I found the following thread interesting relating a comparison of Abiword performance (subjective, but still valid) on Debian (soft float), Raspbian (hard float) and Gentoo (hard float).
http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewt ... =50&t=9228
Coincidentally I did install Abiword today on my Raspberry Pi (before reading that thread) and I really can't dispute that it does feel sluggish. If Abiword seems to feel faster under Gentoo, I wonder what's up with the Raspbian build? Does this indicate that some flags are set incorrectly, at least for the Abiword package? Or, is some other issue at play?
When looking at such comparisons, something to keep in mind is that the original Debian package maintainer may be setting the configuration options of the package for something that runs well on a 1.5 GHz dual-core Intel/AMD CPU with 2 GB of RAM and a fast hard drive with plenty of swap. These configuration settings then get propagated to build packages on much less endowed systems and the application runs slower than if the maintainer thought what configuration settings make more sense for a system with a 700MHz, single core, 256MB system. It's possible the Gentoo build chose options and such more suitable for a minimal system.
I don't want to rationalize away why Abiword seems to run slower under Raspbian (which is why I started this thread), but I would be curious as to what others think. Plugwash and I don't have the time bandwidth to chase down the reasons why an specific package might be running slow. However, if there are general things we should be looking at applicable across a wide number of packages, we should certainly be aware of what those issues might be. For individual packages, I'm hoping that those interested in specific packages will get back to us with specific patches that will make certain packages run better within the limited resources of the Raspberry Pi. If members could get involved in this manner it would make Raspbian a better distro for all.
Do others have thoughts on this?
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I haven't tested Abi Word, but I tried out Calligra's word processor (under Raspian Pisces RC2) and it performed really good. I think this supports your theory, supposing both word processors are similar in their need for resources.