My Real World Test: MS Office vs. OpenOffice

Controversy continues to swirl around ZDNet‘s George Ou’s blog report that compares 2.0 with Microsoft Office. Here’s George’s latest entry, Performance analysis of OpenOffice and MS Office:

Microsoft Office came out very lean and fast while Office Suite was just the opposite. Some couldn’t accept the numbers and complained that the Task Manager numbers may be inaccurate and hiding memory usage. They demanded more proof, so here it is.

In my previous blog entry I warned readers not to base your choice on such a simple comparison as George Ou’s benchmark of Excel vs. Calc. George responded with, among other comments, “All I do is present the data. It’s up to you to interpret it. Just don’t make anything up to refute it.”

OK, George. I have a spare half-hour, so I tried a few unscientific tests that might put all this into perspective. You see, interpretation is exactly the problem. I don’t refute the data in George’s benchmarks, but I do question his conclusion that is so much slower and more wasteful of memory of resources than MS Office that Office is worth the $240 price tag.

First, let me point out that I’ve paid for MS Office (or Office upgrades) way more than once. The $240 price is for this year’s model. is free — forever. That means upgrades will also be free. Over time, as you learn to be productive with, you might save a great deal more than $240.

In fact, I haven’t bought the latest version of Office, so I decided to try my tests with the version I have. I used Word 2002 and Excel 2002.

Second, a real world test might include PCs that are not optimized or tweaked in any way. You might, for example, just choose a random PC and see what happens — a PC that might be infected, or a PC that’s locked down tight. The point is to try this test in the real world, not in a lab. So I chose my son’s Dell Inspiron 4100 laptop, circa 2002.

Power users might disagree with this approach, but most people have an average machine, probably a year old or more, and they have what came with it, which is likely to be an older version of MS Office than what’s available today. So they face a choice: buy the new version of MS Office, use the version of MS Office they already have, or get 2.0.

The laptop has a Pentium III (866 MHz) and 256K [correction: 256 MB] of RAM — nothing special. But consider this: the version of MS Office designed in that era for that environment should run well, while, designed with more modern PCs in mind (which have more RAM and faster drives), should run slower. This presumably gives MS Office the edge in this test. If is truly a memory and resource hog, it would not run as well on an older PC as the version of MS Office designed for that older PC.

So imagine, if you will, that you just want to test how well these programs run without getting into the specifics and details of what these programs do “under the hood”. I tested the Word and Excel components of MS Office vs. the Writer and Calc components of

At first glance, the results seem useless and insignificant. But they point out the folly of relying on benchmarks that measure performance outside the norm. If the difference between one program’s save and another program’s save is the blink of an eye, the difference makes no difference.

1. Application load time. I downloaded and installed 2.0, and after installation I shut down and restarted the PC. I then launched Microsoft Word first, then 2.0, from the Start menu, and counted the seconds until I could start typing into a new document:

Word: 39 seconds Writer: 27 seconds

2. Open a native text document. For Word, I used a 200 KB Word document — the first chapter of my book, Just Say No to Microsoft (I guess that shows my bias, right?). For, I used the exact same chapter saved in 1.14 native format, which is only 92 KB:

Word: 7 seconds Writer: 10 seconds

3. Save the document in the native format. I used Word to save the document used in test #2 in the native Word format as a new file, and I used 2.0 to save the document in its native format, ODT (OpenDoc format):

Word: 1 second Writer: 2 seconds

3a. At this point I wanted to test how long it took to save a document in a cross-platform format. 2.0 lets me save to the Word doc format as well as the XML-based Open Doc format and other formats, so I chose the Word doc format. Word 2002 doesn’t offer an XML-based format in the Save As dialog, so I chose a Mac Word format, which is a bit different than the PC Word format:

Word: 2 seconds Writer: 2 seconds

By the way, it took 3 seconds for to open the Word format version of the same document.

