back to article Too fat to fly: Kevin Smith and OpenOffice

News has surfaced of humiliation for two oversized geek icons. Director Kevin Smith has been deemed too fat to fly by SouthWest airlines, who turfed him off an Oakland to Burbank flight just as he'd buckled himself in. Meanwhile, OpenOffice has been deemed too fat for Ubuntu's NetBook distribution. "I'm way fat... But I'm not …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Further muddy the waters

    A netbook is no longer the cheap and under powered thing it was since they have to at least try and run windows now.

    So at 200 or more of your currency, and with laptops at 300 or a little over, just what is the point anymore.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bloated? Compared to what?

    I use OpenOffice for almost everything, but I also have MS Office 2004 and iWork 09. OpenOffice 3.2 is smaller than either suite, two-thirds the size of iWork. Probably a lot smaller than Office 08, but I don't have it for comparison. OpenOffice has a wider range of tools than either of them too.

    So why is OpenOffice branded as bloated? Can we have some hard data to illustrate this?

    1. Peter Mount

      sometimes there is

      Having recently forking out for a netbook, yes there still is a point - at either £300+ for a laptop or £200+ for a netbook, it all depends on what you want them to do.

      In my case I really needed something smaller than a normal laptop but larger than a tablet/phone - so an 8" netbook was just what I needed - a 14" laptop would have been overkill for what I needed it to do.

    2. Ian McNee

      Hard Data

      Yup it's true: the Open Office 3.2 32-bit Debian package is a whopping 139MB - I mean talk about bloatware! Whereas M$ Office 2007 is so svelte and neatly trimmed that it fits on only 3 CDs! Oh...erm... *cough*

      As for the inclusion of AbiWord (and presumably Gnumeric as with Xubuntu) it seems a sensible compromise as an install of Open Office is only a couple of clicks away. And I would imagine GIMP was removed as it's fairly processor intensive, overtaxing the Atom.

      p.s. Andy: nice to see the merits of Umbongo are growing on you at last :-)

    3. Haku

      Netbook vs laptop

      "just what is the point anymore"

      Physical size and weight.

      For me, my Asus Eee 900 is very convenient to carry around because it's lightweight & small, for a little more I could have gotten a bigger screen, bigger harddrive, faster laptop but the weight & size would make it awkward to carry around with me everywhere.

      I really dislike the trend of the average smaller size of netbooks having 10" screens, my 8.9" screen netbook is perfectly fine for me and I have no troubles touch typing on the keyboard, in fact I now find 'fullsize' keyboards more difficult to type on because they're so much bigger.

    4. Captain Thyratron

      Simple answer.

      Office suites in general tend to be clusterfuckware, because the whole point is to have a single software suite that does everything a beancounter could possibly want. Somebody hid a flight simulator in Excel 97 as an easter egg and nobody inferred this from its size; that was in 1997.

      To claim that OpenOffice isn't bloated because iWork and MS Office are bigger is isomorphic to claiming that to weigh four hundred pounds doesn't make you fat just because people exist who are too fat to walk. You can still hide sandwiches between the folds; ergo, you're fat.

    5. heyrick Silver badge

      What's the point?

      15" laptops.

      17" laptops.

      Laptops bigger than a place mat. Laptops that you can put an LP in, close the lid, and there's no overhang.

      It's the nerdy version of what cars are to penis sizes.

      EeePC901. Itty-bitty. Like a grown-up organiser, but it runs a real operating system with real software so I can get real work done. Small form factor so I can take it pretty much anywhere I go. It is unobtrusive. It is perfect. I don't WANT a big laptop.

      * - Additional benefit #1, the guys at work see me watching MP4s I've recorded off the telly, and they think it's some sort of DVD player. :-)

      * - Additional benefit #2, the management types at work have newish "proper" laptops, and they're always toting wires and stuff around because the battery can't be relied on to get from one end of a tediously long meeting to the other. Wanna know how long MY battery lasts?

  3. Duncan Hothersall

    "Google Gears doesn't really work"

    Oh shit, really? It appears that I've been incredibly lucky then, what with me using it on multiple machines for several years now without fault.

    Google Docs is a perfect solution for a netbook. It's the right decision.

