would be great for schools.

    Requiring students to have a 1GB memory stick (they aren't that expensive, and far cheaper and more useful than a copy of MS Office) that can then be used to hold the software students need to do their school work (along with their school work) would be a great way to make software more accessible.

    Of course, with Microsoft's licensing requirements, this isn't possible, but with OpenOffice.org-2.0.x now having everything students need for office software (word processor, spreasheet, database, presentation) this is a very viable alternative to using MS Office as school and then expecting students to fork out for another copy at home.