4. For my Excel vs. Calc test, I used 10YEAR, a mortgage investment analysis spreadsheet, 68K in size, provided as a sample from, Inc. I first launched Excel and Calc (I didn’t test application load time), then used them first to open the spreadsheet:

Excel: 9 seconds Calc: 8 seconds

5. I then saved the spreadsheet as a new file in the respective programs’ native formats:

Excel: 1 second Calc: 2 seconds

6. Finally, I saved the spreadsheet in a cross-platform XML format — in Word, I used Microsoft XML, and in 2.0, I used ODT:

Excel: 2 seconds Calc: 3 seconds

Conclusion: What’s the big deal? 2.0 about as fast as MS Office, with very little if any speed differences in real-world environments and with typical files. Clearly there is no justification for declaring 2.0 to be more bloated and porky than MS Office. It hardly matters to the average user what the relative memory footprints and CPU usage measurements are — my PC with 256K [correction: 256 MB, must have K on the brain] RAM and a 866MHz Pentium III demonstrates that MS Office and are very similar in performance.

Note: I can make these files available to anyone who wants to try this same test. But remember, it’s just as easy to test the programs yourself with typical document and spreadsheet files.

So maybe you need to look at other factors before choosing which one to use. Such as the feature set, the document format, and the price of sticking with MS Office vs., which is free.

Share 2: Built for Comfort, Not for Speed?

Controversy swirls around a blog report from a respected columnist that compares 2.0 with Microsoft Office — in particular, Calc vs. Microsoft Excel — and declares to be a pig: slower and fatter in its memory footprint. The comparison is relevant only to Windows XP users — Mac and Linux users would not only have completely different operating environments and different results but also different motivations for using

There’s nothing like a misguided “apples vs. oranges” comparison to get the blog juices flowing. The blog post 2.0 is here, but is it a pig? by ZDNet‘s George Ou starts out with the question, “ 2.0 is finally out with much fanfare, but is it a memory and resource hog?” He concludes that it probably is, based on comparison tests he ran with a large spreadsheet file. Howls of protest ensued, mostly in reaction to the headline and the idea that a simple test of this nature was no real comparison at all.

Typical of the many negative comments generated by this blog is this one, posted by “georgep”:

You start off with a headline implying that OO is a pig. Most readers will not download your file and discover that it is in the end of the tail of the distribution of users. For most users, the ms lost are irrelevant. You should be honest and say that a few power users may find OO too slow, but 99% of users will not notice the difference.

I agree with the above comment with regard to the original blog post. George Ou was not talking about an average file but a very large one — 293,059,603 bytes in size. With average file sizes used in everyday work, the perceived speed differences between Microsoft Office and are just not that relevant. My own file-opening tests (with much smaller documents that are typical of my work) demonstrated insignificant results. I didn’t bother to try to refute any of Ou’s statistics or conclusions on memory usage, though other commmentators did.

One coherent explanation, posted as a comment by “DerekBerube”, points out how the comparison doesn’t take into account the added functionality of

The latency that you’re seeing opening the file in OpenOffice is likely due to the fact that [] Calc is not only opening the doucment, but also validating the XML structure. Since Excel opens the file much faster, it leads me to conclude that it isn’t doing something that Calc is (namely validaing the structure of the document).

George’s “benchmarks” hardly provide a basis for comparison of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the respective office suites. It just illustrates different implmementation decisions.

Indeed, if you are concerned about document portability (as is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and other government agencies, as well as large businesses and everyday individuals who detest being locked into commercial software applications), you would not only want to use the standard XML-based format, you’d also want the software to validate it when opening and saving documents.

Many comments questioned George Ou’s motives in writing the original blog post; some speculated that he is on Microsoft’s payroll. He doesn’t seemed to be biased for Microsoft, his opinions are contrary to mine with regard to Web applications. I found several of his articles promoting the idea that rich, fat client applications are better than Web applications — he even challenged the folks at Sun to abandon their desktop applications and try to use a Web implementation of Office. He reported that no one accepted the challenge. The problem with his challenge is that he made it way too soon. Web applications are only beginning to be developed; besides, I now use WordPress (a Web application for writing blog posts and managing blogs) as often as or any other client application.

Way down deep in the comments, I came across George’s actual bias, which is an understandable one:

It’s my job in the enterprise to fix “slowness”. That’s what I get paid to do, whack slowness.

Race car drivers tend to see the world as one giant racetrack, and use as their measure the rate of acceleration. The rest of us drivers are more concerned about gas mileage and reliability. Don’t base your choice on such as simple comparison as George Ou’s test. Read other comparisons (I’ll try to keep you posted) and try your own tests — with your own real-world documents.