    1. Dave Murray
      Thumb Down

      Right for you maybe

      "Google Docs is a perfect solution for a netbook. It's the right decision."

      For you maybe but not for everyone. I do my best to restrict how much Google track myself and my gf online. We don't have the Google accounts required and we don't want them. Constant digital surveillance and advertising are not features we want.

      Netbooks are perfect for working on while on the train, bus, in the airport, etc but if you want internet access there then you often need to pay for it. If I want to edit a document while travelling why should I pay to do so?

      1. Duncan Hothersall

        Gears means offline

        Understandable that you don't know how Google Docs works since you said you've never used it, but while I agree it would be completely impractical if you had to be online to edit your documents, the whole point of Gears is that you don't. Google Docs with Gears runs offline, and then automatically synchronises your work when you go online again.

        Fair enough if you don't want to use Google on a point of principle - it's not like Ubuntu netbook edition will bar you from installing whatever software you want, so just install what you need. But I continue to think that Google Docs with Gears is a very good default for a netbook.

    2. breakfast
      Thumb Up


      I've found Docs to be great for the netbook because I can pick up with my documents on a real computer later and not have to worry about copying them manually or emailing them about. For what I'm working on at the moment this is a real boon.

  4. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Down

    Kevin Smith

    Actually, Kevin Smith is just being a whiny dick.

    According with SWA's policy on overweight people, he purchased two seats to accomodate his hefty arse. He didn't make his flight on time and asked to be put on a standby list for another flight. When that flight had been boarded, they allocated the standby seats; there were only single seats left, no double seats. As he couldn't fit in a single seat, they couldn't allow him on the plane. This happened at the gate, not on the plane.

    As much as I hate airlines and their cattle-class policies, I have to side with SWA on this one. They were just following their own rules, which he had previously happily followed too. I mean, would you like to be one of the people sitting beside him, if he was too wide to fit between the armrests?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    It had

    very little local storage indeed but great norks!

    1. SuperTim

      erm....yes i would...

      I would be more than happy.

      I would rather not sit next to some thin dick who thinks his thinness is down to his lifestyle choice rather than it just being a fortunate metabolism....

    2. Sampler

      Sides of stories

      There's also a photo he took of himself sat on the plane already boarded - so one of them isn't telling the whole truth.

      Apparently he had both arms down and the belt fastened without the need for an extension which fits SWA's policy to the T on overweight passengers.

      So I suppose it comes down to who you believe.

      I for one side with Smith as he's invited SWA to bring a few chairs down to the Tonight Show where he states he will sit in them (as described above) and if it proves he can't he will donate $10k to a charity of their choice.

      Now he may work in Hollywood but he doesn't have that kind of money to throw around!

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Gosh yes.

        I think a metabolic inability to resist cake *is* unfortunate.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Ah yes of course

        It's metabolism and NOT overindulgent gluttony that makes someone eat on a daily basis 1000s of calories more than they ever need to survive.

        1. Peregrine


          Of course it has to be that the man eats hundreds of thousands of calories per second.


          You ever consider the fact that not ALL overweight people eat tons of calories? Of course not, because you are a self-indugent tosser who doesn't have the thinking capacity to realize anything outside your own idiotically uninformed decisions made in that brain that most downs sydrome people would sigh and pat your ass on the head sadly for. You need the shit kicked out of you. Repeatedly.

          1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

            Re: sigh (rejected)

            Folks - I'm sure I'm on a hiding to nothing here, but could we keep it civil and y'know, non-violent? Express our strong feelings calmly without reference to the mental powers of the disabled and how other commentards fail to make the grade? Peregrine, I'm looking at you. Ta.

          2. JEDIDIAH

            It's really simple math.

            > You ever consider the fact that not ALL overweight people eat tons of calories? Of course not,

            > because you are a self-indugent tosser who

            No. I don't consider the idea because I realize that the universe is governed by universal laws that can be easily expressed in terms of numbers and equations. Some people are genuinely big. They have long legs or wide shoulders. However, most people become big because they eat crap and they eat far too much of it. They also don't bother to exercise.

            Eat too much. Don't exercise enough.

