Libre Office 3.4 Beta 1


The Warning Label
The Warning Label

Downloading Libre Office 3.4 Beta 1, and I noticed the warning label. They don’t want me to use it for mission critical purposes, like running the atomic reactor I’m building in the back yard. WTF? I thought the idea of releasing Betas was to test them!

Downloading And Installing Under OSX 10.6.7

Most reviews will concentrate on Windows and Linux, so I’m covering OS X, the third, and increasingly popular platform. Downloading I used Firefox. If I had have used Safari, it would have automatically opened the installer. With Firefox I had to manually open the installer. I prefer this, as having an installer window pop open when you are typing something is less than optimal.

The installer is the typical Mac style installer. Grab the Libre Office Icon, and drag it to the Applications folder. If you have an existing Libre Office installation, you will be asked to confirm that you are over-writing it.

Libre Office Mac Installer
Libre Office Mac Installer

Beyond that installing involves the usual boredom. Since my daughter was watching Top Gear on BBC, and there was a really hot German chick involved in an English-German driving competition, I spent the next minute admiring her chassis.

When I realized that the install had finished, I fired up Libre Office 3.4 Beta 1. The usual message appeared:

Hand Holding - Mac Style
Hand Holding - Mac Style

While I realize that messages like this are a necessity for non-technical users, they still annoy me. But them just about everything does these days 🙂

The next thing that happened was this:

Wow - guess I should rely on it to run the nuclear reactor :)
Wow - guess I shouldn't rely on it to run the nuclear reactor 🙂

I hit Reopen several times, same thing. I hit Ignore, and it closed. I’ve been successfully using the Star Office/Open Office/Libre Office series of Office Suites since Sun first released Star Office 5.2 as a free download about 11 years ago. I’ve never, ever seen this problem before, and I’ve often run beta versions. So I guessed that possible I’d gotten a bad download, downloaded a second copy, and installed it.

Same result. So this time I took the third option, the report to Apple, and did some reading. I’m not a Kernel expert, so I’m going by guess here, but look at the start of the report, I’m going to underline (and comment) the interesting things.

Process:         soffice [46260]
Path:            /Applications/
Identifier:      org.libreoffice.script
Version:         3.4.0 (???) – BETA of course
Code Type:       X86 (Native)
Parent Process:  launchd [187]

Date/Time:       2011-04-15 23:53:16.831 -0400
OS Version:      Mac OS X 10.6.7 (10J869)
Report Version:  6

Interval Since Last Report:          675048 sec
Crashes Since Last Report:           5
Per-App Interval Since Last Report:  50 sec
Per-App Crashes Since Last Report:   5 – Yeah, well, I’m stubborn – I tried it 5 times 🙂
Anonymous UUID:                      988893BF-0259-4022-83F2-BA63F96169CB

Exception Type:  EXC_BAD_ACCESS (SIGBUS) – Anyone?
Exception Codes: KERN_PROTECTION_FAILURE at 0x0000000000000005 – Kernel issues are not good.
Crashed Thread:  0  Dispatch queue:

Thread 0 Crashed:  Dispatch queue:

As I said, I’m not a kernel expert. Don’t have a clue what this means. Since I had never upgraded to 3.3.2 Final, I decided to download and install it. Download and install went fine. You’ll notice that the installer looks a bit different.

Libre Office 3.3.2 Installer Window
Libre Office 3.3.2 Installer Window

So it looks like there’s plans to totally overhaul the installer for version 3.4. I also noticed something else, which I didn’t document fully, because I didn’t know it was important at the time.

Copying 470.4 MB
Copying 470.4 MB

Guess what? Version 3.4 Beta was about 100 Megs smaller! Possibly that’s the problem, maybe I got a bad installer. Or maybe they’ve worked out a way to shrink the installed size of Libre Office. If they have, well, it wouldn’t be as huge a deal as it would have been twenty years ago when I paid nearly $400.00 Canadian for a 200 Megabyte hard drive, but it would still be important.

Beyond that, 3.3.2 Final works the way the Beta did, and looks just like it. So far, release early, release often has worked well for the Document Foundation. It’s too bad about whatever is currently wrong with Libre Office 3.4 Beta 1, I’d really like to try it, however I’m quite willing to admit it might be my computer. I have ha tendency to mess with things, and the computer is now longer in what Apple would consider as ‘stock condition.’


Wayne Borean

Saturday April 16, 2011



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