Share Version 2 Released

Programmers released version 2 of on Thursday, Oct. 20. It’s a major overhaul to the free open-source software suite that has become a serious rival to Microsoft Office.

Nearly 50 million copies of OpenOffice have been downloaded, according to CNet in “OpenOffice celebrates turning 2.0” by Stephen Shankland. One person commented, “I use OO since spring 2003 (V1.3). (YES this is a MS-Office FREE company!) We work for Volkswagen, Porsche and their suppliers. In the last 2.5 years I sent hundreds of DOC XLS PPT PDF files, that all were created in OO and I never ever had a problem. I only can recommend OO!!!” uses the standardized OpenDocument format — not supported by Microsoft Office — that the State of Massachusetts has decided to use exclusively.

OpenOffice 2.0 can now open even password-protected MS Office files as well as import WordPerfect files, and documents can include digital signatures for authentication. You can work in a multipane view in OpenOffice 2.0 that separates tool and work areas, and you can customize the toolbar. now also includes the Java-based HSQLDB database to provide an alternative to Microsoft Access.

For Mac users, there are two different projects aiming to port to Mac OS X: the team and the NeoOffice team.

NeoOffice/J version 1.1 uses a mixture of Carbon and Java to offer better integration with the Mac OS X environment — including support for rich text and image exchange using the Mac Clipboard or drag-and-drop functionality. But power-users will probably prefer the official version for Mac OS X, which still uses the X11 windowing system ontop of Mac OS X, but is more stable, looks exactly like versions on Windows and Linux, includes on-line help, and supports the OpenDocument format. Both are free, and you can safely install both versions side-by-side on the same computer and test them for yourself.

For an inside look at how version 2 evolved, see “ 2.0: An Office Suite With No Horizons” — an interview by the Mad Penguin with OOo community manager, Louis Suarez-Potts. Here’s an excerpt: the project has become enormous and enormously important to millions. The project numbers probably around 100 sub-projects catering to the needs of well over 250,000 registered members. Our downloads average over 400,000 per week, and that’s just from the official site. We support over 50 language projects. And every major Linux distributor is involved in the project, with companies like Novell, Red Hat, Mandriva, Propylon; organizations like Debian, and so on participating in building the code. I’m not even counting the hundreds of independent groups and individuals localizing and porting the source. And now, governments are getting into the act. I feel immensely proud and optimistic when governments like those of Brazil, Massachusetts, Vienna, and parts of the French administrations adopt…

It seems to me that this is the way history will go: As becomes more widely adopted by governments wanting the ODF plus the functionality and flexibility of, and those who do business with them, managers will wonder, “Why should we buy Microsoft Office? It’s old. It’s got problems. It’s a security risk. Nothing new is happening there. Let’s use, At that point, and I think it will come sooner than later, history will have been written using


Still Insecure After All These Years

It’s nearly the end of 2005, and Microsoft is still having trouble securing Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows Server 2003. This time the company actually hurt the ones it loves: power users who’ve tightened the security features of their systems by changing folder permissions.

According to CNET, “Windows patch backfires on the security-minded“:

Microsoft has acknowledged that a patch released last week can cause trouble for some users. It could lock them out of their PC, prevent the Windows Firewall from starting, block certain applications from running or installing, and empty the network connections folder, among other things, the software maker said in an advisory on Friday.

The trouble occurs when default permission settings on a Windows folder have been changed, according to Microsoft. Those changes aren’t common, but have been applied by some people to add extra security to their systems, experts said.

It’s not like Windows users could ignore this patch. It was released to fix four Windows vulnerabilities that Microsoft tagged “critical,” and experts warned that a worm attack linked to the issue could be imminent. But the patch simply didn’t take into account all the possible Windows user configurations.

But you have to admire Microsoft for putting this spin on it:

Even if users experience PC trouble after installing the patch, they will still be protected against any attack exploiting the Windows flaw, a Microsoft representative said.

Well, that’s certainly true if your PC has locked you out or can’t access the Internet.


Real Says Yes to Microsoft

Microsoft is buying its way out of antitrust litigation from the European Union, as well as settling legal differences that are too distracting for the software giant. Microsoft agreed to pay Novell $536 million last November under the condition that Novell would agree to drop out of the European proceedings. The same requirement was attached to the $1.95 billion deal with Sun Microsystems and the $750 million peace treaty with AOL Time Warner, and Microsoft also settled a lawsuit with IBM.