            Everyone that makes excuses are just enablers and are doing no one any favors.

            Chances are, you have no clue what's in what you eat.

        2. Mark 65 Silver badge

          Of course it is

          If his metabolism was faster the 1000s of extra calories wouldn't matter.

    3. Chris Haynes

      Ian Ferguson, I think you're wrong

      I just listened to Smith's SModcast where he states that he only buys two seats because he doesn't like sitting next to people. He *can* fit into one seat, and was actually on the plane (not at the gate), buckled in when Suzanne/Susanne (the SWA girl who had rather stupidly previously cost him $200 by printing out the tickets for three seats instead of the two he had ordered for this flight) came along and told him that the pilot said he was breaching Health & Safety rules.

      He *did* make his flight, in fact he was early and wanted to know if he could get on an earlier flight, to which they said yes and put him on the standby list for the earlier flight.

      He also pointed out that there was a much much fatter guy sitting a few rows behind him and he wasn't asked to leave the plane.

      I think you're wrong on this one. I'd side with the person who just put out their side of the story - Kevin Smith. Your response was factually inaccurate on more than one point.

      Oh, EeePC girl. Something about Ubuntu? I missed the rest of the article.

    4. Nick G

      Kevin Smith...

      Disagrees on pretty much every point:

      He was actually EARLY for his flight & asked to be bumped up to an earlier flight.

      He could sit in the seat, without using an extender & could get both arms down (the SWA litmus test exactly...)

      And it happened on the plane...

  6. Dr. Mouse Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Well done

    I had almost forgotten about the EeePC girl...

  7. Andrew Smith

    Abi Word?

    I don't care much for Open Office but an offline word processor or ms word file reader is essential, Abi Word is lightweight, usable and makes a good work of most formats. Shame that it hasn't been included, I'd recommend it to anyone with an ubuntu netbook edition.

  8. Identity


    "Dogma" is the better movie

    1. Will Leamon
      Thumb Up


      Mall Rats.

      1. Haku

        no, Clerks

        Thirty seven?!?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the trouble is

    ...a lot of SSD-based netbooks with 20 gig SSDs have a fast 4 gig area for boot drive, and a slower, separate 16 gig device (often used for /home). Umbongo can have a few issues fitting in the 4 GB if you're not careful, as you need enough space to distupgrade too (unless you cheat with softlinks for bits of /usr during the upgrade).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      just bought a new 16gb SSD to replace the stock one in my 901 for exactly that reason. As a bonus it's much, much faster.

      1. Freddie

        There's a program you're forgetting

        |OOo| > |abiwork| > |antiword|.

        Everything I use fits nicely on my 4GB ssd, thanks. If it were a main machine, or I was sharing it with someone who wasn't as happy to nerd around as much the space might get a bit restrictive, however.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Tom 35 Silver badge

    Keep it small

    It's not like you can't install what you want if you have the room. But if you have a small flash drive you don't what a bunch of stuff you don't need taking up all the space.

  12. Sergio BR
    Thumb Up

    Yes, OpenOffice is to fat for a netbook

    I'm a heavy user of OpenOffice, both at Home and at Work. I've been using OO in multiple OSes since 2002 so I think I'm not negative biased in my opinion.

    I'm not sure Google Docs is ready yet, but I'm sure OpenOffice running on a 1G machine does not provide a good user experience. And the tiny screens present on these machine make things even worse. There are too much toolbars and dynamically shown screen elements that prevents to have a good experience.

    Clearly disk is not a issue anymore, but most netbooks are limited to 1GB memory limit hardwired, so it should be considered.

  13. vagabondo

    Ubunto Netbook keeping OOo

    I thought that Rick Spencer, from the Ubuntu Netbook Edition had U-turned on Thursday, and OOo is due to remain in the distribution.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fuck Kevin Smith

    and his basement-dwelling fanboys

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Piss-poor excuse for a 'fan-shirt' if you ask me. Voted Down.

    2. heyrick Silver badge

      1Gb memory limit hardwired?

