Saturday, December 30, 2023

FreeOffice Textmaker

I've been a LibreOffice user for years. It works well enough, is feature rich, and does everything I need.


Until now.

I loaded the edited draft of Dead of Winter (Nina Cohen #2), to go through it change by change, comment by comment, and apply those comments to the master manuscript in Obsidian, just as though it was the old days, and we were all still dealing with typed manuscripts. With a 98000 word document, plus many, many comments (E.C. Tobler is a great editor), LibreOffice staggered under the load. Cursor movement was choppy, rendering took visible time, and was often glitchy. In all respects, it behaved like the steaming pile of Java it is, asked to do some significant computing.

This was on my desktop machine, a Core i7 4790K, 32GB of ram, video accelerator, and everything. It's not a heavy breathing gaming machine anymore, but it's no slouch.

So I started looking for a word processor that was better, ran on Linux, and was inexpensive, ideally free.

The pickings were pretty thin. They seem to fall into three camps: mediocre markdown editors, online office suites on JoeBob's server company for twelve bucks a month, and LibreOffice. There was one standout: Softmaker's FreeOffice suite.

So I tried it.

It loaded the file without a hiccup. It displayed all the comments with no issue, and somehow made it easier to read than LibreOffice. And... well, it's free. As in beer, not the other kind.

Like free beer, there's a catch. It's small. Freeoffice TextMaker is an older version of Softmaker Office, which is available as a subscription service*, or as a pro version for a one-time payment. FreeOffice is their way of advertising to the world, "Hey, we sell a nice office suite!" Occasionally, it advertises that fact when you first start it. I'm okay with that.

In truth, I've not asked a great deal of FreeOffice yet, and I've not yet purchased SoftOffice Pro, but on the face of it, if you have corner-case problems with LibreOffice like mine, it's definitely worth checking out. The price, as they say, is right.

*Every time I see "Software as a service," a line from Starter Villain goes through my head: "Imagine testicles as a service..." I can't take them seriously anymore. Thanks Scalzi. :)






SoftMaker Office 

Starter Villain 



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