Money talks, and legislatures walk.

Just last week, Microsoft agreed to a settlement with RealNetworks that effectively removes the competitor from the European legal action — but there may be some good news for Windows users. There has been copious news coverage of the Microsoft-RealNetworks settlement. Here’s a quick summary, from C-NET, “Real, Microsoft reach truce“:

Microsoft and RealNetworks announced a sweeping deal on Tuesday [Oct. 11, 2005] that puts aside their legal differences and aims to shore up their respective digital-music strategies. Under the deal, Microsoft will pay $460 million in cash to RealNetworks to settle antitrust claims. It will also pay $301 million in cash to support Real’s music and game efforts, and Microsoft will promote Real’s Rhapsody subscription music service on its MSN Web business…

RealNetworks had alleged in its December 2003 lawsuit that Microsoft had abused its “monopoly power to restrict how PC makers install competing media players while forcing every Windows user to take Microsoft’s media player, whether they want it or not.” Real originally sought $1 billion in damages. As part of the deal, Real will also end its direct involvement in antitrust investigations across the globe, including probes in Europe and Korea.

The two companies said they will work to make their respective digital rights management technologies interoperable. “Microsoft will also enable Real to facilitate the playback of content on non-Windows portable devices and personal computers using Windows Media DRM,” the companies said in the press release announcing the deal.

More to the point, Rob Glaser, CEO of RealNetworks, had this to say to CNet about what motivated Microsoft to settle (from “Glaser on finding harmony with Microsoft“):

We had solved a lot of the hard problems associated with how you move things in a trusted domain from one format to another, and we did it with both the Apple format, FairPlay, and Windows Media…

If someone had a piece of content on a Windows device that had security rules, there would not be a trivial way to move that content into a device that had Helix or OMA (Open Mobile Alliance) or what have you. Our relationship with Microsoft puts us for the first time — and I think puts anybody for the first time — in a position of being able to solve that problem.

Glaser also said that while Real and Microsoft will cooperate in a lot of areas, they will continue to compete in other areas — such as with the RealPlayer jukebox, which competes with Windows Media Player.

One change that favors consumers is that Microsoft will help Real improve the performance of RealPlayer on Windows. Microsoft also will make it easier for consumers to modify their preference for playing media files in Windows. In addition, MSN Messenger users will be able to play music from the Rhapsody catalog of 1 million songs while chatting. And when using MSN Search to find music, consumers will be presented with the Rhapsody catalog.

In all, RealPlayer users and Rhapsody customers should benefit from this settlement, and RealNetworks get a cash infusion. But Windows Media Player will still be bundled with Windows — and be nearly impossible to unseat as the dominant player.


Interview with Tony Bove in XYZ Computing

The news about my book, Just Say No to Microsoft, is just hitting the Web. The book itself should be in stores by the end of this month.

XYZ Computing ran this interview on Sunday. The interview is six pages long — so click “Next” at the bottom to continue through the  pages.

The interview was picked up on Slashdot, the most prominent news and forum site for developers and programmers. This site is famous for its wild, anonymous comments; most interviewees get roasted — insulted and derided. The comments appear below the topic, usually “nested” so that you can see comments about the comments — it can get crazy with people trashing each other. The comments are ranked by unseen moderators, so you can choose to ignore the more out-of-topic ones (or the ones with bad language). Note that no one has actually read the book yet — they are responding to the idea of the book, and the interview.

Happy reading!


Microsoft Calls SP3 Fixes Fake

According to a PC World story, “Microsoft Exec Warns of ‘Fake’ XP Update” by Elizabeth Montalbano of the IDG News Service, a employee is warning against downloading an unauthorized version of Windows XP Service Pack 3 that has surfaced on a popular Web site that provides software patches

To paraphrase the folk standard, “How Can a Poor Microsoft Customer Stand Such Times and Live?”

Can Microsoft’s own bug fixes be trusted? Not until Microsoft has the opportunity to sell you its “new” system first. If you still want to use Windows XP after the Windows Vista rollout, Microsoft will grudgingly provide it in a service pack unofficially called SP3. Until then, the company not only disavows these fixes, but officially condemns any other vendor that supplies them.

