In yesterday's shootout between Open Office Calc 1.1.4 versus Microsoft Office Excel 2003, Open Office Calc suffered a brutal beating at the hands of Microsoft Excel. The talkback section was flooded by noon and the spinmeisters were in full force. A couple of people complained that I should have used Open Office Beta2 (version 1.9.125) thinking that it should be a big improvement. Since Beta2 is the version of Open Office that generates the Oasis certified Open Document format that's been getting a lot of attention lately because of Massachusetts' decision to convert to Oasis Open Document formats, I thought I should give it a try and add Open Office Beta2 results to the mix. Instead of posting the results here out-of-context from the earlier results, I've added the new results to yesterday's shootout. If the Open Office proponents were hoping for a savior in Beta2, they got a big dud instead.
If yesterday's results for Open Office Calc 1.1.4 weren't bad enough, Calc Beta2 got worse. Instead of being an embarrassing 98 times slower with Calc 1.1.4, it's now 112 times slower for Calc Beta2 to create an Open Document ODS file. Creation of the older Open Office SXC format for Calc Beta2 was even worse at 169 times slower. Memory consumption topped out at 240 MBs of RAM for Open Office Calc Beta2 to run while Excel 2003 operated in less than 80 MBs of RAM when working with the same 16-sheet spreadsheet. The only improvement with Open Office Beta2 that I've seen is that it doesn't require a Java runtime whereas Open Office 1.1.4 had some components that required a Java runtime.
Massachusetts wants to convert everything to this new and "improved" XML based open file format by 2007, I hope they know what they're going to be in for. Unless some dramatic improvement is made to Open Office 2 on the order of two magnitudes, you couldn't get me to touch Open Doc spreadsheets with a ten foot pole. If someone from Open Office can explain why it takes more than 100 times longer to create and load spreadsheet documents and why it uses up several more times memory than Microsoft Excel to work with the same data, I'd love to hear it.