Go-oo: A Lighter, Faster OpenOffice, With Extras

by Ostatic Staff - Nov. 10, 2008

One of the main complaints about the open source OpenOffice.org suite of productivity applications is that the applications are slow compared to the sleeker standalone alternatives, and even slower than the comparable Microsoft Office apps. If you've run into this problem, and if you use OpenOffice but occasionally run into compatibility problems in sharing files with the Microsoft Office applications, try Go-oo.

Go-oo is a fork of OpenOffice version 2.4, for Windows and Linux. It doesn't include some of the features found in OpenOffice 3.0 but it is much faster, and includes some compatibility features that can be handy to have around even if you primarily use the OpenOffice suite. You do have to have OpenOffice uninstalled to install Go-oo, but it's a small quibble, and there are several ways to run both, which makes a lot of sense.

Go-oo has built-in OpenXML filters and is designed to import Microsoft Works files flawlessly. I've imported graphics, spreadsheets and even complex macros from Excel into the Go-oo Calc application without any problems. The Calc spreadsheet in Go-oo is better at running macros written in Excel than OpenOffice's version of Calc is. The standard applications you get in Go-oo are the same as the ones in OpenOffice: Base, Calc, Draw, Impress, Math and Writer.

Users of OpenOffice on Linux may especially appreciate some of the extras in Go-oo, including added multimedia features, and enabled native file-selectors. Users looking for more Excel-like features in the Calc spreadsheet may also appreciate the Solver features (see the screen below, where Solver is doing a spreadsheet optimization), and support for VBA macros. Also, Go-oo does an excellent job of working with graphics created in Microsoft's Visio.

When you get right down to it, though, Go-oo's main attraction comes from its snappier performance. It's lighter in footprint than OpenOffice, and the applications launch much faster than the OpenOffice parallel applications. It's good to have on hand, and the download and installation are doable in under five minutes.Sometimes two heads are better than one.