vrijdag 16 december 2011

'LibreOffice 3.5 faster on Windows than Excel'

LibreOffice 3.5 will beat Excel in speed on certain tasks.
The upcoming first beta of the free office suite will perform better than Excel as the result of community work, thus showing the real advantage of open source software.
At December 28 and 29 there will be a big international bug-hunting session with the beta release of 3.5.0.
LibreOffice 3.5.0 beta1 will be on the servers in the next days.

Where previously Calc, the spreadsheet component of LibreOffice, was not rewarded for high performance, the new version will bring some good news. This has been made possible by the true open source character of the project, where various developers, volunteers and full time, cooperated to improve the speed when opening documents with a large amount of named ranges, sheets and formulas.
This can be read from a blog from Kohei Yoshida, one of Calcs leading developers and a major LibreOffice contributor right from the beginning of the project. Various speed tests were posted there, and one shows that Calc performs twice as fast with that task then Excel does.
Developer Kohei however stresses that this win on Excel is of course only in one use case and that there are many areas where LibreOffice needs to improve: "But we are working aggressively on improving the internal structures, that will hopefully bring much better performance in the future versions. So I'm very confident for our future prospect in the performance area."

The major part of the work on this improvement has been done by Laurent Godard and Markus Mohrhard. The initial goal of course was to improve the quality and efficiency of LibreOffice. And that shows: the upcoming 3.5 release of LibreOffice is roughly a factor ten faster with this work than the previous versions. Markus Mohrhard: "This a first step for specific cases and the Calc team is working so that future version will show growing drastic efficiency on loading – the more volunteers come, the sooner it will occur. But the plans are set."
Laurent Godard adds: "Maybe the most important part of our work is, that it shows the advantage of real open source: if the software does not fit your needs you can put some time into it to make it work for you."

The LibreOffice community is working hard for the release of version 3.5, February next year. As one of the steps in this process, an international bug-hunting session is being organised on December 28 and 29. Don't miss that :-)

14 opmerkingen:

  1. It is worth pointing out that this is only one area in which performance is now better. There still remains a very substantial amount of work that people can get involved with to improve calc performance generally such that it can compete with Excel.

  2. @Michael
    " It is worth pointing out that this is only
    one area in which performance is now better. "

    I agree - and I do write that. But it was hard to get the whole story in the head line, so only picked out the most important part.

  3. Some time ago a colleague of mine provided me with a real world test case:

    An XLS file:
    3 data sheets (ca. 1200 rows and 4 columns of data in each sheet)
    3 sheets containing X-Y-graphs of this data

    Excel on Windows XP (32-bit) loaded this file in 7 to 8 seconds.

    OOo Calc 3.1.0 on the same machine took minutes to load the file, didn't display the
    graphs correctly and crashed frequently.

    I contacted Sun's Ingrid Halama on this, and several improvements were made to Calc.

    Recent timings on a slightly more powerful openSuSE 11.4 (32-bit) system, after repeated
    loadings to enable optimal caching of the file:

    Oracle Calc 3.3.0 under wine loads the file in 35 seconds, and it displays the graphs correctly.

    Calc 3.4.4 (linux version from OBS-stable) loads this file in 23 seconds.

    Calc 3.5.0 Beta 1 (linux version downloaded from TDF-site) on the same machine takes 47 seconds......

    I may be comparing apples and oranges here, but this does look like a speed regression to me.
    3.5.0 is even slower than 3.3.0 under wine!

  4. The comparison on my openSuSE machine with the global500.ods file:
    Calc 3.4.4: 55 seconds
    Calc 3.5.0 Beta 1: 7 seconds
    This speed increase is about the same as Kohei Yoshida reports.

    In my opinion, this rules out some possible causes of the speed regression for the XLS file loading:
    - different compile time optimisations
    - optimisations done by openSuSE to make their OBS versions run faster on their systems

    No apples and oranges.

    Kohei Yoshida is planning to do a lot of optimisation work on the loading of files in Calc. Good plan, but it might be wise to compile a set of real world test files to gauge his progress, and to give early warning on unexpected speed regressions. A kind of "SunSpider" speedtest for Calc?

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