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Libreoffice/Portableapps and Linux

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gebi
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Libreoffice/Portableapps and Linux

Hello all,

I had to install Libreoffice on an USB stick.

As I run Linux on my box this is a little adventure, cause the install package for libreoffice stickware is a windows executable.

My first approach was, to run an XP guest in Virtualbox (4.1.22), and to hand the USB stick over to the XP guest, so that XP could write directly onto the stick. As my Virtualbox is PUEL licensed from Oracle for personal use it was possible to also install the extension pack from Oracle, which provides USB 2.0 via an EHCI emulation. Okaaayy, sounds good.
More than 8 hours later the installation was ready !! It was running in the background, but it was quite annoying that it lasts such a long time to copy ~365MB onto the stick. Thats a datatransfer rate of about 12kB/sec ! Holy shit !

Once again using my fastest USB stick (a Transcend Jetflash) it was lasting about half an hour, which is also not impressive.

After verification that the fresh installed LO runs, a backed it up under native Linux into a tar.bz2 file. Then I did some comparisons. I used some of my sticks (all FAT32 formatted, but not the Jetflash) and unpacked the tar.bz2 archive onto them. That lasted about 3-9 minutes, which is a datatransfer rate of ~675kB/sec to ~2,1MB/sec. Much more realistic values !

Then I decided to unpack the tar.bz2 from the XP guest using Cygwin, again to an attached USB stick and handed over to the VM. Using Virtualbox I canceled this after more than 90 minutes.
Meanwhile I have transfered the VM from Virtualbox to VMware Workstation (7.1.5), which also has an USB 2.0 EHCI emulation, now, after 105 minutes it's ready. This is the same stick which lasted 9 minutes to unpack the tar.bz2 under native Linux ! More than factor 10 slower for the same amount of data, and this with a commercial virtualizer software.

The fastest method I have found to unpack the stickware.exe is to use wine:

cp LibreOfficePortable_3.6.1_MultilingualNormal.paf.exe /tmp; cd /tmp; wine LibreOfficePortable_3.6.1_MultilingualNormal.paf.exe

You get a directory with a full unpacked stickware LO, which you can copy onto your stick for instance with cp or tar or cpio or whatever. This unpacking method lasts about ~5min (wine utilized all cores of my CPU), copying again a few minutes, and you are ready to go.

For me it looks that a lot of performance is absorbed in the virtualizers. But maybe you maintainers could provide your packages in a more open-source friendly format ?! Maybe tar, or 7z, or rar, a format where native clients exist on all platforms, not only a winblows exe which is a bad, unfriendly format ..

Otherwise, great thing, to have such a variety of applications not polluted with this damned registry sh*t.

All tests have been conducted on one system: AMD 640 quad core (with hardware support for virtualization enabled) with 4GB RAM, Debian Squeeze with it's 2.6.32 kernel as host patched to latest software, Virtualbox from Oracles repository, VMware Workstation 7.1.5, both guests with their guest utilities installed. XP SP2 as guest, 512MB RAM, 1 CPU, 10GB harddisk. No swapping (host and guests), no other apps running.

- Keep up the good work

John T. Haller
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PortableApps.com Format Reasoning

There are quite a few reasons for keeping things as .paf.exe as outlined here: https://portableapps.com/about/what_is_a_portable_app#whypaf

No other format (zip, 7z, tar) can do what PortableApps.com Format can.

Wine is a supported method for using our apps on Linux and all our tools are written and tested to be Wine friendly, even detecting Wine and working around known bugs.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

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