OS/X and Microsoft Office do not mix

I've posted about this on Apple's support forums, with no useful response.

The iMac my kids use for their homework, spends a good percentage of its time in a coma - absolutley useless. The root cause - as best I can tell [1] is Microsoft word sending broadcasts to UDP port 2223. The only info I can find about why it might do this - is that it is checking for ilegal copies or something. There are no other Microsoft products on my network, so it is never going to get the response it wants, with the net result that my iMac is rendered useless for hours at a time.

[1]I've been programming and managing UNIX systems and networks for 20+ years, so feel comfortable in my assertions. lsof shows that Word was the process with the UDP port open that was sending the offending packets.

Naturally, these events always correspond with one of the kids needing to get an asignment done and no time to wait, in most cases the only option is to power-cycle the iMac. A computer that isn't ready to work when you are, is useless. While the root cause of my problem is a Microsoft app, it is inexcusable for the system to ever be catatonic as a result.

Even on my Mac at work (where there are all maner of things Mircosoft to talk to), Entourage spends 99.9% of its time in rainbow wheel of death mode, it drives me nuts and I only have to use it for Calendar management. I'd go insane if I had to actually use it to read e-mail; I get about 10,000 per month.

I use a real UNIX system for serious e-mail processing, the combination of Emacs, MH and procmail works fine, but cannot interact with the Microsoft Calendar - hence the Mac.

Anyway, the only solution for my home network seems to be to get rid of Microsoft Office. The macbook I got our high-school freshman recently, uses the iWork apps instead, and so far seems to work fine. If/when I upgrade OS/X on the iMac, I'll replace Office with iWork.

Author:sjg@crufty.net /* imagine something very witty here */