Here is how Microsoft treats its customers: You can get specific “hot fixes” for bugs in its system and applications software directly from Microsoft’s support line, but the company won’t acknowledge these fixes or allow others to provide them, nor will the company package these fixes into a service pack until Windows Vista (formerly Longhorn) ships in late 2006 or 2007.

Mike Brannigan, an enterprise strategy and senior consultant at Microsoft, announced in a post on Google Groups that an unofficial version of Windows XP SP3 provided on The would likely harm your computer and put you “out of support from Microsoft” because it is not an official Microsoft package. “You would be well advised to stay clear of this fake SP3 package,” Brannigan wrote. “It is not suitable for testing as it is NOT SP3. …Anyone who installs this thinking they are getting SP3 (even as a preview) is being grossly mislead and is posing a significant potentially non-recoverable risk to their PC and data.”

Ethan Allen, the creator and administrator of The Hotfix, asserts that though the version of Windows XP SP3 provided on his site is not necessarily the official version, it is a reasonable preview of what will appear when the official service pack is released. “Our pack is indeed a preview to what the official service pack will be, as these hotfixes will be in Service Pack 3 as proven by Microsoft’s own knowledge base,” according to a post by Allen on “Each of these hotfixes can be obtained for free from Microsoft by calling their support lines.”

Allen also wrote that while there is a possibility the SP3 on his site will make a user’s machine less stable, it is not the fault of The Hotfix, because the software came from Microsoft, not the site itself. Duh. And yet, Allen is criticized for providing the software. You, the hapless consumer, must wonder where you fit into this picture. Should you try any of these fixes, or wait until Microsoft blesses them… more than a year from now?

The site has since posted the following message:

All hotfix downloads are linked directly to Microsoft. These are 100% official downloads. None of these are promised to be in SP3.

Good luck figuring that out.


Dude, Dell Got Linux

According to CNET, Dell offers an open-source PC:

Dell began offering a new desktop PC on Tuesday with no operating system installed. The machine is designed for people who want to run open-source software such as Linux instead of Windows… The Dimension E510n PC comes with a blank hard drive and a copy of the FreeDOS operating system, which can be installed by customers.

The computers are designed for customers and companies that want to experiment with Linux and other open-source operating systems. Many large companies that have pre-purchased Windows through licensing programs have to erase all the software that comes on factory-shipped PCs and then install the alternative software they’ve chosen. Buying a PC without an operating system saves a step and eliminates the cost of the extra software.

This is not so surprising. Dell has invested about 100 million in Linux distributor Red Hat, and sells servers with Linux installed.

I have never been happy with Dell’s support for my Dell Inspiron notebook computer. While it is no big deal that Dell is selling a poorly-configured, overpriced PC with no operating system (Wal-Mart also does this), it does represent a sea change for the company and demonstrates the growing demand for desktop Linux PCs.


Replacing Office and Outlook with Web Applications

The buzz is growing about Web applications one day replacing Microsoft Office, and perhaps replacing Outlook even sooner. And the Google-Sun alliance is fueling that buzz, for no other reason than people really want to see Microsoft challenged.

For an excellent overview of where we’re at with Web applications that will someday replace the need for desktop applications like Office… see In pursuit of the zero-footprint Office by ZDNet‘s Dan Farber. Here’s an excerpt:

It seems that a tipping point, or at least an new level of awareness, has been reached about the next Web frontier — a new generation of desktop productivity applications (think Microsoft Office without all the bits on your machine) with rich, interactive client interfaces and low-cost administration. They are built using technologies like AJAX, Flash and Java, with all the logic on the server and using XML and Web service bindings. Some of the features in browser-based apps–Web mail, wikis, blogging tools, hosted CRM–and Web apps like Google Earth, are good examples of the trend…

Microsoft is responding to this threat by moving more quickly toward offering software as a paid service. Dan Farber’s blog cites Microsoft Watch‘s Mary Jo Foley in Post-Reorg Microsoft Readies New Services. Here’s more detail from her article:

Microsoft is intent on turning its long-term dream of selling software as a service into reality. Last week, Microsoft made no bones about the fact that it is planning to field a full lineup of consumer and business services across all three of its newly minted divisions. In fact, Microsoft already sells a number of such services, both paid and free, ranging from Xbox Live to MSN Spaces blogging service. Microsoft officials have hinted at other potential offerings in the pipeline, including both consumer and enterprise versions of the Windows OneCare hosted security services, as well as a hosted Microsoft CRM service, akin to what sells today.

