EOMA68 Computing Devices

An Earth-friendly way to easily upgrade and fix your own computer

Aug 03, 2016

Project update 23 of 75

Gimp, LibreOffice and Printing

by Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton

We’ve been asked to demonstrate LibreOffice, Gimp and also took the opportunity to show printing (in this case using a networked HP Laserjet).

We have two videos here, with Lilyana helping out. The setup is the sunxi 3.4 kernel (which is known to be stable but slower) as the latest experimental 4.7 mainline linux kernel is faster but regularly crashes. So please bear in mind: there is significant percentage points speed improvements to be had, here. Also bear in mind that these prototype units only have 1.0 GB of RAM, not 2.0 GB, and that the OS is installed on a slower 10mbytes/sec MicroSD card instead of the much faster Sandisk Ultra Plus cards which are known to operate at sustained speeds of 20mbytes/sec. The first video shows the well-known LibreOffice suite, starting it up, typing a few words and printing out. Strangely there’s a huge pause rendering the screen for print-preview. The second video likewise shows start-up time and print time for the Gimp, which has no such huge pause between pressing Ctrl-P and the print dialog coming up.

Overall, despite the lack of optimisation, it’s clearly functional. Unlike many other computers based around monolithic designs, we have room for improvement, including upgrading the entire computer for a fraction of the cost.

Update August 3, 2016: We received this from one of our backers:

I think the long pause to the printer dialog being fully rendered in the LO
video could be the system checking the networked printer for status (possibly
also waking it up) and capabilities. On the second print it then has that
already cached so it’s much faster. At least that’s how it works when I turn on
my my networked Epson to print something from Devuan. It just shows ‘waiting
for printer’ or something next to the printer name and doesn’t redraw the
window for a few seconds, then goes to ‘ready’. Maybe with your graphics stack
it just doesn’t do the first full update (similar to when you started the GIMP
the splashscreen was only updating when it was half-way done) so it’s just
blank :)

So we tried it out - pressed "cancel" on a print, then tried again: it’s definitely taking several seconds to render, and it’s probably because there’s a "Print Preview" included by default in the LibreOffice print dialog. Basically it sounds like a bug in LibreOffice to me, if it takes this long! We tried it on an Intel laptop as well - you can see that the "Print Preview" also takes time to render, but it’s not as noticeable as the rest of the dialog comes up around it. Needs investigating.

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