      What, don't the Netbooks you've seen take some sort of SIMM/DIMM/whatever? Mine's a 1Gb model, but I can upgrade it to, I think, 4Gb by changing the memory. Not that I need to. Since I trimmed the rubbish installed in Firefox, it is a LOT more stable (no longer runs out of memory and dies) plus marginally faster at starting. So 1Gb does me.

      Oh, I'm running Thunderbird, Firefox with six tabs, WinSCP connected, Metapad, PhotoImpact5, Apache/php local (EasyPHP), WinAMP to and the usual bunch of services, antivirus etc. All in 1Gb with no swap. I have around 100Mb free memory, but then I could quit PhotoImpact, done with it. <clicky> There, done. Nearly 300Mb free now those images and dozens of undo buffers have been tossed.

      If I can write, design, and test a bunch of PHP on Windows on a 1Gb netbook while taking pictues of it and checking my email, surely it is possible to run an office suite under Ubuntu in a gigabyte?

  15. zanto
    Thumb Up


    the beach girl is back.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good decision

    I've flown with hippos in the seat next to me and it sucks. They were right to pull his fat arse off the plane with one seat and put him on the plane with two seats. The guy needs to get help for more than his weight issues.

  17. Jelliphiish


    troll much AC at 14.48?

    also, dogma: if only for Chris rock..

    I'm with Kevin, and I'm not fat either..

    as for the IT angle, it's linux on a netbook.. sooo last year..

  18. Mike Hanna

    Chubby Kev...

    ...should cut out the pies, but then he wouldn't have something to complain about, and he can be very funny when he's complaining. Check his interviews about turning down the Superman movie.

    Clerks is the best (specifically the Death Star II contractor conversation) with Dogma a very close second.

    Do people use NetBooks for resource heavy stuff? Surely if you know that you want something to run OO you'd go for a laptop?

  19. Andrew Oakley

    CPU grunt not storage space

    I'd have thought that Ubuntu's decision to ditch OpenOffice on Netbook Remix has nothing to do with storage space (as El Reg suggests) and a lot more to do with processing power. Most netbooks are single-core 1.6GHz affairs which lack the oomph to run OpenOffice - which is not only already bloated, but also runs in Java. If Sun made a native X86 version of OOo then I'm sure it would be a much better experience all round. Sun could also cut down the bloat by moving much of the "features" into plug-ins (OOo 3 already supports plugins).

  20. Ian Ferguson
    Paris Hilton


    Well, in regards to Kevin Smith / SWA, at least one side of the argument are lying out of their arse. Probably both sides distorting the story, to tell the truth.

    I'm still more inclined to believe SWA than Kevin Smith, as a corporation stating their position in a press release have to be bloody careful, whereas a private citizen (and a celebrity at that) can pretty much say what they like, truth be damned, and still get the public on their side.

    If Kevin Smith is 100% right about the incident, it's probably because the pilot had seen Chasing Amy, so you can't blame him.

    1. Keith Oldham

      Re : CPU grunt not storage space

      Why do you think OO runs in Java ?

      It's the first thing I turn off in an OO installation - speeds up starting

    2. Keith Oldham

      Re : CPU grunt not storage space

      Just to expand on this :

      These are the software requirements to COMPILE OO under Linux

      software requirements

      * glibc:

      o for OOo<=3.1: 2.2.x or higher

      o for OOo>3.1: 2.3.2 or higher

      * C/C++ Compiler:

      o gcc >= 3.3

      o gcc 4.2.3 is the current reference compiler

      * The X11 development libraries and header files[1]

      * PAM including the development headers[2]

      * bash[3].

      * gtk2 and libtiff including the development headers[4]

    3. Rob
      Thumb Up

      Nail on the head

      "Clerks is the best (specifically the Death Star II contractor conversation) with Dogma a very close second."

      Words of wisdom, completely agree :)

    4. Juiceman


      Perhaps the pilot was one of the uptight religious folks that had a hissy fit over Dogma and finally saw his chance to get back at him? A long time to hold a grudge I admit, but it's not out of the realm of possibilities.

  21. Paul_Murphy

    Can OO be run from an SD card?

    just saying.


  22. Rippy

    Who is she, anyway?

    The eeePC model that is ... she has become so iconic to the industry (or at least to ElReg readers) that we really need to know her name to properly honour her.



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