But there are even more Microsoft services in the wings that the company has yet to detail publicly. Among those closest to commercialization: A new small-business bundle of VOIP (voice over IP), instant messaging and data conferencing about which Microsoft has discussed privately with some of its partners, as well as a managed, high-availability Exchange Server offering.

Meanwhile, the press reaction to the Sun-Google alliance is that a “GoogleOffice” will emerge that would replace Office completely. Not quite true, according to the announcements — but Google will be pushing (along with Sun’s StarOffice, which is based on In Mary Jo Foley’s opinion (see ‘GoogleOffice’: A Microsoft Office Killer?), “If ‘GoogleOffice’ ever materializes, it won’t be going head-to-head with Microsoft Office. Instead, expect some new MSN services in the pipeline to emerge as Redmond’s secret weapons.” In other words, a “GoogleOffice” would target Web versions of email, calendar, and contact management applications.

As is typical of Microsoft, other companies innovate first, then Microsoft steps in. So we can expect to see a raft of “Office-killer” Web applications this year, and it will probably take Microsoft two years to move in with its own versions of Web applications. I agree with Foley’s point: “Is there a hot technology arena where Microsoft has fielded a new product first over the past few months and others are scrambling to catch up? I am coming up blank. Help me out here, readers. Point me to a place where Microsoft has Google and other competitors on the run.”

Watch this space for more about Web applications and would-be Office killers.


Yet Another Service Pack for XP

Expect Microsoft to issue a security fix for Windows XP after releasing the next version of Windows, called Vista. According to a news report from ZDNet France (“Microsoft confirms next XP service pack“):

Microsoft has revealed plans to release a third service pack for its Windows XP operating system. “There will be a Service Pack 3 for Windows XP,” Bernard Ourghanlian, technical and security director at Microsoft France, confirmed, revealing that Microsoft’s OS is set for another major update. Windows XP’s Service Pack 2, which came out last September, deeply modified the operating system by updating its security. Windows XP SP3 will be available sometime next year — after the launch of Windows Vista, which “is the priority for the development teams,” according to Microsoft France.

Check here for rumors about Windows XP Service Pack 3. While Microsoft won’t officially confirm that there will be a Service Pack 3 — referring instead to collections of already released patches, known as an Update Rollup (as with Windows 2000) — many patches posted on Microsoft’s Web site mention that they’re slated to be part of Service Pack 3.

When will we ever learn?

Remember Service Pack 2 (SP2)? At the time of its release, Microsoft issued a list of nearly 50 popular applications and games that would “encounter problems” with SP2. Among the primary issues were glitches related to the relationship between the Windows firewall, which is automatically turned on as a security default by SP2, and many of the listed programs. The updated firewall prevented applications from properly connecting to outside networks, limiting their ability to receive data. Some of the problems caused by the SP2 update included issues with remote desktops, filesharing, email notifications, and online multi-player games. Among the most high-profile, widely used products listed were anti-virus applications from Symantec, network management software made by Computer Associates International, and multimedia tools from Macromedia.

Windows systems upgraded with SP2 are more secure than those without it. But the SP2 upgrade instilled a false sense of security in administrators who installed it on their users’ desktops and laptops. In many cases, when a warning appeared about the Windows firewall blocking an unknown application, people clicked the Unblock button just to get rid of the warning message and moved on with their work, defeating the purpose of the firewall in the first place.

The SP2 problems related to anti-virus applications were disconcerting, because these applications are the first line of defense against virus attacks. Perhaps Microsoft didn’t move fast enough to help the vendors of anti-virus applications, because Microsoft is looking to expand into this area with its own anti-virus products. If that’s the case, Microsoft may move sluggishly once again, putting great numbers of XP users at risk.

This strategy is, of course, part of the stick. The carrot is Vista (formerly known as Longhorn, but changed after too many bull jokes), the new version of Windows, that will ship before this rumored SP3.

As Stewart Alsop pointed out in Fortune Magazine, “If you look at the history of Microsoft in the operating system business, you might conclude that the company doesn’t like its own products. It always seems to be saying it has some new operating system that will solve the problems of whatever it is selling at the time.”